As a college student in California, Laura Paulus often looked for ways to make and give inexpensive Christmas gifts out of necessity. Now married with four children, and living in Hillsboro, she still enjoys putting her creative mind to work and finding ways to make inexpensive gifts for giving, even if she does not have to.
“I just love collecting old dishes, wine glasses, and antique glassware,” Paulus said. “My friends and relatives even collect stuff for me and give it to me for my hobby.”
Paulus’ hobby involves turning used items into original centerpieces. She combines different types of glass or wood items, glues them together with epoxy, and adds decorative touches for a one-of-a-kind table display.
“I’ve used pickle jars, empty glass candle holders, even old wood candlesticks to make the centerpieces,” she said. “I just like to take random things and put them together. It’s a lot of fun to see what can evolve.”
The most common items Paulus likes to use are wine glasses. Inverted, they make a nice base for a dinner plate or pickle jar. Paulus often attaches a handle or peg on top for further decoration.
“I found that I could write on the plain glass plates with sharpie markers,” she said. “If you bake the plate after writing on it, the markings are permanent and can be washed and used without rubbing off.”
Paulus said she first got the idea of combining different types of castoff glassware to make decorations from Pinterest, but she has taken those ideas to a much broader level.
“I use just about anything,” she said. “There really is not limit to the imagination.”
Paulus makes lighted displays by putting battery candles under wine glass bases. She uses colored Christmas balls or figurines to create unique displays.
“Once you get started doing this, it really is hard to stop,” she said. “I’m always wondering what I might do with that piece, or what I could combine with that one.”
Paulis displayed and sold her unique centerpieces on Saturday at the Christmas Soiree in Hillsboro. She enjoys giving many of her creations as gifts but also takes special orders from interested customers.