HOLDEN — Debra Osipov makes her unique handcrafted items “with patience, paint, fabric, glue and love.”
“Many are repurposed from other items,” she said of her Punkin Patch crafts, which are sold at a Holden boutique and at the Sterling Street Market.
“Gnomes in many sizes and themes, teacup bird feeders, home decor, outdoor decor, masks, blankets,” she said, listing some of the items.
The “wild” mushrooms she makes are from bowls, vases, plates and other items she can put together and paint.
“I just started the mushrooms a couple weeks ago when I was trying to use up some extra glassware I had. I make various items from painting and decorating old stair spindles, also.”
Practicality sparked some of them.
“Many of them I created because I could not afford the prices of manufactured items and decor. I look at things a little differently at flea markets and resource places. Ideas develop from there.”
As she progressed, Osipov learned more about woodworking, which led to the purchase of her first table saw last year.
“When you use someone else’s ‘trash’ you may need to alter it. Scrap wood is like treasure to me,” she said.
Osipov has always enjoyed handcrafts, mostly sewing, she said.
“My mother owned The Loom fabric store in Holden when I was very young and taught me the craft. That came in very handy during the pandemic when I made over 5,000 cloth face masks for the Oriol Foundation Mask Force.”
The Punkin Patch business is more recent.
“A friend of mine encouraged me to start selling my gnomes in 2020. I started selling them on Facebook and then in New To You Boutique in Holden. The creations I offer there vary, but I am thrilled to be alongside 40-plus other vendors, and it is such a great feeling when people support local creators,” Osipov said.
She said she has been successful because she has repeat customers.
That includes “custom orders for gnomes, and I have made many new friends. The current economy has hurt a bit. I believe that is because people only have so much (or nothing) to spend on nonessentials. Sterling Street Market has been wonderful,” she said.
“Customer responses are what keep me going. When they look at an item and giggle with joy, or say ‘how clever,’ it makes my day.
“The name Punkin Patch is a tribute to my late mom, who called me ‘Punkin.’ My father was an immigrant and an engineer who taught me the appreciation for repurposing and using what you have to be pennywise.”
— Debra Osipov
“I think they like the creativity in design and materials. I am always happy to explain to people what things are made from so they can do their own, and I think they enjoy that too,” Osipov said.
Creating and selling items is a form of recycling.
“I love giving items new life: Making a bird feeder or candle out of beautiful old teacups, a quilt or pillows from a loved one’s shirts, custom gnomes to represent someone’s hobbies, and making things that people enjoy so much they display in their homes . That’s a great feeling,” she said.
Inspiration comes from many sources.
“The name Punkin Patch is a tribute to my late mom, who called me ‘Punkin.’ My father was an immigrant and an engineer who taught me the appreciation for repurposing and using what you have to be pennywise.
“I follow a lot of crafting pages. Sometimes it is from need (like the face masks), and sometimes just an idea pops to mind when I am asked ‘can you make me a ….’ “
It is more than a business for Osipov.
“Creating things is a form of therapy for me. It is satisfying to escape the everyday stresses and make something people will buy. I also like to gift people my creations.
“My career is in marketing and community relations, so I love the interaction with the people I meet. Being a vendor at Sterling has allowed me the chance to meet so many people and personally thank those who browse and purchase my items. I have also met many other crafters that I have formed friendships with since we have a common bond. I like to say we make ‘works of the heart.’ “
Osipov has a Facebook page: Punkin Patch Unique Handcrafts.