karen young

Karen Young of Bainbridge will be selling her handmade baby gifts at the Holiday Pop Up Shop at Solon Middle School, Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Karen Young of Bainbridge has long enjoyed a variety of crafts, from knitting sweaters to creating felt applique calendars, soft ragdolls and reversible toddler bibs.

“I always have a zillion projects,” Mrs. Young commented recently in her home’s well-stocked crafts room. “It started as a youngster when I made clothes for my paper dolls. I’ve been a knitter since high school.” She recalled knitting argyle socks for her father.

When her two children were young, she bought her first sewing machine for $75 on a payment plan, she said with a chuckle. “I used it to make clothes for my daughter Tracy and Halloween costumes for both my daughter and son.” She also sewed calendars appliqued with sequins for her husband Davis’s mother.

Today, Mrs. Young, who has four grandchildren ages 13 to 24, continues to do crafts for her children’s families, as well as to display and sell at craft fairs.

Mrs. Young, formerly of Solon, is among some 80 vendors who will attend Solon Schools’ Holiday Pop Up Shop, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 9, at Solon Middle School, 6835 SOM Center Road.

Previously called the Solon High School PTA Holiday Boutique and held at the high school, the pop up shop will continue the traditional November event in a new setting.

The event is being co-chaired by Denise Cipriano and Paula Telepak of the Solon High School PTA.

“We’ll have vendors from all over,” Mrs. Cipriano said. “We renamed it ‘Holiday Pop Up Shop’ because it’s not just crafters. There’s a little bit of everything. They’ll bring homemade treats, clothes for dogs, homemade pies, holiday gifts, artwork, photography – literally everything.” Food trucks parked outside the school will offer for sale such items as kettle corn, mini doughnuts, gourmet burgers, all-beef hot dogs, sausages and fries.

“Sometimes change is good,” Mrs. Cipriano said. The new venue at Solon Middle School will offer an easier flow for shoppers, she said. At the high school, the craft fair took up four rooms, including some small spaces. “Now we’ll have two large rooms – the gym and cafeteria – side by side.

“Our goal is to raise $6,000,” Mrs. Cipriano said. “This is the high school’s annual fundraiser.” Proceeds help fund staff appreciation events, the senior honors banquet and other student achievement recognition programs. Aside from their table rental, vendors will each donate an item for a raffle, which will help raise additional funds.

The pop up shop takes place at the beginning of the holiday season, Mrs. Cipriano said. “Shoppers will be looking for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts as well as items to decorate their homes.”

They’ll also find men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, gourmet olive oils and vinegar, greeting cards, children’s books, bath and body care, hand-knitted winter accessories, Cleveland-themed clothing and gifts, candles and more.

Admission is $2 per shopper, with students admitted free.

With a product line she calls “Karen’s Baby Creations,” Mrs. Young will showcase her ribbon baby blankets, featuring tabs with different textures for babies to explore; ragdolls with a range of hair color and outfits; bibs in small, medium and toddler sizes; flannel receiving blankets with choices of pattern; quilts with scenes of Noah’s Ark; knitted baby leg warmers and sweaters; burp cloths; and waterproof diaper changing pads. She also has a variety of gauze swaddle blankets, which keep babies warm and offer privacy for nursing mothers, and soft ribbon balls for babies, constructed with tags of varying textures and a bell inside. Prices range from $5 for small bibs and ribbon balls to $30 for knitted sweaters.

In addition to the Solon schools’ craft event, in which she is participating for her fourth year, Mrs. Young generally showcases her creations at two other venues such as churches.

A graduate of the Laurel School in Shaker Heights in 1957 and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1961, Mrs. Young has a master’s degree in human services from John Carroll University in University Heights. Now retired, she previously had a career in social work and also assisted in her husband’s public relations firm. For several years, she volunteered at Reach Out, a former counseling and mental health facility in Solon.

Originally from Shaker Heights, Mrs. Young and her husband, a native of Princeton, N.J. raised their children in Shaker. While she volunteered with the crisis hotline at Reach Out, Mrs. Young said, “I discovered Solon. I thought it was such a pretty community.” She and her husband moved in 1985 as empty nesters to Solon, where they resided for about 30 years. They moved to Bainbridge four years ago.

As seniors, the Youngs maintain an active life style. Mrs. Young attends exercise classes several times a week at the Solon Senior Center. The couple has traveled to 54 countries, including several in Europe, Africa, East Asia and South America. They have also traveled to the U.S. coasts and several national parks.

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