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Pat McCauley of Solon takes part in a wreath making class last week at the Solon Senior Center as a kick-off to fall. The class, presented by the Loving Hands group, resulted in decorated 18-inch fall wreaths, complete with ribbon, artificial flowers, gourds and more.

Step by step –and surrounded by the colors of fall – Solon residents embraced their crafty side last week.

For a group of 10 who gathered at the Solon Senior Center, a wreath making class resulted in fall creations and plenty of camaraderie to go around.

“I love the creativity going on here,” exclaimed instructor Catherine Rush, of the Loving Hands group, an outside vendor who put on the class.

She presented participants with 18-inch plain wicker wreaths as well as a table full of decorations to attach. From gourds to ribbons and fall berries to decorative twigs and artificial flowers, participants had the full range of fall decor at their fingertips.

“I’ve been taking these arts and crafts classes since I retired five years ago,” Solon resident Tricia Chorley, 68, said. “I enjoy making whatever the craft is.”

Through the years, Ms. Chorley has adorned her home with decorative planters and pumpkins, serving platters, Christmas wreaths and more.

“Everything is usable,” she said, adding that she also enjoys meeting people in the various classes.

“I like the variety of what they offer and it’s different depending on the season,” Ms. Chorley said. “You are pleased with the outcome, no matter what you create.”

In instructing the group, Ms. Rush explained how all the various items would be attached to the wreath. She used zip ties as opposed to wire to make for ease of use. The wreath was completed in one class, with Ms. Rush walking table to table to lend a hand.

Solon resident Elizabeth Watts, 76, began by adding plaid ribbon to the bottom section of her wreath.

“It’s just fun to do,” Ms. Watts said. “I’m not really great at anything, but the people who hold the class are really good at helping us.”

Ms. Watts said she looks around her home and sees all the creations she has made, with one of her favorites being a wooden tray with handles.

“It’s always something different, and they make sure it doesn’t look horrible,” she said.

Ms. Watts also enjoys the camaraderie and creating arts and crafts projects with people she meets at the senior center.

“Art classes are a way of improving health both for the mind and heart,” with participants being socially engaged, said Solon Senior Center Activity Coordinator Sally Stanek. The experience creates a feeling of accomplishment when leaving the class with completed projects, she added.

Mrs. Stanek served freshly baked cookies while the participants completed their wreaths.

“Art classes are sort of like a therapy,” Mrs. Stanek added. “They enhance your mood and help keep your mind stimulated.

“It’s just a happy feeling to be able to express yourself through art,” she said.

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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