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They begin on Carla Fahrni's sewing table as needle, thread and fabrics that mean something special. When Carla has completed her work, those materials have been transformed into soft, floppy, Snoopy-nosed mutts that offer cuddles and memories for their owners.
Customers can learn more about these "Memory Mutts," as well as about Carla's many other handmade creations, when they visit Treasured Sensations at 226 N. Market St. in Minerva.
Located in the Market Street Salon, Treasured Sensations offers fashion bracelets, 3-D art, personalized tote bags and other items as well as the opportunity to learn more about ordering a personalized Memory Mutt.
Each mutt begins with clothing, tote bags, or other fabrics that a customer brings to Carla. The fabrics could include outgrown children's clothing, sport jerseys or clothing that belonged to a loved one.
Carla said mutts can also be made using small blankets, such as pet blankets or crib blankets and embroidered tags.
Sturdy, non-stretchy fabrics are best.
Working in her home, Carla designs a mutt to incorporate all of the fabrics that the customer has brought using a theme that is important to that customer. Some mutts celebrate sports teams or even video games while others honor kids who have graduated from school or memorialize loved ones who have passed on.
"If they're made of clothing from someone who's passed, they're like holding that person," said Carla.
Finished with big, bead eyes and floppy ears, the mutts range in cost from $45 for a medium size to $65 for a larger size.
Samples of mutts are on display at Treasured Sensations along with Carla's other creations.
Customers will find a variety of bracelets that Carla strings with glass pearls and rhinestone rondelle beads. Stretch-to-fit and wire bracelets are available with or without clasps, and Carla can personalize bracelets using birthstone colors for mothers, grandmothers and birthday girls; sports team colors; or university colors.
Carla also offers her "3D art," which she creates by layering paint, seashells, silk flowers and other materials on canvas squares.
"They're made with real items. There's about four or five different layers to them," she explained, noting that she plans to add artworks with materials themed for the upcoming holiday season.
Silk flowers, ribbons and lace come into play in Carla's wall hats, which can be hung as decorations.
Treasured Sensations also features Carla's "Sweet Totes," which she makes using sweatshirts and lines with muslin. Totes can be personalized when the customer brings Carla a sweatshirt.
Customers will also find dog toys made of braided sweatshirts, decorated dog collars and other small items, such as walnut- and cherry-wood bowls and vases that Carla's husband, a wood-turner, occasionally offers.
Carla has priced most items at Treasured Sensations from $1 to $25.
She noted that during Minerva's 12 Days of Christmas raffle contest, six winners will receive a coupon for 15 percent off any item in the store or for a free bracelet.
Treasured Sensations is open Tuesday to Friday from noon to 5 p.m., but extended hours are available upon request.
The shop will be open on selected Saturdays in December: call for more information.
Customers can learn more by calling Carla at 330-705-3771, visiting the shop's website (http://www.treasuredsensations.com/), or visiting the shop's Facebook page (Memory Mutts and Keepsake Bears).