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Flower power blossoms for Liz

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Sew pretty: Elizabeth Gilbert shows off one of her handcrafted hair accessories (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

“That’s so cute”, people squeal when they see Elizabeth Gilbert’s hand-stitched accessories.

She heard it so much she called her business “So Cute by Liz”.

In fact, it was her own response when she first saw a friend stitching a flower for a hat.

“I was fascinated,” said the 42-year-old hairdresser. “The tiny petals were stitched in the Japanese Kanzashi style. I thought maybe I could do that. When I tried to make a flower myself I was surprised that it wasn’t so hard. It soon became easy.”

Until she saw her friend stitching she’d had absolutely no interest in arts and crafts.

“My mother was good at arts and crafts and tried to teach me to sew, but I didn’t have the patience for it,” she said. “I preferred to be outside cycling.”

But now her new craft became a way to relax.

“I start making hair accessories for myself as a hobby,” she said. “Then my friends asked me ‘do you sell it? How much?’ So I thought it was good to have an extra source of income.”

She and her husband, Wayne Gilbert, run a beauty and barber shop at Warwick Workmen’s Club. She tentatively started selling the flowers by displaying them on a table outside the club.

At first, she was a little disappointed because while lots of people admired them, few seemed willing to part with their cash.

“Then they started coming back and asking if I could do something in this colour or that colour,” she said. “I guess they just weren’t sure when they first looked at the flowers.”

Her wares are popular with all ages, but particularly with teens looking for creative ways to glam up.

“I also stitch a lot of hair pieces in school colours for the kids,” she said. Her most popular items are flowers stitched for shoes, ranging from $25 to $40. Her hair pieces range from $10 to $20.

But she is learning to take the craft further. Her proudest accomplishment was stitching an entire floral bouquet and headpiece for her niece’s wedding.

“That took me a long time to do, but it was great to see how happy it made my niece,” she said. “It looked really nice. That was harder than most of the things I do because I had to think about what it would look like being photographed from different angles.”

She’d never been a fan of social media, but set up a Facebook page a month ago to help her business. “I have been getting a lot of likes,” she said. “To be honest, I still don’t like social media much, but it’s something that has to be done. You waste a lot of time on there.”

This year, she’ll be selling her accessories at Cup Match in team colours. She and her husband are Somerset residents and she’s hoping to start set up a tent by Somerset Bridge.

“I have my vendor’s licence,” she said. “I am just waiting for word from the Park’s Department. I’m hoping to target the tourists who come through as well as locals.”

For more information see her Facebook page under So Cute by Liz

Best foot forward: Elizabeth Gilbert also creates hand-stitched shoe accessories (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Locks lovely: one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s hand-stitched hair accessories (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Fun feet: Elizabeth Gilbert wearing her hand-stitched shoe accessories (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Arts and crafts talent: Elizabeth Gilbert with a selection of her hand-stitched products (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)