Getting ready

THOMPSONTOWN – What do match boxes, bottle caps and fabric scraps have in common? They’re all found in a house – a small-scale “Recycled Residence” created by 12-year-old Paige Smith.

The handmade home is one of many projects crafted by Smith, who is a member of the Juniata County 4-H Mister Cake, Sew Many Stitches and Crafty Crafters clubs.

Smith, of Thompsontown, said she joined 4-H when she was 8 years old. She was introduced to the club leader through her parents, Bryan and Carol Smith.

“I knew all about 4-H before I was old enough to join,” Paige Smith said, adding that she was eager to get started after her eighth birthday.

Her favorite club, Crafty Crafters, meets on the first Saturday of each month, from October to March or April. Smith said she works on one or two different projects at each meeting.

During her first year in the club, Smith created a wooden bird feeder with glass panels. She said it was the most difficult project she has completed so far. Her other creations include a paper-twist basket that earned a Grand Champion ribbon in her first year, a fabric and potpourri pie decoration, custom jewelry and a yardstick holder.

Smith said it’s difficult to choose a favorite project, but she especially enjoyed learning about iris paper folding. The technique involves layering strips of paper in a spiral pattern. Smith said she has used the technique to create many cards and other projects.

Smith said she uses the skills she learns outside of 4-H too. The aforementioned Recycled Residence was a project Smith completed for a local daycare. During the course of two weeks, she collected pieces of trash and turned them into a multi-floor doll-sized house.

When the house was complete, it became a hidden object game – children were asked to find different items that were used to create the furniture and decorations. Among the items used to make the house are a travel-sized toothpaste box, gum machine bubble, coffee pot filter, candy box, lone earring, notebook spiral and more.

Smith presented the project as a demonstration at Crafty Crafters.

“People just wanted to look at it!” she said about club members’ responses.

In her other clubs, Smith has sewn a fabric tote bag and created a purple-themed quilt square. This year is the first year she has participated in cake decorating.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Smith said about participating in 4-H clubs. “You get to try new things … meet a lot of new people.”

She said 4-H makes her busier and teaches her responsibility. She often has to finish projects at home after she starts them at club meetings.

All of Smith’s 2014 projects will be entered in competition and on display at the Juniata County Youth Fair, set for this week in Mifflintown. The fair will also feature projects and demonstrations from other consumer science clubs, shooting sports and archery, square dance, seeing eye puppy club and livestock clubs.

Anyone seeking more information about local 4-H programs may call the Juniata County Extension Office at 436-7744.