What began as two different hobbies for Carol Schroeder have both developed into successful ventures. Her first endeavour involves using pressed flowers to make items like decorative cards.
Schroeder grew up on a farm northwest of Wolseley, Saskatchewan. Inspired by her grandmothers, she loved arts and crafts, including knitting, weaving, painting, sewing and embroidery.
“I recall as a young girl being impressed with flowers and/or leaves pressed between the pages of a book. It seemed an awesome way to preserve and keep safe the memory of a special occasion, event or beautiful flower,” she says.
In 1997 she began selling her pressed flower items at local card/gift shops, which led to the formation of her company, Garden Memories by Carol, in 2000. After a 40-year career in nursing, Schroeder was ready to launch into a home-based business.
In 2010 she was selected to become a juried member of the Saskatchewan Craft Council (SCC). This is validation of the quality of her work and affords the benefit of being posted on the SCC’s website.
Schroeder uses all naturally grown materials for her creations and grows most of the flowers in her garden. “I search out leaves that retain their shape and especially their green colour, even using the leaves of some weeds for this purpose.
“I’m always experimenting with different types of flowers. Each summer, more and more of our huge vegetable garden space is given over to flowers. When my husband reminds me we can’t eat flowers, I tell him my flowers are ‘food for my soul,’” she says.
Schroeder’s second way of preserving memories resulted in the publication of her autobiography, S.W. Seventeen—A Prairie Girl Remembers.
“My intention at first was to preserve the memories I had of my childhood growing up on the farm for future generations of our family, particularly our grandchildren,” she says, and had 15 spiral-bound copies made at a local print shop.
“I felt satisfied I had accomplished what I had set out to do. Not so, said family and friends — you must publish this for all posterity.”
The book was self-published in 2005 with Trafford Publishing, and local Wolseley businesses and Amazon carry the book. Interest has been very good with sales resulting in a second printing.
“I feel blessed and thankful for this opportunity to share my childhood roots and memories that remain very dear to me. I retain ownership of the half section of prime farmland at Wolseley, renting to local farmers and visiting whenever possible.
“Naming the book S.W. Seventeen—A Prairie Girl Remembers, seemed especially appropriate as this quarter section of land at Wolseley became the home quarter to our family and is where the majority of the recorded memories took place. The cover of the book reflects the farmyard as it exists today, surrounded by trees planted long ago as saplings by our parents.”
Carol Schroeder and her husband currently live in Regina, retaining ownership to their respective farmlands at Wolseley and Neudorf. For more information on her cards and book, contact her at [email protected] or (306) 543-4550.