MARYSVILLE – Angela Maddux’s eyes still light up like a Christmas tree when she talks about the holidays with her family growing up.
In the Norwegian tradition, she recalls the family 300 strong singing as they walked around a huge Christmas tree at her grandparents’ home.
“Grandpa said he was the richest man in the world – not because of money, but because of you,” she said he would tell her.
Her grandpa, who was pastor at Warm Beach Community Church in the 1960s, every year would read the Christmas story about Jesus from the book of Luke in the bible.
Her family isn’t perfect – she hardly knew her dad – but she likes to recall the best times. “I enjoy family, but I know lots of people don’t have that,” she said.
She also remembers family members getting on a truck and going caroling around town every year. “It feels so good” to remember those days, she said this week.
Maddux tries to capture those memories and share them with others through the large Christmas tree bulbs she creates. “It’s so fun for me, passing on my family traditions,” she said. “I’m giving them a piece of my heritage.”
She has found that, “If you do something you care about it sells better.”
Maddux has been making the bulbs and selling them at craft fairs for a few years now. But she actually got her start in art when she was young with her mom’s home business called Creations Galore.
“It’s in my blood,” she said. “I was crafty since I was little.”
They would make flower arrangements for customers. “We would garden together all the time, every day,” she said. They would do other types of artwork, too.
“My mom made me love Christmas. One year we didn’t have any money” but my mom still decorated the tree beautifully with tinsel, she said. They had up to five Christmas trees in the house at once and would listen to music by country legend Vince Gill. “It’s the best time of the year.”
Maddux has two trees in her home this year. One has a coffee theme, and the other is a memorial to her dad. They reunited last Christmas just before he died.
Regarding her trees, her mom told her she’s not using enough ornaments.
“We have a war over whose is best,” she said. “The biggest thing we do is Christmas.”
They usually get fake Christmas trees because they can load more ornaments on those. Last year they got flocked fresh trees, but they dried up halfway through the season. “We were afraid the house was going to burn down,” she said.
Like her mom, Maddux wanted to be home with her kids, but she also wanted to help make ends meet financially. After working in retail sales, Maddux wanted to use her creative talents. “How can I make money doing this – I love gardening,” she said.
She started Angie’s Cup of Flowers. She would get unique pots and plants and make fairy gardens for customers. It was garden art.
The main problem was the Northwest doesn’t have the best climate for such things. “People would kill them” because they didn’t put them in greenhouses for the winter, she said, adding she’d have to re-make them.
So Maddux is thinking of transitioning into making the bulbs full time. She sold 140 of them at a craft fair in Snohomish last weekend alone. “They paid for my Christmas presents” I bought, and it’s not even December yet, she said. She also makes ones for other holidays, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. Maddux also makes Hero Balls. Her husband was a paratrooper so she makes some with a military theme. “The first one to pick one up at a show gets it for free,” she said.
One woman, whose husband is in Afghanistan, recently burst into tears when Maddux gave one to her. “It’s a blessing,” Maddux said of the responses she gets. “This is so worth it.”
Maddux buys the bulbs and materials she uses from local craft stores. She’s found that gorilla glue works best. The themes range from Seahawks to gnomes, angels to Mickey and Minnie Mouse. And, of course, Christmas themes of Jesus in the manger to Santa to elves and snowmen and stockings by the fireplace. It used to take her an hour but now she can make one in about half that time. The supplies can sometimes overrun her house.