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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Danielle and Ken Snyder show off some of their projects with daughter Emily.

Couple embrace new skills

When Ken Snyder’s grandfather died, the 35-year-old Avilla resident inherited the older man’s woodshop tools.

For a while, they lingered. Snyder didn’t do anything with them until one day he decided he wanted to learn how to use them.

He began small with birdhouses and birdfeeders, and as his skills improved, the positive feedback from friends and family poured in.

So, he started thinking bigger.

To date, the largest item Snyder has made is an easel with a flat side that has a roll of paper and a side with a dry-erase board and a chalkboard (he called it a three-in-one). That went to his 7-year-old daughter.

That first easel was such a hit, Snyder made a second one for a craft show where he and his wife, Danielle, were exhibitors.

So now, Ken and Danielle are trying to figure out how to make extra cash from their hobbies.

Danielle Snyder is a pretty crafty person herself. She crochets – something she has mostly taught herself – and makes jewelry, sews and knits. The latter two to a lesser extent.

Right now on Danielle’s hook is a scarf, but she’s completed an owl and zebra hat and also made aprons and wood tile necklaces.

In middle school, Danielle’s mother crocheted and, because she says she didn’t have much else to do, she started to learn.

Though she didn’t learn much then, Danielle has taken off in the year or two since she picked back up her crochet hook.

Since that time, she has mostly taught herself various techniques, using the Internet (specifically YouTube) to learn.

She and Ken are thinking about opening an online store, but Danielle said she believes they need to have an inventory built up before they do that.

“We’d like to do more,” she said. “I think we’re, maybe, a little ways from (opening an online store).”

In the meantime, the two continue working on their relatively newfound crafts after some long days working in the entertainment lighting business.

“I like to just sit down in front of the TV and keep my hands busy instead of doing nothing,” Danielle said. “I really like just having a completed (project). You start with yarn and end up with a hat or scarf or afghan.”

The couple also hope to find their way to some area arts and crafts fairs this year.

Joyce McCartney is not a craft expert. She is, however, interested in crafting of all types. She shares her experiences and those of area crafters. To reach her, call 461-8364 or email Also, go to her blog at There, you will also find the weekly knitting podcast Math4Knitters.