Winter is the perfect time to try your hand at a craft, finish a project, refinish a piece of furniture, and more. I don't know about you, but I love winter projects. Some I keep, and some I sell. I decided to ask a few of my friends what they're working on.

Cindy Habermann, of Rochester: “My two valentine pieces are made with love, done with papier-mâché and air-dry paper clay. They take many hours to complete, starting with a visual idea, figuring out size, finishes, and getting the piece sculpted. Then on to letting them dry, now start painting, sealing and finishing, and then hope they make folks smile.”

Cindy Habermann's valentine figurines made with papier-mâché and air-dry paper clay. (Contributed photo)
Cindy Habermann's valentine figurines made with papier-mâché and air-dry paper clay. (Contributed photo)

Marissa Block Gentling, of Rochester: “I’ve been painting as a side hobby since I was a teen, so probably 20 or more years. I was always a canvas painter until the last year, when I started painting things like canoe oars, hand saws, saw blades, ammo boxes, guitars and more. Blades and saws have all come to me through friends. Two belonged to my friend’s grandfather; I painted those for him, and he has them displayed at his house now. I always love a new challenge!"

A saw blade after Marissa Block Gentling painting it for a friend's grandfather. (Contributed photo)
A saw blade after Marissa Block Gentling painting it for a friend's grandfather. (Contributed photo)

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Jim Kieffer, of St. Charles: “I am currently restoring a visible gas pump, and another gas pump. Each have already been bought, and people are wanting it restored to their liking. I am making one a Sinclair pump, and the other one the people purchased a Phillips 66. I restore these pumps from the ground up, using as many original parts as I can. Each pump will take approximately two months to complete, and I finish them by painting to a perfect original look.”

One of Jim Kieffer's winter projects — a Mobile gas visible pump restored for an individual from the Minneapolis area. (Contributed photo)
One of Jim Kieffer's winter projects — a Mobile gas visible pump restored for an individual from the Minneapolis area. (Contributed photo)

Joan Thilges, of Riceford: “For several years, I've been creating costumes for my resin ball-jointed dolls (BJDs). My favorite dolls to sew for are about 2 inches tall, and are from companies in Japan and South Korea. I especially enjoy recreating the costumes of anime or gaming characters, movie or TV characters, or my own designs. I try to make the doll costumes as close as possible to the original. Often the hardest part is finding fabrics, trim and accessories that are in scale.”

A costume made by Joan Thilges for a resin ball-jointed doll. (Contributed photo)
A costume made by Joan Thilges for a resin ball-jointed doll. (Contributed photo)
A costume made by Joan Thilges for a resin ball-jointed doll. (Contributed photo)
A costume made by Joan Thilges for a resin ball-jointed doll. (Contributed photo)

Joan McGill, of Winona: “I have been painting rocks and giving them to people and placing them around town for anyone to take and keep. Also crocheting dishcloths, making photo cards of the pictures I have taken, and growing my snake cacti plants. I am still making my jewelry.”

Rocks painted by Joan McGill that are placed around Winona for anyone to take. (Contributed photo)
Rocks painted by Joan McGill that are placed around Winona for anyone to take. (Contributed photo)
One of Joan McGill's snake cacti plants. (Contributed photo)
One of Joan McGill's snake cacti plants. (Contributed photo)
A few of Joan McGill's photo cards. (Contributed photo)
A few of Joan McGill's photo cards. (Contributed photo)

Shayna Dais, of Winona: “For my winter project of recent, last Saturday, I turned on the heater in my garage so I could start painting a large wooden plate rack for the February sale at the Rusty Bucket. I also washed and cleaned up a mahogany hutch that will be at the same sale.”

A wooden plate rack painted by Shayna Dais. (Contributed photo)
A wooden plate rack painted by Shayna Dais. (Contributed photo)

Sandy Erdman is a Winona-based freelance writer and certified appraiser concentrating on vintage, antique and collectible items. Send comments and story suggestions to Sandy at life@postbulletin.com.