Stephanie Flusche has found a way to turn a flat tire into history, a flea market visit into an adventure, an old door to art.
She hasn’t always been so cunning.
Flusche said she was more into dancing, cheerleading, and softball while growing up in Casa Grande, Arizona. She played softball for Connors State College after moving to Muskogee to help her grandmother take care of her family.
She said her grandmother encouraged her to do scrapbooking and crafts.
For example, her grandmother gave her a bag full of pens, paper, and other items when she was invited to a Creative Memories scrapbooking party.
“We were going to Fin and Feather (Fall Craft Festival). If I picked up something, she’d say, ‘we can do it,’” said Flusche. “And at the time, I was like ‘I don’t want to make it, I don’t have time.'”
However, Flusche said that over time she has learned by trial and error.
“When I started painting furniture, my oldest Destrie was at LSU and she had just moved from the sorority house,” Flusche recalls. “She needed furniture for her apartment. I started looking for things. We filled this house quickly. I was testing paint, I was learning to paint things, and after a while, she got it. is said, “We don’t need furniture anymore, Mom.” “
Flusche had to find a place to dispose of all his things.
In 2013, she opened a stall at Hattie’s House Vintage Market on Main Street.
After a while, other fellow craftsmen, including Hope Farmer of Creative Soul, encouraged Flusche to open his own house on Main.
“If it weren’t for Hope, I wouldn’t be here,” said Flusche. “She’s so encouraging. She was so persistent in insisting that I take a class.”
In 2016, Flusche opened Lola’s Living, named after his English bulldog, Lola, who frequented the store. The honor of the store dog now goes to Rosie, an English Bulldog puppy.
in a unique way
Stephanie Flusche says she’s created 45 scrapbooking albums – and each one tells a story.
“It’s just to create memories,” she said. “You can have images in stacks and in boxes. But my daughters will take them out. Albums tell stories. “
For example, Flusche recalled an album she made about a recent trip.
“We were going to the Dallas airport, by plane to Cancun,” she said. “I wouldn’t have remembered that my truck had an apartment on the way to the airport. It wasn’t something I would have remembered unless I had documented it.”
She devotes two scrapbooking pages, titled Off to a “Rocky Start”, to photos of people changing their tires. The pages feature a brief history, as well as a road silhouette.
“It’s all about the stickers, the journaling,” she said. “If I didn’t have this diary, you wouldn’t know what’s going on.
Flusche said she likes to put everything in her album.
“Now that social media is really important and my kids are in high school, the only way I can get a picture of them is to steal one from Facebook and print them out,” she said. . “I like to document everything that happens, not just the events. I love everyday life. I play sports, but I also do everyday life.”
She admitted, however, that she had some catching up to do.
“I’m definitely late,” she said. “I don’t know if anyone has caught up with scrapbooking yet.”
Flusche’s junk trips have taken her to several interesting places.
“I’m not necessarily looking for something specific, but if someone would say to me, ‘Oh I’m looking for this, keep an eye out’ I’m the first to find this part for them,” she said. . “I can see the potential of anything. If there is a cabinet, I will turn it into something functional.”
She said she was looking for period furniture, old building pieces, old books.
“I really like old things, industrial things made of metal,” she said. “Wood, I’m looking for a lot of wood right now.”
She has several favorite places in Muskogee.
“Grand Flea is amazing. They have it all,” she said of an indoor flea market a few doors south of her store. “The Red Barn, across from Walmart. The Salvation Army is good too.”
A favorite destination is Canton, Texas which boasts of having the world’s largest flea market.
“It’s amazing,” she said. ” It’s huge. You can buy anything. Whatever you are looking for, you can find it there.
Flusche recalled buying old doors at a market.
“My shed is full of doors,” she said. “I have a hangar and a storage unit full of stuff.”
in works of art
Necessity drove Flusche’s woodcutting hobby. She said she had to find an efficient way to display the furniture on her booth.
“It led to signs and how could I improve them, how can I do more, find the right paint,” she said. “This led to making wooden hearts from wooden planks and making wooden pumpkins from drawers in a Country Club house.”
She made several wooden pumpkins from old built-in drawers and bookcases. Each has its own characteristics.
“I will never be able to recreate this because there was old paint on it,” she said. “Another was in the cabinet.”
Flusche saws wood in his garage.
She carves Christmas trees and maps of Oklahoma and the United States from old doors.
“On some of them I write on the back where they are from or what building they are from,” she said. “These doors are super thick.”
Flusche found a door from old Lakeland Glass and cut it out in the shape of Oklahoma. She said she plans to donate the creation to the Chamber of Commerce, for an auction scheduled for September 11.
Questions and answers
HOW ARE YOU A MUSKOGEE OKIE?
“My grandmother, Ann Reinhardt, lived in Fort Gibson and looked after her father, LA Rounds. When I graduated from high school I moved here to help him with him and I went to Connors. I got married, I had kids. ”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
“Everyone is so friendly. Everyone knows everyone. Even if you don’t know them, they’re still pretty friendly.”
WHAT MAKES MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“I would love to see more social outdoor activities. I love our whole neighborhood and everything they’ve done downtown. I would like to see more fall festival, spring festival. I love the farmer’s market, but I would like to have more events outside. “
WHICH PERSON IN MUSKOGEE WILL YOU ADMIRE MOST?
“Debbie Greener. She’s a member of the First Baptist Church. She’s very genuine. She’s always there to help you. She’s involved in a lot of things. And she’s the most generous person. If you had to mention something that is going on, that next day when she would check in with you no matter what. “
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING FOR YOU IN MUSKOGEE?
“To have the opportunity to open a store. I never thought that in a million years I would have something like this. I never thought of it.”
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
“I like junk. I like going to yard sales, flea markets. I like vintage things, whether it’s to transform them or to keep them.”
HOW DO YOU SUMMARIZE MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
“Good community, folks.”
MEET Stéphanie Flusche.
AGE: 49 years old.
EDUCATION: Casa Grande Union High School, Casa Grande, Arizona; one year at Connors State College.
OCCUPATION: Owner of Lola’s Living.
FAMILY: Husband, Gary. Children, Madison, Miles, Destrie and Brett; three grandchildren; three dogs, Stella, Olive, Rosie.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Baptist.
LEISURE: crafts, woodworking, scrapbooking, reusing furniture, training, gardening.