State Journal Special Writer
Mrs. Warren Meyer of Diamondale and Mrs. Monte Turner, formerly of Lansing, have their own "mutual admiration society" when it comes to talents.
Lydia Meyer is a handicraft enthusiast for every November bazaar of the Dimondale Presbyterian Church. Iaulanda Turner, now residing in Warren, Ohio is renowned for her knack for designing and sewing felt Christmas tree ornaments.
The Turners were recent houseguest of the Meyers.
The Meyer home, at 210 E. Washington, is over 100 years old, and has been completely restored since they moved in five years ago.
Lydia laughingly admits it is "saturated with antiques," although she is not a collector. (Mr. Meyer's father, Warren L. Meyer, a retiree, lives in quaint "cottage" at the rear of the Meyers' lot. At 83, he still takes a daily walk to the village to pick up the mail and have lunch.)
During their visit together, the Meyers and the Turners took time to reminisce over many years of friendship.
Mr. and Mrs. Turner lived in Lansing until 15 years ago, when they moved to Pennsylvania and later to Ohio.
Iaulanda Turner, a former seamstress by hobby, attributes the ideas for making her now famed ornaments to Lydia.
Lydia was sewing felt tree ornaments for the Play Ladies group of Edward W. Sparrow Hospital. She showed them to Iaulanda, and Lydia remembers, "You could almost watch the wheels go around. She thought she could make them better."
NOW IT'S BUSINESS
And Lydia is quick to say - "Master it, Iaulanda did." Iaulanda has converted a hobby into a mail order business, with a mailing list of 200 persons, many of whom are from Lansing.
Several local families have growing collections of Iaulanda's ornaments, but none more complete than Lydia's.
"Since she was the inspiration for my making them." relates Iaulanda, "I see that she gets one of each new ornament for her set."
Lydia gives an ornament to each of her seven grand-nephews and grand-nieces at Christmas.
Iaulanda has created over 65 distinctly different ones, so Lydia has organized a card file for her gift recients to avoid duplications.
Iaulanda designs each ornament completely herself (though her husband, Monte and their daughter, Jamie, 9, often contribute helpful suggestions.) they're also my best critics," she admits.
Iaulanda refers to the ornaments as her "storytellers." Many are storybook characters - Bambi, Little Black Sambo, Humpty Dumpty, Gingerbread Boy, Pinnochio, Winnie the Pooh and the Mad Hatter, to mention a few.
Others are animal characters, such as Cheeta the Monkey, The Cowardly Lion, Flapper the Seal, Dumbo the Elephant, G.G. Giraffe, Goosey Gander, Kanga and Baby Roo, the Three Bears or Tigger the Tiger.
Iaulanda is a "stickler" for details, and she reads up on her storybook characters before she draws up her design.
For instance, upon researching Dumbo the Elephant, she read that Dumbo did not have the confidence to fly without the presence of Timothy, his mouse friend, and a feather.
So, Iaulanda's Dumbo ornament is complete with a tiny mouse tucked into Dumbo's hat, and a little feather attached to Dumbo's nose.
Mr. Turner a salesman, spends his spare evenings and weekends building steel rule cutting dies for each of Iaulanda's original patterns.
This enables every ornament to be cut and shaped perfectly, with no tracing lines.
Iaulanda spends about 16 hours a day on her hobby-turned-business, and often decorates six ornaments in an evening - then sews them together at the breakfast table.
She has also instigated a mail-order "Ornament of the Month," for which she monthly concocts and sends 34 identical ornaments all over the United States to customers.
The only others to share the distinction of a complete collection of Iaulanda's ornaments are the Turners' grandchildren, Derek and Stacy Jo Turner of Detroit. They are the children of Mr. and Mrs. Warren (Bud) Turner of Detroit. (Incidentally, the Turners named Warren for Mr. Meyer.)
The Meyers and the Turners manage to get together two or three times a year, and they all "wish it could be more often." But each Christmas when the Meyers decorate their tree exclusively with the hand-made ornaments, they feel they are "with their friends anyway."