Good wishes via Art & Flowers

Her trademark: ‘Handmade with love by TT’
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press Staff

Taylor Thogersen doesn’t plan on making a side business out of her handiwork, but she loves having a hand in making people feel special.

The Port Washington native who teaches kindergarten at Ozaukee Elementary School has loved dabbling with art since she was a child and recently found an outlet to share it with others.

She got into watercolors a few months ago, first practicing how to draw flower shapes on notebook paper before applying paint.

“Pretty soon I had a whole bunch of practice sheets and figured I should probably do something with them instead of piling them up,” Thogersen said.

She started making bookmarks and cards for family members and friends, often using stamps or her own handwriting to add phrases.

It was one of her finished pieces of yellow daisies that gave her an idea.

“I sat back and thought, wow, that was pretty good. I didn’t think I could do that,”
Thogersen said.

Her neighbor got a look at Thogersen’s work and told her she had a place to sell it. Rebekah Luedcke is one of the administrators of the Handmade Ozaukee group.

It was a leap for Thogersen.

“You’re putting yourself out there and you don’t know how people will react,” she said. 

It turns out Thogersen found the right spot. The group, she said, is uplifting and supportive, and the array of items are so unique that nobody competes with one another for sales.

A recent trend is helping to drive interest.

“A lot of people right now are into buying local,” Thogersen said.

Her best friend purchased her first piece, a wedding card. Other sales followed.

Thogersen kept on trying different flowers and designs, fueling her creative drive.

“I really like learning new techniques and different crafts,” she said.

She taught herself how to paint watercolor pieces through internet videos.

Art was a lifelong interest of Thogersen (maiden name Pride), a 2012 graduate of Port High. She remembers taking advanced placement art in high school.

“I like to try out all the different mediums,” she said. “Watercolor was certainly not my forte back then.”

Now, her forte is flowers, an interest sparked during childhood.

“I got that from my mom. She has a really beautiful garden,” Thogersen said.

Her flower scenes are often accompanied by encouraging messages or well wishes.

“I like to find ways to incorporate my faith into my cards,” she said.

The insides, however, are left blank to allow customers to say what they like.

Some of her cards include 3D elements such as cardboard pieces that include some of the phrases.

For round floral designs, “I trace this for the circle — very fancy equipment here,” she said as she held up her pencil jar and giggled.

Thogersen started making Easter and Mother’s Day cards, and has done birthday, sympathy, get well, hello, thinking of you, just because and thank you cards.

After Mother’s Day, she plans to make graduation, wedding and bridal shower cards to follow the season.

Thogersen keeps her cards in plastic wrap in a box.

She never knows exactly what her cards will look like when she begins with that blank sheet, but she hopes they will make a positive effect on whoever receives them.

Thogersen always loves getting mail, which she said is quickly becoming a lost art.

“Not a lot of people send cards anymore,” she said. “It’s just a really nice way to let them know that you’re thinking about them and you love them. It’s more personal than a text message or a Facebook post.”

Thogersen lets her customers know her work is personal. On the bottom of the back of each of her cards is a small heart with the phrase “handmade with love by TT” and two stamped words, “original work.”

Thogersen often listens to Christian music or has the TV on while she paints.

“I try to paint every day for an hour or so. It’s my down time, my relaxing time,” she said.

Now, she paints in the corner of her mother’s living room. She and her husband Austen recently moved out of their Sheboygan home and are in the process of relocating to Coconut Creek, Fla., in the Fort Lauderdale area. Austen was born in Florida and his family is there.

Their new home has a craft room where Thogersen will pursue her passion. She and Austen, whom she met on a dating app, were married in August 2021. They have Annie, a 1-year-old adopted mini-American shepherd who Thogersen said is good about leaving her art projects alone.

Thogersen has landed a kindergarten teaching job at a Christian school in Coral Springs.

“I love kindergartners. They’re such a fun age. They’re so silly. They love learning, too,” she said, adding daily hugs are a plus.

For more information, visit Handmade Ozaukee’s Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/687224762644665 or email Thogerson at paintedpraisestt@gmail.com.

 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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