Monkey business done right: handmade sock monkeys are casting off
DIGBY, NS – When Sherrie Kearney first saw a sock monkey, she hated it.
Caelyn Parker, 12, formed Caelyn’s Creations to sell the Smoke Heads bonfire accessories she made out of a tree that fell on her family’s car.
SOUTH BERWICK, N.S. - Caelyn Parker has a lot on the go for a 12-year-old: school, competitive hockey and her own business.
The South Berwick resident has always had a knack for coming up with interesting ways to find new uses for things others would simply toss aside. In fact, many of her inventions are proudly displayed in a section of her family’s home dubbed Caelyn’s Creations.
“She’s constantly making stuff,” says her mother, Heather Armstrong.
“She’ll find scraps on the floor and turn it into something.”
The light bulb moment that ignited her desire to start selling some of her work came after a tree fell on their car. Caelyn’s father, Shannon Parker, planned to use the toppled tree for firewood, but Caelyn had another idea.
“I said, ‘Why don’t we turn them into something cool, like put faces on them and light them on fire?”
The end result, aptly named the Smoke Heads bonfire accessory, is now turning heads as a unique gift for people who enjoy the outdoors.
“You drop a fire starter in and it burns from the inside out, so it goes through its eyes and up its head to make it look like it has hair,” said Caelyn, who personally strips the bark off of the hollowed out logs and designs the faces.
The Smoke Heads are sold through Caelyn’s Creations, a business the Grade 7 Berwick and District School student started to help her parents out in a difficult time.
“I got into it because Mom can’t work anymore, so I wanted to make some money to pay for hockey,” explained Caelyn, a member of both Valley Wild and provincial hockey teams.
Her father hollows out the log and uses the chainsaw when necessary, but the bulk of the work is completed by Caelyn. Some popular designs include the minion, the Canada 150 maple leaf and animal faces.
“I used to go out to my papa’s shop all the time when I was younger and I’d practice hammering in nails when I was like three,” she said, referring to her grandfather in Lake George, Mike Armstrong.
Caelyn sells the Smoke Heads for about $20 to $30, but sees the production process as more of a hobby than actual work.
“I don’t like being indoors,” she said.
“Sometimes we’d rather be making Smoke Heads than doing homework,” added Armstrong, casting a glance in her blushing daughter’s direction.
Caelyn’s Creations has helped Caelyn work on her time management, social media, cost analysis, interpersonal and inventory management skills, said Armstrong.
“It’s been a great learning experience for her.”
An avid ice hockey player and fan, Caelyn travels throughout North America to play her favourite sport. She plans on making a custom Smoke Head to give to Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby – engraved with the team’s logo and the years Crosby has hoisted the Stanley Cup - when he makes his trip home with the coveted trophy.
So far, she’s filled 20 orders for Smoke Heads, which typically burn for two to four hours. She has started a Facebook page called Caelyn’s Creations for people wishing to place orders and view videos of Smoke Heads in action.
“Hopefully we’ll meet some new people,” said Caelyn.