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Baskets, baked goods among hobbies for Radcliff woman

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By Robert Villanueva

Hobbies have filled Gisela Paul’s life, not to mention her home.

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Basket weaving, quilting, crocheting, knitting and baking — and the resulting products — are evident throughout the Radcliff woman’s home and beyond.

Baskets of all shapes, colors, sizes and purposes fill Paul’s home, including her kitchen, dining room and living room. A tabletop quilt displaying leaves and fall colors adorns the dining room table, and she has many others stored in her home.

Behind Paul’s house stands a shed, which is affectionately referred to as her summer home by a neighbor, where she keeps her basket-making supplies and creates her baskets. Another small shed under her carport holds a freezer and refrigerator in which she stores her baked goods.

“I love quilting, and I love to bake, and I love baskets, so I’m always busy,” the 69-year-old said.

Until 1999, when she took early retirement, Paul worked for Fort Knox Community Schools. She started as a substitute teacher, most often working at the high school and eventually worked her way up to cafeteria manager at Van Voorhis Elementary School.

“Back then I used to feed 600 kids, and I still love to cook and bake,” she said.

In 1992, seven years before she retired, Paul’s husband died of colon cancer. It was tough, she said, but it wasn’t as hard as it could have been.

“Actually, I think I was fortunate,” she said. “I was working at the time. It kept my mind off it.”

About a year after retiring, Paul was in a shop in Vine Grove and saw a sign for basket weaving classes. She decided to try it.

Paul took three or four classes from the instructor.

“Then she quit, and we had nobody,” she said.

Friends helped Paul as she taught herself to make the baskets. She has since made baskets, small and large, for use from everything from holding salt and pepper shakers to toting supplies for a tailgate party.

Often she would give her creations to family and friends.

Though difficulty levels in creating the baskets vary, Paul cannot choose a favorite type.

“I love all my baskets,” she said.

Paul did not ignore her passion for baking, either.

“I bake all kinds of cakes, but the thing most everybody loves is the pumpkin rolls,” she said.

The baked goods often become Christmas gifts. She makes batches and freezes them.

When Paul heard about quilting lessons offered at the local library, she decided to learn that craft, too. Additionally, she began creating crocheted scrubbies, hand-sized pads used for household scrubbing. They are made of a nylon material.

For the past four years, Paul has sold some of her handcrafted items at craft shows, such as the Christmas in July event in Radcliff and a craft show at North Hardin High School just before Thanksgiving.

Paul also makes crocheted scarves. She makes them using knitting needles instead of crochet needles, which gives them a fuller appearance.

“So I’m making Christmas presents,” she said.

Friend and neighbor Elaine Jordan said Paul does so much for everyone else. The quantity of baked goods and crafts Paul produces impresses Jordan.

“I think she’s pretty amazing,” Jordan said.

The hobbies, Jordan said, seem to be a source of enjoyment for Paul, and she always seems to be working on them.

“If you ever see her, she’s always got a needle in her hand,” Jordan said.

With such a variety of crafts and hobbies to keep her busy, Paul doesn’t understand those who say they are bored. Even when she isn’t able to bake or make crafts, Paul plans to volunteer if she can.

Until then, Paul enjoys the abundance of family, friends and good neighbors. And she enjoys having any number of things to do at any given time.

“Today I’m going to do a basket,” she said. “Tomorrow I’m going to do a quilt.”

Robert Villanueva can be reached at 270-505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.

MORE ABOUT GISELA PAUL:

  • City of birth: Bayreuth, Germany
  • Favorite music: '60s, easy listening, country, German
  • Favorite TV shows: “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy,” classic TV shows such as “The Andy Griffith Show”
  • Favorite author: Agatha Christie
  • Favorite movies: “Gone With the Wind” and “The Sound of Music”
  • Favorite baked good: Mandarin orange cake

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