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Abby Blackburn: A "Paper Engineer," Seamstress and a "Crafty" Friend to Many

Updated on February 23, 2018
Casey White profile image

Dorothy is a former newspaper reporter and the author of several books. Michael is a professional landscape/nature photographer.

Even Little Girls Love Abby's Designs

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This gorgeous jacket and cap were made by Abby Blackburn for this little show off's mother, but apparently she has claimed it for herself.  This is six-year-old Marasi from Georgia.Marasi shows that although this outfit is a bit large on her, it's perfect for showing her modeling skills.
This gorgeous jacket and cap were made by Abby Blackburn for this little show off's mother, but apparently she has claimed it for herself.  This is six-year-old Marasi from Georgia.
This gorgeous jacket and cap were made by Abby Blackburn for this little show off's mother, but apparently she has claimed it for herself. This is six-year-old Marasi from Georgia.
Marasi shows that although this outfit is a bit large on her, it's perfect for showing her modeling skills.
Marasi shows that although this outfit is a bit large on her, it's perfect for showing her modeling skills.

Abby Gives the Credit to Her Mother

Abby Blackburn spent a lot of time in the hospital when she was younger, which is never pleasant, especially for a child who is missing out on school activities that can create memories for a lifetime. She was blessed, however, to have a caring mother who would bring crafting projects to the hospital and Abby would "think about doing them instead of being sick."

Her mother, according to this "paper engineer" was a very talented lady, proving that the "nut didn't fall far from the tree." As a result, many of her friends and family are now grateful recipients of her crafts, which cover a wide variety of skills that she has perfected over the years.

She sews, cooks, crochets and has innumerable other crafting skills.

Many of the projects included are simply realistic-looking items made of paper, including the guitar, haunted houses, teapots, flowers, lamp, and many more.

Abby made this stunning wedding gown for the bride, Dawn Long, with over seven pounds of pearls, beads and sequins on the train.
Abby made this stunning wedding gown for the bride, Dawn Long, with over seven pounds of pearls, beads and sequins on the train.
Abby Blackburn's Gold Coin Inn in paper.
Abby Blackburn's Gold Coin Inn in paper.

Haunted Houses for Halloween

Halloween-Themed Haunted Houses

Abby has crafted several haunted houses for those who love to celebrate Halloween with a flair, and - if the many Halloween-themed groups on Facebook are any indication - there are a lot of those people out there.

Decorations Brought Back Many Fond Memories

Click thumbnail to view full-size
There were two places that students at Watson Chapel High School in the 1960's (and later) hung out: Culpepper's Grocery Store where they bought soft drinks, candy and chips; and The Huddle, where most of them ate Frito-chili pies to die for.If you are older (but who wants to admit it), you probably have "banged out" (literally) many a school paper on one of these monsters.  This one is made of paper.Many people in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where Abby grew up, went to work for the Cotton Belt Railroad, including some of the classmates that graduated with her. This is her version of that railroad in paper.
There were two places that students at Watson Chapel High School in the 1960's (and later) hung out: Culpepper's Grocery Store where they bought soft drinks, candy and chips; and The Huddle, where most of them ate Frito-chili pies to die for.
There were two places that students at Watson Chapel High School in the 1960's (and later) hung out: Culpepper's Grocery Store where they bought soft drinks, candy and chips; and The Huddle, where most of them ate Frito-chili pies to die for.
If you are older (but who wants to admit it), you probably have "banged out" (literally) many a school paper on one of these monsters.  This one is made of paper.
If you are older (but who wants to admit it), you probably have "banged out" (literally) many a school paper on one of these monsters. This one is made of paper.
Many people in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where Abby grew up, went to work for the Cotton Belt Railroad, including some of the classmates that graduated with her. This is her version of that railroad in paper.
Many people in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where Abby grew up, went to work for the Cotton Belt Railroad, including some of the classmates that graduated with her. This is her version of that railroad in paper.

Abby's 50th High School Class Reunion Decorations

Many of the projects included are simply realistic-looking items made of paper, including the guitar, haunted houses, teapots, flowers, lamp, and many more.

The decorations for the 50-year reunion of her own graduating class of 1967 for Watson Chapel High School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, were all hand-made by Abby and there is a special section below which shows the completely-amazing items she came up with, bringing memories flooding back for those who attended. For those of us who were invited but unable to attend, we remain envious of her talents and grateful for her tireless efforts in making the reunion a very special event.

Most of the things you will see in the photographs included in this article were given away to friends and family. "I feel if my things can make someone smile or bring them joy it was well worth making...I just love trying to brighten somebody else's life," she told us.

Abby and her husband, Larry, now live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is bad news for her many friends in Pine Bluff.

There are several more photographs of Abby's high school reunion decorations below in thumbnail version, along with many of her other completed crafts. Click on the thumbnail to view the larger photo.

If It Were Easy, Everyone Would Do It, But It's Not

These are baby boy shower cupcakes Abby made for a friend who was expecting.  She molded the babies out of fondant (a paste of sugar and water) and colored them with luster powders.
These are baby boy shower cupcakes Abby made for a friend who was expecting. She molded the babies out of fondant (a paste of sugar and water) and colored them with luster powders.

Special Baking for People Who Love Her

Abby said she only bakes "for people that love me, that way if it's not perfect they can't complain." Two words, Abby...fat chance.

In this section we will show you the level of her culinary expertise.

"Every Christmas," Abby told us, "I make candy as gifts. The turtles are just one kind I make. It was requested that I do some green...Ninja Turtles, you know. For a week the house smells like chocolate."

When she is finished with her holiday baking, the result is 30 pounds of candy, including turtles, chocolate covered cherries, her own version of Mound, Almond Joy and Snickers bars and peanut butter cups, all to the delight of many.

So Many Talents!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beautiful, decorative pieces in paper.A paper carousel.A fairy tale house.Another haunted house for Halloween.A lighted, beautiful mansion of paper.This is a pop-up card embellished with butterflies.Your kids might want to put this paper train on a track, but it's just decorative.A colorful Bohemian crocheted jacket.Another paper train that looks very real.Abby's talents extend to cooking and cake decorating as well.This is a fairy tale castle made for the granddaughter of one of Abby's classmates, Becky Woodell.  The flowers were also made for Becky's mother.Abby also made this crocheted jacket for Becky Woodell who is showing it off in this photo.  Another magnificent paper mansion.Telephones in paper.These last four photographs are more decorations that Abby made for her 50th high school reunion.  Who doesn't remember 45-records and jukeboxes?In 1967, this was a very popular vehicle, a Volkswagen bus.  Hippies especially loved to decorate them with lots of peace, love and flower symbols.Abby captured her high school colors of black and gold in this paper lantern, which has a "Watson Chapel Wildcat" on the front.You may be getting old...if you remember the days when your phone number started with letters rather than numbers.Abby loves to make chocolate turtles for friends.A gingerbread house made of paper.  It looks like it could be delicious!
Beautiful, decorative pieces in paper.
Beautiful, decorative pieces in paper.
A paper carousel.
A paper carousel.
A fairy tale house.
A fairy tale house.
Another haunted house for Halloween.
Another haunted house for Halloween.
A lighted, beautiful mansion of paper.
A lighted, beautiful mansion of paper.
This is a pop-up card embellished with butterflies.
This is a pop-up card embellished with butterflies.
Your kids might want to put this paper train on a track, but it's just decorative.
Your kids might want to put this paper train on a track, but it's just decorative.
A colorful Bohemian crocheted jacket.
A colorful Bohemian crocheted jacket.
Another paper train that looks very real.
Another paper train that looks very real.
Abby's talents extend to cooking and cake decorating as well.
Abby's talents extend to cooking and cake decorating as well.
This is a fairy tale castle made for the granddaughter of one of Abby's classmates, Becky Woodell.  The flowers were also made for Becky's mother.
This is a fairy tale castle made for the granddaughter of one of Abby's classmates, Becky Woodell. The flowers were also made for Becky's mother.
Abby also made this crocheted jacket for Becky Woodell who is showing it off in this photo.
Abby also made this crocheted jacket for Becky Woodell who is showing it off in this photo.
Another magnificent paper mansion.
Another magnificent paper mansion.
Telephones in paper.
Telephones in paper.
These last four photographs are more decorations that Abby made for her 50th high school reunion.  Who doesn't remember 45-records and jukeboxes?
These last four photographs are more decorations that Abby made for her 50th high school reunion. Who doesn't remember 45-records and jukeboxes?
In 1967, this was a very popular vehicle, a Volkswagen bus.  Hippies especially loved to decorate them with lots of peace, love and flower symbols.
In 1967, this was a very popular vehicle, a Volkswagen bus. Hippies especially loved to decorate them with lots of peace, love and flower symbols.
Abby captured her high school colors of black and gold in this paper lantern, which has a "Watson Chapel Wildcat" on the front.
Abby captured her high school colors of black and gold in this paper lantern, which has a "Watson Chapel Wildcat" on the front.
You may be getting old...if you remember the days when your phone number started with letters rather than numbers.
You may be getting old...if you remember the days when your phone number started with letters rather than numbers.
Abby loves to make chocolate turtles for friends.
Abby loves to make chocolate turtles for friends.
A gingerbread house made of paper.  It looks like it could be delicious!
A gingerbread house made of paper. It looks like it could be delicious!

© 2017 Mike and Dorothy McKenney

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    • Casey White profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike and Dorothy McKenney 

      13 months ago from United States

      She has so many talents, and is very sweet as well. I am glad I got to show people just how talented she is.

    • profile image

      Cathy (a classmate of Abby) 

      13 months ago

      Dorothy, so glad you wrote this feature of our sweet Abby. I remember her missing a lot of school days because of illness but didn't realize her Mom was teaching her so much more with these beautiful skills.

      Abby made me a beautiful Arkansas Razorback bracelet that I treasure. For about the last 3 yrs, she has been sending homemade birthday cards, thinking of you cards & get well cards to my now 93 year old mom. What a lady this precious Abby!

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