At the end of the day though, and on weekends, what they really enjoy has nothing to do with utilities or tobacco. They like to make jewelry and design wreaths.
This weekend at the Living Museum (Fair on the Square), sponsored by the Jacksonville Arts Council, Susan and Celeste will have their jewelry, wreaths and other items for sell at their booth.
“It’s all fashion jewelry,” said Susan. “I started this right before Christmas. We have lots of bead jewelry, which is very popular right now.”
Susan said the jewelry they sell isn’t what might be seen anywhere else.
“These are individual pieces, and you’re not going to see other pieces like what we have,“ she said. “I don’t make two just alike. I do that on purpose. I don’t want to do mass production. I want to individualize my jewelry to individual tastes and needs.”
Susan said she became interested in making her own jewelry when she wanted to give her granddaughter a bracelet and ring for her birthday. She was pleased at how they turned out and decided she wanted to make more.
Celeste is a certified home interior decorator and has decorated over 100 homes.
Wreaths are her specialty. Like the jewelry they will be selling Saturday, no two wreaths are alike.
“Say if someone passes away and he was a big Alabama or Auburn fan,” she said. “They will call me and tell me that, and I’ll make the appropriate wreath for the funeral, whether that person was an Alabama or an Auburn fan.”
The women have a shop behind Celeste’s home on George Douthit Drive Southwest. They’ve named it the Blooming Peacock. That’s where all their creations take place.
“We make seasonal things all year and make lots of home décor items,” said Celeste. “We’re listed as an online business with the City of Jacksonville, and we deliver and ship to just about anywhere. We’ll deliver those wreaths to the funeral homes or anywhere else they need to go. They’re not fresh flowers, they’re deco mesh or grape vines.”
They also do small weddings.
Last weekend, Susan and Celeste showed their crafts at Art on the Lake in Guntersville, and there are more shows on their schedule.
Birds have always been Celeste’s inspiration. So much so that she decorated her guest bedroom with the male peacock’s colors.
She has worked with Swedish Match North America for 26 years. As territory manager, she covers four counties. Celeste likes to visit residents in nursing homes and hospitals and those who are shut in. She always carries flowers or goodies to cheer them up.
“I can do just about anything,” she said. “I love to make pretty things for people, especially at Christmas. I love to see the smiles on their faces when they’re happy and surprised. I get a lot of enjoyment from it. When my flowers are in bloom, I take them fresh flowers.”
Susan went to work with the city right after graduating from Jacksonville High, soon after she was 18. She worked there for six years, left to work at Federal-Mogul for 12 years, then came back to the city 17 years ago.
Her husband, Mitchell, owns Bragg Taxidermy. Their son and daughter-in-law, Josh and Meredith, live down the road from them. The Braggs’ granddaughters are Gracie and Emma. Their other son Zach and his wife Jodi live in Ohatchee.
Other Bragg family members are their dotsons Molly and Tripp, their blue heeler Aubie, and Lucy, a hound who took up at their house last year. Susan and Mitchell enjoy their lot on Weiss Lake in Centre, near their friends Janet Clark and Anita Krutulis and their families.
Celeste’s first husband, Dee Snider, died in 1997.
“He always pushed me to use my talent as an interior decorator,” she said. “He was my inspiration. I sort of lost my ambition after he passed away, and it’s taken a long time to get it back.”
She’s has been married to Dale McCullars, who works in sales at Bama Budweiser, for seven years.
“Dale is so good to me,” she said. “He’s goes with me to the cemetery where Dee is buried and helps me rake the leaves. He’s a very understanding man.”
Celeste’s daughter, Valarie “Dee Dee”, and her husband Lt. Col. Shane Miller, live in Germany where he is stationed with the Army. Their son, Noah, is 14. Her son, Gary Snider, lives in Jacksonville.
Anyone wanting items from the Blooming Peacock can reach Susan at 225-2541 or Celeste at 310-9273.
Contact Margaret at firstname.lastname@example.org.