Lighthouses have the ability to help sea-weary travelers safely back to harbor.
The four-story lighthouse located on the east edge of Bainbridge offers a landmark for travelers to find a nice selection of unique craft and gift ideas right in Putnam County.
Designs by Donna and Friends is located at 2500 E U.S. 36 in Bainbridge. The shop, owned by Donna Tippin with much help from her husband Leon and several specials friends, helps to make the gift shop truly one of a kind. Leon was the one who drew up the plans for the lighthouse on a pizza box and saw it through to its completion. Five or six friends help Donna decorate the place and help when needed.
Formerly known as Christmas at the Cabin, each year Donna and crew worked hard to empty the contents of the cabin into storage units and haul in Christmas crafts for the Christmas season. Once the holiday was over, the contents had to be moved once again to return things to normal.
When the building in front became available, the perfect solution was put in place.
"It is nice having the building, close to home where I can set my own hours and where I can shut the door and go home and not have to pack it all up and take it somewhere else," says Donna. She adds, "I enjoy meeting the people that come in."
What started out years ago as trips to various craft shows and a three-day boutiques has expanded to include crafts, unique gift items. floral arrangements, which Donna especially enjoys making. Postage stamp art by Jack Rabbit Studio, handmade quilted bags, Primitive Pleasure candles, wooden ball point pens are available.
"Primitive paintings are wonderful, almost like Americanco Willow. Everyone loves it. There is not anything that she can't find to paint on all custom made. We have a wide assortment of unconventional items," says Donna.
The shop carries fancy greeting cards, kitchen decor, Amish-made items and outside yard decorations.
Donna says her store is "Cougar Headquarters" with North Putnam Cougar signs, bags and other items.
Donna works hard to please customers and goes the extra mile if the item requested is not in stock. A gentleman was convinced he saw an item at her shop, but she didn't remember having an item like it in stock. The painted clock with a rooster on it was duplicated by measurements he gave her and it was there by the following Monday.
"It was exactly what he wanted. You just never know what we might be able to come up with for someone," she says.
The business was started in November of 2006. The shop is closed in January and February.
Donna admits that the Covered Bridge season is really busy. In fact, she would like to let everyone know that she rents space for the day or the week during that busy time of the year.
Arrangements can be made for a Pontoon tour of the lighthouse, the rental of the shelter house and cabin. People can rent the place to fish, host a picnic and shop for a set price which includes access to golf carts and the fishing area.
"We host clubs meetings, or even a fish fry," says Donna.
A squirrel once found the basement a fun place to play and made a mess of the craft supplies everywhere.
Designs by Donna and Friends is located just on the east edge of town in front of the Lighthouse, right beside the cemetery. The shop is open Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are special hours during the Covered Bridge Festival and the third weekend in November through the last day of the year.
Contact Donna by calling (765) 522-1706. Stop by and see the wonderful selection of unique gifts and crafts to fit any and all occasions. Be sure to tell her and her friends you heard the Buzz.
Beth Arnold is a freelance contributor to the Banner-Graphic. Contact her at buzz firstname.lastname@example.org.