Teen’s handmade wreaths continue grandmother’s legacy
By SUSAN E. SAGARRA
A teenager from Ballwin has found a heartwarming way to honor his late grandmother while also earning money for his college education.
Mitchell Anderson, 13, is carrying on his grandmother, Jamie’s, tradition of creating holiday wreaths.
“I took over my Nana’s crafting after she passed away two years ago,” Anderson explained. “I make Christmas wreaths and craft items for holidays or special occasions. The money I earn for everything I create goes toward my college tuition fund.”
Anderson inherited more than 10,000 ornaments, greenery and other crafting items, so he has plenty to work with. Fittingly, he uses the name NanaMoo’s Creations to sell the items; the name is a combination of the moniker he used for his grandmother and the one she used for him.
Anderson’s mother, Pam, explained:
“My mom and I called him ‘Moo’ – he was ‘Mitchy Moo’ or ‘Spooky Moo’ or ‘Moo Man’ or ‘Moo Moo,’” Pam said. “It seemed appropriate to call it NanaMoo’s Creations.”
Pam said that her mother and her son were inseparable from the moment he was born.
“They had a special bond from the beginning,” Pam said. “They always snuggled, and he would go shopping with her. They would sing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ to each other. It would take them forever to hang up the phone, trying to outdo each other saying how much they loved the other one. It was annoyingly sweet. He was just my mom’s buddy.”
Mitchell’s Nana had health problems most of his life, but his presence was the best medicine.
“She was in a wheelchair for half of Mitchell’s life,” Pam said. “For the last 2 ½ years of her life, she was bedridden. When she was nearing her last days, the rest of us would go visit her and just get a ‘hi.’ But when Mitchell walked into the room, she’d light up.”
Anderson selflessly gave up the summer before his Nana died, in September of 2012, to assist her.
“It blew me away that an 11-year-old would do that for his grandmother,” Pam said. “He would spend all day helping her and my dad (Vern), who has multiple sclerosis. My dad would sometimes call and say he thought Mitchell needed a break. I’d ask Mitchell if he wanted me to come get him. He’d always say, ‘No, they need my help.’”
Now, it seems appropriate that Anderson is using his inherited talents to continue his Nana’s legacy.
“She got the idea to make the wreaths even before Mitchell was born,” Pam said. “She would take something to a higher level, making it more artistic and elegant. She had rheumatoid arthritis and had a hard time using the glue gun. So he operated it for her, and she taught him how to make the wreaths.”
Anderson has learned quite a bit since his first attempt at age 9.
“Nana called it (his first wreath) the ‘Mardi Gras’ wreath because I picked every possible color to decorate it,” Anderson said with a laugh.
Anderson now has several pre-made wreaths available. He also will fulfill custom orders with almost any color scheme or theme. More information is available at facebook.com/NanaMooCreations.