Meet Karen Crabtree
In 1978 I was a young hippie mom with 3 children who was looking for a way to make Christmas presents for my extended family. I happened to take a stained glass class at a local community college that year, and at the end of the class the teacher held up a small hanging item with pressed flowers.
Since I have always loved glass and flowers, I was excited for this to be my family gift idea that Christmas. Little did I know this idea was going to become our family business. After presenting my family with their Christmas gifts, other friends and acquaintances started asking me to make something for them. Soon I was selling an occasional piece here and there to people I didn’t even know. People seemed to love locally grown pressed flowers in glass! Before long I realized I had discovered a way to help supplement our family income.
The challenge back then was finding a way to market our art since there was no social media- or even internet- at that time. I decided the best way to get exposure was to find a venue frequented by tourists. Since we lived in the Seattle area, I contacted the Pike Place Market, one of the oldest and most famous open air markets in the country. After the screening process I was accepted as a new merchant...I first set up on a Tuesday in January 1978. And the rest is history.
My husband soon quit his job so he could do the soldering, and the kids and I grew and pressed the flowers. I did the arrangements... Crystal Bouquet became our family business.
For 43 years wonderful years we have interacted with and sold our art to visitors, tourists, and locals from our booth at the Pike Place Market. In the course of those years we met many wonderful customers from all over the world and were, and still are, part of the history of the Pike Place Market.
Our family home is located in the Stillaguamish Valley near the small town of Oso, Washington, about 60 miles Northeast of Seattle. We live on the beautiful North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. It is a heavenly place where we raised our kids and now welcome the next generation every summer. On our property we grow many of the flowers we use in our pressed flower art. Others are collected from the woods behind our home.
We are happy to continue this Northwest tradition via our website, from the same property where our idea for Crystal Bouquet was born.