“There's just something about wood, where I'll look at it and imagine something else,” says Cathlin Hyland. “I'll see a random wood pallet on the side of the road and immediately envision it transformed into a piece of decor or a sign. It just spontaneously happens."
Despite a giant handmade sign (reading: "Merry and Bright") hanging across her front porch, Cathlin hasn't always been this freely expressive. With a medical field background, she stayed at home when she had kids - her creativity confined to elaborate birthdays. There was an indoor camping party where she cleared out furniture transforming the den into a campsite of fake fires and tents, a Paris party of easels and handmade crafts, a Mad Scientist bash, etc. "That was my opportunity to express creativity while still being with my kids."
When her kids got older she returned to the medical biz to handle billing in a Doctor's office. The monotony of endless phone time with insurance companies was broken up with doodling and sketching her coworkers. "The people there were amazing, but it just wasn't where I wanted to be."
Then, in search for an anniversary gift a couple year's ago, something clicked. Walking through AC Moore, Cathlin saw a wood board and that spontaneous inspiration hit; A DIY gift to her husband, with maps of the places that meant something to them with a heart next to each all linked together. After posting the finished product to Facebook, requests soon followed. "It just kind of snowballed."
The shed on the property of her Sayville home now overflows with pallets with her husband in charge of breaking down the wood. "Sometimes I'll come up with an idea and my husband will look at me crazy, but then he sees the finished product and he loves it. So I'm happy I've found a job that allows me to be creative, while still being connected with my family."