Columbiana Culture Club nets multiple first-place awards

Published 2:47 pm Friday, June 25, 2021

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By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

COLUMBIANA — A life-size crocheted bulldog was just one of the unique creations that garnered first-place awards for members of the Columbiana Culture Club at the 126th State Convention of the Alabama Federated Women’s Clubs (AFWC) held June 3-5 at Orange Beach, Alabama.

Karen Sweeney made the bulldog for her granddaughter, modeling it after her real-life pet, Dyson, who passed away in 2020. Sweeney didn’t follow a set pattern, and the result seemed to surprise even Sweeney herself.

Sweeney’s “music love note” necklace and “treble cleft” bracelet.

“I made the bulldog for my granddaughter to make it look like a real dog as much as possible. I didn’t know when I was making it that it was going to be almost true life size,” admitted Sweeney, the club’s second vice president.

Both she and club president Pamela Raines were thrilled about the number of awards the group brought home—especially after the 2020 convention was canceled. As a result, the group had two years’ worth of photography, artwork and crafts from which to choose entries.

“We were ecstatic,” Raines said. “We’re a tiny little club; we were ecstatic. It is a group of amazingly talented women. They are all very civic minded and very generous.”

Added Sweeney, “Having this many of our club members to participate and then to bring home this many first place awards was just over the top.”

The Columbiana Culture Club is a closed club with 24 members, and has been in existence since 1910. The Shelby County Museum and Archives, located in the old courthouse building in the roundabout of Main Street in Columbiana, houses all of the club’s minutes from more than 100 years ago.

All the money the club raises goes back into the community, county or state. They give a certain amount to each school in Columbiana as well as feeder schools to help fund school media centers. The club also contributes to the Shelby County Historical Society, Boys and Girls Ranch in Alabama, the Ronald McDonald House and more. The group’s members compile well over 10,000 community hours per year.

“When I got back from the convention, I took our scrapbooks over to the Shelby County Historical Society. They store all of our history,” Raines said.

Judi Elliott’s “angels among us” quilted wall hanging.

Following is a list of individual awards won at this year’s convention:

  • Pamela Raines, first place, Natural Wonders Photography
  • Judy Quick, second place, Natural Wonders Photography
  • Karen Sweeney, first place, Reflections Photography
  • Karen Sweeney, first place, Our World Up Close Photography
  • Judy Quick, second place, Our World Up Close Photography
  • Karen Jensen, first place, 2019 and 2020 scrapbooks
  • Mary Louise Jones, third place, Watercolors for her “Sunflower” painting
  • Judi Elliott, first place, Quilting for her “Angels Among Us” quilted wall hanging
  • Karen Jensen, first place, Patchwork for her “Create a Bee-u-tiful Life” patchwork pollinator jacket
  • Karen Sweeney, first place, Jewelry for her “Music Love Note” necklace and “Treble Cleft” bracelet
  • Karen Sweeney, first place, Crocheted for her crocheted bulldog.

The club also won a few awards as a whole. These are listed below:

  • First place award for domestic and sexual violence awareness and prevention
  • First place for fundraising and development
  • First place for health and wellness
  • First place for Women’s History and Resource Center
  • Certificate for AFWC Pop Top Tab Special Project supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • AFWC President’s Award of Excellence
  • Arts and Culture Community Service Program
  • GFWC Alabama President’s Special Program Camp Seale Harris
  • GFWC General Scholarship Fund
  • Suellen Brazil Outstanding Club Award
  • University of Alabama Scholarship Award
  • 2728 Society
  • A total of 22 certificates overall

Karen Sweeney, Columbiana Culture Club 2nd vice president; Randy Matthews, AFWC Alabama state president; and Pamela Raines, Columbiana Culture Club president.