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By Tracy Frank, Published October 22 2013

Her Voice: Repurposed jars give stay-at-home mom new purpose

Her Voice is a weekly article about women in or from our area and how they make an impact on the world around them. If you know someone SheSays should feature in HerVoice, email Tracy Frank at tfrank@forumcomm.com.

WEST FARGO – When Mirela Pike decided to leave a job she loved to stay home with her daughter full time, she knew it would be hard, but she didn’t know just how difficult it would be.

“I felt so lonely those first few months,” she said.

She missed the camaraderie, feedback, creativity and gratification of working outside the home.

“A year in I was starting to feel lost and a little worthless,” said Pike, 31, of West Fargo.

Deep down, she knew she was doing something valuable in staying home to raise her child, but she missed the satisfaction that came from finishing projects and reaching goals.

Then one day she took out some ribbon and buttons and started playing around with some empty glass jars destined for the recycle bin.

What was once a mundane piece of trash became a beautiful vessel to hold pencils, brushes, mixing spoons and flowers.

In repurposing glass jars and bottles, Pike found a new purpose and creative outlet for herself. She sells the jars under the business name, Emmy B Upcycled Designs, through her Facebook page, and locally at Eco Chic Boutique and during Makers Market at Red Raven Espresso Parlor.

She will also create custom orders and has made unique gifts for weddings and Mother’s Day.

Glass trios start at $18.

Pike has an office space set up in the corner of her family room. She usually works when her 18-month-old daughter, Isla, is sleeping, she said.

“These jars were really keeping me sane,” she said. “It was instant gratification.”

Pike also took some photography classes and has started a photography business shooting children and family portraits under the business name Ella Rae Photography.

“I always used to hear the phrase ‘Do what you love and you’ll never feel like you’re working,’ and I thought that just sounded like a dream, too good to be true. But I feel that now with my daughter and separate from being a mom, when I have somebody in my studio,” she said. “I feel so fulfilled, it doesn’t feel like work.”

Pike was born in Bosnia and moved to Fargo with her mother and brother when she was 13. Her father was killed in war and her mother wanted to provide a better life for her children, Pike said.

Her family moved in the winter of 1996, and Pike said it was a hard transition. She went through culture shock and didn’t know how people survived North Dakota winters. Bosnia has four seasons, but they are mild, she said.

Pike graduated from West Fargo High School and North Dakota State University. She married Jason Pike, who is from the area.

Now, she loves Fargo and says it has become her home.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

If you go

What: Emmy B Upcycled Designs will be at the Red Raven Espresso Parlor Maker’s Market

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Sat., Nov. 2

Where: 916 Main Ave. Fargo

Online: www.facebook.com/EmmyBUpCycledDesigns, http://redravenespressoparlor.com.