Within seconds of meeting 12-year-old Emily Butler, it's clear what she enjoys most in life.
"I love to sew," she will say. "It's my favorite thing to do."
So much "sew," that it's almost easier to ask her what projects she isn't working on at any given moment.
Her talents have brought her several first-place ribbons in recent Carter County Free Fairs, and even a few appearances at the State Fair level.
But this year was a first for her. Her display describing how to build a pot holder based on a pattern won her grand champion at the 71st annual Carter County Free Fair.
"I was like 'Oh, my gosh!'," she says. "I couldn't believe it, I was so excited to see that ribbon."
It goes without saying she also took first place in that category.
Butler has been sewing since she was "eight or nine years old," and will rattle off more sewing terms in a matter of seconds than some instructional books have in the first chapter. She's made countless pot holders, coasters, pajama pants, bags and a few creations of her own imagination.
Needless to say, she's already an old pro at the sewing game.
"I was walking out of the sewing center when they showed me a pattern for a pot holder," she says. "I took it home and liked it so much, I made them for my family as gifts for Christmas."
Her pattern and finished project became so popular, that OSU Extension educator Gerri Ballard requested Butler's assistance in teaching a sewing project class.
"I was pretty nervous," Butler says. "But it was all of my friends, so it wasn't that bad."
She says the biggest difference between teaching the class and simply helping her friends was the number of people she was teaching at one time.
But each of her students took her class seriously and entered their own pot holders into the fair this year.
"I figured they would," Butler says. "But I was happy to see them there. I was pretty proud of them."
Butler says the class taught her leadership and how to instruct people how to sew something.
"I might teach it one or two more times," she says.
Ballard then suggested Butler take her step-by-step examples from her class and turn it into a display board for the fair.
"I had always wanted to do one for the fair, but didn't really know what to do it on," she says. "Gerri suggested this and it was great."
The rest, as they say, is history.
Page 2 of 2 - "I was so happy," she says.
Butler aspires to make her own clothes now. Her first attempt at a dress — made by hand and from scratch — were successful in one night. She created a pink dress that she wore to church the next day. Now, she hopes to take her ability with clothing to another level.
Butler is planning on taking her display to the State Fair this year, and says she hopes it does well.
"I had some stuff before, I got a ribbon for one thing which they said is pretty good," she says. "I really hope I can do well with my display."
As for her parents, they couldn't be more proud.
"We've got our dining room table with two sewing machines on it," says Kari Butler, Emily's mom. "I'll hear a noise every now and then and wonder what it is. But it's just her sewing.
"We're very proud of everything she's done."