ST. PETE BEACH, Fla — Stacy O’Roarke is getting ready for Shopapalooza. Making fanciful creations is her thing. She is surrounded by super-sized peppermint sticks and peppermints while standing at her crafting table.

What You Need To Know

  • Stacy O’Roarke has chronic health issues

  • Because of them, she cannot keep doing what she loves

“So I plan to do all the pops and all the candy canes, make it a real festive decoration around my booth,” she explained, measuring out a gingerbread cookie ribbon.

The ribbon wooshes out, she pulls it taught and then folds the ends and cuts the perfect “V” crease. She’s like watching an expert how-to video on social media

She was giving tips while she was working. “Twist thrice, then fluff bow,” and “Measure twice, cut once.”

But these aren’t just decorations, they are O’Roarke’s outlet.

“It just gave me something for me to do. This was a passion of mine and it’s just grown and expanded,” O’Roarke said.

Now, because of increasing chronic health issues, she cannot continue going.

While she was not comfortable sharing the details of her ongoing health issues, she did explain how it has affected her, like it has become hard for her to move and lift things around.

This will be her last craft show. Even though shows like Shopapalooza are where crafters like her make more than sales — they make a fan base. But O’Roarke also has a family to decorate for, and a full-time job, so she knows she’s already lucky.

“It’s been tough this season to keep up and keep ready, but I’m looking forward to slowing down,” said O’Roarke.

She’s hoping to maintain her online presence, and she’ll do as much as she can.

“Well, you just have to find a way to deal with it and not complain about it,” said O’Roarke.

She goes farther than just bearing it; she gets aggressive with positive vibes.

“Part of my motto is to choose joy,” she said. “We actually named our daughter — her middle name is Joy — which has since led its name to my business “Amelia’s Wreaths of Joy.”

So she’ll lean into the joy of Shopalooza and take a rest.