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Flowers, crafts, antiques – and a country girl

Although Colleen Zeien was born in 1955 in Hialeah, Fla., near a rather large city – Miami, she describes herself as a “simple old country girl at heart.”When Zeien was 6 years old, she and her family moved to Colorado Springs because her dad was in the armed services. Zeien said her dad also hoped that the Colorado air would be better for her asthmatic mom.In 1972, Zeien received her GED and went to work for her mom and stepdad, who owned a printing business. “I did the dark room, ran the presses, cut the paper,” she said. “I pretty much ran it, and I knew nothing going in.”After almost 12 years working in the print shop, Zeien said she wanted a change from the “hard and dirty work.””I had worked in a flower shop for a season before the printing business and thought I would … go back into the floral business,” she said. Zeien worked at Lani’s Love Buds for one year before going to work at Columbine Floral.Zeien also began making her own crafts and floral arrangements and selling them to the public. “I did the farmers markets,” she said. “I would pop up my little table and get out there at 5:30 in the morning and … sell my little crafts.” Zeien said she set up for one summer. “That was hard, and you don’t make much,” she said.Zeien joined forces with a co-worker, and they sold their wares at craft shows; up to 20 shows a year, she said.Because of her love for antiques as well as crafts, Zeien found creative ways to combine the two.”It just started to flow where I used lots of antiques in my display plus my homemade stuff,” she said. “One thing just led to another.”For nearly 10 years, Zeien traveled throughout Colorado participating in craft shows. She also displayed her wares at American Classics Marketplace in Colorado Springs.Her job at Columbine Floral ended when the owners retired. Zeien landed a job at Falcon Floral in 2004.In 2006, after living in Colorado Springs more than 25 years, Zeien and her husband, Paul, moved to Falcon. Her one son, Jason, was grown and had a family of his own – a wife, Megan, and Zeien’s grandson, Dylan.Her business had been housed in her basement, and, in February this past year, she opened a storefront. The Prairie Peddler is located on the family farm, off Scott Road near Peyton, and offers a mix of antiques, floral arrangements, gifts and collectibles.Zeien said she tries to cater to the locals. “People who live in the country don’t want to go to town every time,” she said. “This (the shop) gives people in the surrounding areas a little place where they can pick up a little trinket … a little vase or something.” Zeien said her shop is a “work in progress.””It’s not about being rich,” she said. “It’s about doing what you love.”More on Colleen ZeienWhat is your favorite thing about Falcon and Colorado?I love the wide-open spaces. I love the people that live out here, the country atmosphere and the peace and quiet.Name a person you admire and why?My husband: I admire his strengths and his knowledge in a lot of things. He can pretty much do it, and if he can’t, he figures it out. He’s a good guy.Do you have any hobbies?I love gardening. I love to try and get things to grow, which is quite a challenge out here between the hail and the rabbits. That would be my passion – just to watch things grow.What is one of your favorite memories?Seeing my son holding his son when he was born. To see the joy he had. Seeing the love he had for his son like I had for him when he was born.

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