Cancer survivor crafts new life in East Dallas

By Shari Goldstein Stern

Photo by Shari Goldstein Stern. Deanna Zuniga’s Jazzy Junk is open every Wednesday, noon–4 p.m., at the Four Seasons Market in Casa Linda Plaza.

When faced with adversity, some shrink. Others drink. Many go dark. But precious few become energized. Deanna Zuniga is one of the latter. According to the two-time cancer survivor: “I think one emerges from something like cancer one of two ways; either bitter or thankful. Personally, I refuse to be a victim.”

“Now,” she continued, “Instead of being grateful for years, I’m thankful for moments. Suddenly dusting the furniture was unimportant but playing with the kids and dog in the backyard is a blessing.”

This survivor has a great sense of humor, and it seems to pay off. “Not that cancer is funny at all,” Zuniga added, “But when your wig is on crooked or you leave the house with two different colored shoes, it’s hilarious!”

Zuniga also lives a very full life. Among her passions are sewing and crafts, which she creates and sells at the Casa Linda Four Seasons Market. “Jazzy Junk” offers hand-crafted items including men’s, women’s and children’s aprons, couch and baby quilts, baby blankets and pet food mats. She has a number of kitchen gift sets, like bowl buddies, “and whatever I get excited about creating,” she quipped.

Four Seasons Market, at 9440 Garland Road in Casa Linda Plaza, is open from noon – 4 p.m. every Wednesday with more than 25 vendors ranging from fresh foods to garden and artisan products. Items from Best Bug Bait, Sissy’s Soaps and Stratus Boutique are available, as are food offerings from Baugh Farm, North Texas Wildflower Honey and Terra Sienna Grass-Fed Beef, fresh produce, home-baked items, hand-made candles, and hand-made fabric crafts from Deanna Zuniga’s Jazzy Junk.

Since 2001, Zuniga has been in business — first in her home town of San Antonio and now at Casa Linda Market — since 2017. The artisan also markets her items at the Urban Flea in Garland on the second Saturday of every month and Mesquite Farmers Market every fourth Saturday. She stays busy through word-of-mouth. In the fall, she will set up at several non-profit events, including craft shows, fairs and festivals.

Recently, Zuniga suffered a bad fall, which rendered her unable to sew for a few months, but it also disabled her from getting around comfortably. She moved to Dallas temporarily to recover with her family in their White Rock home. “I fell in love with the area and could do business so close in Casa Linda while being with my grandchildren and grand dogs that I decided to retire and stay in Dallas,” she said. “It was my lifelong dream to be able to sew and craft full time, and a warm ‘Big D’ welcome was just what I needed.”

According to the seamstress, while growing up on a farm in Oklahoma, learning to sew was a necessity. For more than 50 years she has been sewing and creating handmade items. As her love of sewing grew, so did her ideas. Her designs (pictured at right) are practical and unique, using her own patterns that were inspired by her mother and childhood on the farm. “It’s very important to me to maintain the concepts of simple, practical design with down home style. As most of my pieces are made from high quality, re-purposed materials, I go to great lengths to find vintage and traditional patterned fabrics,” she said.

The craftswoman is mother to Samantha and Alexandria and grandmother to Gwyneth, Parker and Mila. “The White Rock and Casa Linda area is down to earth, casual, friendly, and the lake truly is the crown jewel of Dallas,” Zuniga said.

Zuniga had breast cancer in 1986 when cancer drugs were painfully harsh. “I figured that if I could survive the treatment, then surviving the disease would be a piece of cake,” she said. “Then, as life goes, it struck again in the uterus in 1995. Well, here I am 65 years old with two kids, three grandkids, five grand dogs and one grand cat. Blessings. I think that life is one big adventure, or many small ones. Whether or not we get joy out of those adventures is a choice we all have,” the survivor added.

She said: “I would say to anyone who is in that battle with cancer to choose the joy of the adventures ahead. I think it was all part of His masterplan to make me the strong woman I am. For information, reach Deanna Zuniga at [email protected].