I’ve always been a Do It Yourself (DIY) kind of a gal, partly because I have a tendency to be frugal, and partly because I really just love to create things. As I’ve gotten older, I can see how I get my “I can make that” attitude from both my Mom (the sewing guru) and my Dad (the make-it-work farmer). I grew up watching my mom make a lot of clothes for me and my siblings, not to mention my Barbies! She is a pretty gifted seamstress, and is quite creative in what she can mend, fix, or whip up out of thin air. She taught me how to sew at a young age – I remember trying to re-create the Pretty in Pink prom dress for my Barbie, and being so proud of the neon green and purple jumper (hello 1990!) I made in the summer between 6th and 7th grade. I see my dad, on the other hand, as a creative problem solver. If something is broken or needs repair, he always manages to find a thingamajig from his shed that will somehow solve the problem. I find that my mind often works like his when I hit an obstacle, whether it’s while working in an excel spreadsheet or while tackling a home improvement project.
Beyond sewing, I loved learning new crafts as a kid. I could whip out a mean cross stitch and learned to crochet from my Aunt Nancy. I still love learning new ways to create things – and have attempted many new hobbies over the years. The one that has finally stuck is knitting – my mother-in-law taught me the basic knit stitch a number of years ago, but it wasn’t until I taught myself to purl a couple of years later, that I became obsessed with knitting. Once I knew both stitches, it was suddenly clear and fascinating to me how knit pieces were made. I often find myself studying sweaters or scarves and figuring out how they were constructed. Yes, I’m a knitting freak!!
Now-a-days I always have something on my knitting needles (it makes my tv habit feel productive!), have countless house and decorating projects on my to-do list, and I continue to try new crafts and skills when I can. I’m also trying to get back to my sewing roots and have some projects on the docket!
Crafting and DIY projects have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As the story my mom, several months pregnant with me, even helped my dad put the trusses together for the house they built in the months before I was born. My dad was a contractor and my mom was a home-economics teacher. I remember hours of sitting in fabric stores looking through pattern books with her.The apple did not fall far from the tree(s). As kids we spent hours building multi-story tree houses without parental assistance and from an early age by mom had me sewing, learning cross-stitch and other crafts.
When I was in sixth grade I took an entrepreneurship class from the county extension office. We were encouraged to flex our entrepreneurial arm and create our own business. At some point my mom or I came into possession of a plastic clothes hanger with fabric and ribbons that was not only pretty, but kept shirts and dresses with slippery sleeves and straps on the hanger. I decided this was something I could make and my business was born: Shoulder Holders. I sewed them at home and sold them to my mom and grandma’s friends and then at a few craft sales as well. While I never became a millionaire or made lots of money, I learned the thrill of the sale, had the fun of buying matching fabrics and ribbons and hangers, and how great it feels to make a product that people want to buy. I still have a few of these hanging out in my closet decades later!
Twenty years later I still get excited about creating something with my hands. In the last four years some of the focus has shifted from crafting tomy first fixer-upper home that I have slowly been improving one room at a time with the help of family and friends. Despite that I still try to get crafty as often as I can-typically in the form of gifts for friends and family.