Whimsy-Filled Wednesday – My Crafty Journey to Here

It’s a Whimsy-Filled Wednesday so I thought I’d talk a little bit about my crafty past.

I always find it interesting to hear the types of things others make or what they’ve done.  I think creativity is integral to happiness, at least for me.  It can be a very personal thing, but it’s always fun to talk and share <at least I think so>!

The first craft I ever remember doing was in early elementary school, maybe first grade.  We took brown paper sacks and scrunched them up dozens of times until they looked <and sort of felt like> old leather.  We painted on them and prettied them up and to this day, I have a longing to scrunch whenever I see a paper bag.

Later, in third grade, I developed a fantastic jewelry item.  I would roll up bits of aluminum foil into rings and glue tiny pebbles on them as jewels.  I sold them at lunch for twenty-five cents.  I made a couple bucks in this grand enterprise in Coker, Alabama.  Around the same time, I wrote and began selling a newsletter about my neighborhood <trailer park> to others in the neighborhood <trailer park>.  That didn’t last long because we soon moved to a house instead with only one neighbor, but it probably laid the groundwork for my writing <this blog is no trailer park.>

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Somewhere around sixth grade, my mom taught me to cross-stitch.  I enjoyed it immensely and I primarily made Precious Moments stuff.  I haven’t cross-stitched in years, but I still have my hoops and probably some DMC floss lying around someplace.

Fast forward to seventh grade, when I made my very first B, in Home Ec.  The pillow I sewed that was intended to look like big juicy lips instead looked like a derrière.  A big, plush, red one.

I stopped sewing.  Still waiting to start back.

My grandmother (Nanny) was kind of a Grandma Moses, who started oil painting late in life.  She was fantastic.  I used to sit and watch her and she taught me all she knew.  And then she sent me off to classes so they could teach me, too.  Oil painting is fun, but it’s not my favorite thing to do.  I keep wondering if it will be my go-to craft later in life.  I sort of hope so.  It’s very relaxing.

In the latter years of high school, I took over the Candygram program at school and spent a lot of time drawing pictures of Christmas-y things which were then copied.  Those copies were sold to the students for $1, who would color them and fill them out and turn them in.  We attached candy canes and delivered them to the recipients just before the holiday break.  I loved seeing my art floating around!  I also was the Editor of the high school paper back then, another step towards blogdom, I guess.

After high school, my next attempt at selling my creations came when I moved to College Station.  Along with a work friend and sorority sister, we launched Heartspun Gifts.  We made lots of different crafts, like sorority paddles and other painted wooden things.  I specialized in candle making.  My favorite medium was beeswax.  We sold our goodies at a craft mall in Bryan, Texas.  I held workshops at the craft mall teaching beeswax candle making.  I’ve since parted with all of my candle making goodies, but if electricity ever goes away, at least I have that skill.  We did okay with our craft mall booth, but eventually we both moved on to other things.

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After I got married, <the first time> I had my first baby pretty quickly.  This resparked my creativity and I made all sorts of things for his nursery.  I began to reinvest in crafting and learning new things and set up a studio in our dining room.

By the time my first was three years old, I had formed a business with another dear friend, who is insanely talented in so many ways and has the sweetest heart.  This business was called Red Apple Creek.  We did a few craft shows and incorporated wholesale merchandise into our gift business.  We didn’t make a million bucks, but we had fun and spent a lot of time learning how things work.

A couple of years later, we shuttered our little enterprise.  We both had full time jobs and kids and families and it was the right thing to do.

I then began to mostly direct my creative juices to my own home, my son’s birthday parties, and random projects for friends.  I’d make my own soap for fun or take an interest in a new trend for a little while.  I learned how to work with fondant and make pretty cakes.  I worked a lot on my cooking skills.  I also worked full-time and in 2006, I became a single mom, so craftiness became a luxury I didn’t engage in much.  I did have a pretty fun and creative day job, so that helped.  I planned events for large numbers of people and often I’d incorporate crafts into our activities.

I got promoted and became a manager, but I still sought out chances to get crafty at work.  Halloween was a good time to decorate and create.  We had a lot of fun over the years with our decorations at work for various holidays.  Some of my favorite memories from the “office days” involve the crafty and creative things we did.

After I married my forever husband, my life became far less stressful and I was able to think about creating again.  By this time, Pinterest had launched and Etsy was on fire.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do yet, but my wheels were turning.

I started a blog but quickly lost steam.  I spent a solid year reading other blogs and figuring out my niche.  I first thought of creating a finance blog about how to save money.  No, there’s a zillion of those.  Then I considered a recipe blog, but I don’t like cooking <that> much.  A parenting blog about having kids ten years apart?  Not enough material.  They don’t fight and the older one is in love with his baby bro.  End of blog.

So I decided to take the things that matter to me and blog them.  A major focus is crafting, but spiritual and family matters are in there too.  And I’ve left myself wiggle room if I feel like I need to say something about retirement planning or organizing shoes or coupons or something about food.

But mostly what you will see here are crafty ideas and ways to save time so you can stop Pinning and start Making!

I will be selling my wares again soon, but that will be done at craft shows primarily, with a little on Etsy and maybe in a retail environment in the future.

For now, I just want to create and share it with you.  I hope you’ll share your creativity with me, too.

With crafty love,

Jamie

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