Sure! I’m a freelance artist/craft stylist and live in an old farmhouse in Owego, New York with my husband and our two little kids. Very late at night, I also write a blog called Aesthetic Outburst.
You Are Awesome is really a dream come true for me! It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I’m kind of in love with it. The book includes 21 craft projects for a range of ages. The projects are all fairly simple and I’m looking forward to hearing how folks make them their own.
The inspiration for the book was a challenge that I created for myself on Aesthetic Outburst. For whatever reason, I decided to start making one craft each weekday and then gave away all of the completed projects on my blog. I ended up sending out 80 handmade crafts to readers all over the world. It was really fun! You Are Awesome is a collection of my favorite crafts, along with a bunch of new DIY projects.
My favorite projects are the ones that I initially made for my children. I instantly picture them clacking away at the cardboard computer or running around the house wearing a rainbow necklace. They’re growing so fast- these are moments that I hope never to forget.
We’re busy renovating a barn on our property that will eventually house our studios (my husband is also an artist). In the meantime, I have a tiny studio space in our attic and a laptop in our living room. Truthfully, I find myself working at our dining room table more than anywhere else, though. I like being in the center of activity at our house.
I’ve always loved to make things and have wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. My parents and grandparents are very creative and always encouraged me to be a maker. As a child I also had a babysitter who let me draw all over her walls. That seemingly insignificant gesture had a profound influence on me both as an artist and as a parent. Encouraging creative freedom, sometimes at the expense of our walls, is something that has stuck with me.
It was really early! I used to sew blankets for toy horses, make dollhouse furniture and food, weave friendship bracelets, and draw constantly. My grandmother gave me a beautiful sketchbook, pencils, and a kneaded eraser when I was in third or fourth grade, which I thought was incredibly fancy. Having “genuine” art materials made me feel like a real artist. Who knew that, years later, I’d prefer pom poms, puff paint and embroidery floss over kneaded erasers and graphite pencils?!
My first crafty heroes remain a huge inspiration: my parents, my grandparents, and my great-aunt Dorothy. I’m lucky to be surrounded by talented, creative souls- most particularly my husband, our children, and our very dear friends. I also find a lot of inspiration in the blogging community. I’m constantly impressed by how clever and generous people are.
It’s such a cliché, but inspiration is really everywhere. When my family and I moved back to my rural hometown, I was so worried that I wouldn’t find inspiration anywhere. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case at all! As I said, I’m constantly in awe of the creativity we’re all surrounded by.
There’s a quote by Seth Godin that I constantly have running in my mind: "Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don't need to escape from.". So, that’s my plan- to keep working on this life we’re building, to keep making things, and to keep my eyes and heart open to possibilities.
Abbey Hendrickson writes the highly trafficked blog Aesthetic Outburst, which documents her life in an old farmhouse in rural New York. In between DIY disasters, childcare catastrophes, book obsessions and cultural consumption, Abbey makes some fantastic and funky craft projects, which she sells through her online Etsy shop. You Are Awesome collects together 21 of her craft ideas from her blog and her "20 in 20" challenge (for which she made 20 crafts in 20 days), each one presented in color and clearly explained step by step. They range from an embroidery sampler to a bookshelf to a laptop toy made from a cardboard box. The projects are fairly simple, but all distinctive and quirky, and will appeal to novices and crafting professionals alike. Each one captures the warmth and humor that Abbey herself radiates and which has made her and her blog so popular. You Are Awesome follows Cicada Books' recent publication, State of Craft, and will appeal to a new generation of young crafters seeking fresh inspiration for cultivating their own individual aesthetic. Small and chunky, with a hard-cut gray board cover and overflowing with illustrations and photography, it is itself a crafty object you will want to have and to hold, and makes a perfect feel-good gift for the holiday season.