Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
Tell us a bit about the book?
Fabric Blooms: 42 Projects to Make, Wear, and Adorn Your Life is a book for anyone who wants a creative diversion in their life. It’s full of projects, ideas, and inspiration that will keep you busy whether you have 15 minutes to make a quick gift topper or a whole day with your girlfriends to get crafty together! There are tons of different flowers and projects to create, and they’re all very portable and require the most basic of supplies so you can get started quickly and take them with you anywhere. My favorite project is the Poppy Wreath, and I also love that the book contains the complete tutorial for the Felt Flower Fabric Bouquet that started it all!
What was the inspiration behind it?
In September 2011 I was teaching classes at The Creative Connection Event, a crafting conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. After one of my events, I met Nicole McConville, an editor at Lark Craft. She came over to my table at a keynote talk, crouched down, and whispered “Have you ever thought about writing a book?”
My response, of course, was “OF COURSE!” I had been hoping to write a book eventually to share all of the techniques and projects I’ve designed for the bridal customers I’ve worked with over the years, and I’m so grateful that the opportunity came to me. The entire process took about 18 months from start to finish, and now that the book is out and other people are seeing it for the first time, it feels new to me all over again.
Which is your favourite project?
Like I said, I love the Felt Flower Bouquet, but I also really love the wearable projects. I think that the flower headband is going to be a popular one. My business partner and model, Sarah, is just gorgeous in it! I love seeing photos submitted from readers—everyone is doing such creative things with these tutorials.
What is your craft space like?
When I wrote this book I had just closed my downtown office and I was in the midst of my divorce, so I was doing a lot of traveling at the time to sort of get away from the pain and start the healing process for myself. I wrote a lot of the book in Berlin sidewalk cafes, and I finished it in Chicago on my friend Eric’s couch. It doesn’t sound glamorous—or maybe it does, in its way—but because of this period of transition it was an unusual process for me! I still haven’t settled back down into a permanent studio—I’m sewing on my couch, on my kitchen table, during my day job at Hello Holiday—but what matters is that I’m continuing to do what I love despite the disorganization.
Have you always been creative?
I definitely grew up knowing I would always be a maker. I was very creative as a child and I loved experimenting with all kinds of materials and techniques. My favorite toys were paper, tape, and markers—I’m sure tons of your readers can relate to that! For a long time I wanted to be a painter or an illustrator, and I still do enjoy doodling and watercolor, which I sometimes share on my blog.
When did you first start crafting?
I have creative parents so I know I have been crafting for a long time, but I have a clear memory of making a papier mache pig when I was five that is still in my house today. My mom bought a kit to make it and set it out on the table for when I woke up, with a note saying we could make it together when she woke up. I later went to her bedroom to show her the pig I had made—I opened the box, read the directions, blew up the balloon, got paper and glue and did the papier mache, put the legs and snout and ears on it and painted it pink. And I was very proud of it. I still am! It reminds me of how much I love to create, and it reminds me that I’ve always been a maker. You have to be a very independent and motivated person to be a working artist, and the pig represents those qualities I’ve always embodied.
Who are your crafty heroes?
Alicia Paulson's blog, Rosy Little Things, was one of the first I started reading in the months before I started my business. I loved how she opened up her personal life for readers to experience, wrote about both her projects and ideas as well as her challenges and failures, and shared so much practical advice from her experiences as an artisan and a shop owner. When I started reading her blog I felt like she represented everything I wanted to be. I also love to watch authors and crafters Jo Packham and Kari Chapin Nixon. I love how supportive the community of crafters is—meeting these women at events always feels like meeting someone I’ve known for years, and the encouragement they provide me as a young entrepreneur and artist is sometimes the only thing that gets me through the day. Women are really here for each other, in this world. It’s so valuable.
Where do you find inspiration?
I'm very inspired by my friends and peers both in my industry and in my local community of entrepreneurs and designers. I love seeing the projects and hearing the aspirations and goals of the people around me, and they motivate me to work harder and contribute to the world by sharing my gifts. I mentor young artists at a local art institute and they're also very inspiring to me because they haven't been told what they can't do.
What's next for you?
Right now my main focus is building up Hello Holiday, and e-commerce startup I cofounded in 2012 to offer financing to small fashion designers. When I did my dress collections in the past, I realized that the biggest barrier to entry for designers is just the cost of manufacturing, so we try to help them with that as well as offer whimsical, special, bright pieces for our customers to purchase. In an industry that can be so pretentious, we just want to keep everything accessible and fun--the way fashion should be. That’s a whole story in itself, but it occupies plenty of my time.
I look forward to traveling to promote Fabric Blooms as well. There are tons of teaching and speaking opportunities at adorable booksellers and cute conferences all over the world and I can't wait to share the spirit of creativity that drives everything I do with all of these new readers!
It’s hard to say what’s coming next personally—a lot of the time I’m just operating on a day-by-day basis, trying to keep up with everything pulling me in every direction. I want to build something large enough to support me, fit in with my values, and give me the freedom to enjoy and discover the world. I want success in my career, I want to be in love, and I want to always have a trip to look forward to. I expect that next, because that’s all I’m ever working for.