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Have you ever met someone and walked away feeling like you had known them for years? Well it was like that for me when I first met Red and I haven't even had the pleasure of meeting her in the flesh. When Red first sent me an email and introduced herself, I could feel her warmth and kindness radiating through my computer. It felt like I was sitting down with a cup of tea with an old friend. Red is a talented Mother, Lover, Nana and sewer extraordinaire hailing from Madras, Oregon in the USA. I was interested to discover the exaction location of Madras and when I "googled" Madras, Orgeon. I stumbled across Oregon.com a travel site and their introductory paragraph seemed to have been written about Red.
"The fabric of life in Madras is as varied as the colors of a bolt of Madras cloth from which the town got its name. Whether it be rockhounding, fishing, pleasure boating, rafting, water-skiing, golfing, hiking, culture sampling or just getting away from it all, there's something for everyone. We are proud of the harmony and diversity of our community and the warmth and friendliness of our residents."
Well they certainly should be proud of the warmth and friendliness of their residents and Red is a great ambassador! Madras also sounds like a beautiful place, maybe one day I can visit Red and have that cuppa! Red is a fabulous sewer and uses gorgeous fabrics in her bags, aprons and purses. Make sure you head over to her Tittle + Tat shop FromNanaWithLove to check out her lovely designs Want to meet Red? Read below for the full interview
Hi Red, I just loved reading on your profile page the story of your journey from Motherhood to becoming a Nana and then on to creating your handmade business From Nana With Love. Can you share with our readers a little of your story and how From Nana With Love was born? When my son was 4 and my daughter was 18 months old we met the man of our dreams My son asked if we could keep him and my daughter was just completely bonkers over him How can I say no to that? Best decision we all made together. Hubby also had a son and a daughter around the same age. The kids all grew up and left this house EMPTY and it was completely awful Until of course Grand Baby's woohoo!! 24/7 those little ones are on my mind, all (almost 5) of them. :O) They call me Nana hence the name!! I named it after my grand kids that have touched my heart in more ways than I thought possible.
When did you first start sewing? Who taught you to sew? I first found I loved sewing and had a knack for it back when I was in Jr. High when they use to teach Home Ec as a required course. The teacher was so patient with all of us and am very thankful to her for her kindness. Rest of the years I have taught myself. Can you describe to me your typical day? Typical Day Usually the night before I have the next day planned. I'll sit in my chair while the boob tube is on and write out a few ideas, patterns, dinner ~ typical daily stuff ~ Hubs is a contractor so if he's busy then I'm busy. I also double as his secretary, tax accountant and partner so when I have a DAY to myself, I'll lock myself up in my sewing room and have at it!!
In what ways do you promote and sell your work? Do you compliment your online sales with stalls at weekend markets or do you do all your selling online? I use all the typical venues to promote. Flickr, Pinterest, Twitter. I have several pages on Face Book, blogger and craft groups and teams from other venues The craft groups have been the most successful with the help of other Artisans. One good turn deserves another is my motto! Absolutely YES, I attend all the Bazaars, fairs, and Saturday Markets locally and within a 100 mile radius. It has proved to be very successful!
What has been the most popular item you make? I can't seem to keep Aprons and a particular hand bag in stock. They seem to fly off the shelf.
What advice do you have for those of us who are following our dreams and aspiring to live what we love? Don't give up! You may hit slow spots and be deterred to just throw your hands up in protest Got to' keep chugging along! It's takes a TON of work, but it is completely worth the effort, it's empowering!!
Do you have any tips for others who would like to follow their dreams and set up a shop front? How can they connect with others like-minded souls for advice and mentoring? Do your homework! RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH !! There are so many venues out there where you can sale your "from the heart" handmade items, but for me, it has to CLICK, be inviting and most importantly cost effective!! Once you get over that hill, I'd say GO FOR IT!! :O) Creating The Hive is an excellent social craft website where bloggers get together and share their latest, from their recent creations to recent life events. It is so family oriented and everyone there KNOWS what it takes to be a successful or upcoming Artist. There are several other sites I am sure. But this one was inviting to me and Clicked! :O)
I just loved doing the interview for our Show + Tell, Seller in the Spotlight this month. Yuko from BirdsNest Felting is such an inspiring and interesting artist who makes absolutely beautiful and unique pieces. Yuko draws her inspiration from her natural environment and this is helped along by the fact that she is lucky enough to live amongst the trees on a beautiful property she shares with her partner in Tumbulgum in Northern NSW. While preparing this interview I headed over to check out Yuko's blog, looking at all of Yuko's work and all the different projects she dabbles in, really inspired me.
Hi Yuko, Tittle + tat is mostly a community of talented creative souls & we would love to hear about your creative journey, how did you get to where you are today? Tell us a bit about yourself. I am Japanese. When I see pretty clothes or things I like, I always think "I can make it , ' instead of buying it. When something is broken I always think "I can fix it" instead of buying a new one. This personality trait has brought me into a creative world. I see myself as a very alternative, interesting and unique person, I guess.
Apart from creating things, what do you do? I love to surf or swim with the fish at the beach at least once a day. I Look after our organic garden and chickens. I love to play guitar, paint, cook , clean our house and help my partner with his job. I am a person who would like to have more time than money, so I enjoy my days as much as possible instead of chasing money.
Why did you decide to start working with Felt? I saw some beautiful handmade felt art in Byron bay. This was first time I had ever seen felt as art in my life and I fell in love with the art instantly I wanted to buy this piece of art but it was very expensive. It was expensive as it was a beautiful piece of art and also the materials for making felt art cost a lot. As usual I thought, "well, I am gonna make it!"
Can you tell us a little bit about the process behind making a hand felted product?
We use merino wools to make felt. For clothing or shoes, we put them on while wet and with soapy water, roll, bash and rub the item to make it shrink.
If you washed your 100% wool jumper in the washing machine, it shrinks, felting uses the same principle as this.
The Felting process uses a large amount of wool, a lot more than you might think.
We can also use silk or thin materials with the wool to make hand felted items as well.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it? I can't remember the first thing I made because I was a very little child then. My first proper sewing projects was when I was 11 years old, I made a backpack. My first arts I remember very well. I made Pikachu(animation Pokemon character which I liked) and a wallet out of circulars. (Yuko says that circulars are Japanese advertising papers that come in the newspaper. These are blank on one side and Yuko used these for her art projects) I was 15 years old and I was doing homework at home. I was using the back of the circulars as notepads to remember words. Then I thought what a waste! So I created with them.
What handmade possession do you most cherish? A beautiful bamboo and timber surfboard that my partner made for me. Ever since I started short boarding I have been using the board. The board has had a hard life and looks tired, but I am going to use it until the day I have to stop surfing. I love it! Also art gifts from other Artists and children. I think Children are genius artists.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from? My Partner, Artist Addy, (surfboard builder and parmacultureist) He has a totally different and amazing brain than others. Also Felting teacher/friends, Artist friends, NATURE, I love playing with colors. I don't plan anything I just play. As a result sometimes It becomes different looking than I first intended, but there is no failure. I can create from there again. When I have an order I just think about the person In my mind.
Our Tittle + Tat featured seller for January is Amy from Silver Tide Creations. It is a real pleasure to feature Amy who has an infectious enthusiasm when it comes to talking about her relatively new business. Amy's passion for what she does is evident and her beautiful jewellery is made with real heart and love.
Amy lives on the Sunshine Coast with her fiancee, their two beautiful kids, 8 yr old son Jett, daughter Evie, 2.5 and the beloved family dog Oil! Amy has always loved the beach and surfing and this is where her and her family like to spend their spare time.
Hi Amy, Tell me a bit about the story behind opening Silver Tide Creations What were you up to before you started the store & what inspired you to create a handmade boutique? Silver Tide Creations was only started in mid 2011, before this I was a stay at home mum while Evie was little but before she came along I worked in aged care. When Evie was little I tried to buy her a bracelet but her wrist was just to skinny and none would fit so I decided I would make her my own and that is where the obsession with the hill tribe beads began. I started making bracelets for her then myself, my friends were always saying how nice they were and that I should sell them, so I started Silver Tide Creations!
I understand that all your sterling silver beads come from the hill tribes of Thailand, can you tell us a little bit about the beads and how you came to source them? Karen Hill Tribe silver beads are handmade in Thailand and have a higher silver content than sterling silver. I love the workmanship put into these beads and the fact that not one is ever going to be exactly the same.
How do you promote your work? I have a Facebook page and I also have a tittle & tat store. Ive just got some business cards as well so have been handing them out to friends and family to spread the love! Evie & I also wear our jewellery everywhere.
Has there been anyone in your life that has been influential in your craft? Who taught you to make jewellery? I guess Evie has been my inspiration and influence. My mum has taught me to do a lot of things like sew (my other little hobby) but I suppose I taught myself! Anything creative or artistic and im into it!
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Tittle + Tat? Make it with love and people will love it!
December 2011 Our Tittle + Tat featured Show + Tell seller, for this final month of 2011, is the extremely talented Sharon from TrixieJeans.
Sharon lives on the beautiful Gold Coast with her lovely pommy husband Lee, she is a busy WAHM (work at home mum) who has her hands full, with 3 gorgeous boys, Charlie (7), Oliver (6) and Billie (2). Somehow Sharon still finds the time to whip up some amazing creations on her sewing machine, using the most beautiful fabrics. Sharon has a range of beautifully made Nappy/Diaper Bags, plus some absolutely gorgeous baby gift sets. If you are going to a baby shower or have a friend or family member who is expecting, grab one of Sharon's gift sets and I assure you all the other guests will have present envy! Hi Sharon, Can you tell me a bit about the story behind opening Trixe Jeans. What were you up to before you started the store + what inspired you to create a handmade boutique? I am a hairdresser by trade and I have always loved creating things, my passion for creating and making clothing goes right back to when I was fifteen when I used to make and tie dye clothing for a couple of local shops.
My grandmothers were both very creative, one taught me to knit (Trixie) and the other taught me to sew (jean). So that's how I came up with the name Trixiejeans designs.
How do you promote your work? Apart from advertising on Tittle + Tat, I also have my facebook page and handing out business cards from my store at the local boutique markets.
What does 'handmade' mean to you? I believe a beautiful handmade item, created with love and quality materials is far more personnel and special as a gift than a cheap mass produced item.
What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? Is there anything you miss? I don't think having three young boys could ever be described as not having a day job but for me, the quality time I get to spend with my family, as well as being able to work flexible hours from home works perfectly.
Do you have any future goals or new product ideas for your shop on Tittle + Tat? My future goal is to expand the Trixiejeans business, and I am always trying out new ideas and designs, so keep a look out.
Do you have a favourite crafty/creative blog? Yes the Tittle + Tat blog of course!
What would be your number one tip or piece of advice for new WAHM's starting out on the creative handmade path? Take pride in your work and build a reputation for quality and great customer service because there's nothing like word of mouth. Most importantly enjoy what you are creating!