Tell us a little about you?
I am married to my best friend and a stay at home mom to 2 babies. I have been at home working on my first baby, Homespun from the Heart, for a couple years and then my daughter came along.
How long have you been in business?
Homespun from the Heart opened more than 6 years ago online, but I have been sewing and selling my creations for years before that. I just opened another business, www.SaveOurHooters.com in partnership with a friend, focusing on breast cancer awareness items; we were just featured in Create and Decorate’s “Finds” column for the October issue, very exciting!
How did you get started?
I started sewing for my girl scouts sewing badge, many years ago; in college, I was visiting my dad and stepmom for Thanksgiving and my stepmom was making a quilt. I started asking her questions about sewing and the next thing I know I got my first sewing machine for Christmas. I taught myself how to do various craft things, like Christmas tree skirts, table runners, sewing hems for curtains, etc. And shortly after I was married 8 years ago, I discovered the world of primitives and just fell in love! This year, my stepmom and I will be doing our first craft show together in upstate NY – we still talk ‘crafts’ and primitives/sewing every time we are together.
What is involved in making your craft?
When I am designing a new doll/pattern, a lot of time goes into the process. I create templates first, those are later the pattern pieces used to make the pattern, but there’s usually a couple of rounds of changing things with the head shape, etc. Then, I am always tea staining something it feels like! And the time to create each face and hair style is just part of the process; sometimes I can get to the very end – say a hair style – and not like the doll then start over! I also take my time writing instructions; after the pattern is finished then I spend quite a bit of time marketing it.
When I am creating dolls to build inventory, it’s a similar process with less pressure – sometimes I can finish up to 20 dolls in a week.
What is your favorite thing to make?
Definitely dolls! I have been refining my style of dolls for the last few years; I feel they are more unique to me – I tend to use funky colors for hair and noses; I also go with different types of fabrics not just primitive. Someone called my style “shabby prim” once and I thought that fit - lighter colors but still tea stained. My line of Cupcake Dolls, with really funky hair colors/styles, cupcakes, and scents - have been really well received. If the customers like it, then I am happy since I like it too.
Do you have set hours to work?
I have to set hours to work since I am also at home with my 2 year old. I usually am up by 5:30 and work until she wakes up at 8am; then I go back to work during naptime and again after she goes to bed. When I am in ‘crunch time’ like leading up to my big craft show in Lititz, PA I will often sew while she plays, taking lots of breaks to have tea or hold her dolly, etc. I try to keep us involved in activities offline, like our local Mom’s club and the YMCA. I really want to enjoy these years with her as they are already flying by!
What are your future plans for your business?
I was published in Create and Decorate a couple of times; I loved seeing my work in print and would like to do more of that. After my daughter starts school, I will return to doing more shows and also open up a wholesale section for my finished dolls online. I have been limited in time right now.
What does handcrafting mean to you?
It means taking my time with every single doll I create – 1 or 20 in a week; some weeks I have a groove and can do 20 each one having her own style and personality. Some weeks I can only finish one; and that’s OK with me. Being creative doesn’t have a set schedule, even though I have to work a set schedule. I try to go with my energy level and when I am in a slump I will try something new or do something a little more mundane like tea staining some fabric, or cleaning my sewing room. The main thing is that every customer who buys from me (online or at a show) knows that I hand-stitched the face, I created this doll from a piece of fabric and she has her own personality now.
Where do you sell your crafts at?
Online, my main website is where I sell my finished work and patterns, kits, and doll hair www.homespunfromtheheart.com. Right now I don’t have much finished work listed as I am getting ready to go to Lititz; I will be listing a LOT of new Halloween and fall items after August 18th.
I also sell online at www.saveourhooteres.com and I have an Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/CupcakeDolls.
Offline, I just started selling in both retail and wholesale at In Grandma’s Attic, in Kinzer’s PA. The wholesale shop is for made in the U.S.A. only crafters.
I also do a few craft shows every year, the main one is Sat. August 14th in Lititz, PA http://www.lititzrotary.com/craft.htm I have a new location this year, near Wilbur’s Chocolates – so if anyone happens to come, make sure you stop by to say Hi! I am really looking forward to the show!