I have been designing craft projects since I was a child. My mother was a painter, and was very resourceful and talented. She always had creative ideas to keep her eight small children occupied.
When Valentine’s day came around each year, our school teachers requested that my mother make a Valentine’s box for the classroom. They were works of art, covered with colored paper, hand-cut paper ‘lace’ which employed cupids and hearts and flowers in the design. The ruffles were made with crepe paper, and the boxes were sometimes embellished with pictures of roses cut from gardening catalogues.
My sewing adventures began, when my sister Sonia (who was a year younger than I) and I learned to sew on Mama’s treadle machine. Mama just turned us loose with the scrap bag, and we made Barbie clothing, drapes for the playhouse, doll bedding, and all sorts of things. My favorite times, however, were the Barbie years, and Sonia and I grew very close to each other through those activities and creative experiences.
When I was grown up and expecting my first child, I was able to get my own sewing machine, and started sewing again. At first, it was maternity and baby clothes, but gradually, I started attempting to create soft sculpture animal and doll patterns. My first attempts were very primitive, but after I first saw elinor peace bailey’s Victorian Doll, a whole new way of thinking began to occur, and I admire and appreciate elinor’s influence on me, and doll making in general.
Over the years, I designed projects for Jo Packham’s “Vanessa-Ann Collection,” Oxmoor House, Crafts Magazine, McCall’s Creates, Butterick’s Make It Magazine, Woman’s Day, Hancock’s Home Expressions, Fairfield Processing ads, and others. My television experience includes co-producing a public television special, A Holiday Touch of Cloth, sponsored by VIP Fabrics. I have written nine books, including doll-making, paper crafting, and wedding craft books for Sterling Publishing, several doll-making books, including Crafting Cloth Dolls by McGraw-Hill, and a folk-art quilting book for Krause Publishing. In addition, I have created showroom models for several fabric and ribbon companies.
Later, I had to opportunity to go to Hong Kong, Bangkok, and mainland China as a designer/consultant for Lark Flowers (Norben); I decorated the Lark showroom display in Dallas, and at this writing, work at Roberts Crafts, in southern Utah, as a display designer. Working in an environment where I have constant contact with retail customers has given me a great deal of insight in the crafting business.
My most recent project has been my licensing agreement with Benartex Fabrics. I designed a doll panel with clothing, with a quilting line along a Civil War theme. In addition, I have designed an embroidery card for Bernina sewing machines, which will feature a “Gettysburgh Address” images and the famous speech, by Abraham Lincoln.
For the last two years, I have returned to oil painting. When I was in my teens, I borrowed my mother’s oils, and made a few paintings, but hadn’t dabbled with this wonderful medium since then. Having studied art in college, I had the hunger to paint, but just never had the time to return to it. Now, I have ‘made’ time, and feel such a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from painting.