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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nikki Rae's - Blog Mission and a Little About Reba

Today I was trying to figure out how I'm going to keep this blog alive as I'm finding it hard to find time and inspiration to write. As I was surfing around on Twitter and some blogs, I came across an ad for a book for artists and crafters on how to stay inspired to write for your blog by Tara Gentile. I decided it would be in my best interest to buy it.

I haven't made it through the entire book but what I've read so far is very good, so I decided to start following her advise. She writes that I should develop a mission for my blog and in order to write that mission, I need to answer a few questions.

Well, I answered those questions and I ended up writing a story, my story. I still need to distill it down to just a sentence or two, but I thought you might want to read the story. So, I'm going to tell you a little about myself, what fuels my passion for sewing and designing, what inspires me, and what I hope my customers will gain by reading my blog and buying the handmade items I make and design.

I started sewing when I was 12 years old. I had always been not only creative but also industrious. I was raised by my grandparents and when I was about nine I learned that you could check books out at the library. I used to get my grandma to take me to the library so I could check out how-to craft books. I did all kinds of crafts on our kitchen table. I'd read how to do it in the book, and then do whatever my chosen project was that week. Depending on the week you might find me making a paper mache statue or changing the color of a shirt by dying it in the sink.

My grandma's sewing machine sat just on the other side of the wall where I sat at the kitchen table doing all this. I asked her many times if I could use her sewing machine and the answer was always no. It was a Sears sewing machine and was in a cabinet where it dropped down and the leaf folded over the top of the cabinet. She kept her wooden box of silver place settings on top of it. I often climbed on top of it so I could jump off. No wonder she wouldn't let me use it.

Then when I was 12 she finally let me use it after I came home from Kress with a pattern and fabric to make a peasant blouse. A friend who's mother was teaching her how to sew took me to the store and showed me what to buy and how to buy it. It was a Simplicity Super Easy Peasant Blouse with raglan sleeves that had elastic around the neck and sleeves.

My grandmother didn't teach me how to sew, either she had no interest or she didn't know enough to teach me, but I had plenty of experience in teaching myself how to do things. Sewing quickly became my favorite pastime and I made a lot of my own clothes when I was in junior high.

Once I hit high school I found a lot of other things I wanted to do rather than sew, so the sewing machine sat still. After graduation I got married, then kids, and work, and you know...no time to sew except the occasional Halloween costume. Before I knew it, 30 years had past!

Recently I decided to buy a new sewing machine and start sewing again. I couldn't be happier that I did. Clothing doesn't interest me much, too many alterations for sizing and getting it to fit properly, so I decided to make home decor items. We just moved into an older home and renovated the entire house. Our home needed things like curtains.

After making a few home dec items I got bored. So I tried my hand at making some IPad covers for my daughters. I was hooked. They were easy and quick to make and I could make changes to the patterns to make all kinds of variation. Soon I made Kindle covers and then I moved on to purses and handbags. I absolutely LOVE making these things. I can create new designs, make them quickly, other people love them, and I don't have to worry whether or not they fit!

I recently decided to create my own design and make a pattern for a handbag. I'm currently working on turning it into a written/picture tutorial to sell on Etsy. The process is amazing. I love creating the design, sewing the prototypes, and using my computer skills (I worked as a graphic designer for about 10 years) to make the pattern and write-up the tutorial. Doing this type of work to earn a living would be an absolute dream, so I spend most of my spare time working on make bags and creating patterns. But my spare time is limited because I work a full-time job in middle management for an oilfield services company.

You might wonder where I find my inspiration. Well, I'm really not sure where it comes from. I suppose it comes from different places. For instance, the inspiration for the purse pattern I'm working on right now came one Sunday at church. I noticed that a lot of the teens were wearing ruffles. They had ruffles on their skirts, ruffles on their blouses, ruffles on their purses, and ruffles in their hair. I knew at that moment I wanted to design a purse with a ruffle.

So, why do I write this blog? I write because I want the people who purchase my handmade purses and patterns to not only get a beautiful purse or a pattern to make a beautiful purse, but have the opportunity to know the person who created it. I'd like them to know a little about the process of making the item or what inspired it's design. I'd like them to know me.

I want that person to know that they make a difference in my life when they make a purchase from me. They not only help me get a little closer to my dream of making a living by creating when they buy my handmade item, but they also bring me tremendous joy to know that they liked my creation enough to make it a part of their life.

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