I started that second blog because while I'm never (ever) going to give up garment sewing, I have taken at least part of my crafting time in a different direction and I wanted to devote more words to my business, Useful and Beautiful . . . Handmade.
The name comes from one of my favorite quotes, by William Morris: "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." I think that's an important thing to keep in mind, especially when we are surrounded by so much useless and, face it, not really beautiful stuff.
But enough about that. My story: lifelong crafter. Just about literally. I've always made things; what those things were depended on my age, where I was in life and what supplies were at hand. Trust me, at around age 9, Elmer's Glue was my best friend. You could mix that stuff with anything and make something.
I've also had passing flings with glitter, sequins (a job at a Middle Eastern restaurant where I caught the bug for costume making, though never the urge or skill to dance in them), fabric, paint, beads, the aforesaid glue, clay, a little bit of yarn (mainly endless chains in junior high which I then wove into a pink, purple and black spiderweb that I stapled to my bedroom ceiling), paper, silk screening . . . you name it. Good thing my relationship history isn't as varied.
My first love, though, has always been fabric. First doll clothes, then wonky clothes for me (who needed to read those pattern instructions?), then home dec items for my apartments and finally my house, then back to garment sewing for myself and my husband, and then sewing for others - clothing, gift items, accessories . . . pretty much anything, really. There are two constants in my life: cats and sewing machines.
I have a fabric stash large enough to wrap my house, but I don't want to do that. I also have bins of remnants from old projects, and bags of clothes rescued from thrift stores, free boxes and friends. Somewhere along the line I stopped buying new and started repurposing old; it's both better for the environment and a fun challenge to my skills - what can I do with this garment that isn't big enough to reconstruct into anything? There's always something.
When I started upcycling (recycling? repurposing? I never know what to call it), it didn't seem like it was that popular, and now it seems that everyone is doing it. Instead of trying to find a new shtick, I'm just glad to have the company. We're saving the world, one rescued garment at a time. It may not seem like much, but every bit really does help.
I have a vintage Etsy shop (mostly clearing out the detritus of decades of female packrat relatives), and my handmade shop is open under my own name, Karen Heenan, Useful & Beautiful Handmade. I hope to see you there sometime, and here on the blog often.