Thursday, September 20, 2012

Things, They Be a-Changin' - Part 1

I don't know about you, but whenever I find a new DIY website or blog, the first place I look is the About Me section.  I love reading about people's background stories - how they came to be where they are.  Especially if they started out doing something completely different.  In the spirit of that thinking, I would like to share with you my story:

Making things has always been my hobby.  I'm the little girl who used her mom's old-school sewing machine to make Christmas presents and stuffed animals as far back as I can remember.  I get it from my mom, who is the Crafting Queen.  Christmas ornaments, Holiday outfits, doll clothes...You name it, she made it.  

In junior high I "started a business" for handmade clothes (I was going to be the next great fashion designer).  I busted out my magic markers and poster board and made a flyer with sizes and prices and showed it to all my friends at school.  I gave the business a name and everything, though I'll be damned if I can remember what it was!  I even wore some of the clothes I made as examples of my work.  Now, you must know, I didn't use a pattern and one of the skirts I made was bright satin orange material from the bottom of my mom's fabric pile.  But MAN - I rocked it!  Then right after high school, I started another "business" selling things made out of duck tape.  It was right when all the bright colors were really popular and I bought rolls and rolls and rolls of the stuff (I also used every last bit of the real deal from my dad's garage stash).  I made purses and lunchboxes and tote bags and wallets and roses and pins and....well you get the picture.  I sold them at craft shows and to friends at work.  It was fun, and I made some extra spending money.  It was called "RiDUCKulous" - I'm so clever - and again, I made a big sign that hung on the table at the shows.  I was a young entrepreneur and I was going to make it big one day!

Eventually, I got on this furniture kick.  Picking up roadside finds.  Visiting thrift stores.  Making cool stuff out of junk.  I still remember my first roadside dresser - boy was that a rush!  My senior year of college I even did an Independent Study elective on fixing up furniture and documented the steps.  

When I moved out of my parents' house and into my own apartment, I had accumulated enough furniture that I didn't need to buy anything but a sofa to outfit my new place.  Everything in the small apartment was something I had handcrafted in one way or another.  Once out on my own, I began to move my furniture collection into Dan's house.  The basement primarily, but that quickly spread into the garage and other rooms.  By the time we moved in together six months before our wedding, I had enough pieces to furnish the entire house.  We actually had to have a garage sale to get rid of the stuff we didn't have room for.  That was a year and a half ago and since then,  it's only gotten worse.  

Hi, my name is Jessica, and I am addicted to furniture.

I openly admit it.  I have a problem.  I CANNOT pass up a good/free deal.  It is in my blood and a definite passion.  I can't remember the last day off I had that didn't consist of me working on one project or another.  Or if there were other things I needed to do or places I needed to go, I would constantly be thinking about a project I had waiting for me.  I would happily spend my free time working on fixing something up.  Eight hours would literally fly by with me wishing I had another eight.  And when I would come home with "just one more chair", Dan would give me that look, shake his head, and stuff it into the basement.  He has no patience for slow drivers, tangled Christmas lights, or a knotted rope, but my goodness he is patient with me.  It's why I married him.  He doesn't get it, but he gets it...ya know what I mean??

It got to a point where family and friends would call me with a "I found something by the road, do you want it?" statement and I would always say yes.  That's how I got one of the chairs in our living room.

I always toyed with the idea of owning a shop one day that consisted of all the things that I made.  I thought it would be fun, but knew that it was probably a far off dream.  So I had gone to college, got the degree, got the "Dream Job" as an interior designer and settled in to a life of routine.  Now, I'm not about to bite the hand that fed me for a year and a half by bashing my job, but it wasn't what I wanted.  At first, yes.  But after a while, it just wasn't challenging me.  And if I'm being honest, I wasn't very good at it.  At least the sales part of it.  I could help people pick out colors and design their kitchen back-splashes all day long, but I just wasn't meant to sell flooring as a profession.  I got bored.  I needed something to do or make or create....what I was really passionate about.  Again, that starting-my-own-business thing was always in the back of my mind, but I always cast it off as a pipe dream. 

And then one day, I snapped.  Pressure at work had built up, my anger finally surfaced, and I cried all the way home.  The particulars aren't important, but what matters is that it was the catalyst I needed to make some changes.

That was about two months ago and since then, some big changes have taken place.  I'll leave you with that, since reading an incredibly long personal story all at once can get boring.  And I don't want you to leave and never come back.  I'll share the rest with you tomorrow, so make sure to check back to see where these changes are taking me. :)

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