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Celebrating the launch of my product line release in 2008.

 

March is National Craft Month! Actually, every month is national craft month, right? I thought I would kick off the “official” event with sharing my story of WHY I craft. We often see interviews with creative types about how they got started, tips for others, craftastophes, etc – but how about why we craft?

CHALLENGE: Let’s start a hashtag: #WhyICraft and share our stories! Let’s show the world why we do what we do!

When it comes to why people craft, I believe that the emotions of everyday life pushes us to the point to where we feel the need to express ourselves. There are many layers to our creativity. We don’t just act like robots and sit and make stuff. Something emotional happens to motivate us to let it out via paint, paper, pens, clay, glitter, fabric, clay…This is what inspired me to write novels about crafty characters. Even though we are all crafty, we do it for different reasons. and that is what makes our work all one-of-a-kind. I would LOVE to hear your story about why you craft. In the meantime, here is mine!

I have MANY reasons why I craft, but here are the main ones:

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Showing people how to tie-dye at the iLoveToCreate booth at CHA!!

 

I craft to have a sense of purpose. Having a sense of purpose has always been important to me, ever since high school! Every job I’ve had, I’ve always taken it to heart to see how I could use my position to help people. Even as a shift leader at Jack in the Box at 16, I had a sense of purpose and felt fulfilled. I loved greeting each person, looking at them in they eyes and truly wishing them a great day. It made me so happy if they returned the gesture, or if I was able to knock them out of a frumpy mood. However, I’ve had three jobs in my life where I could not find a sense of purpose. Those were the most unhappiest, depressing, lost times of my life. I felt useless, invisible and like I was just wasting space.

Because I know you are thinking, “Dang – what kind of job did she have?” One of them, I was a Bank Vault Verification Teller. I had to sit for hours at a tiny desk and manually count business cash deposits. By the end of my shift each day, hundreds of thousands of dollars had passed through my fingers. AND, my counting NEVER balanced. Every night, I was the last one, with a red light on above my desk, with my supervisor helping me recount the bills. If we didn’t balance correctly, it was bad. “Where did the money go?,” they would ask me. So stressful. My jaws hurt from grinding my teeth and I used to cry when we had to recount the money. When I’d cry, I’d wipe away the tears with my dirty fingers (from counting all the money). I ended up with a nasty, ugly eye infection. My parents didn’t want me to quit because it was a step up from Jack in the Box, it was a BANK JOB! I didn’t want to disappoint them. Thank God, my dad scored me an interview with his former secretary-turned-traffic court admin at the city of Phoenix. I got hired at the traffic court and loved that job much better!

Back to my point…Ever sense then, I vowed to spend my days being productive and spreading the happy. Crafting as a purpose is my special way to make the world a cheerier place. I looooove to share inspiration. My goal is to motivate others to find their own creative path. Sometimes it takes a while and a lot of searching, but it’s there. I feel like if I post enough ideas from different genres, people will find something that clicks with them.

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This a project from my newspaper craft column. I did this right after Hurricane Katrina. I encouraged newspaper readers to decorate totes with affirmational designs and we all sent them to New Orleans for people to use to hold their personal items after the horrible events.

I craft to share my voice and make my mark on the world. Growing up, I alway seemed to get lost in the crowd.  I refuse to focus on the negatives from my past, but I always allowed people to make me feel like I was weird or odd because of my tastes and interests. My family was very conservative growing up. Call it the middle child syndrome or whatever. But when I started crafting and making and selling art, it changed me. It gave me confidence. It made me accept that I could not please everyone and I shouldn’t feel inadequate if they don’t get what I’m doing. It made me want to strive to be a better person and set the example. Not only did it give me confidence to create visually, but it allowed me to dance, to get into fashion, to travel, all of it. Connecting with my creativity opened so many doors. Crafting has allowed me to find what is memorable about my personality, what runs deep in my heart, what is on my mind – and translate it into something visual. This is my one life, my only time here. I want to make sure I’m remembered for something meaningful and upful, for spreading joy! I’m grateful for that so now I make sure to do my best to pay it forward by sharing oodles of tutorials and stories here!

My Nana Cano at her sewing machine

Here is my Nana Cano in her younger days, sewing a gown for my Aunt Mitzie. My aunt and my nana used to go to Saks and take two dresses in the dressing room. My nana would sketch them right there and then, and then they would go home and make a mash-up of the two dresses. If you read my Miss Scarlet novel, you know know the inspiration for Scarlet’s story!!

I craft to keep it going in my family. I learned just last year that my great-grandfather used to make and sell beautiful blankets in Mexico, then he passed on his creative genes to my Nana Cano who sewed, crocheted, painted, and she passed it on to my dad who made jewelry and other forms of creative things. Many generations from now, I want my great-grandkids to tell stories about things I made, just like I’m telling you about my great-grandfather. Maybe they will own something I made and think of it as a keepsake! Maybe one of my grandkids (someday if I ever have them) will feel they don’t quite fit in and will think of me and get inspired to make art and share their voice too!

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This was one of my very first newspaper column crafts from 2001. Lucha Libre Mason Jar Snow Globe. I remember getting letters from senior snowbird residents who had no idea what a lucha libre was! Once my column got syndicated, I had to learn to design for a broader audience, lol!

I craft to prove that one really can make a living doing what they love. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. It’s all a matter of perspective. If you want to be a millionaire, if that is your passion, look into ways to make that happen and take action. My passion is living a life of creativity and that’s exactly what I’m doing. We bought a nice house, we travel, our kids are in college, we are making it happen by sprinkling glitter and glue, baby! And any time I want to change, I know I can steer my ship in any direction. So can you!

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I made this in one of Jamie Dougherty’s online classes!

I craft to find peace, to find my happy place. For me, it’s all very zen. I’m sure it is for you too. No matter how many deadlines I have, or how stressful things are, bills due, etc, as soon as I STOP and take a break to work on something random, with no invoice attached, I relax and settle into my groove. Cool runnings. I find solutions to problems when I craft, I daydream, I plan and strategize, I listen to music or I’ll hang with friends and share stories. All is right in the world again.

I craft to push myself to try new things. The art world is HUGE! It’s never too late to take  up a new skill and practice. I want to get better, not just with crafts, but with everything. Crafts is a good starting point though!

I craft to feel a sense of community in my house, my friends, my city, online and more! Crafting has brought so many diverse people together! I don’t care about people personal beliefs or backgrounds. When we all come together for the sake of making beautiful things, we are all on the same page! Respect, love, and appreciation!

Lastly, I craft so I can spend time with all of you. Even though I may not personally meet each one of you in person, I feel connected to you and am here to serve. I get goosebumps at the thought of people seeing these ideas, checking out a book I said I loved, etc. it makes me want to share more.

OK! Those are a few of the reasons why I craft. Please share why you craft too. I might just randomly choose a few to send some goodies to. I like doing stuff like that!

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Love & light,