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Archive for March, 2008

Okay, here we go!

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

There are about a hundred reasons that I haven’t started a blog before now and all of them have to do with lack of time. I spent the weekend reading other people’s blogs and it feels like it’s the right time to begin the DIY Lounge blog, so here we go.

A little history:

I started DIY Lounge almost 3 years ago to both help artists in my community receive additional sources of revenue and to provide really creative classes to the community. DIY Lounge has grown so much over the last year and now I spend most of my time running from commitment to commitment. Fortunately I love what I do, so I don’t mind being so busy : )

Here is a really brief history of how I got here. I was a super creative, very poor child who wasn’t interested in any subjects in school except art, music and gym. I spent most of my free time sewing, crocheting, knitting, singing, climbing trees or dreaming ways to make the things I couldn’t afford to buy. Fast forward to my 20′s, after graduating with a double major in Psychology and Sociology, I went to work as a social worker. I enjoyed helping people, but found the constant red tape maddening. I would go home each day and make something to reduce my work stresses. Eventually, I decided I needed to leave my job. I stayed home with my son for a few years and even became a foster parent for awhile (those who know me know that I am always trying to “save the World”). I started crocheting again and had way too many hat piles around the house. Everyone I knew already had at least four of them, so I needed to find an outlet for getting rid of all of the hats. My long-time friend Regina encouraged me to try selling my hats and hosted a party for me. I decided to call the business Knot Ugly Designs. It cracked me up every time I said it (it still cracks me up after all of these years). Then I met “crochet Kim”, who is totally amazing! No one can crochet like this gal can! She is the fastest crocheter I have ever met. Her precision is excellent and her hands almost never get tired! She has been such a great person to work with over the years. Fast forward again to a couple of years into Knot Ugly. I was doing the craft sale circuit and meeting all of these outrageously talented artists. I would get way too excited about what others were doing and realized that I love other people’s creativity as much as my own. I thought I could host a place where artists could teach their creative aspirations to the community.

Something to know about me is once I set my sights on something, it is really hard for me to think or talk about anything else. I was hooked on the concept of DIY Lounge. I was like a broken record, talking to anyone who would listen. Two people who listened were Ali and Angie the owners of Frock (one of the stores I sell Knot Ugly Designs at). I told them about my idea and they told me they had a tiny space in the back of Frock where DIY Lounge could set up shop (Frock has moved since this time). We operated out of that space for about a year and a half and then the building was sold. At that point DIY Lounge was displaced for awhile. Maria Raleigh, the owner of collage contacted me and said she needed help running her classes because she was so busy with her store. This is how we ended up at collage and it has been a great union! Maria and I get along famously!

Nowadays:

Today, we are 27 teachers strong at DIY Lounge at collage. Maria and I are about to open our second location at 4429 SE Woodstock, which is sort of unbelievable to me. When DIY Lounge was in it’s infancy I never dreamed this big for my “little idea.” My thought was that I would teach classes along with some other artists I knew and we would slowly grow over time, but before long tons of teachers wanted to teach at the lounge. I am so busy running the DIY Lounge system I have no time to teach. I feel that I am drifting further away from Knot Ugly too, which is really unfortunate because my hands and mind need to make things to be the most satisfied with life. I think of both businesses as my children. DIY Lounge is younger, requiring much more hand holding and supervision. Knot Ugly is a latchkey business, receiving far less parenting on my part. Finding ways to make more time for Knot Ugly is a priority for me along with keeping all my other hats on my head (okay, bad pun).

These days DIY Lounge has a class on almost everything! We have great arts and craft classes for all ages, many creative business classes, kids art camps and we host Birthday parties too. I am going to be bringing a slew of new teachers in the near future and I can’t wait for you all to see the classes we have in store for you! One of the classes that I am really crazy about is a DIY painting series taught by a number of different artists/teachers. In one session students can learn how to stretch canvas or fabric and in another students can learn to make their own paints. We are talking mortar and pestle style – making oils, acrylics, watercolor and more. Why make your own paints? Well aside from the fact that knowledge is power, the color is much more pure without additives and fillers and it is way cheaper than store bought paints. I am hoping to teach at the new location when it opens. I would love to teach some wardrobe reconstruction classes. Reconstructing clothing is my current passion. Don’t get me wrong I love the needles, hooks and yarn, but making old junk into fabulously cool and useful is really exciting to me.

It has struck me as humorous that I sit behind the DIY Lounge website running the system with only a glimpse of my huge personality here and there. I am so busy being the woman behind the curtain, pulling the levers and buttons of the DIY system that I don’t have time to properly introduce myself to everyone. My hope is to use this blog as a way to communicate myself and my life to you all as well as a way for DIY Lounge teachers to talk about what they are up to also.

jen running with scissors

Here is a picture of me from a few years ago not doing as my mother warned me – I’m running with giant scissors.

More to follow soon!

Welcome!

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

The DIY Lounge at collage now has a blog and we’re so excited!