This week I've been chatting with a new friend and would love to introduce YOU to Karen of Chocolate Dog Studios!
You work in a variety of mediums. Tell us about what you make and how you got started with each.
My Grandmother taught me crocheting when I was a girl. I played around with painting and artwork all of my life. My mother taught me how to sew by teaching me how to make stuffed animals for my cousins when I was about 13. I prefer not to sew clothing or follow a pattern. Knitting I taught myself when my kids were babies. It was fun knitting little sweaters for them to wear.
How long have you been creating ?
Since I was a little girl. About 40 years now!
How do you get your ideas? Do you start with a fabric, yarn, or fabrics or a concept in mind first?
Inspiration hits, when I look at new fabric or sit around and wonder "well, what about this? Would it work, well it might." I often pin things together to see if it would be a workable design, because I hate to take things apart if they don't work out.
You do quite a bit of “up-cycling/recycling” of materials. How do you go about that? (IE: all your closet, yard sale finds, etc.) What has been the coolest “find” you’ve made to date?
Hmm, well some have come from our closet as the kids are in growing spurts right now. That is the way I know that some of these things were hardly ever worn! Estate sales, garage sales and resale shops near my home are things that always call to me when I am looking for things to upcycle. I also have a great Mother-in-law that gives me fabric that she has in her stash when it gets overloaded. The coolest find is always the last one I did!
What other type of crafting to do you?
I make curtains for the kids rooms, pillows and rag quilts with the kids favorite t-shirts. I love to make all kinds of things for fun. I paint in acrylics or watercolor from time to time and love to dabble in pastel chalks. I have been painting old window frames lately as wall art. I also love to make tie dye t-shirts but I haven't done that lately.
Of the items you currently have available, which is your favorite?
Wow, that is a really hard question. I am pretty hard on myself and I really struggle with worrying that they are good enough to sell! I like the colors in the dot pants purse. I love the crocheted purses and use one myself. It has been a great purse and I love the feel of it in my hands. My favorite item right now are my cup cozies, I don't have any listed yet, but I hope to get those up this week.
You have some wonderful items marked in your “Favorites” on your Etsy page. What do you think some of those choices say about you? (personally: I think I’d like to go shopping with you!!!)
I love colors. I like things that speak to my heart and soul. I just can't buy art in the a discount store and hang it on the wall. It has to be something that has some kind of memory or story attached to it.
For FUN!What is something that makes you laugh out loud?
The kids and our dogs. They are so funny. The old Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies, G-force (it reminds me of my daughter's guinea pig), My husband joking around with the kids and the funny voices that they create. Cake wrecks is one of my all time favorite blogs, and I also like the Cheezeburger cats website as well, and quoting Monty Python skits!
Describe your crafting/studio space to us:
I work in our sunroom/eating area which looks out on our backyard deck and on to the green trees behind. There is a wall of windows on the door side of the room. The wall that I work on is full of cubby storage bins that houses the fabric, yarn and some of the notions that I use. I keep a huge laundry hamper full of upcycled clothing nearby and also the ironing board. My serger is across the room as is the computer desk. The cubbies are stacked almost 6 + feet high with baskets across the top! I also have rolling plastic storage drawers with finished work, ribbons, lace, thread, buttons and packing supplies.
I cut out projects on the our dining table. I tend to cut out a lot at one time since it is the table we eat on! I also try to sew things with similar colors all at one time so I don't have to change thread colors. I am project oriented, if a project does not have the right look or I feel that it is not quite right I will set it aside and look at it often months later.
I tend to make a lot of one series of a thing at a time. Right now I am making cup cozies! I wanted something in a different price point for my shop. I already had alll the supplies and tons of fabric scraps. I am also thinking about the treasure box of goodies that my Mother-in Law gave me recently. I haven't come up with the perfect project but it is rolling around in the back of my mind. Then there are also the personalized snowman Christmas art that I have also been thinking about.
What is your best “stress buster”?
Now that we have teenagers and a ton of Friday night driving to do, Thursday night has become pizza and movie night! That is always a great relief. Sometimes we make our own, sometimes we order in.
My quiet times that I spend praying and talking to God. I release a ton of stress that way. Date night with my best friend and husband of 23 years.
If you could visit anywhere on Earth, where would it be and why?
London England, or anywhere in England. I spent some time there as a child and I love going back. I like their city and it still feels like home to me. The years that we lived there were wonderful happy years. The history speaks to me and history is always just around the corner.
I notice you are from Tulsa ~ tell us something GREAT about living there!
I love living in Tulsa, there are hills, the river, bike trails, woods, trees, and pasture land almost right in the city. Deer jumped out in front of our car not 1/4 mile from our house! The cost of living is unbelievably low. We have three distinct seasons, Winter, Summer and Fall. Spring jumps right into summer within about 1 week and we usually have 75 degree weather the first week in Feb. Of course, then it snows in March sometime around Spring break. :0)
Don't you just want to see some of her goodies? Stop by these links and take a peek!
You can also visit her blog at http://www.chocolatedogstudio.com/
Have a wonderful, creative weekend, all!