~~ Welcome ~~
Born and raised in Northern Indiana, I’ve lived here all my life. I married my high-school sweetheart (Jennifer) in 1987. She is a total Type-A personality. She is sharp and very organized. I love her dearly, but, can I just say that creativity and craftiness are not her strong suits? Which is perfectly fine. (Love you honey!) Our oldest son was a “May Day” baby, born May 1, 1995. Five years later, our little redhead Matthew, was born on June 20th — which just happened to be our 13th wedding anniversary AND Father’s Day. Our boys bring such joy to our lives. They are both smart (they take after their mother), voracious readers, and sports-minded. Matthew is also a creative-, crafty-type. Hmmm, wonder how that happened?!?!
I’ve been making things for as long as I can remember. Paper, glue and scissors were my best friends during my childhood. In fact, truth be told, I liked glue so much in the first and second grade, that I ATE it. Yep..right out of the jar!
One of my first memories of a ‘crafty moment’ was when I was about eight years old. One late fall/early winter afternoon, my grandmother dragged me along with her to the hairdresser. How boring. But…not only was Phyllis (yes…I remember her name) a beautician, she worked with ceramic. Her house/studio was full of the stuff. I was amazed, especially with the beautiful Nativity pieces that she had on display. I must have thought to myself, “I can do this.” Later that day, I decided that some powdered laundry detergent and some liquid fabric softener would make a great “ceramic” medium. So…I mixed some up and poured it in a plastic cup. And, short of a kiln, I simply placed the cup on top of the furnace. Not a smart idea. My parents found (and removed) the cup and told me what a dangerous situation that was. My career in ceramics was over.
For those of you who were around in the 70’s, you might recall that macramé was a popular craft. I got hooked on it from two sources: the lady that watched me and my brother and sister while my parents were at work; and my mom’s hairdresser (what is it with hairdressers and crafts!?!?!). Marilyn was the neighbor across the street that made beautiful macramé bracelets and necklaces. I got to go with her one time to Susie’s Bead shop. My jaw dropped: thousands of glass, metal, and clay beads in neat little boxes. Wow! The colors. The shapes. The ideas!
My mom went to Elaine’s Place each Saturday to get her hair ‘done’. Elaine had some jute houseplant hangers in her shop. And…on a table was an instruction booklet. To pass the time, I flipped through the pages. A few minutes later, Elaine looked over and said, “Oh Mike, you can take that home with you if you want. Maybe you can make something. Just have your mom bring it back next week.” Shazam! That’s all I needed to hear. Mike’s Macramé Mart was born.
I was dead-serious about this crafting venture. I tried SO hard to talk my mom and dad into finding a source for brown paper bags that I could have printed with my shop name on them. No dice. I continued to make and sell several jute hangers. I even made a huge floor-to-ceiling double plant hanger for my mom and dad.
Fast-forward through high school and college. Jennifer and I got married in 1987 and rented an apartment. I made the curtains for our office/den and crafted our first Christmas tree skirt out of preppy-plaid fabric. About eight years later, our first son, Nathan, appeared on the scene. As you may know, babies eat a lot. And they spit up. And drool. So baby bibs are a necessity. But plastic baby bibs are nasty (they are scratchy and they smell like vinyl). The nice, cloth, bibs seemed too expensive. The light bulb in my head came on. Since necessity is the mother of invention, I decided I could make bibs. And I did. Using the refurbished sewing machine (from the J C Penney catalog) that my mom passed on to me, I cranked out all sorts of bibs. My wife and I would make trips to JoAnn Fabrics and find all kinds of “kiddie fabric”. Holiday prints were a big hit too. At the time, I was really against using the hook-and-loop fasteners (Velcro is the popular brand) so I opted to make buttonholes and sew on buttons. I had a classy operation going.
When friends and family members caught on to the fact that I was making bibs, they wanted them too. And that’s really how all this craftiness started. I was like a bib-making machine. Assuming that others would like my handicraft, I decided to start selling bibs online. I toyed with eBay and when I found Etsy, I found the mother lode. Etsy is a great place to sell handmade items. And they offer a great community of inspired makers and sellers. I highly recommend Etsy to all artists and craftspeople that want to get their handmade items into the marketplace.
So, that’s the rambling “About” page for Crafty Dad. Today I still make a few things from time to time, but my creative time is mostly spent on home projects, yard work, and writing. I’m always tweaking up my website — I’m a little bit ADD about that.
I’m really glad you stopped by and I hope you’ll stop by often.