Author: Amy Karol
a short intro
I have to tell you all that I have a craft blog because I, like so many of you all, found myself reading wee wonderfuls and jumping out of my chair. I think every craft blogger has this moment when they “discover” craftblogs and she was my first. Well, not martha was my first, but wee wonderfuls was about 1 second later.
Since then I have had the distinct pleasure to chat with Hillary on a regular basis and can tell you she is, along with being a true craft genius, generous, funny and a big ol’ smart ass. Here’s an interview (of sorts) with this amazing artist, toy maker, designer, quilter, you-name-it, and please see her own wonderful FAQ at Wee Wonderfuls for additional answers to all your burning questions regarding the amazing Hillary Lang. You can also find Ms. Lang getting her hands dirty at her amazing thrifty blog, Thriftcraft.
ak:Okay, let’s start! here are some short questions. .
favorite superhero growing up and now:
hl: (see below)
favorite color now and growing up:
hl: (see below)
hl: I was a kid before cable, didn’t have many choices
hl: see below
hl: the questions. did you clear these with my agent? I think my contract says no favorites questions. I lead an unexamined life man, I don’t have favorites. that’s why memes are so hard for me.
ak: wow, that sucked! thanks for your cooperation. How about choosing which of these 2 words fits you better. . .
hl: these either/or questions are much easier!
cake or pie – Pie!
pen or pencil – pencil
flats or heels – heels
pancakes or waffles – waffles
cold weather or really hot – C*O*L*D
salt water or fresh – fresh! as an inlander the ocean kinda freaks me out.
mountains or beach – beach, I’m also a flatlander
beegees or donna summer – although donna always brings back sweet memories of when my grandparents took disco dancing lessons I’m going to have to be true blue beegee
anchor man or dazed and confused – dazed and confused! a lang family favorite.
dresses or skirts – skirts
cash or debit – credit baby
crossword or sudoku – I’m a sudoku convert (although I insist on calling it soduko)
wine or beer – yes please
laser light show or kegger in the park – kegger (see dazed and confused above)
ak: when did you start sewing?
hl: home ec in 7th grade. I rocked a seersucker pleated skirt and thought I was cool enough to take on a stretchy knit 2 tone jogging suit for my sister. I’ve been cursing out my sewing machine ever since.
ak: what did you major in?
hl: art history.
ak: what do you wish now you could study in if you were to do it again?
hl: I want to say art, but I’m still too chickensh**t, even hypothetically, so art history? it’s as useful/useless as anything else I figure.
ak: were you a horse girl?
hl: nope, didn’t get that gene
ak: any crafts you don’t really jive with?
ak: how much does the blog motivate you now-and don’t you feel it’s cool to see you motivating the blog world?
hl: The blog hugely motivates me. If it wasn’t for it I’d be out on the porch sipping cocktails with my feet in the kiddie pool. It is all consuming and must be fed constantly. I am, however, extremely thankful for it and its demands. It keeps me out of all sorts of trouble: micro-parenting, obsessive cleaning, staying fit, being eaten alive by suburban materialism, a second kid. (btw, feel free to insert a ‘just kidding’ or winky smile after every smartass thing I say) If I do motivate people that’s awesome! If it’s in a good, positive, I-forgot-how-much-I-love-crafting sort of way. I never ever want to motivate people in a “come on, why aren’t you sewing your kids’ clothes, I am” sort of way.
ak: you are so generous with your gifts and making things for people (like me) do you feel you “have” to sell things-like having the $$ is great and needed obviously-but do you think it adds legitimacy to what you do? do you wish you didn’t have to sell? if you won the lottery, would you still sell stuff? I ask only because it seems so freeing to make things as gifts just thinking about the recipient, and not worrying “is this worth X amount”or will someone feel like it’s worth what they paid for it.
hl: what do you mean if I win, when I win I will definitely still sell things. I love to do both. Making gifts is so much fun because you’re trying to imagine the project in the recipient’s world, what do they really like, what do they have too much of (like chickens), what kind of thing is really going to scratch the itch for them. Making stuff to sell is really for me. I can make up whatever flies into my head and if it sells, awesome – validated! I’m not alone. If it doesn’t, I slink away into a world of self doubt. How could I give that up?
ak: how much do other people’s opinion affect your work in process. like when you are making something-do you prefer to get feedback the whole time, or do you just got for it and then ask when you are done? i am thinking about tim here and how much he is involved in your process. I see him as a silent wee wonderful participant-but he’s in the club right? member #2? Right ahead of Oscar?
hl: Of course Tim is involved! He’s co-president of Team Timillary. Did I actually just write that. oh well. All the nerdy details right? Tim always gives me his input. His eye for color and design is amazing. Sometimes I go to him in the beginning of a project with 2 fabrics, this or that. Sometimes I wait til the very end and then nervously hand over whatever it is I’ve been working on and hope for a good reaction. I guess I do the latter more because I like to surprise him. I sneak up behind his computer monitor and peek a big fat sheep over the top and hope for a “cool!” I think the best response I ever got from him was for the little felt butterfly.
ak: How do you see craft blogs changing now. “back in my day. . . ” but seriously, it seems different now than it did even a year ago when I started-is it??is it the photos? etsy?
hl: This is a little bit of a tricky question because I started my weblog about five minutes after discovering them. So I don’t really have much of a handle on the whole history of the craft blog before I jumped in but I have definitely seen so many changes since I began. It was so indie and laid back when I started and now it seems, well, glossy. I think it’s the photos for sure. The quality of photographs has gone through the roof. I had to persuade Tim (not hard) that we needed a fat new camera to catch up and it is so much easier to whiz through the photo taking part if you have the savings-killing camera. Now I just need to figure out that whole fuzzy focus thing.
The whole craftblog world just seems so much more professional and slick these days. Maybe it’s the huge popularity of crafting in general and all the magazines and publishers trying to get in on the action or it’s people realizing what an amazing marketing tool a blog is or it’s just an organic process. Whatever it is, I don’t want to naysay the bar raising. It’s a good thing right. What do I know. I’ve always got my head in the sand. Whenever I feel too overwhelmed by the whole thing I just stick my head down into my work and try to plow through. And there’s also my perception of it all changing as my goals change. At first it was make stuff for fun (laid back) now I’m trying to figure out if I can make a living of it (more challenging).
ak: what was your first craft blog and how did you find out about them?
hl: Loobylu baby! I found Trixie Update because Tim was vexed that Ben beat him to his baby habit tracking idea and then that lead me to Suburban Bliss and then over to Loobylu. I felt like I was hit by a ton of bricks. Never has something seemed like such an amazing fit for me.. semi-anonymously post stuff you’ve made out on the web and hopefully make a bunch of like minded friends. Brilliant! Thank you internet. I owe you. I forgive you for all the porn. sort of.
ak: you keep saying you can’t draw-how come you are such a liar?
hl: dude! I’m just drawing dolls. It’s sort of like making patterns. Have you ever seen that little thing called the 3rd dimension in my drawings? I am a 2D fraud. And I also cheat.. “Timmmm, why does she look all wrong?!” “Well maybe because her arm is twice as long as her entire body” erase. erase. voila!
ak: Thanks Hillary! Keep being awesome!
Author: Amy Karol