GET A HOBBY: EMBROIDERY / PARTY GIRL GOODS, August, 2015, Brooklyn, NY

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I’ve always been pretty artistic and crafty. In lower school, when I struggled with learning disabilities, I always received glowing reviews from my art teachers. They were especially taken with a series of “back of the head” portraits I drew of my classmates in the fourth grade. Seeing a passion develop my mother bought me water colors and acrylics and I soon begged her to invest in oils. I began taking painting lessons and made a few decent pieces but as soon as puberty hit I kind of forgot about my hobby. In high school I was so focused on modern dancing (which is so LOL to think about now) I only took one art class. At some point I picked up knitting but I was never very good, I don’t think I ever even finished a scarf. By the time I got to college I had all but forgotten about creating, other than crafts for theme parties and costumes (DUH).

Sometime during college I developed an urge to learn to needle point – mostly so I could make a pillow that said “Please Use the Ashtrays” (I collect vintage glass ashtrays, even though I’ve never been a cigarette smoker). I always talked about teaching myself but was hindered by the price of supplies and my habit of not finishing projects. Then about a year ago I needed some “Restroom” signs for my restaurant and after finding nothing I liked on Etsy I thought FUCK IT I’m going to teach myself needlepointing and make myself some restroom signs! After some quick googling, I realized needle pointing or cross stitch was a little too tedious for my ADD and decided regular embroidery was the way to go. I went to my favorite store, Michaels, spent $60 on supplies and one how to book and got to stitching.

Like most crafty things I picked it up pretty easily. I started to embroider while watching TV or riding the subway, rather than stare at my phone all the time. I made restroom signs, all of my dogs names in script, loral bouquets and  eventually started making presents for my friends and family. Then this past March, inspired by one of my best friend Lily’s save the date, card stock with vintage match books with all but two matches pulled out which read “We’re a perfect math!”. I played off the card and made this little matchbook with two perfect matches. It was one of their favorite engagement gifts and she urged me to start selling them and other stitched items. SO “The Perfect Match”,  which has become somewhat of a signature designs, and my Etsy store PartyGirlGoods were born!

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you my store was a total success right off the bat (it still isn’t). I first sold at a Brooklyn crafts market, which wasn’t the greatest experience. But it forced me to make enough inventory to stock my store with more than just the match books! I stitched glittery fish, naked ladies, tools and even collaborated with a good friend and artist Zuzu Snyder on really cool looking succulents. I’ve slowly but surely been stocking up my Etsy store and have made a handful of sales. In June Refinery29 even listed one of our succulents as a “25 Items Under-$30 Made For Brightening Up Your Apartment” which gave my store tons of traffic and a bunch of new followers. I am in no way internet famous or raking in the dough but let me tell you it feels so good to be making things! (And to have friends, random people and a website I love like things I’ve made) I love coming up with quirky ideas and making them come to life. I love thinking of thoughtful presents for friends and creating pieces they can keep forever. This is especially true for wedding and engagement gifts – it feels so good to give from the heart and not off the registry. (If you don’t want a gift from the heart, tough cookies cause I’m broke). It’s a very similar feeling as the joy I get from cooking – planning, executing, creating- it’s just a little more permanent.

I leave you with this advice – start making things! Wether it’s cooking, drawing, woodworking, tie dying! If you have the latent urge to create but have been ignoring it because you are too busy or too poor, trust me, you’re not! And an initial investment is worth it if it’s going to make you happy. I know it did for me.

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