I have always loved to sew and when I was younger I made most of my clothes. In the early 70’S I landed my first job and I purchased my first sewing machine. It was a simple Kenmore machine and only performed a straight stitch, zigzag stitch and it came with buttonhole attachment. In 2004, I made my husband, Frank a reversible winter jacket. It turned out so nice that when our four sons saw the coat, they each wanted one too. I was on the fourth jacket and my sewing machine just stopped working. That sewing machine had become a part of my life…I was heart broken. While shopping for a new and upgraded sewing machine, I just had to check out the embroidery machines. I took my new sewing machine home and finished my son’s jackets.
The following year I was able to afford my first embroidery machine and a software package. I had a lot of fun learning how to run the embroidery sewing machine. I started making baby blankets and embroidering cute little sayings to sell at craft shows. My best craft-show sellers were my dog jackets. They were a big hit! The crafts shows came to a screeching halt in December 2006. Without any warning or symptoms, I was diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer. Within a two-year time span, I had seven surgeries and 18 rounds of chemo. It took a tremendous toll on my body and my brain and it took a long time to gain my strength back, but life goes on.
When I started to sew and do a little embroidery again, I found inspiration for new baby bib designs from my Grandson. It was his first Christmas and I wanted to make him a unique gift. His Daddy loves to hunt and I had fabric left over from his Daddy’s jacket a few years prior. I embroidered “Can’t wait to hunt with my DAD!!.” I did a reversible brown just in case his Mommy didn’t like it. The second bib I embroidered was Army Camo. Three of my Grandsons Uncles were in the Army. I embroidered “My Uncles are in the Army. What do your Uncles do??” I included the Uncles names on the bib. Both bibs were very unique and a huge hit. Since my first inspirations for a line of bibs, I have since expanded the bib lines to include fishing, golfing and other military camos.
The following year, we began selling the bibs at our craft shows. Started out with just a few sayings and we had some sales. I expanded the bib line to include pink and hot pink thread. Again, these were a huge hit. We wondered how they would sell on line. Currently, we have over 130 different bibs, plus custom orders. Over a thousand bibs later…it’s still fun. I purchased my second embroidery machine last year and upgraded my sewing machine this year.
The best part is the feedback from my customers. Their comments melt my heart at times. Some of my customers announce their pregnancies with these bibs – I am honored and touched to be a part of the joyous news.
As a young man starting out in the working world, my first job was with a furniture hardware manufacturer located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I started out as a press operator and later worked in shipping. Then I joined the United States Army and after leaving military service, I became a Tool & Die Designer. After working in the industry for a while and I again changed careers and worked as a mechanic for Toro. After 6 years with Toro, I returned to the Tool and Die Design Field.
I really have no background in working with wood, but I discovered later in my life after several different careers that I really enjoy working with wood. I love the rich beauty of the wood grains and the earthy colors that only exist in nature. I wish I had the ability to make pictures using different kinds of wood. Each tree slice has it’s own unique pattern.
My first real inspiration to work with wood was when I saw a balancing wine bottle holder that was in the shape of a fish. I was convinced I could create something similar. Now I enjoy working in my woodshop creating a variety of handmade artisan wood products.