How would you describe your particular craft style? The heart of my stitchery designs (hopefully) reflect the authenticity of who I am as a person; a homemaker, pursuer of gentle domestic arts, nature-lover, Christian.
Did your distinctive style happy over time or was it immediate when you started stitching? Over time. At first, I dabbled a lot, having no idea where I was with regards to style because it was all so new. Nowadays, I’m comfortable in my Jenny-stride and feel no regrets shredding good sketches that don’t truly ‘fit’. And I’m not averse to cutting a half-stitched design into pieces for the same reason.
Are you good at all the crafts you’ve tried? Ha ha ha!! No way! Back in the early 2000s, I wanted to try folk art, so I took one lesson at Spotlight, bought all the gear and immersed myself in paint for two years. My family called this “jenny-art” because it in no way resembled folk art. I think we were all shocked years later that I could actually design a stitchery.
What sorts of crafts do you avoid like the plague?I tried sewing ½in hexis early in 2014. Do you remember Professor Julius Sumner Miller and his incredible science show for kids? Well, his hair was wild, and he’d ask the audience “Why is it so?”, before he explained an experiment. Making ½in hexis sent my hair wild, and the people in the next suburb could hear me shrieking, “Why is it so!!??”. Today, I can make 1in hexis or larger, but those ½in are still my nemesis.
Other than crafting, how do you like to spend your free time? In the Jeep with my husband, our cameras, Merri the dog, no maps and a full picnic basket. Nature is my recharge, where I gain perspective and inspiration. We’re surrounded by rainforest up here in the tropics, so there’s always a destination waiting to meet us.
Is your stitching a great diversion from tasks you’d prefer to avoid (eg: housework)? Not really. I enjoy homemaking a LOT, and sometimes decluttering or moving furniture causes me to lose track of time, so the next day I have to schedule a long stint of sewing. I also find my monthly ‘spring clean’ inspires designs and blog posts. But I should confess I hate, abhor, detest and avoid mopping, which is a constant chore in a hardwood-floor house.
If the good fairy granted you three wishes, what would you want them to be?Firstly, our own home with a white picket fence, chooks, ducks, verandah round all sides and an established fruit and veggie garden. Secondly, All my kids and their families to live in the same town as me. And thirdly, a big room in the house to host sewing days and Bible studies.
Of all the designs you have created, which has been your favourite? Be the Best that You Can Be – it’s a stitchery that says it all, a message to myself, my girls, and women everywhere.
And which has been most popular with the public or gift recipient? Rosedaisy Alphabet astounds me with how popular it still is, but it’s a most versatile set of 26 designs, and I love seeing photos of how others have used one or more of the 26 letters to create special gifts or personal projects.
Are you happy with the space you work in – what are its limitations and benefits? My sewing room is small, hot a lot of the year (the tropical sun can be hard to work in) and crowded. But, having said that, it’s also a pretty little room with two-thirds of one wall being a window for plenty of natural light. And being small, the room gets a monthly deep-clean/re-organise from me. Limited space means I can’t accumulate too much stuff, so I think in the big scheme of things, my sewing room keeps me humble. I also have an office for the business side of Elefantz, which is where I have my desk, computer, a bookcase of fabrics, some supplies and the ironing board. It’s also my husband’s office, so it stays clean and uncluttered all the time so both of us can work effectively. I love that we can share coffee and chit chat while we work.
Have you got a stitching dream or goal?A book … it’s there in my head, but Elefantz Designs already takes six days a week from me, so finding time to work on it isn’t easy. At one stage, I had a dream to design fabric, but when a manufacturer asked me to do this, I discovered it wasn’t really something that mattered to me anymore, so I declined. It’s the book that keeps simmering away in my thoughts. One day.
What makes you laugh out loud? Loads of things. I describe myself as “laughing so loud your house might break”. And it’s true – just ask my family and friends. Joy is a huge part of my life, even in the most difficult of times, so when I feel like the business side of Elefantz is robbing me of breath or life takes a swipe at me, I grab some hand quilting, load the DVD player with something like Upper Middle Bogan and get the belly laughter rolling again.