Welcome to the last edition of our blog interviews for this year. Today we are vising Lisa of CinderLisaDesign located in Bountiful, Utah, near Salt Lake City.
Hi Lisa, thanks for having us! Tell us a little about your shop and your crafting: What do you make and sell?
I have a few spiral-bound notebooks, upcycled from food products - I hate to throw anything away. The spiral binder was my sister's though, and she's in California, and her machine inaccessible since my move to Utah. So I've taught myself Coptic stitch (and recently stab-bound, though I haven't used that much in the shop yet) to keep up my upcycling ways.
So far as my journals go, I play to my strengths, and what I know is sewing. My covers are quilted—a lifetime growing up in a quilting family means I have quite the stash of cotton fabric. I use felt as a base, and quilt fabric over it, sometimes pieced, sometimes just as a plain swatch of fabric I find particularly beautiful. I also have an extensive collection of buttons at my disposal, and one of my favorite things to do is go through them and find just the right accents to finish off a piece.
Lately I've been making wedding favor notebooks, too (I used them for my own wedding, too, you'd better believe!) and they've been a lot of fun to do. It's a lot of fun working with a customer, finding custom colors for them.
You seem to indicate that you have a background in sewing...
My mother is a quilter, specializing in Hawaiian and Jacobean appliqué. She's from a long line of quilters, so fabric and craft stores have always been a part of my life. One of my earliest memories is learning how to sew with DMC floss and bubblewrap that my mom would give me. I've dabbled in quilting, but never had the real patience needed to finish things in that media. My brothers and sister are all artists in one way or another... my brothers have both worked as professional sculptors and artists, and my sister was actually a LEGO master model builder.
So how did bookmaking come to your life?
Really I've only been bookbinding for a couple of years, and I was actually inspired to do it by browsing Etsy and falling in love with the handmade books I was seeing. I've been a lover of books all my life, and an avid journaler for years. While buying journals I'd think every once in a while that I should learn how to make my own, but had never really looked into it. Finally one day I decided to go ahead and do it. I looked up a youtube video on longstitch softcover books, got out my sewing machine, and never looked back!
Do you have a day job different from being an Etsy seller?
Yes, I work as a freelance writer, and as an editor for Drollerie Press, an online publishing company specializing in "speculative" fiction. I went to school for a Literature degree from the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara, which is a degree designed especially for students "curiously focused" on Literature and Creative Writing. My big goal is and always has been to get published—I'm working on two Young Adult paranormal novels at the moment, and am looking forward to finishing the first early next year. (Wish me luck!)
I would like to work employed, and have been looking for a "day job" for a good long time with little success. Well, I just got married in the beginning of November, so the last year my job really has been trying to accomplish that with as little money as possible, meaning hand-making a LOT of the decorations, the favors, even my bouquet (out of paper, of course!).
What is the story behind your Etsy name?
CinderLisa was a nickname my mom gave me when I was a kid. Whenever I even came close to complaining about chores, I'd get a "but how else will you earn your prince?" Honestly, I sort of hated it, but when I opened up my Etsy shop, I decided I was going to reclaim the name for myself.
What do you think is the secret of your success?
I really try to make a range of things... I think the only reason my shop has been successful for me so far (considering I've yet to had a chance to truly devote myself to it) is because of the product range I have, from kitschy notebooks to unique, one-of-a-kind journals. I've been really careful to put a whole price range in my shop, and when deciding on new products, an effort to round out the price range is usually a factor.
Would you dare to show off the first you ever made?
Sure, you can see it in the photo below. The cover is made from a bag of scraps from a strip quilt I was working on (which is still unfinished). It's not perfect, but it was enough to make me believe that I could keep doing it, and it gave me that little thrill of satisfaction that only finishing a creation can give you. You can read the whole story here, on my blog.
This year almost came to an end. Do you have new plans for the next year to come?
I'm really interested in making custom envelopes and cards, which I'd be putting up in my shop. I just enjoy finding new ways to play with paper. I also learned a lot from putting my wedding together, and am considering implementing some of those techniques, also... I'd be delighted if I could start selling the type of bouquet that I used in my wedding, and once I figure out pricing for that, I'm going to test it out.
Thank you, Lisa, for granting us a glimpse behind the scenes!
If you now are curious to learn more about Lisa and her creations there are a couple of places where you can catch up with her: Of course you can go to Etsy and browse the shelves in her shop, she is writing a blog on crafting, and another writing blog, and you can find her on twitter and tumblr.