moms in the mommyhood - jessica fediw

we have a new "moms in the mommyhood"!

say hello to jessica from the blog & etsy store "happy together". her cheerful blog always brightens up my day and is sure to add another project to my "must make" list. she posts wonderful refashioning tutorials, great crafts and her daughter is just scrumptious. i have been an avid fan of hers since the first time i popped over to her blog. jessica's etsy store features lovely accessories, purses, handmade goods and toys and she also does custom orders. i want one of her fun headbands - i am a headband girl all the way!

in between all her sewing and being a mom the lovely jessica is also a proud wife whose husband is often away serving her country leaving her to take care of their daughter & home alone while adjusting to a new town - talk about hard work! so let's all welcome this crafty momma to the mommyhood, feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. come sit on down and join us for a cup of coffee, put the kids down for a nap, take a breather and let's chat!

if you are new to the mommyhood, our "moms in the mommyhood" features a new mom monthly who currently has their own business (doesn't matter what kind). we try to sit down and have a virtual cup of coffee and ask them all the fun, little questions that we are dying to know. we also try to get a glimpse into their lives and what it's like to have your own business and be the boss of your kids at the same time. we are always on the lookout for new moms to feature. if you know someone or you would like to be featured in this spot, please send us an email at don't be shy - we can't wait to meet you!

now, let's get sipping our coffee, heck grab a yummy treat if you so desire, pull up a chair and let's have some fun getting to know jessica:

1. Jessica, you write one of my fave daily blogs to read called "happy together". what prompted you to start the blog and how long have you been doing it for?

Well, last summer I had found out about all these crafty blogs there are out there (I don’t know why I didn’t know about the crafting blog world before then!). I really enjoyed seeing what others were doing and getting lots of inspiration from that. I had always been “crafty”, but the way life went, every time I had tried to try and make stuff to sell, etc., crazy things happened and I just did crafts occasionally. After my daughter was born in July 2007, I really started to put more into perfecting some craft skills I had (ie: sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking). It was a nice “break” from the monotonous role that motherhood can sometimes bring. Once I started reading others blogs, I decided that it would be great to be able to do the same with what I made.

So, last summer in July, I started my own blog having no idea if I was even really going to be
able to do it. My husband is in the military, and he was gone that whole summer through the end of the year, so I just leapt into it to help keep my mind off of his deployment.

2. Why did you name it "happy together"?

I named it Happy Together for a few reasons. Obviously, I am VERY happy when my little family is all together. My husband has had to be away from us quite a bit for the past three years, so I really enjoy when he’s here with us. Also, I am very happy with my crafts. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and is such a great outlet. Then, for selling purposes, I want the people who buy what I make to be happy with the products too. I could just imagine a little girl being happy together with a doll I made or something.

3. You also have an etsy store "Happy Together", which came first - the store or the blog?

My now one etsy store, has the same name as the blog, Happy Together . The blog came first. I started the etsy shop the same way I did with the blog. I had no idea how it would all work out, but I needed to just do it and get going.

4. How has your experience been having an etsy shop thus far? What are your future plans for the store and the blog?

I really love etsy and only recently have begun to put more into it. I have thus far only put a few things in here and there and have met some great people. Now that my daughter is older and I have a better planned schedule, I’m able to do more and am trying to add things weekly for sale.

For my blog, my goal now is to do a tutorial on Sundays and blog every other day. I want to be able to have a good informative blog, but also make sure that it doesn’t take time away from my family.

5. I love your recent headband tutorial! I noticed you have a flair for accessories. What is your favorite must-have accessory?

Hmmmmm…this is a hard one, but I’m going to say it’s the headband. I have crazy wavy hair and here in Florida, it’s hot. So, I wear my hair up, but it frizzes and all, so headbands help keep the hair back but also add some style to my attire (which my husband likes).

6. I caught your refashion shoe week on the blog and thought that it was so fun! How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? I know I would have a gazillion after that project!

Lol. I actually don’t own that many pairs of shoes. I mostly wear flip flops. Ever since Jaala (my daughter) was born, high heels are a rare occasion, even though I love how they make a lady look. I’m looking to add more, but ones of better quality now.

7. When did you start doing tutorials and what sparked your first one? I have to say my favorite one is the red long sleeve shirt refashion.

I am one of those people who love to create great things, but at a good price. Not to be cheap and lack quality, but just smart with the money that I have. I always loved sharing with people I know how I came up to do something cheaper, etc. It started out with wedding things. Then it just grew from there. I decided to start doing tutorials to share with even more people what comes to me. I don’t believe in hoarding good information all to myself. I want others to be able to use their money wisely too and create amazing fun things at the same time.

8. I just recently started to learn how to sew and have been having a hard time finding classes/groups to learn from. How long have you been sewing and how did you learn?

My grandmother and mother both sewed, but my grandmother was the one who kind of taught me when I was little. Of course, then, I wasn’t that interested in it. Once I got to college and started to “find myself”, I decided to take on sewing (that was around my 2nd year in 2004). I kind of played around on my mom’s sewing machine and started to teach myself. I didn’t really stay with it though. I had to focus more on school, plus I met my husband and he took up a lot of my time. I jumped back into it though in 2006 after we got married.

9. What's your favorite thing to sew? Worst project experience?

I love to sew anything that won’t take a long time! I have a short attention span and like to have very quick gratification when it comes to making things.

Worst project experience….there have been so many! Lol. It was some things back in the beginning when I was teaching myself to sew and would do things totally wrong and look back and think what an idiot I was for doing it that way. I can’t think of one in particular, but I remember throwing a lot of unfinished projects away because it just wasn’t worth trying to fix.

10. What would you sew if you had an unlimited budget?

Could I get unlimited time too? Well, I would make a lot more clothes for me and the little one. I would also like to make myself a Christmas quilt, nicer curtains for all the rooms in my house, and all the things on my list that I would love to be able to make for presents. And, I have always wanted to do some sort of project where what I made would go to some sort of cause, like hospital gowns for children who are in a hospital long term (it’s on my future goals list). I get the most joy, honestly, out of making thoughtful things for others.

11. I noticed a lot of us have been turning to Anthropologie lately for clothing inspired refashions. What inspires you when creating a new garment?

I’m one of those Anthropologie junkies too. I love their style because it’s kind of artsy, but still grown up. I also look in magazines like Vogue, Elle, and Lucky for more sophisticated style inspiration. For things for my daughter, I check out boutiques, European clothing lines, and Flickr groups.

12. How would you define your style?

There are so many I like, I have a hard time with that myself. I definitely swing more towards a vintage type style though. And I like accessories, because I like to wear more simple clothes on the daily and they help dress that up.

13. What is your absolute fave article of clothing that you own?

It is the amazing black velvety vintage dress that I wore to the Coast Guard ball with my husband last winter. I found it on EBay and knew I had to have it. Once I received it, I was even more excited that it was handmade. I’m never giving that dress up (well, until my daughter asks for it).

14. You have a little girl, Jaala, when do you most often find the time to sew or work on your crafts?

Jaala (pronounced Jayla) and she will be two at the end of this month. I can’t do anything when she’s awake. Period. So, we go out and about then. I sneak in time during her naps, as long as I have other things in order that take priority. I also take every other night once she goes to sleep to work on things, usually. The other nights are for me and my hubby to spend together.

15. Any secret sewing tips you would be willing to share?

The only thing that comes to mind is this: I bought a cone thread stand for my machine (I just have a regular machine) to be able to buy the cones of thread instead of the little spools to use. I get way more for more money and the cones last forever! (at least for me)

16. What are your top 5 blogs/websites that you read faithfully?

I have more than five, but I will share the blogs that I found first because they helped me figure out what I was going to do with the whole craft blog thing.

-Grosgrain (I found her by searching for vintage curtains on Flickr. She had made a shirt for her daughter out of one).

-Wee Wonderfuls (I first read about her in a magazine from JoAnn’s fabric store. That is what actually brought me to the craft blog world).

-Hello My Name is Heather (by Heather Bailey)

-Jenny Garland I found her via Craftster and I liked watching her make things for her daughter. It also helped me imagine what my daughter would be like when she was older (her girl is about a 1 and a half older than mine)

-Ohdeedoh I get lots of “kid” inspiration here.

17. How do you balance the challenge of blogging/etsy with being a mom/wife?

It has been ever changing as the needs of my family change, but at the moment I try to stick to a schedule but have also learned that family comes first and if I can’t blog or get to some project, IT IS OK. I know I have limitations and I blog for free, so I can’t let it consume my life. Etsy is coming into my life, but hasn’t been a priority at all yet.

As I stated in a previous question, I use nap times (which she only started to actually take well this past February/March, but we won’t go there) and every other night after she goes to bed to work on things. I’m solely dedicated to her and house things while she is awake. I will not rob her of me. Then my husband and I take the other nights to have at home dates. We still don’t know anyone well enough at this new station to trust with that yet. But, we are happy and it works out. While I craft, he does music. We both feel that we receive what we need from each other, yet still have time to follow our own creative dreams together.

18. What's your advice to other mom's looking to start their own etsy shop?

I’m not an expert, but I have met some who are pretty successful on Etsy. They spread out their postings to try and hit more of an audience and will have sales occasionally (what women doesn’t love a sale?). Have a fun storefront, because it won’t make or break you, but it does make me want to look around more if someone’s store is attractive. Take the best pictures you can. And, just go for it! Even if it never goes anywhere, sometimes you just have to take that first step and see where it goes.

19. What's your favorite sewing resource (book/mag/website) that you use? Fave designer? Fave material?

Favorite sewing resource: Whatever I can get my hands on! I think that I keep almost every single craft magazine that I have ever bought (it’s not too many, but still a lot). I love books to look at because sometimes I don’t want to look at a computer.

For websites, I love Flickr, Craftster, Craft Stylish, and Burda Style to peruse on.

No favorite designer. Everyone is so different, I take something from everyone’s style.

My favorite material is fabric, especially ones that make me happy. Those kinds are either bright and happy or elegant.

thank you so much jessica! you are such a sweetheart! it was so fun to interview you and i can't wait to see what you are going to make next week. i wish i lived closer to you so we could really have that coffee together, let the girls play and dish about how much we miss our hubbies when they are working. anytime you need an ear to listen - you shoot me an email :)

{all images jessica fediw unless otherwise stated}