Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Featured Guest - Susan Hahaj


Susan was at the retreat the last time I was out there.  She was part of the Paper Cowgirls group and let me tell you ... that girl can create some magic!!!!!  Keep going - read below and look at the pictures.  Oh - and that craft room!?!  What person wouldn't just die for a room like that?  I think you'll join me when I say "I know I would!"
Tell us something about yourself.  I am a lifelong crafter. I have always loved creating pretties for myself and family and friends.  One of my first projects was a corduroy skirt for my sister at Christmas when I was in the seventh grade. I also loved crafting and sewing for my children as they grew up. I now love creating for my two grandchildren, Madison and Aiden! I love themed crafting for birthday parties and such. My day job is as a broadcast captioner for television – for Canadian television – from my home.  It’s a wonderful job! And I have more time to craft when not working too!
Now that we know a little about you, tell us how others would describe you – in just five words.  Obsessive crafter, lover of vintage, friendly, Mimi and Mom.
What do you want to be when you grow up?  Just who I am now – but can we add in my own craft retreat to share with fellow creative friends too?!
How did you find out about Whitworth Ranch Retreat?  Through my Paper Cowgirl gals from one of my favorite towns - Waxahachie!

The "Cindy" fabric door hanger was one of several pretties I made when our group got together at the Ranch a couple times ago. I like to bring a gift for each gal - when I can find the time to make them.

The Tilda teacup was a tutorial I taught the gals at that same retreat. I also left one that is on display in the main house too. It was a hit!

How many times have you been there?  Three.
Do you have a preference as to which room you sleep in?  I like the main house. I love the vintage country style and it has a serene aura!
Where do you prefer to get your craft on?  Large room, small room?  Do you have a favorite spot/table?  I like large tables – I’ve gotta lot-a-junk! 

Were you in a mixed group or did you fill the house with your own friends?  Mixed group and that is the BEST way to be! It makes life and crafting much more fun!
If there is an opening for just one person, are you open to attending a retreat with women you’ve never met?  Probably not. I have to be selective with time off and I prefer to at least know one person when I’m at the ranch.
If you were forced to wear a warning label, what would yours say?  Warning – my junk spreads as I craft! Sorry!

What do you do in your spare time when you are not crafting or retreating?  Spending time with the grandbabies and reading.
Are you a paper crafter, seamstress, quilter, knitter, jewelry maker or trouble-maker?  I love many crafts. All it takes is an hour on Pinterest and my obsessive crafty side will kick in and not let go!

How would you describe your art for the general public audience if they have never seen it before?  Full of vintage details and/or a theme shines through.
How does your work differ from others in your genre?  I’m very much detail oriented and probably a messy perfectionist. If that makes sense.
What have you created that you are most proud of – and why?  Probably pieces I’ve created for my daughter over the years. She “gets” my style and really appreciates everything I make and showcases it in her house. Also I was very proud of all of the wedding items I made for her wedding eight years ago. She let me have full control and I ran with it! Fun but in the end it was stressful too!
I created this for my daughter, Megan.  This was a birthday present and she loves it!  I think this was one of my favorites to make, too.

I made this for my husband for Father's Day.  He is an amateur radio enthusiast and this spells "Freedom" in 'ham radio' language.  He loves it and has it in his office.  It was created on an old cupboard door bought in Canton.

This is a framed chalkboard I created for my niece's wedding.

This is art I made for my grandkids' playroom at our house.  Fun!

The colorful "book" I made from a tutorial and it's filled with neat pages made out of old dryer sheets! 

I made crowns for all of the kids for my granddaughter's third birthday party and this is her with her BFF in them.
Aprons and matching chef hats were made for a cupcake cooking themed fifth birthday party for my granddaughter.
The next is a special present I made for Madison as a keepsake of her birthday. She's into little vignette settings to play pretend. 
The theme for my granddaughter’s sixth birthday party was "Mermaids.”  Each child received a hooded mermaid towel!!!
Here is a picture of Madison wearing the Easter dress I made for her Aunt Katie (my youngest daughter who is now 26) that Katie wore when she was the same age. I love this!
This laundry bag was a pretty I made for Madison to use at home.

I entered a contest and made and decorated a top hat and I won! I donated it to a charity auction to raise money for victims of a tornado and it sold for a hundred dollars! It's made from a vintage dress with embellishments.
Do you have any crafting secrets you would like to share?  I read that the Amish purposely have a “mistake” in their quilting to show humility. I take that to heart and also believe that a mistake in my projects is just another way to view a different direction that I may not have considered before.
What do you wish you were better at?  Knitting and crocheting. I tried to take it up again and it was a hellish mess! 

If Ms. Muse decides not to show up, where do you get your inspiration?  Like all other women, I find it on Pinterest. And living in Texas with Canton monthly, I can walk around there and come up with all kinds of ideas swirling in my little head.

How do you stay inspired?  I let myself be inspired when it comes. If it’s not there, I usually take a break and just read a good book until it comes back.
How does your creative process work?  Idea is seen or hits me. I go to gather supplies and spend half my paycheck at either Hobby Lobby, Michaels or Joann Fabrics. Come home, make a huge mess creating my project and then a week later decide I better clean up that mess so I can start another project. 

Do you have a dedicated craft area in your home?  I do and it’s made me giddy! I FINALLY have what for me is my dream craft room. We moved to our new home a year ago and the criteria for this new house was a large kitchen and a LARGE craft room the length of the house. And we found both in this house and only five minutes from the grandbabies, which is best of all!

This is a thrift store chair I recovered in feedsacks I bought at the Round Top Antique Show and I also made the pleated trim to recover it for my craft room.
Tell us all about it – what have you done to make your space cozy or beautiful or inspiring?  I did a trio of complementing colors on the walls and tried to have a designated crafting area, sewing area and a TV/computer seating area.  We also added into the existing attic and I told the contractor I want a BIG craft closet. I’m like REAL Big. I wasn’t joking! LOL!!!

How do you keep your area organized?  I’ve tried so many things over the years. In our old house I had a small bedroom so I went UP. I purchased slat walls and shelving and hooks from a Dallas company (slat walls are used in store shelving) and it did help with my small room. This time I have more room so I bought wire paper shelves for paper and several IKEA cupboards and cubes and even added an over the door organizer on my closet.

How many hours a week do you spend in your happy place?  Not as many as I’d like. But probably one to two hours a day. Darn it that I have to work to support my obsessive crafting!

What would the walls in your craft space say?  About you?  About your work?  They’d say she likes a lot of variety and supplies. They’d say she creates to be happy.

If you could add just one tool to your craft arsenal, what would you add?  A kiln. I don’t know how to really do pottery, but I have a book that makes me want to do it!

What is your favorite “must have” item for crafting – something that you just cannot be separated from?  My glue gun. I like glue but the glue gun is a crafter’s MUST. Oh or maybe it’s glitter. I am also known as a glitter queen.

What is the most useless item that you have purchased to craft?  Probably my Silhouette cutting machine. I just can’t get myself to read the manual. I’ve had it like five years and my daughter used it once, as I wouldn’t take the time to read the manual. LOL!

Do you keep any of your own creations on display?  Yes, I love to remember the fun I had creating items by glancing at them in my craft room and my house too.

What are your tricks for organizing your supplies?  Just do the best you can in the space you have with the time that you have to do it. And just “let it go” like Elsa sings.

Finish this sentence:  When I am in my creative space, I feel curious, excited, happy.

I am going to grant you three wishes to make your area into your dream space.  What are your three wishes?  Even more room with a chandelier please!

What are your favorite products to create with at this moment?  It would have to at this moment be my embroidery machine.

Speaking of embroidering, this beach tote is a rare embroidery machine/sewing goodie I made for myself.  It's not often that I craft for myself, but this is the one time that I did.

Are you a neat or a messy crafter?  Messy. I’ve gotten better though on cleaning up afterwards. It’s a continuing struggle.

It’s time to go shopping.  Does most of your money go to Hobby Lobby, Joann’s, Michael’s, conventions or a local scrapbook store?  Or are you an on-line shopper?  Probably Hobby Lobby. It’s their home décor and sewing department all together with the crafting supplies that have me choose them most often.

Are you an impulse craft supplies shopper?  Yes, very much so. Clearance is my middle name.

Do you have any personal goals you have not yet attained?  If so, what are you doing to fulfill these goals?  I would like to learn more and take classes on quilting. I think I’ll need to retire in order to have the time to do so though.

Tell me that one thing that you have not yet done that you really want to do.  I want to go to an art retreat in France. Is that too much to ask?!

If you were given $1000 to spend on craft supplies/tools what would you purchase?  Probably would buy a serger and maybe a second sewing machine to go with my embroidery machine. This way I can embroider and sew on the second machine.

Do you spend hours and hours looking at blogs?  Do you have a blog?  I don’t. I have a few blogs I look at daily, but I’m a scanner now. Usually led there by Pinterest. I did have a blog, but I found that I sit on my behind too much when I work and then to sit more to blog was not healthy. So I quit blogging.

What is the best piece of advice that anyone has ever given you regarding your crafting?  Nicki told me at our last ranch retreat that your (Bleep) is good, Susie. You should sell it! Thanks, Nicki! You’re so sweet!

Do you have any inspirational words to share?  I will give you the one on my office wall:  “A book is a garden carried in a pocket.”

I know.  I know.  What happens at the retreat stays at the retreat.  Let’s break a few rules.  Tell me something interesting that was said or happened on one of your retreats.  Oh we all agree what happens at the ranch stays at the ranch.  It's a code punishable by no more sharing of craft goodies with you if you break it.  ZIPPED LIPS HERE!

WOW - now that's an interview!!!  Thank you so much, Susan, for a peek into your life.  AND into your craft room.  I'm sure most of you will agree with me when I say I am green with envy.

Remember one thing:  YOU MATTER.  See you next time!




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