Permission to be “You”


When Vanessa Vargas Wilson of Crafty Gemini asked to interview me for her Bee Buddy series, I was so excited.

First, I have only been interviewed once before yet I have published 45 podcast interviews with other makers. I was excited/nervous to be on the other end of the interview. Since I have met and spent time with Vanessa in person (plus had her on my podcast), I knew we would have a ton of fun.

Secondly, the interviews are exclusive for her Quilt Club members and therefore the conversation was going to be very personal. Somehow, knowing the interview was not open to the public changed my view on the discussion.

As I expected, I had a great time talking with Vanessa. Upon reflection, one question resonated with me. We were talking about the podcast and my decision to start recording interviews with makers. She asked me how I made the decision I wanted to be a part of the sewing/crafting community. What a great question!

As most people know, I did not start out in this industry. While an undergraduate, I was a student advocate and decided to major in political science. At University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), I took a class in Urban Planning as part of my electives. I fell in love with the connection between people and their environment. I saw how planners work with the community to solve problems and bring together various members around a common goal. I went on to graduate school at University of Southern California (USC) and received my Master’s Degree in Urban Planning. After working for two different City Councilmembers, I become a Planner for both a City and eventually became the manager of a land use planning program for another agency. It was exciting, exhausting and meaningful work.

But I stepped away from it. It didn’t feel right anymore. People thought I was crazy. I thought I was crazy. I knew how I felt in my heart though and luckily, I could take some time to think about what I wanted to do next with my life. Struggling to find a good professional fit, I started my own land use planning company and worked for two counties in Southern California. Unfortunately, it still did not feel right. I was pregnant with Miss No No and decided to completely step away from my field. At that point, between my schooling and career, I had worked in local government and planning for over ten years. When I decided to step away, I felt lost from my career sharing friends and yet I didn’t fit in with other local stay at home mothers either. It was a tough time for me. After spending most of my life being crafty, I decided to reach out to other makers. I co-founded the San Diego Modern Quilt Guild and just kept making things. Making made me happy and fulfilled my desire to make a difference.

I decided to start the blog as a way to communicate with others in the industry and chronicle my makes. At the time, everyone “had to have” a blog. There was a learning curve but I was lucky enough to find supportive people along my path. During a Learn More, Sew More challenge I was working through on the blog, I asked guests if they wanted to participate in a podcast. Luckily, Sara Lawson agreed and started me down this path.

[one_half]Sara Lawson Podcast with Crafty Planner[/one_half][one_half_last]Christine Haynes[/one_half_last]

When I recorded a podcast with Christine Haynes, I asked her advice about being in the industry. She wisely told me to “be what you want to be”. If I want to be in this industry, then I need to believe I am and act that way. Put in the work and see what happens. My mind was blown away. It was a simple thought yet immensely powerful. I decided I want to be in this industry. I want to inspire people to follow their heart and be creative in a way that works for them. So if you listen to the podcast and/or read this blog, I hope I give you the inspiration you want/need. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.

Comments 4

  1. It’s hard to walk away from stability and comfort of knowing, but there is something so exhilarating about the unknown! You are so inspiring and help inspire others through your interviews. I think you found your “Happy”! 🙂 I am so excited for the years to come and the unknown! I am so lucky to have found your podcast, avid listener since episode 4 🙂 You are an amazing lady, keep it up! See you in Spring!

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