Designing is a passion for me

 whether it's remodeling a bathroom to fit current needs,
designing a sofa cover to bring in a new look that is
friendly to the budget,

refinishing a piece of furniture with an updated look

creating a new sewing project or craft idea
inspired by something I've seen

or redesigning a new patio cover
when the other is rotting out and
soon to fall down

or a complete garden...

Designing is a creative outlet for me and
just plain fun!

My Story

As a child, I was always drawing, reading and writing stories and sewing and taking pictures of things around me.  These were my favorite things to do... and they still are.  I learned to sew buttons on clothing from my mother and grandmother somewhere between the ages of five and seven-years-old and then taught myself to sew little scraps into makeshift clothing for my Barbie dolls, a fairly new toy in the 1960's.  Once I could sew proficiently by hand, my mother was more than ready to let me fix every button and torn piece of clothing in our home.

The first things I ever designed myself were little dolls I made out of paper clips, cotton bolls, red electrical tape and pantyhose back when I was about 10 years old.  By the time I was 12 years, I had redesigned those dolls, hand-sewing real dresses with sleeves and lace onto this second generation. By 13, I began designing my own patterns for dolls with clothing to people the doll houses I was designing out of craft sticks and other items.  I made prairie dresses and hats based off my favorite Little House on the Prairie series of books. 

My freshman year of high school, I took a formal sewing class and in the spring my parents bought me my first sewing machine.  Realizing that a beginner sewing machine wasn't an option, my parents fortuitously bought me a new-to-the-market computerized Sears Kenmore.  That machine could punch through a great thicknesses of cloth without jamming!  It also had creative stitches which I had the best time making napkins and placemats for our home.  I was decorating without knowing it!

I also took two woodshop classes and a drafting class in high school and the teacher who taught both suggested I might be interested in becoming a home economics designer or an architect.  I had no idea what that was but it sounded interesting and a little scary... and that thought always stayed in the back of my mind. :)  During all of this time, and since I was 8 years old, I was also learning photography skills beginning with my father's Brownie 8mm camera and progressing through a series of Kodak instamatic cameras in junior high and high school.  I had one formal photography class in junior high and learned how to develop film and some basic photography skills.

While in college, I worked a lot of food service and retail and one of the stores I worked at was Suburban Yardage, a wonderful sewing and fashion fabric store.  The owners were a son and daughter (and their father who began the business many years before) who took trips to Fashion Week twice a year in New York.  Not long afterwards, we would receive shipments of incredible bolts of fabric: the finest light-weight woolens, open-weave linens, bouclé, batiste, cottons for quilting and crafts, any fabric you could imagine.  It was a sewing heaven!  I made plaid woolen jumpers for my mother, skirts and pants and blouses for myself for work, a gold and blue lamé reversible vest for my youngest brother to wear in his rock band, scarfs for the whole family and my boyfriend, and stitched many needlepoint and cross-stitch crafts of the day for myself and for gifting.

These were the beginnings of French Ethereal... :)

Thank you for sticking with me to the end here.  I love creating many things for our home and will be putting together a free tutorial and sewing guide for subscribers soon.  Please check back often for further updates!

Thanks again for stopping by,
Barb Chapman  :)

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Happy hugs to you,
Barb :)

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