When I was little, I was that girl that made things in the treehouse, then put them on your porch, rang the doorbell, and ran away. I was that girl that hid behind the tree to watch you open your door and find your handmade treasure waiting on the mat, wrapped in flowers and leaves. Your smiles and laughter filled me up with giddy joy and a sense of magic. It was the beginning of my mission to create, make, and celebrate kindness.
Let’s start with a quick look into my journey of odd jobs and career choices that led me to this place of being a kindness leader. That girl that made mudpies, little stuffies, and paper flowers for porch surprises had big dreams of being a first-grade teacher so she could make a difference. I also babysat every possible chance I could, where I would play school with the younger kiddos. We were usually having an art class. Then I grew up, attended the University of Kentucky, and graduated with a degree that allowed me the honor of changing little lives for several years. My teaching salary was peanuts, so I waited tables and worked at a gift shop in the mall, making massive amounts of goody bags. I was that young woman working three jobs at one time and loving every minute of learning new things, meeting new people, and creating connections.
Fast-forward to my fifth year in the classroom, when I got pregnant. I was teaching in the inner city and got injured by a student that sent me home and into an unknown world—a world where I had NO job for the first time since my babysitting career began at age 10. I got out my doodling pens and whipped up a birth announcement, and BAM, that was the beginning of my creative chapter in the career journey. I doodled Dylan (now 25) in the bathtub with our dog, Eli. My friends flipped and asked me to draw their kid, their pets, their families, and their houses. Within a few months, I was filling stationery orders so frequently that I decided to open a retail store. That store led to a wholesale line of stationery so other stores could carry my products. That wholesale line led to licensing agreements so other companies could put my art on their products. That licensing business empowered me to start my blog so I would have a place to share. And now—social media! I have a platform to spread kindness through inspiration, craft project ideas, and art!
It is a normal day for me to receive a direct message or an email asking, “How did you get started?” My answer is simple. I just started.
I did not ever think through all of the details. I just picked up that marker and doodled. It is how I live each day. I just get up and start. Sometimes I fail. A lot of times, my plans don’t work out the way I think that they should. The great news is that the way that those plans often do work out is even better than I ever anticipated. This is how I learn. It is how I grow. I have a huge heart for self-love and forgiveness that stems from years of therapy to combat childhood trauma. I have learned to appreciate my wins and my losses—and to celebrate it all.
If I am not traveling, shopping, or off on a wildlife adventure, you will find me in my studio. My studio is my happiest place on the planet. It is where I love to be most, so I fill it with ALL the things.
I am an avid collector of art supplies. I really should just say supplies because they include fabric, recycled wire, buttons, paper, old books, cords, paint, and broken bits of things. Organizing these treasures is one of my favorite hobbies. Whether using little clear drawers, wire baskets, or tiered trays—finding ways to keep things in place (and out where I can see them) brings me great pleasure. Of course, these supplies are, for the most part, necessary to do my job of creating craft projects and designing products. It is a total win. It is like my favorite things to do are both hobbies and my job. It is like I get to make my own magic every single day.
Teamwork and friendships are everything. I surround myself with people who inspire me to be my best version of myself while loving me exactly as I am. My favorite things to do with my friends are, of course, craft, create, and travel. I believe in magic and therefore think that one of the most inspiring places to visit is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
My biggest lesson in this creative career has been about friendships and people. I am a lot. I am high energy. I am ridiculously creative. I am outgoing. I am a risk taker. I am not afraid to get my feelings hurt. I am willing to follow but usually find myself being a leader. I might be a little bossy. I fail and jump back up. I succeed and celebrate big. My lesson is that I am not for everyone, and that is okay. I am too much for some people. Those are not my people. I can still love them without expectations for them to understand or be on my team.
My vision of making a difference in the world, while shifting from teaching to designing, is still as strong as ever. I am committed to continuously making the planet a kinder place and doing it on purpose through making and giving. It takes courage to create and share. It takes guts to put myself out there on social platforms and in media. I am here for it. I am all in.