What is a lifestyle post, you ask? It’s feature I do once a month about the person behind the Podge. I select one of you Mod Podgers to take the floor and tell us about your life – who are you besides a crafter? This month, meet Doreen. She is a blast!
Hello! Want to meet me for a cup of coffee? Great! Now that I have my latte, and you are relaxing with your favorite beverage, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Doreen, and I’m from Altered Artworks. For those of you who may remember the original Mickey Mouse Show, I am actually named after one of the Mouseketeers.
I grew up in San Francisco, where it was almost always foggy and cold. The photo below was taken in the middle of July!
“Take a jacket” was never an issue when we left the house. Of course, the jacket was usually handmade by my Mom. A vintage Singer sewing machine was tucked away in a little alcove in our kitchen, underneath a large window that let the light shine through. It is one of those early Singer machines with the treadle. My parents actually brought it over to the U.S. when they moved here from England a few years before I was born.
I learned to sew at an early age. Back in the 1960’s, it was difficult to find clothes for tall girls. While most of my friends were busy hemming their jeans, I tried unsuccessfully to stretch mine! I decided it was much easier to sew tailor-made outfits that not only looked great and fit well, but were less expensive. My first sewing machine was a bright red Singer model that was perfect for making doll clothes.
In addition to sewing, I loved arts & crafts. I frequently checked out crafting books from the library and replicated many of the projects. And I anxiously anticipated my Mom’s monthly McCall’s Magazine to get my hands on its popular paper doll, Betsy McCall. Luckily, this wasn’t difficult as I have two brothers, neither of whom was interested in her – one of the perks of being the only girl. My first memory of Mod Podge was when I was seven. I used it to preserve my completed jigsaw puzzle to frame and display it on the wall. At that time, I thought Mod Podge was amazing, and I became an instant fan.
Fast-forward two decades: After earning my B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing, I enjoyed a 12-year career in the advertising industry. During this time, I moved from Northern California to Los Angeles. What was I thinking? Well, living in the warmth of the sun now for over 25 years, it’s hard to imagine the foggy days I left behind! I decided to trade the hectic advertising life to become a fulltime Mom to two wonderful daughters, Elysa and Kaylee. Elysa is our serious, focused daughter while Kaylee keeps us laughing and is great at balancing work and play.
My husband, Ron, is very supportive of my passion for creativity. He has his own activities — anything that keeps him in motion. He runs marathons (that’s 26.2 miles!), participates in triathlons, and enjoys mountain biking, surfing and skiing. He always thanks me for “letting” him go away with his buddies on his ski weekends. I thank him for NOT making me go with him! My outdoor recreation includes tennis, which I play at least twice a week. I like to exercise with both feet on the ground.
I’m not sure how we quickly went from this to that!
You could say my second “degree” is in Volunteering. In addition to being PTA President, Girl Scout Leader, Book Fair Chair, and Arts Program Coordinator, I was always the Mom making potato latkes with the class and creating costumes for the school plays. (A dozen poodle skirts? No problem!) I loved creating my daughters’ birthday party invitations, and prided myself on having the most creative party favors this side of Martha. (One of my favorite ventures was Kaylee’s 2nd Birthday “Hundred Acre Woods” party at a local park, complete with Winnie-the-Pooh cupcakes!) I find it sad that party invitations are now impersonal evites, quick Facebook events and Twitter tweets.
Several years ago, I started an in-home business called “Coffee, Tea or Me Pots.” I cut out intricate designs from gift wrap, and mod-podged them onto painted terra cotta pots. It was fun searching for perfect little items to fit different themes, creating great ready-to-go-gifts, complete with cellophane wrap and coordinating tags.
However, my latest creative passion is Altered Art – transforming everyday items into beautiful and useful works of art. This has become a wonderful hobby – I love the before-and-after makeovers. A few of my favorite projects include:
Ribbon is one of my favorite embellishments, and I am a self-proclaimed ribbon queen. Now, thanks to Melissa’s incredible Ribbon Ring, my vast ribbon collection is well organized and easily accessible. I also love combining stamped images in my artwork. And I never wander off too far without my classic Dymo label maker.
In addition to altered art, I am obsessed with coffee – whether it’s my morning cup of pure King’s Road French Roast coffee, Peet’s lattes or Porto’s cappuccinos, I absolutely LOVE my caffeine. When I’m on vacation, I seek out local coffee houses. I save the coffee sleeves, and re-use them in my altered art. I also collect charming coffee-theme accessories. Here are two photos of a recent altered art project inspired from my love of coffee. It’s my Coffee Cash Stash!
My friends say I have more “art stuff” than the neighborhood craft store! (I tend to agree.) I have a cozy (a.k.a. small) craft room off the kitchen, where I keep all my goodies! Speaking of makeovers, check out the before- and-after photos of my craft room, which I recently remodeled.
Before: My Unorganized Craft Supplies
I love sharing my enthusiasm with others, so I host workshops, inviting people to create their own altered art. It is rewarding to see how they create their own masterpieces, rather than sell them mine. They choose their own project, designer paper, embellishments and color combinations to create their own distinctive style. These workshops have turned into “Creative Therapy” sessions — a time and place where we share good food, good conversation, and always great crafts. They are better than a “Take me away, Calgon” moment!
Last summer, with encouragement and technical help from my daughter, Elysa, I started a blog featuring my latest and greatest projects. If you can’t beat this new-age technology, you might as well join it! I love keeping this online journal of my creative efforts, and hope that others find a little inspiration to spark their own creative muse! Here is a link to my blog: http://altered-artworks.blogspot.com/. I welcome your comments and hope you will become a follower.
Well, I don’t know about you, but my coffee cup is empty. Glad you could spend time with me today. Next time, I look forward to hearing all about you.
Thank you, Amy, for showcasing my artful life. Mod Podge Rocks!