Happy Monday, lovelies! Today I’m super excited to introduce you to one of my awesome friends from blogland/real life, Jessica Rider! Jessica is the creative genius behind A Little Gray, a craft blog for moms and other creative-minded people. She posts tutorials on things she makes, photos of her lovely creations, and general inspirational things. She sews, she crafts, she blogs, and she’s a mom and a wife. This chica can do it ALL!
I actually went to high school with Jessica and her hubby Nick, so she’s technically a real life friend, but she’s a blogland friend too because I didn’t really know her that well until recently. Jessica and I had Government class together and were on the volleyball team one year, but she was a senior and I was a freshman, so I basically worshipped the ground she and her super cool friends walked on…but I didn’t know her very well. Turns out she is not only super duper cool, she is ridiculously sweet and awesomely crafty. We’ve been having fun reconnecting and supporting each other’s creative endeavors, and I decided it was definitely time to spread the word about her awesomeness.
I actually bought on of her Louise bags recently, and it’s just ADORABLE. I mean, it’s even reversible…how fun is that? I bought the one below, but I believe she’s making more with different fabric combos, so you should totally keep an eye on the A Little Gray Etsy shop so you can snag one too!
Alright, kiddos, let’s get on with the show! I asked Jessica a bunch o’ questions so you could all get to know her a little better…trust me, by the end of this post, you are going to be blown away by her awesomeness too (if you aren’t already!) **Note: If you want to check out examples of her work that I mention in the questions, just follow the green hyperlinks.**
Wendy: Jessica, thank you SO much for letting me feature A Little Gray on my site. Your creativity is such an inspiration for me, and your blog is definitely a daily read. I get so excited when something new is posted! So let’s get going with the questions!
Have you always been uber crafty? Or was this a recent discovery?
Jessica: Haha, I like your use of the word “uber” here. This question is tricky. I think I’ve always considered myself a creative person. In elementary school I was kind of known as being the art teacher’s pet and she always entered my stuff into contests around town. But after elementary school, I kind of lost sight of that stuff and focused more on being an academic geek, and that’s what I was known for in high school and college. When I think back, I really regret neglecting my creative side all those years. There is nothing wrong with doing well in school, but I think when you are a kid the people around you sometimes give you the impression that that’s all that matters. You just can’t forget to develop other passions. I ended up getting a masters degree in education, which I have yet to use. I’m not saying that to sound braggy, I just think it’s kind of funny. I might use it someday, but for now I’m kind of okay if I never use it at all. Now all I wanna do is create things. I just learned to sew a couple of years ago, and have been completely addicted to it ever since. But I also want to learn how to paint and how to take beautiful pictures like you, and how to build things with power tools…pretty much everything!
Wendy: What is your favorite thing you’ve ever made? The playhouse for Hendrix was pretty spectacular, and the monsters are beyond adorable, but is there something that is your own personal fave?
Jessica: Finishing the playhouse was really satisfying, especially after seeing how excited it made him. He is really the inspiration for me getting back into making things, so I love any time I get to make him something. I made him a pair of shorts recently, which is kind of a mundane thing, but I swear they are his favorite shorts to wear. (I’m sure I’m not reading into that at all!) I also made all of his crib bedding before he was born with my mother, who is big inspiration to me in every way. So getting to do that with her for my new baby was a special thing.
Wendy: You also ghost-write for a photog friend’s blog, right? How did you end up with that gig?
Jessica: Nathan, the talent behind Fyrefly Photography, and his wife Edie are our best friends in the whole wide world- like in a way that other people probably think is a little crazy. He actually performed our wedding ceremony and was also the main reason we ended up moving to Cincinnati. So when he started his new business last year, that was really exciting for all of us. He quickly grew to need some help with things, so Nick and I are both working with him now. I write some blog posts for him, watch his adorable kids some, and sew gifts for brides that he books. And Nick has developed a pretty good eye himself, so he has been second photog on all the recent Fyrefly weddings. (I think they did 8 this summer!) It’s really fun to work with people you think of as family, and all take some ownership in the success of the business together. And of course, they support my little crafty business ventures too. We live right down the street from them, our kids are growing up together, and we pretty much have the most fun ever!
Wendy: I love Nathan’s photography…everyone should definitely check them out! Especially his Holga stuff…one of his photos is in my inspiration notebook actually. Nathan, if you are reading this, can we be blogland friends too? That would be excellent. Ok back to Jessica…
So, you help plan birthday parties too, right? How did you get into doing that?
Jessica: The few parties I’ve done have occurred because A. I love the people I was throwing them for, and B. I tend to get way carried away with the craftiness when it come to making someone feel special at a celebration. I threw a baby shower for a friend last year and ended up sewing about 25 stuffed birds as part of the decorations just so everyone could take one home. Very fun for everyone, but a little crazy when I think about it. Then I had tons of fun throwing Hendrix’s first birthday party in April and Nathan and Edie’s daughter Lily’s first birthday just a month after that. Lots of people said I should go into business, but I don’t see that happening in the near future. It’s just one of those things I enjoy doing on occasion for people I love. Who doesn’t love a good party?
Wendy: Where are your favorite places online to find inspiration for your new projects?
Wendy: Hehe aww thanks. **Blushing** What music were you listening to today while you crafted?
Jessica: This week I’ve been streaming the new Sufjan Stevens EP online. I’m not cheap, I will pay the $5… Just haven’t yet 🙂 I have a HUGE crush on him. Talk about creative genius, yeeesh.
Wendy: Right now you only sell the plush monsters in your Etsy shop. Any plans to sell anything else regularly? Will we ever see any of your cute skirts, purses, or other kid toys in the shop?
Jessica: I just put some purses in there this week, and there are still a couple left! I also have about a dozen other ideas for kids products, but I just haven’t taken the time to really develop them. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance making the stuff I already make, being creative and coming up with new things, doing boring business self-promotion type things, and all the other life stuff- I’m sure you can relate.
Wendy: Last but not least, how did you come up with the name A Little Gray?
Jessica: I like this question because I don’t think I’ve ever shared it with my readers. My son Hendrix’s middle name is Gray. We named him that after my mother’s maiden name. So between her being the one who taught me to use a sewing machine, and him being my creative inspiration, I just thought it was a great name. Plus, I love the color gray and it goes great with any bright color, which I also love, obviously 🙂
Wendy: Well, that’s all for now, folks…isn’t she fabulous?? I hope you all enjoyed getting to know Jessica and A Little Gray! Let me know if the “Featured Inspiration” post is something you enjoyed, and hopefully I’ll be featuring more of my faves in the future. 🙂