We all know @ceep from her amazing paper crafting and pattern matching skills, but I wanted to know more about what makes this incredible crafter, well, craft!
Let’s start at the beginning. When did you start crafting, paper or otherwise?
We always had crafty stuff around the house. My best friend, Monica, and I were always messing about with fabric, and paper, and glue, and glitter, and sequins, and pine cones, and rocks, and leaves, and whatever else we could find. We still mess around with crafty stuff when we get together! My mother is both artistic and crafty, and my father is an engineer. DIY is definitely a way of life in my entire extended family. Someone is always making something or tinkering. It would never occur to anyone in my family not to try to do something ourselves.
What is the first paper craft you remember making?
I remember how excited I was when I mastered Froebel stars. My mother was making Christmas ornaments with a $0 budget, using items around the house. Yarn angels, little posterboard birds that she painted and made 3d by slotting in wings and tails, and Froebel stars.
What or who inspires your paper crafts these days?
I’ll see something on a FB group, or Pinterest, and then I go down the rabbit hole. What usually happens is two or more seemingly unrelated ideas will click together, and a new creation comes from that.
Your website is called “Extreme Paper Crafting” and I don’t think anyone who has seen your work would argue with that. How do you continually push the boundaries of what is possible with paper?
My brain immediately starts trying to figure out how to make it with paper. Will it be cool or a big mess? Well, both are equally likely, but a big mess can lead to something else interesting.
Tell us more about your “Extreme Christmas Cards.” How did this tradition start and how do you top yourself year after year?
A year after we got married, my husband and I had to move. We decided to combine our holiday greeting with a “we’ve moved” announcement, and he thought it would be hilarious to take a picture in front of a McMansion. We assumed everyone would get the joke–that not only did we not have two dimes to rub together, but a “big-house-on-a-tiny-lot“ monstrosity would be last on our list. One day we were driving around and we saw it. The biggest. The ugliest. The most Mc of McMansions. We screeched to a stop in front of this random person’s house, set a camera on top of the car, hit the self-timer, and ran like fools to get in the picture. And….no one got the joke. So, the next year, after explaining that NO we did not in fact buy a huge butt-ugly house, we tried again. And again…and again…and again. 30+ years later, I’ve decided that anyone who’s going to get it, is going to get it. It’s mostly for my own amusement. Because I crack myself up. Someone’s gotta do it.
As an extension of the previous questions, what are your favorite resources for new techniques?
I enjoy looking at old craft books, magazines, and pamphlets; and learning about traditional crafts from around the world. Palm leaf weaving. Millinery rosettes. Scroll saw patterns. Quilt blocks. Tramp art. Scherenschnitte. It’s all inspiration.
You are a crafter who is known for her precision. What advice to you have for those of us who might be ahem less than precise but want to be?
That’s a bit of a laugh. My motto could be, “Make it count where it shows.” But seriously, I think the secret is in the tools. I can’t cut straight, but Silhouette Cameo can! I can’t draw, but CorelDRAW can! Choose an appropriate adhesive. Use good quality cardstock, not construction paper. Get a metal straight edge and a good light. Score before you fold. Use a sharp blade. And of course, measure twice, cut once.
You’re not just a paper crafter, but also a fantastic sewist! How did you start sewing and where do you get your inspiration for your amazing sewn tops?
My mother made all of my clothes, and I learned to hand sew when I was little. Everyone took sewing in Home Ec in junior high school in my day (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth). I hated it! I’m sure I complained at home about the teacher’s rules (“All pins must be exactly 1” apart. Measured with a ruler! Mom! I’ll never finish this stupid jumper!” ), and my mother probably said, “Oh stop. Let’s get a pattern and some fabric. You start, read the directions and you can ask me if you need help.” And so I learned. Back in those days it was cheaper to make than to buy. Everyone sewed. I made most of my clothes for years and years, but what I really enjoyed was sewing for my daughters. It was the 90s! Wild colors, print mixing, all that fun stuff. I stopped sewing (except costumes—including a somewhat infamous scrotum skirt, but that’s another story-- and curtains and slipcovers and such) for years, but got back into it maybe 3 or 4 years ago because I wanted something fun to wear to work. It all started with the doughnut shirt, and now it’s novelty prints every day.
Is there a craft medium that vexes you?
Oh lots. Pretty much all of the fine arts elude me. Painting…drawing…sculpture. Hopeless.
Is there a crafter or artist whose work always catches your attention (on Lettuce Craft or elsewhere)?
Jamie Storer, @storerboughtcreation here on Lettuce Craft, who makes the most gorgeous crocheted blankets
Rob Ives, for paper crafts that move
The Bergeron family, for Christmas cards
wonkeyseam on Instagram for sewing
Thank you so much @ceep for sharing more about your crafty passions! We look forward to being continually inspired by your work!