Sandi is a long time and active member of the Etsy Cottage Style group at ning. Her etsy shop is filled with beautiful work, all self taught through Sandi's love of creativity and beautiful things. Please note that the photographs in this interview are from Sandi's etsy shop and are not to be copied.
Sandi, what inspired you to alter a train case?
My inspiration for refurbishing a train case pretty much came from the decorator boxes you see in the craft stores. They are nice, but just lack a personal touch. I thought a train case would be the perfect way to either store your memories, your heirloom collection of old handkerchiefs or gloves or just fill it up with either items from a trousseau shower or baby shower. You are not only giving someone a gift, you are giving them a way to store their cards and special items from a special occasion.
When did you do the first case?
I did my first case about 5 years ago and it sold immediately for good money. Times have changed a lot since then and trying to sell anything right now is a slow process. I have another couple primed and ready to be finished, however, I will wait until I find a new home for this one before I do another. They are a lot of work, depending on how much creativity you put into it. Some people do not refurbish the inside, but I feel it is unfinished if you just leave it the way it was. I like to have the inside co-ordinate with the outside. Sometimes I do hand painted flowers and handmade fabric flowers, just depends on what I feel will suit the particular case.
You do other work as well -- where do you find your inspiration for everything you create? What is your background in art and crafting? Did you study at school, or are you self taught?
I am also a self taught rose painter. I just decided one day I wanted to paint roses so I just kept on trying until I got a result I could live with. I am always trying to improve my finished product and have a feeling I will never be totally satisfied.
I have also been sewing all my life pretty much. When we first built our home many years ago, I had taken an interior design course to learn how to work with color and
fabrics, which I find useful to this day. I have decorated many homes when called upon all just for the fun of doing it. I have painted murals free hand and did all the window dressings in my daughter's new home. I can usually visualize what a finished product will look like even when some people have their doubts as to my color combinations or way of doing things. In the end, they usually agree with what I have chosen. You can't be afraid to stretch your imagination when doing anything creative. I especially love Victorian items and try and do a number of them mixed in with all my cottage style items.
My main inspiration comes solely from totally loving what I do. I get up in the
morning with an idea in my head and just can't wait to get into my craft room and begin creating. I keep a pen and paper by my bed because there have been times when I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of two fabrics that would be so great together and I know I will never remember which two in the morning - so I write it down.
You don't have a blog at the moment. Is something you are thinking about doing in the near future, as another side of your creativity?
I do not have a blog at the moment but definitely want one. Being that I am a fuss budget, and would like a nice banner and a few of the bells and whistles, I am waiting until I can get someone to help me with it.
I know they are easy if you just want a regular blog, but I don't want to put a lot of effort into something I won't be happy with. Did I mention I am fussy?? I will get one - soon I hope - and then I can wake up in the middle of the night thinking of things to put in my blog!
The creativity never ends and I love it all - I sincerely hope it shows in the things I create. I always try and make items that I would be happy to receive if someone were to give them to me. There are times when I end up keeping things just because I can't bear to part with them. One of these days I am going to have to de stash - now that will definitely keep me up at night.