Creating unique pieces to share on your blog and inspire others: the sew & blog combo is all the rage. It's exactly because the number of bloggers keeps multiplying that Fibre Mood is featuring a new blogger every month. Get to know Valentine and her blog Happy as a Bee this month. Find out what sewing means to her and what her role is in this community.
What made you decide to start your blog? And why did you start sewing and/or knitting?
When my grandma was around with her sewing and knitting I was never really that interested. Until suddenly, four years ago, my parents gave me my first sewing machine for Christmas. It was love at first sight!
I've always been busy with my hands and am known for it too. My friends from the technical school were always calling on me for help with some creative project or another for school (for example, making a real fluorescent yellow pig in papier-mâché for a student council campaign – so many memories...). And then, at a brunch at home with friends from school, they all rallied around and said: ‘You’ve got to start a blog to share all of your creations’. No sooner said than done. A day later Happy as a bee was born.
How did you learn to sew and/or knit?
My grandma on my mother’s side is an amazing sewist. She was always sewing when I was little. Even though she never taught me a single lesson, I still think that, just by watching her, I immediately had a good handle on what to do.
Afterwards, I took a few sewing classes and trained myself by watching tutorials on the internet.
What do you prefer, sewing or knitting?
Sewing, hands down! Knitting takes way too much time and that's frustrating for someone as impatient as I am. I'll eventually take it up, but for now my focus is on sewing. :D
Were you already a creative spirit as a child?
I've been creative since forever. When I was 8, I would make my own earrings from everything I could get my hands on at home. That was because my parents didn’t want me poking holes in my ears. That creativity has stuck with me ever sense. Whenever I run into a problem, I always try to find a solution from the different ‘creative techniques’ my brain is bursting with.
Where did you get the name for your blog? And why that one in particular?
I thought the image of the creative, cheerful and hardworking bee was perfect for a DIY blog. And so, Happy as a bee was born!
What do you think of as your finest creation? Which one do your feel most proud of?
One of my nicest creations is a ‘pyjama’ shirt by Make My Lemonade. It’s a shirt with contrasting piping at the collar. I really took the time needed to carefully follow all the technical aspects of this creation (that was a serious sacrifice given how horribly impatient I am). The result was fantastic, and the fabric feels incredible to wear.
Do you encounter any specific challenges in relation to the handiwork setting?
Absolutely. Every day! Thankfully I love discovering new techniques and challenging myself. Creative challenges and contests with a set theme or pattern – I love it! That kind of assignment multiplies my creativity times ten.
For people who don’t sew or knit, how would you convince them to give it a go?
The feeling of pride you have when you wear a piece of handmade clothing is just amazing. That's why I say, ‘Quit worrying and just go for it!’ Everything is hard in the beginning, but the effort really does pay off.
What's your biggest frustration when sewing and/or knitting?
Geez... I don't really get freaked out or frustrated, I just have fun! (At least if you leave out the crazy-making hems...)
Where does the inspiration for your blog come from? And are there other blogs that you enjoy or find inspiring?
I get my daily inspiration from the fashion houses or off-the-rack clothing, and I also get super inspired by American blogs. For example, I'm a huge fan of the DIY blog The House That Lars Built and the couture blog With Wendy.
What does your workspace look like? And where is it?
My sewing room is currently in the guest room, but the arrival of a baby next year means that that space will need to be redecorated. Right now I'm racking my brains to think of the perfect sewing spot for my sewing machine, where I can get my creative on again.
Do you get a lot of satisfaction from the comments on your blog? Do you interact much with your followers/regular visitors?
I've noticed that I have more interaction with the followers of my Instagram account (@happy_as_a_a_bee_) than on my blog, but the reactions I get and interactions I have are, in general, really positive. That’s the reason why I get such a kick out of sharing my creations every day!
Is there anything you’d like to try making in future?
I’ve been a full-time independent entrepreneur for three months now already. I write tutorials for magazines or hobby brands and create sponsored messages on my Instagram account. I hope to generate enough turnover in the coming two years to continue living off of my passion. That would really be a dream come true!
What tips & tricks would you like to pass on to sewers and/or knitters who are just starting out?
Keep trying new things! It’s only through loads of practice (and venturing into the unknown) that you'll improve! There's a reason for the saying, ‘Practice makes perfect’.