About Me

Hi! I’m Jessica…but you can call me Jess.
craftinessisnotoptional@gmail.com

So you’ll probably be hollering “UNCLE!” from knowing too much about me after you read this page, but it’s my blog…so….let’s get going. 😉

I asked you guys for questions, and you delivered! I don’t know if I can answer all of them, but I’m going to try!

Family/Life/Personal Questions

Charlotte, Rory, Sadie, Ava, and I.

 How did you and Rory meet? How long did it take to know that you wanted to marry him? 
Aw. We met in our church’s single adult ward when I was 18, and he was 22. He had a beard when I met him, I still tease him about that! I thought he was hilarious. He thought I was pretty. We started dating a month or so later and got engaged a few months after that. I knew I wanted to marry him after a few weeks though. You just know, ya know? I count myself lucky I found such an amazing guy.
How long have you been married?
 11 years-August 2014. (I got married when I was 18-I know, shocking! Scandalous! not)
 My sibs, L to R: Jordan, Joanna, Janae, Justin, Joshua, Julia, Me, and Jarom. (yes we’re all J’s, and yes my parents are J’s too, Jonathan and Jan) We were definitely a novelty growing up in California!

Knowing that the large majority of your visitors will be women, and knowing how we LOVE details, I’d like to hear more about your life; before blogging and now.  
I was born at a young age….lol. This is a broad question, so hopefully some of the other questions can help fill in the blanks, but I grew up the oldest of 8 kids, in Northern California. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon/LDS) love it, and love my parents, and siblings. I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better upbringing or family. Aw, I’m gonna cry. :) I was involved in gymnastics, water polo, band (flute), a violin group, church groups, etc all through my youth.
How did you come up with your daughter’s names? 
BothSadie and Charlotte’s names were found in baby name books, but I found out after they were born that they are both family names as
well! (on my dad’s side) So that was perfect! I must be psychic.  Ava’s name was literally the only name Rory and I could agree on. (and also from the baby name book 😉
Whats the most favorite thing you’ve ever done? 
Pre-kids, of course….I went to Europe when I was 16 with my family and our violin group. (yes I played violin but not for very long or very well) It was awesome! We went to England and Paris for two weeks. Fabulous trip!
 Oh my…there’s teenage Jess in her pleather jacket and Guess scarf. She thought was so cool.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Hmm..I seriously have the worst memory, so I don’t remember a lot from when I was young, but I do remember making ridiculous Barbie movies with my brother and sister when I was young. (ok, I was 14 20) We thought they were hilarious (still do) and all of us still crack inside jokes from the movies. My brother Jarom was the comedian of the family, so he’s the one who made them funny.
What is your favorite snack to eat when you take a break from crafting?
chocolate.

What were your favorite subjects in school?
My electives, lol. Jewelry, photography, art, pottery…. I’ve always loved the creative stuff.

photo by Itsy Photography

Is life different than you planned or are you living the dream?
I am living the dream and LOVING it. I often think about how lucky I am, to have an amazing family, friends, the gospel, and this wonderful hobby obsession.
Do you have a favorite TV show?
Do you have a couple of  hours? I love TV! Some of my favorites are: Firefly, The Vampire Diaries, Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, Downton Abbey, Friday Night Lights,  GLEE, Chuck, Psych, Drop Dead Diva, Nikita, Survivor, Call the Midwife, Brooklyn Nine Nine…and many more.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
An Olympic gymnast or equestrian. (I went though a pretty intense horse obsession around age 11-13) I did gymnastics before and during high school, but I was only semi-decent at floor.
 What is your favorite Ice Cream or Milkshake? 
Oreo

What Jessica were you named after? 
hmm, not sure actually! I think my parents heard it somewhere and liked it. As did every other parent in the 80’s.
Are you messy or a neat freak?
A  little bit of both. I can live with some mess, but only for so long.

What are some of your favorite recipes? 
You can find some of my faves on my recipe blog, here.
I especially love to bake. Check out these Cookies and Cream Cupcakes. droool… 
Do you like to read? If so, what are your favorite books?
I adore reading! When I was younger you could find me at our library every week checking out a stack of (no lie) 20 books, which I would return within the week. Lately I don’t have as much time to read, but some of my favorites are Harry Potter (of course!), the Divergent series, The Hunger Games series, Twilight series (I’ll admit it lol), Mortal Instruments…basically I’m a big fan of any YA lit. I’m a sucker for romances. No “smarty pants” books for me these days.

What chore would you beg, borrow, or steal in order to avoid?
Carrying in the groceries, and mopping the floors. :( I don’t mind the grocery shopping, I just hate carrying them from the car to the house cause you can never get them all inside in one trip!
What is your favourite way to eat bacon? 
In a BLT! yum
Do you have any fears/phobia’s?
Shudder…yes. I am severely scared of something that starts with a S and ends with a iders. aka the “s” word. (peeking under my desk to check for them…ok, I’m back.) I have been known to cry, squeal, and climb on top of anyone nearby when I see one. My family used to tease me, with fake ones, but they have since learned their lesson, from various bruises and scratches they’ve received in return. (Plus, Rory’ll tell them off for me)
What are your top 3 fav places you have visited? 
London (love all the historical places and accents!)
Paris (the art museums, food, and atmosphere is fabulous)
Disneyland (will never get sick of it!)
Top 3 places you would LIKE to visit? 
Italy
Australia
Ireland
Sewing/Crafting/Blogging
When did you start sewing, and how did you learn?
I sewed skirts and things when I was younger, mainly being prodded by my mom. I hated it but liked the feeling of making it myself. Then when I got pregnant, I wanted to make my baby a blanket. The rest is history! I am mostly self-taught, using the wonders of internet tutorials and how tos. There is so much information out there these days, it’s amazing.
 The first blanket of many…
What was your first craft? Where did it all start? 
 Oh I can’t even remember! I grew up in a pretty crafty family-my mom is an amazing seamstress and all around crafty maven (has made bunches of prom dresses and matching outfits for us kids, not to mention four amazing weddings on a budget), and my dad is a fantastic wood worker and can make anything. Seriously. He could make a jungle gym if you asked him to. (and he has) Just ask me about the climbing wall/fort he built in our backyard. Or the three tiered bunk beds with a loft and slide he built my brothers. Check out the play kitchen he helped me make Sadie!
How did you get into blogging? 
I first started blogging as a way to keep in touch with family. Along the way, I discovered I loved sewing and crafts, and they kind of staged a coup and took over the family blog.
Where do you seeing yourself creativity-wise in regards to sewing in 5 years? Designing your own fabric line? Owning a fabric shop? Teaching classes? Vlogging? 
 Definitely I see myself becoming a millionaire from my sewing/pattern/fabric lines. BWAHAHAA. ok, so maybe that’s a stretch, but I’ve always thought having a fabric store would be awesome (I’d soo be my best customer), but really, I’ll probably still be sewing up a storm for my kids and having to bribe them even more to wear the clothes since they’ll be older. 😉 Someday I’d love to get in the pattern business.
 Where do you find your inspiration for color combinations before you start sewing a quilt?  
I start off by finding one fabric that has lots of colors in it that I like, and then pulling other fabrics that have the same colors. Stripes, polka dots, solids…but it all comes back to that one fabric. (or two, or three, really)

Do you knit? Crochet? If not, will you learn how to soon?
I have crocheted exactly one thing in my life, and it took me about 5 years. I am teaching myself how to make easy flowers and bows though!

If you didn’t sew, what could you see yourself doing creatively? 
If I didn’t sew, I’d probably still be into scrapbooking. I have 20+ albums full of pages I’ve done, and used to be obsessive! Sewing has kind of taken over for now, but someday I’ll use all the supplies I’m hoarding. You can check out some of my pages here. 
below is a little sample. :) 


When you are fabric shopping, and you see a fabric you LOVE, MUST HAVE, ETC., how much of it do you buy? One yard is nice but most projects/patterns seem to take more. If I don’t have anything specific in mind, I never know how much to get… How much would YOU buy? 
2 or 3.

Where do you buy your fabric? 
Mostly online since I only have a Joann Fabrics nearby. If I want to find something specific, I search Etsy usually. I’ll list the shops I like below:
Girl Charlee (great for knits!)
How do you find time to craft?
By tying the kids up in the closet. I jest! During naps/quiet time and after bedtime.
What is the one sewing/crafting tool you can’t live without? Sewing machines excluded :) 
My cutting mat and rotary cutter! I use them with every single sewing project I do.
What is one tip you would give to a newbie interested in getting started on sewing? Where to start? What is a must have? 
Well, a sewing machine is good to have… 😉 Start with a project with straight lines to build your confidence. I started with bibs and burp clothes mostly, they’re great to have around for presents, and easy to make! The Bapron is easy and impressive. :)

Do you stick to a craft budget and what is it? 
Ummm. I don’t really have a strict budget, I just try and keep it reasonable…and having sponsors on my blog seriously got Rory off my back about my crafty spending habits, so THANK you so much, sponsors, for enabling my fabric addiction and keeping Rory happy! (and my fabric shelves full)
What’s the one thing you like least about sewing?
Unpicking seams. Blech!
While I know your girls aren’t always happy about posing for your adorable pictures, do they wear what you make for them in ‘real life’? 
They do! Usually there’s not a day that goes by that one of us isn’t wearing something I’ve made. That makes me happy! They love their dress collection.
What does your sewing room look like? Besides the type of sewing machine someone has, I’m always curious to know where a person sews!
You can read all about my sewing room here!
What is the weirdest thing you have ever made? 
Probably this tin can I covered with blue paper and sandpaper on the bottom. Then I drew fish on the blue part-it was an ocean pen holder for Father’s Day. My dad has kept it for years. (probably out of pity)
If you had to pick one craft to make every time you craft for a year, and that is the only craft you could make, what would it be and why? 
Does clothing count as one craft? Then, clothing.
I’m curious about how you got your blog out there, and picked up so many followers. I mean, obviously, your blog is awesome. But how did you get it so popular?
Well, honestly I don’t know-being featured on other blogs was key to getting followers, but I never made that a priority. I was never out to be the “biggest” and “best” crafty blog. I wanted to stay true to myself and my own projects, and I think I’ve done that. I just try to ignore the pressure that comes with more readers, and just keep keepin’ on. I hope you guys can tell how much I love this blog and how much I appreciate you stopping by! It’s one of the most important things in my life, and it’s brought me a lot of joy and fulfillment.
Every blog has a title, and behind that title is a story. What’s the story behind “Craftiness is Not Optional?”
Well, I used it as a tagline and then it became the name of my blog. I don’t quite remember how I thought of it, I just think it describes how I feel about creating. It’s just not an option for me to not be crafty or sew. It’s essential to my mental health. 😉
What time you spend everyday in your blog? 
I probably spend around 3-4 hours per day on my blog, creating projects, writing posts, editing photos, answering emails, procrastinating by watching some TV, etc.
Do you think is to much or to little?
I think it’s probably a little too much, but I like to be on top of things so I’m always checking up on it. I’m kind of a control freak. 😉
Those of us who blog know that it isn’t always easy. What motivates you to continue blogging?
hmm, I’ll admit, some days I wish I could quit, but those days are few and far between. I love it too much! What motivates me to keep blogging is my love for sewing and crafting. Also, all of you!

Do you ever feel “burdened” by your blogging gig? Do you ever want a break from sewing but feel you have to keep producing, producing, producing?
Sometimes I do. I try to ignore the pressure, but sometimes it gets to me. Then I take a step back, and remind myself why I do this. Because I love it.
What do you enjoy most about blogging? 
Comments! I’m not gonna lie. It’s nice to get feedback and compliments, everyone likes that! Also, meeting all sorts of fun and interesting people from around the world is pretty fantastic.
As a person who just bought there first sewing machine last week, what are a couple of tips you would give someone starting to make baby/children’s clothes? 
Start simple, with a skirt, bib, or peasant top. Those are easy and good to build up your sewing confidence!
I’ve always wondered how you balance it all. Are you just a really fast sewer? Good at time management? 
Yes, and yes, I suppose. I’m pretty good at multi tasking and have learned to sew quickly. Both good habits! I am also insanely punctual. Just ask (almost) anyone I’ve guest posted for. lol.

What has been your most challenging or frustrating sewing project?
Making the slipcover for this couch. 
Did you give up or embrace the experience? 
Embraced it, eventually! I keep thinking I want to redo it, since it’s falling apart at the corners, but then I fight that impulse as hard as possible cause I remember how hard it was…lol. Still…someday I will.
What is your favorite crafty-tool, besides the sewing machine? 
Probably my hot glue gun!
Have you ever sewn something for Rory? 
Do you count appliques on tee shirts? then, yes. But that’s it, really.
What has been your favorite project?  
Too many to choose from! I will never get sick of sewing clothing though, there are so many options and styles, and so much more to learn. One of my ultimate faves is this color book I made. Seriously. Love.
Sometimes I can literally see you ‘churn’ out girl clothes, how long does it take you to sew up one? You seem mighty fast! 
For a dress, if it’s my first time with the design, and I’m doing a tutorial, depending on the difficulty, it can take around 2-3 hours. 
How many hours do you spend in sewing a day?
Usually I spend an average of 1-2 hours sewing a day, I would say.
 
How do you keep on top of your fabric stash?…it must be huge! I have so much trouble keeping mine tidy and actually organised enough to know what I have…Do you keep all of your offcuts? I’ve seen pics of your sewing room, but do you have fabric hidden away?
It’s definitely grown since I showed you how I organize my fabric, right now I have a lot piled up on my serger table. I need more shelves! Update: I have shelves!
What was your very first favorite color or color combo? 
Probably blue and yellow-that’s how I decorated my first bedroom. With plaid. It was awesome. I even cut out my name in wood letters to hang on the wall-crafty even then!
What is your current favorite color combo—what dominates your stash? 
Aqua, mustard yellow, and coral/pink are my faves right now.
What is your favorite thing to make for others? 
Anything useful or pretty. 

What inspires your sewing?
Everything!
What is your least favorite thing about sewing?
Cutting out large pattern pieces that are too big for my mat.
What is currently your favorite line of fabric? 
Aw, man! That’s too hard. You can see some of my current faves over on my Pinterest fabric board, though!

What is one surprise tool that you use in your sewing experience? I’m looking for something cool and useful. 
I use a chopstick for turning corners out, it’s perfect for that!
 Where do you find your motivation on those days that seem motivation-less? 
I clean my craft room. Often I discover a half finished project (or a dozen) that would be easy to finish up. BINGO! Crafty mojo is back. Sometimes I just give up and watch TV. I also like lists, and crossing things off them.
How do you balance it all? 
No clue. It’s always a struggle. I just try my best to make sure everyone’s clean, fed, and reasonably happy. If that happens, everything else is icing on the cake.
Why do you craft? 
Creating something literally gives me a high-I just love the feeling of making something out of…well, not nothing, but supplies and fabric, at least. Using my brain to figure out how things are made, and posting on this blog helps me feel like I have an identity outside of “Mom” and allows me to foster all these wonderful friendships with you all!
You are way talented – but what else would you like to learn to do / be better at? 
I would LOVE to learn how to design stuff on a computer-nothing crazy involved, but it would be cool to make my own tags and stuff for parties and things. Not to mention pattern making.
Have you ever ignored your gut telling you NOT to sew something and regretted it? If so what did you make, why didn’t it work, and what did you do with it?  
Yes! I made a dress for Sadie once where nothing worked-the fabric, shape, fit…I tried and tried to make it work but it was a total flop. I tossed it in the garbage!
Can you stop yourself from sewing?
It’s very difficult. When Rory starts calling me “that crazy lady who lives in the sweat shop in the back” I know it’s time to quit and spend some quality time with the hubs.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten (sewing or otherwise)? 
 These are both great quotes to live by.

Did your mother sew for you too? 
Yes, she did. Matching outfits every Easter and Christmas, which I hated once I was about 9 or 10…yet I am forcing matching outfits on my kids too, to perpetuate the matchiness madness. She also sewed most of my formal dresses in high school, as well as my sisters dresses. Also lots and lots of ties, dresses, skirts, etc. She can do no wrong in her sewing room!
 Do you dream about sewing?
I can never remember my dreams, so I don’t know…I’ll bet I have though.

Do you find yourself sneaking into to sew when you shouldn’t really?
 
Uh, yeah. 😉 Don’t you?