Thursday, September 9, 2010

May 2010 - Erik Homemade(R)

Erik J Hansen, Creative Director/Host

Happiness is Homemade..
Celebrating our first year on the World-Wide Web!
Tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is Erik and I love to make things! I like to be busy...and I like to design. I grew up in the Upper Mid-West (originally from MN, but grew up in live in OH). I am an avid traveler. I host the Thimbleberries' (quilting) block-of-the-Month at a local quilt shop, and have been teaching quilting and crafting since 2000. I am a Gemini (so I have a hard time concentrating on just one thing at a time). I am 43 (soon 44) years old. After attending university and having the chance to study abroad, I earned a design degree in France (where I also learned about great food!) I use my weblog, Erik HOMEMADE(R) Coffee-Break eZine, to keep me designing and creating; things necessary to keep me sane. Although I have had a hard time focusing on certain aspects, things are defining themselves as we go along; I am enjoying watching Erik HOMEMADE(R) take on a life of its own! I consider myself very lucky to be surrounded with people who take good care and support me in so many ways. Erik HOMEMADE(R) is my endeavor to design and create what I love to do and share it with the world. It has become, not just my escape, but also part of my sanity and focus. I think I am really fortunate to have such a project. It is wonderful to go to sleep at night worrying only if there is enough cinnamon in gingerbread, or if the color blue I picked is deep enough.
How long have you been crafting?

For as long as I can remember. My mother and grandmothers hands were always busy making something. To this day neither my mom nor I can sit still. We always have to be busy making something.
Do you have a favorite medium or medium of the moment?
Quilting is my big love. I really enjoy working with fabric and textiles. I like the way fabric feels in my hands or the way that a needle and thread feel as I run it through fabric. I am not a gadget person or someone who likes to do a lot of machine work. I like to finish things by hand.
Why blogging?
I also love to teach crafting. I like watching a student develop with time, work and perseverance. Things can get discouraging for some folks, but I have always found that most people want guidance and human contact while crafting and learning. It is what makes crafting rewarding--passing along a love, an art, and a passion.
Tell us about your blog – is it a collaboration - a business?
Although I am the owner/creative director/and host there is more than just me. My mom is a wonderful sounding board and she gives great advice. Jeff, our production manager, is getting more involved as time goes on and we grow as a website. He has more patience than I do, and can solve many problems without getting as flustered as I might. I also have a wonderful group of quilters and crafters around me. They listen, try things out, and contribute their two cents worth...which is always appreciated. In the next year, we hope to work with design school students giving them the chance to design a few projects we can share. I always loved working on school projects of this sort, so we are going to try it for Erik HOMEMADE(R).
Your blog has been up for just over a year, how have you seen it grow?
Erik HOMEMADE(R) has grown in so many ways! At first, none of us knew much about html, internet subtleties, nor digital anything. We knew about crafting, cooking, and quilting. We had an idea, a plan, a computer, and a camera! A year later, we have a growing subscription base that keeps us optimistic...through the blog we can reach people all over the world who are looking for a specific project or give them instructions for a technique they want to try on a project of their own. We answer questions all of the time--sometimes that are computer related that don't have anything to do with crafting or cooking...but since we love to teach, we like to help out.
It has been a lot of fun watching the blog much as my impatience wants to force things along, I am trying to take an organic approach and let it grow as we do in our own blogging skills! This August, for example, we will be able to photograph right in our our studio! (It is almost ready!) and we have the means to post video now. The re-designed site will be more original and user-friendly. We have several exciting projects planned.
Was there one thing that enhanced your blog (or page views) more so than another?
Our new banner--when we went from just text to a photograph helped quite a bit. Although we are about to go through another re-design, to celebrate our second birthday this August, this simple photo gave us good results!
We also started a mystery scrap quilt that begins posting 03 May 10 that has brought a lot of new people to our site. It has been over-whelming, but we now have a new adventure with a lot of new readers! It is amazing to see how a post/idea/instruction can go viral! When something fun catches on, it spreads like wildfire!
One tool you can’t live without?
My scissors!! I have several good pair...but I also have my favorite pair that NEVER leave my side! Best of friends, they get me out of a lot of trouble!
Something craft related that you spend too much money on.
Oh! I would have to say fabric and scrapbook paper! I see them as related because I collect both of them and have the same dilemma with both of them. Simply put, I love them. Got to have them. For my stash. What happens is I buy the fabric or paper, then when it comes time to use it, I go buy more of the same because I don't want to use what I have. Some might think that this is a sickness. I call it loving scrapbook paper and fabric! 
Any tip or trick you’d like to share?
I think that patience is important. The older I get the more I am aware of this. I am someone who like immediate results, as I think many others do today with the immediacy of everything. You have to do each step in order, "let the paint dry", and then proceed. Everything worth the effort takes time. 
Is there anything craft related that you would like to try or learn?
I am fascinated by tatting. What beautiful things can be made with a simple tool and some thread! Amazing! 
Your favorite magazine?
Too many to mention

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