dreams do come true : by bridget lamb / by ali dejohn

My love of handmade began early. I was 10 years old when my dad took me to Sears and bought me my very first sewing machine. A Kenmore that still sits in my craft room. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I sewed on that machine for 25 years and, although I’ve upgraded, I can’t bear let it go. I look at it and am brought back to that time. Feelings of creating and feelings of pride. I look at that machine and feel lucky I had a dad that believed in me, and invested in me. This, for me, is where it all began.

I belong to a craft group of 8 women. We meet to create and laugh and build each other up.  Sometimes our projects are winners and sometimes we land on the Pinterest fail boards. We experiment, we brainstorm, we are family. It is a unique mix of women who have made my life better through the use of hot glue guns, pinking shears and sequins. It’s a place to seek refuge from all of our daily tasks. One year, instead of monthly craft projects, we traveled around to each other’s homes and DIY’d a room in the house. The room in my home that was once considered a catch all, the door quickly closed if visitors came by, became my very own creative studio. It was a complete make over at the hands of those who knew me most. It transformed into a bright explosion of color, an inviting space that called me to come in and get lost in creativity. This is where the proverbial magic happens. It is my happy place, made happier simply by the women that helped create it. 

I am a Makerie junkie. Having attended 7 Makerie retreats, it has become my yearly renewal and recharge. Over the years, I have met some unbelievably creative minds and each time I leave, I am bursting with enthusiasm and passion for the creative process.  

Many times, as class begins, participants are asked to share something about themselves. It was a year and a half ago that I finally heard my own response. It echoed off the walls and back to me, sounding like a broken record. It was here that I realized I had been saying the same thing year after year. “My dream is to some day open a creative studio where I can teach young kids to love the art of handmade.“ I had been flying to attend retreats that inspired me to do exactly what I already loved doing: Making. I had said those words so many times, and to many of the same people year after year. When would my someday come? 

On the flight back to Chicago, my own words bounced through my mind. When would my someday come? I had been waiting for that perfect time, that perfect space, but maybe I shouldn’t be waiting. Maybe that bright and beautiful studio brimming with the best class schedule and the dazzling front window display wasn’t my beginning. Right there and then, I decided that my someday could be now. I just had to reimagine it and think outside the box. I decided to start where I was, with what I had. I already had a bright and beautiful studio in my home, created by me and my crafty friends. A place where my own children and I already worked and created. This could be my starting point. Workshops and camps that invite children to play, make and grow. This was my dream. And I could start now. Make Craft Camp was born. 

Within a month’s time, I had sold out my first class. A Mothers Day paper bouquet workshop for kids varying in age from 8-13. After that first workshop, I knew this was meant for me. I was walking on air. From there, I have continued on my path. It is fun for all. My daughters help me put on each workshop, making it the most sparkly family business ever.  It is more that piecing paper together or sprinkling glitter on a Holiday house, these young girls are creating something from nothing and walking away proud of that accomplishment.  I get texts and emails from both kids and parents with photos of things the girls have created once they leave camp. This is my ultimate satisfaction. I am in the business of lifting kids up and helping them see that they can do it anything they set their minds to. We have fun while we build self esteem. 

When it came time to decide what I wanted to stand for and what my company would stand for, I turned to one of the great minds of our time. I believe Einstein said it best, “Creativity is Contagious…pass it on.” With handmade, comes patience, love of the imperfect and a curiosity that opens us up to greater creativity and appreciation in our everyday lives. My goal is to empower young girls with creativity, positivity and tons of glitter;). Dreams do come true.