Saturday, August 15, 2009

INCrowdteam Interview 8/15/09 - Becky a.k.a. BeckyMortonCreations

This week's Team interview subject has an item (pictured below) that really makes me aware that it is time to get busy listing some Halloween-related items. Or shopping for Halloween items. Or both!

What’s your real name? Rebecca Morton. I’ve gone by Becky since I was born.

Where were you born and raised? I was born in Owensboro, Kentucky because it was the closest hospital besides Perry County Memorial Hospital in Tell City, Indiana. In this area, there are a lot of people my age that were born in either Owensboro or in Evansville, Indiana because Perry County Memorial had such a bad reputation. There were actually so many complications with my birth that it is a great thing that my parents had the sense to go to Owensboro.

I was raised in Perry County. Until I was nine, my mom and I lived in Cannelton, Indiana. She was a single mom with 2 jobs and worked really hard to keep food on the table and make sure I had the things I needed and wanted. My babysitter was my grandma. She was always either quilting or crocheting. When I was nine my mom married my step-dad and we moved to Bristow, Indiana. In case you can’t find it, it’s a map dot in a curve in the road on Highway 145.

My dad always came to get me at 9:00 on Sunday mornings. Usually we would go to his grandparents’ house on Millstone near Tobinsport, Indiana. So, Sunday dinner at Granny’s was a pretty important part of my life.

After high school, I went to college in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. That lasted for a semester then I came home. Then, it was off to the Navy where I actually did some growing up in Great Lakes, Illinois; Monterey, California; and Augusta, Georgia. Monterey was beautiful; it was too expensive to live there though.

Where are you now, and what led you there? After the Navy, I moved back to Bristow. I’m right next door to my mom. My only complaint is the other neighbor’s four-wheelers going up and down the road all night. We’re actually on a ridge outside of Bristow. So, we hunt a lot and gather persimmons (for bread), blackberries, and grapes. What led me here is that it’s home.

What's the origin of your shop's name? Becky Morton Creations: the obvious answer is that it is my name. More importantly is that my shop’s name says that my items are things that I created.

What types of creations do you sell in your Etsy shop? Mainly quilts. Right now I have five baby quilts with different colors and prints. They are pretty simple, but as my best friend in high school said, “Simplicity is beautiful.” There is also a purse and a pillow. The two favorite things I have in there right now, I actually drew before I even cut fabric. The quilted jack-o'-lantern is one of them. I took it down to show it to my mom. She laid it on her table and decided it would make a good table centerpiece for Halloween. She keeps saying she’s going to order it. I can make another one though. Oh! Keep an eye on my shop in the coming months. I have a lot of quilts and other items drawn out to make as soon as I finish the current custom order I’m working on.

Do you use a sewing machine, or do you quilt by hand, or some of both? Yeah, about that. As I was piecing the Spring Flower in Bloom quilt, my dad came to drop off stuff for me to sell on eBay. I had that and two baby quilts in progress. My living room looked like some serious work was going on. We got to talking and I decided that if I had a sewing machine, I would use it to piece quilt tops and that’s it. In less than a week, my step-mom’s sewing machine was in my house (my step-mom passed away last year). My mom came up here to show me how to use it. I’m still practicing. The top of whatever I’m sewing looks fine. Then, the bottom bunches up and the thread breaks. It’s a real nice Singer sewing machine and it worked the last time my step-mom used it. So I think I’m probably doing something wrong. So, the answer it I hand sew everything. For me, it’s a lot faster and easier. Even if I did manage to piece something with a sewing machine I would still hand-quilt it. I think hand-quilting puts more of a personal touch on things.

What's your educational background, as it relates to your work? Nothing related to quilting or business of any sort - just an Associate's degree in Persian-Farsi (spoken in Iran). That was related to my Navy career, but that’s not really needed in this area.

Do you have a non-Etsy job? Currently, Etsy is all I have. I had worked for Jasper Rubber Products in Jasper, Indiana in Grinding in Plant 3, if anyone is familiar. The department I worked in was an all male department, except me. Absolutely loved it. However, back when I was in the Navy I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my lower back. In February this year, the pain got so bad I had trouble standing up at work. I’ve been off work since then because no doctor can figure out how to make the pain go away. I can still quilt though. You have to sit down to do that. Since I’m quilting at home, I can take a break and lay down when I need to. Sitting up actually puts more stress on your back than many people realize. When you can’t do something for whatever reason, just find a way to get around it. That’s what I’m doing now. I can’t work in a traditional job, but I’m trying really hard not to let that disability control my life. So far, it’s working out pretty good.

Does creating stuff run in the family? Were you taught things on purpose or by osmosis from prior generations? Yes. There are all sorts of artists on both sides of my family. On my dad’s side, my great-grandma made quilts for every occasion possible. Dad told me that she used to have a quilting frame in the middle of the floor all winter long. The ladies in the area would have quilting bees to keep up on the gossip. They would get a quilt on that frame and five or six or more women would sit around it and work on the same quilt. My grandma on the same side used to make those dolls that stand in a corner. She also made some to sit in a chair. That entire section of my dad’s family, except my brother, is also very musically inclined. However, my brother did make me a Care Bear pillow when he was in high school.

My grandma on my mom’s side was a very crafty individual. She could sew, knit, crochet, and quilt. She made all my mom’s school clothes. Mom was always well dressed. Grandma also made a lot of my Barbie’s clothes. With her being my baby-sitter while I was young, that’s where I learned to sew. I never could figure out how to crochet, but sewing seemed to come naturally. My mom can also draw really well and is an excellent writer.
I was probably three or four years old when my grandma on my mom’s side sat me on her knee and taught me to sew. It seemed like she was always working on a quilt. I think a lot of them she was quilting for other people. She would show me where I was supposed to sew and so I did. I remember one that had a large block with an angel print on it. I just sewed on the lines to make the angel. Honestly, I have no idea where any of those quilts are now. The first quilt I made by myself I gave to my nephew when he was born. The second one I gave to my niece for Christmas [pictured above: Becky's niece Emilee with her quilt, Christmas 2008]. I also made one [pictured below] for a benefit auction for a breast cancer patient. It was small, but it sold for $25. It’s hanging in my dad’s house now because he won it at the auction.
How'd you get started creating? Well, when I made the first quilt, I realized how relaxing quilting really was. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice to make money doing this?” After I couldn’t work anymore, it was like a little voice was telling me that I needed to quilt. After I caught up making quilts for new babies in my family, I started making them to sell. I did my research on where to sell online. eBay was an immediate 'no' because quilts really don’t sell on there. Then, some random person on my blog suggested Etsy in a comment. I really liked the Alchemy thing and the easy communication with buyers and other sellers. So, here I am.

What's your muse, or what turns that little creative light inside you on? The thing that get me creative is just being awake late at night. I’ve never really been able to sleep well at night. During the day I sleep like a rock. This is why I worked third shift at Jasper Rubber. I still maintain a third shift schedule, unless something out of the ordinary comes up. Usually, I’m awake at 12 or 1 in the afternoon and go to bed about 4 or 5 am. It’s when I’m starting to get tired between 3 and 5 am that I am the most creative. That’s when I come up with the best ideas. I think it’s because I’m less focused and more able to let my mind drift in and out of ideas. I also don’t have any distractions, like the telephone. Usually between 2 pm and 10 pm I’m more functional and can make ideas become reality. If I have the house to myself, I can listen to bluegrass music and stay on task better.

Do you belong to any Street Teams other than the INCrowdteam? Just the INCrowdteam. I’ve tried my hardest my whole life to be a part of the “in” crowd, now I finally made it.

What's your favorite thing about selling on Etsy so far? Communication. My shop is more like a store that someone just walked in than a place to order something. Since not everyone’s online at the same time, it may take a day to get your question answered. But it’ll get answered without jumping through hoops. I feel like customers can come into my online store and read basic information, and if they have questions all they have to do is ask. It’s sort of like walking into a physical store, only it’s okay to wear pajamas. If they like what I have just not in that particular color, they just have to ask and I will create. Communication is key to every aspect in life.

Recommend your five favorite shops from all of Etsy. In no particular order...

stevesscrollsawart - The things he does with wood are amazing. I actually sent him a message today and complimented his work.

dirtydishes - Her coffee mugs make me laugh.

SewFrivolous - Adorable dresses; don’t think they’ll fit me though.

littlebighead - Has a “little pumpkinhead” drawing that is really cute.

sososophie - Has a rockabilly girl baby blanket that is awesome.

Please share three favorite items from your own shop.

Quilted Jack-o-lantern. The inspiration was Halloween. I listed it early to ensure a potential buyer would get it by October, when everyone else decorates for Halloween.

Spring Flower in Bloom. It’s the first quilt that I drew out before making. It’s similar to a flower I used to draw on everything in high school.

Farm Machinery Pillow. I just really liked that fabric. As all good things disappear, I can’t find that print again. However, I do have a pillow set in progress: motorcycles and flames - keep an eye out for it.

Where else can we find you on the internet? On
Twitter, Myspace, and, where I blog about whatever I feel like writing that day.

Anything else to brag on? I’m currently working on my first custom order (my only sale so far). I uploaded a work-in-progress picture, and my customer absolutely loved it.

SewFrivolous complimented one of my quilts (Spring Flower) on the INCrowdteam message boards. It made me smile.

Last few questions... Is there a quilt on your bed right now? Did you make it? If not, who did? What does it look like? No, but there is supposed to be. My mom made it out of bandanas from Wal-Mart. It’s a giant red and blue eight-point star. I think the points are called a flying geese or something like that.

Thanks, Becky - and welcome to the INCrowdteam! -- Stockannette

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