Since entering the blogging world I have been inspired by others’ talent, creativity, and writing skills.  I enjoy the process of discovering who someone is.  After all, a blog only presents a partial picture.   Today, meet Gabrielle from i. craft @ Bee Wise Bags.  

What are your crafting passions?

Gosh, everything! From my gardens to my kids’ clothes, to holidays and gifts. Both of my parents are artists, everyone including uncles can sew, even my roughest toughest mechanic uncle Steve used to make all his own western shirts. Creativity has always been the center of our family…so my passion is to pass it on to my own children and craft until I take my last breath.

Where/when did these passions begin?

Since childhood. I was a fort builder, sewist, doodler, decorator and maker of all things.

Where/from whom did you learn?

I was fortunate to be surrounded by creative people. I was born in 1970 and we had a very commune type lifestyle. There was always musicians, artists and interesting people in my life. I took a little from each of them.

Tell us about Bee Wise Bags.

It all started with the idea to stop writing aimlessly on my blog and start putting some of my crafts and ideas out there. I was having a frank internal conversation with myself about what to make, but what I really needed to do was go to the grocery store… This set me off on my utter dislike for my reusable bags – a hodge podge of free type bags that I had collected to do my green part. I usually “forgot” them in the car. Inspiration struck. I ran downstairs grabbed a paper bag and the next 5 hours was designing and making myself some really cute grocery bags instead of buying groceries. As I was finishing up, one of my best friends stopped by, she saw the bags and screamed, “Where did you get those???” She had just returned from So CAL where she bought an oil cloth lunch sack and she wanted my bags…etc.  I informed her I made them. “Of course,” she replied. The next few hours was her convincing me to sell them and go into business. Nine days later our business was up and running, with orders from 5 boutiques (one in San Fran), a website and all the other details. It was crazy!!!! Simply a miracle. Really this could not have happened without divine intervention. For example: I applied for a business license on Friday afternoon, sent the application and fee that afternoon and the license arrived Tuesday just in time to set up an important wholesale account. Something that takes weeks happened in 72 hours. It was the strangest most wonderful 9 days…my faith was strengthened beyond recognition. If it were not for my two outgoing sales minded best friends it would have never left my blog. It would have been a craft that no one saw or commented on. They were the fire and fuel. To this day… my nature is to be the think-tank but I have had to market my ideas much more aggressively to potential interest. I have to say it’s credited to my life long desire to live outside of any parameters or negativity. Don’t get me wrong when I see an idea that I was sure was my original effort already in a book or magazine, I get discouraged but I have to keep pushing because it’s what I would do whether I was making money or not. Now that I am focusing on pattern design I am really excited about the possibilities. I’m going to two huge crafty conferences this year one in Minnesota (Creative Connection) and the other is the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco at Christmas time. I hope this opens new avenues for BWB but either way I will have a craftilicious time. I’m formally educated as a fine artist, I have been an entrepreneur since I could set up a lemonade stand and I love to noodle things into reality so this is the business for me.

How long have you been blogging?

Since 2007

Why do you blog?

It started as a personal journal in 2007. I had an illness that kept me in bed for about 6 months… I was really stir crazy, so I opened up iweb and started working on a website. I did not know anything about blogging since I had only written traditionally up to that point. But, once I got started I loved it. It allowed me to express myself in a less grammatically correct way… to be more conversational….it made me climb out of the writing rut I was in and have some fun.

Do you knit? Who taught you?

A little, I was taught by different people over the years…Grandma’s, aunts and a friend, but it’s Marie at PTU that has re-inspired me to knit along with all my other endeavors.

What’s your favorite thing to knit?

These awesome little felted ballet slippers from French Press.

Do you enjoy other hobbies?

Just about everything!

Gabrielle’s back yard fountain.

Do you work and/or study outside the home?

Yes, I am a master gardener at a local nursery, a former taekwondo instructor, a pattern designer and a freelance writer. I have a busy 16 hours everyday!

Are you a small town or big city girl?

After living all over North America in both tiny and huge cities I love right where we are. It’s neither large or small, still very safe, clean and has much of what big cities offer.

Favorite vacation spot.

Silver Creek Plunge…it’s a family owned campground north of our city, with a natural hot water pool and beautiful stream.

Fondest childhood memory.

hmmm…building my fir
st doghouse. I was given a puppy, she was all I dreamed of. I pounded and sawed and designed until I had assembled a ramshackle wooden box made of scraps and a whole bag of nails. I stepped back and looked with great pride at what my eight-year-old hands had produced. Three seconds later the structure quivered, leaned and fell over into an unrecognizable heap. I learned more from that lone endeavor than I’ll ever know. 😉

Who would you like to be for a day?


How do you balance home schooling four children with your creative life? Any
organizational tips for us?

I have a tremendous energy level, the only time I am not moving, fidgeting or tapping is while I am sleeping, my husband tells me that I never move during the night. I often wake up in the exact position that I started in. But, once I’m up and going it’s a whirling good time. 😉 I’m sure I was the kid in school that the teachers wished there was some medication for. 🙂 I used to have a business called Get Order. I helped people find their own sense of order and daily routine. I truly believe that we cannot mimic someone else and do things as they would. This leads to frustration and failure. I recommend that everyone spends time reflecting on their nature, how they feel successful, what their life looks like when it is running smoothly. Sometimes this is made up in the beginning if a person has never experienced it. You know the saying, “fake it til you make it”. After you have determined what this routine or lifestyle looks like you write a commitment to yourself with a plan, schedule or list. Follow it with the best of your ability and remember that everyday is new and that you have the opportunity to improve or start over each morning. Never give up finding a peaceful existence. For me I have rules, like I can’t go to bed until the kitchen is clean or I cannot make something new until the 10 other projects I started are finished, my four kids have specific daily chores for 3 months at a time, I try to keep some order several times a day like keeping common areas clean. We are not neat freaks but mayhem is not acceptable either, although it happens from time to time and then we have to work as a team. My kids are older now, so I can be alone in the studio for hours without interruption but when they were small I had lots of crafty things for them to do while I worked, this kept us all happy. And, now that they are 9,11,12, and 14 they are really creative people themselves and have tremendous character. I greatly enjoy hanging out with them as fellow artists and innovators.

You mentioned that your husband once played for the Cleveland Lumberjacks.
Tell me more about that!

Paul was a hockey goalie since the age of 12, he played hockey all the way through college and signed a NHL contract after college with the Quebec Nordiques. He was born in Springfield Mass to Canadian parents, so he is a dual citizen that ended up playing for the US olympic team, ironically. His dad played for the Bruins when there was only 6 NHL teams. At some point Paul was called to start a few games with the Lumberjacks but I was still in Canada and his contract was there so he didn’t stay long. He played for 9 years and retired here in Idaho at the ripe old age of 29.

What’s your favorite chain type restaurant?

None…I’m a small family owned kind of girl. I often say that I’m against “mall food”. heehee But if I have to choose I will admit that I enjoy the Cheesecake Factory every once in a while. The have a Boston Salad that I love.

What things are unique to where you live?

Our town is still a small western town in many ways. A nice restaurant could have someone in sequins and another in wranglers on any given day. Sometimes I hear funny sayings like “seeins how I’m a goin to the store to get fixins for dinner, is there…” OR “do yer friends want any grub” I’m not kidding, I tease my relatives on a regular basis about their slang. We also have a rich Basque history here and some really cool organizations like the Humanitarian Hall of Fame, a International Jazz Festival, many film festivals and several professional sports teams.

Favorite candy.

Ritter Sport…what’s better than a butter cookie covered with milk chocolate.

Your scariest moment?

When I realized my mortality after dislocating my knee sparring in Taekwondo. Now I won’t even try a cartwheel or handstand…but at 39 I guess those days are over. 🙂

What helps you when you are in a bad mood?

Prayer…lots of it, sometimes it sounds more like pleading! 🙂

Use one word that best describes yourself.


Thanks, Gabrielle, for letting us get to know you a bit better.  (I loved your post  about all the jobs you did in your life!)  Be sure to check out her amazing patterns here!