Monday, October 13, 2008

Featured Seller: Busy Little Hands

Who are you?
My name is Janice Kalin and my shop's name is Busy Little Hands.

Where are you located?
In South Durham, right near Southpoint – but on a daily basis, I am pretty much everywhere, as a taxi driver for my very social 3 year old.

What do you create?
Anything with fabric! I started out trying to make cute and functional things for my daughter, however, now I have to make everything. I love to make useful little things for kids and whimsical things for moms.

What is your favorite place to visit in the "triangle"?
Hmmmmm.... so many places to chose from. I guess Duke Gardens. My daughter LOVES to run around with her digital camera and take hundreds of pictures. I used to own flower shops, so I love the flowers as I can't seem to keep much alive in my back yard lately.

When did you start creating?
I grew up with a creative mom who taught me the ins and outs of a sewing machine and the rewards and satisfaction of creating works of art very early. Through all the twists and turns that my life has taken, I was always making and creating with my sewing machine. I was a Management Consultant for years until the travel was too much and the yearning for creativity was desperate. I walked out on a great career and bought several flower shops, thinking this would be my creative outlet. But then, I realized that running several flower shops would not allow me to be the type of mom I wanted to be. So back to my sewing machine!

Why did you choose your shop name?
When my daughter was under two, we traveled A LOT! She had been on 50 flights by her first birthday! I was in need of some things to keep her entertained, contained and she had to feel that she was 'in charge' of her activities. So when we were not on a plane, I was searching for things to take on planes. Each store I would go in, I would ask 'I need something for my daughter's busy little hands'. So I started to make things (had to keep myself busy too!). So I started making things to keep my little hands busy in order to keep her little hands busy. And when you meet my daughter there is no other word than 'busy' to describe her!

What inspires you?
My little bitty girlie has inspired everything I make. I wanted to create thoughtful toys to challenge her mind, motor skills, imagination and creativity. We do a lot of traveling so finding compact, interesting toys for travel was essential. It was difficult to find well made and thought provoking toys and gifts. So learning what would interest my daughter (and me), I designed some toys and accessories to make our lives more fun. With all the lead poisoning and toy recall scares, it is nice to know how and where things are made.

What is the most time consuming part of your craft?
Trying to find activities to keep my daughter placated while I take 5 minutes to finish something. It usually takes me longer to organize her than it takes for me to do something. I usually work after she goes to bed, but there is always something calling to me to finish up.

What is you most popular item that you create?
To my surprise, I think it is coloring book covers. Moms, love them. They have a cute little embroidery on the front, and I can custom the embroidery, or an applique to suit a kids' interest and add their name. They are great for traveling and restaurants. I have had many moms give me a list of all their birthday parties that they will be going to, or a list of all their Christmas presents and I make one for each child on their list. This simplifies their gift giving as they can get it done in one foul swoop. They do not have to run to Target the day before a party and they put some thought into the gift for the child as they help me to customize each one. I think they are cute.

What do you do when you are not creating?
I love reading with my daughter. Playing with my dog, loving my cats and SLEEPING!

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