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I am Officially a Professional Crafter & How it Relates to Cutting My Own Hair

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I have a project in the 2014 Winter Issue of ‘Modern Holidays’ from Stitch*! A little blue fox felt ornament, and since they pay their contributors I can now officially say I am a professional crafter.  The process started way back in February when I submitted my proposal, so I’ve had time to reflect. My experience both in sewing and writing tutorials has grown since then, and I’m a little surprised that they not only accepted my project but that I thought I should even apply in the first place. But I’ve never been a stranger to ignoring what I “ought” to attempt; I’ve been cutting my own hair since I was a teenager! (If you want to skip the navel-gazing, towards the end I share what exactly I submitted and some helpful articles on magazine publication)

 I started working as a waitress and a stable-hand in the middle of high school, and once my bank account started growing my Mom told me that haircuts were going to be out of my own pocket. Instead of ponying up $40 every 2 months, I went to Sally Beauty Supply and bought an $8 pair of scissors. I spritzed my hair with water, combed, clipped, and tried to imitate what I’d seen hairdressers do. It turned out just fine; the top middle picture in the collage is from the first haircut I ever gave myself.

Every two years or so, I let myself be convinced that surely a professional could do a better job than me, go to a salon, and regret it immediately. People are always mildly aghast when I confess that I cut our entire family’s hair (me, my husband, my dog, my toddler son) but it never occurred to me that I shouldn’t! I mean no disrespect to the training and licensing professional hairdressers go through, but in my opinion everyone ought to try doing it themselves. I’ve even created a handy chart to help you decide if it’s right for you:

“The worst that can happen is they say no” is equivalent in my mind to ‘the worst that can happen is you realize you have a cowlick and rely on a bobby pin for several months’. Hair grows. Rejection stings. Just try it. See what happens.

Which is exactly why I received my very first check for $100 to Swoodson Says this past week!

So, I submitted my proposal in February, shipped the fox, instructions, and pattern pieces off in late spring, and am finally seeing the finished product.  I didn’t realize it had hit newsstands yet until someone emailed me, saying how much they liked it and asking for help finding the pattern download on Stitch’s website. How flattering! As of Saturday, “The Fox Says Brr” has been downloaded 100 times! I’m sure it’s nerdy to be excited about the idea of 100 people reading my idea and making their own little fox, but I am unabashedly so.

I had never opened an issue of Stitch, never sewn a felt ornament, and didn’t see the call for submissions until two days before the deadline. I didn’t know that Stitch tends to feature projects made from quilting cottons. I certainly had no reason to believe anyone who wasn’t a “real” crafter with years of experience was ever published in a magazine or book. But I submitted anyways! And I’m glad I did.

If you’re considering it, there are lots of fun craft and sewing magazines out there! These are the articles that I enjoyed reading when I was preparing my proposal:

I wanted to share exactly what I sent over, because I debated a lot about this, procrastinated, and finally sent something in at the last moment. For future submissions I’d like to be a little more polished, have a project prototype to photograph, and now I’ll be able to add a more exciting publication list! The color ‘names’ were coordinating with their palette for each section, and was requested in the guidelines.

My “bio” answering their questions was as follows.. and yes, that is true about the poem:

“I am a new blogger who is excited about sharing handmade ideas. I don’t have any previous project designs or writing credentials, unless you consider a middle school poem published in Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul: The Real Deal Friends *. I have been working to create a community for sewing and crafts bloggers through social media and would love to get more experience working with print media as well!”

I think it’s relevant to link something I read and enjoyed recently, “Nobody Knows What the Hell They’re Doing” by Oliver Burkeman for 99u. While this does not apply to my hair-cutting analogy, I do find it to be true that “the more accomplished you get, the more likely you are to rub shoulders with ever more talented people, leaving you feeling even more inadequate by comparison.” I have connected with so many talented sewing bloggers since February and while inadequacy is a stretch, it does make me feel less creative, inventive, or productive by comparison some days! But I’ll keep submitting, keep sketching, and keep trying new things – I hope you do too. I am working on releasing some fun PDF patterns this winter for toddler toys, softies, and funky decor; be the first to know by subscribing to my newsletter!

This Post Has 29 Comments
    1. Thanks Kelly! I have thought about asking my husband, but he is so much taller than me his perspective when he takes pictures of me is so skewed if I don’t remind him to kneel.. not sure how that would translate to a hair cut, ha!!

  1. Congratulations on getting published! That is wonderful and such a cute little project. 🙂 As an aside, I don’t think I could cut my own hair. I have it cut straight across the bottom, so doing that myself could be hard. I don’t get it cut very often, though, so twice a year is fine to fork over the cash for me. I have, however, cut my husband’s and kids’ hair. 🙂

  2. Congratulations! I have my first published pattern in the Stitch Winter Issue. I keep checking the mailbox (though it’s probably too early…), because I can’t wait to see the finished photos! It’s pretty exciting, huh?

    I also cut all my kids’ and husband’s hair. I trim my own in between the once a year trip to the salon. Like you said, the worst that happens is you have to pay someone to fix it, but I’ve never had anything turn out that bad. I have gone to a cheap salon, received a horrible haircut, cried, and then paid a high end salon to fix it. I know I can’t do worse than that 🙂

    1. Thanks Sara! I didn’t see the Stitch winter issue at Jo-Anns yet but I’ll keep looking! It’s funny you say that — my absolute worst haircut by a professional was from the most expensive salon I ever tried, ha! It was insult to injury, if I hadn’t been pregnant and emotional I would’ve demanded my money back.

  3. Congrats, Stephanie!!! ha and the hair cutting–I learnt how to cut hair on my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and have been cutting his hair and our kids hair ever since. I’ve only lopped off bits of mine now and then when it was looking stringy–otherwise I try go to the hairdresser. 🙂 I may have to push myself to figure out the whole ‘how-to-cut-your-own-mid-back-length-hair!’

  4. Congrats on being published! I cut my own hair sometimes too! I usually hate the cuts I get from hairdressers and let my hair get real long and then chop it off myself. I decided I wanted to go short a few months ago, (chin length) so I went to a hairdresser for that, and I like her, so now I get my hair cut by someone else, lol.
    When people would get all crazy eyed after I said I cut it myself, I say the same thing. It’s just hair, it’ll grow back. I’ve never applied that philosophy to other things but I think I will now and just get over the fear. Thanks 🙂

  5. This is awesome! Congrats! I love your little fox and can’t wait to see some more of your little creations!! I grew up with my mom always saying “the worst they can say is no!” It was always so annoying hearing it but it’s so true. My husband cuts all of our hair too. Saves SO MUCH money!! Everyone is surprised to hear it but he’s actually quite good at it.

  6. Congratulations! This was a fantastic write up about the process and I love how you relate it to cutting your own hair. I cut my husband’s hair and have since college. At first I was super nervous but now it’s so easy that it seems like such a waste of money when he occasionally goes and gets it done professionally. I’ve never tried to cut my own but maybe I should, I always hate the experience of going for a haircut and I’m never really happy with it. I would rather not be happy with me doing it myself and skip the awkward small talk that happens at the salon…

    That fox is so cute, I really love it!

    1. Thanks Rebecca!! You totally should try, and I agree on the small talk. I’m not sure if it’s worse when they ask you a bunch of questions or when they tell you a bunch of details about their own lives. Introverts, unite. 🙂

  7. Woo hoo!!!! Congratulations, you foxy thing you. I had never though of approaching a magazine, this is food for thought for me. I have however cut my own hair. But I was a bit pissed off at the time, my hair looked awful. A girl at work sat me down at lunch time and tried to sort out the mess I had made. Never again.

  8. W00t! Congrats!!!

    I know exactly how you feel (about the hair and published article) having pretty much always cut my own hair and having recently started writing magazine articles.

    Super excited to see what else you have up your sleeve!

  9. Congrats on this cute ornament making it into Stitch! And thanks for the further musing on what we “ought” to do, and for sharing the Burkeman article. Very good reminders to do things that we love or want to try, and not be held back by the feeling that others are more accomplished, even when they are!

  10. Steff!! How exciting! It’s so cool that you’re now a published crafter – and in a real paper magazine, no less! Crazy….

    Also I don’t pay a barber either. My hair cuts itself these days :).

  11. Congrats on getting published in a magazine! That is definitely something to be excited about.

    I always say it is because I am a bit punk rock, but I have been cutting and dyeing my hair since high school. Short, long, bangs, layers. I do it all myself because I can blame myself if I screw it up 😉

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