Today, we bring you a giveaway from SouleMama Sponsor, Brooklyn General Store. In Catherine's words:
"Brooklyn General Store and brooklyngeneral.com strive to recreate a time when people would center their day around a trip to the general store. It is more than a shop, it is a calm, creatively stimulating, and comforting space, a counterpoint to hurried NYC life. It is a place where the peaceful nature of handwork is loved and respected. It is where country fiber warms the big city and the world wide web. Brooklyn General Store is home to all kinds of natural fiber yarn; new and vintage fabric; knitting and sewing notions; carded fleece fibers; wool felt; woven gifts; buttons; milk paint; natural dyes; sewing and knitting tools; quilting supplies; books on all kinds of crafts; embroidery supplies; vintage quilts and aprons; drop spindles; sewing machines; and many other things. In addition to tools and supplies, we offer a beautifully curated sampling of unique hand made goods. Brooklyn General also offers a wide array of classes, as well as studio time on our classroom machines."
SouleMama: Tell us about your background. What path led you to the work you do today?
Catherine: I have been a maker since I was 5 years old. Throughout my school years, I made crafts and sold them at local craft fairs. While in college, I became interested in Midwifery via feminist readings and some great Sociology classes. I have been a Midwife since 1995. I have been working in private practice in NYC since then. I opened Brooklyn General in 2002, just after the birth of my 3rd child. It started out very small in my garden floor but has now grown to fill the space across the street formally an old neighborhood department store. I moved my Midwifery practice into my garden office. Often my clients become my customers and my customers sometimes become my clients.
SouleMama: What's your favorite part of your job? The most challenging?
Catherine: My favorite part of owning Brooklyn General is being surrounded by creative people and materials. When I get an idea about making something, I know if I share it, someone will earnestly join in my excitement. I, in turn, get very excited about the ideas of the makers who are our customers. It is that energy that makes Brooklyn General special. The most challenging part of owning Brooklyn General is being a Boss. I am not a bossy person. I am mostly pretty shy and there are times when I need to get out of my comfort zone and become the Boss.
SouleMama: How does the balance of family and work play out for you? How has motherhood affected the work you do?
Catherine: Balancing 2 careers and motherhood has been a tremendous challenge. I have managed to work it out so that I am home after school and I make dinner almost every night for the kids. I don't do a lot of homework with them. I never have. I am not teaching them about school subjects, I am teaching them how to love, how to connect, how to be silly, how to follow your gut, be brave and know that you can do anything you set your mind to. There are times when I have been ready to quit. I have asked my kids if they want me to stop something. They always get upset when I talk about it. They know me as who I am and they do not want me to change. I make things and I deliver babies and I love my kids.
SouleMama: What's your favorite thing you've ever made?
Catherine: The things I make that I love the most are those things that use materials that have special meaning for me. I once made a scarf for one of my favorite babysitters, out of a maxi-dress that my grandmother had worn in the 60's. I trimmed it with beautiful hot pink super soft velvet from my best friend's grandmother's sewing box. I also love to knit with cashmere. What can I say.
SouleMama: What advice do you have for people wanting to be more creative?
Catherine: Just dive right in. You don't have to do anything perfectly. If you love it, then it is perfect. The more you practice, the more you will teach yourself little tricks that work for you. Find your tribe - the other makers in your community and gather with them to make things. This will connect you with creative energy and will turn the making into a social process which can lead to very exciting things.
For today's giveaway, Brooklyn General Store is generously offering the following gift to TWO lucky winners:
~ $75 gift certificate which can be used in the shop or on line.
Happy Making to those lucky people!
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To enter today's giveaway, please leave a comment (one entry per person, please) in today's post. I'll close comments by 9:00 am EST on Sunday, and announce the winners, chosen via Random Number Generator, shortly after.
Thank you, Brooklyn General Store!