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Pine Blossoms, repurposed goods

My name is Jennifer Guthrie. I live with my family in the pine-laden mountains of Northern California within an old logging community. I moved here 15 years ago from Southern California, where I grew up. Adjusting to this slower pace of life took some getting used to, but I wouldn’t have it any other way now! To stay busy and fulfilled, I have always needed a creative outlet. Sometimes it decorating a room, gardening, exploring different art mediums like pastels, and watercolors…and using them to recreate the beauty around me.

Living here limits the amount of places I can shop, but every small town has at least 1 thrift shop. This is where I have found my inspiration for PineBlossoms. I love rifling through my local shops looking for clothing and fabric remnants of wool and fun vintage weaves and prints. I have found that a men’s wool blazer has lots of potential…and I take much enjoyment in cutting, washing and pressing the parts, scheming all the while how I will put it back together and what I can make from it.

What inspired you to go into the craft business, do you still have a day job? I was a busy mom, homeschooling my 2 kids and doing a lot of Art History study with them, when Etsy came into the picture. My sister, Jodie Cruz of PetalsPurses encouraged me to start sewing again. She bought me the cutest pincushion in a teacup from another Etsy artist and stuck a little note on it saying “You should sew more.” So, it started with a pincushion and box of repurposed wool I had been collecting. I do currently have a day job. It has been an adjustment working part time, and reserving energy for my business.  I love PineBlossoms…but a regular income is a necessity!

When thrift shopping, I look for pieces with interesting colors in the weave. I look for items that look well made. And I look for cool old labels. I love labels that show an old department store in a well-known city, or a maker’s name.  This information may make the bag extra special for someone. When I am ready to use these pieces, I cut them apart, wash, and press them. I match them with a cotton print as the lining of the bag, this is where it gets its character. I find fabrics in my immense stash for the applique design and I kind of… make it what it wants to be. I never really go into a project knowing what it will be in the end. I can have an idea, but I never really know, so it is fun to see every time.

What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst? There are many rewarding things about what I do.  I love that I am using these coats that at one time were really special, and a huge investment for someone, but have outlived their usefulness.

Living where I do, It is easy to have to “make do, or do without”. I feel I have done this in a special way. I think continuing Making things, and being seen will spread inspiration to others, encouraging them think of “useless” items differently.

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