As a kid, I was fascinated by making things with my hands. And I love color! My favorite color is most any shade of green. But I’m drawn to red in all its varied personalities, as well! Noticing and appreciating color and pattern is a big part of my every day.
I’m inspired by everything around me. I grew up in Kansas. Plants, animals and expansive vistas were a big influence. I now have a great fondness for the subtle beauty of the desert, as well. Desert flora and fauna have made many appearances in my creations ever since my husband and I moved from Kansas City to Tucson 14 years ago.
Over time, I’ve dabbled in all sorts of artistic pursuits: sketching; painting in oils, acrylics, watercolor; mural and faux finish work; sculpture; wood burning and carving; and many of the fiber arts. As a youngster, I learned sewing, embroidery and knitting from my artistic Mom and through 4H Club projects. I dabbled in crochet but was never quite satisfied with my crochet creations until recent years.
After retiring from a 40+ year nursing career in 2014, I began experimenting with a variety of fibers and beautiful yarns. I taught myself to crochet more complex patterns including amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting small animals and objects. Dozens and dozens of whimsical creations went to live in the homes of friends and relatives. As one might imagine, our kids and grandkids have amassed huge collections of Grandma’s creations. And I continued to crochet.
After a couple years of hearing “you could sell these” over and over, I began to consider offering my favorite creatures and creations online. But what would I call my shop? Months and month passed with much brain storming before landing on an appropriate name. I adore 1) my role as a Grandma and 2) the color of Granny Smith apples, thus, “Granny Smith”. Plus, the long-standing joke about my maiden and married names; Coldsmith Smith being shortened to “Smith Squared”. In 2017, I opened my online Etsy shop as Granny Smith Squared offering handcrafted fiber arts featuring crochet and amigurumi.
In the Etsy shop, I have offered a range of items including accessories and apparel, baby and toddler blankets, amigurumi toys, collectibles and the occasional luxury item. My amigurumi bookmarks, animals and cacti are very popular both in the online shop and at local craft fairs. Current offerings include my original mini saguaro cactus made to stand alone or hang as a year ‘round ornament.
Some of my favorite projects have been commissioned pieces and character collections. My customers have the best ideas! One of the greatest was making an amigurumi bookmark to resemble a customer’s pet rat! And I’ve made many a toy for a beloved newborn or kiddo.
Most recently, I’ve been working on a custom order for a couple expecting a baby this Spring. Dad is making a wooden structure for the nursery. I was tasked with providing two amigurumi cacti and a small buffalo to adorn Dad’s piece. I do love a challenge and the thought of others being delighted by my work keeps me stitching!
I’m often asked for patterns I use to create various pieces. I purchase many books and patterns for my crochet projects, always credit the designer and am happy to point anyone to my resources. As I gained experience modifying patterns to meet the needs of myself and my customers, I began designing a few patterns of my own. I’ve discovered that pattern designing is not for the faint of heart; plenty of patience and time are required. Nevertheless, I persisted. I am now pleased to offer a handful of printable PDF pattern downloads for sale in the Etsy shop. The frequently requested mini cacti pattern in multiple styles is under construction, so stay tuned!
Most of my crochet creations come to life as a part-time pursuit when I’m relaxing in the evenings. My full-time business as a wellness coach for people working on their health with essential oils also allows me a lot of creativity. I’ve found ways to overlap these interests such as designing handmade essential oil accessories for my customers. I’ve even incorporated pure and natural fragrance into my crochet work; cinnamon-clove mini pumpkins during the holidays, for example.
Many artists, like myself, pursue our ventures because we’re passionate about the creative process and the creation. My goal is always to exceed expectations with attention to detail and customer service. I take pride in my work and receive excellent feedback on the quality of my offerings. So, I’ll keep creating!