This interview was created by Kathy Sheldon, the development editor of Craft Hope: Handmade Crafts for a Cause.
A year and a half ago, I was tooling around on the Internet, half goofing off from my then-job as managing editor at Lark Crafts and half hunting for book ideas. I wanted to do a book that offered both beautiful craft projects and a way to make a difference in the world, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to do it. I googled “craft” and “charity,” probably for the 20th time in months, and this time I landed on the recently launched Craft Hope site. As soon as I saw the Craft Hope logo, I knew I loved the aesthetics of Jade Sims, the site’s creator. Part way into her description of the first project—sewing pillowcase dresses and bandana shorts for a children’s shelter in Mexico—I knew I loved Craft Hope and had found my author. What I didn’t know was that I’d also find a friend.
With lots of help from Lark Editor Beth Sweet, Jade and I spent the next nine months reaching out to designers, contacting charities, gathering and photographing projects, editing instructions, checking illustrations, marking up layouts, figuring out the legalities of having our publisher donate one dollar to Global Impact every time we sold a book (turns out giving away money is complicated), and generally making a book—in about half the normal time! Meanwhile, I was in the process of leaving Lark to start a new life in Charleston, SC, and Jade was in Texas, raising her two young children, having a third baby, keeping up her chikaustin.com blog, and processing the hundreds and sometimes even thousands of cloth dolls, baby blankets, sock monkeys, knit scarves, quilts, etc., that poured in for Craft Hope. After countless phone calls and emails, we finally got to meet in person this summer, when Jade and her three kids came to Charleston for some well-deserved beach time.
Jade with her three kids
Kathy making a sock monkey for Operation Sock Monkey
Jade, how did you get started blogging?
I’ve been blogging on chikaustin since October, 2006—so for almost four years. In my past life I was a teacher, but now I was a stay-at-home mom. I started blogging as a way to connect with other mamas. What I found was an incredible community of women, some mothers and some not, that quickly became friends. I also wanted a good way to document the day in and day out of life with my kids.