We are so proud to have been featured in Craft Ideas Contributor Spotlight. Here’s the article by Editor Molly Goad.
I had the pleasure of meeting sisters and business partners Jennifer (right) and Kitty (left) O’Neil at the Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show in January, and they are just as bright and cheery as their designs! The duo has been working together — writing, designing, producing videos and most recently, teaching online classes — for more than a decade, but crafting together their entire lives. Their colorful jewelry designs and creative home décor crafts are a reflection of their partnership, friendship and love of creating.
Crafts of choice: Home décor and wearables
MG: How long have you been creating and how did you get started? OS: We really are sisters, so we’ve been creating together our whole lives! Our grandfather was a cartoonist who created the comic strip Blondie, so our childhoods were just full of fun and art and creativity! Our mother is an artist too, so we always had craft projects going on. We made a giant Peter Max felt wall hanging as a family project for our brothers’ room. It was wild! And our house itself was loaded with creativity. We had a Rube Goldberg garage door opener – picture a mural painted the length of the whole garage wall with springs, levers, a cat, a bucket of water and a boot. Hilarious!
MG: What is currently on your workspace? OS: We are about to shoot a video on how to mosaic a wine bottle. The tiles are beautiful – glass in all the colors of the rainbow! And we are making a cute succulent terrarium, too. Of course, our work space also has last week’s spa craft stuff still lying around, and we must have done a jewelry project recently, too, because there is a stack of bead boxes still out! It’s hard to stay tidy when we are so busy!
The O’Neil Sisters’ studio and video set
MG: How did you become an established designer? OS: Our first book, Decorating with Funky Shui, really put us on the map. After that, we did several craft-focused books that led to columns in magazines, like Create and Decorate, Decorating Spaces and Crafts ‘n Things (Craft Ideas). Since then, we’ve been writing and creating photo-driven articles for the websites of HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies Home Journal, and we’ve been creating crafts galore for Woman’s World magazine. Now we’re focusing on teaching online through video craft courses on Curious.com, on our YouTube channel and on our blog RunningWithSisters.com. Getting to be ourselves on camera while we craft is the most fun thing we’ve done so far!
MG: What do you like best about working with your sister? OS: We have a unified voice and vision that makes working together not only easy but super fun. It’s like two brains in one! One sister can hand off an article or a craft project to the other, and she can finish whatever it is without skipping a beat. We also have a way of cheering each other on that keeps us going no matter what challenges come our way. When one of us is down, the other is up! It’s a magical combination!
MG: When it comes to special events or holidays, do you have any creative traditions or crafting that you incorporate into your celebrations? OS: We manage to work crafting into special events and holidays all year long! Kitty hosts the Super Bowl of Crafts party in January during the “Big Game.” The projects are so fun, even the hard-core football fans get involved! And Jennifer hosts a Tacky Ornament Contest each Christmas with a homemade category that is always a hit! During the year, we make lots of birthday gifts, and we love making a new wreath for each season –– we’re big on succulent wreaths right now!
MG: Crafting-wise, what is on your wish list to try? OS: We took a class in enameling and it was blast! We’d love to do more of that to make our own jewelry pieces. We also recently took a class in bezel making at a bead show. We take classes all the time and love learning new techniques!
MG: If you could share any advice or insight to crafters, what would it be? OS: With every project we share, whether it’s a written how-to or a video lesson, our message to crafters is that it’s easier than you think! We encourage crafters – especially beginning crafters – to put their fears aside and dive right in. You learn by doing and by making mistakes along the way. The goal is to enjoy the process of making things. It’s not about perfection, it’s about fun!
MG: When you aren’t creating, what do you enjoy doing? OS: In our spare time, believe it or not, we make jewelry! We really do! We are constantly trying out new techniques, plus we make lots of jewelry gifts for family and friends. (We’re almost always wearing a necklace or earrings that one of us made for the other!) When we’re not making jewelry, we like to go for nature walks and bird watch. It’s great fun and great exercise, too!
MG: What are some of your favorite crafting websites? OS: We’re Pinterest junkies, and a few of our favorite pinners are My Salvaged Treasures, Handmade Charlotte, Amanda Formaro
Check out the O’Neil sisters’ how-to videos on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/oneilsisters, their video courses on Curious.com and more projects on their website: http://runningwithsisters.com.