Rachel Hobson is known as the Average Jane Crafter, yet she is anything but. Her devotion to crafting is uncommon. Her attention to detail is unparalleled. Her sweet disposition is unlike most. Rachel’s generous heart is a shining star in the constellation of the crafting community. And if you didn’t already know, but will soon find out, the astronomical metaphor is apt. One Project You Are Particularly Proud Of 1: My high texture hand embroidery of the Moon. This was the project that helped me take my embroidery skills to a whole new level. It was outside of my comfort zone and different than anything I’d ever done before. It was also my most time-intensive project. I’m typically a keep-it-simple/instant-gratification kind of gal, and this piece taught me the discipline of sticking with something for a long time and how special the result can be. Fortunately, the project also resonated with other folks and went on to take a prize in the Etsy/NASA Space Craft Contest. Earlier this month, a print of the piece flew on the last-ever flight of the space shuttle, which was one of the proudest moments of my life. Two Mistakes You’ve Made in the Past 1: Leaving my Moon embroidery project in its hoop for too long – I’d always read that you should remove the fabric from your embroidery hoop (or at least loosen the hoop) while you are working on a long-term project, but didn’t take that advice. With my Moon embroidery, I had it in the hoop for months. I traveled with it, shared it with friends and manhandled it while stitching. When I went to remove it from the hoop to finish it, I was horrified. There was a big ring of dirt around the piece. I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t been able to see it while I was stitching, but once it was out of the hoop it was glaringly obvious. I was terrified I’d ruined the piece. Fortunately, some very careful cleaning took care of the problem, but I learned my lesson very well. 2: Not making enough time for actual crafting – I’m a busy mom of two kids, trying to juggle work and taking care of my home and family. Too often, I find myself spending way too much time on the computer or doing things that keep me away from making actual art. This is wrong, wrong, wrong, and I’m working to get better about carving out specific time to make things and not just read or write about other people making things. Three Things That Make Your Work Unique 1: My Space Influence – I am a huge space geek (does “enthusiast” make me sound more mature?) and human space flight and astronomy have a huge influence on my work. I love connecting with other space crafters and seeing fun ways to represent the beauty of space flight in art and craft. 2: My nerdy sense of humor – I have a very dorky sense of humor. I love geeky, silly things and try not to take stuff too seriously. I love to laugh and make and see funny things. 3: My delight in imperfection – I’m an im-perfectionist. I don’t fret so much about everything looking “just so” in the end. I’m more about the process of making something and the experiences I have while creating something. Four Tools You Love to Use 1: My armrest embroidery organizer – I made my first one just more than four years ago, and instantly fell in love with how much it helped organize my embroidery tools and kept my living room from turning in to a heap of threads and needles. I’ve made more for friends over the years, and realize that my original one is so beat up, it’s time to make a new one for me! The magnet for the scissors, pin cushion and mini-trash can are lifesavers when working on a project. 2: Small embroidery scissors – I have more pairs than a person really should have, but I love my tiny embroidery scissors. I have my stork pair, my Sublime Stitching pink pair, some standard silver ones and it’s taking everything in me to refrain from grabbing the new owl pair and dragon pair as well. They are like little pieces of jewelry and they are super practical – a perfect combo! 3: My Peg Boards- I love having tools and fun stuff up and on display in my studio and, more importantly, within hand’s reach. My peg boards do just that, and after working some embroidery stitches around the border, they feel especially rad. 4: Needle Case- This is one of my favorite little tools, and was a total fluke find. It’s kind of like an old mechanical pencil lead case, but for needles. I can store tons of needles in it without fear of them poking me (like in a needle book) and it has a handy magnet on the back for picking up needles off a workspace. I love it. Five Inspirations 1: Human Space Flight and Astronomy – I find endless inspiration in the study of outer space, especially human space flight. I love studying the rich history of NASA, pretty much anything to do with rockets, and am in awe of the amazing astronomical images from the Hubble Space Telescope. 2: Vintage Books – I collect vintage craft books and science/space books. These provide incredible visual and technical inspiration. 3: My new neighborhood, home and studio – We recently moved to Houston, and landed in an amazing neighborhood that’s full of great space history. We remodeled our 1961 atomic ranch, and it was my first big renovation project ever. I had a great time working with my husband to make the house feel like “us” and continue to enjoy getting it set up, decorated and really feeling like home. I was especially lucky to find a house that had been home to a fantastic artist who built a massive art studio and darkroom addition in the late 70s. It’s an incredible space in which to work, with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide great light and a beautiful backdrop to my work. 4: Fellow CRAFT team members – It will sound corny, but I am so inspired by the amazing folks with whom I work. Each of us has a very different perspective and personality, and I love working with everyone. I learn new things every day, and love seeing the things each person posts here on the blog. I always turned to CRAFT for inspiration before I worked here, and I’m glad to say that after three years of working with these awesome folks, I still do! 5: Twitter – My parents and even husband may still not get my obsession with Twitter, but I can honestly say I draw great inspiration from it. I’ve met people from all over the country, been exposed to all kinds of interesting art and science and have had some really incredible opportunities thanks to connections I’ve made on Twitter. It’s a priceless resource. Now it’s your turn! 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