We all hear and do too much complaining about our circumstances and how we MUST compromise our values and the well-being of our families in order to survive.
Truthfully? That’s rarely true, if at all. But it requires a commitment to a goal and a commitment to family that will not be compromised. That means another way HAS to be found.
I’ve recently gotten “hot and heavy” into polymer clay work. I love it. There are so many techniques and possibilities that I am seriously enthralled. I like the look of cameos – those raised pictures on a stone surface. I’ve been looking around for cute little molds that would be easy to use with minimal or non-existent failure rate.
I found a website, http://www.bestflexiblemolds.com/, and purchased a bunch of molds with faces, flowers, bugs, and more. I placed my order and got an email from the owner, parts of which I’ve excerpted below. This is a mom-and-pop business – my favorite kind of business:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you so much for your order. Our little mold business started in 1981 because I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I just had to write to tell you how tickled I am that you have ordered our products. How they came about is right up your alley.
In 1981, we were transferred to Oklahoma. In our previous home, I had been a stay-at-home mom…raising our kids and loving it.
My mother had to work from the time I was 3, as our father and mother had divorced. Times were extremely tough….Mom struggled to keep us fed and warm, but her parents and an aunt helped to raise my sister and myself. As you can tell, so many of the stories I hear on your radio show…ring true to me….From the time I became a mom, I was determined to stay home with my kids and I did.
When we moved to Oklahoma, it was a tough time for the economy. Houses were expensive, loans had double digit interest, and my husband had to take a cut in pay to keep his job. We did all we could to allow me to stay home.
In a miniature club meeting [that year], I found polymer clay and fell in love with it. Turns out, I could sculpt! Who knew?
A few months later, I signed up for a small, local craft show, to try to sell my hand-crafted miniatures to earn enough for new winter coats. To my surprise, I made $700! You could have knocked me over with a feather. The kids had warm coats and we paid some bills. It seemed that I was in business.
For the next seven years, I stayed at home with my kids while making miniatures, sculpting doll house dolls, and [creating] a signature line of tiny teddy bears called PenniBears. I taught polymer clay classes in my home, at conventions (the kids went with us), local stores, and eventually had a few dealers who sold my miniatures and PenniBears all over the country. Soon our kids were back in Christian school and I had a decent car.
[Then] my skill as a miniaturist came to the attention of [a design firm], and I was offered a position of designer/sculptor with their company. Since my husband worked nights and I would be working days, there would always be someone home with the kids when they came home from school for the next two years, when they would be grown and gone. For the next 15 years, I was a master sculptor designing giftware…home décor, and animal figurines for home and garden. Eventually, the company was sold and moved out of Oklahoma, so I started a design studio in my home.
After retiring, we decided to market our line of rubber molds. I sculpt, design the project, write the tutorials, measure the clay and make the pictures. Hubby Joe makes the molds, creates and maintains the website and ships the orders. We are having a great time, staying busy and enjoying life.
And it all started with me trying to find a way to stay home with my children. Ain’t life grand?
Penni Jo Couch