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Influencer Spotlight, August: Ashley Oliver

TSM: Ashley, we really want to thank you for taking some time out with us today. I know that we have learned a little bit about you through your creative makes, but we are excited to learn a little bit more about you.

Ashley: It was cool to be chosen!

TSM: What is something about yourself that you would like to share with us?

Ashley: Oh, that is a tough question. Multiple choices are way easier for me. Since you are making me choose, I will say that I am quieter than most people think that I am and taller than I am. I am an optical illusion. I am very average.

TSM: You are awesome and definitely not average.

TSM: What do you feel is actually unique about you?

Ashley: I don’t know. If someone were to ask me who I was as a person I would say, “I don’t know. I am still figuring that out.” I do not find myself as being unique.

TSM: Your sense of style is very unique.

Ashley: I feel like I do not fit in one category. Some have a specific style, but I am all over the place. I like to be gothic, preppy, one day I will dress to fit my mood.

TSM: You are still in a stage of self-discovery and that is truly unique in itself. You do not have to conform to the standards to be different.

Ashley: Yes, I am still getting my act together.

TSM: Have you ever made something or started a project you said you would NEVER do?

Ashley: Umm, I am guilty for this. I stated I wouldn’t make bags and I have made a few now.

TSM: That is right you did. You make wonderful bags. Why didn’t you want to start?

Ashley: I didn’t think it was 'me' at first. Honestly, I thought it was too out of my grasp. When I make bags now, I tend to stress myself out because I may overcomplicate it. Then when it is finished, I have this pretty baby and forget about all the crap I just went through and do it all over again.

TSM: All of that is totally valid and I think others may have felt the same a time or two. You are definitely not the only one.

TSM: Before you started sewing amazing bags and clothes for yourself what started your sewing journey?

Ashley: I was pregnant with my daughter, and we lived in Hawaii at the time. I was bored and we only had one car. So, with my husband using the car for work and I was in the apartment alone. I had him buy me a cheap machine at Walmart and started making burp cloths.

TSM: That is pretty cool. Burp cloths are needed when you have a new addition.

Ashley: Yes, so those were the first things I made. Then it was bibs and baby quilt were the first things that I did.

TSM: That was something useful and you were not sewing just to sew something. Super cool. You were sewing with a purpose.

Ashley: My stash was so small back then. I sewed what I bought. Now I have a lot. It is hard to stop buying when you have such high-quality fabric.

TSM: What is your favorite sewing tool?

Ashley: Hmm, that is hard. The elastic puller, threwer-thing. The tool that has the hook and you can pull elastic through.

TSM: Do you mean a Bodkin?

Ashley: That maybe it. Yes, that is it. A Bodkin needle threader. I do not know why it is so satisfying to use and I like it.

TSM: What are you currently working on right now?

Ashley: I am working on a jelly roll rug right now.

TSM: That sounds super cool. Is it hard?

Ashley: It isn’t hard, just tedious. It looks so cool when it starts to come together.

TSM: What is your favorite TSM design?

Ashley: My favorite print, oh that is easy. Rocker Lips!

TSM: Had a feeling that would be yours. It is so in your style.

Ashley: Hands down my favorite. The checkers were a close second.

TSM: What is your current favorite pattern to sew?

Ashley: Oh, my goodness these are tough questions. I have a bucket hat that I can’t stop making and a reusable snack bag. The bucket hat is from Tie-Dye Diva and called The Pepper Street Reversible Bucket Hat. Plus, it is reversible.

TSM: The bucket hat is cool, and I like that there is options to color block it if you want. So stylish.

TSM: What is your all time FAVORITE pattern that you love to make?

Ashley: Stop with the hard questions lol! I cannot take it! Hmm..I will have to say the Cavallo from Greenstyle Creations. They are my all-time favorite leggings pattern. The topstitching takes a little bit of extra time, but it is so worth it in the end.

TSM: Those leggings are detailed, and the topstitching sets it apart.

TSM: Besides sewing, what other crafty things do you like to do?

Ashley: I have started to dabble in crocheting. I enjoy cross-stitch because it is mindless. I like very simple instructions and doing the box makes my head happy.

TSM: Cross-stitching is simple and keeps you busy. I bet that allows your mind to decompress. What do you crochet?

Ashley: I am not a crocheter, I am dabbling in it. I have started making wash cloths and baskets.

TSM: Your crochet makes are beautiful. I spy Halloween colors there. Is Halloween your favorite holiday to sew for?

Ashley: Yes, it is. I enter the costume contest every year here and I have placed in the last 4 or 5 years. I was the top winner the last 2 years.

TSM: What is something you want to sew in the future, or that you have wanted to make but have not had the time to do so?

Ashley: All these deep questions really have me thinking. Having me pick one thing my brain wants to scatter and say everything. Let me pick my Bat Quilt that I am currently working on. I have a tendency to pick up a project and sometimes do not want to move forward to the next step because I do not want to mess it up. Does that count?

TSM: That totally counts. It is something that you want to finish and has not been completed. The quilt you chose is so batty and right up your alley. It fits your spooky season theme perfectly.

Ashley: As of right now I have finished all my bats but I need to put them all together correctly so it can be finished.

TSM: Is this your first quilt?

Ashley: No, it isn’t my first one, but it is the biggest one that I have made. I feel that I am overcomplicating finishing it.

TSM: I think you want your bat quilt to be perfect and you may be putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. You got this Ashley. It will turn out amazing.

Ashley: It will. I just have to start working on it again. As for now, it is in time out.

TSM: Do you think being a strike sewist has challenged you in a “good” way to get you out of your comfort zone?

Ashley: For other teams no, but this team yes. When I was a guest sewist for TSM I felt I had to bring my A-game. I did not want to disappoint anyone. I felt the bar was set so high because of what I saw before strike sewing. So, I always tried to think outside the box on how my pictures should look or be. There are so many amazing sewist on the strike team and I wanted to make sure I did my absolute best.

TSM: We have an amazing strike team, and we are so glad that you are part of it. You share with us fantastic makes with the prints that you sew. The fun part is we do not know which style you will grace us with until you share your final photos.

TSM: What do you like to do for fun?

Ashley: I really like to sew. I also like to go hiking when I can. When my hiking buddy comes back, we will go back out there once monsoon season ends.

TSM: What do you like to do for self-care or to decompress?

Ashley: I like to read. I am a huge murder mystery reader. The book has to be in my hand. I am not big on audiobooks. I get wanting to multi-task, but just let me sit in peace and turn the pages.

TSM: Which authors do you like?

Ashley: I like Colleen Hoover and Rock Paper Scissors by Alex Finney.

TSM: Do you sew more for yourself or others?

Ashley: More for me. I used to sew 90% for my kids. Now, yes mostly me. It is even rarer for me to sew for other people.

TSM: Do you sell some of your crafts?

Ashley: At one point I made headbands, and I sold them in a mystery bundle. I do not do that very much anymore. It was fun to do because I had a lot of scraps to use up. The last time I did the mystery bundle headbands I made a good chunk of change. It was bananas.

TSM: How can we support you in your sewing ventures?

Ashley: The team pushes me to be the best I can be. Procrastination and all. I really enjoy the encouragement. Helping me get out of my comfort zone with bag making. You challenge me. Thank you so much.

TSM: Ashley we really want to thank you for spending this time with us. It was super fun and you shed some insight on how awesome you are. Thank you again and we look forward to seeing more of your creative makes.

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