Once Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft left her career as a flight attendant behind, her quilting business really took off! She’s settled down into a modern look and a life devoted to her family and making things that bring her joy. Be sure to check out her N0-Sew Felt Ornaments after her interview.
O: What is the story behind your business and your business name?
ND: When I first started sewing and sharing online I began a blog called the Crafty Traveler. I was a flight attendant for several years so this was a fun way to share what I was making and also sharing photos from different places that my job took me. When I was pregnant with my son in 2011 I started quilting and making things for his nursery. This is also a time I became interested in selling some things here and there and wanted to create a name that was separate from my travels. My husband and I brainstormed ideas for a name that represented my aesthetic and what my focus was. Since I dabble in more than quilts, I wanted something a little more open and Handcraft seemed like a great fit.
O: When did you start sewing and quilting?
ND: My mom made several of my outfits when I was younger so I have always had a sewing machine in my home growing up. She taught me some basics as a young girl. It wasn’t until 2006 when I had my first home that I decided it was time to get a sewing machine again so I could make some things like pillows etc. for my home. Quilting started around 2011 when I was blogging for fun and started to notice some modern quilting blogs. I was instantly hooked with how people were using solid fabrics and match-stick quilting. I had never seen anything like it and the minimalist look of several of these quilts is what drew me in to start teaching myself how to quilt.
O: Do you specialize in a specific look or technique?
ND: I feel like I lean more towards a minimalist look. I love bright colors, solids and texture. Modern Hexies is a technique I kind of stumbled into by accident, trying a fabric glue I used on felt and playing with the idea on using it on the folded edges of the hexagons. This has been my most loved way to sew and has given me the confidence to branch out into selling patterns, the first being my Hexie Pillow pattern that teaches this method of quilting.
O: How have your quilting and sewing tastes changed over time?
ND: I feel like it comes in waves. I will be sewing children’s items for blog posts or for my son and then I will switch to something super modern. My personal taste is very minimalist, my home is mainly black and white but you would never know this with the amount of colors I use in my quilting projects.
O: What is your ‘go to’ craft when you want to do something different?
ND: Crochet and knitting! I absolutely love it but have to watch a YouTube video on the steps each year when I get back into it. It’s starting to cool off outside so I am sure I will be pulling out one of my many projects out soon.
O: Where are you from? What is your community like?
ND: I grew up in a very small town about 45 minutes north of Dallas (Krum, TX). I moved from Dallas to Phoenix when I started working as a flight attendant, then later venturing off to Chicago for several years and then to Indianapolis, where I currently live. I loved the variety of climates and city life versus small town living. This exposed me to amazing culture and relationships I hold dear to this day. I really got into meeting people from the sewing and crafting community when I was living in Chicago. One of my very best sewing friends is Giuseppe (a fellow OLfA designer), we met in Chicago right at the beginning of our sewing journey and have been there for each other navigating the business side of craft.
O: Do you have a favorite holiday that you sew for?
ND: Hands down Christmas! This holiday is so open to your own style and personality it definitely makes it the most fun for me. You can stick with traditional colors or go black and white or full on rainbow if you like. Which becomes a problem because when you can sew and craft your own stuff, you tend to want to make new decorations every year.
O: How do you spend a free day?
ND: If I am home and my kiddo is at school I will usually quilt or sew a project. When my family is home we love watching movies and sitting around a bonfire outside. I am fortunate that I get to work from home now and not travel out of state so there is much more family time.
O: Where does your inspiration come from?
ND: I love home decor magazines and catalogs like CB2 and West Elm. Seeing the new trends and color combos that come out quarterly are a big inspiration to me. My husband is an architect so there are always design magazines around.
O: What don’t people know about you?
ND: I am painfully shy, part of the reason I am not teaching here and there. Once you get to know me I will be the loudest one in the room but something about public speaking gives me the shakes. Which is probably why I forced myself to be a mascot for my high school. Running around in a blue bobcat suit was probably one of the most fun things I have ever done.
O: Besides OLFA, what are your go-to quilting tools?
ND: I would have to say for sure my Hera marker, which is a small white tool similar to a bone folder that many paper crafters use. This is simply just a piece of plastic that has a thin edge that allows you to create a crease in your fabric so you do not have to use a fabric marking pen. I use this in quilting to create guide lines and in my modern hexie projects.
O: Which are your favorite OLFA tools?
ND; As far as OLFA tools go – oh I love so many! For sure the number one would be the 28mm Rotary Cutter. I switched to this size because I have been quilting with curves pieces and this size allows me to freehand cut easily and accurately around the curves of the blocks. The 35” x 70” cutting mat I have in my sewing room has been a life saver. It’s a great all around work surface because I never run out of room to cut and it is fantastic for trimming up finished quilts before adding my binding. I also recently fell in love with the Rotary Pinking Blade for crafting with felt, and to cut edges of fabric that will keep from fraying too badly. You will actually see this blade in use in my tutorial for this month.
O: Which school class do you wish you’d paid more attention to?
ND: Pretty sure all quilters are going to go with math, because my goodness quilt math can be killer!
O: What have you dreamed of doing but haven’t yet?
ND: Travelling to Europe, hoping to check that off the list in the next few years.
Website url: www.modernhandcraft.com
Other social media urls: FB / Twitter / Instagram @modernhandcraft