Hi! My name is Kim Marquez and I am a Sewing and Crafting Instructor who just happens to be also crazy about the Internet and making webpages.
I grew up in a small central California town called Hollister. I was 2 when we moved here so I can claim it to be my hometown. Hollister is a rural community, although we are now quickly becoming a bedroom community for San Jose. (about 40 miles north of us) We still have 4-H and County Fair and lots of Barn Dances and Horse Show Parades.
As a small girl, the only daughter among 6 brothers (Jim, Glen, Kevin, Keith, Kerry, and Kenny) I was always interested in dolls and clothes. Being one of 7 children meant we didn't always get everything we wanted, we had to use our imaginations to entertain ourselves. (there was no Internet then!!!!!)
My mother (Dorothy) had a nice electric Singer sewing machine, which I coveted. She sewed very well and made a lot of my clothes, as well as her own. I was always fascinated by the machine. She would never let me use it when I was small, so I (she tells me) tore up Kleenex tissues for fabric, and fashioned doll clothes out of them by wrapping, tying, folding, and draping. My special favorite doll was Barbie,as she had the 'perfect' body for fashion!
I must have been a terrible mess-maker. I was always involved in some project and was a packrat. My poor mom, after always losing her scissors, tape, pins, stapler, glue, knives, and various other household items to my creative imagination, and seeing I had a knack for fashioning things, she finally taught me how to hand sew, and to embroider. She was very diplomatic when I wanted to embroider dresser scarves in orange and purple, but she didn't stop me!
Then, after starting Home Economics in 6th grade (I was 11), and after years of pestering, she relented and allowed me to sew on her sewing machine, with supervision. The supervision came in the form of my father (James), a professional machinist, very mechanically inclined, and very patient. He had never sewn on a sewing machine before but he figured it out quickly and we made an a-line skirt from some (ugh!) leftover cotton chintz upholstery fabric!!It was very ugly as a skirt, but no one could have been prouder than I was! And---my mother's machine was the greatest thing I had ever imagined!!!!
I took Home Ec. for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and by then was sewing more at home than in the classroom. In High school I took Home Ec. my freshman year, but couldn't stand the slow pace, so for the next 2 years I was a Teacher's Aide In Home Ec. instead! This led me in the direction of helping others to sew, which I loved!
By my senior year in high school I was making 90% of my wardrobe, my bedspread, curtains, baby clothes for my neice, and loving it more and more. I fell for a real cute guy, Michael, who had lived here as a small child and had moved back recently, and about a year after I got out of school we were married! (1975) I made my wedding dress, the 4 bridesmaids' dresses, and even my mother's dress for the wedding! When we had been married about a year, we moved to a little house in town, right around the corner from THE FABRIC CENTER!!!! I got a job there as a clerk and quickly began to work to "support my habit", as I spent as much money there as I made!
The store specialized in selling Elna Sewing machines. I was able to get one the next year with seed money from mom and dad! (my firstborn!) The ladies that worked there all sewed beautifully and we all put our garments on display in the store. I was allowed to arrange elaborate window displays to show off the fabric, which I loved doing. We also had a hand in helping to pick out the fabrics from the samples when fabric salesmen came around.
The store also featured a teacher who gave sewing classes (Louise) and a quilting teacher (Judy). I loved seeing the students coming and going to classes there and tried to be as helpful as I could. A few years after I had been there,(3 yrs), our sewing teacher had to have surgery. She was a great teacher and everyone was going to miss her for the many weeks she would need for recuperating. She and the owner came to me one day and asked if I could take over for her during her convalescence. I was very fearful, but said I would do it. (tremble!!)
I began nervously, but found I loved it! After the teacher returned many weeks later, and due to health reasons, she decided to reduce her schedule and allowed me to take on more and more students. She taught the ladies and I taught the kids. My niche at last!!! The class sign-up list got longer and longer. Michael had begun to drive truck locally, hauling mostly bulk (dry) cement. I continued teaching and we started a family.
After six years of marriage, we had a beautiful little baby boy!
Jacob Michael was raised in the fabric store and came to classes with me soon after he was born. He progressed from Moses basket, to infant seat, to baby swing, to playpen, and the kids just loved him! He was very good and never fussed. 3 years later my beautiful daughter Meghan Elise came along! She too was a 'bringalong kid', although a little more demanding than Jake. Not as pliable, but maybe more spoiled by the girls in my classes! I had so much fun sewing for those two! If I'd known how much fun it was going to be, I'd have had kids sooner!
About this time the store was sold to the previously mentioned quilting teacher, Judy, and eventually moved uptown. The name was changed to Judy's Fabric Center. I stayed with her, teaching in the basement of the store where we could spread out to our heart's content and the kids were not underfoot.
The Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 ended everything! The building was damaged and condemned! We were allowed only minutes to go in and get anything out. It was later torn down. Judy moved her little store farther from the center of town and began again. She changed the name to Judy's gifts and awards as her focus had become engraving trophy awards and putting logos on hats, mugs, and shirts. I decided not to go with her this time as my own home had also sustained earthquake damage, and as we were going through some rough financial times, I felt I was needed at home.
I began to clean houses, did sewing for people at home, and also alterations, which I really hate to do. A year went by. I noticed the craft department of a locally owned drugstore was now offering classes. I figured maybe I could once again teach sewing! I got out my old class waiting list and started making calls, until I had enough commitments to start some classes! Wapple's Drug Store was happy to have me and I went to work! I also started teaching crafts a couple times a week in another town, Gilroy, at their House of Fabrics. I was happy doing this for a couple of years until both the House of Fabrics was closed and the drugstore was sold to the new grocery store chain coming into town!
In order to teach I was forced to go to Cornet's, a local "five and dime" that carried fabrics, laces, notions and patterns, and a zillion other things. We had to hold classes in the furniture department in the very center of the store, and had no privacy. There wasn't anyplace to store anything so we had to carry everything we owned back and forth for every class, even an ironing board! The people there were very kind, but the situation was not ideal.
I was thrilled to see a new fabric store, The Yardage Cupboard, opening in town!!I immediately went in and offered to do classes there. The owner Teri was very glad to have me and I started teaching there about 3-4 times a week. This place was nice because we could store our machines there and I didn't have to cart my stuff back and forth so much. It lasted a year, and due to Teri's family problems, was closed. I went traipsing back to Cornet's store and all the hassles that entailed. Finally one day about 6-8 months later, Cornets' management announced they would be closing! By now I was beginning to feel like a jinx!!!! Every store I've worked at has closed! I decided then and there that it was time for me to have my own place!!
I found out that the old county hospital (my hubby was born there!), was being converted into offices and rented very reasonably. The beauty of this was that it was directly across the street from my house!!!!! It took me less than a minute to get to work! I rented a suite there which consisted of a large classroom, a small middle room for a changing room/library, and a back room for my personal sewing and office area. I named it 'The Sewing Room' and offered sewing and craft classes to adults and children. For the first year I was in seventh heaven. I started my website to announce my new place. I could leave all my stuff there and even leave a mess if I wanted! I had tons of storage and enjoyed fixing the place up.
But, I developed a cash-flow problem and tried many things to drum up more business, including doing sewing and alterations again. I began to get behind in my rent, but the landlady was very nice and knew I was trying. Michael was allowing me to use family money to supplement my income (IE: to support my habit). Once again the forces of nature would serve to be my undoing! In winter of 1997, 'El Nino' hit California, and we were severely affected. My husband's work was almost non-existent during this time as hardly anybody pours cement in the rain. The finances of the family began to suffer and so did my classroom's as a result. I was able to limp along until July of 1998 and finally, July 31 I was forced to close up shop!
I felt like a failure and was very depressed at first. It hit me hard. I felt like part of me was missing. People didn't realize that for me, sewing and teaching is part of what makes me "ME"! Finally, I decided, "If they can't come to me, then I'll go to them!" I am now offering private sewing lessons at people's homes and the word is getting out! It's a little more hectic, and a lot noisier, I had to change the website some, and I'm carrying my stuff around in my car again, but I'm teaching....that's the most important thing!!!
Michael is still driving truck, hauling hot oil (used to make asphalt)now. My kids are big, Jacob just graduated from high school and Meghan from 8th grade! Meghan learned to sew pretty good over the years, but Ballet is her real passion. Jake tried his hand at sewing when he was six and made quite a number of items, then the novelty wore off and he never tried again! It's not near as fun sewing for them now as it was when they were little, but I am looking forward to the time in the future when they have weddings and babies for me to sew for!
Things haven't always gone smoothly, but oh well, for the most part it's been fun. I thank my mom and dad for being patient with me,they have always been a big support! I thank my co-workers who took me under their wings when I was young and helped me to refine my skills.(Louise, Lila, Barnie, Ruth, and Judy) I look forward to teaching more people the 'home arts' so that the skill won't die out. Maybe with my newfound love of 'webbing' I can reach more people and incite them to try learning to do something fun and creative!!
Update on the last few months:
In November (1998), my husband Mike got burned with hot oil, (used to make asphalt, about 350 degrees!), which he hauls in his job as an oil driver. He was burned on his wrists mostly, although he had spattered burns all over his face and neck, and a few blisters on his legs.This stuff is like tar, so while they tried to remove it they also took skin. It wasn't pleasant....
He had to stay bandaged up on both wrists. One wrist wasn't healing well so he had to have skin graft surgery.
December: After 5 weeks, he was pronounced ready to go back to work! Just about that time, I got my elbow accidentally slammed in a sliding van door. So here we are, he with both wrists bandaged and limping from the skin graft donor area, and me with my arm in a sling! We looked like we'd beaten each other up!
Anyway, that is all past, and except for a 10 day bout of pnuemonia in early February, we are doing great! (that is officially my excuse for not sending my newsletter out sooner
P.S. If you read this far, you are either very interested in people or have too much time on your hands!!!!