Ashley Hackshaw’s mother taught her the basics of sewing when she was around six years old. Her mom used to make their clothes, bedding, and curtains, and was always taking on big household projects like re-painting the kitchen cabinets. Ashley has since gone from career woman to stay-at-home mom of Sienna, a precocious 2-year old daughter affectionately known as “Boo”, and now she’s turned her love of sewing, painting, power tools, camera and craft supplies into a business known as Lil Blue Boo.
Lil Blue Boo includes a blog that is full of imaginative project tutorials like wagon covers, adorable outfits, and creative ribbon top curtains, in addition to Ashley’s pattern store, plus links to her painting site where you can see her beautiful artwork. Ashley says she tries to create and experiment each day, “I fall asleep brainstorming and wake up trying to remember how I made something in a dream I just had!” She started her Lil Blue Boo blog to share her projects and inspire others to try new things, and she loves to follow other craft and sewing blogs out there, “there are so many talented people to follow!”
Ashley says she rarely buys anything new anymore, she loves recycling and repurposing clothing, and she started making her Lil Blue Boo patterns so that “Boo” could have her own one-of-a-kind wardrobe that fit her personality. “My daughter’s repurposed clothing always received the nicest comments and inquiries when we were out and about. I decided to publish and sell these patterns so that anyone can make their own…even a beginner who has never looked at a pattern! I use a $150 sewing machine, very few materials and I’ve come up with lots of tips along the way to share with others. I used to write detailed bond offering materials in my previous career and surprisingly this has ended up being a very transferable skill to pattern/tutorial writing.”
Originally a portrait artist, Ashley created some personalized children’s paintings as special gifts for friends and family, and she now also paints commissioned children’s portraits, nursery art, murals and faux finishes as part of her business. Some of her nursery art and small nursery pieces are showcased in her Etsy store, as well as in local boutiques and other online stores.
Most of her work takes place in a converted spare bedroom, even though she does have a studio that is separate from the house, due to having an active 2-year-old to watch over. Ashley enjoys the flexibility of being self-employed, and even though she is sometimes frustrated by limited output and small margins, she feels that turning her passion into a business was the best decision she’s ever made.
Her plans are to continue doing what she loves, experimenting, creating, and coming up with unique ideas and projects for others to try. She intends to expand on her line of patterns/tutorials and focus on creating informative ebooks to provide sewers the tools they need to easily complete a project. Ashley says that “one of the most fulfilling things for me is when I get an email from someone with a photo of an outfit they made using my directions or patterns thanking me for breaking it down into a manageable project….it is even better when it is their first sewing project!”