Wednesday, May 9, 2012

About Me

Sylvie's Perspective

               ...from the

About Me

Hello, I'm Sylvie, also known by my business name Albina Rose or Sophie as my hubby and friends like to call me.  It is my absolute pleasure to write a weekly feature on our team blog.  Mostly, I'll talk about the different aspects of being an artist/artisan, on and off Etsy and all that entails our handmade adventures.  I'll include my experiences, others' experiences, things I've learned along the way, links to a variety of sources that address the subject at hand, a few tutorials and on occasion, I'll throw in little anecdotes, recipes, or observations about life. Maybe even a little team challenge from time to time.  My hope is to keep it light, informative, interesting and of course, fun.  But first, let me tell you a bit about me.

Albina Rose
I was born into a family of creative people who work with their hands. My father, Ray is a master carpenter and a barber, my mother Anita, a seamstress. The first anscestor we have been able to trace back on my paternal grandmother's side of the family is Olivier Quesnel. He was a master amorer who emigrated from St. Malo, France to Montreal, Quebec in the 1690s. I come from a long line of his direct descendants who worked with their hands. The love of handcrafted art, working with my hands and creating is in my blood, literally, and goes a very long ways back.

My maternal grandmother, Albina Rose, taught me how to crochet at the age of 9. I remember sitting on her front porch helping her tear fabric into strips, sewing them end to end, rolling them into a big ball and watching her crochet them into rag rugs. I still have my little rug I made that summer. After she passed away in 1988 at the age of 93, all I asked for was her well worn wooden crochet hook. I still have it today and my business is named after her.

When I was 11, my mom taught me how to sew on our dining room table where she did all of her sewing. She used to supplement our family income by sewing for other people.  Often well into the wee hours of the night.  I was in seventh grade when I made my first "outfit". A plaid tweed poncho with fringe and a pair of matching bell bottom pants. I wore them all the time! My mom made all 3 of her daughters' and even her daughter-in-law's wedding dresses. All the grandchildren have worn pajamas made by their Noni and at the age of 80, she is still sewing, but now for the great grandchildren. After learning how to sew I took right off and just couldn't get enough. I made all of my own clothes until I was in my early 30s.  That's when I had to devote my time to raising our three little boys under the age of 4.

My dad had his workshop in the basement. As a little girl, I loved going down there to help him in any way I could. To this day, the smell of freshly sawn wood puts me back there with him. When we were little, my siblings and I never got upset if a toy broke. We always said "Daddy will fix it!" And he always did. To this day, he can fix anything. In recent years, in his late 70s, he has built 3 woodstrip canoes, one for each of my siblings. And for me a woodstrip kayak. We will cherish those forever.

On my 28th birthday, September 17, 1983, I married the love of my life. Howie has been my biggest supporter in everything I do. He is my rock, my anchor, my guiding light. Our greatest accomplishment together is our 3 boys. They are now in their mid-twenties, forging their paths in life and we are very proud of the young men they have grown into. We live in Western New York on 8 peaceful wooded acres. My studio loft is surrounded with windows and I have the best views of the woods where I can see all the wildlife right from my desk working at the computer, or in my wing chair doing handwork or at my sewing machine, sitting right in front of a window.  I am blessed in life and very grateful for those blessings.

In the mid-90s I taught myself how to beadweave and fell absolutely in love with jewelry making. In the years since I have learned many different techniques and eventually combined many of them together creating something totally unique.

I am completely self-taught and the only problem I have is that I always want to know more and more. But there are only so many hours in the day, so I am learning to direct my focus on perfecting the techniques I have already learned. My jewelry is handcrafted for the free spirit. Enchanting, magical, romantic...I am inspired by, and my love of nature, faerie tales, faeries, romance and fantasy is infused in every piece I make. I love what I do. Each item I create is done so with love, joy and meticulous attention to detail. I am a perfectionist by nature and in some aspects of my life that can be a detriment. But in my handcrafted work, it is a MUST! My hope is to create little treasures that will release your free spirit, leave you feeling unique, enchanting and maybe even a little romantic.

I hope someday I'll be sitting on my front porch teaching some eager little hands how to sew, crochet, or beadweave.


  1. Nice post. I loved the way how you have learnt the basics of knitting and stitching . reminded me of my mom.

  2. Thank you Chitra! Yes, those are good memories for me. :)

  3. Sylvie, thanks for visiting my blog too.
    Following :)

  4. Sylvie, I love hearing/reading about those memories of family and leaning from loved parents and grandparents. I have similar memories of doing art with my mom.