Thursday, September 1, 2011

Reminiscing and Oilcloth

It's interesting how a person changes, given time.  I'm not the same person that I was when I was in my undergrad program 20 years ago at the University of Central Missouri.  Back then, I was still trying to figure out who I was and what I was going to do with my life.  I think that's what we all go through after the shock of leaving high school--if you don't have some sort of plan for your future it can be disorienting.

I thought I had a plan.  But things rarely turn out how one intends...

Today, having stepped off the pre-planned path that guided my life, I find myself looking at the lives of my fellow college students that experienced many of the same things I did when we were there together.  It's heartening to me to realize that many of their lives didn't stay "on track" either.  It's a great relief to know that they, too, have taken the uncertainty of their futures and carved out lives of their own that are just as satisfying and enriching as the paths they had intended to take.  Just because plans change doesn't mean the quality of life is degraded.

It's in the spirit of discovering new qualities of life that I would like to share with you a new book by a former peer of mine from college: Kelly McCants.  Her new book, Sewing with Oilcloth, just hit the market.  I'm ecstatic for her!!  I'm not at all sure this is the path that she had intended to trod, but it's obvious her enthusiasm and drive are working to her benefit!

Kelly and our friend, Ron in the early 1990s
When I knew Kelly, she was a year ahead of me in our theatre program, and we were both working toward the same BFA degree in costuming.  Kelly was a wonderful friend, and a true go-getter.  I remember an incredibly ambitious  and strikingly beautiful children's show that she did with Asian inspired costumes and makeup influenced by the Chinese Opera singers.   I remember when she was cast as Cha Cha in a summer stock production of Grease.  I remember how I stumbled to her apartment across town in the middle of the night, angry at the world and crying on a drunken binge (hey, it was college) and how she took me in and calmed me down, never judging.  I remember how she used to have thick, red, curly flaming hair that went on for miles and miles.  I remember sharing a house for two years with her on-again/off-again boyfriend that we all seem to have a version of in our past.  But most of all, I remember the good example she set for me, and I strove to rise to her level.

Kelly McCants today
All those years ago, I don't think she intended on running her own oilcloth fabric distribution service over at Oilcloth Addict,  and products made with oilcloth at Modern June, each with their own blogs (here and here). But that's what she's doing.  She's doing a book tour, appearing on podcasts (I CAN'T WAIT--Sept. 9th on Craftsanity, Sept. 12 on Craftypod), and generally doing the "author thing".  I didn't realize she had a love of oilcloth, but hey, I guess we all grow and develop interests and become bigger and better than we were in our youth.  It's called maturity.  And this path that she's on is a wonder and delight!

Who knew she would end up doing this all those years ago?  Today she home schools her two kids, has a wonderful husband, a beautiful home, and determination enough to create her own livelihood and write a book on top of it all.  Can anyone know what they're going to be when they grow up?  Kelly is an author.  And I have to admit that's not a bad thing!  It's inspiring.  It makes me want to strive to rise to her level.   :)

From the blog, "Made"
I urge you to check out the links above--Kelly's websites are chock full of tutorials and beautiful design ideas.  She has a Flickr account here that features different swatches of both the oilcloth and laminated cottons that she sells.  She's also on Facebook and Pinterest (which I just joined myself, and I'm Loving It).  And finally, here's another link to a recent blog post on Made that features her book, complete with pics of the inside and everything.   I'm thinking I'm going to have to explore this stuff--it's so fresh and crisp and airy!  Fun Fun Fun!!

Until next time, Live Life with Relish!


  1. I would love to work with oilcloth but they're horribly expensive in Singapore. I wonder why. Occasionally when I run into folks I know from my IT days, they don't react with shock that I'm making bags now as they always suspected I should be in a creative line.

  2. I don't know how they make them, but she sells them through her Etsy stores, so maybe that would help? I don't know... I think your bags would look FABulous made of oilcloth or laminated cotton.

    And I bet, like you, there were "signs" in college that Kelly would end up being the decorating maven that she is, as well as an author. At the time, I think we were concentrating so much on theatre we weren't looking! But looking back, it makes sense. It's a natural fit! : )

  3. Hey Corey, such fun to read this post! Thanks for sharing, I'm off to check out all of the links.
    Have a great long weekend!


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