Chris Sorensen's mother used to give her a choice when she was little: "Do you want to go to the toy store or to Pat Catan's?" She chose Pat Catan's every time. The child who loved nothing more than to bead necklaces and sew grew up to be ... a real estate agent.
Happily, her story did not end there. As the housing market spiraled down, Sorensen, 35, began to imagine that her passion could become her livelihood. "I put my life in escrow and tried something new," she says. "The way I see it is that if you want to do something, you have to give it a shot."
The result is Crafty Goodness, which opened this spring in a Lakewood storefront. The store, which smells of lavender and jasmine, feels both whimsical and cool. "Not the usual boring crap," is how Sorensen describes it.
More than 60 artists and crafters, all from Northeast Ohio, sell their work here, including pottery, paintings, jewelry, soap, baby clothes, purses, origami cards, vases and toys. The store also sells a small selection of crafting supplies, including hand-dyed yarn and handmade embellished resin knitting needles.
"There's so much talent just in this area," Sorensen says, standing in the middle of her store and gesturing to the creations surrounding her.
Sorensen loves the googly-eyed monster made out of old socks ($30) by Nicki Schneider of Lakewood, the herbal soaps ($5) by Reiki Soap of Solon and the darling toddler dress made out of a Gremlins pillow case ($20) by Candice Ransom of Cleveland.
But that's not what she loves best. "The classes are what excite me the most," Sorensen says. Participants can learn to make a bracelet out of vintage buttons, etch a wine glass with stencils, create a basic mosaic, fuse glass pendants and tie-dye T-shirts — to name a few. Classes run from one to two hours and cost between $10 and $40, including supplies.
These days, Sorensen's hobby of choice is pottery. The sleek, nature-inspired sushi sets ($45 for two trays, chopstick rests and sauce containers) are hers. Making something is as much of a thrill now as it was all those years ago.
"Crafting has been very important to me," Sorensen says. "It's therapeutic, it's a great way to get out and meet people, and it's fun. It's just plain fun to create."