Designer of the Week - Cactus Blossom Designs

Name: Jona Giammalva

Where do you live: Higley, Arizona (in the Phoenix area)

How old are you? 40 (just turned!)

Do you have any children, if so what ages? Olivia 13, Pietra 11, Sofia 8, and Asher ("the boy")4.

Current auctions: cactusblossomdesigns

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1. When did you get started sewing and creating? Who taught you?

I took Home Ec. in 7th grade and never finished my project (a poncho!). But I did learn the basics of sewing (how to thread a machine, what a seam allowance is, etc.). I decided to try it again when I was 16 and the sewing bug really hit me. I made a long skirt and blouse for the prom my junior year and when I look back I'm horrified that I actually wore it! But after that I was hooked on sewing and when my machine was out of order I would sew garments by hand, I was so addicted!

2. When did you start selling your designs on eBay? Do you sell anywhere else besides eBay, if so where? (example, web site, local boutique) What did you do before eBay?

I started selling handbags on eBay in June 2004. I had been selling fabric until one of my buyers said "I'm making handbag out of these fabrics and their selling like hotcakes!", and I thought "Hey! I can do that!". So I did! This last May I decided to try my hand at designing childrens clothing again (I had sold my designs to boutiques in Portland when my girls where very young but had to stop when we moved to Arizona). Right now I'm only selling on eBay but would like to try some local boutiques if time allows.

2a. Do you remember the first outfit you sold on eBay. Do you have a picture? What was it and what did it sell for?

I sold this sweet little cream with black roses set (my own pattern) with a cut out flower pin that had a glittering glass button in the middle (with matching hairbows). It sold for 49.99. I was so happy someone loved it enough to pay for it but I was sad to see it go!

3. How did you decide upon your name .

My original eBay name was Crafty Cactus. But I'm not really that crafty, I just sew! So I decided to change it to something a little more fitting. I wanted to keep the "Cactus" because it reflects the beautiful state of Arizona which is home to us now. So after much thought I decided on Cactus Blossom Designs. I think it works!

4. Do you belong to any boutique group and if so which one? How did you get started in that group? What do you like most about your particular group?

I am proud to be a member of The Loft Boutiques. I was so honored when I received the invitation because I had admired their designs for some time! It's such a fun group of witty and talented gals who rejoice when good things happen to one another and encourage and support each other when things are disappointing. Not everyone in the group has the same style so it's fun and inspiring to see the designs everyone comes up with.

5. What is your favorite thing to create? (example: vintage style dresses, totes, overalls, etc) Why?

I LOoooove making girls dresses! With 3 daughters I've had lots of inspiration (unfortunately my youngest daughter wants to be a cowboy so it's a little harder to sew for her!) Dresses are so feminine and fun and you can make them a million different ways! My little boy is 4 years old, so I'm trying to come up with some cute boy designs so he doesn't feel left out! I also enjoy sewing handbags because they can be put together so fast you get to see the finished product quicker.

6. What are your favorite types of fabrics or fabric designers? Why?

I love to touch fabric so I adore anything with vibrant colors and a soft feel ! Some of my favorites are Jane Sassaman, Kaffe Fassett, Michael Miller, and Amy Butler. I've even taken sheet sets apart (as long as the thread count is good!) and made outfits out of them!

7. Where and when do you do most of your sewing? Are you neat about it or do you have fabric covering the floor!

I have taken over my kids' school room and turned it into my sewing room. I try to sew after all the chores and our homeschooling are done and my husband's at work (he's on swing shift right now). I am a mad conductor when I sew! I throw scraps and thread here and there and when I get to the point where I can't see my cutting table anymore, I clean up and start again!

8. What other things do you enjoy besides sewing?

I enjoy baking but try not to do it too much since I like to eat what I make! I enjoy word puzzle magazines and John Grisham novels. I am hoping to get a garden going this year and will be teaching a sewing class this fall.

9.Anything else you would like to add?

I'd like to thank the Academy...oops, wrong pocket! Ahem! I want to thank Amy at Journal Modiste for this interview. What a treat!! I want to thank my neighbor and friend Diane for loaning me her camera and her daughter to model my designs!! And I'd like to encourage everyone to come visit The Loft!! It's a fun group of gals with some great talent and original ideas!!

Some past Cactus Blossom Designs

To view past Designers of the Week Click Here

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