{About Me}

Hello and welcome to the Handmade is Better blog! I’m Dana, the crafter and writer behind this site.
A little background about my website:
I have been crafting for as long as I can remember. Art was always my favorite subject in school growing up, and became part of my dual degree in college (I majored in Elementary Education and Art Education). Through the years, I’ve crafted many, many items… too many to count! In 2007, I started a craft blog as a way to keep a record and portfolio of what I made. I was bitten by the blog bug right from the beginning! In an attempt to make my blog (and crafts) look better, I re-taught myself photography (I’ve always had a camera in my hand, and even took a photography class in college). This new love of photography led me to another blog– Snapshots of Time, where I took a photo a day for two years (2011 and 2012). In 2013, I started anew with a new photo a day blog, simply titled Dana Elyse Photography. I also have had two other blogs- one for my classroom and one for my fiancé and I. Five blogs is too much to keep up with, so in May 2013, I took the plunge and decided to get my own self-hosted site, and that’s where you are now. Keep reading to find out more about me, and why I started this site.

I am a new bride, recently married to a wonderful man in the Air Force. Because of this, I had to leave my job last year as a teacher so that I could spend my time travelling cross country (From Washington to NJ) to be both with him, and back at home to plan the wedding. Since I wasn’t working, I started a small Etsy business. It was something I had wanted to do for a long time, but never thought I’d be successful at. I can surprisingly say that those first few months on Etsy were some of the most rewarding for me! I began thinking about my future and what career I could have as a military spouse who will be moving around a lot. Blogging, photography and crafting kept coming to mind, and although I’ve explored other options, I find I’m happiest when I am blogging, taking pictures and/or crafting. Thankfully I have an extremely supportive fiancé and he has encouraged me to try out this route. Only time will tell if I can make a living doing this, but you can sure bet I’m going to try my hardest!

A few quick facts about me:
Who I am:
-I am a Jersey Girl who would spend every waking hour at the beach if you let me
-I am married to a wonderful man, a pilot in the USAF (July 2013 wedding!)
-I am a photo-holic
-I could live in Disney
-I drive a bright Magenta Jeep Wrangler
-I could eat sushi for every meal
-I love living at the beach
-I adore 50′s ‘Mid-Century Modern’ style
-I craft
-I enjoy being active- running, softball, bike riding, and tennis
-I am obsessed with 70′s TV Shows
-I love ice cream
-I can’t live without my ‘tech’ gadgets (iPhone, iPad, computer, Wii, DS, etc)
-I rock out to 80′s music and country music
-I have a massive bucket list
-I love roadside America/curious oddities on the side of the road
-Thrift stores and Goodwill are my ‘go-to’ clothing stores
-I collect Mr. Potato Head and have a 5,000 piece collection
-I can’t sit still very long

{In my camera bag}In my Kelly Moore Bag (either Chapel or Classic depending on my mood), I carry:

Camera body:
Nikon D7000 DSLR
Nikon D50 DSLR (now my spare/backup camera)

Nikon 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 (kit lens- not usually in my bag, but I have it)
Tamron 28-300mm 3.5-6.7
Tamron 60mm f/2 macro
Tamron 17-55 f/2 constant
Tokina 10-17mm zoom fisheye
Tokina 11-18 f/2.8 wide angle
Tamron 10-24 mm wide angle (A recent prize I won in a National Parks Photo Contest!)
Nikon 35mm f/1.8
Nikon 50mm f/1.8 (an old film lens)
LensBaby Composer

More than I can list!
Each lens has a UV filter, and I have a variety of 52mm and 62mm filters including:
+4 and +8 Neutral Density
red, yellow, sepia (for black and white photography)
and many more! (I scored a great deal on eBay…)

Nikon remote
Several lens cloths
Camera manual (for those random error messages I always seem to get!)
and many other random odds and ends- paper, pen, safety pins, string, scissors, tissues, granola bar, etc.

My Wishlist!
Tamron or Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikon 50mm f/1.4
Lensbaby accesories
More ND filters for different lenses

Yes– I have a lot of lenses, but I fully believe in buying my electronics second hand/used/refurbished. My point and shoot camera, computer, and all of my lenses were purchased this way. eBay is one way to go about this, as is the manufacturers website or, check out Adorama for their selection of Used Items

{In my Sewing Room}

Too many sewing machines to count!
In all seriousness– I collect sewing machines, but my most used are:
-Elna CE-20
-Brother Embroidery (Disney edition)
-Simplicity Serger
-Janome Serger

-Various Olfa quilting supplies, rotary cutters, cutting mats and rulers
-Gingher sissors
-Many many many cabinets, drawers, and shelves full of fabric… all folded to the same width and stored in rainbow order
-A Longaberger basket with all my notions

Other crafts-
I have a full array of scrapbooking supplies, yarn for knitting and crocheting, general crafting tools, beading and jewelry making and too many other things to mention!

7 thoughts on “{About Me}

  1. Melissa Dahl

    Hey Colleen,

    I’m a health & science writer with NBCNews.com, and I’m currently working on a story about a new study that’s embargoed for Thursday morning on long distance relationships. I can’t get too into details about it, since the information is under embargo, but basically – the study found that in many ways, LDRs can actually be stronger than face-to-face relationships.

    I stumbled across your blog while Googling “long distance relationships,” and I wondered if you’d like to chat with me about your experiences for the story. If you’re interested, email me at melissa[dot]dahl[at]nbcuni[dot]com and we’ll work out the details. Thanks! :)

  2. roland suarez-ontog

    Hi Dana,
    Just visited your tips on Lensbaby, They would be very helpful, as I just got my lens a couple weeks ago. I like the watermark font you used too. Which one is that, if you don’t mind to share it. I will be following your other tips in your blog. Thanks!

  3. Sherrie Russ

    Hi, Dana! Have rambled about your blog and particularly interested in the your wedding guest bag labels and water bottle labels. I have a friend whose daughter is getting married and she wondered if she could buy these templates from you. I followed the link for the water bottle labels, but they did not match the ones that you used. Can you help? Her wedding is 9/20/2014, so we are rushing to get this done. Thanks for any help you can give me to obtain these templates for these labels.

    Sherrie Russ

  4. Sherrie Russ

    Would like the templates for the guest bags and water bottle labels used for your wedding. Followed the water bottle template link, but not the same. Can you help? Thanks!

    Sherrie Russ

    1. SewIn2Disney Post author

      Hi! Since I am not the original designer of the labels, I cannot distribute them – perhaps contact the person on the link to see if they’ll send it to you? If not, I know there are lots of sellers on Etsy who sell templates! Best of luck!


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