native of Ludington writes quirky craft book for families | New
Rachel (Jensen) Faucett, inducted into the 2019 Mason County Sports Hall of Fame for Tennis, recently released her own version of a playbook – one for open play.
The craft book, “The Handmade Charlotte Playbook,” is a combination of crafting instructions, homemade games, and kid-friendly recipes.
Faucett’s parents were elementary school physical education teachers. Her father was a football and tennis coach, and her mother coached gymnastics for schools in the Ludington area. She and her sister were playing tennis. There were a lot of playbooks around.
“Growing up my parents had whistles around their necks,” she said.
So it made sense to call his own book, a guide to creativity, a playbook.
“It was almost an unconscious decision,” she said.
Her family moved to Atlanta, Georgia when she was in 10th grade. She meets her husband Jonathan there.
“There were more opportunities for tennis (in Atlanta). We could play all year, ”she said.
Faucett lives with her husband and five children on a farm in Georgia.
The book is the accumulation of years of experience, 10 years after she and her husband created the children’s craft brand, Handmade Charlotte.
Handmade Charlotte started with children’s clothing. Faucett made clothes for his children and brought the unique pieces to craft fairs. Etsy e-commerce site had just launched and her husband put the items online.
She was trying to find the perfect name for her brand when they went on a ski trip. Her husband pointed to their daughter, just a baby, bundled up in homemade clothes and said, “Look, this is Charlotte handmade!” “
Charlotte, their fourth child, is now 13 years old and proud to be known as “Handmade Charlotte”.
The Handmade Charlotte website, where Faucett wrote blog posts, was meant to support the clothing. When advertisers approached her, she said it made sense to move primarily to DIY content (do it yourself), where crafting instructions are made available for free.
“It started as a blog to connect with other creatives and it turned into DIY,” she said. “We were a small table top manufacturer. It was easier to give the instructions and monetize the website. No matter what went through my mind, I could create, write instructions, and publish on the same day.
Faucett has been invited to write articles for Better Homes & Gardens. Then he was offered the chance to develop a line of children’s clothing for anthropology. She was a Pinterest ambassador at one point.
Handmade Charlotte is now a household name, having developed products for Pottery Barn and featured on Martha Stewart. Handmade Charlotte designs can be found in many big box stores.
“We don’t follow trends, we create trends at Handmade Charlotte,” said Faucett.
Her interest in crafts dates back to her childhood, when she was obsessed with “Make and Do Vol. 9. “
“It was a big part of my childhood. I took all the soap in the house to carve the turtle (in the Childcraft book), ”she said.
Her husband was also into the craft industry, and while writing the Handmade Charlotte book, they debated where the underwater activity was located in the Childcraft book. As it turned out, the version he grew up with was different from his.
Faucett’s aunt is also a “basket weaving mistress” and has influenced her love of arts and crafts.
After Faucett retired as a professional tennis player, having played from 1990 to 1997, she “began to create with the intensity of a professional athlete.”
His vision of “open play” is integrated into the book. With over 100 activities listed alphabetically and by holiday, she said the book was as much about inspiration as it was instruction.
“Open play is important for the development of children’s minds,” she said. “The book is a starting point for this open play experience.”
She stressed that the book is intended to encourage the process of creativity.
“While I was preparing the book, I didn’t want to focus on the end result you see in the photographs. A lot of craft books are like this. I wanted it to be on the process, ”she said. “People may not have all the materials, although I have chosen materials that are easy to find. (And) these people who write the books have been manufacturing for 20 years! I don’t want people to say, ‘I can’t do this, I’m not an artist.’ No! You can do it.”
Faucett said the instructions are clear if people want a perfect trade, but there is value in the early stages and in the middle of making a trade.
“It also helps to move on to the next trade… without finishing the first one,” she said. “Focus on thinking while handling materials. “
It’s the act of fabricating that she wants people to appreciate as much as she can say, “Look what I did! “
“It’s a safe exercise,” she said.
Faucett said the book celebrated Handmade Charlotte’s 10th anniversary. It also comes at a time when people are looking for a creative outlet.
Penguin Random House, who published the book, approached Handmade Charlotte to write it two years ago and it was quite an achievement putting it together. Unlike its website, the content of the book is permanent and cannot be changed.
“I had over 150 projects that I wanted to include,” she said. “We really had to change it.”
The release date has been brought forward due to recent demand for craft books.
“With the global pandemic, people started manufacturing. Pinterest is winning over the pandemic. The editor called and asked if we could get it together sooner, ”she said. “People have time to sit down and tinker. It gives the kids something to do and helps them get bored.
She said that since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, she has noticed that her own children are also creating more.
“We don’t run that much,” she said. “I walked in the other day and my daughter was sitting at the table, handwriting Thanksgiving cards.”
Her eldest is 20 years old and the youngest 10 years old. She said these are all mini versions of her and her husband.
“They are still in a project,” she said.
Since the book came out in October, it has topped the Amazon charts in several categories. A book tour was planned, but it has since been uploaded.
“It’s a different year, a different landscape for publishing a book. We had a 16-20 city book tour that got canceled. With the elections and the pandemic … we want to be sensitive to what’s going on, ”she said.
But the book can provide a bright spot in people’s lives.
“Crafts make people happy,” she said. “It’s a welcome relief in the midst of all the extremes and frightening unknowns.”
She said most of the book’s marketing is done through social media.
“We keep driving,” she said.
When asked to do something for Ludington, either in person at a later date or online, she said she wouldn’t like anything more.
“Ludington is my favorite city,” she said.
While she loves all of the activities in the book, “Swiss cheese,” made from a foam core, could be her # 1.
The “Super Sonic Sound Machine” and “Churro People” are just seconds away.
“You can just flip through it and see what catches your eye,” she said.
Faucett said all of the activities are original projects, although some are variations of classic crafts.
“The options are endless,” she said.
She hopes to continue doing the books, possibly in series, and writing a book on “identifying your own creative process”.
“The Handmade Charlotte Playbook” is on sale at all major bookstores.