I’m Maria Sabina Raita, a young woman, born and raised in a small Transylvanian town in Romania called Alba Iulia. My family background is quite extensive but crafty in different ways. My mum, as child, liked to draw but once she got a job and later on married, that was just a lost dream. However, she still enjoyed making handmade embroidery and she continues even now with her crochets. My dad is also a crafty man, but ‘crafty’ in a different sense of the word; he’s actually a plumber. I’m the youngest in our family, with one older sister and three older brothers. My sister enjoys crocheting various clothing items for my nephew. My brothers are in the same line of work as my dad.
I was born in June but I love spring and dislike cold weather. I have been drawing since childhood. I often hear these funny stories from my neighbours, “Remember when you were outside and drew on stairs with chalk, and the neighbour above your apartment told you to go home and draw there?’’ To be honest, I think I was way too young to remember this.
I started going to school and the art class was pretty busy. Most of my classmates would come to me to draw their work because they couldn’t do it, until the teacher noticed and moved me into the first set.
I would make all kinds of things for my friends when I was around 14. I even got paid for making a mini wallet in the 8th grade. I wasn’t very good at other subjects. Luckily I had Art and Sport class to make me feel better. My geography teacher once asked the class about what we wanted to do in the future, and where would we like to study. My answer was really short: I wanted to draw and create things. She was pretty annoyed with my answer and replied, “Art will not bring you any bread on your table’’. I heard this way too many times, but that only made me more determined. Once I passed my final exam, I applied to the local School of Fine Arts ( High School). High school was ok. I got what I wanted and I applied for the Painting / Graphic class, which was very enjoyable. Our small group was very funny, talented and always did some silly things at school. But was drawing and painting enough for me? I loved making my own jewellery, so I, along with my high school friend, decided to buy some jewellery supplies to sell to the general public. We managed to get our own blog and sell some of our handmade jewellery. With some more help from our Info teacher we had a mini exposition. I really enjoyed making the jewellery but is that enough? I love paper and I loved making small cards and different paper crafts. At that point I wasn’t really aware of the international card and paper crafting community, until I watched a video on Youtube. I had a million questions running around in my little brain! What’s that machine? Why do you need so many tools to create a simple card? Well, if you know me then you’ll know that when I have an idea, I must do it in the next minute! But I had a big problem: how could I buy these special supplies from my little town? Impossible…
Once I’ve finished High School I decided to take a sabbatical year in order to reflect on what I want to do for the near future. I was confused and had no plans, until my brother invited me to visit him in Spain and told me if I’d like to try and work as baby sitter for a while. I accepted the challenge and didn’t know what it was going to bring…until I got to meet the family: it was a couple who had three babies. They were actually 2 months old triplets! It was a long and difficult job, since I work 24/6 and did most of the work. I have no regrets because I learned a lot of things and really loved being their nanny. Despite the busy routine I still managed to find time to research more about scrapbooking and paper crafts. I saved as much as I could, and made a list of the supplies I needed. During my time off, I’d go in town with my brother to local shops and look for different paper supplies. I managed to get a paper trimmer, a pack of black cardstock, a white gel pen, crafty scissors, glue, glitter and a regular ink pad. Once back home I had the time to search more and get more information. This is just the beginning of my journey. I saw all these different crafty videos on Youtube , sharing their supplies and tutorials , so I decided to upload my own videos. Trust me looking back I realise how ‘poor’ my collection was. But hey , this is how it works when you don’t have the source and knowledge about something so big in the USA.
I finally decided to do and give it a try. I created my blog: Lollyrot Scrapbooking and my lollyrot07 Youtube channel. I was afraid that this will not work. But you must have confidence and do what makes you happy. With the help from many people I got so far…I can only name the ones that really were there for me to share their passion. The first person that started supporting me is my ex-boyfriend who got me some crafty supplies. I also met in real life a talented person called Meda from Romania who showed me how the Cuttlebug really works. That was the time when I had so many questions about this magical machine. With the blog active, I started getting comments and made some crafty friends. Ar, Debra, Debbie, Anna, Laura, Lia and Chelsea. These are just some of the people that really were there from the beginning to share their kindness and some of the great supplies that I couldn’t find in Romania. I’m still very grateful to these people. Of course, there are more people, but the list is too long. I’m grateful to each and every one of you for being with me on this journey.
With more supplies in my small craft corner I finally got the courage to apply to a Design Team. The first ever Design Team was Stampotique. A great small rubber stamp company from the USA. At the beginning everything needs small steps. I was excited to discover things myself and with this beautiful community so I started getting more involved. From small giveaways, tutorials, blog posts, challenges; they all helped Lollyrot Scrabooking work.
Working for so many companies and I had the opportunity to see what I like and didnt like. I enjoyed creating for each and every one of the past Design Teams/ Guest Design spots and other small crafty activity. With the amazing help and generosity from Stampotique, I had the opportunity to have my own stamp collection called ‘Zara’ created in the memory of my beloved rabbit.
At the moment I have the pleasure to design for some of the most amazing companies in this community. I design for a wonderful crafty magazine, I create lovely projects for different brands and I feel happy! But is this really enough? I would love to continue this journey and make it my full time job, but many people still ask me if this will bring you the bread on the table. Well my answer is: maybe not, but I feel happy. Any hobby takes a big sacrifice and you must do what makes you happy and stop living for the amount of money you keep in your pocket. You live your own life, your own dream. If you have the motivation, courage and talent, then do it!
I would like the near future to bring more inspiration for me and you, a craft studio, workshops, meeting all the crafty friends one day at the one and only CHA .I want to smile and make myself proud of who I am now….tomorrow… in the next 50 years.
Thanks for being here today, reading this and for giving your attention for a few minutes. It means a lot to me and I can only do it with your support.
To be continued…..