About

 
One of my favorite pictures..."four" Generations of Hoffy's!

I left the "About" page until the very end of my 3 month updating marathon of Cafe' Hoffy. It's always hard to write about yourself, but for those of you that are interested in people who decide to start a blog, or you're thinking about starting your own blog this "About" page might be helpful. On my Contact page I have written the short version of my life. This is going to be a bit longer, but there's pictures that show exactly how I decided to start a blog. It was a long journey...

Sewing...a life long love affair!
My whole life has been creating with my hands. I had a neighbor across the street from where I lived when I was a child. Her name was Thera Anderson. She was a seamstress. She had piles and piles of fabric, or as we now call it, "stash". I love fabric. She would give us scraps of very pretty fabric that she used to make beautiful clothing and my best friend and I would make doll clothes out of the scraps. My Mom taught me how to hand sew, so that's how it all started.

Over the early years of my life I made a lot of my own clothes, including a lemon yellow prom coat. I loved that coat. It was a full length, lemon yellow empire style coat which was very popular back in the day. I was so proud of it. It was the first thing I ever made by creating my own pattern. I have been sewing all my life and to this day, it is still one of my favorite things to do. 

Time to Help with the Household Income...
As I got older, I broadened my horizons. After my second child was born, I wanted to stay home and take care of my little ones. But, I needed to figure out a way to make some income to help supplement our household income. I loved baking, so I thought I would try my hand at decorating cakes. Once my name got out in the public, I had cakes everywhere in my home. The smell of "buttercream" frosting was always present in my home. I was at my lowest weight during that time. After working with that much sugar all the time, the thought of eating it kind of made me sick. Not saying I din't like frosting. I love my frosting. It's very creamy and delicious. But on an average week I went through tons and tons of sugar and shortening. So the thought of eating it just wasn't in the picture.  I just tasted it to make sure it was right. Below are a few pictures of my creations. Once again, I was creating...
I loved making cakes for kids. When my kids got home from school they would check out what kind of cake designs I was making for that week. From birthdays for kids, adults, grandmas, and grandpas to large wedding cakes... I made them all...
I also made baby shower cakes and special requests, like ballet slippers. Once again I was able to use my creativity only with a different medium...cakes and frosting vs. fabric...
Once I got my confidence to branch out into wedding cakes everything changed. I was making more and more cakes. As a matter of fact the whole reason I started cake decorating was because my neighbor's grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. I thought what a great opportunity to see if I could decorate wedding cakes. So, I said to her how would you like a anniversary cake for your grandparents? She said that would be wonderful. That's how it all began. The picture below is the first cake I ever decorated. Not the most beautiful, but it started my business...
Here are a few more wedding cakes that I made. As I got more confident with this medium the wedding cakes were in a word "a piece of cake" to make. I was making cakes constantly. It was great to use my creativity and it definitely helped our household finances without having to work outside the home...
Stain Glass, not too much different than working with fabric or designing cakes...
By the early 80's, I was getting a little burned out from making so many cakes. It served a purpose at that time, but now I was on a quest to find another medium to work with. It was time to seek a new creative occupation. In 1981 I went to visit a friend in Texas. She took me all through the Houston area. We visited a little town close to Houston called Spring Texas. It was a very artsy fartsy little town. We happened to stop in at a stain glass store and I was mesmerized by the beautiful stain glass pieces. It wasn't busy in the store that day so I asked the owner of this small shop if he could give me a quick lesson on making stain glass pieces. I was so excited...I had found my next creative occupation...and it truly wasn't much different than working with fabric or cake decorating. Same concept, different medium. Although, I have to say in the beginning I cut myself a whole lot more than I did with fabric. But, I learned to respect the glass and the cuts became minimal...

I started with small pieces like the ones below...
Then I moved on to larger pieces. One of my customer's favorite was my wedding invitation keepsake. I made a 1000 or more of them over my career in stain glass...

Then came the large, large pieces...I loved making these because when completed, they were so beautiful...
After doing between 25-30 craft shows a year, I met another crafter that said, "why don't you try doing seasonal kiosks in malls?"  I had never thought about that. Well, I looked into it and opened my first kiosk in Oakwood Mall in Eau Claire Wisconsin in 1988. I was very nervous about taking on this endeavor. I wasn't sure I could keep up with the manufacturing. Well, in the end, it worked out great...and yes I did keep up with the demand...
I continued doing seasonal kiosks in malls in the 90's. I opened in Rosedale Center in 1990 for a 2 year stint. Then I decided doing craft shows was a little easier and not so stressful until 1999 when I opened my seasonal kiosk in Maplewood Mall. I did my last kiosk in that mall in 2000. Once again, I was burning myself out. It was once again time for a change.

Time for truly a "Big" change...Suntide Commercial Realty
Once again it was time to make a change. This change wasn't about creating with my hands. It was time to stop traveling and also time to let my hands rest. I started at Suntide Commercial Realty in the spring of 1999. That's right, I worked at Suntide and still had a seasonal kiosk at Maplewood Mall...for 2 years! Was I crazy???? Maybe...but in 2001 I settled in at Suntide exclusively and became a commercial property manager for a 320,000 square foot office facility, Court International is located on University Avenue and Hwy. 280 in St. Paul, Minnesota. I also was a co-property manager for 3 other facilities in our portfolio for a total of approximately 900,000 square feet to manage and I loved it! While working at Suntide I learned how to work with computers. I loved the way they worked and learned everything I could on computers. I made Suntide's  first internet website and back then it wasn't as easy as it is now. I worked from 1999 until 2015 for Suntide. In 2015 I retired. I loved what I was doing, but it was time to take a well deserved break from the working world. I'm sure you think, thank goodness you retired.  LOL! 
Court International (A Beautiful Structure)
I Guess I Wasn't  Quite Done Yet...
Not so fast...in 2017 after doing all the things I wanted to get done after retirement, I decided maybe I should get back into the "craft world". I guess I wasn't done yet. I love, love, love to crochet and make quilts. I knew that I couldn't produce quilts in large quantities, but I could crochet very fast and this might be what I could mass produce. My hands were back where they loved to be...creating.

So, I set out on my quest. It took me a full year to build my inventory. This time I wasn't going to bust my butt. This time it was just for fun. I decided to only do one show a year, just to keep my fingers busy and my hands working. You would think by this point my hands would have been worn out...but they weren't. 

So, because I had done many shows years ago, I knew which ones would bring in enough people to make it worth while for me to do only one show a year. In the fall of 2017 I contacted the Canterbury Downs Fall Craft Show promoters. They accepted me and I did my one and only show of the year. It was a success. I also did their shows in 2018 and 2019, but, as we all know the virus stopped everything in 2020. Hopefully, Canterbury will return in 2021. My inventory is ready to go...all we need is an OK and once again I will be back in the place I love...creating, selling and most of all interacting with customers. I'm not holding my breath...but have hope that this fall the craft show will be open once again. If not, there's always 2022!. Here are a few pictures of my crocheting adventure at Canterbury Downs...
Isn't this little guy so dang cute? One of my customers sent me a picture of her grandson with his new "Packerware" created by "Handmade by Hoffy".

What to do when there are no craft shows to show your wares...
So now I was in a quandary...my inventory was done. I didn't want to make any more inventory until the current inventory was gone. So what to do? Well, because I still dabbled in sewing, I started making memory quilts for graduations and for loved ones who had passed. I love it! Right in my wheelhouse. One of my posts is on memory quilts. Here are a couple of them from my post...
This new endeavor will surely keep me busy. For all those moms and dads that have saved every t-shirt their child used in sports, or choir, or dance...here's a really great way for them to have a great memory of their school days.
One Final Note...
All that computer knowledge I gained oh so many years ago has come in handy during this long lockdown and working on Cafe' Hoffy's website. I've had a great time doing it. Will anything I have done change the world? Probably not...but oh what fun I have had doing so many things I loved to do and getting paid for it was just the frosting on the cake...to use a metaphor.

If you want to do something and you think you can't, you're only kidding yourself. We humans are capable of doing anything we set our minds to, like writing a blog or starting a business or whatever.  I know, I know... you're way to busy, right?  Or are you... 

Along with my crazy work and raising 4 kids, my husband and I also owned  three roller rinks over a 40 year period. We were both busy, but it never felt like work. He also did what he loved. I was lucky enough to stay home and  raise my kids on my own terms. The only difference between me and someone who wants to try something is I wanted to "keep on, keepin' on". God gave me these hands to create and that's what I've done with them my whole life. Dreams can come true, but you have to be willing to get out there and use the talent that God gave you. Your talent might not be crafting, or cooking, or creating, but the one thing I learned a long time ago is "do what you love and you'll never "work" a day in your life". Take it from a person who tried many things and loved every thing I did. I followed my heart and passions and have had total satisfaction in how I chose to work during my life. Who could ask for anything more?  Not me, my life has been very blessed...
Always remember..."Life's short, eat dessert first!"...words to live by!

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