Welcome to The Doers, a Clever-ish Magazine interview series. The Doers are those who have taken the brave step to ‘DO’, to step out of their comfort zone, pursue their goals, and bring their dreams to life.
Tess Ciarloni is what you would call a creative multi-hyphenate. This Canada based creative isn’t defined by one of her interests, but instead allows them to fall under the broad umbrella of DIY. Working at House and Home magazine, Ciarloni still has time to sew lingerie, perfect macarons and practice yoga. Through the same outlet Ciarloni filmed and discussed the renovation of her condo, and all the details, decisions and hard work that went into the project. She spoke to Clever-ish about the DIY industry, yoga and the underrated value of a to-do list to balance all her passions!
Tell me a little about your brand/company. What do you do and how did you come to do it?
I’m the Creative Services Manager at House & Home Magazine, but my real passions are DIY and Pastry! To that end, I created my own blog called Angean in June 2015 to share my DIY projects, recipes and most recently the renovation of my condo. My blog name is an amalgamation of my grandmothers’ names, which I thought was fitting as I was always inspired by how skilled they were at cooking, baking, crafting and needlework. I also contribute to another DIY blog called Pop Shop America.
How did the COVID-19 Pandemic and subsequent lockdown affect your business, and most importantly your creativity?
The pandemic gave me a lot more time to focus on existing projects that I had on the go. I was working from home, so I was saving time not commuting to the office and could get right into a project after work. It also forced me to take a look at the existing supplies I had and projects that were half-finished and forced me to really finish those before starting on new ones (which I have a habit of doing). I wasn’t able to just run out to the store to grab any supplies that I needed so I had to make what I had on hand work and it was a great exercise!
I wasn’t able to just run out to the store to grab any supplies that I needed so I had to make it work
At some point, all of us have faced failures in some way. How do you handle these setbacks?
I’m usually quite hard on myself when something doesn’t work out, especially when it’s something that I consider myself “good at”. When I do find that something isn’t working I just step back and stop working on it for a while. I find that clearing my head and coming back to a project fresh is always super helpful.
Do you have any crucial items that you need every day?
I use my iPhone a lot for photos as well as sharing all of my content on social media. My sewing machine is probably one of my greatest creative assets as I use that for sewing all kinds of clothing, and recently a lot of lingerie, as well as sewing things for my home like pillows or duvet covers. I guess the last thing would probably be my stove for all the cooking and baking that I do! Although, I do need to get an oven thermometer so that I can get a more accurate temperature reading for when I make macarons.
What do you love the most about your industry and what is one thing you would like to change?
As far as the DIY/crafting industry goes, I especially love how many different ways there are to learn something. So many content creators out there are doing tutorials in so many different formats. I’m usually a visual learner so it really helps me to have pictures or videos when I’m learning something for the first time. Videos, in particular, were very helpful for me when learning to crochet, but when I’m trying a new recipe I actually prefer more detailed written instructions so I love that more often than not, I’m able to find explanations in different formats. I’d love to change the fact that the craft store White Rose went out of business – that place was amazing and brings back so many great childhood memories!
As far as the DIY/crafting industry goes, I especially love how many different ways there are to learn something.
How do you stay focused on your creative goals?
I’m a very organized person so I find different to-do lists very helpful. I have a general list of projects that I’d like to complete and then I often create specific lists weekend by weekend of things that I want to accomplish. I find having smaller lists for each weekend makes everything seem much more manageable! I’m also constantly searching for inspiration on Pinterest and I keep it in very organized boards by subject matter for easy reference.
Tell me about how you unwind. Do you practice self-care?
I just finished my yoga teacher training so you can often find me practicing yoga, which I do a lot from home now. If it’s been a particularly stressful day at work I’m most likely doing a gentle hatha yoga class to calm down. There’s also a very good chance you’d find me in front of my sewing machine, binging a show on Netflix with a crochet project in hand, or taking some time to make dinner with friends one night during the week. I also walk A LOT. It’s my favorite way to get exercise and really helps me to calm down if I’m feeling anxious or restless. I always insist on walking everywhere as much as I can.
If you have to recommend a book, article, podcast episode, or video you really love and has impacted you a lot, what would it be?
I’m always very inspired by the projects that I see on A Beautiful Mess – specifically projects by Laura Gummerman. I think she always comes up with such creative solutions to problems that are still so pretty and perfectly fit her style. I was also having a hard time with crocheting when I first started and found a number of video tutorials on YouTube by Dana Bold that were super helpful and modern!