Hi! I’m Cyndi Funkhouser…nice to meet you! Welcome Belle Originals, a space where I aim to be my true, authentic self and share with you a mixed bag of what I’ve made, what I’m doing, what I enjoy, what I think, and how I feel. My hope is that you will find something within these posts that you can relate to, learn from, or be inspired by. Every word you read, photo you view, link you click, and video you watch was written by, taken by, related to, and/or produced by little ol’ me. Everything that I hope to share via this blog will be solely based on my own thoughts, feelings, and interests. I look forward to this journey and to meeting new friends. Feel free to reach out – I’d love to hear from you!
There are two factors that led me to the decision to start this blog. First, I often find that there are things that I’d like to say – from random thoughts that pop into my head to full blown life lessons that are worthy of sharing – but up until now I haven’t had the type of audience who might really appreciate my musings. With this platform, I’m hopeful that now I do! (You, my friend – you are now my audience!) Secondly, the recent death (January 12, 2022) of one of my virtual sewing & crafting mentors, Melanie Ham*, drove home the reminder that life is simply too short to wait for the right time to start doing that which brings you joy and fulfillment. Despite never having met Melanie, she made a profound impact on me – creatively, personally, & spiritually. Hers was a unique light that shined brightly and was dimmed far too soon. So, to honor both myself and Melanie, my goal is to offer you content that you may find useful, worthwhile, and meaningful while also satisfying my desire to share and be heard.
Here’s a bit about me and my background. My personality is a mix of Southern charm (I was born & raised in eastern North Carolina) and small-town hospitality (I’ve lived on the eastern shore of Maryland since the early 2000s). The name Belle Originals is a nod to both my roots and my lifelong admiration of all things French. My interests include sewing/crafting/creating, healthy/clean baking, nature and all things natural, hanging out at home with my beloved husband, and watching TV (hubby and I subscribe to practically all of the streaming services…no judgment!). I enjoy sharing what I create with others, whether it be the products I sell through my Etsy shop or homemade tasty treats that I make for family, friends, and colleagues. I have a natural knack for teaching and appreciate being able to share my knowledge with anyone who may benefit from it.
Some of my earliest memories involve my desire to create. I remember that as a child, I loved coloring, painting, and drawing (well, it was more like doodling..my brother inherited most of the artistic talent!). I also enjoyed learning the basics of activities like baking and sewing from my Mom and Grandma. But then I became a teen…then a young adult…then a working adult. My creative endeavors took a back seat to priorities like education, relationships, and employment. I did have occasional bursts of creativity that led me to briefly dabble in things like jewelry making, but those times were short-lived.
Many years (and many life experiences) later, along came 2020 and the dreaded pandemic. My ‘lemons to lemonade’ story involves lots of down time, stuck inside the house, searching for calm amidst the chaos – which eventually led to the discovery of a hidden talent for sewing that I never knew existed within me. I quickly realized I was onto something, so I decided to take that ball & run with it, immersing myself in copious amounts of online learning. I began to watch sewing tutorial videos with the same level of focus and attention that I used to apply to a favorite movie or TV show. Suddenly, a maker was born! I have since started my own small business, Belle Originals, which includes my Etsy shop, my YouTube channel, my Facebook and Instagram pages, and this blog. I’m loving every minute of it and feel very blessed to have these outlets through which I can channel my creativity…it truly feels like the best possible form of therapy.
(*NOTE: When you have a moment, be sure to check out the legacies that Melanie Ham left behind: melaniekham.com.)
Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.– Helen Keller