Crafting, rivers and costumes: that’s what lil e’s are made of…

Erin Ridle

Crafting, rivers and costumes. I couldn’t tell you what love came first in my life. My family bought a river outfitting company the year I was born, but I was eight before my first 6-day river trip. By then I think I was already making milk carton “candy dispensers” and gumball machines out of the recycle. And I was definitely concocting all purple ensembles, positive I had found my first-day-of-high-school outfit.

I love crafting costumes that bring out the playfulness in others. I love watching people laugh and celebrate in ways that they couldn’t in their everyday wear.

It wasn’t until high school I cashed in my then-current interest of Fimo beads and found the sewing machine, altering any vintage clothing I could find to fit my still growing 5’11” frame. Though I do confess my first sewing project was back in fifth grade, an amazing pair of neon shorts, which was consequently lost at the bottom of the river that same summer when a boat wrapped. This remained the only correlation of my crafting and costumes to the river until I began guiding at 18.

Not long after I became a river guide, “Phyllis” made the scene. Stocked with my wigs and skirts, hats and bobbles, Phyllis the party bag turned our weekly river margarita party night into a menagerie of alter-egos. And THIS is when it all synthesized for me: I love crafting costumes that bring out the playfulness in others. I love watching people laugh and celebrate in ways that they couldn’t in their everyday wear. I love crafting costumes that bring out the playfulness in others. I love watching people laugh and celebrate in ways that they couldn’t in their everyday wear.

In college, my summers were spent river guiding, toting Phyllis along on every trip, while my school year was spent at The Evergreen State College, working towards a BA that focused on fiber arts, arts & crafts and welding. It was during this time that my childhood nickname “lil e” became my craft business name. Even then it would take a germination of ten years before I decided to dedicate myself to making “lil e creations” my full time business.

Since opening my Etsy shop in 2009, focusing on costumes, kid’s toys and nostalgic viewfinders, I have loved the community I have joined. My wing collection started with one idea: how about a pair of wings that could withstand rowdy play without bending out of shape. Add to this other Etsians wing ideas that need a creator and what comes out are custom wire-free wings made with love and joy and ready for flight. I love a challenge and I love custom orders… got a fantastical idea? Bring it on!

In sum, I am so happy to be creating and outfitting the alter-egos of people around the world through Etsy. It is an utter blast and I am a lucky lady. Here’s to encouraging and inciting playfulness in the everyday!

Shops:
lilecreations.etsy.com: wings & costumes
weddingfunbylile.etsy.com: wedding favors & save-the-dates
imagesbylile.etsy.com: heart-themed greeting cards from images found in life

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