Describe your family?
Modern!! We put together two families - my three kids, his two - in 1985. They were then 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10 years old, and it was pandemonium!
I design my new line most days, and work part-time, as needed, at the funeral home that my husband and I own and that he still operates.
I`ve been a waitress, department-store clerk, telephone operator and cosmetologist/hairdresser, and have done custom alterations and dressmaking. I drove a UPS delivery truck 1981-86. I then went to work at the funeral home that my husband`s family owned. I went to community college to get my funeral director's license, and we bought the business in 1987. I worked there until 2008, when I declared that I needed a "creative break" and enrolled in the Art Institute of Seattle's fashion-design program.
Eight rescue fish (left over from wedding floral arrangements five years ago. They now reside in a fountain in our entry hall.
When did you realize you had designer potential?
I realized I had designer potential as a child, but I didn't really know it was a job . just a necessity, and a crucial skill. I was the oldest of five girls, and it was my job to provide clothing for myself, my sisters, my mother and my grandmother.
First garment you ever made?
A blue and white gingham-check skirt and short-sleeve top. I was 10 years old (1962) and babysat for a neighbor who paid me in fabric and let me use her sewing machine.
What's your design training/schooling, etc.?
The Art Institute of Seattle, 2012 graduate, with a bachelor's degree in fashion design.
Have you won any awards for your designs/work related to design?
In 2011 I won the Seattle Magazine contest for Best Student Designer. Best Spring Outfit at 2010 Art Institute Fashion Show. 2009, won first place in the Cruel vs. Cool Seattle competition sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States.
Strengths as a designer?
Strong construction skills, good time-management skills, experience with many textiles and alternative materials.
Weaknesses as a designer?
What are your influences?
Function and comfort have always been my primary goals in design. Success in life can be aided or even ensured by what we wear. Clothes that bind and don't move properly can limit our ability to succeed. The color and feel of the garment can lift a mood and contribute to self-esteem. Good clothes improve our lives.
What's playing on your iPod when you're designing?
Audiobooks: I love the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series, and I've listened to those over and over. Bruce Springsteen music is my very favorite. I also run DVDs on TV of all the past "Project Runway" seasons.
Favorite material or fabric to work with?
The very softest lambskin, as well as silk/wool blends with a bit of spandex for stretch.
Item you're most proud of designing?
My sister's wedding dress in 1973.
Sketch or drape?
Patterns or solids?
Solids. I feel when you use a print, the true design of a garment can get lost. I love using style lines and other forms of embellishments to highlight my designs.
Soft, muted teals, purples, grays.
Biggest fear as a designer?
That I will be disregarded because of my age before my designs are even considered .
A great jacket.
Fashion faux pas that drives you crazy?
Five- or six-inch heels that the woman can't walk in and she just totters around.
Ugliest item of clothing/accessory you've worn?
Pleated-waist jeans with tapered legs.
Favorite style icon?
What would you design for the first lady?
A great lambskin jacket and form-fitting pant.
Celebrity you wish you could design for?
Rachel Maddow (MSNBC talk-show host). Rachel wears a selection of the most unflattering, boring jackets available on the market today. I'm sure I could do better.
Favorite supermodel muse?
Heidi Klum, of course. She still has "it" at nearly 40 and is an inspiration to me.
If you had to name your label, you'd call it...
If you weren't designing, you'd be...
Working back in our family's funeral home and suffering the lack of color and texture in my life.
Places/cultures you wish you could design for?
Outerwear for northern climates, like the Nordic countries or Canada.
Dream place to set up your business?
An open-air studio in Kauai, with a view of the ocean.
Websites that feature your work?
How were you described as a kid?
Responsible, helpful, a little mother before I was even 10.
How are you described by your family and friends?
Why do you think you're easy to live with?
My marriage is still happy after 27 years, so I must be tolerable.
My design studio on the third floor of my house, with a view of a beautiful lake and Mt. Rainier.
Travel: I love Europe, the Caribbean, Tahiti, Hawaii.
Favorite movies and TV shows?
I love the "Star Trek" movies, "Snow White and the Huntsman," "Prometheus" and "Alice in Wonderland" (with Johnny Depp) for the costumes; "Project Runway," "Survivor," Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart.
Fast food or gourmet?
Cooking or takeout?
Beer or wine?
Yuck & yuck.
McDonald's ice cream.
Biggest pet peeve?
How did you end up auditioning for PR?
I had watched PR from the beginning of Season 1 and never missed an episode. In 2008, when I was badly in need of a creativity break from my job, I enrolled in a school of fashion design - entirely because I had been inspired to do so because of the show. I watched every Tim Gunn designer critiue and used it to help me through the three and a half years that I was in school. I considered him my personal mentor through my own learning process. Applying to "PR" was a natural extension of my education, and being accepted to the show is such an honor. I will ever be grateful to Tim and Heidi, and the wonderful group that produces the show. It is a class act, as I always suspected.
Favorite past PR designer?
Challenge you wish they'd bring back?
Grocery-store challenge; I have great plans involving kale.
Challenge you hope they don't?
Design for Nina (she terrifies me!!!).
Your take on team challenges:
Yuck, Yuck, with extra YUCK. I always become the mom, trying to help everyone, and I feeling compelled to incorporate all the suggestions and criticism into my work, and soon lose my way and make something very vanilla.
What do you look for in a model?
A beautiful face and a strong, confident walk.
Do you think you can win "Project Runway"?
I think I could win PR with the right challenges. The mix of personalities that I may be teamed up with also makes such a difference. It's really just the luck of the draw.