We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Cryan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Laura, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
I believe there are a lot of good life lessons to be found in crafting. One of my goals is to demystify the fiber arts so that everyone can practice and appreciate them, because if someone believes they’re not skilled enough or haven’t got patience enough to try, they’re not just missing out on homemade potholders or embroidered tea towels, they’re missing out on the very cathartic and healing powers of the making process itself.

One of my favorite parts about crafting with thread – whether I’m knitting, embroidering, or cross stitching – is that it’s one of the most visible examples of how the little things add up. You don’t always feel the effects of doing a little bit each day as strongly as you do when you’re stitching something, and it’s a good reminder that a little bit each day is all it takes. Metaphorically speaking, we often set ourselves the goal of making a scarf, when we should be vowing to stitch a row or two every evening.

Two years ago, I created a cross stitch advent calendar with this idea in mind. Each day over the course of December, a few stitches are added to create a mystery Christmas design. By popular demand I created a new design the following year, tripled my Etsy sales, and had the realization: I might be onto something.

This year, I’m hoping to continue making crafting know-how accessible and compoundable. For me, it’s simple: I believe everyone deserves the chance to know the joy of making something by hand.

It’s no secret that many of us picked up new or retired hobbies in 2020, and I can’t help but think we did so out of an unconscious desire to exercise what little control we felt we still had over anything at all.

The world may be chaos, but I hold in my hands a blanket I made from string and two sticks, and that’s a kind of magic.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
@thathowtogirl began as a series of embroidered comics featuring my embroidered alter ego, and with the advent of my cross stitch advent calendars, is now evolving into a brand focused on breaking down and demystifying the craft world so that it’s as accessible as possible for as many people as possible – a charge led, of course, by my embroidered cartoon alter ego.

Some so-called beginner guides seem to completely forget what it was like to be a beginner, instead preferring to flaunt complicated techniques and advertise baffling patterns as simple, which only serves to make the average beginner feel intimidated and discouraged.

While there is a time and a place for learning the correct methods and doing things “the right way” when it comes to crafting, it grieves me to see that stand in the way of someone trying. I created @thathowtogirl not to tell anyone how to do anything, but how I did things – in crafting, and in life. It might not be perfect, but it worked for me – and it might for you.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
World Empanadas This family owned and operated restaurant in Burbank has the most delicious empanadas. Personally I recommend the Spinach and Cheese, the Biscuits and Gravy, and the Nutella and Banana – but you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

Great little vintage fashion shop. I once found the most amazing ‘50s dress here, and for that reason I recommend this place to everyone I know.

The Los Angeles Fashion District
If the thought of wandering around dozens of different fabric shops for hours sounds magical to you, I have a feeling you’re really going to like this one.

Madera Kitchen
Sit outside if you can to really appreciate the atmosphere of this one. Get a burrata flatbread and have a cocktail by their outdoor fireplace and you’ll see what I mean.

Wanderlust Creamery
This spot has some inspired ice cream flavors. I usually go for the Ube Malted Crunch or the Violet Marshmallow, but it’s worth going a few times to try them all.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate this shoutout to everyone who’s ever left a positive review, or shared, commented, or liked something that an artist has posted. It always means more than you think.

Website: https://thathowtogirl.wordpress.com/

Instagram: @thathowtogirl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thathowtogirl

Other: Etsy: thathowtogirl.etsy.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.