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Sabadosa: When you love your work, it’s not a job

Oak Lawn artist Lucy Groebe is pictured with one her current stained-glass art projects this one inspired by complex mathematical

Oak Lawn artist Lucy Groebe is pictured with one of her current stained-glass art projects, this one inspired by a complex mathematical sequence known as the Odd Number Theorem. | Supplied photo

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The reality is that most of us need to be employed to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

Of those working, less than half truly enjoy their jobs. That’s why it’s refreshing to hear from folks who have found the secret to being gainfully employed and loving it, too.

I caught up with Chicago Ridge’s Tiffany Fox recently. It was three years ago that when I interviewed her about living her dream of becoming a couturier, a dressmaker/designer. Since then, while she was sewing only as a sideline, her passion for her craft has led her to make it a full-time, home-based business.

Fox became a mother to Adriana in the summer of 2011. She continued to work her part-time job at a floral shop along with doing clothing alteration for clients on the side. Soon reality set in.

“Being a mom to a 6-month-old became demanding. So I took about a year off from sewing in 2012. It broke my heart, but I couldn’t juggle it all,” Fox said.

When Adriana was about 18 months old, Fox took a hard look at where she was with her job as a florist. She realized that she missed sewing and made a decision to leave the floral shop in early 2013 to have time to sew again.

To her surprise, she soon started getting calls from former clients who tracked her down, looking specifically for her to do their wedding/event flowers. After getting many such calls, she decided to reverse her role — sewing full-time and doing floral design as a side business, all from home.

These days, she’s happily working with women who often come to her for the total bridal package, wedding gowns and bridal flowers.

“I have been blessed with so many brides and bridal parties coming to me from near and far to have their dresses altered,” Fox said. “Brides love custom. They love when they have a vision of what they want and can have someone put it into fabric.”

Oak Lawn’s Lucy Groebe is also living a dream. She has been passionate about art for as long as she can remember. Supporting her passion is Chuck, her husband of 18 years, and teenage sons, Ted and Tom.

Growing up in the Archer Heights community of Chicago, Groebe attended Curie High School and said her artistic ambitions were inspired by one of her teachers there. She went on to attend the Ray Vogue College of Design and has been involved in artistic projects since.

In 2008, she started taking classes in stained glass at a studio in Homewood. Much of her art today is done in this style, and she said she uses stained glass in both traditional and non-traditional ways.

“Certain projects will have additional embellishments like beads and fine chains,” Groebe said.

While she considers her art a “serious hobby,” she has sold through galleries where her work is exhibited. Her pieces have been displayed at Studio99, Moraine Valley Community College and currently at the Oak Lawn Library — the third time she has been invited to show her work there. She also participates in local craft fairs where she sells her artwork.

What inspires her? Groebe said she creates her pieces “because they matter. They are a part of nature and a part of us. I translate just about everything into art.”

Groebe is working on a stained-glass piece that incorporates a mathematical sequence, specifically, the Odd Number Theorem.

Tiffany Fox has also found a new direction for her craft. Her daughter is now 21/2 and has inspired her to expand into custom children/baby dresses and accessories for all types of occasions.

Fox recently launched her Etsy site (https://www.etsy.com/shop/OnlySimplyMade) that showcases her children’s accessories and will soon be expanding into bridal accessories as well.

She also creates baby christening gowns out of their mothers’ wedding dresses.

“It seems to be an old trend that is making a comeback. To see a transformation from a wedding dress to a new christening dress is awesome,” she said.

Fox hopes that her Etsy online shop will keep her busy with accessory orders in between her alteration and custom dress/flower clients. She’s excited about the possibilities. The best part is that she is her own boss and has total control of her career while enjoying motherhood.

Truly sounds like both women have found the best of both worlds.

News from our neighbors

The Women’s Guild of Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Hometown will again host a weekly Friday Fish Fry, beginning March 7 through April 11. The event will take place in the parish hall, 8925 Kostner Ave., from 4:30 to 7 p.m. For further information, please call Elaine at 708-334-9724.



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