Author Spotlight: Sunshiine



If you've been on Instructables for any length of time, you've probably seen a really sweet and supportive comment from sunshiine! Known as Sylvia Atkinson in real life, she is perhaps the most positive person I've ever met! And on top of being one of the biggest supporters of Instructables' authors, she's constantly churning out instructables of her own. She's been on the site for a little over two years and she already has over 200 instructables. I recently got to ask her a few questions about herself and her projects. :D

How did you first find instructables and what inspired you to post your first project?

A big smile is on my face when I answer this question. I found instructables by searching the Internet for sewing contests and was inspired to follow through and write my first instructable. I did not make the finalist cut. The truth is I had planned on entering the contest and that would be the end of it. But then another contest interested me, so I entered again. As time went on, I realized I did win something in the first contest. I won an opportunity to become part of one of the most creative and supportive communities on-line. Being part of this community has challenged me to challenge myself. It has given me the confidence to write an article for the entire world to read, when I was very shy at the time. I took the plunge because I wanted that sewing machine!

It was a very difficult decision for me. After I found my way around; I began to interact with other members, exchange ideas and just share interest with like minded people. I have never been a member of any one thing, for more than a month or two; my entire life. I suppose; I appreciate a little more freedom than having a set time of a certain day; to go make what is scheduled for that week. That is what is so great about instructables, there are endless creative options and no schedule demands! The community is friendly, the staff is awesome and fun, and the weekly challenges are an inspiration to build new things.

You have posted so many projects in less than two years! How do you come up with your ideas?

Another smile here. I never used to remember my dreams until I became an active member here at Instructables. Now I dream all night long about what I am going to make for an Instructable. I am awakened at times in the middle of the night remembering an instructable that I can make and jot it down! I tell my family that I had an Instructable night mare! I wonder if anyone else here has those kind of dreams?  I am also a problem solver and get a lot of inspiration there.

If you could give one piece of advice to all of the other authors on Instructables, what would it be?

I would like to deviate from the one piece of advice because; I am sure there are a lot of readers and authors who would love to share more of their amazing projects, but are a little shy about it. For them, I would say; have confidence in yourself, use spell check and comment on other member's Instructables, this helps you understand what Instructables is all about, and you become part of the family of creative minds. I have no formal education and I received a lot of help from my kids who have spent a few plus years in college. My daughter taught me to read my Instructable out loud. When I began doing that . . . . . it changed everything. There are community members here; that are willing to help you if you need something. Post a question on the community board and someone will be there to try and help you out.

You dabble in lots of different categories - what is your favorite sort of project to do?

It would be sewing, because I can work on projects away from home and can finish them sooner than expected.

And of all the projects you've posted, what is your favorite?

The one that I enjoyed making the most was FuturisticCeremonial Costume. It was an entry that actually had 2 parts. In order to understand the costume you needed to see the first part. I had to do some research about the staff members and find out some things that they liked and I incorporated that information it into my Instructable . It took a lot of thought, planning, and it was a challenge. I had so much fun though!  However, when I make a new Instructable; I always say this one was the most fun, when in reality they all are!

I love how many comments you leave on the site for other authors - you're like our cheer squad! How much time would you say you spend on the site between commenting and posting instructables?

In the winter months I spend several hours a day here but in the summer months we have the yard, garden, and fruit trees to take care of, so my time is limited. I appreciate other members leaving me comments and giving feedback and I want them to know that I appreciate their hard work and enjoy their Instructables. Several years ago I was visiting my daughter in Georgia and made some homemade bread and took a loaf to the neighbor. The next day I received a delicious cake with the returned dish. It was then that I discovered it was a southern courtesy thing; to send the returned dish to the owner filled with something. I like the whole idea of it.

You've been missing from the site for a little bit now - any exciting projects you have planned for your comeback?

Oh yes, we are in the middle of remodeling and have a lot going on. I am trying to remember to take as many pictures as I can, so I will have plenty to choose from when I get around to sharing them! I am always busy doing something that I can share.Thank you for the interview, I am blushing but honored and surprised!