My name is Cyrilla Ann Malis. I am originally from Trinidad & Tobago. I have always been fascinated with making and creating things. When I was 15 years old, my neighbor taught me to crochet using thread, I was a fast learner.
After high school, I attended art school for 2 years. I studied floral arranging, sewing, painting, embroidery, and cake decorating. Before graduating we were required to make items in every field for competition. I won prizes in several different categories.
My best accomplishment was winning first place for a piano cake that I made. The cake was made from scratch, as boxed cakes were not sold in Trinidad. I was only 16 years old and I remembered staying up until 3:00 a.m. to finish icing the cake. I was a very determined individual and I knew deep down inside that if I put my mind to start something, that I could finish it.
Next on my agenda was attending French pastry school for a year, and business school for another 2 years. I made and sold pastries and other Trinidadian delicacies for many years. This was a successful part time venture. I also sold decorated wedding cakes. However, my cake decorating business was short lived, because I preferred making pastries. I enjoyed every moment of cake decorating though.
Looking back at my life, I am truly amazed that my career path led me back to crocheting. This wasn't the future that I had in mind for myself. To think that after migrating to America I quit crocheting altogether, for many years.
It was difficult when I started back crocheting again, I was so out of practice, I was extremely horrible and rusty. I was horrified to say the least, but I kept pushing myself. This saying that I learned in Spanish saw me through the tough times.(Poco a Poco se va Lejos) "Little by Little One Goes Far". 1994 was the year that I started participating in shows as a vendor. Since 2005, crocheting has become my full time business.
Necessity is truly the mother of all inventions. It was becoming very difficult to find pattern books for certain projects that I wanted to make. I still use pattern books. I never saw myself as a designer, but after the urging and encouragement of my husband, I started designing some my own patterns. My goal is to one day have my work published by a major crochet pattern book company.
I enjoy making special order items for things that I've never made before; its challenging, but rewarding at the same time. I first have a vision of how the item should look, first I sketch it, and then crocheting begins, I write the pattern in pencil as I continue with the process until I am satisfied. I am so grateful for all of my special order, and online clients, because they allowed me to grow and, become a better designer. I now create in ways that I didn't think I could.
For example, a client from California requested a wine gift bag with the Brazilian flag. As the due date neared I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I didn't think I could do it, but I kept pushing myself.
My best reference of the Brazilian flag was found on Wikipedia, and after many trials and error I came up with a beautiful bag. After receiving the bag, the client was very pleased and wrote, "today arrived the most beautiful wine bag, oh my God, it's so gorgeous, you outdid yourself !!!" I am thankful to God that my hard work paid off.
I really enjoy vending at shows, my favorite part is meeting, and interacting with people in general. They have been amazed that my booth is usually filled with only items that I made. Selling online is fairly new to me. (Thank you to my online clients for your support, I wish I could meet you in person).