the heartfelt story
Heartfelt started in my dreams back in 2013 and began as an after-school activity at Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Vienna, VA, where I used to work as an instructional assistant and Spanish teacher. Summer camps started in my basement in 2014 and finally, with very little savings but a whole lot of hope, on May 27, 2015, I received the keys to the Church St. location. My family helped me paint chairs and tables that I bought in yard sales; we painted the shop and decorated it. Heartfelt was ready to open for summer camps in June 2015.
I kept working full time at OLGC and going to Heartfelt for afternoon classes every day, all this with 3 elementary school kids and my husband traveling for work in Africa all the time. I know an angel was helping us! And ever since, Heartfelt’s doors have been opened to hundreds of children who want to learn the practical arts of sewing+crafting, want to have a safe space to express their creativity, and want to have fun! I always like to think that Heartfelt is more than learning to sew holes in their socks, but rather learning about problem-solving; starting all over when needed; being humble and understanding that getting good at something takes practice; learning to turn mistakes into lessons; sharing talents with others; realizing that each child is unique and that the world needs every single one of our talented selves!
We have gone through thousands of yards of fabrics while turning our ideas into reality and sharing our talents. We have created clothing, stuffed animals, made pouches for joeys when there were fires in Australia, we made dresses and bags for girls in need in Nicaragua, we have ripped and started over thousands of times, we have laughed so much, we even sewed virtually in 2020! It has been something that I couldn't even dream of.
This May 2022, Heartfelt closed its doors in Vienna and now I am getting ready to open in McLean! I can't wait to see what is next for Heartfelt in McLean!
Hi, I am Blanca!
My family and I moved from Nicaragua to Vienna in 2011. I am an attorney and worked in the law field for over 12 years. Searching for "that thing" that would bring me joy I started teaching. I have been working with children since 1997 teaching Art History, Kindergarten, Pre-school, and Spanish. I also have an entrepreneurial mindset and started a handmade children's clothing line, a handmade stationery business, and other crafty businesses. But it was until 2015, that with lots of work, risk taking and faith, I created The Heartfelt Workshop. A wonderful space where children could learn to sew and create things with their hands.
Seeing the joy of my students as they proudly wear the clothes they made; admiring their curiosity and ability to learn a skill so quickly; watching them solve problems creatively; and seeing them grow more and more confident one stitch at a time is a real blessing. I definitely found - and have- the best job in the world!