Three pieces of advice from Amanda Wright of Wit and Whistle

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting with Amanda Wright of Wit and Whistle, where she creates “pretty funny paper goods” and enamel pins.  Her work is just my style and is completely awesome!

We had a great interview regarding her roles as artist and mother to her 14 month old daughter.  The whole interview was great, which you can read in the book.  Here are a few key pieces of advice that I picked up on from her.

1.  When asked if having a child has changed her work.  She said:

I don’t think it has changed my work itself yet, but it has given me a sense of urgency when I’m creating. I try not to waste a single moment that I get to work. I know I’m a lot more efficient than I was pre-children.
I hear that!  I think it’s completely possible to have a set time to create, instead of waiting around the muse to come and visit.  Busy moms can’t wait for the muse.  We have to make the time for the muse.  I only have a few hours during weekday afternoon to work–creative work, not housework or mom work :).  Sometimes, if an idea hits me during a non-creative work time, I’ll jot down a note to I can visit it later.  I truly don’t believe in waiting around for creativity to strike.  It’s a lifestyle.  I’m constantly thinking and coming up with ideas and then I work on them as soon as I get the chance.
2.  When I asked her if she ever had to say no to a project because of her duties as a mother.  She said:
So far I haven’t had to pass up any projects, but it does take me a lot longer to complete my projects since work time is limited. Caring for my daughter is my top priority, but I’m being very intentional about making my work a priority too. I’ve worked hard to build my business, and it’s important to me that it continues to thrive.  I want to set an example for my daughter as I follow my dreams and build my career and family, too.
I think it’s so vitally important to set good examples for our children.  They pick up on every single thing they see us do and say.  I think a mom running a successful business from home sets an awesome example!
When I asked her what advice she had to pass along to other creative mothers, she said:
Sleep when the baby sleeps is a total fallacy—I say create when the baby sleeps!
It’s true.  Maybe not in the first few months of motherhood, when you are still trying to figure out which way is up.  But, when the world starts to make sense again, definitely.
Thank you so much to Amanda for the inspiring interview.  And, if you want more inspiration or a laugh or smile, visit her website or her Etsy shop.
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I’m guilty too

I promised yesterday that some amazing interviews were coming soon.  And, it’s true.  I just got the pleasure of interviewing Kaylie Wallace of Mulberry Market Designs.  See her Etsy shop here and her website here.

Kaylie is the mother of two, who took leftover décor from her DIY backyard wedding back in 2012 and turned it into a successful business.  She was able to quit her corporate job after three months, and he husband joined their business full-time after one year.  How wonderful!  I love hearing stories about successful businesses just like this one.

Kaylie provided so much inspiration during our interview, and she also said something that really resonated with me.  When I asked her if she had any regrets as far as how motherhood and her creative work intersect, this is what she had to say:

The only regret I feel often is not disconnecting when I should. I love to play with my children and make time for them each day. Sometimes I find my mind drifting about work, or even checking things often on my phone. I would like to get better about shutting things off and being in the present when I am with them. 

Yep, I’m guilty of that too.  Sometimes I notice my mind wandering off when I’m playing something quiet with my kids, like building with blocks.  I’ll find myself thinking, “Oh, I need to change out the laundry” or “I need to reply to that email.”  I, too, need to disconnect and enjoy the moment.

Thank you, Kaylie, for that great reminder.  And, thank you for an awesome interview.  I look forward to sharing more from Kaylie’s interview in the book.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

When I first started writing this book and blogging about it, I intended to write about every single mother that I contacted, whether she contributed to the book or not.  I was encountering so many great moms out there, and I wanted to bring attention to each and every one of them, whether they were interested in being a part of my book or not.  Well, intentions are great, but they don’t always come to fruition.

I did a good job in the beginning.  I contacted one or two women every day and blogged about each of them, linking to their websites, etc.  If I’m going to finish this book… ever, I’m going to have to move.  Slow and steady wins the race, but I needed to put a little pep in my step, so that’s what I did.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still move extremely slow and steady.

I’m still working every single day on the book, with the exception of a few days that were fun-filled family days.  I was so devastated the first day that I missed a day.  I was so busy having a great time with my family that I completely spaced working on the book.  I didn’t even realize it until the next day!  That feeling of disappointment didn’t last too long.  Family first!

Now that I’ve picked up the pace, I’m obviously researching and emailing more and (unfortunately) blogging less.  I wish I had more time to dedicate to all aspects of this book, because I truly love them all.  But, such is (mommy) life.

Of the moms I contacted yesterday, the last five have agreed to interviews.  And, I want to share a little about them today.

  • Kaylie of Mulberry Market Design – Kaylie and her husband, Josh, make hand-lettered signs, wedding décor and home décor in Plant City, Florida.  See their Etsy shop here.  See their website to view their entire line of wedding décor, home décor and calligraphy services.
  • Amy of Inviting Moments – Amy makes wedding invitations, family trees and chalkboard art and sells them in her Etsy store.  She’s a wife and mother of three.
  • Allison of Epically Epic Soap – Allison crafts colorful and creative soaps, lotions, lip balms, and gifts in Sante Fe, New Mexico.  You can see her Etsy shop here.  Read about her transition from art gallery director and painter to soap maker.
  • Tessa of Amos and Sawyer – You simply must read her story!  Tessa makes adorable newborn, infant and toddler photography props and accessories in Rogersville, Tennessee.  See her Etsy shop here.
  • Chelsie of Printable Candee  – Chelsie creates precious invitations and printables and sells them in her Etsy shop.  She’s from Seattle, Washington, and the mother of two toddlers.

These are just a few of the interviews you can look forward to in the coming days.  I’m looking forward to visiting with each on of them.

I intend to do better about blogging in the future, but you know what they say about intentions…

It’s been awhile…

And there’s no excuse for that.  But, here’s mine anyway… Since I vowed back in December to work every single day on the book, I really have been trucking right along.  I’ve been contacting women on Etsy for the past month or so.  I’ve been visiting Etsy shops and doing research and sending out emails requesting interviews.  Yeah, sounds rough.  Looking at cute Etsy shops all day.  And by all day, I mean the tiny sliver of time that I dedicate to work every afternoon (if the planets align).  But, I’ve managed alright.  😉

I have to tell you, I sure felt silly that I hadn’t even considered Etsy until I inadvertently stumbled across a list of the top Etsy sellers.  Big surprise, a lot of them are moms.  There sure are a lot of creative mamas there, and I have been getting some great responses.

One such mama is Susan Shaprio.  Her Etsy shop is Susabellas, and she has her own online shop at www.susabella.com.  Susan is the maker and seller of personalized wedding, baby and home gifts.  She has had 37,340 sales on Etsy alone since 2011!  She started her business in her garage at her home in Woodinville, Washington, but has since outgrown that space and now operates out of a 1,900 square foot studio/warehouse.  Susan sums up her experience in a few short sentences:

I moved to Seattle in 2004 and eventually met my husband and when we had our son I decide to take some time off. I missed having a creative outlet and my mother in law suggested taking pottery classes. One thing lead to another and my hobby became a business.

Although, I’m sure there’s a little more to it, that brief story is so inspirational.  It makes me think, “I can do that.” And, you can too!  That’s what the whole book is about–moms inspiring other moms and making us all realize we can do it.

Susan ended our interview with some words of encouragement:

If you are passionate about something and want to turn your hobby into a business, you can do it! Don’t put it off or make excuses. Create a list or quick business plan to help you get started and get to it! Sales always take awhile but persistence and hard work pay off. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice, I still do all the time.

Like Susan, you too can turn a hobby into a business with a little hard work and persistence.  Susan’s entire interview will be one of many featured in the book.  So, stay tuned!

Dejah Leger speaks on being an introvert

Earlier this week, I spoke to Dejah Leger.  You can see my previous post about her here.  She had so many great things to say in our interview, but one thing really jumped out at me.  When asked about what motivates her, this is (part of) what she had to say:

When I need to be musical, I’ll often kick my family out of the house to work on music. I send my kids and husband out of the house to watch a movie or grocery shop or something. I don’t feel guilty about it (usually). I’m an introvert, so my way of recharging my batteries is to be alone, and music is an extra level of self-centering. My family has come to terms with the fact that I’m a much better parent/partner/human being when I have that time of creative solitude, and so I’ve learned to ask for it, which isn’t always easy to do as a parent. Plus, there’s some weird phenomenon where the minute I sit down with my guitar is when my kids need my attention all of a sudden. Or want to make their own music. Loudly.

Her answer spoke to me because I, too, am an introvert.  I don’t think that extroverts understand that introverts need peace and solitude to recharge.  Extroverts get their energy from being around other people and being social.  Introverts are the opposite; we often times need time to ourselves to regain our energy.  Sorry folks, but being around people sometimes drains us.

I thought Dejah’s words were comforting in a way.  It was almost as though she was giving me permission to want and need that time to myself to create.  I don’t know about you, but I feel that I live in a world driven by and made for extroverts.  Seeking solitude and quiet is not really praised in our society.  We are supposed to be happy, social beings always, and we are looked at strangely when we need that little bit of alone time.  I feel much more comfortable at home than striking up a conversation with a stranger or at a party.  I feel that most people just don’t get that.

So, thank you to Dejah for giving us permission to and comfort in asking for that quiet time that we introverts need recharge and create!

One things leads to another

A few days ago I contacted Devon Leger.  He is the founder of Hearth Music, which is the PR firm that represents Dori Freeman.  I contacted Mr. Leger in hopes of securing an interview with Ms. Freeman for the book.  I was introduced to her through this article, and I thought she’d be a great fit for my project.  Mr. Leger said he would forward my request on to her and her manager.  Great!  That’s really all I could ask for.  But, there’s more…

He sent me another email pretty quickly after the first telling me about his wife.  He thought I might be interested in interviewing her as well.  According to Leger, “She runs all of our graphic design, does poster and album art, does paper cuts and linocuts, performs French-Canadian music as a musician, runs a blog on Nordic culture in the Pacific Northwest, travels to festivals, and does these really cool old art performance pieces called ‘crankies’ (old-timey story scrolls). She’s one of the leaders in the crankie movement right now. All this with two daughters.”  Yes, I think she might be an excellent candidate for an interview for the book!

Also, here’s a link about Dejah and crankies.  I had never even heard of them before, but the entire video is very interesting.  I CANNOT wait to visit with Dejah!

Meagan Schultz brings people together

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Meagan Schultz.  You can read my previous posts about Meagan here and here.  She has so many great projects in the works and had lots of great things to share with me.  One of Meagan’s projects is hosting her retreats.  When I asked her about them, this is what she had to say:

I love bringing people together, and especially women. I love creating connections
between people and helping other people realize that they can do great things. These
things don’t have to be big or grand, great things can be small too. I suppose it’s my
way of leaving the world a better place. I believe people WANT to do good in this world, but don’t often know where to start. I hope my retreats can be a stepping stone. I also think the more we know each other, the more we understand each other. I have this theory that you can trace every single problem in the world back to a lack of connection somewhere, somehow, or with someone. I honestly believe that.
I’m a big fan of support systems and connections, and I think they are so vitally important to creative work.  Here are some thoughts from Brian Eno on what he calls “scenius.” Here’s a post from Austin Kleon on the topic.
I’ve discovered the hard way that a creatively connected group of like minded individuals doesn’t just happen.  You have to look for it or create it, and it’s not easy.  But, it is important.  Who wouldn’t love a creative group of people to bounce ideas off of?  I would, and I bet you would too.  Sometimes (most of the time… always…) we need someone in our creative corner to encourage us and remind us how awesome we are.
My advice to you is to get yourself out there and make some connections.  Attend a workshop or a retreat or conference.  Join a book club or a writing group.  And just know that there are others out there just like you who are looking to be a part of a scenius.
Many thanks to Meagan Schultz for a great interview.  I look forward to sharing more from her in my book.  In the meantime, please check out her website www.meaganschultz.com.