I was so pleased to be tagged by Mel Wiggins for a Blog Hop. Welcome to Dublin and to my little corner of the internet!
1. What have been the doings/makings/scribblings at your desk this week?
I’ve been working on making some cute illustrations for Nate’s birthday party. He has requested an orange juice party, which is pretty much the most adorable thing ever. The funny thing is, there’s not much out there in the party stores for toddlers that love oranges. So I have been scribbling lots of lists of things to make and do in the next week to pull it all together, along with doodling a cute orange man that is unfortunately too cute as Nate now wants him to come to the party. But ok, this picture is about 45% truth. I love my desk set up in our spare room, especially during the long evenings. The idea is that when Chris starts studying for a work exam in the fall, we can both hang out in there together. I usually do designy work at the desk and split blogging and writing between the desk and couch. This week Chris and I are working through Parks & Rec (I know, we’re several years too late) so I have been camped out on the couch with my laptop. That’s pretty hard to photograph, not to mention totally unflattering.
2. Where are you currently finding your inspiration? (Influences, heroes, sources of inspiration, paths exploring)?
I feel like I’m bursting with inspiration these days (and need to find a way to channel it into productivity, which is the hard part for me). As I was mulling this question over, I kept getting the Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin Duet, “Sisters Are Doing it for Themselves” stuck in my head. Head on over to 1985 and check it out.
Following on from Blogtacular, I have been so inspired by people (mostly women) that have created their own creative businesses or forged new pathways for themselves. I’m all about DIY these days, even DIYing my own careers and making really cool, slightly untraditional opportunities. In no particular order, I am feeling totally pumped up these days by Nikki McWilliams’s biscuit-based homewares and accessories empire; Zoe Jade’s story of creating Ladybird Likes as a creative outlet and growing it into a pretty rad jewellery line; Lily & Alan’s new brick and mortar shop, Picado Mexican Pantry, (go visit it if you’re in Dublin) and their collaboration with Alex (aka Hydrangea Girl) to design the lovely shop interior; the phenomenal success of Julie Crefield’s Too Fat to Run blog; Kelly’s top-notch PR work that has put Sun Jellies on the feet of nearly everyone I follow on Instagram (and here’s a great interview with her that’s all about that DIY spirit); and all of the many amazing bloggers I’ve come to know recently.
Everyone seems to be on an upward track to awesome and I want on board! I need to work on pulling the ideas out of my head and making them a reality by making, writing and doing more with the goal of ultimately starting a small business once the kids are in school. I honestly can’t imagine going back to a desk job and want to harness all this colour and joy around me into a career that is sustainable, unique and made by me. And of course, if we’re talking about inspiration and heroes (as a blogger, designer, business woman and mother) there’s no better gal than Joy Cho. If you don’t know why she’s such a phenomenal person, check out her Blogtacular keynote address.
3. How important is being creative to you, and how do you blend this with your work / life / family balance?
Creativity is like oxygen. I’m skeptical of people that don’t engage in any creative activity. What is life without books, music, art and performance? I realised after the kids were born, that times I was really unhappy in my career was when I wasn’t engaging in anything creative (but even when I was drowning in spreadsheets, they were always carefully colour coded). I think if I am honest with myself, I will admit that I’m a very emotional, yet quite reserved. I need an outlet for all of my energy and ideas and passions and dreams. Being at home with the kids means I have a lot of space for creativity, just having a conversation with Nate sometimes is an exercise in surrealism. It also means that the door is wide open for creative opportunities, so I’m pretty easily distracted and terrible at finishing projects. But at least I’m always doing something I love everyday.
I look at my family as my job, so on whole feel pretty balanced. I’m lucky not to be stretched between two worlds and to feel enriched by role as mom to the boys. Chris is a great support and helps share the load of parenting and household work so that I do have some time for myself in the evenings. I think the important part of finding balance is being able to take time for yourself (without guilt) and knowing how to ask for help. It doesn’t mean it’s always smooth sailing though. I always want to do more (more awesome adventures with the kids, more time for myself, more date nights with Chris, more sewing, more cooking, more writing, more designing, hey why not sign up for this course, why not learn this new skill) so I get really overwhelmed about how to begin. Chris and I have been talking a bit about how I can organise myself a little better to work through the admin side of motherhood and all the fun projects I want to dive into after the kids are tucked in. Anyone have any bright ideas?
Now it’s time to pass the baton. I’m nominating two women that have really impressed me with how they have integrated their blog and life (so I’m really curious at how they answer the last question!)
Sarah Borien (A Life Less Physical) is a fantastic blogger that I met at Blogtacular. She has Fibromyalgia and started her blog as a way to document her experience and her attempts to still do amazing things in London while being limited by her condition. I was so impressed by her positivity and they way she didn’t let chronic pain keep her from experiencing new things. Her blog is great, full of lovely things that inspire her, delicious recipes by Sarah and her chef boyfriend and insight into disability.
Fritha Strickland (Tiggerlilly Quinn) is probably a blogger that needs no introduction. Her posts capture the sweetest moments of childhood, and often help me to remember to chill out a little if I’ve had a particularly bad tantrum day. She also has a great shop of gorgeous, quirky jewellery, gifts and homewares. I want one of everything. As a professional blogger, Fritha has flawlessly integrated sponsored posts and band work into her blog and I think there’s a lot to learn from her. Nothing feels forced or inauthentic, yet she seems to have a foot in a lot of different doors. Whether she’s talking about her engagement story or running a handbag competition, it all flows together as a story of her lovely life.
Fritha and Sarah will share their inspiration next week. Thanks again Mel for hopping over to me!