Your home seems so peaceful, what do you do that makes it that way?
First off, thanks so much for inviting me to your own inspired place, Amy! I’m really flattered that you consider my home a peaceful haven – sometimes it’s nice to step back and look at it from another viewpoint in order to really appreciate what you have. Our home is certainly not peaceful (or clean!) all of the time, but we do try to relish those moments of relaxation when they present themselves.
There are a few things that we consciously do to try to create a calm and loving home environment, the main one being that we don’t have a television. Instead of arranging the furniture around the tube, our furniture is arranged around bookshelves and a nice sound system. The other focal point in our living space is the piano, which sits in between two guitars – mine and my husband’s. We hope to add a basket of percussion “instruments” for our baby son, Finn, once he can sit up on his own. The real benefit of not having a television is that we don’t waste our family’s together time by sitting in front of it. Instead, we play music, sing, cook together, or read. The big temptation for us is to use our computer like a television. We are mindful of this, although we do find ourselves spending a bit too much time in front of the screen. Lately, since Finn was born, we’ve been trying to really limit our screen time by keeping our desktop in a separate room and trying to turn off the computer once our daily work is done.
Another little something I try to do to create an ambiance of peace is to pepper the house with little homemade or thrifted details. To me, these little details are what make a home cozy – what makes you want to settle in and make yourself comfortable. While I have an obsession with Anthropologie and their home displays, I try to catch myself and realize that what they do so well in their marketing is to make things “look” homey, thrifted, and handmade. And you know what? We can all do that ourselves, and we don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to get the look!
You clearly love to make things by hand, how did you make the leap from making things for yourself to making things to sell? Any advice for other mamas on the same path?
The leap was
totally my husband’s doing! We had been living in
That ended up being a good call! It’s been very gratifying work, and most importantly, it allows me to work from home and be with my son. I would definitely encourage anyone with an idea to take the steps needed to become a “peddler of homemade wares”. Be it opening an Etsy store that you stock at your leisure or starting to blog about your creative process, you can’t go wrong. You can certainly feel vulnerable putting your “work” out in the world, but as long as you are creatively fulfilled in the process of making, that’s what is important.
This September, I’m excited to be taking Creative Thursday’s e-course In the Fish Bowl – Life as an Artist Online. I’m hoping that it will give me new ideas, a fresh perspective, and more support for my creative endeavors online.
In my opinion you are a progressive pioneer; do you think so too? In what way?
Yes, we do our best
to live simply. We learned a lot about how to go about this while living for
three years in rural
We certainly try to keep things simple around here – in our parenting style and in our lifestyle in general. We co-sleep, breastfeed, wear our baby, and avoid plastic in favor of natural materials. Our son enjoys the handcrafted wooden toys that we bought for him, but the things that bring him the most joy are free – bits of fabric, burlap, and leaves that we pick up on our walks.
Your phrase, Amy, “Choose to follow the examples of our pioneer forbears; live simply, live close to the earth and close to your loved ones” really rings true to me – especially the part about living close to your loved ones. While we don’t live close to much of our extended families (my husband is in grad school for the next five years or so) we do live very close to each other in our little nuclear family. My husband and I cook together, and we usually eat all three meals together as a family. Certainly, our “jobs” make that possible, but we have made the conscious decision not to pursue money and career goals ahead of quality time with each other and our child. We live on a very modest income but we have the gift of this wonderful time together. We’re also aware that so many families don’t have the option of making this decision, as many loving parents and single parents have no choice but to work several jobs for little pay. We are lucky to be in the position to choose a simple lifestyle, and we are immensely grateful for that.
Everyone has little, simple things that make them happy; what simple things just make your heart sing?
Here are a few that come to mind at the moment:
The soundtrack to the movie Amelie, baby giggles, the funny
faces my husband makes when he looks in the mirror, using old jars for drinking
glasses, old clothespins found at a yard sale, reading books with my son, a
phone call from my Dad, the snoring baby sleeping on me in a sling as I write
this, soup from scratch, my cat who plays fetch with a stuffed green mouse,
rocking a baby while Daddy plays the piano, and the clean smell of summer rain.
What books are you reading and loving right now?
I used to be drawn to heavy philosophy texts and classic novels (I studied in a “Great Books” program as an undergrad) but now I find myself pulled to the gentle wisdom of crafting, parenting and nature education texts. It’s been a while since I’ve read a novel, although I anticipate that that time will come again. I seem to have an ebb and flow of reading interests – right now I’m absorbing all of the Waldorf books I can get my hands on; a while back I was on an unschooling text quest. Here’s what I have peppered around the house right now (wherever I nurse a sleepy baby, it seems!):
Handmade Home by Amanda Soule
Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature for Kids of all Ages and their Mentors by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown
All Year Round (Lifeways) by Ann Druit
Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children by Sharifa Oppenheimer
Thank you Meg, for taking time to share with us and letting us get to know you a little better. It's been such a treat; keep in touch!