How wonderful to be sister-in-laws with so much in common and such a fun project to work on together. How has working on this creative endeavor together affected your relationship?
Lynne: Definitely doing this together has been our main motivation and joy in this blogging experience. Before Sugar City Melissa and I definitely loved each other and shared lots of interests, but it’s brought us so close as we’ve talked about our joint projects and our families and the shared creative experience. We talk nearly every day, one of us calling with some crazy idea about something to do, or make, or an idea from a book we’ve been reading that we want to hash out a little.I think that both of us have at times gotten so busy with family and other responsibilities that we’re tempted to let Sugar City go...but the connection it gives us to each other makes it really hard.
Melissa: I love the creative synergy that Lynne and I share. It's amazing how we can start with a simple idea and by discussing it for just a few minutes the idea can evolve in unexpected ways. Having a creative springboard is very healthy and I've heard that many advertising companies ask their employees to work in teams for this very reason. Also I must add that Lynne is one of the nicest people on this earth. She is one of my greatest heroes, or rather heroines!
The style of the clothes you sew, and also your homes, is such a pleasant mix of timeless, fairytale-esque vintage and sleek, hip, modern. Where do you draw your inspiration from?Lynne: I get a huge amount of inspiration from Melissa, herself! I love the way her mind works and it’s impacted me a lot in how I visually try and create our little home and the sewing I do. When I first met Melissa we were college apartment neighbors, and she’d just gotten back from living for a year and a half in Belgium. She seemed so sophisticated and artistic to me! I still feel that way. She is my life hero!
I also love the cozy domesticity of Carl Larsson, the Swedish painter. Looking at the depictions of his house in his paintings, it’s a jumble of children and activity – but also of beauty and effort on the part of both him and his artist-wife. And nature. I love to try and help my kids get any little bit of nature in their lives, which is sometimes a challenge for me in the suburbs.
Melissa: I love picking my mom's brain for ideas too. She grew up in
the 30s and 40s in a small Idaho town. She has vivid memories of her
childhood and can remember all sorts of unusual details. She's also an
amazing seamstress and every summer when I visit Idaho with my
children, my mom and I usually do several sewing projects together and
she helps me refine my sewing.
How did your
childhood influence who you are as a mother and the way you mother your
own families? What sorts of traditions, practices and habits are
carry-overs from your childhoods?
Lynne: I feel like I was so lucky in my childhood. We lived in an old farmhouse in Virginia on 7 acres, which we had total freedom to roam and explore. I spent a lot of time sitting on the bank of our little creek reading, or making up games in our old barn, or trying to teach our pets to talk (I was a strange child). But I loved it. I feel like with my own children, it’s my chief challenge to try and take the reality of our great life – in a San Francisco suburb, living in a neighborhood on a quarter acre of land, to find the magic in what we have here and now, rather than dwelling on an existence we don’t have. We have wonderful, wonderful friends who live up and down our street; we have security and a great sense of community; and my kids get to walk to school everyday.
Melissa: My husband (who happens to be Lynne's brother) and I often draw upon our experiences of being raised with thrifty, can-do moms to help us raise our own children. We live in a wealthy community where children are given pretty much everything they want. It's always a challenge to not give in to the pressure of giving them everything. My kids could attend one or two birthday parties every weekend, where the children are lavished with games and toys and sugar. We try to think of the big picture and plan family outings and activities that strengthen their minds, bodies and spirits. We go on lots of hikes, visit local historic sights and rake lots of lots of leaves together in our little wooded yard.
To me you seem like progressive pioneers; do you think so too? In what ways?
Lynne: I think I aspire to be a progressive pioneer rather than actually being one – and the key there I think is the desire to do things in a simpler, more wholesome way: parenting, entertaining, eating, living...
Melissa: I ditto what Lynne said.
You both speak of the importance of appreciating and finding joy and beauty in the simple things. What are some simple joys that have made you smile recently?
Lynne: It made me smile last night when my husband fished out a mini-matchbox car, 3 toothbrushes, and a wad of cottonballs from our sink drain.Melissa: That cracks me up Lynne! I'm trying to savor every moment with my little children because I know they will grow up so fast. They already have! That's why my blog activity has lightened lately, I'm putting more emphasis on enjoying the moment with my little family, and less emphasis on stuff. As for the pictures, I could add nothing sweeter than a picture of my little baby Margot in her little crocheted cap. Thanks so much for taking the time to share a little glimpse into your world, your relationship and your sources of inspiration.