Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at whipup.net over the next couple of months. Please welcome…
Vanessa Lynch is the crafty and design savvy voice behind Punkin Patterns (and eco-friendly shop). She was taught to sew and embroider by her mother and learned to knit and crochet from her grandmother. A chemistry whiz with a Ph.D she is now a stay-at-home mom to two wonderful children and lives in the Twin Cities (Minnesota). Her home is a gallery of the projects that the family has created and she wouldn’t have it any other way!
I’m the mother of two beautiful kiddos – Connor, age 6, and Gwyneth, age 4. If you read my blog, you see them a lot. I’d say that 90% of all of the things I make are for them. Before I had my son, I was in grad school and I had NO time for anything but school. For four years after college, I did no sewing or much of anything creative. Once Connor was born (and I was done with school), I had a dynamic shift in my life. I went from full time graduate student and teaching assistant to full time stay-at-home mom. I suddenly had more time on my hands. Once the first few sleep deprived months were over, I quickly got back into sewing and knitting. I think the first real project I made was a knitted red baby blanket – which six years later still sits on my son’s bed and is his favorite. Knitting that blanked reminded me so much of what I’ve been missing – my creative outlet.
It wasn’t until my daughter was born that my sewing really took off. So now I had both a son and daughter to sew and design for. My head is constantly swimming with ideas.
One of my first big design projects was a messenger bag for Connor. At the time, he loved to go on nature walks and collect rocks, twigs, leaves and anything covered in dirt. I wanted to make him a simple messenger style bag to carry on our walks which he could easily add his treasures to. I looked around for a tutorial, but there aren’t many projects for boys out there. After much thought, I designed Connor’s Messenger Bag with a modern boy feel that I felt reflects style, function and fun.
Another project (totally inspired by Connor) was the Sweet Tooth Pouch. Connor would love to look at the brightly colored wrappers in the candy isle. Even though he really hadn’t had much candy, he was instantly drawn to those colorful wrappers. I wanted to make a little zippered pouch out of wrappers for him and the sweet tooth pouch was born.
Gwyneth has inspired me so much. Having a little girl who literally lives in dresses and loves all things “girly” is so much fun – she has closet full of dresses mostly made by me, but I also get a chance to make other things for her. Recently she was playing with her La La Loopsy dolls and they were having a little picnic – so I made this tiny little quilt for her dolls to have a picnic on. I told myself it was just to challenge me to do a teeny tiny quilt, but I think it was just as much for me as it was for her.
Gwyneth also inspired my very first pattern, the Lovely Lil Bunny Pattern. Most of her influence is in the cute little face on this bunny. Like me, when she smiles, her little eyes disappear and she often tilts her head too, so the tilted smile was all her. Perhaps that’s why I love this bunny — I see her smiling face in it!
There are times too, when my kids inspire projects purely out of function. The kiddos were having trouble learning/remembering placement of utensils. Setting the table is their way of contributing to dinner and they constantly asked where things were supposed to go. I came up with the Table Setting Placemat which was both cute and extremely functional. They could set the table themselves and were very proud to do it without help.
As much as my children have influenced my creativity, I am happy to see their desire to be creative as well. Creativity is contagious. My desire to create and make things for friends and family is something my children see and experience daily. Through all of my sewing and crafting projects they’ve learned one thing I didn’t really think about – the value of time and love that goes into something that’s handmade. It’s a simple lesson to learn, but so valuable. I’m so happy and lucky my children inspire me and help to bring out the best of my creativity. I hope that I do the same for them!