Creative Family Series | A Happy Adventure
Today, I’m thrilled to introduce you a lovely friend of Classic Play, Hana from A Happy Adventure. I’m going to gush a bit here and say I’m a huge fan of Hana’s. She’s smart, talented, honest, generous and has the best outlook on life. You’re going to want to soak in her goodness. Seriously. She’s an eternal optimist who manages to be very real. Hana’s here from Auckland, New Zealand to discuss life, kids and how through parenting, she discovered her true creative self.
How would you define creativity?
To me, creativity is letting your mind wander. It’s starting with something that inspires you and building on it – reinterpreting it, or using it as a jumping off point and dreaming up something new entirely. Creativity can be expressed in a million different ways.
Have you always considered yourself creative?
In some respects, yes. Although I always felt I wasn’t creative ‘enough’. I had friends when I was growing up that I was always comparing myself to (even as a young child I remember doing this). In my eyes, they were ‘real artists’ – painting and drawing and creating works of art. I think my creativity was a little less conventional – it didn’t fit into the little box of what I thought creativity ‘should be’. I loved to build things and invent things – I spent hours in the kitchen inventing recipes. I grew up as an only child and so I also spent a lot of my time in imaginative play.
I think for a very long time I didn’t think it was creative unless it was perfect. It wasn’t until I became a Mama that I really understood my creativity – and how fulfilled I felt just going through the creative process.
How do you nurture your own creativity?
Ooh… tough one – since Ava was born and I really got in touch with my creative side again, I feel as though I am constantly inspired. In some ways the best thing I do to nurture my creativity is just making the time to create – because I always have plenty of inspiration – I read a lot – both real books and online.
Did you grow up in a creative household? If so, what were some of the ways your parents nurtured your creativity and curiosity?
I think that maybe like me, my parents never saw themselves as overly creative – although I definitely viewed them as such. They were always making things, building things, sewing, knitting and dreaming… I would describe them as ‘passionately curious’ – and perhaps this love of learning was one of the best things that they passed on to me to nurture my creativity – because I do believe the two things go hand in hand. If you are constantly wondering why things are the way they are, how things work and wanting to discover more – I think this is all great inspiration for creativity.
How do you hope to nurture it in your children?
I definitely hope that I can show my girls a real love for learning and instil in them a ‘passionate curiosity’. And I do hope that by witnessing my creative passions, an interest in developing their own passions will evolve.
I also hope that when they show me their passions and tell me what they are dreaming of creating, that I am open to whatever that is and am able to facilitate their creativity – without pushing them in certain directions.
At the moment, especially at the ages they are now (1, 2 and 4) we just want to build their gigantic imaginations! We read a lot together and try to make time for creating on a regular basis – we keep a big supply of paper, pencils, crayons and other craft materials within easy reach for them, and encourage them to use it all every day.
What are some of your favorite ways to spend time together as a family?
During the week it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. We always make sure we have a story before bed – and it has been fun as the girls get older having a bit of a discussion about what we have read. We also have this ritual called ‘Favie thing’– after story time, each of the girls tells us their favourite thing from the day that’s been – it’s really cool to listen and see what the girls have really enjoyed – and sometimes it’s what we least expect!
I try to set aside special time at least once a week for the girls to help me in the kitchen – not usually dinner time when everything is a mad rush and the baby is grumpy, but time for us to make something fun and enjoy the creative process. Cooking has always been one of my favourite creative outlets and I hope that the girls will enjoy it as much as I do as they get older.
On the weekend when we have a bit more time with each other we enjoy making art together. Barry often has the girls help him around the house and they often come out of his little workshop having hammered together an aeroplane or tower – they just love that!! We love getting out and exploring. We have a very close extended family and it’s fun to go and visit them and discover different neighbourhoods. As the girls get bigger, I see much more exploring in our future!
As the girls get older I am also learning how important (and enjoyable) it is to spend time with each of them one-on-one. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but I think together a lot of their identity is based on who they are compared to their sisters. During meals and family time there is a lot of competition as to who is heard – or who gets the most laughs etc etc… but when we are able to spend that time one on one, the element of competition is lost and we are just able to enjoy each other purely.
How have you been able to integrate work with pursuing your creative passion?
At the moment all my girls are pre-schoolers. Belle is just 18 months, Lola turns three very soon and Ava will be starting school when she turns five in October. So my work is being a Mama. It’s easy to integrate my creative passions with that! My girls are my hugest inspiration. I love creating things for them – last year I took up sewing and I love being able to sew them a new dress or making a toy. I love planning magical moments – birthday parties, family traditions all of that stuff I’m able to pour my creative energy into. We also spend a lot of time together creatively — making art, cooking and playing. So it’s all wonderful stuff.
Tell us how you got into blogging?
I discovered a bunch of creative mama blogs when Lola was a newborn. During the middle of the night when everyone else was sleeping, somehow I discovered them – and they would keep me awake enough for feeding time. I found these blogs hugely exciting and inspirational and knew that one day I would like to have one of my own.
Just after Belle was born I took a web design course, decided on a name and then gave myself about a thousand pep talks until I was brave enough to put a little piece of my heart out into the internet!!
I find blogging a wonderful creative outlet. Somehow it drives me to be more creative in my everyday life – and I feel as though I’m always learning something new – new skills like photography, and new perspectives too. I’ve also met some wonderful people through blogging too – people with very similar passions to me, who are huge inspirations and amazingly supportive as well.
What are you working on now?
The girls and I are making some cushions based on their artwork. It’s definitely a learning process for me. I’m trying really hard to let them lead the whole project. We went to the fabric shop and I had to really resist the urge to guide them towards the fabric that I would pick and then as they’ve picked the artwork we’re using and the felt and embroidery cotton. I’ve just had to bite my tongue. With that said they’ve definitely proved me wrong. As the cushions come together I can see what they see now and I’m really proud of what we’ve made together.
Lola’s birthday is in a couple of weeks and we’re in full on planning mode for her flower fairy party. I love planning their parties and making them as magical as possible! Somehow I talked Barry into converting an old tv cabinet into a play kitchen and we’re madly trying to get it finished in time. Nothing like a deadline for marital harmony (ha!)!!
I’m always planning new stuff for my blog. One of the things I’m most excited about at the moment is an idea for a series of videos for littles in the kitchen.
From time to time everyone’s creative juices wane. How do you handle that?
Honestly, I feel as though I have so much I want to make/try/be, I have a never ending source of inspiration. The hardest thing for me is narrowing down what I want to do and actually going about doing it and finishing it! I guess for me in that respect, I am learning to be more gentle on myself. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with the idea of ‘creating’ that I am almost paralysed and unable to do anything. I am learning to pick a couple of projects (usually two or three) and just keep at them until I’m finished – not taking on too much.
Similarly, I’m learning that everyone experiences seasons in their life. Sometimes I just feel tired and uninspired and I shouldn’t force myself to do something just because I feel like I should. Sometimes I do need to just retreat and re-energise. It’s definitely a process accepting this concept. I think we all expect to be ‘on’ all the time and it can be disappointing when we discover it’s just not possible. But I’m learning to embrace it more!!
How great is Hana? I’m looking forward to her series of videos. Also, making a mental note to make sure I schedule one on one time with each of my kids separately!
You can get more of Hana on her blog A Happy Adventure.