Creative Family Series | Curly Birds
You know how sometimes you run across a blog and think to yourself, Man, I would love to get to know the person behind it. There’s just something about their style or way of seeing the world that sucks you right in.
That’s how I feel about Helen from Curly Birds. She has a laid back, yet completely thoughtful way of looking at things. Not to mention she’s crazy talented too. After reading her blog for months and months, I happened to meet Helen through a network of friends. And I’m just going to come out and say it, I was starstruck. True story.
I’m thrilled to have Helen here today to share her view on the creative process, why she got into blogging and her thoughts on crafting a family life that’s open to the possibilities.
Spoiler alert: Her answer to why she started blogging is my favorite. It’s so honest!
How would define creativity?
Creativity is the act of making (or designing) something original. I spend an amazing amount of time thinking about how to make something – I define this part of the process as being creative too.
Have you always considered yourself creative?
Yes, but I have often lacked the confidence to follow my creative instincts.
Being around my children, and seeing how freely and boldly they create, nurtures my creativity. Being outside relaxes me frees my mind to dream up new projects.
Did you grow up in a creative household? If so, what were some of the ways your parents nurtured your creativity and curiosity?
At home my parents made everything they could and bought as a last resort. My mum sewed and knitted all of my clothes and my Dad built crazy things – like a barbeque using old ironing board legs that someone was throwing out and a huge cooler made out of Styrofoam and contact paper. They were very resourceful!
My parents always encouraged us to make gifts instead of buying them. They treated our homemade gifts with such reverence and told us how special and meaningful they were. It made me feel so good to know that my creations brought my parents such joy. And I must have taken it to heart because I still make most of my gifts. You can see some of them here.
How do you hope to nurture creativity in your children?
When it comes to my girls’ creativity, I try very hard to listen to what they want to make and I think of myself as an assistant to them. I let them take the lead, but I am close enough to help if they ask me to.
All of our art supplies are readily available to my girls, and I proudly display their art around the house. We have a big wall above their art table that they can stick (with removable tape) any pictures on.
My daughters attend a Waldorf school where creativity is an integral part of the learning process. While in Kindergarten, they have begun sewing and finger knitting as part of developing hand muscles and eye coordination for reading and writing. It is a very holistic approach to learning that nurtures creativity and imagination as well as academics.
What are some of your favorite ways to spend time together as a family?
I just asked my girls what their favorite family time activity is and they both agreed that it is ‘just being.’ I know exactly what they mean and I feel the same way. We dedicate our weekends to family time – not doing anything in particular, just being. We get up lazily, stroll across the street to our farmers market, and eat popsicles or empanadas for breakfast. We try to slow down to the girls’ pace and focus on being present as parents.
How have you been able to integrate work with pursuing your creative passions?
I have taken the last 6 years off work to focus on, and enjoy, these early years of my daughters’ childhood. In order to be relaxed and happy at home, I try not think about the next chapter in my life. Next year my girls will be at school full-time, and then I hope to find a way to integrate work and my creative passions. I’m not quite sure how yet – wish me luck!
Tell us how you got into blogging.
After I had been out of the workforce for a year or so, I Googled myself and found nothing – not one mention of me. I felt like I didn’t exist! I started my blog to carve out a little me time and space. Being a SAHM can be very isolating, but through my community of blogging mammas I have gained so much insight, friendship, and a sense of belonging – all while sitting in my pajamas and surrounded with cats.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a beginners felting series on my blog, sewing for a craft fair this month, doing a little blog reorganization, and starting to plan Christmas gifts.
From time to time everyone’s creative juices wane. How do you handle that? Does it cause you any anxiety or do you just let it pass?
I keep a sketch book of ideas. When I’m not feeling so inspired, I look through my book and it usually gets me going again. What does give me anxiety is the mess in my studio – the more I make, the less tidy I am. I get overwhelmed with the messes and I want to scream and run away!
You can find more of Helen on her site Curly Birds—a blog devoted crafts for children and the art of play which was recently named one of Babble’s Top 50 Craft Blogs!