Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Our Creative Home: the Bakers

teaching {k} to crochet
Here at Darlybird, we are all about living creatively and colorfully. In our new series “Our Creative Home,” we talk to some of our favorite creative friends to see how they encourage creativity in their homes and families! Today we're hearing from Allison Baker (or as you may know her, alipyper).

Tell us about your family!

We're a family of five! The Mr. and I met while we were both attending Brigham Young University and we've been married for 19 years. We have three children - {G} is sixteen, {I} is almost fifteen, and {K} is almost twelve. We're like most every family - busy with school, music lessons, sports, church responsibilities and a large extended family. The Mr. is an IT professional and for the better part of the last 19 years, I've been a stay at home mom. I graduated with a degree in Humanities from BYU and loved every single second I was in class learning about art, history, music, culture, language, and literature. 

I share a birthday with Martha Stewart (It's true! August 3rd). Like so many others, I was mesmerized when she burst onto the public scene in the late 80's and early 90's by her almost single-handed resurrection of all things domestic. Time honored traditions that were falling by the way side were meticulously researched, photographed and reinvented. I can't tell you how many cookies, cakes, and craft projects I tried to reproduce - all with varying degrees of success - from the pages of her early magazines. Whatever one might think of her as a person, I'm very grateful for the climate of respect she has cultivated for hand-crafters of every persuasion. I'm embarrassed to admit that she gave me permission to value the traditions I was surrounded with and I looked with new eyes on the incredible domestic heritage I had received from my mother and my grandmothers. Thank you for that, Martha.

Because I come from a large family, growing up if I wanted something I usually had to earn the money or make it myself. Often, this will get me into trouble because my first response to seeing something fantastic is to think, "Surely, I can make that myself for less!" The hours and hours spent figuring something out and the cost of wasted materials are often far more "expensive" than the original item. But, I am grateful for this attitude of self reliance and for the skills I have acquired along the way. The greatest gift I think my parents ever gave me was an old refurbished Bernina sewing machine when I was sixteen - which at the time I thought was the lamest gift in the world - with the injunction that if I wanted new clothes I would have to make them myself. They would provide the patterns and the fabric, but I would have to do the sewing. I still use that old Bernina today and I can not adequately express how deeply grateful I am to my parents for that gift.

{g} machine quilting
How have you encouraged creativity in your home?

My education and my natural inclination to want to create myself has meant that I really value the arts and the hand crafts. But that does not mean that I am always a patient teacher to my own kids nor am I ever excited about the mess that my kids creative endeavors often leave behind. I can hardly keep up with my own creative mess. So I am very happy to find them great teachers and fun classes to attend that are not in my own house. For many years my kids have gone to the same amazing art teacher - Andrea Jackman Rosborough. Recently {G} completed her first quilt after taking a class at Harmony with the talented Holly LeSuĂ©. We attend art exhibits at the local museums and the kids are encouraged to take classes at school that help them express themselves creatively. And sometimes I'm in the mood to teach my kids myself.   

How do you get your kids involved?

Sometimes my children are insistent and insert themselves into whatever craft or baking project I'm involved in - refusing to take no for an answer - and sometimes they could care less (or they know by the look on my face that they better not bug me until I'm done with what I'm doing :). Sometimes a craft activity happens organically around the house, but more often than not I have to consciously get them started on something. Often, craft activities are started because the kids and their cousins are driving us adults crazy. Perler beads, painting rocks, water coloring, modeling clay, or nature scavenger hunts are great craft activities with a large group of kids. 

art camp with andrea jackman rosborough
What advice would you give to families hoping to live a more creative lifestyle?

If kids see creativity happening, they will naturally want to participate. If you value creativity, but don't have the patience for the aftermath - find great teachers and great classes for your kids! Talk about the arts around the dinner table. Attend museum exhibits and cultural events. Set aside time and space for the creative mess. 

Thanks Allison! Readers, do you (or a beloved friend who you'd like to push into the spotlight) have a creative home? Shoot us an email and we may feature you/them/everyone! (allisonabarnes[at]gmail[dot]com)!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our Creative Home: the Lovelands

Justin Hackworth Photography
Here at Darlybird, we are all about living creatively and colorfully. In our new series “Our Creative Home,” we talk to some of our favorite creative friends to see how they encourage creativity in their homes and families! First up, Alma Loveland of Ollibird and Caravan Shoppe. Tell us about your family! Mike and I are a pair of artists who are happy to be doing what we love. We are both artists, but focus on different areas, so teaming up has actually expanded what either of us was ever able to do alone. Before kids came along, we would make really creative gifts for one another, but SURPRISE, when kids came along, we suddenly had no more time or energy for extra creativity. We have our creative outlet at work, and once work is done, well, we're lucky if we have the dishes or laundry done on a somewhat regular basis (a 3-week laundry cycle is regular, right?). We have 2.5 kids: Oliver (5), Joan (3), and a baby boy due later this year. Parenting a 3 and 5 year old has its challenges, but the rewards far outweigh any of the frustrations.  How have you encouraged creativity in your home? I don't know if there is anything that we do to consciously encourage creativity. Our children are 3 and 5, and to be totally honest, activities like coloring, drawing, cutting, or crafting don't hold their attention for long at all. Without exaggeration, I think it's fair to say that we get about 3 minutes of activity, and 20 minutes of setup/cleanup. Although we are artists, our lives don't look like what is seen on Pinterest or parenting blogs. We're just pretty normal, trying our best to balance work and family. Creative activities can be as simple as hauling out the play dough, or letting the kids help make cookies.  That said, this summer I have a goal to make sure that we are regularly engaging in fun, interesting activities. One thing that I would like to do is have a simple science experiment every week. I think I can manage that (but ask me again at the end of the summer). So like we can start with Mentos and Diet Coke. Just a few minutes to put together, but something that is exciting to the kids, and makes them laugh and wonder about the world we live in!  How do you get your kids involved? My kids love to be outside and to explore. This also echoes the childhood that I had. When I think of my childhood, most of my memories revolve around the great outdoors! The times that I feel most creative with my children and most fulfilled are when we are outside and appreciating the world around us. This could be little hikes, collecting bugs or flowers, campfires, or kayaking (I even bought a kayak for my kids). I think that activity, curiosity, and exploration all help to foster creativity so while I'm not sitting down for craft time with my kids, they are still learning to look, and to see.  What advice would you give to families hoping to live a more creative lifestyle? I have a pretty laid back approach to life. I think my best advice for others looking to live a more creative lifestyle is to eliminate the comparison to those around you, or to what you see on blogs, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. The most important thing that you can do is to spend time with your kids, and it doesn't matter if your activities look picture-perfect. 

Thanks so much for sharing, Alma! Readers, how do you foster creativity in your homes? We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Coming Soon: Our Creative Home

We are so excited to announce our new series, Our Creative Home, where we will interview some of our favorite creative friends about how they foster creativity in their homes! Check back next Tuesday morning for the first in the series, an interview with one of our favorite designers, Alma Loveland.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summertime Shopper Bags

Flora Shopper / Basket Case Shopper, $12 each
Made with 95% post consumer recycled material. 15.75"w x 15.35"h x 5.9"d

Our local Farmer's Market opened for the season a few weeks back and I've been itching to go. But why go out with a plain old grocery sack when you can shop in style? These bags aren't only gorgeous, but they're good for the planet, too— each is made with 95% recycled material. Shop local, do good, and look good with Darlybird.

Find our entire stock of bags and wallets in the shop!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Summertime Style

Darlybird is blooming with bright colors and flirty statement pieces, perfect for the most casual beach days and the loveliest evening soirees! Summertime, we are so ready for you!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Motherhood and the mothers around me

Kathryn rolled her body forward, carefully rocking to propel herself to her feet. "I'm a whale," she said. "I was fine during the first pregnancy, but this one... I'm a whale." She hobbled to the kitchen to get a handful of Cheerios for her daughter. She snuggled her daughter then eased herself back down on the living room floor beside me.

As she changed position to try to take the pressure off of her back, I joked "Maybe you'll go into labor tonight! I'll catch him!"

"He's still cooking," she said, lovingly tracing her hand over her belly. "He has time."

Weeks earlier, waiting for the elevator at work with my supervisor, she turned to me and whispered, "I feel like I may be pregnant." These words held the hope of years behind them—Erika and her husband, and everything they had yearned for for so long, all in those words. In time, that impression proved true and glorious. Even her unborn child began fluttering about earlier than most, reassuring her that this is real. Erika glows with that hope and reassurance daily.

I am not yet a mother. It is something I hope for, but there is no timeline, no lover, and only a glimpse of possibility. It is a someday.

But some of my most sacred experiences have been connected to that possibility.

I don't remember all of the physical gifts I received for my birthday this year, but I do remember the gift my mom gave me: a three-page handwritten letter sharing some of her favorite memories of my childhood and the blessings she has felt from our relationship. I received the package in the mail right as I was about to leave for work. I remember sitting in my car in the parking lot, my schedule suddenly unimportant, and straining to read the words through my tears.

My mother treasures and loves me, and there is not a bit of doubt in my mind or heart about that.

- Allison