On top of being a fantastic embroiderer, today’s featured Designing Mom Corinne of September House is a wise mother owl. That ever precious “balance” we are always seeking cannot be measured day-to-day but in the long-run she says. So true. Maybe the meditative act of embroidery has something to do with it. I think her designs and kits and embroidery pendants are such pretty treasures. Read on about Corinne’s inspirations in life…
What is your background? Have you always been creative?
I’ve always had an interest in art. I loved both drawing and crafting as a kid and was lucky to grow up with creative parents who encouraged me creatively. I think I tried out every possible art-related major in college and finally ended up with a degree in Art History. I went on to be an art instructor at a Children’s Museum and later went on to study and work in the field of graphic design. When my sons were born we decided I would stay home with them and that’s when I had a chance to pursue some of those early interests in crafting. Along came Etsy and ta-da! SeptemberHouse was born.
Tell me about a day-in-your-life? What’s it like to be in your shoes?
I am an early bird and love to get a jump on the rest of the household so I set the alarm (and the coffeemaker) for a very early hour. I am most energetic at this time so it works out beautifully. The rest of the day can be a bit of a blur with two boys (one in school and one at home), laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands etc. Sometimes I can even squeeze some creative time in there. Once the boys are tucked in, the flossbox comes out again so I have a bit more time in the evening as well. I often feel pulled in two different directions BUT at the same time I get to do all the things I love to do most in the course of the day so I feel extremely lucky.
How do you balance work and family?
I’m not entirely sure that I do. It often feels lopsided and I do worry that something or someone is not being given enough attention. I like to think that balance comes in the long run and it can’t be measured day to day. I have a pretty loud inner voice that tells me when I need to shift gears. It’s a voice that helps me keep my priorities and goals where they need to be and I am grateful for it even when I don’t necessarily feel like listening.
How do your children inspire you creatively?
Isn’t it great how fearless children are creatively? My older son, Peter loves to draw. I am amazed how he will just pick up a pen or a marker and go for it. He doesn’t hesitate (or use an eraser) he just leaps. What a good lesson that is for me – a person who will hem and haw herself out of even starting a project. I’m constantly inspired by their imagination and bravery.
How do you make time for yourself? How do you recharge your creative batteries?
This is kind of a tough one for me. I learned after my first son was born that, you really have to ask for some time to yourself. It won’t often just be offered to you. That’s tough for me because for one, I am a bit mousy in general and two, I tend to feel guilty if I do make that request. I still don’t do it often enough but I’m learning. When it’s time to recharge I love to spend time outdoors, visit my favorite bookstore, library or thrift store, and wander around on the internet through my favorite blogs and websites.
How did you get into embroidery?
My mother taught my sisters and I some basic embroidery when I was a teenager. She bought us a few kits and we all had a chance to try it out. I picked it up again as an adult when I wanted to make some artwork for my second son’s nursery. I decided to stitch up some drawings that my older son had made and ended up having so much fun with it that I couldn’t wait to start a new project. I loved how drawings and designs took on such a unique look when they were embroidered and I loved the creative possibilities that embroidery offered. There are hundreds of stitches, thousands of fabrics, colors and designs so you can customize every project. Another selling point for me was the portability and small amount of space required to do this craft. This makes it perfect for mothers with little ones in the house!
What’s the greatest challenge and reward when making DIY projects?
This is a tough one. I suppose I would have to say that figuring out where your limits are is both the most challenging and the most rewarding. Some projects might sound like a great idea but just aren’t feasible financially or from a time-management perspective. I try to be realistic about things like that and keep a “someday in the future, but not right now” list of projects going. At the same time it can be so rewarding to push your limits and force yourself to learn something new as part of a project. I am so glad that I have taken on some of the challenges that came my way because they have helped me be a more diverse artist with more creative choices. It’s that feeling of conquering something that once scared you a little that can’t be beat.
If you could do one thing this year that was totally frivolous, what would it be?
Another tough question! The first thing that comes to mind is travel. From a road trip across the state to a visit to another country – it all sounds good to me. Some of my best childhood memories are of family vacations and I would love to give those same great memories to my own boys. They are 8 and 4 right now so they are just about at the perfect ages for it. I’m so looking forward to those travels – even if they don’t happen this year.