meet a mama – jen from pikelet workshop

I come across some terribly clever and creative mamas in my line of business.  Jen is one of them. Meet her here then check out her amazing creations at Pikelet Workshop – you are sure to be inspired.

Tell us a bit about you, fabulous you!
I was born in Perth, Western Australia and grew up dreaming of Shakespeare and being an actor. A combination of stagefright and bossiness quickly turned my passion to working behind the scenes and I eventually became a director.

Just when I was about to pursue this career with more intensity I met my future husband, and then we did the settling-down-and-starting-a-family thing.

jen poppet

With one kid in the bag (and deciding most definitely that one was enough for us!), we jumped upon the opportunity to live in Brazil for a year and discovered a love for expat life. Neither of us had been into travelling much before this point, but to actually live in a place and really immerse yourself in another culture is fascinating and invigorating. (Of course, it’s also incredibly challenging and frustrating and expensive!)

Shortly after our stint in Brazil we moved to Toronto and fell in love with the place. Unfortunately the GFC came along and the expats found themselves packed up and sent home immediately (one of the risks of this sort of life) so we resumed our ‘normal’ life in Perth instead. Our kid started school, and I found myself with enough time to start playing with the craft ideas I’d had in my head for years but had been unable to tease out or find the time to act upon. Pikelet Workshop was born, and I was incredibly lucky to find myself with a busy little craft business and a wonderful craft community to boot. But we were unable to get Toronto out of our hearts and minds and two years ago another opportunity presented itself.

So, here we are. Living in Toronto, enjoying four seasons and lapping up the culture that this city has to offer. We go to a lot of gigs (many late ones, to which the bags under my eyes can attest) and the film festivals, not to mention the myriad of fabulous and affordable restaurants. We walk everywhere, or catch the streetcar and subway and find ourselves happily living in a busy city and a quiet family neighbourhood simultaneously.

jen mural

We are also blessedly close to New York, another city we have become addicted to, and manage to spend at least one holiday there each year.

Our hope is to stay in Toronto for some time to come, but many influencing factors remain outside of our control so we are just making damn sure we enjoy it regardless. Poppet (the name I use for my daughter in public forums) is now in Grade 2 at the local school and if we are still here for Grade 4 she’ll do half of her school day in French. Pretty cool.

jen snow

I’ve finally begun the lengthy process of re-establishing my business, albeit in a new country which is going to take some time and an enormous amount of effort. Thankfully, I still have a wonderful customer base Down Under who continue to purchase from me. Thanks guys!

Who inspires you?
So many people, naturally. Most anyone on TedTalks. I am an enormous fan of David Attenborough and Stephen Fry both. There’s something incredibly reassuring in their intellect and demeanour, and I listen to their audiobooks often. I love children’s illustrators and find a lot of inspiration in their work. Axel Sheffler, Lydia Monks and Oliver Jeffers come to mind.

My daughter inspires me constantly. She has travelled and lived in a fairly wide part of the world by age 8, and has made friends easily and loved every minute of it. We wouldn’t do any of this expatting if she didn’t want to. Thank goodness she’s on board.

What can’t you live without?
Apart from the obvious friends and family thing, my Ipod is constantly being updated, listened to and recharged. It’s my best best friend.
Audiobooks and podcasts and music, oh my!

Do you have a favourite blog?
Hmmm. I subscribe to many. Probably my favourite is Meet Me at Mikes. Pip Lincolne should actually be up there in my list of inspirational people. She’s really turned her crafty passions into a career, worked relentlessly at it and stepped on nobody’s toes in the process. I love her quirky personality and her integrity. She keeps it real.

How do you like to spend your spare time?
Galleries and museums, a walk in the park, going out for breakfast. And magazines. I am a magazine addict. Thank goodness so many are available digitally now, my house would be bursting at the seams otherwise.

Best time/sanity saving tips?
I’m a pretty good procrastinator where work is concerned but also incredibly organised when it comes to my house. I’m a neat freak and hate too much clutter. I tidy up every night before going to bed, in fact I’m probably in a constant state of tidying. I would really like to be more organised when it comes to meal planning but that seems to be up there with blog planning. A fabulous idea but not really my personality type to act on it. Work in progress…

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I honestly don’t look that far ahead. Other than seeing my family unit as tight as ever, after so much living abroad and moving about I have learned to live in the moment and find satisfaction in the here and now.

That’s been very good for me as I’m a control freak by nature. Hence the tidiness!
Obviously more travel would be great, and I’d love to still be living in Toronto. I’d like to still be working on my little business and making it more viable. But anything can happen between now and then. I’ll just take things as they come for now.

Favourite quote?
Tricky, I don’t really remember quotes. But Holly Hobby was on my sister’s wall when we were kids. “Start each day in a happy way” has stuck with me. Thanks Holly!

Where can we find you?
website 
blog
facebook
i
nstagram and twitter @pikeletjen

jen collage


		
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win a “crave good food” tasting box for mama!

We LOVE good food.

We know YOU love good food.

You’ve all heard me prattling on about Crave Good Food in the past.  Lovely Martha, the owner, is wanting to give one of you gorgeous lot one of their Tasting Boxes (RRP $49.95) for Mother’s Day.  As it happens, the May tasting box up for grabs is full of sweet stuff for mamas and a bonus lip nourish (RRP $24.95) from our gorgeous friend Cindy at Luk Beautifood.  What’s not to love about THAT?

crave box

So, who is in?

All you have to do is like the Crave Good Food and Luk Beautifood facebook pages then comment below (25 words or less) telling us your favourite sweet goodie.

My favourite sweet indulgence is caramel slice. Hands down.

caramel slice

OK. GO!

Total prize value is $74.90.  Open to Australian residents only. Winner will be drawn and announced here on Monday 6th May 2013 at 8pm EST. 

 

cosy kiddy nooks

With the cooler weather setting in around here, I have gone in search of some inspiration for fabulous cosy nooks to create for our little ones to escape to read, chat and relax.

This make shift camp ‘ground’ would have been my ultimate escape as a kid.

image courtesy of pinterest

image courtesy of pinterest

And I always dreamt of an attic space to hide in.  This one would have been perfect! (Image courtesy of pinterest)

image courtesy of blogs.babble.com

This would no doubt become a race car in our house, but I love, love, love the idea.

If, like me, you only have a corner or small area to work with, it’s all about finding the perfect chair.  Yes, make it a statement piece, but be sure it’s comfy too!  Here are some ideas I found on pinterest;

reading chair collage

Do your kids have a reading nook, play nook or special place they escape to?

creative kids – “sciencie” stuff

The lovely people over at Babble.com have put together 25 at home science experiments so I just had to share! It may just save someone’s sanity over the school holiday period.

science

OK, see ya!  I’m off to walk on some eggshells …

creative kids – living playhouse

JUST when I thought I would simply plant some herbs and a few vegies, this pops up in my pinterest feed!

living den

 

You can follow the tutorial here.

Do you have a living playhouse or vegie garden at your place?  What do you grow?