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.
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.
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.
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.
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!