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Easter Dresses
Our first crafty mama interview in the Month of Mamas series is with Anneliese from the lovely blog, Aesthetic Nest. Anneliese is a wife and mother of three adorable girls, and recently became a stay-at-home mom after a career in advertising and marketing. She’s a self-proclaimed “finisher” but aims to add beauty and inspire others through her blog.
Best Baby Cloche
I first came across Anneliese’s blog when I saw her Best Baby Cloche tutorial. I was expecting my fourth little one last summer and was on a nesting marathon, making as much as I could before Miss Amelia arrived. I whipped up two little cloches following her tutorial (which has amazing step-by-step photos and instructions) and they were the cutest! (Anneliese also has a little girl’s cloche pattern.) And not only does she crochet, but she knits, sews, and paints, too! Anneliese’s designs are sweet, classic, and colorful, and I will continue to look to her for inspiration in my own making! Here’s my interview with Anneliese:
Most of your creative projects have to do with your daughters, in what other ways have your experiences as a mother and crafter impacted each other? 
Wow. It’s honestly hard to separate the two. I didn’t have children as early as I would have liked and felt I was missing out—I remember telling myself that I could create things that a mother might create even though I was still waiting for children of my own. I’ve always loved making handmade gifts for people—especially for their children. Now that I am fortunate enough to have three daughters I have to say just about all my creative energy is directed there. My daughters are my muses for things I make and I also think creating things for them helps me enjoy even more the different stages of life they are at. So fun to think about the kinds of things I might make for Audrey, my eldest, when she is a bit older and how her tastes will change. Creative products are interesting artifacts of our lives as mother and daughters.

Heirloom Cut Chenille Baby Blanket
You’ve mentioned before that your mother taught you to sew as a young girl. What was it like growing up with such a creative mother and how do you hope to share your own craftiness with your girls? 
I realize more now than I did at the time how creative my mother was. It should be obvious but it occurred to me one day that so much of what I’m doing—sewing for my girls, cooking and hosting, decorating children’s rooms—are the same things my mother enjoyed. So much in life is ironic because I was really tired of wearing my mother’s handmade things—I was dying for a purchased dress! I can’t wait to teach my girls to sew, knit and crochet. They sometimes will try to do what I’m doing so I think there is some natural interest there—I hope! 

What does a typical weekday look like for you (are you able to craft everyday)? 

The mornings are always pretty busy with three girls at home most days (Audrey is in preschool 3 mornings) and that’s the time that I take care of any errands or attend any classes with my girls. The afternoons are always spent at home because I have two nappers. I sometimes am able to sneak in something at naptime but it more often happens after bedtime and general cleanup, which means about 9 pm! I feel like creative time is my reward for getting the other things done, including the dishes, so it usually comes last—it’s my dessert (not to imply that I don’t eat dessert though, because I do)! I wish I could go without sleep but I’m an 8-hours-plus kind of person so I never have enough time for projects.
Piquet and Lace Sweater
 What are your biggest challenges as a crafty mama? 
It seems a tired idea but I would probably say, “balance.” I tend to analyze my time quite a bit and wonder if I’m putting enough towards quality time with the girls vs. housekeeping vs. creating. I have so many creative ideas that there is never enough time. I love time with my girls and housekeeping (it’s true) and it’s kind of a game for me to see if I can be efficient enough to carve out some creative time.

How do you “find the balance” between blogging, crafting, and spending time with your family? 

Hah! I didn’t read ahead to see this was the next question. But I’ll expand:  It’s certainly much easier to create this kind of home-centered balance now that I’m home full time. It was much more difficult when I worked part time out of the home. It also means however that there are a lot of things I’m not doing right now and I’m ok with that. I don’t go to the gym—I try to squeeze in some exercise at home with the girls playing around me or take them for a walk. I am not participating in a book club or any other “mommy’s night out” groups. I’m not reading, which I used to do a lot and really enjoy. The blogging/computing side of things is probably the most challenging for me to balance. I’m always trying to be more efficient and schedule my time on the PC so I don’t think “I’ll just sit down and check things out for a minute” and lose a lot of time—it’s so easy to do that!
Couture Skirt
 How do you see your projects changing as your girls get older? 
I am  a little anxious for the time when Audrey will decide she doesn’t want me to make things for her. I hope it won’t happen but I know it’s perhaps inevitable! I would like to think I can keep making things for the girls but just do so with more and more of their input. Maybe I’ll make less dressy clothing and do more casual things. Or maybe I’ll “craft” more with them and sew/knit/crochet less. I don’t craft all that much right now in the sense of making home accessories but maybe I will if it’s something they enjoy. Who knows! It will be interesting for sure. 

What advice would you give to other crafty mamas out there looking to find their own creative outlet? 

Having a creative outlet is very important to me. It definitely adds to my sense of well being. I think the “what” doesn’t matter as much as the approach and the appreciation for whatever you are doing. In years past my outlet has been gardening, or home remodel, or cooking—I’ve always managed to find a way to express some creativity and I would encourage other mothers to look for opportunities to do so. Even the everyday things are an opportunity to be creative—the little choices you make about the things you bring into your home and how you place them and how you dress yourself and your children. It’s not a matter of budget but instead about making more conscious decisions and having fun.
Flirty Fiesta Flower Bouquets
What are you working on now? 
A few really fun things! My next project is always my favorite project! I have Audrey’s birthday party in the works, and a tutorial for a summer blog theme with KoJo Designs, and I also have a couple sewing ideas I’ve had on my list for months that I hope to cross off in the next few weeks. 
Thank you, Anneliese, for giving us a peak into your life as a maker mama! I love seeing how much your daughters inspire your work and I especially appreciate hearing that we can be creative in even the little everyday things.
What about you? What inspires your crafting?
To read more about Anneliese’s charming creations, visit her blog, Aesthetic Nest, or find her patterns available on her Etsy shop. And stay tuned next week for another crafty mama interview!