“Zest for your nest” — a giveaway with Gingiber!

It’s Monday again, which always happens as the result of a fun, full weekend.

Monday’s used to not feel very fun, but now I look forward to their “welcome back to routine”, and today for extra good reasons :) Our XL sponsor this month is Gingiber. I’ve admired Stacie for years (literally) and we even have a custom illustration of Bauer (below). It hangs in our nursery since Maxwell and Bauer are the best of pals. But the illustration is more than art to me — it’s a lovely reminder of just how well handmade connects us.

bauer illustration gingiber maggie whitley

I’m very excited for you to get to know Stacie (and her creative process) through our interview below, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post. She’s offering a 4-pack Safari print bundle to one Maggie Whitley Designs reader :)

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gingiber feature maggie whitley

“Hi, I am Stacie. I am a mother of 2 (soon to be 3), trying to find the balance between running a growing small business and caring for my family. I create animal-themed illustrations and sell my work on art prints, pillows, tea towels & greeting cards. I recently started licensing my artwork with companies like the Land of Nod and iPop! I am 28 years old and just relocated back to Springdale, AR so that my husband could start his first tenure track faculty position! My life is always in motion, and I love it!”

“I would encourage my fellow makers to make products that they adore. Don’t just follow the trends. If you love your products, believe in what you are doing, and put in a lot of time perfecting your craft, I think that you will find success. I would also encourage you to not look around and compare yourself to other makers. I stay off of Pinterest for that very reason! The visual stimulation can be overwhelming and let self-doubt creep in. Comparison is often called the thief of joy, and it is so true! Keep your head down, find passion & joy in what you do, and surround yourself with a circle of encouraging makers!”

gingiber feature maggie whitley

“I am inspired by color and patterns. I often look to vintage quilt patterns for inspiration when I am starting a new project. I am also inspired by my kids. For instance, my daughter’s favorite animal right now is a bunny, and I find myself sketching bunnies by the dozen!”

“I find that when the days are long, I make a big to-do list and try to knock through the items as systematically as possible. I would love to have more days filled with simply sketching and being creative, but lately I have been putting in a lot of time doing the manual labor portions of Gingiber, such as sorting calendar pages or cutting out pillow patterns. So, having a to-do list keeps me on task.”

gingiber feature maggie whitley

“Balance? What is that? Kidding. But seriously, my husband is such a huge supporter of my business, and often you will find my whole family up at the studio working and playing together. I am in a busy season of life, having just moved to a new state, my husband starting a new job, and my kids starting school. So we squeeze in together time whenever possible, even if it means eating dinner at the office, or a quick weekend getaway. Sure, the lines are blurred between work time and family time, but right now we are making it work.”

gingiber feature maggie whitley

gingiber feature maggie whitley

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GIVEAWAY // One MWD reader will win a bundle of four (4) Safari Prints from Gingiber (valued at $85). Use the widget below to submit your entries. We’ll select a winner on Thursday the 18th — good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A sweet reminder of home…

leaf Maxwell maggie whitley

leaf maggie whitley

coffee lipstick maggie whitley

One of the things I really miss about living in the Midwest is the change of seasons. ;) They’re just not the same out here in California (at least not in Los Angeles). Whenever we’re outside my eyes hunt for the burst of yellow and orange leaves, it’s a natural habit — one I don’t think I could kick if I tried. So imagine how happy I was when we found an orange leaf while walking our neighborhood! Max instantly started reaching for it and I thought to myself, “yes child, this is what Fall is made of.”

Also, so random, but last Fall I distinctly remember walking our old neighborhood and stepping on a pile of crunchy, red, fall-infused leaves on the sidewalk. It was a sweet reminder of home.

It feels good to have the seasons change. It’s like a natural prompting to change things up, try something new, implement a new routine. Fall also reminds me of wearing our moccasins, enjoying the feeling of hot coffee in the morning, a cool(er) breeze in the evening, turning on the oven to make dinner (something we avoid like the plague right now!), caramel apple suckers, snuggling up to read books, and of course spiced apple cider.

If you live in the Midwest will you please say hello to Fall for me? I hear it’s cooled off quite a bit, and honestly I’m really jealous. It’s supposed to be near 100* most of next week, so naturally the main thing on my radar is scoping out a few places to play where the A/C is running on high. Ha!

Enjoy your weekend, friends! I’m off to finish my “baby prep checklist”: size 1 diapers, a larger diaper pail and a couple of fun drawer knobs are on my to-buy list. I can’t wait :) xoxo

PS. Handmade makers: there are a few spots left in our October Baby Bundle giveaway and 2014 Holiday Gift Guide!

Appointment: booked!

caramel hair maggie whitley

So, I did it — I booked a hair appointment for Friday morning. My goal is to become a lot less bleached and a lot more caramelized and I’m inspired by this look. I hope I love the results, because one thing’s for sure: I’m not loving how often (and costly) I need to be highlighted. Besides, Fall is the perfect season to go a little darker. And with a newborn joining our family in just a handful of weeks, the last thing I want is to be sitting in a hair salon ;) Newborns are the best and I’m so so so so grateful to become a mama again.

Related: I’m giving myself a couple bonus points for knowing in advance how important it is to take care of my mama self. It can feel selfish to set time aside just for me, but I know that time benefits the whole family. Can I get an Amen?

5 ways I continue my creativity while living in a small space.

5 ways I continue my creativity while living in a small space // maggie whitley

For two years now we’ve lived in a small space, meaning our home is a 600 square foot apartment in Los Angeles. It’s a one bedroom with an extremely large living room — which thankfully has allowed us to make a section of our living room into a bedroom so the actual bedroom could be the nursery for our children. Our apartment has excellent storage for it’s size, but we’ve definitely learned to live with less. And honestly, this all started after traveling with Compassion International to Tanzania, Africa in May 2012. I remember coming home and very clearly feeling uncomfortable sitting on our couch, living in such a large home, having so many things. Our lives changed drastically soon after, but totally for the better :)

One way we live with less is by decorating with our favorite pieces, verses packing them away. Living in a small space has also helped me better realize my wants and needs — especially with my craft supplies ;)

We live in a small space for various reasons, but mostly because it fits our budget the best. Living in Los Angeles is extremely expensive (too many people and not enough places to live), so we do our best to live wisely. Besides, the weather here averages about 75*/80* throughout the year, so we’d be silly not to spend a lot time outside (ahem, hello beach) where we have plenty of room to stretch our legs.

leafy houseplant maggie whitley

When Zack and I lived in Detroit and Minneapolis we had more than enough space to run my handmade businesses, brainstorm product, create endlessly and the like. But Los Angeles has definitely stretched us in new ways, and so I’ve allowed myself the freedom to try new things. Turns out adventure-chasing and mamahood and learning to happily navigate adulthood aren’t as scary as they seem ;)

I’m a visual person, and living in a small space has challenged me in new, hard ways. And while I no longer have dedicated studio space, I do have a lovely kitchen table to work from and I’m rarely away from my family. Need another alternative workspace? Set up a 6-foot folding table.

embroidery maggie whitley

Here are 5 ways I continue my creativity while living in a small space:

* consider even the smallest of spaces as a potential for studio space. My friend Ashley of The Vanilla Tulip uses a teeny tiny closet as her office — perhaps something like this could be perfect for you, too? Also remember to build up. Pegboards, shelving and large cabinets are easy storage solutions and require very little floor space.

* work in small scale quantities. And remember: quality over quantity! Perhaps having a smaller shop inventory would encourage you to price your handmade wares more accurately. (No excuses! Underpricing is bad for everyone.) Also, making less means you work less which gives you more time to be with your family.

* remind yourself that seasons exists for a reason, and their ebb & flow is critically important to your growth. They may only last for a week, a month, or a year — but allow yourself the grace and flexibility to view your season as an opportunity for change.

* use this time to pursue a smaller-scale project. Sometimes small projects can be just as intimidating as the big ones, but girl, don’t let that hold you back! An example of this for me is with embroidering. It’s the perfect small space project because I can organize all of my supplies in a box, it’s easily transportable, and I can start and stop super easily.

* creating fills me up in so many ways, so it’s important I make time for it. Zack often takes Maxwell and Bauer out on an adventure so I can work (without worrying about little hands grabbing for the project). Living in a small space has challenged me to get creative with my creative time! An hour or two alone with my sewing machine or embroidery hoop benefits me, and my boys benefit from exploring the city together — without mom around!

embroidery maggie whitley

A few additional tips:

* many cities offer shared workspace opportunities, meaning you rent a workspace that’s shared with other creatives in your community. You can even rent a private shared workspace, conference rooms, etc. If your creative project requires more space than your home provides, definitely look into this.

* if you’re running a handmade business and absolutely need space to create & ship product, now is an excellent time to hire help. Your hired assistants can help you make product within their home, as well as ship directly from their home to the customer. Think outside the box here, literally ;)

* if you fail, remember to try (and try again!). I’ve had many set-ups for my workspace, and every time a change was needed I kept this bit of wisdom in the back of my mind. Sometimes an idea we have doesn’t work out perfectly the first time, so allow the process inspire you.

* what if — gasp! — you hung your collection of thread spools on the living room wall? What if you kept your fabric organized in a cute bin on the bookshelf? What if you invested in storage bins for under your bed (or couch) so your supplies are not only within reach, but they double as art for your home? Sounds like an excellent use of your small space to me! :)

embroidery supplies maggie whitley

Whatcha think? Are you inspired by your small space, or does it feel like an impossible hurdle? (Don’t give up yet.) Something I’ve had to remind myself (over and over and over) is this is real life, and in this season my family comes first; work comes second. Sure, I have big handmade dreams, but I hold on to the hope that those dreams will come true once again — just not right now. Let hope float you by, whatever that means for you personally. My home doesn’t ever need to be pinterest-ready, so I’m OK with my kitchen table for a workspace. I don’t have to set bigger and grander work goals for myself each year, at least not right now. Creativity can exist anywhere, at anytime, with any medium. How’s that for some solid inspiration? xoxo

PS. some of the cutest shared workspaces for kiddos

This post is a part of the Creativity Expressed Blog Series hosted by Jen at Lovely Messes.  Nine creative women are sharing the secrets behind their creative process, don’t miss a single bit of inspiration!