Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family life.
My name is Heidi, and I’m born in Canada with a Czech/Trinidadian background. My love for arts & crafts, cooking, and baking began when I was very young, having watched my mom create things from scratch. While she would usually knit, you would often find me with a needle and thread in hand and scraps of fabric all over my room. I was always in the middle of a project of some sort, with too many unfinished projects around (this hasn’t changed!).
I married my best friend, Michael, in 2003, and after teaching choir & band at a private Christian school for seven years, I became a stay-at-home mom to our boy, Tobias. Two and a half years later, we were blessed by the birth of our baby girl, Anja, and now our family is complete.
I love God, my family, and sewing…that pretty much sums it up.
And music, cooking, hockey, history, and traveling.
What’s the name of your blog/website? What is the significance of the name (How does it reflect you as a person or what you stand for?) How long have you been blogging?
My blog is called Elegance & Elephants. The name represents the type of clothing I love to make and my son’s favourite animal. I liked how the words rhyme, reflecting some fun, since I only blog about children’s clothing. I began blogging in November, 2011.
Expressing myself creatively has always been a part of who I am, not only in sewing, but in other mediums as well, particularly music and art. Creating makes me whole, and without it, I simply don’t feel fulfilled. I really can’t imagine functioning any other way, since it’s so integral to me as a person.
Working inside or outside of the home (or running a blog or website on a part to full time basis) can be especially tough because of the difficult choices we have to make with how to divide our time between work and family. Have you ever felt guilty about the choices you’ve made, and what advice would you give to someone struggling with those same types of feelings?
There have been moments I feel guilty about working at home when my children are around. Admittedly, I have sacrificed times I could be playing or spending time with them to sew or blog. But, to be honest, those moments are fleeting. After all, I think the benefit of them seeing their mom passionately creating and being productive far outweighs the negatives. So my advice is to focus on the example you are setting for your children. You are showing them that you are being hard-working and passionate, something I’m sure you want them to be.
If you’ve transitioned from hobbyist to business woman, what made you take the leap? What has been your greatest challenge? What has been your greatest reward?
I made the transition from hobbyist to business woman earlier this year when I starting creating and selling some of my patterns. I made the leap mainly because my businessman husband encouraged me to, but also because I saw the opportunity to make some income to support my sewing addiction (ahem…), I mean hobby. The greatest challenge for me is continuing to draft patterns that I love as opposed to ones I feel my customers would love. The greatest reward by far is seeing the wonderful creations my customers have made with my patterns.
For most moms, multitasking is synonymous with motherhood. What’s been your biggest personal challenge with juggling so many things? Have you found a way to stay balanced? If so, what are some of your strategies?
I would say the biggest challenge would be knowing when to stop. At some point you just have to put something down to focus on something else (i.e. get your foot off the sewing machine pedal and go make dinner or take your eyes off your needle to listen to what your children or husband are saying). My strategy is to stay as organized as much as possible so I know what my deadlines are and stay ahead of what I need to do. The calendar on my computer is my organization lifeline. Keeping it up-to-date and having my deadlines all in one place helps me stay on track. This is a challenge for me, as organization is not something that comes naturally to me, however, it’s the only way I know how to be productive and get things done without being in panic mode.
I get most of my sewing and blogging done when my children are napping and at night when my husband is at the gym. My sewing area is in our family room where my children play, so when I do sneak in sewing time while they’re around, I’m still present to see what they are up to and can interact with them.
What’s the best mom advice you’ve ever received?
To enjoy your children because they grow up faster than you think.
In terms of family, career and motherhood, how do you define success?
Having a home of peace and joy, a career that’s fulfilling and rewarding, and children who are happy and healthy = success!
How has being a mom changed your life perspective?
The shift from caring for myself to caring for them has been a huge change in my life perspective. While I enjoy it thoroughly when I do have time to myself, I see a huge responsibility in creating quality moments and memories with and for my children, whether of learning, play, or just doing nothing. Life has become a lot more about taking time to enjoy the simple things rather than focus on the big.
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A Question for You:
Heidi uses an online calendar to stay organized. What are your strategies for keeping up with a busy schedule?