#MakerMonday – Jo (Made By Mums)

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By Joanna Coombs

30th September 2019

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Hello, and welcome to my ‘Meet the Maker’ post! It seems that people like learning about the stories behind the people behind the shop!

There’s a little bit of an introduction in our ‘The Made By Mums Story’ section of the website, but that was written a little while ago now, so we thought that maybe it was a good time for an update and a bit more information about me, the mum of the team! 🙂

I’ve been all about the crochet pumpkins of late. Tap pic to see more! 🙂

My name is Jo, and I’m a forty six year old mother to two daughters. Our eldest is now six and a half, and our youngest is now approaching three and a half. I have it on good authority that the half is very important when you’re young. Which means that I’m actually forty six and a half years young! At the moment I’m in the position to be able to be a stay at home mum. I’m sure that now our youngest has started nursery and (so far) is loving it, I’ll be looking to go back to paid work part time in the not so distant future.

At the moment I spent my time looking after the girls, trying to juggle school runs, remember appointments, fit in crafting, avoid ironing, potter in the jungle, I mean garden, not burn dinner too badly, and get some of the hundred things on my to do list done. I’ve been adding to the list for the last six years, so it may take a while! 🙂 Oh, and tidy up after the girls, putting away the things that I just put away for the fifth time that they pulled out again! 

I’m from quite a creative family and have always been surrounded by arts, crafts, music and creativity in all shapes and forms. I love so many forms of self expression and trying out new techniques in different disciplines. At the moment I’m all about crochet. I love how I can rustle up a hat, or scarf, of wrist warmers really quickly, or get my teeth into a blanket, whether it is a nice easy pattern to do whilst watching tv to chill, or something more challenging. However, I can knit, embroider, cross-stitch, and quilt. I have learning to spin on my list and have a drop spindle and fluffy squishiness ready on stand by for when I get a minute! 🙂 (I have been known to write very bad poetry, and paint trees, lots of trees…and eyes…. Often in the same painting, lol)

Crochet is my current passion – tap to view this toddler cowl and hat set

I learnt to crochet whilst I was pregnant with our eldest as I had read that it helps with mindfulness and can be calming. Once I had mastered the basics, it was something that I had complete control over, all the choices were mine to make, colours, yarns, items to make, type of crochet, when I was going to do it. Pregnancy can be a scary time for somebody like me that likes to know exactly is going on, when things are going to be happening, and what to expect. When Mother Nature decided to go slightly off plan, this wonderful craft gave me something new to learn and master and gave me back a feeling of control. I think that the learning something new was an important aspect to it at the time. I had to concentrate to get it right, and believe me, my granny squares were anything other than squares when I first started! 😀 

I learnt by watching videos on YouTube. I will still refer back to videos when learning a new stitch or techniques if I am finding them a bit tricky. In fact it was by watching a video whilst reading a pattern that I finally cracked reading patterns. (Even though I already knew how to read knitting patterns!) Pattern graphs are something that I am still in the early stages of learning, and if there’s a written pattern, I will often head straight for it!

I love the creative side of crafting, and one day I will get around to getting my various patterns written, tested, and sorted out with photos. One day, it’s on my list! 😉

Christmas is coming! More of these jolly fellas coming soon! Tap pic for more 🙂

Being from a creative family I’ve always been able to find inspiration from the world around me. Beautiful flowers, stunning sunsets, awesome seascapes, and how my pile of ironing throws colours together in such interesting ways that I never would have dreamed complimented each other, I never tire of adding new colour palettes to my collection. 🙂 I was lucky to be encouraged to try new things both at home and at school, and will always fondly remember blue mashed potato! I’m hoping that I’ve managed to find a balance that lets my girls be creatively messy and not stress too much about the chaos. Some days are definitely easier than others! 

I like the order that following a pattern has. The unfolding beauty of making something myself is a wonderful balm to my soul when the day has been long, the chaos extra loud and messy, and I need to regroup and focus. Though looking at my crafting supplies, you might have trouble believing that I prefer order to chaos! Our spare room might have a few *cough*, okay, lots of yarn in it of all weights. I love to try different styles and patterns and techniques, and mastering something new gives me a great sense of achievement. I have a collection of beads and buttons (my mum has been helping me with the beads, I’m totally blaming my love of them on her), and recently been experimenting with making my own stitch markers… which is only a small step away from jewellery making. 😉

My corner of the couch has spilled onto one side of our dining table… the sofa is full of current crocheting projects, the table taken over by buttons, beads and jewellery bits and pieces! I’m going to tidy it up next week… it’s on the list! 😉

You’d think that as I get up between five and six am, that I would have plenty of time for crafting, but as my girls get up then, sadly it is not the case. I get them up and ready for school, take them to school, then chores, some admin and work on the website without distractions, and if I’m lucky a bit of crafting. Then collect the youngest at lunchtime, spend the lunch break trying to get her to eat something, then off to get her sister. Then homework and tea time for them. Often with a discussion of why they can’t possibly eat the thing that they said that they wanted for tea half an hour ago. Then it’s the bedtime routine. Hooray! At the moment, we’re all getting back into the swing of being back at school/ starting nursery, so extra cuddles and stories. After that, Robert and I will decide that neither minds what we have for dinner and that the other should choose! 😀 Sometimes I’ve already fallen asleep at this point and Robert will sort himself out for something to eat. 

Other evenings I will actually have the energy to work on one of my projects or we’ll have a ‘staff meeting’ about the website before finishing our day. Then we start it all over again then next morning. 🙂 

I personally know how therapeutic crafting is, and how much difference feeling that you are helping support your family can be. For Robert to have made this site for me, and now for all of you, is testament to how strongly he believes this too. To know that you are not alone in this parenting journey, and to have a safe place to just be yourself, enjoy chatting about crafting (and not Peppa), and to be able to get some return from your hard work is some thing that we are working hard on. We welcome any feedback from you, after all, we want this to be a positive, enjoyable experience for us all. We have enough stress from the toddler meltdown over mummy getting the wrong spoon with the wrong bowl and the wrong cereal! Oh, the horror! 😀

With regards to the future, Robert and I have so many ideas and plans for the website. We want to foster a really supportive community where people help and support each other, whatever their background or story. Using the blog is a way for us to start that process, to get you all used to hearing from us. We’ll be adding more content from ourselves and guest makers as we go.  We’re currently looking at setting up a group/ forum for makers to have a safe place to talk. What one person doesn’t know, somebody else may know, or know where to look!

We all have different strengths and weaknesses, but we are all stronger together.

Thanks for reading all the way through. I can waffle on a bit, eh? 🙂

Jo x