As a craft-making, design-loving mama, Jade posts about both of these things on her site, Chikaustin. But as a person who is deeply interested in the world, her blog also reflects that. Not only does she write about her family's many day trips and adventures, last year she launched Craft Hope, an international project that is designed to share handmade crafts with those less fortunate.
How long have been blogging and why did you start?
I have been blogging on Chikaustin since October, 2006 – so for about three and a half years. In my past life, I was a teacher. I started blogging as a way to connect with other mamas. What I found was an incredible community of women, some moms and some not, that I quickly became friends with. I also wanted a good way to document the day in and out of my life with my kids.
Tell us about your blog and your favorite things to post about.
I definitely find myself in a group of crafty mama bloggers that inspire me beyond belief. I think Chikaustin is more of a lifestyle blog of living a life less ordinary. We have made many decisions in the past couple of years regarding our family. We downsized and moved out of the Austin city limits to the lake. It was really important to me to teach my children how to enjoy the simple things in life, the things I had begun to take for granted. Sitting on the porch. Enjoying a sunset. Going on nature walks. Staying at home and not having to go somewhere every single day. Just spending quality time with my kids.
I really enjoy posting about our adventures most of all. We really like to take day trips on the weekends into the Hill Country. There always seems to be a festival of some sort in some sleepy little town. Most recently we went to the Luckenbach Hat Festival in Luckenbach, Texas. There's just no place like it on the planet and I like to show people what it's like here.
When I can, I love to hit up thrift stores and estate sales looking for vintage items for the house. I also love to decorate and redecorate. I'm always getting inspiration from the blogs, and from Ohdeedoh, of course. I get new ideas for the kids' rooms, for our living spaces, that keep me moving things around. If things sit in one spot too long, I get bored with them. I like to keep it fresh. And it also keeps people on their toes when they come over for a visit. (I recently went to Round Top and came home with seven globes for the kitchen.)
I'm really working on lightening up the mood in the house. Not being so serious in my decorating and just having fun with it. I also really like to incorporate the kids' artwork into our spaces. They will only be this little once and it goes so fast. I want them to know that what they invest their time in, what they make, matters and that I appreciate it.
I also try to keep up in the crafty mama blogging world by making a few things here and there. But right now with a seven-month-old, my time is really limited and any free time I get I'm working on Craft Hope.
Craft Hope is your huge current project. Can you tell our readers about it?
Craft Hope is a love-inspired project designed to share handmade crafts with those who need them. It is our hope to combine our love for crafting and desire to help others into a project to make a difference around the world.
Every couple of months we introduce a new project that is paired with a charity. People can go to the site, find the item we are making for that charity, find charity information including loads of pictures, make the item and send it to them. We really hope to connect people who are just going about their daily lives with those less fortunate. Make lasting connections that not only benefit those receiving the items, but also for those making the items.
Kids have been participating, learning about other cultures around the world. What a beautiful gift to give a child. Compassion. Giving. We've also just started forming working Craft Hope Working Bees around the globe to encourage communities to come together to help others. There is a beautiful example of one that just formed in Hamburg, Germany, to make bean bags for orphans in Liberia.
I also have a Craft Hope book coming out in August (available for pre-order now) that will contain projects paired with charities as well. The more we can get the word out there about these charities and the wonderful things they are doing, the more we can help. I feel so honored to be in this position.
When – or if! – you have spare time, do you have any projects in your home that you are working on?
I'm always working on something at home. Painting a room, furniture, rearranging furniture, trying to find a place for a new-to-me item. Things are always moving around. Kids are always moving around trying to find the best arrangements as they get older. One day the baby needs her own space, the next we think she should be in a room with her sister.
I want our house to look like children live here. Really live here. So there is room for toys in the living room, kids' art on the walls, family pictures everywhere.
What are some of your favorite blogs?
Goodness, I've gotten to the point that most of the blogs that I read are close friends. I have absolutely the best friends in the blog world and I keep up with their daily lives through their blog. A few of us just had babies so we don't update as often as we'd like, but I still check in. I also find inspiration in a few other blogs out there. Here are a few of my must reads:
Since our inception, we have loved hearing from all of our readers as well as reaching out to several in the blog community. You are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands all writing about your families, style and what makes you tick. To continue fostering this great blogging community, we'll be featuring close-ups of our favorite family and design blogs as part of our "Big Blog Family".