Names: Jaime Morrison Curtis & Jacinda Boneau
Location: Jaime in Los Angeles, Jacinda in Dallas
Children: Jaime: Scarlet (3). Jacinda: Clare (4), Quinn (2), Gordon (1)
Online Home: Prudent Baby
Prudent Baby and Apartment Therapy go way back. Since its inception in 2009, the site has been one of our most treasured resources for beautiful design and fresh DIY ideas. There was Jacinda's royal icing, Jaime's PomPom curtains, the beautiful custom duvet cover, the pretty bath stool and the brilliant tape trick. Whenever we feel a domestic rut coming on we look to Prudent Baby to keep the smart, simple and lovely solutions coming.
How would you describe Prudent Baby? What's prudent? What isn't?
Prudent Baby is a source for creative inspiration and step-by-step tutorials where women, especially new moms, can learn a crafty hobby, find new ways to celebrate the important events in life and be inspired to create a beautiful space for their family. While DIY is "wise" and "frugal," two words often used to describe Prudent, there is definitely a wink there. Originally inspired by Jaime's first book, Prudent Advice, Prudent Baby is a way for us to share everything we know about creating simple beautiful items on a reasonable budget. While our projects are usually practical and affordable, we always leave room for the whimsical and hilarious which may not seem "prudent" but it's always fun.
How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
We both started with baby blogs in 2007 to share the milestones of our pregnancies and then new daughter's lives. In 2009 Jaime approached Jacinda with the idea of starting a new blog focused on DIYs. There wasn't much of that around at the time but as you can see by the landscape now, we were on to something. We had always loved working together in entertainment marketing and drinking champagne together, so we knew it would be a big success, or at least a good time.
There are two of you. How does that work?
It works in the best way possible; we collaborate on anything and everything having to do with the website, but we focus on each other's strengths too. Like Jacinda is a trained designer, so she will create patterns and design the site graphics, while Jaime is obsessive-compulsive with things like schedules and spreadsheets. It's great in terms of the time commitment, because we balance each other and cover each other (like Jacinda will say "stop crafting and go write your book, I got this week" or I'll say "your babysitter got sick? I'll take care of the site, go be with your kids"). Prudent Baby would not be nearly as creative or as fun if we didn't have each other to bounce ideas off of and refine our projects. We communicate 90% of the time by late night text (does this need a pin tuck? Do you like this ruffle? Does my tute make sense to you?), so it's great that we understand each other so well and share a similar taste.
Prudent Baby emphasizes DIY, with boatloads of tutorials and recipes. What's the relationship between making stuff and parenting?
It's all about nesting. Many things change when you get pregnant, and pregnancy definitely put us back in touch with our latent creative sides. We hear similar stories from our readers all the time. They tell us things like "I haven't looked at a sewing machine in 15 years, but now I'm pregnant and I found your site and I'm inspired to dust it off and start making everything for my kid!" It's a great way to focus that energy that you have, or to feel like you're making good use of the few hours of quiet you get each night, because crafting for your family allows you to be creative and still feel useful. And more than just following tutorials, the Prudent Mamas are part of a community too. We get each other. We talk about our kids and all the joy they bring us, we feel the love that went into the Snappy Toddler Dress their kid is wearing in the picture they post, we commiserate over broken zippers and bubbled mod podge. And then we tell them we kinda want to lock our children in a cage so we can fondle our new fabric in peace, and they understand that too. Being a new mom can be a lonely thing, but creating together like this makes it more fun.
What projects are you working on right now?
We have a fun theme week coming up for spring that is super-secret, full of bright cheery tutorials. Jacinda is working away with her watercolors creating a new line of fabric, and Jaime has just put the final touches on her second book My Prudent Advice, which is published by Chronicle and comes out in the fall. We are working on a lot more video tutorials and behind the scenes our Prudent Baby book is starting to come together. We are very excited about everything and just wish there were more hours in the day.
Were you crafty kids? Are you raising crafty families?
We were definitely the "creative" children wearing two mismatched socks and insisting it looked fantastic. Jacinda's mom is an elementary school art teach and jewelry designer, her dad is an avid photographer, and Jaime's mom is a talented quilter. So yes, lot's of creative genes in the bunch. Jaime's dad is an OBGYN. Someone has to pay the bills! And yes, there is always a tiny paint handprint somewhere in our houses.
Tell us about the place of gardening, on the blog and in your lives.
Growing up in California, Jaime didn't really understand the concept of "seasons" until moving into a home with a beautiful yard in 2010. Since learning that plants have a lifespan and seasons actually matter (what, you can't plant tomatoes in November?) she's been cultivating a garden and sharing about it on Prudent Baby throughout the planting, growing, and harvesting seasons. She's fallen in love with growing and the joy it brings her whole family to work outside together. Through sowing, cultivating, picking, and cooking with homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs, she's found a way to reconnect with the land and food even in the middle of a big city. Luckily that big city offers a climate conducive to growing. Jacinda, on the other hand, is still grappling with the Texas heat.
Jaime, tell us about your book.
Prudent Advice was something I wrote for my daughter - my attempt to understand what motherhood meant to me and what it would take to raise a kind, thoughtful, independent woman (which seemed such a monumental task I wasn't sure I was up for). Seeing her now flip through it and ask me to read poems to her from it, well that's the biggest reward a mother or author could hope for. But reading other people's thoughts, reviews, and advice they'd like to pass on to their own daughters, well nothing really compares to it. Because so many women used the book as a springboard to create their own lists for their daughters, we created a second book called My Prudent Advice. This book is a workbook of sorts, meant to be filled out by a mother and passed on to her daughter. It's a beautiful little treasure that I hope mothers and daughters will invest their time and energy in, and pass down to future women in their families.
Clearly you can dole out the advice, but what's the best piece of parenting advice you have ever received?
Well I've received so much advice - my current favorite is a really tactical strategy for getting your kids to eat. My friend Yoko invented it and it works like a charm with my daughter. It's called the "no thank you bite." The basic concept is, hey girl, you don't have to eat anything you don't want to eat, but you have to at least give it a taste. If you don't like it, just say "no thank you" and we will totally respect that, and you don't have to eat anymore. No fighting about food. No forced eating. No begging her to eat. No her loudly insulting some meal I spent hours preparing. No mealtime drama. It took a good couple months when she was around two to get her in the pattern of it, but now it's easy like Sunday morning. Also, she still doesn't get dessert if she doesn't eat it, and we don't make her something new. The "no thank you bite" is just using manners, and it excuses you from having to eat something you don't want, and always the "no thank you bite" is met with mad praise at how awesome it is that she tried a new food. 70% of the time she says she likes it after all and eats everything. The rest of the time I know she truly doesn't like the way it tastes, and I'm okay with that. This piece of advice has been invaluable to me (thanks Yoko). That and my friend Anna's repetition of the phrase "chill out, it's gonna be fine" are the two best pieces of parenting advice ever.
What are some of your favorite blogs?
Apartment Therapy of course! Design Sponge, Making it Lovely, Good House Guest, Not Martha, So Fawned, Design Mom.
Thanks, Jaime and Jacinda! Readers, keep up with these two at Prudent Baby.
(Images: Prudent Baby)