Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Website: Li'l Magoolie
Kid: Aspen, 13 months
When you read as many mom and design blogs as we do, there's always a few special ones that really recharge our batteries and inspire us to create bigger, better and brighter things. The mom blogger from down under might be south of the equator but is at the center of all things colorful and creative and always full of fresh and fabulous ideas.
How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I've been blogging for about five months now. I initially started Li'l Magoolie to keep family in Australia and friends in Canada in the loop about our life in New Zealand and my daughter's progress but it very quickly became an outlet to share all the amazing things I find online both here in New Zealand and overseas for Mums and kids. Instead of bombarding my friends' email or facebook with a great product or a fab blanket pattern I'd found, I started putting it up on my blog. It got to a point where I was posting about six or seven things a day. I've since cut it back to three but it is very hard not putting up more. Sometimes I sneak an extra one in ;)
Tell us about your blog:
Li'l Magoolie is an online magazine of sorts. Kind of like if you crossed 'Vogue Living' with 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'! It's a whole lot of colour, creativity and inspiration. Because I post the night before, items are gathered that day and can be anything from inspiring interiors to products and even baby names. Some days you'll find patterns for animal softies and cute handmade finds and the next, it'll be funky jewellery and colourful kids' parties.
I keep the posts bite-sized so busy Mums can jump on and get their dose of daily inspiration in the spare five minutes they have before heading off to do the millionth load of laundry. Also, to quote 'Madagascar' (a favourite movie round here), I'm not so good with the putting-the-words-together-and-their-coming-out-good thing so I try not to talk too much and let the pictures speak for themselves.
Where do you go in the blogosphere for inspiration?
Absolutely everywhere. If I know what I'd like to feature, Google images is a great resource but reading a lot of different kinds of blogs (I have about 80 bookmarks from wedding to cooking to design), I also find things there or I follow the rabbit holes from one site to an ad, to another site, to a flickr stream. You can be looking for one thing and find yourself reading about something completely different a few clicks later. I love that about the internet. Every single day you find something new and inspiring.
My first stop of the day is always KiwiMummyBlogs - a feed of over 70 blogs by New Zealand Mums. There's always a great handmade project, cute story, or baked good to keep me inspired. I also love seeing the other beautiful places in New Zealand and how other Kiwi Mums live.
What are your favorite types of DIY projects to do?
Being a Graphic Designer, my work tends to be created on the computer, so in my spare time, I love getting out the ol' paper and scissors and making things by hand. I also love a good recycled project. Re-imagining something you use in daily life and turning it into something completely different is so much fun (and cheap too!)
How do you find time to balance being a mom and running a successful blog?
Oh there's no balance!! Our house could be a LOT cleaner. Let's just say that my husband and I have developed ballet-like agility in avoiding toys! We struggle through just like everyone else. Some days are easy and some days you want to tear your hair out. The thing is that blogging was made for Mums. You can do it when you have a spare moment or your child has a (rare) nap and you can write as much or as little as you want depending on whether you've had an all-out-screamfest of a day or a really cruisy one. Basically it fits into your lifestyle and also gives you an outlet from talking babytalk all day long.
Many moms/parents are just in survival mode- how do you find the energy/time/inspiration to keep things interesting and be creative?
I feel like becoming a Mum has not only opened my heart to vast amounts of love, but also to being more creative and letting colour into my life. Before I became a Mum, rainbows and butterflies seemed kind of silly, but it's almost like you're given permission to love toys again and sing songs whenever you like and dance crazy little dances to songs by men in coloured shirts. It's really very freeing! I find it hard not to find inspiration these days. It also helps that I live in a beautiful part of the world. Christchurch is such a lush and beautiful city in New Zealand and being able to feed ducks by the lake with my daughter and beagle every single day makes Mum time incredibly special. I have plans to do an illustration of every flower I see here. It seems I discover a new one every day!
Are there any projects or types of crafting you've been wanting to try or learn but haven't yet dared tackle?
I have no baking/sewing/knitting/crocheting skills which is why I feature them a lot - I'm in awe of the talent involved in making an entire quilt or a detailed crocheted softie. I think 'Amigurami' must be Japanese for 'tricky to make but oh so adorable!" My ultimate dream is to do a glass-blowing course. I just adore glass. I idolize Dale Chihuly's work.
Finally, what is one great piece of parenting advice someone has shared with you?
Far and away the best advice was 'Don't judge progress day to day'. It's so easy on a daily basis to think you're not getting anywhere with swaddling/getting your child to sleep through the night/eating their vegetables but you need only look back a short period of time to see how far you've come without even realising it. Whenever I think something I'm trying to phase in or out is hopeless, I remember that advice and try to trust that Mother Nature has everything in hand. Also, I stay away from anything that mentions 'milestones'.
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".