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For A Creator

For A Creator

You make me happy

 

I am writing this with a sleeping baby on my chest after  a day of cheering at basketball and football games and then walking into my studio to check on the kilns. I pause and with care peek under coverings that have been laid over pieces so that they may dry slowly without cracking.. This is the blur for me, the careful but familiar fluency of my life where motherhood and creative entrepreneurship intertwine. I don’t have hard lines between the two but I do have a mantra, “be here.” Live presently and do your best. I wanted to write something in preparation for Mother’s Day, a day where we as womankind often feel many complex emotions. Something has happened to me over the years as I have greeted 10 mother’s days and 7 of those have been spent as a professional artist running a vibrant business, I have settled into my core roles and I have gained confidence in mothering and creating a business my own way. 

mother and children in studio

This can’t really be something beyond encouraging you to do the same, live presently and have confidence in mothering and working at your craft in your unique and glorious way, a way that will meander and continue to shift and roll and may you come to awaken both the mother and the artist within you as your nourish both roles.  Mind your life, it is wondrous and we are traversing ancient roles as Creators who are vessels for growing life and nourishing life-giving art.  What gift, to have a whole world inside you. 

Travel Inward

I found a note I wrote to a friend when she anxiously told me she was pregnant with her second child and was nervous about her growing business and finding a way to care for her children and her business, these were some of the notes I put in my phone when she asked if I had any advice for her:


“Priorities and boundaries will become very important- the rest will fall into place or fall away.

Wherever you are, be there.

Expect your definition of success to shift.

Affirmations and empowering frames of mind will ground you.

Acknowledge your fears and speak them out loud.

Time away is not a bad thing. Rest. Care. These are important parts of creating too.

Your creative flow may not feel the same.

Begin Again.

Prepare a list of things you would like to learn about or improve, just because the way you are able to work looks different doesn't mean you cannot continually grow.

You can do it all but not by yourself and not all in the same season, consider where you will accept help.

Quiet moments are very important both quiet as in soundless but also stillness.


Look at everything in nature… it never stays the same, what does it do to us then and the conception of ourselves if we don't appreciate the natural passage of time and our place and the opportunity to grow.”

There are flows to your time with your children and your work, recognize and honor them 

I consider us a working family, not myself as a working mother. With practice we have all sort of settled into the routines that work best for our family. My family knows that if I am getting ready to release a collection, or most especially around the holiday months then some of the responsibilities that are normally mine fall to other people in our family. After an intense period of work I try hard to settle back to a more harmonious place. Going on individual special dates or having a small special moment with my kids like before bedtime, or a slow morning with their favorite breakfast also helps to restore some of the normal flow to our routines. When I am extra tired I have to really fight hard to be present in my life.


There are times I might feel overwhelmed and neglect the care of myself, our family home, or moments I normally prioritize like family dinner. Sometimes I find myself thinking it has to be a grand gesture or nothing at all but committing to a morning walk to move my body 3 days a week, or going to bed earlier twice a week,  spending an hour doing the laundry and watching a show you enjoy, or putting together simple nourishing meals for 4 days a week seems manageable. In the moment sometimes it feels like you can’t take breaks or you’ll lose momentum but those I have found are exactly the times where it’s necessary to slow down and replenish. It will be easier to begin again when you have filled your own vessel. 


I love being able to work from home but it also creates some chaos in our lives. To restore some order these are a few things that have helped at different seasons of motherhood and makerhood: 


Communicating clearly and having a family meeting at the beginning of the week so we can get everyone where they need to go, plan ahead for things like book reports, and enable my husband and I support each other in our work recognizing that he may need the weekends for work so he’ll be more involved during the weekdays so that I can have some work at nights. 



Hiring help with the kids, when my daughter Rosie was a toddler we had a babysitter on Fridays, it is amazing the amount of work you can get done and the flow you can get into when you have glorious hours all to yourself! I was hesitant to accept help with child care, for a variety of reasons including making sure my kids would be safe and lovingly cared for but we found a way that worked for our family. I have also heard of friends trading days to care for children so each gets a day for a playdate and then later the promise of a day to work while their friend is caring for the children. I find this lovely, encircling each other in our creative roles as well as our mothering. I have very dear friends who have cheered me on since the beginning and I think I would have found it more of a challenge to find my way.  


Housework was one of the first things we arranged to have help with when my husband’s and my businesses began to grow. We hired a local business that schedules a team of cleaners to deep clean our home once a month. We then try to maintain the cleaning with a simple schedule in addition to the daily chores like picking up and doing dishes: Mondays everyone collects the trash to prepare for Tuesday trash day, Tuesday we each clean a bathroom, Wednesday we do laundry… If we fall behind we just do our best and begin again the next day. 

 Nourishment and Protection

I naturally like to be busy, motherhood also ensures that many of your daily moments are already accounted for. A kind word of advice: Protect your moments, your celebrations, and your rest. I do not subscribe to the hustle mentality, I try hard to create habits and systems that will improve my efficiency when it's time to work and then enjoy the moments right after when it comes time to nourish myself to begin again. Guard your stillness but also know you will probably be tired especially when your kids are small but the power lies in being able to recognize when you have gone too far and need to come back to yourself. 

I’m certain you have heard of this thing called Mom guilt,  and I have been working hard to reframe my mentality around this to heal from an idea that doesn't help and to also invite my children to be a part of what I do. My work helps my children see the world in a colorful way. Their eyes are being trained to see beauty in others and the world around them, their minds to creatively solve problems.  My work provides money that I save for their futures, my gift enables future them to use their own unique gifts. My work gives them opportunities to see new parts of the beautiful world. My work shows them that hard work is something that is important to our family.  My children have seen me fail and be a part of some very vulnerable moments. My work introduces them to another part of me beyond being their mother. I have other talents that I am developing and I am in a constant pattern of growth and becoming even when it comes from mistakes. Spending time in my studio bonds us but also there is the time I spend alone in my studio where a particular child may be on my mind and heart and the making and mending I do while I am guiding the clay helps me to make and mend myself and my relationships with my children. It becomes important to create from a place of abundance so I am continually trying to guard my reservoirs of energy, love, and time so I can create the highest work I am capable of but also a happy life with my children.


There is a work only you can do, this is your focus. Hire help when you recognize something isn't bringing you joy and is stealing your attention and energy- bookkeeping, website and brand design, shipping orders, customer care might all be places for you to accept help. I once heard a story about a mom who loved baking but was often distracted while she was doing it causing her to perpetually burn a batch of cookies. This woman wanting to share some cookies with her neighbors or friends would try again and this time keep a closer eye on the next batch of cookies and they’d usually turn out better than the first. This mom then offered her family the burnt cookies and would give her neighbors and friends the better batch. One such time after eating a batch of slightly scorched cookies her son yelled “why do we always get the burned cookies! I want one of the good ones just once!” Who are you offering the better cookies to and who is getting the less favorable batch of time, energy, or attention?

 

believe there are so many right ways of finding your way in motherhood and your creative work. I have found it important to give both roles time and the best effort we have for that day knowing that as the sun rises again we get to begin again, improving upon the day before and with the hope that by small intentional acts great things will come to be. 

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Harrison's Birth Story and New Mother Advice

Harrison's Birth Story and New Mother Advice

I’d like to introduce you to my littlest love, Harrison Nash Coons


Our boy that would not be kept from our family and the perfect end to a decade of the incredibly trying work of trying to get all my children earthside. His name honors both sides of our family, both sides of DNA that built his bones and chose his eye color. My Pappap was a gentle man with a twinkle in his eye, a love of ice cream, a laugh that will never be forgotten, a mind that trapped the smallest of details, and a father to 6 women. Pappap carried the last name of Hare from our Irish ancestors and passed it onto his 6 daughters who all carry different surnames now. We can already tell in our short time together that Harrison, like my Pappap Donald Boyd Hare, has a gentle and most agreeable demeanor. 

Harrison’s middle name Nash comes from my husband’s Papa, the father to 12 children, a generous man with a great zeal for life and one who gathered his large family close and made each one of us feel like his favorite. Harrison will grow to be his own man but it is one of my motherly hopes that he will carry some of each of these great men with him in his own heart. 

Here we are two months later almost to the day and the day of his birth still seems like such a surreal day

This was the last photo I took of my last pregnancy; I took this at 9 am and little did I know by 1:30 pm I would be checked into the hospital and at 8:30 pm I would hold my sweet boy. Something that would bring me some worry considering I was scheduled for a c-section the next day. 


My last moments were so very sweet. I was sitting on my bed with my mom who had come from Ohio to be with me and help take care of me and my family after the baby joined us. Rosie had laid herself down in her bed for a rare afternoon nap which felt like such a gift to a tired mama. We had just ordered lunch and were watching Rosemary and Thyme while eating tuna sandwiches on hazelnut bread ( a regular pregnancy craving of mine and one I regret eating this day because I had to keep telling people what I ate that day while at the hospital while preparing for my surgery… why couldn’t I have ordered the turkey avocado today?!!!) We shared a fruit tart and I went upstairs to check on Rosie and as I climbed the stairs I began to cramp and feel sick and while I have never gone into labor naturally I  knew my body was preparing for my baby boy to come. I had a little difficulty getting a hold of my husband and I thought this is as close as we are going to come to the exciting entrance into the hospital you see in films because all three of our other children have been born via c-section. 



This was such a surprise for us, I had just been in to see my doctor for one last appointment the day before to check on my blood pressure that had been a little high for the past few weeks but between my high blood pressure, a little blood spotting, and contractions my doctor decided to perform the surgery a day early to be safe. We had to wait about 8 hours from the time I last ate for the c-section so I had some unexpected calm time to prepare to meet our sweet boy. This had been a difficult pregnancy, my hardest by far and challenging emotionally and physically and I had nearly done it!! I let myself feel all the emotions and thanked my body for doing her best. I said my affirmations and took a deep breath knowing that once it was time there would only be about 15 minutes where I would need to summon all my courage in order to meet my son. Everything went beautifully. My husband Steve cares for our newborns until my procedure is finished and then I meet husband and baby in the recovery room. It’s always so sweet to hear him talking and caring for our children until I’m ready. 

Harrison Nash Coons and his Mama hold each other for the first time. Harrison was 9lbs 11 ounces and 21 inches of pure glory. 

I thanked my body one last time for being the vessel for my four children. She and I have been through quite a few versions and each she has reminded me that she is home. 

Our kids weren’t able to come visit in the hospital so this was a sweet reunion and one of the things my heart was hoping for all along. 

I wrote this back in August when we were fixing the house we would bring him home to:

“There is an interwoven tapestry of our story, baby’s and mine. Each breaking day I write a new line and safely tuck it away between my heartstrings.

Some days I tell him that this is so hard for me to carry, I cry and he seems to understand.

Some days we call each other by name to see how it feels.

Some days I take him along with me to check on the home we are working on, the one his Dad is building and I am coloring.

Some days three sets of little puffy hands come feel for him. He is our littlest and is so very loved, these will be the hands that help care for him. He will soon learn the kind of comfort and joy that accompany each pair, one is safety, one is humor, one is freedom.

One the day this photo was taken my spirit spoke to his spirit and I told him that his worth and my worth were abundant and eternal, I promised to love and honor each of us. 

Today I will sing him a song of joy and keep writing our history together as mother and son.”


Written August 12th, 2021 but meant so much more on October 30th when we brought Harrison to the home we made for him.

 

Tips For Preparing For A C-Section Delivery:


This was my fourth c-section and I was sharing some things I do to prepare for the birth of my babies on social media and I thought maybe it would be helpful for those things to have some permanency. We all prepare for large life changes differently but I think one recurring thing we must encourage is to do the things that make you feel the most comfortable, the most supported, the most prepared. 

 

I make a visit to the Myopractor or chiropractor to make sure everything is in line and giving me the greatest chance of recovery even after my body has shifted and my core is weak from surgery.


These house dresses are very comfortable and nursing friendly, I also like the pockets. I got the Onyx and the black ribbed, this fabric, while soft, is clingy but they are beautiful for recovery and the newborn days.


Robe is helpful for the hospital which tends to be chilly, the postpartum temperature changes can be intense especially those night sweats and for a bit of modesty because there is always one person that didn’t get the memo and just pops over without warning to see the baby.


A recliner with buttons to move it up and back is one of the things I am most grateful for in my recovery. My sister in laws who have had multiple c-sections themselves passed this tip onto me, and nowI pass it onto you! For the first few days it is difficult to find a place to get comfortable especially for feeding the bay and I basically live in the recliner for the first few weeks. 


Heating pad to help with cramps, back pain, and I just find it to be comforting (when I’m not sweating from the hormones).


New linens- one last act of kindness before you leave for the hospital, change your linens because you will be spending time recovering in your bed and a new pair of patterned linen sheets is a glorious gift to yourself. I wish more sleeping would actually happen but so it goes with a newborn, but a fresh set of sheets will make a cozy haven for you to spend your days and nights. 


Roller cart or night stand bins- keep everything handy until you are more mobile. I keep diapers, wipes, nursing supplies, burp cloths, changes of clothes for the baby and snacks close by in a storage cart. you can also wheel it room to room if you need. 


Bassinet or Bedside Sleeper- My friend let me borrow this one, a bassinet that is close to the bed lets the baby have their own space for safety but makes it easier for you to do those night feedings.


A little something for mama- get yourself something nice, something to say well done you, and I know you’ll be enveloped taking care of your baby but don't forget you used to enjoy this! A little gift card to your favorite drink stop to take a 15 minute coffee run without the baby, a new scrub for the shower, soothing gels for your eyes, a new magazine to read… you’ll know what would make you feel like a new woman after 15 minutes to yourself.

 

This time I brought a little gift for my nurses, since you are at the hospital for 2-3 days for an uncomplicated c-section you spend alot of time with your nurses,  I took these for my nurses and they were much appreciated. If nurses cant accept gifts at the hospital you’ll be delivering perhaps offer to buy them lunch or bring gift cards for the nurses station for coffee or a local restaurant. 


Supplements Nutrafol and Ritual- its alarming when the hair starts to shed in bunches. Two weeks before I delivered I started taking Nutrafol a special vitamin to help with post partum hairloss. Its been three months now and my hair seems to be as glorious as ever. I also switched my pre natal to my post natal vitamins for nutrients while nursing. 

A deep cleaned house- after I had my first baby my mother in law was so thoughtful and had a team of cleaners come to my house and deep clean everything, I’m talking vacuum lines on couches and ceiling fans dusted. It's been something I have started doing for myself once a month and I make sure to schedule a deep cleaning right before baby comes. Also if this isn't in the budget just yet, often times friends and family are eager to help you prepare for the arrival of your baby and would genuinely like to help! 9 months pregnant and scrubbing bathroom tile is no fun so if you feel comfortable, ask for a little help tidying.


Car cleaned we have a small business in town that comes to your house and details your car for you. As a mom of 4 I basically live in the car once I have healed a bit and have the clearance from my doctor to drive. I look forward to that coconut smell, there’s something that they use and I don't know what it is but I love it and the fact that there aren’t apple cores in the drink holders in the back of my suburban anymore. I also love to prepare a littel car organizer for emergencies, I put diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, extra outfits, medicine, a blanket, baby carrier, snacks and water in the organizer… because having a baby will teach you that something exciting is bound to happen, almost daily!


Grocery shopping before you head to the hospital and prepping freezer meals can come in quite handy. Many cities offer grocery delivery now through apps like instacart so you can buy them for yourself or even give that as a gift but its still a good idea to stock up on some favorite items for quick nourishment.



A Few Favorite Baby Items (many from small businesses)


This changing pad, especially for baby boys. It wipes clean easily helping to avoid more laundry.


This bouncer we affectionately call the poop chair, I don't know what it is about it but without fail Harrison has a blowout when he is sitting in this bouncer. That being said it comes in handy if you need to make dinner or keep the baby safe while you shower. 


Journaling the small moments and special memories

 

I didn't know about this with my three other kids, the Haaka helps you save precious breastmilk especially in those first few weeks when your body is trying to regulate its supply. 


Favorite bottles, Bottle warmer, bottle cleaners, bottle sanitizer


For the car, forget the baby mirror and get this little video set up, it also has night vision.

 

I have had this Solly wrap for 7 years, I keep my babies close enough to kiss but hands free for making. Solly has since come out with beautifully patterned sheets, layette sets, and swaddles in the softest fabrics often designed by artists. Solly gifted us a few sleepers which was perfect timing because sweet Sonny has already outgrown the ones I bought for him as a newborn. 

 

A few other clothing basics I like, these kimono sets from H&M (I love the colors) and Quincy Mae has the most delightful patterns and baby basics.


Diaper Bag, I love a backpack style my hands always seem to be full!


This breast pump- Harrison had trouble latching and this pump was amazing, I’d pump in the car on the way to school pick up or while I was washing dishes. Hands down one of the best purchases this time but with my other kids I think I collectively pumped maybe 7 times. 

Blankets, bedding, burpcloths

Stores for toys and baby items - bitte, scaniborn, and surprisingly Zara home

Baby Settler- I brushed up on my newborn routine, that wake sleep feed cycle will set you up for some larger stretches of sleep once you make it past those tiring first weeks. I also hear amazing things about Taking Cara Babies courses.

All of my kids have these nightlights and noise machines, they also are useful for lighting the way for night feedings. 

I've never been so thirsty as when I’m nursing, these Stanley cups are always sold out and for good reason if you can get your hands on one it will help you stay hydrated but this is another fabulous style and I love the colors. 

Tubby Todd makes magical soap, balm ( I swear that this scrub and this balm will keep the cradle cap away) and seasonal lotions.

I get a diaper subscription from hello bello, I like their fun patterns and you can choose how often you'd like your diapers and wipes delivered.  

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Air Dry Dough For Christmas Crafts

Air Dry Dough For Christmas Crafts
I am really quite taken with this recipe! This is not your typical preschool salt dough! The dough is beautiful and behaves in a similar manner as porcelain, making me feel right at home and ready to share with you all the tips to make it a success. It’s simple and lovely, and laughing all the way, you can whip up some memories and keepsakes- a few to keep and plenty to share and give and send. Whatever you celebrate during this season and however you find the time, I hope this humble craft can help you gather with dear ones in creativity and cheer.  Continue reading