Interview with Earthd

Amy Francis is the Creative designer and Owner of the eco conscious, ethically made and natural plant dyed company, Earthd. Instagram in all it’s weird and wonderful bot fuelled wisdom connected us! I have loved learning about the design, plant dyeing and manufacturing process for Amy’s carefully, artisan made pieces. Each one is made with the preservation of the earth in the forefront of her mind. It is a pleasure to receive a carefully considered and created piece for my family. The colours from the plant dyes are so rich and I am still amazed at the vibrancy of the amber, mustard, indigo and forest hues! But what attracted me to Earthd, was the story behind the makers. Enjoy this interview with Amy and let me know whether you have ever tried botanically dying fabrics at home!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.

I’m Amy, mamma to the sweetest little boy, Noah (3),  partner to Brent and fur mamma to the cutest whippet, Zeus! We live in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. 

Amy and her beautiful family

 

Earthd is a beautiful name for a thoughtful business, tell us about Earthd!

My business is Earthd. We make earth friendly,ethically made linen and clothing for little ones! The best part is that all our products have been plant dyed/botanically dyed with plants!! 

As a Mum to a toddler and fur baby, life is already busy! What led you to start your own business from home?

I am always creating something, it keeps me centered and is something I do for me! I am a really artistic and creative person with an active mind, so when I do “arty stuff” it helps bring me back to “earth”again! I started dyeing some cot sheets and singlets of Noah’s with avocado pips and skins, and then began really interested in natural dyeing and started creating my swaddles in my kitchen/laundry at home! My first two dyes I began to use were madder root and indigo.

All snug in a botanically dyed sunshine gold wrap

It’s amazing you can use botanically sourced colours to dye your fabrics. The colours are so vibrant! Can you tell us a bit about the plant dyeing process?

It’s a very lengthy process! But extremely fascinating. The colours that can be produced are endless. Natural plant dyes have been used dating back to ancient times well before the “synthetic” dye was created. Basically the dyes are made by extracting the colour from plants,leaves, roots, flowers, seeds. The fabric is then scoured to remove any chemicals, pre-treated with a mordant and then dyed. Usually this process can take up to a week! Plant dyeing means that there are no harsh synthetic dyes being used, therefore it is better for our skin but even better for our earth! 

When I started Earthd. I was doing the dyeing myself.As mentioned above, the two colours I started with were madder root (which produced a blush colour) and Indigo (a stunning blue). I wanted to offer my customers a wider range of colours, that were also consistent. I decided to outsource my dyeing to an ethical Plant dye workshop in Indonesia run by a family that have been doing plant dyeing for many generations. Not only has this enabled me to provide a wider range of beautiful tones, it has also enabled me to spend more time with my family and focus on expanding my little business!  The other great thing about this workshop is that it is completely eco friendly! Because the plant dyes are non toxic, the “waste” runs off into a local field and straight back into the earth! 

I visit the workshop every 3-6 months and have developed the most wonderful relationship with the men that take so much pride and care in creating my products. 

The plant dyeing process in Indonesia

It is a daily juggling act between all the areas of life. How do you balance mumlife, business and self care?

I only recently realised how important this was,another reason I outsourced my dyeing, I was spending every night, some nights until 2-3am in my kitchen dyeing swaddles. As well as all weekend. I really began to see how little time I was giving to my partner and little boy, and I knew something had to change. I also work 3 days a week in an admin role! So I am extremely busy! I try to plan my groceries and meals for the week on aSunday, I write lists, lots of lists! And make sure I am getting plenty of rest as well!  I spend my two days per week off, keeping on top of house work,and nap times for business planning, responding to emails etc…. it’s a bit of a juggle most days, but it seems to be working well!

Your work is unique and inspiring. Who inspires you?

I have met so many women on Instagram who are mums, just like me running beautiful businesses on Instagram.I am inspired by anyone that is driven to achieve their dreams, and just keep going with it. I have made some incredible friends through my little business and I am so thankful for it. One amazing woman and business mamma, Jame, of @earth.blended inspires and motivates me everyday to keep doing what I’m doing.I truly value her and the friendship we now have. I am also inspired by my partner Brent, he has been through a lot in his life, but is the hardest working person I know, with the most pure heart. He always encourages me to just keep pushing on.

What are 3 things you can’t live without?

Chocolate (even though I’m dairy intolerant)

My family

Coffee. All the coffee. 

Amy & Noah

Being a  mother to 3 year old Noah, what has motherhood taught you about yourself?

Wow. I have learned SO much about myself from being a mother. I have struggled with self identity combined with mental health issues for a long time. I never felt I had purpose before becoming a mother. The second my son was placed in my arms, I just felt I finally had a purpose. And all the tough times I’d been through, not knowing who I was or why I was here…. it just all made sense in that split second.   Motherhood has been the most beautiful thing, it’s been challenging, really, really challenging… but becoming a mum has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m learning more about myself and about life every single day and I am so blessed to have the most amazing little boy and supportive partner. I am so,so blessed. 

Beautifully plant dyed wraps in gold, blush, terracotta, forest and indigo

Between mumming, your day job, managing Earthd and more….What does a typical day in the week look like for you?

Monday’s I’m at my admin job! Business attire, packed lunch bag and copious amounts of coffee. Same as Wednesday and Thursday.  

Tuesday’s and Fridays I am usually in faded overalls or gypsy florals- or let’s face it, my pjs.  

I’m lucky to have a great partner and baby daddy who takes care of daycare drop offs on work days. I do pickups.  

Days off are spent generally eating too much coconut yoghurt and long nap times with my little man, spending time forming relationships and maintaining relationships with the amazing people I’ve connected with in the IG world, post runs, dreaming, emails and general small biz stuff! 

Thanks Amy for sharing an insight into your small business and the process behind the production of your beautiful linens.

I just want to thank anyone who has or is going to take the time to check out my little biz! It really is my heart and soul (apart from my family!) I value each and every one of my customers so, so much. You are the ones who are helping me take each stepping stone towards my dreams. 

Check out Earthd at @earthd_ on Instagram and shop online at www.earthdco.com.au Amy has kindly offered 15% off all orders using the discount code NATASHA15 at check out.

The gorgeous Earthd indigo blue wrap, 100% cotton muslin

Interview with the Name Nest

The Name Nest is a treasure trove of beautifully illustrated baby names created by the very talented Mama, Tara Sea. Her unique approach to researching the gift of a name for a newborn child is inspiring and heart felt. Her creativity and intuitive artistic style comes through her magical drawings that have captured the attention of a community of over 20,000 followers on Instagram. I had the pleasure of interviewing Tara and as you will see, she has a beautiful way with words! Settle down with a cup of tea or your favourite sparkly drink and enjoy the interview!

Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Tara and I live on the Gold Coast, Australia. I am a mother of two beautiful daughters, Isla May (4) and AubreyRose (1). My husband and I got married last year in August after being together for 10 years and we got to have the girls as flower girls, which was so magical and special. We have a big black Labradoodle named Ernie who is a gentle and goofy giant. I grew up under the sunshine of the Gold Coast and had a wonderful childhood full of adventures and so much make believe. I have always loved things to do with Islands and the beach, always collecting shells and beach pebbles and dreaming of tropical islands. I have a Diploma in Graphic Design which I studied in my early 20’s, however ended up in a Government Job shortly after my studies in an Administration Role and have been here now for over 10 years.

I have always been creative and love to write, draw and paint. I have always been drawn to interiors as well, once wanting to be an interior designer when I grew up. I loved watching Changing Rooms as a child and love nestling in to watch shows like Grand Designs and Escape to the Country. I have also loved to write. I have written many stories over the years and little poems too. I also love working with my hands and have found that this new mixture of creative work for me is the best balance creatively. I amusing my love of writing and art, as well as my Graphic Design skills which have up until this point, not been used much at all.

The Name Nest
 

Tell us about your business, The Name Nest

The Name Nest is a passion project of mine that I started in February last year, it came to me as an idea when I was pregnant with Aubrey and was struggling to find baby names. I have always loved names that are unique and harder to find. I also find that a name meaning is also very important when deciding on my name choices. I felt there needed to be a book of names that did not yet exist, where I could fall in love with every name it contained, feel magic in their meanings. A book where the names are not in a specific order, nor defined by a gender. I remember hiring so many books from the library, searching the internet and found it was just a sea of names that did not stand out to me, all in alphabetical order, separated by genders and all so monotonous.

Tara Sea

I remember being out on a walk with my girls one summers afternoon in February and thinking about being creative again. I had stopped most of my creativeness and my side business while I was pregnant with Aubrey and had not been doing anything for a while. Then like a little whisper in my ear, ‘the Name Nest’. The name just came to me and in that moment I decided to call my dad and run the idea past him (as all of my creative ventures, I like to tell my dad as he gives wonderful advice and support. He’s always thinking everything I do is amazing and ‘the best idea ever’). After talking to him and feeling very empowered and encouraged I decided to channel my creativity into this, the Name Nest, as a place where you can come and look,read and be inspired. To see the names you cannot find all in one collection. To tell their stories in unique and beautiful ways, giving traditional meanings but to also write in my own words, the magical thoughts I feel to bring them to life. Help you to fall in love with a name, a forever name, that you can cherish for a lifetime. 

I have been absolutely blown away by the response to the Name Nest, the support and love that I have received along this journey has absolutely blown me away. I have had small businesses over the past 5 years, starting out with children’s clothing and rugs under the name of Tara Sea, then onto my love and passion of interior design and all things doll house with Tiny Bungalow which I put on hold when I fell pregnant with Aubrey. This was just to be a side page, something for me that I would create because I wanted to, because I loved it and not for any other gain or reward. It was not driven by money or the need to create an income, this time it would just be about sharing my writing and my art.

When I write each name feature, it is because it has come to me on its own. I normally get a pull towards a name and then feel a surge to write. It is not conscious; it is without thought and effort like it flows through me. I like to imagine a name and the little soul who would have this name, to write in my own words and from my heart my interpretation of that name and how I imagine it. My creativity is very hard to explain, however I describe it as being wild and free, it cannot be forced or it does not work. I am learning to just create when I feel it’s right, rather than having a need to create and then burning out and I have never felt more at peace with it all in my life. I finally feel I have found what I love to do,and with that I have found that I am creating my best work.

The artwork you create is so magical, what is something you are looking forward to creating in 2019?

I am lucky enough to be connected with some beautiful women in business and am excited to continue some of the collaborations I have at the moment and also what may be in store for 2019. My dream since before starting this was to create my own book, so I would love to use this year to explore that and maybe this time next year I can make holding my little name book a reality. 

How do you balance mumlife, business and self care?

It is a very hard juggling act for me as I work part time in Administration as well. I find that my creativity comes in waves and a lot at night so I do spend a lot of time after the girls go to bed on my artworks and writing. I do find that being creative takes a lot of my free time however as I love it so much I could not imagine not being creative.

Isla & Aubrey
 

Who inspires you?

I have many muses and people who inspire me creatively. I feel that the more you surround yourself with others who are creative, positive and supportive, the more you are inspired and empowered to create. I am lucky enough to have connected with some of the people I follow through Instagram and have been able to meet the lovely faces behind the names that I have admired for so long.

Lucy from @houseofziggy and @lucycruickshankphotography is one such beauty who I have met along the way who is not only a beautiful mother but has started to follow her passion of photography.

Alannah from @alannahmortonphotography who I was lucky enough to stumble across through Instagram because of her amazing photographs and then go on to meet and have capture my wedding day, she is so talented and a gentle and kind soul.

Tess from @tessguinery and @theapricotmemoirs who I looked up to and adored for years through Instagram and was lucky enough to meet at a workshop she ran through @thecraftparlour a few years back. She is a soul who radiates love and creativity, a true creative being who touches everyone she meets. She has now gone on to create this beautiful ‘rainbow movement’ we see everywhere now and even self-published her own works in the Apricot Memoirs which is amazing and everyone needs to own a copy of her magic.

Carrie-Anne from @kwithheart who is one of the happiest and nicest woman I have ever met. She has her own beautiful business and puts so much love in to everything she does. We relate in that we are both mums in jobs which are not creative and so have found a way on the side to unleash this magic.

Gab from @familythreds is also another creative who I have followed for years and watched her evolve and grow. Her macramé works are so amazing and I truly believe she is a rare talent who pushes the boundaries of her craft and creates things that have not been seen before. You can see her love and passion in everything she does, she truly does create for the love of it and it shows.

There are so many more woman who I love and inspire me which you should also have a look at. I have been lucky enough to work on a collaboration with Sarah from @_bubbleslane where she has turned my artworks into beautiful children’s bedding and is one the kindest and down to earth woman I know and have been lucky enough to work with. Also Jess & Rach from @marlee_watch_co who I have also had the pleasure of meeting and working on a collaboration on, both such beautiful and warm souls who are amazing at what they do.

And a little shout out to my close and dear friend Lucy who is my creative sister, we have always been able to bounce of one another with our ideas and creative passions and she supports me with everything I do.

What are 3 things you can’ t live without?

 I am going to be really sentimental and say my family,friends and being creative.

What has motherhood taught you about yourself?

 I have learnt that I was meant to be a Mum. I have always known I wanted to have children and when I was pregnant with Isla my first born I was actually super nervous and anxious that I might not be very good. But it’s been the best thing that I have ever done and makes me realise what life is all about. I now see the world through my ‘mum’ eyes so now I understand more about my parents and some of the things they used to say to us. I was a child who always played games like being ‘grown up’, always wanting to ‘work play’ and forever wanting to be big. Now that I am all grown up, I can see that its so important to teach my girls to enjoy being little and that they will grow up one day but to not wish that time away of being a child.

Tara – The face behind The Name Nest
 

You have created beautiful affirmation cards, located in your online shop. How was your birth experience with your children and what did you find useful during the process?

Oh thank you, I had very different experiences with both of my girls’ births. Isla came on her own, naturally the day before her due date and was a 7 hour labour which went very smoothly and without pain relief. At the time it did scare me just the power of birth and my pain tolerance was not at all what I thought it would be as I remember saying after it I would ‘never ever do that again’. 

With Aubrey I remember the whole time wishing I could know the day she would come, like I wish I could look into a crystal ball and know the exact date as the unknown of that impending day was really getting to me. I thought I would go early again like Isla and it would all happen much faster than with Isla as well. The week before she was due, she slowed right down with her movements. I actually went a whole day without feeling her at all. When I saw my amazing Ob Dr Drew Moffrey (Pindara, Gold Coast) he said to me we should think about inducing me to get her out a little early, so that we did not have the risk of a stillbirth (as slowing in movements and no movements for long periods is something that can be reported before a stillbirth).

My anxiety went through the roof and I was still devastated at the thought I would need to be induced. It was the one thing I never wanted to have happen but I also knew that Aubrey was priority and her health came first.Letting go of that fear and surrendering to the intervention was the hardest thing I have ever done. The labour was much more intense and at one point I thought I would need an epidural, but in the end when she decided to come it happened quickly (despite the lead up being longer). I remember in that instant that she was born, getting a rush of overwhelming love and crying through tears of joy saying ‘oh my gosh, I love you my baby’. I think at that moment I knew that I wanted another child one day. So in spite of it being so much harder, it made me realise just how magical it truly is.

My biggest advice for any new mothers to be would be that it will happen the way it is meant to go, try not to worry about the things that will be out of your control and listen to your body as you know best. And in the end no matter how you have your baby, just know that the most important thing is that they arrive safe and healthy in the end. So giving in to the process and trusting in yourself and your support. I also adored doing pregnancy yoga as well with Isla and would highly recommend it.

Any tips for someone starting out in the arts/creative industry?

 Just follow your heart! If you are wanting to start something or if you have just started out, follow your heart and your dreams.Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do it, you need to do what makes you happy. Start small and if you are passionate and love what you do, it will show and you will grow. Also do not get caught up what others are doing, someone looking at my page may see just the number of followers in the time I have been around and think its success that has come overnight. There are years and years of hard work behind it all, trailed ventures of my other creative businesses,years of learning and growth.

Tara currently sells all of her artworks and name artworks through her website www.thenamenest.com She also offers a service of custom name artworks where she can put any name with any of her current illustrations. If you are looking for a unique piece with a special name on it that may not be featured on Name Nest as yet.

Tara’s Name Nest can be found on Instagram at @thenamenest. Follow along to see what exciting adventures and names she will be inspired to add this year!

Thank you Tara for an insightful and honest look into your creative world, motherhood journey and business!

Meaningful illustrations and custom artworks by Tara
 

Interview with Heidi Apples

You know when you feel like you know someone even though you have never met face to face? You admire their authenticity and approach to food, nutrition, motherhood….! No, it’s not the plot from that creepy Netflix show, “YOU”. However, I’m not ashamed to say, that I did fan girl a little bit about Heidi Sze from @heidiapples! Heidi is a Dietitian, food writer, recipe developer and the author behind the beautifully designed blog, Apples Under My Bed. I have been reading Heidi’s blog for many years now. Taking inspiration from her wholesome recipes, parenting approach, Wednesday Breakfast Club and her honest blog posts. It was a delight to interview her and share more of her story.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Heidi Sze. I live with my family – my husband, Ben, my three year old daughter, Joan and my three-month-old son, Walt – on the Mornington Peninsula, in Victoria, Australia. I am a dietitian working with women in the pre and postnatal season of life.

Tell us about your business “Gather and Grow” and what led you to focus on pre and postnatal nutrition?

I intended on returning to my private practice after maternity leave, seeing clients face-to-face for a variety of nutrition-related issues. Then Joan was born and I realized she wouldn’t simply sleep when I needed her to. Ha! It also felt entirely overwhelming to go back to a more general practice (baby brain and all), so I chose to specialize in pre and postnatal nutrition, which was where my head was at and is my passion area.

Cooking with Joan

Congratulations on your newest addition, Walt! How are you finding the juggle between mumlife, business and self care?

Thank you! Honestly, Walt has slipped into our lives so well. I still manage to make time for self-care – that’s a non-negotiable for me. Every day I stretch, have a shower and make nourishing meals. Basic stuff. I now just have to be really efficient! Thankfully I have family support, which allows me to work form home. My mum comes every Tuesday to be with my toddler. That’s when I get the bulk of my work done. My mother-in-law and father also come throughout the week, giving me more time to work while Walt sleeps on me in the baby carrier. Anything else I can do on the weekend when my husband is home. I just have to pray that Walt has a long nap and doesn’t take ages to fall asleep, as that really cuts in to my work time.

Chilling outside with her two little ones.

You have such an inspiring collection of recipes on your blog “Apples Under My Bed”, what is your go to recipe for a lazy weekend dinner?

We tend to make more of an effort on the weekends than weekdays, as my husband is home to help with the prep. So lazy weekday dinners would be pesto pasta or scrambled eggs. Mostly, though, I grab a meal from the freezer – something I’ve made during a meal prep session, like a casserole or some falafel. If we really can’t be bothered cooking on the weekend, we’ll get takeout. There aren’t a lot of options near us, but we do have a great Middle Eastern place, with tagine, dips and rice. It’s expensive, though, so we don’t do it often.

Who inspires you and why?

My mother. She’s the most generous person I know – giving so much of her time and love to us. She’s naturally very positive, as am I, so we feed off each other. And she’s the most amazing cook.

What are 3 things you can’t live without?

Quiet moments alone in nature, writing that fills me and moves me, and my family.

Pottering around in the magical morning light

The photography on your blog and instagram page is breath taking! Food photos always catch my breath! Any tips on capturing that instaworthy image?

Natural lighting. Get by a window!

When is your favourite hour of the day and why?

The first hours of the morning when the sun comes up. I am a morning person through and through. Ideally I’ll have had a good nights sleep but even if I haven’t, there’s coffee and that magical morning light.  

Photography always works best by the window!

Any tips for someone starting out in the food and nutrition industry?

Connect with people who have a job that appeals to you and find out what their day-to-day is like.

Thanks to Heidi for this opportunity to hear more about her home life, dietetics and balancing her career as a mother of two. Head over to her blog for recipes, daily life insights and more about her motherhood journey. www.applesundermybed.com 

You can also find Heidi on Instagram at @heidiapples

For Nutrition and Dietetics support during the pre and post natal seasons of life, you can see more about Heidi’s private practice at www.gatherandgrownutrition.com

Heidi is not currently taking on board new clients.

Interview with Apollo & Artemis Kid’s

Artemis and Apollo Kid’s is an Australian designed and owned children’s textile label by Isabella Colman. Her designs are inspired by bold, fun, exotic and magically detailed illustrations and techniques. Artemis and Apollo captures the gypsy, carefree spirit without compromising comfort and style. Bella’s clothing label has a strong emphasis on having eco friendly printing, an ethically minded business approach and letting kids be kids! Read on to hear about this emerging, young textile designer with a heart and passion for design, vibrant patterns and music!

 

Tell us a bit about yourself?

Hey guys! My name is Bella and I’m a 25 year old Melbournian Textile designer! 

Tell us about your textile label, Artemis and Apollo Kids and what inspired you to take the step into this industry?

While studying a Bachelor of Arts – Textile design at RMIT university, I nannied part time and really grew an obsession for baby/kids patterns! I was always pattern obsessed but honestly never thought much about kidswear until that point. I’ve also always been very passionate about the world and our environment but never really understood how I could make a difference with my passion for textiles until I decided to start Artemis and Apollo and therefore control every aspect of production. I also hope to one day run projects through Artemis and Apollo to help children who are less fortunate. 

Bella and two little gypsies.

What are the biggest trends you are seeing in the kid’s clothing industry at the moment?

To be honest, I don’t really follow the baby wear/kids wear trends. When I first started thinking about doing Artemis and Apollo I decided I didn’t want to be constricted. I wanted to just design whatever I wanted and just let myself be inspired by my travels and worldly textile history (ignorant 22 year old!) Luckily so far so good haha! But currently there seems to be a lot of basics, which is possibly good for me as most of my pieces are very far from basic, I think kids need to be kids – and kids love crazy and colour.

What do you love the most about your work?

Just getting to do whatever I want, whenever I want to (within budget obviously). It is a bit risky/scary ordering shipments of my designs without knowing how they will go. It’s always a surprise really, things I think will go crazy are calm, and the things I nearly cancelled go crazy. Working for myself also means I can spend the afternoon at the beach and work into the night instead, which is great for me!

Artemis and Apollo’s designs are made for kids to be kids!

Who inspires you and why?

Obviously Spell… Camilla, Arnhem, anything pattern crazy really! 

What are 3 things you can’t live without?

I hate myself for the first two – but phone, laptop, beach and boyfriend (can I do 4? That’s too hard to condense!)

What do you do for self care?

I am pretty beach obsessed. I also love reading, time with my cat, looking after my plants, yoga and obviously drawing! My partner and I make a lot of time for each other, we love adventuring or going to trampoline parks/water parks and being big kids. We are also very into music and spend way too much on gigs/concerts/festivals.

Taking some time out for self care at the beach

When is your favourite hour of the day and why?

Too hard to decide between sunrise and sunset! Either way, if I am home I will always run across to the beach to watch the sunset over the sea.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business in your industry?

There’s way too many of us, unfortunately its gone a bit mental. You’ve got to stick out or else you’ll just get left behind.


Thanks to the beautiful Isabella for sharing her journey as the owner, designer and visionary for Artemis and Apollo Kids! Check out her website! For more details about her design process, patterns, photoshoots and more, go to Bella’s Blog. Don’t forget to show her some love on Instagram too! Let’s be women who support women @artemisandapollokids

Create from your heart