Friday, July 29, 2011

The Creative Mama Series - Sam

I am honoured to be hosting a score of super talented crafty mamas sharing their wisdom, crafting and snapshots of their beautiful lives. This is ‘The Creative Mama series’. Join me every weekend for a wander in these ladies crafty shoes. Guest posts, stunning photography, inspiration, interviews, poetry and giveaways...all coming up. Magic aside it can be hard work this mama business, put your feet up a minute and join us. Hopefully there is always something here to give your day a lift.

Tell me about you.
I live with my partner Fil and two children in Auckland, NZ. I love to craft and to hold craft workshops. I help to run a Steiner playgroup at my children’s school and also help run a weekly Waldorf doll-making group.

What’s your creative outlet? Why do you craft? When do you make time to craft?
I love to craft, mainly I am making things for the home and family, sewing clothes, knitting warm clothes, making children’s toys in particular waldorf dolls. I craft because I love to make things and if I don’t, I get sad. I make time to craft most days, sometimes just in the evening when the kids are tucked up in bed, sometimes during the day when I want to avoid the housework or just do something fun for myself or the kids. I also meet with two groups of crafty ladies each week, one for knitting/crochet and one for making Waldorf dolls.

Your creative space – what does it look like?
My creative space is really wherever I am, my projects are nestled in baskets around the house, I knit in the car on long journeys, in breaks at work, quiet moments when the children are playing.
I have a sewing corner at home which is a small space in a wide corridor outside my bedroom. I did start with a sewing room but I found I didn’t use it. It was just not practical to go off by myself and to sew or create. Now that I am a mama my space is shared with my children. I like my sewing corner, I pass it as I move around the house and when I need/ want to sew it is all there. I spy half finished projects, a mounting mending pile or lovely pieces of fabric waiting to be used. I have often sewn with children on my lap.

How did you learn your craft?
I come from a creative crafting family. I remember my grandmother sewing and my nanny was a wonderful knitter. My family all sleep under quilts made by my mum every night. Growing up my parents would craft in their spare time (and still do), my mum at the sewing machine and my dad in the workshop making pretty curls of paper thin wood as he carved.
I came to Waldorf doll making when my children were young. I wanted to make my daughter a doll and used the book ‘Toy making with Children’ by Freya Jaffke. I made simple doll using one of Fil’s old t-shirts and an odd ball of wool. I was amazed at how something so precious could be made from simple recycled materials. What I also didn’t realize until I made a doll was that I created a little character. At some point during making her, she came alive. She was the first toy Evie really connected with and gave a name. She called her Milly.

A few years later I a friend suggested running a doll making workshop as a fundraiser for our Steiner play group. I have run many craft workshops and had made a simple doll for each of my children and so I volunteered to help. I had a few weeks before the workshop and so I met with my friends to learn how to make a simple sack doll. This is where my love of doll making began.
It was a good thing too as since both my friends I was running the workshop with had very young babies it became apparent that I would need to do all the talking! The workshop was a success and since then I have made many more dolls and now run a weekly Waldorf doll making group.
I love the process of Waldorf doll making. From simple, natural materials, sheep’s wool, cotton fabric, wool a little soul emerges. The key to a beautiful doll I believe is not to have a fixed idea of the outcome but to allow the doll grow. It is such a wonderful thing to make dolls for children that become their treasured companions.

Do you do any crafting with your kids?

I do craft with the kids when they show an interest. Often whilst I am knitting they will want to work with wool too. Sometimes they are happy to wind some wool beside me or make a pom pom, Evie likes to finger knit. More often than not I give them some spare yarn and they happily wind it around the furniture and themselves creating webs and dens.
Can you give us some tips on how you juggle being a mama and working from home (or finding time to be creative at home)?
-Make the most of small crafting windows of opportunity – e.g. long journey’s in the car
-Be prepared for a project to take a long time as you pick it up and put it down whilst looking after the kids
-Accept that sometimes it’s just not a good day for crafting and wait until the kids are in bed before working on your project.
-Enjoy what you are making.

SAM'S GIVEAWAY...Sam is offering growMama readers a chance to win one of her delicious yellow pocket babies...leave a comment below to be in the draw to win. All entries go into the magic hat and the winner drawn by resident small person. Winner will be announced the week after.

Sam's dolls are available at Forest Folk. Go see...they are so very lovely.

If anyone would like to join Sam to make dolls her group are making them for the Titirangi Steiner school to be sold at the shop and Advent summer fair held in November. If you would like to make a doll for yourself we can also provide doll-making lessons. For more information please contact Sam: phorm(at)

Update: Giveaway closed!


  1. beautiful crafts, beautiful mama, beautiful sam, ooh, i'll put my name in the hat to win a gorgeous pocket baby...and sam, what days do you do the doll making group? michelle. xx

  2. ah, i just read the bottom bit...i'll email you! x

  3. I'd love to win one of those beautiful dolls, they are so lovely.

  4. yet another inspiring creative mama...some great ideas for making the most of potential crafting moments too! love the idea of making a doll out of recycled materials like that. am in wellington, otherwise would love to have joined the doll making group!

  5. I'm loving these creative mama posts! So inspiring. I can't wait to get one of these dolls for my little girl, they are so gorgeous, looking forward to her being old enough (but not wishing it away!). Thanks for sharing, lovely creations. xo

  6. So much talent out there among blogging mums!
    Please put me in the draw.