Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Creative Mama Series - Bronwyn

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.
Introducing Bronwyn of Moai...

I’m a mama to Keagan (4) and Keira (2). My husband Brendan, is currently writing his thesis, for his final year of Architecture whilst working full-time. We live in Laingholm, Auckland. I’m originally from South Africa, but after meeting my husband in the UK we decided to settle in his home country. Shortly after arriving we started our family.

When Keagan was born we lived in a lovely little one-bedroom unit in Three Kings. It was there that I did my first bit of sewing as an adult. I made a quilt for Keagan. I remember sewing frantically, impatient to see the finished product. He still uses his quilt most nights. That’s where my quilt-sewing-mania started. I made quilts for everyone I could think of. At first, I sewed each stitch by hand until I learnt how much faster it was to machine quilt. The most recent quilt was a photo quilt for my brother and his fiancĂ©e as a wedding gift. I would sew in the evening while watching television, in the days we had a television and had time to watch it.

When I heard my friend was pregnant with her second child I wanted to make her something very special. After hearing she had discovered her moses basket covered in mould, I started making my first folding bassinet. This lead to Bubbalux Bassinets. I threw myself into making bassinets, sitting on the living room floor surrounded by bolts, drills and alun keys; or standing in the courtyard electric sander in hand. I don’t know how the neighbours felt about the noise but luckily nobody ever said anything. I would work 10 hours at a time once a week when Keagan visited his grandparents. Timber is such an amazing medium to work with. I used Rimu and spent hours sanding it to perfection. There is something so incredibly beautiful about finished timber. With my limited knowledge I believe that Rimu should be even-grained without markings but it was these imperfections that in my eyes gave the timber life; a bit like people I suppose, our imperfections make us who we are and give us character and substance.

It was then that we moved to our current house in Laingholm in NZ. Keagan was two-years-old. I had all the intentions in the world of continuing with Bubbalux but when Keira came into this world I set aside my creating for a time, and when I picked it up again it was to make ‘taggies’. I had such fun! Each ‘taggie’ was different with assorted applique designs I created in my head in the early hours of the morning. I learnt how to use a sewing machine through making ‘taggies’. I then went on to complete a variety of other sewing projects. I sewed dresses and a duck for Keira, who loves ducks, and capes, a Tigger costume and a robot for Keagan; and I recently made a dolls folding bassinet and a high chair for Keiras 2nd birthday.

At times I sew when the kids are awake with Keagan sitting at my feet pressing the peddle of the sewing machine while I attempt, with marginal success, to sew in a straight line. Keira entertains herself on the floor nearby by sticking pins into unsuspecting stuffed victims. Sometimes the kids and I craft together. We have made ‘pet rock’ animals, paper villages, robots, masks and other child-focused projects but mostly I think they are still a little young.

The drive behind my crafting is to contribute in some way financially though fundamentally my crafting is a creative outlet and fills a need. My father was an amazing carpenter and my mother dedicated her time to nurturing our creativity. My mother-in-law and my mum purchased a sewing machine for me as a gift for my birthday five years ago. My father-in- law has over time, stocked our workshop with tools.

When Keira was nine-months-old I dropped Keagan at kindy and on the way back Keira fell asleep.
I had just moved her from a capsule to a car seat so it was no longer a matter of lifting her out of
the car and putting the capsule into her cot, which I now know is very dangerous. I was sitting in the car while she slept thinking about all the things I could be doing upstairs when I had an idea that has gradually developed into the MOAI. Each MOAI is meticulously sewn by my mother-in-law Patricia Scott-Woods, who has 50 years sewing experience. MOAI offers an alternative to leaving your child sleeping in their car seat. It is a car seat/trolley cover, a carrier, a hammock and a sling/frontpack. Born of necessity, this is incidentally where it got its name,
Necessity…the mother of all invention. When Keagan was little he spent most of his life in a front pack. When he fell asleep I could not put him down or he would wake. The MOAI transforms from a front pack to a hammock allowing an unsettled child gentle transition, and gives mum precious time to be, to do, to create. If I had a MOAI then, I think of how different my life would have been.

Children are amazing gifts, we cherish every moment with them but as mamas I believe it so
important to set aside time to for ourselves, something so many mamas forget. My crafting space has
changed from the floor of a one-bedroom unit to the kitchen bench; or ‘my little hole’ which is what I affectionately call my study – a tiny, dark room in the heart of the house created by my husband by dividing one of our larger bedrooms into two. It doesn’t matter where I’m working; I am doing something I love and that’s what is important at the end of the day. Which brings me to the million dollar question...

How do I juggle being a mama and working from home?

I’d love to be able to say that I’m one of those super organised mamas who have managed to balance work with family life but I muddle through the best I can. I don’t believe there is any other option. My children need me. I want to be with them as they start this long journey of self-discovery. Working from home gives me that opportunity. When the kids are tucked in bed at night dreaming of the day gone by, that is when my work day begins. I often get to bed past midnight. It helps that Brendan works long hours too so we motivate and support one another. It helps too that I am passionate about what I’m doing. Each day as I watch my daughter
rocking gently in her MOAI, hear her version of ‘MOEEEE’ as she yawns and rubs her eyes, or carry her sound asleep from the car I feel empowered to continue doing what I’m doing as hard as it is at times. I have chosen this path as a ‘working mum’ and as long as I am strong enough to continue two lives symbiotically the juggling act will continue.

Click HERE to check out the MOAI on Bronwyn's website.

Visit Bronwyn's MOAI facebook page HERE.

BRONWYN'S GIVEAWAY... is 20% off your very own MOAI! For all GrowMama readers who leave a comment on Bronwyn's Creative Mama Series post! Or ten percent off a custom made one. (Offer not valid for the Kiwiana Moai). If you leave a comment below i will email you with a special code. This offer is open until midnight Saturday NZ time.

The Moai would have made my life so much easier when my son was small and if we are blessed with another baby i will be first in line to buy one i can tell you. Brilliant invention Bronwyn!


  1. Omg!!! Slowly picking my jaw up from the floor!!! These look super, never seen anything like it!

  2. Such an awesome concept! Time to start exporting...

  3. Wow, she is one clever lady.

    If my sister gets her wish of a little one in her life, I'll be getting her one of these wonderful slings/hammocks. Fabulous!

  4. I'm adding my name here because this might just be the perfect Christmas gift for my mama-to-be daughter! Is there a time limit to actually ordering? Do I need to order by Saturday midnight? Thanks for the offer!!

  5. Hi Evi, thanks for the comment. I'm happy to honour the 20% discount for you. :-)
    @ Stacey and Tanya - Thank you.

  6. Wow- this is such a creative carrier! I just shared it on Twitter, as I've never seen one like it before. Bronwyn, best wishes on your business; your site and your carriers look awesome.