Monday, September 19, 2011

The Creative Mama Series - Anissa

So, I’m fresh outta Creative Mama’s – i had a pool of five more to go but life with small children (earthquakes and other calamity's) has rendered them all temporarily mute. I am afraid you are stuck with me for the grand finale of The Creative Mama Series. A few of you have emailed and asked if i was going to do, here goes..
Introducing Anissa Ljanta: Writer, crafty mama, herbalist, avid reader, event organiser, social justice activist, seamstress, mama, vintage enthusiast, gardener, lover of wild places, networker, cook, dancer, op-shopping queen, friend and more.

What’s your creative outlet? Why do you craft? When do you make time to craft?
Well, I sew. I make, i bake and i will upcycle pretty much anything i put my mind to. It’s compulsive. And partly necessary, both for my creative outlet ( I say it’s my therapy) and financially. I mainly upcycle my fabric or new vintage fabric which i find by rummaging in thrift stores. Ahh, i jiggle a crowbar between the hours in the day to allow time for crafting. I will involve my son to get my fix. Oh, and i stay up way too late.
Your creative space – what does it look like?
I have the best view from my crafting table. It’s a good sized table, i love it and I look out over the bush and ocean. Sounds of birdsong and the crazy west coast surf floats in my window. Downside is that it’s actually one side of my bedroom. All my fabric stashed under the table (or bed), vintage sheeting in tidy piles awaiting transformation under my table. I have an inspiration board (which i try not to cover completely with small child art), fellow Creative Mama’s art around me, a shelf to my right with my special bits and tins of vintage buttons, cat curled up asleep somewhere and all i need right to hand and in its rightful place. When Jed was tiny, i would set up a portable machine on his table and sew manically when he napped (if he napped), perched on one of his tiny chairs. So, this current crafting set-up is something close to paradisical in comparison. I dream of a separate studio but I love my crafting area at the moment.

How did you learn your craft? (Did your mama/grandma craft? Self taught?)
My mama made alot of our clothes when we were growing up. I was largely unteachable but learnt from watching her sew and was banging out dolls clothes and dodgy clothes for myself from age six or so. There’s alot of self- taught in there too. I know alot but I am still learning. Actively learning, thirsty for it in fact.

Do you do any crafting with your kids? Are they into it? Can you suggest a project that your small ones have enjoyed?
Oh yes, Jed and i are often ‘on the make’. We usually have a wish list of things we’d like to make and sometimes when the spirit takes us we’ll do a four hour stint and look up still in our Pjamas. Quite a few pairs of pyjama’s have paint splatters on them. Even if i am making something for Jed i will ask for his input...he will choose fabrics, colours, or have a say on design. He has started operating the sewing machine (under my very watchful eye) which is very exciting. It’s a power tool you know. Making window art from the waxed paper i use to make the Steiner window stars with was Jed’s idea. He will often craft on his own while i work. I look up half an hour later to see what hes up to and will be amazed. Kids art is so fresh and real. I love it. The paper is translucent and vibrantly coloured so when you hang it in the window it comes alive. This project could be done by all ages. Jed did his own cutting but you could precut pieces for the very-smalls. The best ideas are often my son’s. His concentration is incredible. I practice the art of putting the lid on my (boring in comparison) vision of how something should look.

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)?
Ai yi yi. That is quite the question isn’t it?! I am trying to build a business from home and ask Jed to do his own work for quite large chunks of the day sometimes. Mostly this works. I make sure we have some good adventure time and connecting time together to balance my work time. I think it’s good he can do his own thing. I love it when we are both absorbed in our own play/work and yet in the same space. Deep breathing is essential. Uh, what else? Oh, a good sense of humour and a grasp of the art of knowing when to throw in the towel and play rough and tumble for half an hour comes in handy too!
As for finding time to be creative, i always have more ideas than i find time to manifest. I think various other Creative Mama’s pretty much summed it up for me: I don’t watch TV (i can’t see how i would fit that into my busy life, i haven’t watched it in years really), I stay up way too late (ahh, the peace when all is quiet....bliss!), i drink coffee, and i will sneak off to a do a bit of sewing rather than scrub the bathroom floor. Making stuff is so much a part of my life that it is integrated as much as cooking is. For me, happiness and a balanced life comes before cleaning. You will find my house pretty organised though. I can’t think in chaos.

So, there you have it, the last instalment of The Creative Mama Series. It's been fun. I have enjoyed reading about the other mama's - how they manage the question of how to juggle mama'hood and craftiness.

To finish i have a last giveaway. A GrowMama giveaway: I offer one item of your choice from my newly stocked Felt store. Click HERE to have a wander around. I am stocking more items every week. Leave a comment to enter the giveaway. Tell me what you'd like to win and who it would be for. The youngest member of the household will choose the winner from the magic hat at the end of the week. I am happy to ship internationally. Good luck!


  1. I have a whole craft room but I don't think it's as organised and dedicated as your little space. I'd gladly swap my room for your little space and for your bush view too!
    I would love to win one of your baby dolls!

  2. great stuff! My P would love the tunic dress/ swing top for 9-18 months. Super cute!

  3. So many lovely things, Anissa! I would probably pick one of those lovely buntings . . . either for my little girl . . . or (shhh) for me! ;)

  4. my wee man has just moved in with his older brother ... bring on my new creative space so excited to see others, lots of ideas for me. I love the snack bags you have made especially the orange and pink flowered ones cheers Deb

  5. Oooh, hope I'm not too late, I'd love some of your beautiful bunting for my daughter's room. So so pretty.

  6. What a lovely last post to top off your amazing grow mama series! I have loved reading each and every interview and am so appreciative of you sharing endless inspiration. Thank you!!!

  7. It has been fun reading all the mama’s interviews hasn’t it? I have truly enjoyed the Series. Big thank you to all the Creative Mama’s who shared their stories and to all the readers, there are so many of you these days! There’s been some wonderful feedback. And thank you motherwho for your kind words...they are balm at the end of a crochety old Monday...heartfelt thanks. Drawing the winner of the GrowMama giveaway tomorrow. xx