moms in the mommyhood - lindsay wilkes & a giveaway!

we have a new "moms in the mommyhood"!

let's all say hi to lindsay from the etsy shop "the cottage mama" and the blog "the cottage home"! the first time i spotted lindsay's blog i just swooned, not to mention her etsy shop, i think i frothed at the mouth...haha. i love her style, her taste and her lovely family. i wish i was lindsay's neighbour so that i could pop over and be part of the cottage home.

lindsay is a busy mom to two adorably sweet little girls and a wife to her talented hubby brett. she's a stay at home mom who adores sewing, crafting, cooking, music and life. her persona is irresistible and you just can't help but want to be friends with her. i think i might have even begged her to let me interview her just so i could get to know her better. it was worth the begging though, it's been a fun interview and i hope you will all enjoy getting to know the wilkes family as well. let's head on over to the cottage.

*the giveaway is now closed*

but first we've got a giveaway for you! lindsay is such a sweetheart that she's offered you all a giveaway for $25 off any item in her shop. all you have to do to enter is comment on this post what item from her etsy shop "the cottage mama" you would spend your $25 on and/or for a double entry head on over to "the cottage home" and pick your fave tutorial/recipe and then come back and comment below again with your choice (make sure you leave an email address to contact you at). easy peasy! i wish i could enter :) *the giveaway is open until saturday, april 3rd.*

so let's all welcome this fun loving momma to the mommyhood, feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. come sit on down and join us for a cup of coffee, put the kids down for a nap, take a breather and let's chat!

if you are new to the mommyhood, our "moms in the mommyhood" features a new mom monthly who currently has their own business (doesn't matter what kind). we try to sit down and have a virtual cup of coffee and ask them all the fun, little questions that we are dying to know. we also try to get a glimpse into their lives and what it's like to have your own business and be the boss of your kids at the same time. we are always on the lookout for new moms to feature. if you know someone or you would like to be featured in this spot, please send us an email at don't be shy - we can't wait to meet you!

now, let's get sipping our coffee, heck grab a yummy treat if you so desire, pull up a chair and join in on the fun with me, have a few laughs and get to know lindsay:

I love the look and overall style of your blog and shop. Where did the aesthetic behind The Cottage Home and The Cottage Mama come from?

I really was going for a mix of modern and vintage style, which is some-what hard to come up with since they kind of contradict one another. I knew I wanted to open up my etsy shop soon after I started my blog, so I wanted to make sure the look, feel, and style was cohesive throughout. I played around with designing several things myself, but couldn't nail-down the look. I contacted Emily (The Blog Fairy) and, through a series of conversations, she figured out the perfect look for The Cottage Mama/Home. First she came up with the old-fashioned silhouette of the little girl and kitty, then added the dress onto the girl in the modern fabric and the look grew from there. When I saw what she had done with the silhouette, I realized that Emily had really figured me out - bingo - perfection!!

I love the vibe of the items in your shop! What made you decide to start selling your handmade goods and what drew you to kid’s clothes and the vintage/classic style they have?

Thank you - that is so sweet of you to say! Ever since my daughter, Savannah was born I have just LOVED sewing clothes for her. I just think little girls clothing is so diverse and fun and I truly enjoy sewing and creating beautiful things for little girls. Clothing that isn't like what everyone else is wearing, pieces that are timeless and make them feel truly girly and special.

I had many people see my handmade clothing on my daughter and say that I needed to sell it. I would say it was a turning point for me when I made my daughter's first birthday dress. I brought the dress into Gymboree to find some shoes to match the pink, Amy Butler fabric. The manager in the store just went nuts over this dress. She said it was like nothing she had ever seen before, why wasn't I selling these dressses and that she knew lots of other mothers that would love something like that for their daughters. And the same thing happened when I took Savannah for her 1st birthday photo shoot. The women in the studio had the same comments as the manager in Gymboree. Yes, the dress was pretty, but the Amy Butler fabric helped for sure - Gorgeous! So those few examples planted a seed in my head in regards to wanting to sell my goods and thinking that someone might actually buy it!

I am a classic, traditional girl at heart. As much as I would love to be cutting edge and super-trendy, it's just not me. I am drawn to many old fashioned things - I love antiques and I love vintage style. There's just something so timeless about things from the 1940's and 50's.

What came first for you - the blog or the etsy shop? Have you found having a shop on etsy a positive experience?

I have had several friends over the years tell me that I should sell some of the things I make. And I had thought about it, but with have two little girls under two, I just didn't know if I could find the time. The 12 other Moms in my playgroup joke around with me and call me "Martha Stewart" and one of my photographer friends in the group had said "hey, I'd read a blog if you wrote one". And that got me thinking.....hmmmmm.....maybe others would be interested in what I have to say too. Thus, the creation of "The Cottage Home".

So I started The Cottage Home with the thought in the back of my head that this might be a good gateway into opening an etsy shop. I could see if people responded well to my sewing and crafting and if so, then I'd go ahead with my etsy shop. And sure enough, I started getting people reading my blog and four months later I opened my etsy shop, "The Cottage Mama".

So far I have found etsy to be very positive. The customers I have interacted with have been wonderful. In the future I hope to join some of the etsy groups and become more active in the forums. I have also found etsy to be very user friendly in regards to uploading photos and information to my shop.

When do you find the time to do your blogging/sewing with 2 little girls (Savannah Rose, 2 years and Matilda Jane, 8 Months) and hubby (Brett) running around?

I tend to do my blogging in the evening. I usually will take pictures for tutorials during the day, but then I will edit photos and write my tutorials at night. In regards to sewing, I definitely try to utilize naps and occasionally my girls will entertain themselves long enough for me to at least get some of my designs cut.

When did you first start sewing and how did you learn?

I actually only started REALLY sewing about two years ago. My Mom is amazing - she always made the most incredible costumes for my brother and I. So I grew up around it and tried to take it up several times as a child, but I never took it any further than sewing a straight line. When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, Savannah, my "nesting instinct" was kicking in big time and I felt this huge desire to sew and craft things for her nursery. So my Mom and I live across the country from each other, but I am blessed to have my Grandmother nearby. So I talked with her and she agreed to help me sew some things for the nursery on her sewing machine. She really gave me some great advice and foundational tools in our day of sewing together that I still think about every time I sew. For instance, the importance of pining, the importance of pressing all seams, guiding the fabric as I sew and not forcing it, and other truly valuable advice that only a seasoned sewer would truly know.

What were you previously doing before Cottage Mama?

I was a Realtor prior to having my daughter Savannah Rose, once she was born I became a stay-at-home Mom. But if we want to go way back, I used to do musical theatre (singing, acting, and dancing). Maybe that is where some of my love of all things vintage comes in - I have always been drawn to the old-fashioned musicals, even as a little girl - 42nd Street, Crazy For You, Singin in the Rain, The Pajama Game, Guys and Dolls and the list goes on.

I noticed the fabric you use right away when I first spotted your shop. It’s gorgeous and so fresh and modern. I love the fact that you combine the flair of vintage with fun and fresh fabrics. Who is your favorite fabric designer?

Wow, that's a really tough question. Right now, my favorite designer is Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics. I just LOVE Art Gallery! They have so many gorgeous prints that have an amazing mix of old and new. Right now I am creating many of my designs from their "Girly Girl" line, but I am considering creating some things from their "Sugar" line as well. I think "Sugar" would be perfect for summer!

I dream of one day having my own craft room as I’m sure most of us crafters do. Where do you craft and sew?

We live in an old 1930's Cottage style home so, like many older homes, it has lots of little rooms. I currently have most of my sewing/crafting materials in what we call the "office", although my sewing machine, serger, and cutting mat are spilling over into the dining room. My father-in-law has agreed to help me covert our "office" into my "studio" in the next month or so. Right now that room is basically used for sewing anyway, it just needs some serious built in organization to help me function better with my new business.

You and your hubs are high school sweethearts (so romantic) and sound like such a fun couple.
Your hubby is a writer who works in advertising who is also an award winning beer brewer! What a combo! You both seem like such a creative couple, what other hobbies do you share and what role does he play in the Cottage Home?

We are both really into music. We used to both be into a lot of indie stuff, but as we have gotten older, I tend to gravitate towards some more mainstream music that I can dance around to with my girls. Brett, however, is still really into the indie scene. Brett also plays guitar (he was in a punk rock band when we got together in high school), so he will play the guitar for the girls and Savannah just loves it! We both really love food and wine (as well as his beer). I just love to cook and Brett loves to eat - perfect combo!! We honeymooned in Napa and Sonoma and just
love wine tasting. Brett planted a small vineyard here at The Cottage Home and he makes wine as well as beer.

Brett is an AMAZING Daddy and is so good to me on the weekends. He pretty much changes all the diapers and really gives me a break all weekend long. Also, if I need to do some sewing, he will definitely entertain the girls to let me get whatever I need done. I am very lucky to be married to such a great man!

When it comes to sewing I have a fear of zippers and button holes. Is there something that you still have to conquer when it comes to sewing?

This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I cannot seem to conquer sewing with elastic thread. Everyone I know that has conquered this tells me how great it is and how it is SO easy............maybe it's easy for them, but not for me! I have tried everything......winding the bobbin loosely, winding semi-loose, winding it semi-tight, and the list goes on. Let me tell you that I don't usually give up on things, but after two days and two entire spools of elastic thread, I just decided maybe it wasn't for me. In the back of my head it is still something I would like to master because it looks like so much fun!!

What are your future goals for Cottage Home/Mama?

My goals for The Cottage Home is to continue to increase the number of readers. I would also like to come up with some great new sewing/crafting tutorials. Many of my readers have emailed me talking about being new to sewing, so I hope to inspire them to keep on trying and perfecting their skills. In regards to The Cottage Mama (my etsy shop) I would love to become more well-known in the etsy community and I would also like to promote my business here in the local community. I would love for my business to become so wonderfully successful that I need to recruit my Mom to come up from Texas to help me :-).

Does the overall style of your shop/blog flow through into your home/fashion sense?

Yes, I definitely think it does. I love classic style. Granted, being a Mom of two little ones, I am not always putting my best fashion-foot forward. I love pretty florals, girly ruffles, classic cardigans, ballet flats, khakis, vintage jewelry. Well, I do actually live in a cottage (I didn't make that up!), so my home is very much decorated in a "cottage style". It feels cozy and comfortable and is decorated in mainly warm rich tones.

What kind of sewing machine do you use? What would be your dream machine and do you use a serger?

I do not have a fancy sewing machine. My Mom and husband got me a Brother CS-6000i for my birthday and it's awesome! I believe it sells for under $200 on, but it does everything I need. It has many fun stitches, a great button-hole foot and is super user friendly. I recommend this machine to anyone I know that is considering taking up sewing. dream machine. I would love a Bernina - I think the Bernina Artista 730 would be nice!! I would love to have a machine with an embroidery function. I love monograms and personalized items, so I think that would be really fun!

Yes, I use a serger. I am somewhat new to serging, but I think I may be addicted. All of my items in my shop have professionally serged seams or they are completely lined. I use a Brother 1034D - it is a great, fairly inexpensive 4-thread serger. Again, I can't say enough about the "user friendliness" of the Brother machines!!

If you’re not sewing goodies for the shop what would we find you making?

Clothes for my girls or right now you would find me making birthday presents for my daughters little friends. Like I mentioned before, we are in a playgroup with 12 other Mommy's and they all have little ones born within a month of Savannah, so right now it is birthday party season. You would also find me making lots of food! I love, love, love to cook - my favorite chef is Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.

How do your kids react to your sewing/blogging time? Any tips for other mom’s on how to get it all done?

Some days are better than others. Right now we have a baby gate up between my sewing machines and the family room. This helps because I don't have to worry about the girls getting into anything dangerous, but yet they feel like I am right there with them if they need anything. Before, I was having to put everything up if I needed to take my little one, Matilda Jane, upstairs to take a nap. Well, I was wasting WAY too much time putting away and getting it all back out again. So, until my craft space is completed, this works really well for us.

Many of my friends ask me that very same question, "how do you get it all done?" and let me be totally honest with you, there is no way to "get it all done". If there is a day where I need to do a lot of sewing to keep up with my etsy shop, well then maybe the housework gets neglected a little. If one of my girls is needing more of my attention, then my sewing/blogging is going to have to wait. My girls and my hubby are truly my #1 priority. If I truly was able to "get it all done" I would need three of me!!

Where do you turn to for sewing advice and inspiration?

I am new to the blog world, but I am LOVING it. I cannot believe how many amazingly, talented women are out there - it is totally inspiring! My Mom is a great source for sewing advice. I also have a subscription to "Sew News" which is wonderful, especially if you are into sewing clothing, as I am. "Altered Couture" is another really fun publication for those that are into sewing upcycled goods.

Do you shop for fabric online or in a brick/mortar shop? What is the name of your fave shop?

I buy most of my fabric online. There are several etsy shops that are great - for example Gina from "Fabrics I Love" is so sweet and "FernandIna Fibers" is another great resource with great prices. It really depends on what fabric I am looking for. Hawthorne Threads is another great source with a HUGE selection.

Any words of advice to other mom’s considering taking the plunge into opening their own handmade shop?

I would say to definitely do some planning and think about your vision for your shop. I really made sure that I had a look for my shop/blog that reflected my personal style and had developed somewhat of a brand identity. It would be so sad to set up your shop under a name that you didn't really think through and be stuck with that forever. Brainstorm, write down your thoughts, dream about what you want and then just do it!! Take the plunge and get out there. It so important for us to make sure we maintain our personal identities after we become Mommy's, so if you have something your are interested in, put your mind to and make it happen.........don't end up being 80 years old, thinking, I wish I would have.......

thanks so much for being part of the mommyhood lindsay, it's been so fun getting to know you! the hubs and i will be right over for some beer/wine, guitar playing, sewing and lots of laughs. too bad it would take me a plane or long road trip to get there...haha.

you can find lindsay on her blog, at her etsy shop, facebook group and on her flickr page.

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