Today, we bring you a giveaway from SouleMama Sponsor, Crafting Connections. In Andrea & Danielle's words:
"Crafting Connections is a magazine and website dedicated to providing others with the tools and inspiration for raising creative children, while learning a bit about yourself as well, along the way. We publish a quarterly creative magazine for little ones and their grown-ups filled with projects, poetry, book recommendations, and beautiful photography to help make the dream of a creative life with littles into a reality.
Our main blog is craftingconnections.net where we mirror our magazine with posts focused on a creative theme, on the season, on things that make us smile. Plus more doable, beautiful projects and prompts for creatively connecting with little ones and our exclusive mini-magazine that comes out each month - a smaller (and free) version of our full-sized magazines.
We also are developing an e-course to be released mid-September which will focus on how to make connecting with your little ones through craft an easy-but-intentional part of your daily life. We're so very excited about sharing all we've learned (and are learning) with others! We'll have more information about this online and in our newsletters throughout the coming weeks."
SouleMama: Tell us about the beginnings of your business.
Andrea & Danielle: It
all started as a simple email between friends in early 2012. Our own
children were toddlers-to-young preschoolers at the time, and we noticed
a real void when it came to finding simple, engaging child-led crafts
and quality magazines for young children. We wanted more than what was
being offered - beyond the traditional preschool crafts. We were looking
for a way to dig deeper with our little ones and help support the
natural creativity, curiosity, and imagination within them.
As creative women ourselves, we deeply believe in the power of making. By using our hands to create (and all that goes into creating - the brainstorming, editing, successes, and even failures) we forge a deeper connection and understanding with ourselves. We felt the same held true when applied to our little ones. Handicrafts can bridge so many parts of a child's life - everything from science and literature to family storytelling and legacy. Since we couldn't find this type of creating in our world - both physically and online - we decided to turn our vision into a reality. If we were looking for this, then we bet other young mothers were as well.
The other important piece we considered when starting Crafting Connections was that as parents ourselves, we knew first-hand of the overwhelming pressures of modern-day motherhood. In our increasingly technological world of Pinterest and social media, we have found that in many ways mothers are led to believe we are somehow failing (psst…we’re not!) We wanted to encourage, validate, and help set fellow mothers up to recognize their successes: in connecting with our children and in leading our own creative lives.
So with excitement (and a touch of trepidation – we are only human, you know!) we combined our creative forces and have been working towards filling these voids ever since.
SouleMama: What does 'being creative' mean to you and what advice do you have for people wanting to be more creative?
Danielle: To me creativity is a way of using your hands to make something, anything. It can be cooking in the kitchen, stitching on the sofa. It can be following a pattern, or making it up yourself. Making stuff. That’s creativity to me. I think spending a little time, each day, doing something creative – making something – will help keep your creative juices flowing. The more you create, the more ideas you will have, then the more you create. You know?
SouleMama: How does the balance of family and work play out for you? How has motherhood affected the work you do?
Andrea & Danielle: As mothers and creative makers, our children are an integral part of our business, they inspired its beginnings and they are the reason we keep going. They test out the projects in the pages, they tell us which they love, and which they don't. They give us ideas and inspiration for the future. But it can be a challenge to balance out our roles as mother, artist, and business owner.
Danielle: I can’t say that I have really achieved balance, and to be
quite frank, I don’t really strive for it anymore. Actually I find that
having these different hats – artist, business owner, parent – allows
me to flit between each as the moods (or inspiration) wax and wane.
Sometimes I’ll go through a particularly large fit of inspiration – then
you’ll find me donning my artist cap and sketching, carving,
implementing, making. Sometimes I’ll be particularly inspired in the
business-realm – then you’ll find me networking, seeking out advertising
opportunities, connecting. I flit through each as the mood strikes.
That’s the closest I come to balance.
Andrea: For me, often times these things go hand-in-hand. The artist in me is integral – I feel that I bring it into whatever I do – whether that is parenthood, relationships, work, and so on. The moments in my life when I wasn’t creatively connected have been sad times, so as I’ve had children I’ve remained very cognizant of that aspect of my personality and have always found ways to create in some way. As for being a business owner and parent (and wife and friend…), I feel very lucky, actually. I’ve been able to meet so many other creative & inspiring individuals, and form wonderful relationships and friendships, which go far beyond just networking. I am also grateful that the core of our business allows me to play and connect with my little ones. I try to keep the times when I am writing or doing layout to parts of the day when my kids are sleeping or having their quiet time. Because my husband's job is very intense, I am also very protective of our family time. For me, having these boundaries allow me to both be very focused and efficient when I am working, and when I’m not, it allows me to enjoy my family without much worry or stress. As for housework, well, there’s always tomorrow (ha ha!).
SouleMama: Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
Andrea & Danielle: We had to answer this question, since inspirational quotes are some of our very favorite things to share! We don't have just one, but here are a couple that have been inspiring us lately:
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. - Neil Gaiman
Creativity is for us all. It's about you, me, and about everyday life. It is about the abundant originality we manifest, and our flexible improvisations, whether teaching a class, raising our kids, fixing the car, helping a client, landscaping the yard, planning a benefit, or trying to figure out why we're on this earth. -Ruth Richards, MD, PhD
For today's giveaway, Crafting Connections is generously offering the following gift to ONE winner:
~ A year-long subscription to our print magazine!Each magazine has seven projects plus Explore More and Make Connections sections to build upon and expand each activity or craft, a curated book list, saturated picture pages with poetry and thought-provoking questions, plus a fun project just for the grownups (because we like making too!). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
In addition, Crafting Connections would like to offer Soulemama readers 20% off all our print and digital magazines & subscriptions using the code SOULEMAMA at checkout, ends August 31st, Midnight CST. You can visit our shop directly at shop.craftingconnections.net.
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enter today's giveaway, please leave a comment (one entry per person,
please) in today's post. I'll close comments by 8am EST on Monday, and
announce the winner, chosen via Random Number Generator, shortly after. Comments closed! The winner is...
so neat! glad I know that this exists now! I've been thinking about the need for something just like it
Posted by: krystal
Thank you, Crafting Connections!