14 May 2010

Q&A with Lis from Ernie & Bird

Summarise your daily routine:
I have a 10 month old who keeps me on my toes 24/7 and is currently waking up in the middle of the night which isn't much fun! I generally get up when P decides it's breakfast time, we do housework, help out at the family business, visit Spotlight to look at all the goodies, do the groceries, cook dinner, etc etc etc! During nap time is when I get to sit down at the sewing machine and I cherish these few hours of the day!

What do you make?
Ernie & Bird started out as applique. I played around with baby bodysuits, bunny rugs and baby bibs. I then started designing my own pattern and expanding into Hootie owl softies, nursery birdy mobiles and recently making heat packs for children and lavender eye pillows for mummys!

How did you get into your craft?
I was bored on maternity leave (6 weeks before due date) and didn't know how to fill my day after working 12 hour days in Melbourne CBD and always being stretched for time. I had a basic machine and I thought I'd make some pretty things up for my bub.... and I never stopped!

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
No, but I have always had to have a hobby going on the side through most of my life now I think of it! My nanna taught me how to knit and sew at a very young age, I taught myself how to crochet and mosaic. I know all the basics to most things but am really enjoying the road to mastering each skill depending on my mood!

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
At the moment I am playing around with a yo yo maker. That in itself opens up a whole new world of creating and decorating! I've been playing with baby singlets and cooking aprons which should be for sale soon. I love to work with really 'out there' fabrics and bold prints. We are so spoiled with the amazing selection on the market these days.

What inspires you?
I really love the gorgeous world of toadstools, owls, hedgehogs and deers... it's all so beautiful and graceful. It can suit boys and girls and it really invites you into a world of fantasy. The problem is me and a million other mums are working in this area so I am constantly thinking of ways I can be genuine and original but capture the theme as well.

What's a good small business secret that's helped you?
Facebook! I am absolutely astonished at how quickly the Ernie & Bird brand has got out there. One minute you have 20 fans of kind family and friends supporting you and the next minute you get a post blast on Crafty Mummas and WHAM you have over 200 fans in a matter of minutes! Now I'm trying to hold the attention of followers and hopefully they result in purchases at the end of the day!

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I think I went a little bit crazy before my very first market and I exhausted myself. I didn't know what to expect and I was scared of being judged and having my art criticised when I had worked so hard over it. At the end of the day (as my hubby reminds me) it's meant to be fun. It's meant to be a way of escaping reality and the daily grind and letting your mind be creative and inventive! I had a small break and now I have the passion and drive to get into it again!

Describe your workspace:
At the moment it's quite dismal! We've moved house this past weekend and I still have boxes to unpack. I am however VERY excited about having a room all to my own for sewing. I am getting a new sewing desk in the next few days and then I can make the room my own and have a little 'retreat' I can hide in and let my mind get to work!

Five words that describe your mind:
Inspired, peaceful, excited, creative and content

What are you currently listening to?
I made a 'mixed tape' playlist on my iPhone of all my favourite songs in the world - yes it took forever to make! But I love it. Every single song makes me feel happy and relaxed. New neighbours must wonder the character of the new mad woman in the court when I get Tim McGraw pumping for a house cleaning sing-a-long!

Recommend an album:
'A Place in the Sun' by Tim McGraw. I love him so much and it's amazing how many people have never even heard of him! Highly recommend downloading :)

Your favourite childhood book?
The Jolly Postman where you open all the envelopes and find different things. P has her own copy which is still wrapped in plastic so she doesn't go eating the mail!

What are you reading now?
Don't get my girlfriends started on this topic! We created a book club 4 months ago and I am yet to read a SINGLE book from our reading list which is a disgrace! If I do read, it's generally a quilting magazine or my Bible on my iPhone! But I am dying to know if Bella ends up marrying Edward in Eclipse!!!

Your hero/heroine:
My mum is the strongest woman I know. I have never seen her fail or show weakness. She just gets on with the job and has dedicated her life to serving others.

A favourite quote:
'Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love'

Do you have any pets?
Yes, I have a tabby fat cat called Ernie. Yes the namesake of the business. He's mainly an indoor cat and loves to always get in the way no matter what you're doing. But hey, that's what cats do!

If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
The white crayon. I love that you can colour over the top of other colours with it to get new colours. It's clean and can even help smear the mistakes if you go outside the lines :)


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