Monday, October 28, 2013

Crafter Mama: Salena Adams (MamaTalk: Creativity)

A collage of some of Salena's crafty projects.

After a week's hiatus, we're back again with more MamaTalk: Creativity.  Today I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Salena Adams.  I met Salena through my local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group one year.  She is a talented seamstress and an encouraging friend with a heart for the home.  I hope you enjoy her thoughts.  And check out some of her beautiful projects above!

What are your primary outlets for creativity?  Tell us a little about your background and how you developed these creative skills. 
I never really considered myself all that creative before I had kids.  I did some scrap-booking and a tiny bit of sewing, but if you asked for a creative person I certainly wouldn’t have been the one to raise my hand.  I think things changed after I had kids.  I needed an outlet other than taking care of family.  I got more into crafting for myself always with a practical bent to it.  I never liked just making “something pretty.”  I wanted it to be functional too.  One January, I wrote a list of goals (not resolutions, per se) for the year.  Top of the list was getting comfortable with my sewing machine.  I learned a lot in that year and have really come to enjoy the process of sewing.  I think I like figuring out the project as much or more than the actual sewing. I’m not one to use or follow patterns exactly, much like my cooking, but I think I find freedom in that from my normally perfectionist nature.

Also I am a children’s leader at Bible Study Fellowship (BSF).  This allows me to use my creativity to customize activities to go along with our lessons.  BSF has an excellent framework for teaching while allowing flexibility in the specifics.  It’s been fun to tailor my free play, large muscle and rhythm activities to run the thread of the lesson all through the morning.  Also there is the inherent need to creatively keep the attention of a class of twenty four-year-olds.

Do you think creativity is important as a mom? Why or why not? 
I think creativity for me as a mom is important.  Having something beyond the basics of keeping my family fed and cared for helps me be a better mom. 

What is a time in your life when you felt most fulfilled creatively?
Right now. I have a weekly outlet for my creativity at BSF.  

How did time or energy for creativity change after you became a mom? 
Like I said before, I wasn’t that creative before I had kids so I think it stayed about the same. My kids are older now which makes it easier to be creative with them around.

Do you ever feel guilty about making time for creativity?  How do you cope with that? 
I don’t feel guilty about taking time for myself.  I generally do big projects when the kids are asleep or otherwise occupied.  If I have some creative time I am less stressed, more balanced and a much more fun mom to be around.  It’s a win win for everyone.

Have you ever felt pressured to express creativity in exactly the same way as some other mom (maybe a friend or a mom on Pinterest or a blog)?  In what way?  Have you found any ways to get past these pressures?  How? 
There are lots of cool things on Pinterest, but sometimes I just have to not look at it at all. If I’m looking for something specific it can be helpful but not just for browsing.   I can’t try and live like someone else.  I think evaluating if a project is really “me” or not takes a lot of the stress out of it. It also makes me think of this quote:

“There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”
― Jill Churchill

 Everyone has their strengths and I think you need to play to your own.
Have you found any ways to use your creative skills with your kids?
We always make cards for relatives for birthdays, holidays, etc.  Also we make most of our gifts.  So, depending on the gifts, they may make most of it or just help me pick out materials.

Tell us what you love about the unique ways you express creativity. 
I love that what I do (sewing, crafting, etc.) can be done at home with my family.  I don’t have to leave the house to do something creative.  That allows me to do little projects, or parts of projects, without disrupting the flow of our day.  And now that the kids are getting older and more able to participate it makes it even more fun. I also love being able to make gifts for people.  Not only is it generally economical, it’s fun to be able personalize each item.

What advice would you give to a mom who feels that since having kids, she has “lost herself”?
I think she would have to figure out what is going to refresh her.  It may be carving out some time to do that favorite thing she did before kids. But on the other hand it may be doing something completely different that she can incorporate into her life with kids.  And it may very well be a balance of the two.

Salena Adams lives in Kalispell, MT with her husband Dave and their two children.

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