Friday, June 14, 2013

A cuppa with... Emma McCleary

I've long admired the beautiful work of Emma McCleary, the talent behind Emma Makes. Her gorgeous bags in colours to compliment the seasons, are all handcrafted in her studio,at home in Featherston, South Wairarapa.   Emmas bags, stationary and cushions are sold at stockists around the country, through Craft Country in Featherston (a craft collective she runs with some friends), and she has recently opened an online store, Emma Makes, which is just brimming with gorgeous one off goodies!  

Tell us a bit about yourself...
By day I work as a web editor, by night I craft and design for my line Emma Makes. I’m unusually gifted at parallel parking, once won a competition standing on my head for 20 minutes and when I trim up my notebooks I wear a fish filleting glove.
I like making craft. I like smart and interesting people, and silly jokes. I love my quiet life reading by the fire, sewing at my machine or huffing and puffing around the countryside on my bike. 
I sew my own clothes (mostly) and always wear a combination of dress or skirt, top, cardigan and flat shoes. My favourite colour is green and I’m in love with floral – especially blousey roses.
What is a typical day for you like?
On days that I’m not going to yoga at lunchtime or having a rest day (and getting up at 6am) this is the time I get up. I eat breakfast and drink coffee while checking emails and looking at stuff on the internet. Then I go outside and exercise.
is the last train from Featherston to Wellington in the morning and the one that I take to work. The train ride is an hour so it’s a good time to listen to podcasts, read books or sleep (I do a combination of all three of these most weeks). The trick is to try not to sleep with your gob open.
is the time I get to work. I work in an office in Wellington where I’m in charge of social media and online communications. I religiously use Teux Deux 
to keep track of tasks that need to be done at work and home as well as ideas for things like blog posts.
I find lists really great for getting things out of my head (I’m a chronic over-thinker) as well as for making sure I don’t forget anything or let people down.
I don’t often take a lunch break. I usually either go to yoga (once or twice a week) or just do computer stuff that’s not work related like tap out a few blog post ideas, search for images, catch up on personal emails, update my Facebook page etc.
Is the time I leave work – I take the 5.30pm train home. I often sleep on the way home. I try to read but that often lasts a page or two. This is a great time for me to catch up on Twitter, Facebook, news, blog posts and other internet reading too,
is when Tom and I get home. Tom cooks the dinner, I make the fire and wash the dishes. Sometimes in busy weeks the dishes don’t always get done and nobody really cares. After dinner I like to watch trash TV or a movie while pinning/hand sewing/doing other craft tasks.
Bed time. I really can’t stay up later than this so I don’t. Most of my friends know that I’m an old Nana and need to get to bed early.
What is your ideal weekend like?
Successful sewing, reading on the sunny spot of the lounge floor, lunch out to a good cafe, a walk and talk with my friend Ellen and ending the weekend feeling ready for a good week ahead.
Actually, my ideal weekend would probably be being stinking rich and sitting in a hot pool somewhere being waited on my servants – but for now I’ll settle for reality.

Where do you find inspiration?
Once I start making, inspiration strikes for new products. It’s a cyclical thing I guess like anything; once you start it’s easier to keep going, rather than if you stop and start all the time. I have notebooks of ideas that I sketch out, or lists of things to make. I always have a list of pencil ideas, which I spend a lot of time on – often after some weeks of consideration I’ll scrap the lot because I realise they’re not quite right, or just not that funny, or sometimes a bit lame.
I’m always paying attention to things around me and I read lots of magazines, books and blogs and love Pinterest, which are all really good for creative stimulation. And I have an amazing memory – I feed my mind with a whole lot of sources and good things happen.
The word inspiration is a bit of a bug bear for me. I’ve been copied quite a bit by people who say they were ‘inspired’ – people need to get real on that, inspiration is not about copying. It’s about feeding the creativity machine, feeling good and being motivated to do your own thing. That’s why I don’t read too many craft blogs because if you’re looking at the same stuff all the time then eventually whether you know it or not you become that what you’re looking at.
What New Zealand blogs do you read on a regular basis?
Others too – and I often add and delete blogs, so am always looking for recommendations too.
What international blogs do you follow?
Not heaps – I went on a deleting binge recently because I got really sick of twee, fake blogs. Here’s what’s left:

I really just like pretty pictures and good ideas. I’m pretty interested in everyday life but hate whining or people who never update and then apologise for never updating. I also have a low tolerance for insincere, overly commercial or twee blogs – I think authenticity is so important in social media.
Do you have a favourite pearl of wisdom you'd like to share with us?
My favourite saying is, “comparison is the thief of joy”, which sometimes you do need to chant to yourself as you read the internet. I’m not a big fan of motivational quotes but that one just speaks to me.

Emma has kindly offered a discount for MissMollyCoddle readers too...

I'm all about making lists and planning things out - MissMollyCoddle blog readers can do the same with a 20% discount on pencils and journals at Emma Makes. Follow this LINK, and use the code MOLLYCODDLE to get 20% off your order until the end of June.

It was lovely to have a 'virtual' catch up with you Emma and discover our shared interests, and parallel parking prowess! I hope you all enjoyed the read too.  Emma keeps a personal blog if you'd like to read more about what she gets up to, and her Emma Makes blog will keep you up to date with Emma Makes news.

Have a lovely day x

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