moms in the mommyhood - vanessa christenson

we have a new "moms in the mommyhood"!

say hello to vanessa from the blog "v & co." and the etsy shop"v& co." & "uptown jane". i'm super excited to share this interview with you and i'm not embarrassed to admit i did the "happy dance" when vanessa agreed to do the interview. i feel funny introducing her because i am sure many of you already know who she is, but if you don't, she is one super talented, funny, creative, smart, multi-tasking momma blogger that i have seriously envy for. it's an understatement to say i am a fan of hers and i hope you all will be as well.

i had so much fun coming up with the questions for this interview because i knew vanessa was going to be so interesting to get to know. it was a hoot to read her answers and to share emails with such a great blogging friend during this month when i have been under the weather. she is truly one of those rare sweet, honest, and kind women out there that i just wish i lived closer to. her quilting is to die for and the icing on the cake is that she's hilarious to boot and man does she look fine for having 4 babies!!!! wowsa!!!

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 join in on the fun with me, have a few laughs and get to know vanessa:

1) Ok, seriously, you are a wife to hubby Jake & a mom to 4 busy kids - Nate (9), Ryan (7), Kyle (5), Katie (3), how the heck do you find the time to run an etsy shop, blog, design tutorials & still stay sane?

HA, well whoever told you that I was sane, gave you false information. But I guess I should explain how I make time for it all. While Jake was gone over seas I started my blog and as the months went on I started up my etsy shop to sell some of the things I was working on and others had liked. I would work late at night into the morning while the kids were sleeping. Since Jake’s been home, I’ve scheduled my life so that it’s a part of my daily routine, to blog and to work on new things, and do all the other things that come up during the day. I have a really scheduled day. but what’s great is that I can be flexible as well.

I always have about 5 projects going, and I always am writing down more ideas. So really if I just work one project a day I usually can keep up with family, volunteering, and my business.

2) How long have you been quilting for & what sparked you to learn?

I’ve been quilting for about 6 years. Sewing for 7. what started this whole mess was when we were in graduate school, and I couldn’t afford to buy some simple stitchery patterns. I started to make my own, and learned how to make a simple pillow, (and that was the start of my embroidery pattern business) around a year later, I made my first quilt it was a rag quilt, I made it with 5 highly experienced quilters. I cried when I had to cut into fabric the first time (because it was so pretty and I was afraid I was going to mess it up)…I made simple block quilts for a few years and just recently have fallen in love with pinwheels and ohio stars, and grandmother garden flowers…and and and..the list just keeps going. Just recently have I been able to feel a little more confident in making instructions for my ideas on those.

3) Your blog V & Co. is one of my fave daily reads. What prompted you to start one and what came first the blog or your etsy shop "Uptown Jane"?

Why thank you! Jake was getting ready to deploy in February of 2008, I started my blog so that I could keep him posted (as well as my friends I’ve made throughout our many moves, a lot of them are military wives so we’ve been spread out all over). My blog was first a lot of personal stuff about us in general, then I started to post things I was working on…and well now it is what it is. Me talking a little about us (the hilarity it is to have kids and a husband all the while living in the middle of nowhere), and a lot about my passions.

My blog came first. I started to mention on my blog when it had an audience of about 10 girls I’ve known personally throughout the years, that I had some moda charm packs I wanted to sell, and also a few things I had made if anyone was interested. Money was an issue…”it would be so much easier if I could just pay you though credit instead of mailing a check” so I opened up my etsy shop to help with that.

4) How have you found your etsy experience so far?

Sigh. Well , at first it was hard, I made a lot of the same things, and I got burnt out on making the same thing over and over. I loved what I was making but the repetition got to me. I also tried to make things I thought other people would like. became frustrated that I couldn’t find “my thing”. Then I decided I was only going to put things in my shop that I would use and want. if something doesn’t sell in my shop…well, that’s alright because I love it and I would use it somewhere. I’ve also found “my thing” of fun down loadable projects of things I’ve made and I give you step by step instructions on how to make it too!

5) Any tips for other moms looking to start their own etsy shop?

Yeah, do it because you love it, and make things that represent you… don’t do it to make money, making money off of it sometimes doesn’t happen but when it does it is the icing on the cake.

6) Give us a sneak peek into a few of your favourite small pleasures.

Chocolate, uh chocolate, CHOCOLATE. Feeling sore after a great workout, reading a really good book outside in perfect weather, and sitting in bed with the husband watching our favorite shows eating popcorn.

7) What is the fabric line you find yourself drawn to the most?

Oh wow I have to pick one? Uh yikes. Well I love a lot of lines. But I’m drawn to bright colors, my favorite colors are, lime green, red, turquoise, pink and a dash of orange. A lot of polka dots some flowers, and gingham's and vines (oh I love vines!)I also need a ton of white to off balance all my crazy colors. I’m really drawn to 60’s and 70’s linen sheets (can you tell with my color palette?) Uh yeah so any line with all those at the same time would be my ideal line…I guess what I’m trying to say is I REALLY like to mix fabric lines to create exactly what I love.

8) As moms, we rarely find the time to pamper ourselves. Having 4 kids must make it tough, but if you could sneak away for time on your own what would you indulge in?

I would go garage sale-ing and second hand store shopping. Yeah that’s like my perfect dream day.

9) You have some wonderful photography on your blog. What kind of camera do you use?

Why thank you! A Cannon Rebel XT worth every penny.

10) Do you have a favourite quilting pattern you use?

I have never used a quilt pattern. I just have made up my own as I go. Some day I will use a pattern. I have quite a few of Camille Roskelly’s quilt patterns but I would love to get my hand on her new pattern she just put out "ala mode” as pinwheels and ohio stars are my favorite!

11) What resource do you turn to for sewing/quilting?

Oooh good question there are a few books that are great but I love the simplicity of instructions in this book: “Quilter’s complete guide” by Fon’s and Porters. I also LOVE to look at books dedicated to vintage quilts.

12) What kind of sewing machine do you currently use?

BERNINA 185 - I still don’t know how to use it’s full potential.

13) What are 3 small things we may be surprised to know about you?

1) Spanish was my first language, and now I suck at it. 2.) I was a real tom boy all growing up, I didn’t really do to much girly things till I got married (well except decorating…I’ve ALWAYS decorated) 3) I get some serious nerves (sometimes I’ve even made myself worried sick) over etsy shop updates.

14) I believe music can play a big role in the creative process. Do you listen to music while sewing and if so, what's your must have on the stereo?

OH I LOVE music! Yes, I usually have one ear phone in when I’m sewing for long periods of time (so I can hear the happenings of the 4 kids in the other ear!) some of my favorite bands to listen to are Maroon 5, all American rejects, the Killers, and I just found Veronicas (who I love!)

Also my kids are all into rock band so I am constantly singing along with some rock band stuff, or some of the bought singles that my husband downloaded to the program. Usually weezer. He’s all about weezer.

15) You contribute regularly to "moda bake shop" (which I love), how/when did you get involved in with moda?

I love moda too! About 7 months ago I got an email from a wonderful woman from moda saying she saw my tutorial for my celebration flags using charm packs. She wanted to know if would be interested to contribute to the moda bake shop. I jumped at the opportunity and have loved working for such an awesome site. I’ve done a few tutorials for them and have a few more up my sleeve, so keep a look out for that! ;)

16) What advice would you give to those looking to start quilting or just learning like myself?

Find women around you or sign up for a beginners class. Honestly I would not of even tried had I not had some wonderful friends telling me “no really YOU CAN DO THIS!” and then keep going and never look back. quilting is just using what you learn, and then adding on to it.

17) Most of us have had our fair share of sewing blunders & wonders. What is your most treasured project & your most hated you've worked on?

Oh gosh. Well I have so many projects I love, but one project that turned out exactly how I envisioned it in my head, is my pinwheel quilt that lays at the bottom of my bed. To this day it’s by far one of my favorite things I’ve made and it makes me happy to see it every day.

Something that was a blunder would have to be a handbag I “tried” to make before I had a sewing machine. Yeah, I attempted to sew it by hand, and no pattern…uh not pretty and quickly earned me repentance time with the all swear words that came out of my mouth during that project. Yeah, that baby made it in the trash. To this day I’m not a huge fan of making handbags.

18) What are your future goals for V&C & Uptown Jane"?

To continue doing what I’m doing...create, laugh, and enjoy the friends that blogging and etsy brings.

19) When did you first learn how to sew & what was your first project?

Well, I “learned” to hand sew when I was in high school, I do quotation marks on that because really, it was ugly. And I hated it after trying to hand sew like 5 quilt blocks together. I gave that up quickly and didn’t like to touch any kind of sewing till 7 years ago, When I used for the first time a sewing machine. That project was a pillow to show off my new embroidery of our family’s last name.

20) If you had an unlimited budget/time what would be your dream project to work on?

Ha, simple…a crafting room for all my mess to be. oh wait did you mean like a sewing project? ;)

21) What inspires you?

EVERYTHING and ANYTHING can be inspiring. I love to look around me and think “wow, those colors look kind of fun together. That would look kind of cool in a quilt” I could be looking at an orchard or I could be passing by some billboard, color is amazing and it is all around in fabulous combinations. Also I like to think what inspires me is to look at the ordinary and change it to make it un-ordinary and mine.

22) I know this is a tough one, but hey, we all want to know so I have to ask - what are the top 5 blogs you read daily?

Lol! Okay I don’t have that much time to actually look at blogs because I’m so busy with all my crazy life of creating and crafting, blogging, volunteering at my kids school, volunteering at my church, and parenting that I really don’t have that much time. but there are a few blogs that whenever they come up on my google reader I stop and take a minute they are:

**nienie dialogues: That woman is amazing. She’s so real. and… amazing. Yeah, I cry often, tears of joy and sadness, and I always walk away grateful for my LIFE, my FAMILY, and my FAITH every single time I read her blog.

**ssew mama sew: great on advise and on sewing projects.

**MADE: she’s amazing with re-purposing clothing, I love how she thinks outside the box.

**cake wrecks: because I love to laugh and if I get to cackle and a snort, even better

**awkward family photos: see above for explanation as to why

thanks so much for being part of the mommyhood vanessa, it's been so fun getting to know you - keep in touch! oh, and i'll be right over for that cup of hot cocoa and some quilting fun! i wish that one day i can have just a sliver of the talent you have! you rock girl! thank you for all your kind words and sweet emails over the last few weeks - it truly meant a lot to me.
you can find vanessa on her blog, her etsy shop.

{all images vanessa christenson unless otherwise stated}