I fall in love with at first sight the art projects that Merrilee does. They are really artistic and creative. She shares them in her blog and instagram account (@mer_mag)
I always wanted to know more about her and this was the opportunity to ask her how she discovered the talent she has and turned it into a really fun business. Her projects, her house and off course her three kids are just adorable.
We are so happy about the collabration of Kokori- Merrilee heirloom dolls ( @merrileeliddiardshop ). All dolls look so pretty with their Kokori dresses :) Thank you Merrilee for this amazing job.
•Who is Merrilee Liddiard :) can you please tell us a bit yourself?
I'm originally from Colorado in the States and grew up in a very creative and playful family. We didn't have much tv growing up but we did have a giant field in the back of our house and lots of slow time (my mom didn't put us in a lot of extra circular activities) to cultivate our imaginations and creativity. This magical part of my childhood has stuck with me and in this ever fast paced, digital era we're seeing a real need to bring back that slow, creative & nostalgic type of play for children today. It's something that's become important for me in raising my three children.
•How was the Mer-mag blog born? What’s the challenges of being a blogger ?
I'm an illustrator by trade (that's what I went to school for) and had been working illustrating books for a sometime when I had my first son, Atticus. My desire to share with him the creative, make-it-yourself type childhood I so loved sparked the journey of my creative DIY blog mermagblog.com. Things just grew from there. I've loved the blogging journey and I love encouraging parents, teachers and caretakers with new ways of being creative in a simple, modern and whimsical way.
•You are an illustrator, a writer of Playful, DIY & craft coach leader, heirloom dolls maker, blogger, party organizer, mummy, wife anything else that we did not count? . How do you manage to juggle them?
For me I've found it important to be creative in many different ways (otherwise I get restless). But I'm excited to have found the dolls as a place I'm happy to dwell in for sometime as they provide quite a bit of creative freedom for me. I have so many plans for them! I still love DIYS and will continue doing them as creative ideas just present themselves naturally in our life - especially around holidays. As far balancing it all - I've finally realized that the "balanced life" is impossible. Some weeks are full of deadlines and dinner is simple and unimaginative and some weeks we are all in going on vacations and focusing only on our kids - but most days it's a back and forth pull between the two. If I have my priorities in line I'm better and being present with the kids, particularly when they need it most and better focused on what my work needs so I can do my best there, putting energy where it needs it most. I'm learning to say no to a lot of things and am more dedicated to getting enough rest, exercise and eating well so that I'm better equipped to handle things without burn out. I'm also into slowing things down wherever I can as this time with my kids is going by so fast!
•You have had many chances to see the effects of soft crafting an DIY projects on children improvement. What could you say about that? any advice?
I think I'd say don't be afraid to let you kids get bored. If you can just wait for them to get over that hump of whining about having nothing to do, you'll see that they become creators of their own play. Set out different art or craft supplies out with different themes, such as nature, or just one color, or one or two types of media such as clay and sticks, etc. and they will love taking it from there. I'm also a big fan of hand made, simple intentional toys that are full of tactile joy and open the way for lots of creative play. I began making my dolls and bunnies with this in mind and it's been a joy seeing my daughter and all of her friends play with them. They creative amazing imaginary worlds with them. My boys keep asking for a super hero boy doll so I need to get on that too :).
•Your book is an amazing inspiration for families? Do you have any more book projects or any other projects going on?
Playful was just a joy to work on and a big investment of time and love. I'm working on more children's books (I recently released a series of Fairy Friend board books) and have some additional creative book ideas in the works as well (some that I'm just dying to share and hope to soon!)
•One of the hard things for some people will be party organising for kids, any tips for them?
I love kids parties but only if they aren't too much work. right!? So I say find one thing to focus on, a color, an animal, a simple scene and go from there. Choose one or two things as your heros, like the cake or a pinata, and the keep everything else simple. I also write everything down for the party at least a week in advance to make sure I'm not so stressed the day off. (ha! no stress, as if that ever happens ;))
•What about Merrilee Liddiard - dolls? I know they all have different names and characters, what’s their story?
At the moment each doll is a one-of-a-kind. When I make each doll it's as if he or she tells me her story. It's really so much fun meeting them once they are fully brought to life and it's even more joyful seeing them find their forever homes with little ones across the world.
•What would you choose for you daughter Milla from Kokori’s collection?
Oh we love it all! The wales trousers are a what dreams are made of and the moon jacket is as magical as it gets. But the jacquard fabric on the cornwall dress!!! So good. Oh I can't pick!