Introducing, Kelly from Tomato-Tomato
This mama was totally wrong she thought she could let go of being a professional designer once her kids were born. In a few short months, she found herself starting a graphic design business to channel her creative energy.
Tell us more about yourself, your family, and your graphic design business.
I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. I married the funniest, most creative man I could find in 2004 and we had our first child (Charlie) in February 2005. It was only 22 short months later and we had our daughter Clara. My graphic design business is more of a maintenance program for my sanity. I assumed that when I had my first child I could turn off those creative juices and be perfectly content being a stay-at-home mom. I was mistaken. My creative energy was eating me up within a few short months and I decided to set myself up at home and make all those side projects I had be doing as favors throughout my professional career an actual business. I started with a general greeting card line. It was something I could do from home in the time that worked for me and my family. From there it went on to custom invitations, freelance and as my kids grew I got more and more into kids crafts.
You’ve been a professional designer for over 17 years and now you are a stay-at-home mom. How has the transition been for you?
In the beginning the transition was tough. I was completely immersed in my career and not only worked in it but that industry also included my friends and social circles. When I had my son I found myself feeling a bit stranded with no one to chat with or even see because they were all working. It took about a year and I slowly figured out the world of Moms Groups and park play dates. It was in those Moms groups that I slowly found some of my dearest friends that are in my life today.
What do you enjoy the most about being a stay-at-home mom? How do you balance it with your graphic design business?
I’m not sure if there is such thing as balance for both. When the kids were younger I did my work during nap times and after they went to bed. Needless to say my laundry was always piled a mile high. As my kids got older I included them in my projects. I am a creative junkie so I spend a lot of my time testing projects and materials. There is always room to see what the kids think of a particular medium or process so often I have them work right along side of me.
What are your favorite projects that you’ve created? Which ones are you the most proud of?
This past March I did an auction art project with my daughter’s pre-school class. We created the Mona Lisa from 20, 4” squares using an encaustic (fancy word for drawing on a warming plate to melt crayons on paper) method. It turned out amazing! It’s hard to find exciting auction projects for school groups. It’s been my new mission to find auction art projects that people would want to hang in their home even if their child didn’t attend the particular school. Here is that blog post: http://www.tomato-tomato.com/2012/03/preschool-masterpiece.html
You’ve mentioned that you’ve started an arts and crafts program for kids. Tell us more about the program.
When I was participating in Moms groups I started hosting kids craft days. The events were very well attended and I really enjoyed creating projects. I started to realize that there was a need for art projects in the kid world that didn’t dismiss their capabilities. When my kids started school, I decided to take my show on the road. I spent a few seasons at the local recreation center and then moved my classes to a local toy store for a little over a year. Now I travel to events, do school groups and host parties at my house. It truly is a passion of mine. I love meeting people in the beginning of a class that say “I’m not creative” and by the end of class they say “I can’t wait to do this again!” Sometimes it just takes a few supplies and a little direction to wake up that creative spirit.
Do you have any new summer crafts ideas that parents should try with their kids?
I’m completely over the moon with Sharpie Tie Dying! Here is the blog post: http://www.tomato-tomato.com/2012/06/no-tie-no-die.html
When you get a chance, what are your 3 favorite things to do in your free time?
1) Event planning
2) Family travel
3) Of course, crafting