GUEST FEATURE: Mama Helen, La Petite Maison Blanc | All By Mama
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GUEST FEATURE: Mama Helen, La Petite Maison Blanc

Helen is a Mama of four children (14, 10, 6 and 5) and two mad dogs! Living in Staffordshire after several years in France where La Petite Maison Blanc began. With a background in graphics in print, Helen's products feature her own designs. All are hand and machine sewn items and are made to her very high exacting standards and are functional as well as wonderful to look at. All Helen's products are made with love. storage baskets 2 An Interview with Mama Helen La Petite Maison Blanc Tell us a little bit about you and your family.
My name is Helen and I live in Staffordshire with my husband, our four children and our two crazy dogs. I love windy dog walks, sitting altogether as a family for a Saturday night movie, cake, wine and anything creative. I find it impossible to ‘just sit’ I have to be doing something to keep my fingers active; be it sewing, crochet, embroidery etc. I love gardening (although I’m not particularly green-fingered!) and DIY, especially painting and papering. I’m a very organised person (you have to be with four children!) and I can multi-task like a professional! Nothing fazes me, and I love a good challenge.
Tell us about your favourite products. Is there anything particularly special to you.
I love making fabric storage baskets. I’ve done so many different one’s for so many special occasions; births, marriages, new homes, christenings, special birthdays etc. and it’s wonderful to think of them being a useful part of somebodies home. Having said that I particularly enjoy making cushions, especially the VW campervans. These are a real labour of love for me and a joy to sew. I like the larger scale, the contrast of fabric and felt, the buttons… I could sew these everyday and never get bored. Each cushion is unique to the customer with their choice of fabrics, colours and special details such as reg. plates and sign posts.
What inspired you to get creative?
I have worked as a creative all my life. Initially in Print & Graphic Design then moving into Web Design, Multimedia and Interactive design. In 2011 our family moved to the South of France with my husbands job. We lived there for 3 years and it was whilst we were there that La Petite Maison Blanc was born. I finally had all my children in school and some ‘me time’. I bought a sewing machine – as I always loved sewing as a teenager when I used to make my own clothes. After dabbling with a few bags, purses and home decor things I realised that this was what I wanted to do. Sewing is such a pleasure for me, it gives me a creative outlet I wish I had started years ago.
Do you have any tips for managing the work / family balance?
Family comes first for me, which is why I find preparation is the key. I always have little piles of work in various stages so when I can grab some time I can always either pick up and prep, sew or finish something depending on how much time I have. I work during school hours, after bedtime stories and only sometimes at the weekend if there’s a show deadline for example I have to finish. I’m very lucky I have creative children and they love to help where ever they can!
What are your dreams for the future?
I would like to see my products sold in boutique shops locally (I have a space in a local shop over Christmas which I am hugely excited about), I would love to be featured in a national magazine such as House Beautiful or similar and I would like my business to reach out and touch more people who have so far not heard of me!
Do you have any tips for anyone just starting out and learning a craft?
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again! Don’t be overly critical of yourself. Half the pleasure of making something is the journey along the way; as I tell my eldest as long as you are happy with what you have done then it’s a huge success.
Any funny / inspiring stories that you would like to share about your children / your family life?
Our house is a mad-house. Something goes wrong most days with this many children and pets… before breakfast this morning one of the guinea-pigs made a bid for freedom from his hutch in the garden which then involved us running around in PJs trying to catch him, whilst the dogs looked on in disbelief. Just a normal day.
Take a look at Helen's shop: http://www.allbymama.com/vendor/la-petite-maison-blanc/ AllByMama_LPMB_Coasters-550x550

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