Tonya Grant Brings "Hallmark" To Real Life!
I was twenty-seven years old when I became “serious” about the sewing machine. My penchant for the darn thing arose from an unstoppable urge to create my firstborn baby’s Christmas outfit – also known as the “crazy” that arises in many new mothers upon giving birth. (It’s a syndrome most of us shake off by the second child, I assure you).
Needless-to-say, I wanted my son to look dapper – to greet the holiday in more than just “swaddling” clothing. The expense of my desire, however, forced me to become ingenious. So, I taught myself to sew with the help of a local fabric shop and a few books from the library. “Archaic,” I know, but it worked. Years later, I’d recount that time with a fondness and nostalgia that most mothers would understand.
Crafty or not, we’ve all experienced moments like the one I described above. Initially stumped and even petrified, we’d find a way to overcome. And those hand-made accomplishments would become the cornerstones to some of the most meaningful memories of our lives.
Mom Blogger, Tonya Grant, understands this. Her blog, The Crafty Mummy, overflows with rich, decorative and highly simple crafts that just about anyone can do. Intensely devoted to her decision to be a stay-at-home mom as well as her art, this one-time teacher continues to teach through her blog. From interesting sewing projects to advice on how to be a better blogger, Tonya weaves in just about everything…and all of it is as immensely helpful as it is fun.
It is also laden with a warm and fuzzy “mothering” quality completely unique to this mummy. Is it little reason I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to interview her at Christmas-time? With lots of presents to buy and an equal amount of sentiment to boot, the ability to do so (both economically and ingeniously) is a very sweet treat to share.
Enjoy getting to know this enormously talented mom blogger from “down under” and take a peek at the beaded angel tutorial she shares at the end of her interview. Nothing says “love” like “home-made.”
What is your name?
Where do you live?
Regional Queensland, Australia, a couple of hours from Brisbane.
How many children do you have?
If you were asked to describe yourself in one word, what would that word be?
What is your personal mantra?
Recently it has been “Done is better than perfect.” As a mum, I struggle with the juggle of home, family, friends, work and more so, I’ve had to learn to give myself permission to get things done and let them go even if they are not perfect.
Tell us about you and your life.
I’m a homemaker and mum to two primary school age kids and I’m married to my soul mate. As well as running our home, volunteering at my kids’ school and working part-time in an office, I write a website called The Crafty Mummy. This is where I share tips and tutorials for the projects that I make – and I love to make! I’ve tried lots of different crafts over the years but my current passions are crocheting, quilting and sewing. My website lets me continue to be a teacher!
Share with us what you wanted to be when you grew up.
I wanted to be a teacher – like my mum – and after teaching piano while I went to University, I became a high school teacher. I taught Japanese and Music before I stopped working to raise my kids.
How long have you been blogging for? Do you blog for any group blogs or websites beyond your own?
I started blogging in May 2009 and quickly grew to love it! Here was my chance to share my creative side with an audience who actually were interested – unlike my 'then' small children. I also write regularly at And Sew We Craft with a bunch of other Australian crafters.
What is the name of your blog? When was it launched?
My blog is called The Crafty Mummy and has all the content from when I started in 2009.
What is the primary focus of your blog?
I focus on sharing projects I have made, often with tutorials so that my readers can make them too. I’ve discovered that many women have this idea that making a quilt or crocheting a blanket is really hard so they are scared to try it. I try to encourage everyone to have a go – it really is not that hard and there is so much great information online to help you master any creative pursuit.
What makes your blog unique?
My blog is about real projects that real people can make. I do all of it – find the tools, make the items, take the photos, write the tutorials – so what you see is not created by a design team and photographed by a professional. It is just me having a go and enjoying the process and the results.
Tell us about your blog in depth, including what you hope to accomplish through it.
My blog started as a way for me to share my projects but it has become more than that. Now it is a way for me to teach others how to make the things I make and inspire them to have a go. I love being creative and creating handmade items from fabric and yarn. These are things that, perhaps, have been lost a little over the years. We can buy so many items cheaply now and we’ve forgotten - to some degree - the satisfaction that comes with making something ourselves and enjoying the process. Hopefully, I can return a bit of that ol' fashioned, hand-made fun to my readers.
Are you a Brand Ambassador and if so, for which companies?
I have worked with a number of companies over the years. I have written reviews and campaigns for Telstra, Energizer, Dremel and Woolworths as well as craft-related companies like Spotlight and White Knight Paints. I have also worked with a number of fabric shop,s including Fat Quarter Shop and reviewed many craft tools and products.
Beyond your blog, do you engage in other social media outlets such as Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc.?
My favorite social media hangout is Pinterest – as you’d expect from a craft blogger I guess! There is just so much inspiration there, and I can share my articles with a huge audience. I also spend time on Facebook and Google+ and you’ll find out what I’m working on "right now" on Instagram.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to moms who may be interested in beginning a blog?
I love blogging but it does take time and effort. Be prepared to become obsessed and put in some hard work. There is a lot to learn but there are also a lot of free tutorials and information out there so read and learn and enjoy the process! That said, I would also say jump in and have a go. You can edit everything you create so you can always fix any mistakes you find later. Get started!
When all is said and done, what is the one thing you hope your loved ones and those who knew you remember about you?
I hope they remember that I loved them and spent my days loving them in every way that I could.
Tonya Grant is one of those kinda moms captured in every Hallmark Christmas card. The one that reminds us that Christmas-time is less about “the perfect store-bought Christmas gift” and more about “caring” in the most basic of ways.
What she and her blog have to offer can’t be purchased at any retailer. You can, however, find examples of it at The Crafty Mummy. Take a moment to do so now…and again, as each new celebration comes your way. The plethora of crafts you will find will inspire a joy in your heart the size of any kid's, I assure you. It’s an experience you shouldn’t pass up.
Christmas Craft: Little Beaded Angel
Find the tutorial HERE