Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hookin’ Up! My Review of Poppy&Bee

Today is my day in the month-long Hookin’ Up project being run by Kathryn over at Crochet Concupiscence. I’m reviewing the blog Poppy&Bee, which is written by Natalie in New Zealand. I was excited to talk to Natalie, since New Zealand is one place I would LOVE to visit sometime. I’ve heard it is so beautiful there. One thing New Zealand is known for is its sheep, and where there are sheep there is YARN!

Poppy&Bee is a fairly new blog, just started in January as a companion site to Natalie’s online store of the same name. (Poppy & Bee are the nicknames of her two young kids by the way.) Natalie left her teaching job and is now a WAHM, selling her handmade crochet goodness and being home with her kids. What a great life! I know I at times fantasize about quitting my job and crocheting for a living, I bet others of you do too.

Reading Poppy&Bee, I feel like Natalie is taking me along on her journey as she establishes her business. Selling at craft markets, photo shoots for her website, networking with other crafters, oohing and ahhhing over new yarn. She writes with a nice friendly conversational tone, like we’re just having a chat over coffee (or would it be tea in NZ?) She has a fondness for owls, as do I, and this is my absolute favorite of her items:

Is that not ADORABLE!! (And the baby’s cute as a button too lol.) And she makes these hats in all sizes from newborn to adult. I’m in love.

I asked Natalie a few questions about herself so we could get to know her better…

When did you learn to crochet? I see that your blog is fairly new, what inspired you to start an online store for your crochet work?

I learned to crochet while still young, maybe 8 or 9 years old. My Mum and my grandmother are both very talented handcrafters and I was always watching them and trying out whatever they were doing. Crocheting took a very long hiatus until I had children, and I recently started up again after leaving full time work to be at home with Poppy and The Bee (my darling children).
The online store came about because I really am so used to being able to find things online myself, and enjoy the process of listing and presenting things online. I like being able to say ‘head over to’ – easy with no need for anyone to search through etsy or felt or anywhere else – even though I do list on those two sites as well. Being online allows me to spread the New Zealand Crochet love internationally too – and so many people are looking for the fine NZ yarns, and I am very lucky to have easy access to them here, and then to be able to make them into something yummy and handmade to share is fabulous!I would love to blog much more than I do, but I seem to run out of hours in the day to fit everything in! I’m working on a way to function without sleep – but am not having much luck yet.

(Natalie, if you find a way to do that, LET ME KNOW!)

What are your favorite things to make? Favorite yarn?

Ooooooh – favourite yarn at the moment is Possum (I know, I know – but in New Zealand they’re pests destroying our native vegetation). An amazing fibre with similar properties to Alpaca – and a lovely feel to it when working it. Mix it in with some NZ Merino and you have squishy yarn heaven. My fingers sigh when I start using it! Favourite things to make? I’m working through my hat phase at the moment – I have about 120 patterns in my ‘make me now!’ folder. I’d love LOVE to spend some more time on shawls and lace-weight work, but now that I sell what I make, it’s really hard to price them to sell with the hours and hours they take to make. The eternal dilemma of the crochet garment maker! I’ve started a pair of socks about three times, and love Amigurumi just for the frivolous distraction.
How hard or easy are you finding the WAHM life?

Loving it! I find it impossible to have enough hours in the day (particularly because I procrastinate about the sensible ‘Mum’ jobs like tidying, cleaning and groceries in favour of crocheting), but love being able to collect my children from school. The Bee tells me he loves having an ‘At the Door Mummy’ after school. I am a primary school teacher, and even though last year I taught where he went to school – I was never at his door at 3pm to collect him. Now he loves stumbling out for a big cuddle and tells me all about his day without having to wait. I do miss teaching and my cool and lovely colleagues I’m working on a way to incorporate it into crochet by running lessons and developing learn to crochet kits, but definitely don’t miss the hours and hours of prep!

So that’s Poppy&Bee! Natalie recently did an interview with New Zealand Handmade too, which you can read here.


Natalie said...

SO great to be part of the Hookin' Up project, and lovely to be talking to you Julie! And coffee is VERY popular in NZ, as is tea. And in my house - WINE!

CrochetBlogger said...

Another terrific contribution to Hookin' Up! I feel like I've gotten to know Natalie a bit better from this interview and love that you've highlighted the great conversational tone of her blog. My favorite part is learning about the New Zealand yarns!!

Misty said...

What a nice review of Natalie's blog! It's a new blog to me and I thought you asked some great questions.

I like that she procrastinates on doing housework in order to crochet--I do the same! :)