The Sunday Series: 2nd Edition! Interviews With Inspiring Women IN and Around Leamington Essex County

{Sometimes, ideas and inspirations get lodged way back behind all of the 'to dos' and the messes, just like sitting for long periods of time makes your joints stiff and your back ache. Our souls need movement. For me, my ideas seem to come while on a walk, or while swimming laps, the pounding of my feet like a meditation of sorts numbing the day to day worries, allowing my daydreaming to take over. 

This summer, while on one of these meditative journeys, it dawned on me. I was frustrated with the status quo. My work with  photography felt a little stuck, and the conversations with other creatives seemed to be on one of those hamster wheels. The same themes running their way through conversations about value and time and maybe sometimes feeling voiceless in our dreams for our work and our lives. 

 But, as I try to remember - as do most people who are looking to move forward - nothing stays the same, and we can make the changes, by making the choices, move move move! 

This is how 'The Sunday Series' was born. It dawned on me that there could be a space created for sharing, a space created for inspiring and a space created for a change in this conversation. 

If you are like me, a creative, a dreamer, a seeker and maybe a little lost - this might me the inspirational conversation that brings a little shift to your week. The conversation that reminds you that anything is possible.}

Here we go with the 2nd Edition!!

Meet Laura MacDonald Wilkinson.  

{before I forget - that cutie pie with the blond piggies up there at the top of the page? That's one of Laura's adorable children!}

 Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where have you been/come from with your working life? educational background, your family...

I'm a mom and a wife.  I'm a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a friend. I'm a sign maker, I'm a blogger, I'm a library assistant. I'm lots of things I never thought I'd be and I love every minute of all of it.

My husband, Tim, and I have been married for 8 years- he's my partner.  I wouldn't be doing this without him.  He has been in the sign business since he was 18 years old.  About 5 years ago, he decided to go out and start again on his own- like really on his own.  But he's a sales guy, not a computer guy, so he needed me to learn too.  I am a quick learner, and I can teach myself most things.  We got a vinyl cutter and a design program and we had to learn.  So I did. One day I asked him about an idea I had- and he gave me an eyeroll- so I decided to prove him wrong.  I gave myself a timeframe to put together designs and launch an etsy shop (I was doing vinyl decor decals at the time)  And I did it.  And he had to eat his words.  Awesome.

{If you love pinterest, or home decor or refinished or repurposed home furnishings, Laura's house is like a playground! I could spend a whole day walking room to room enjoying all of the nooks and crannies.} 

 What are you up to these days? What's your small business all about? 

What am I up to?  That's a good quesiton.  Right now- a lot.  Which is good- I thrive on busy.  It's exhausting but exhilarating at the same time.  I have a large caffeine intake from now till December 21!  I recently launched my Christmas collection of signs for my business Walls and Words.  I sell them locally and online through Facebook and Etsy so I'm starting to fill orders and  I'm also in the process of building up stock for a local Christmas show hosted by the Rotary Club.  It's my second year doing it.  It's a big venture for me- I don't do things small or halfway- but it's great to see customers in person instead of just speaking to them online.  I also started a blog last fall (One house 2 barnsand I've been working on building and growing that as well.

Those that know you know that your mind runs at a very quick pace - how do you keep on top of all of your ideas?

Ha ha.  I'm always surprised when I hear people say that.  I know it's true, but I guess I'm going so fast I don't realize that people notice.  I always have ideas and plans and a running commentary going through my head.  I'll get an idea of a sign, a design, a blog post, a room set up, a DIY and just know I have to do it.  I used to rely on my memory, but .... not so much.  I now have a notebook- a pretty one, it HAS to be pretty, and it has pages of notes.  I'm not the most organized person, so the notes are pretty random, but they jog my memory.  My actual problem is focus.  I'm a good multi-tasker- I have to multi-task or I will get bored.  I can't just do one thing at a time- and that can get a little overwhelming- not really for me... more for Tim when he comes into the shop and I have 6 different things going on at once.  I get it all done, just maybe not in the standard way.    

Where do you get your inspiration? Online, magazines...What are your favorite sources?

I get inspiration from lots of places- big ones are Pinterest - that's not too surprising there, blogs- I love blogs, there are so many creatives out there it's like a treasure trove, Instagram- that's my new favourite social media, I can just scroll through these pretty images while I'm drinking my coffee, it gets the wheels turning.  I'm also a magazine lover- not online ones, I'm an old fashioned paper gal.  I think another big inspiration for me is old things.  I grew up with antiques and old stuff around me- you look at the craftsmanship, the details, the work put into something as simple as a table.  And I think to myself- I need to do that.  

{I LOVE this office space. An old door painted red, pictures of the people she loves - I could work THERE.}
 You have a very busy life with work, your business, raising a family and a husband who's involved in council. What are your biggest challenges? What are you most proud of?

We do have a busy life.  It's fun, I wouldn't change it-  but it can get overwhelming at times.  When I do get downtime, I hate it.  I get lonely, I get down.  I'd much rather be busy. My biggest challenge is the everyday stuff- suppers, cleaning the house, laundry, the stuff that's boring to me.  It needs to get done and I do it, it's just hard to find motivation.  I'd much rather paint a room than wash the floor- so I'm trying to teach the kids those things now!    I guess what I'm most proud of... hmm, I'm proud of my kids, that goes without saying being a mom, right..... but what I am proud of, is that I did this.  I didn't just think about it.  I did it.  I made myself a business.  I make the things in my head come to life.  And they don't suck.  With my Christmas collection this year, I had about 20 new designs and I made singles of each to start with.  I stood back and looked at them over the tables in the shop and I thought, damn girl, you did good.

*Christmas Collection 2015 images from Laura's Walls and Words by Wilkinsigns*

Where do you hope to go with your business?  What makes your heart soar when you think about it?

I'd like my business to continue to grow- online, of course, but maybe down the road a studio here at home.  I know that trends change, but I think handmade is something that won't die off, it will evolve, but it will always be here.  
I'd also love for my blog to grow- I love writing.  I love writing the little stories in each post- it just flows out through my fingertips.  It's a moment when I'm all aligned.  I make, I write, I create- that's what I love doing and wherever that takes me, I'm cool with that. 
{While I was hanging out with Laura in her creative space - she showed me from beginning to end, how the 'hands-on' work happens in her shop. It's a lengthy process, and Laura loves to make sure everything is just right from the colour, to the sanding to the fonts - to the finished product!}

What advice would you give another creative soul who may hesitate when going for it? Or perhaps a mom with kids/busy life, what would you say about managing it all and going for it? 

I'm not a great advice giver, nor advice taker.  It's scary putting yourself out there, it is.  You never know how it's going to go over.  It's so personal.  It's like standing up on a stage all alone in front of a crowd.  They might boo.  It's terrifying.  BUT, they might clap.  They might cheer.  If it speaks to you, if it's your thing take the leap.  Close your eyes and go.  
As for moms, same thing goes- but something has got to give.  It might be the housekeeping, the cooking, the PTA, the whatever.  You can't do it all, you can try, but you'll go nuts.  Let something go- it's really not that big of a deal at the end of the day.  Just don't forget to pick your kids up from school- you will never live that down.  Never.  Ask my mom. 

Lastly, where can we find you online? 

You can find me online on etsy at Etsy or you can read at One House 2 Barns  You can check me out on Facebook, on pinterest and instagram.  I'm all over the place- it could be annoying.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy busy schedule - especially with your Christmas push being RIGHT NOW! If you have a few minutes, please visit Laura at one of the many spaces she hangs out in. And if you need to cross a few people off your shopping know where to start!

All the best, Laura! I look forward to continue reading your blog, watching your renos and most of all, watching you succeed.

Find the First Edition of the Sunday Series here.

The months are filling up quickly - if you know of someone who would love to be one of my Sunday Series interviews, have them get in touch - Lee-Ann

To see more of Ginger Snaps! work or to book YOUR family or business photosession, please connect with Lee-Ann