Meet inspiring mom, Merrilee Liddiard, who is known for her creative illustrations and popular children’s craft book called Playful. We have been long time lovers of everything Merrilee does and are completely inspired by her love to play + create. Were so honored to have the chance to spend the afternoon with Mer + her little peanuts and get to know her on a more personal level. It instantly fell like we had been friends forever and we talked about all the important things like how we put on our eyeliner to the mystery of “angel doors” in Utah, to our joint love of taking a hot bath after a long day. We felt completely at home in this historic 1890’s home and honestly would have stayed for dinner if we were invited!
We are so thrilled to share a more personal side to Merrilee and her thoughts on motherhood + so many beautiful images of her newly renovated home called “The Banister House”. From this first image it’s easy to see why it has so lovingly been named this. That Banister though! Photography by Becky Kimball
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOU?
Of course! I’m Merrilee, or Mer, and have had a passion for creation for as long as I can remember. I devoured craft books as a kid and grew up in a home where doll houses, train tables, costumes and creative magic were in full production all around me. I’m an illustrator by trade and love creating with and for children. I started getting into blogging my first born and I began to draw, paint and create things together.
WHAT FIRST INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE A BOOK?
You know I had an idea for a book from the very beginning of this blogging journey (remember the part where I read tons of them as a kid :)). I really wanted something for parents and children to be able to pull off the shelf and browse through offline. Something to get inspired by and encourage creativity and special moments spent together amidst all the hustle and bustle of today’s world.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT INSPIRES YOUR DESIGNS?
My children and their ages and inclinations are a big inspiration to me. I love to take what they are interested in and use it as an opportunity to dig deeper in a project. It’s a great way to get them more interested in being creative. I love recycling something old or discarded and making it beautiful. I’m also very inspired by Europe, peasant everything, childhood playfulness, nature, art, etc. And after trying to gather together all my eclectic tastes I managed to nail down that I like all things Playful French Industrial.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE PARTS ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I love having my kids involved. And any time I can sink my teeth into a great creative challenge I’m really fulfilled. I love creating beauty and inspiring others. When I see little ones and parents inspired to create and make, well that’s really just the best thing ever.
AFTER A LONG BUSY WEEK WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND?
Oh man. A long shower in our still unfinished “shower land” often does the trick. I also like to do creative research on things I’m not obliged to, plan some-day trips overseas and love love love to scour antique malls and flea markets for treasures (I’ve even managed to get my kids in love with the hunt :)).
HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK LIFE AND FAMILY LIFE?
Oh boy it’s nuts for sure. I enjoy it when I can involve my kids in my work, either by creating and crafting with them, playing with them or trying to share how my illustration projects work. But somedays it’s absolute madness and I’m not sure there’s an once of balance in it at all. I just try to take important moments and step away from my work so my family knows I’m there for them (because being a work-at-home mom can easily turn into work ALL. THE. TIME.). So I find after school the kids need a few moments of uninterrupted mom time to decompress and we make sure we are all present at dinner. Family dinners are very important in our home. And when the kids are in bed Jon and spend a few moments together sharing our day, decompressing, putting on Netflix and even working together which is actually really nice.
WHAT QUOTE BEST DESCRIBES YOU + WHAT YOU LIVE BY?
You know I just read something from an email I received from Hillary Rushford of Dean Street Society that really resonated with me. She said “I do not believe I have to choose between doing work that wildly fulfills me, and a graceful spacious life. I don’t accept that I have to settle for either an ordinary job or an exhausting life of endless hustle.” That about sums up how I feel.
WHAT DO YOU + YOUR FAMILY LIKE TO DO TOGETHER?
We like adventures. Be it the adventure of renovating a historic 1890’s home or traveling somewhere new. Yeah I would say that working together and traveling together creates some of our best moments and memories as a family.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN + MOTHERS?
First off to be kind to yourself. You’re doing better than you think. And secondly find and savor those simple moments. Both with yourself and with your family. And third, it’s so important to find ways to fill you well so you are inspired in you work and have more of the best you to share with your loved ones.