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Montag, 27. Mai 2013

An interview with Gina Vide from willowday (english version)

The blog willowday from Gina Vide is filled with beautiful projects to do for you with you're children. It's a bit like the pinatas she likes to create: Colorful and and when you treat it, there's still more sparkling and surprises to come. I especially love her cards and can recommend her ideas for valentines, easter, mother day and birthday parties...You find Gina Vide at

- You've got an italian first name, you're american, your husband is french and your 3 children grow up in Sweden. How do you get along with all this different languages, cultures, food and traditions?

I try to embrace the good from all 3 cultures and my close, positive American family serve as my touchstone. Although these cultures are all western, each have big core differences and values which are illuminated when raising kids. From the moment the children were born, I was struck with example after example of tremendous differences: from the way their births were handled to the daily life of a baby in Sweden. 
My perception is that navigating cultures happily requires an open mind and strong humility. It forces you to make conscious decisions about what you're going to accept, adapt to and what you're simply going to ignore and figure out on your own.

On the practical side, I've felt that in order to just juggle the children's languages, the studies, the cultures and the travel to our families, I felt that I needed to be flexible and very present. Working as a freelance designer from home and now, with willowday,too,  has been a perfect way to manage a career and family.

My husband grew up living around the world, speaking 3 languages from birth -- a real adventurer and a "citizen of the world" who's life's journey is a source of comfort for me, as we too are raising our kids internationally. I grew up in one, all-American town but, at ease and dreaming about the larger world. As you say, even my name served as a reminder of the fascinating larger world. Although the name Gina is Italian, I'm named after Great-Grandmothers, Gena and Regina, who were of Norwegian and German descent. Although they were born in the US, I loved to hear their family stories, foods and histories. I was the kind of kid who checked international cookbooks from the library and made foreign sounding desserts for my family and baby sitters from a very young age.

I think a lot of my parenting and outlook on life spring  from my strong, generous and entrepreneurial family -- who raised us with a sense that anything was possible and exposed us to a broad world through travel and who they were. I am fortunate to have found a life partner with the same idea and we try to instill this with the kids. We want their world to feel just natural and that efforts you put in can make anything possible. 

- The name of your blog is willowday: Spend a day under the willow tree?

What a fun question! I do have happy childhood memories of one summer spent climbing a willow tree complete with picnics! These are memories that would quickly fit right into the pages of my current willowday life.  Willowday actually came about, though, when married my French-Swedish husband and took his last name. My new Swedish last name sounds like the Swedish word for "willow." I found the imagery in "willow' to be so rich, compelling and beautiful that I named my original design company willowdesign and it only felt fitting that this new willow bud to be named "willowday." 

- make, do, live and find -chasing beauty in the every day is written on top of your blog. What is your favorit make, do and find from the last month? 

That's tough. because I wake up excited and inspired every single day and with 10 more ideas I hope to find time for.  If we talk specifically about a recent project that I had really looked forward to, it was the Wrapped Washer Big and Small Necklaces

I could just imagine sitting with my daughter and making these. I couldn't wait to try and when I made it with the kids and neighbors, was thrilled how well these worked. I love projects that have depth or meaning and those that are spring boards for creativity and exploration. 
To me personally, it was the Cherry Blossom day. Everything about that day was serendipitous: the trees were absolutely luscious, the bike ride and the time with my family precious.

- You're a designer and one can see that in your work. You're also a mother with a great knowledge to create a sparkling party and  have fun outdoor and in the kitchen. Have you got a advice for us how to combine this two?

I love to be spontaneous and unplanned, but, we're a busy, modern busy family living in Sweden. Sweden is not a spontaneous culture or a place with abundant supply stores and late shop hours. The key for me is to keep all of the basics well stocked. I want to be ready for making and entertaining at all times.  Life works best when I have a well-stocked art supply cupboard and kitchen, so that I don't have to spend more time running and can be spontaneous at home. If we have an idea or time, I want to be able to make it immediately. 
I keep high quality paper in all colors and textures on hand; envelopes, ribbon, multiple quantities of adhesives (enough for several to work at the same time - from tape to glue), fabric, paints, markers and color pencils. I you have high quality basics, you can make almost anything and I think kids should work with high quality from a young age.
I'm the same in the kitchen: keep all of the basics stocked which include, for me, good chocolate, nuts, herbs and spices (I'm always adding when we're traveling),.... and baking paper. I'm crazy about baking paper and baking string. -- I use it for everything from baking to wrapping to decorating. I might plan to have fish for dinner but, I love to be spontaneous with preparation: should today be simple, grilled, Thai or something else? Keeping a well-stocked kitchen, makes spontaneity and entertaining easy. The kids feels this and often like to be involved and although they each have their distinct favorites will try basically anything. 

- Where do you get your inspiration from? 

I'm a dreamer and a doer. I'm always looking for the beautiful and the possible -- I get inspiration from my family, the countryside, the city, our daily life, travel.... a leaf, a word... a sound... and always have busy hands.

- I've got you're beautiful ice sculptures in mind.... How does the climate and nature in Sweden influence your work? 

Yes, We're completely influenced by the world around us.  I've always made sure we're active outside year around. Looking for beauty in nature is one way to be at peace with climate. If you don't find a way to go outside, the long, Swedish dark winters could be tough. Yes, even doing things like winter picnics. The ice lantern were one of these fantastic, Saturday afternoon experiments, done by our oldest son between sledding and snow ball throwing. My jaw just dropped when he called me outside  to see what he had created. We combined efforts and I ran for candles and the ice lanterns were born. We all love to keep our walk filled with them all winter. He was so proud and moments like that make me so happy.

- You started you're blog back at Christmas in France in 2011. Can you tell us a thing or a thought looking back and one looking forward?

Just do it! There are several ways to approach starting a blog, but for me, I just decided to not over think the decision to blog and to just get started -- after all, these every day happenings were already happening in our house. I used the simplest program available and just began.  I had just lost my camera and had to use one of my husbands old cameras in the beginning. Although it's embarrasing to find a typo, alignment errors, or problematic photo on a live post. my goal was to get started, fine tune along the way, improve every day -- and to reach an audience who felt my pure intensions and found inspiration. I am just one person, not a crew. I knew it could be a good way to share and explore ideas -- it was almost like a student project: willowday is a way to "hear myself think" while developing the willowday voice that I'm comfortable and natural sharing:  How does one inspire without over sharing? How can I spread inspiring projects but with simple, accessible supplies? etc.  

During those Christmas travels, my link was only open to my sister, as I was trying to see if I could get a few pages up while traveling (after all, too, this area of France is so beautiful)  On January 4, when we returned home, I opened the link publicly and had no idea if anyone would ever find me. For me, the decision to share was a very naked experience, I'm a rather private person I don't even really use my personal Facebook; but, with "just do it" as my mantra, I challenged myself to start publishing 5 original posts per week, without even telling one friend, to see if I could find others with ideas like me, out in the world! It's been a tremendously amazing experience that has given so much back to me. I pinch myself regularly at the way it's developed. 

Since I've only been at it for just over a year, I've found that I'm never lacking ideas --- just time. As I look to the future, I'm trying to find ways to try to post new ideas consistently.... there are so many ideas and new projects I'd love to explore!

Wishing you an inspired day, too! Thank you so much for your time. Gina

pictures: Gina Vide,

Dear Gina, thank you so much for the conversation. Reading your answers was like sitting in your kitchen with a nice cup of tea and talking about family, creativity, and starting and writing a blog.

Gina and I would like to dedicate this Interview to Kathreen Ricketson. We've "met" trough Action Pack Magazine. The Interview was held, before we knew about the tragic accident of her.

Merci für's reinschauen und ich freue mich immer über euren Kommentar!