Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Wholesome Mama: Tania Prosser

This is the very first of my "wholesome mamas" feature where I will be featuring wholesome mamas, many of them also Etsy shop owners, to find out what they are doing to live their best lives and raise strong, happy and well adjusted children. I hope you will find ideas and inspiration from these amazing moms.

Our first "wholesome mama" is Tania Prosser, owner of "Fairy Shadow" Etsy shop, selling handmade hair accessories from upcycled materials. Her work is beautiful, and I can tell that her spirit is too. She lives her life conciously and with purpose in Northern California where, with her husband and two daughters, she raises "sheep and cattle and other assorted critters!" May you be inspired by her wisdom in her eloquent responses!

What does wholesome living mean to you?

Wholesome living for me is all about keeping things in balance. From the food I eat, adequate sleep, activity levels to my emotional and spiritual health. I am not one for absolutes. I believe we come to this world with the ability to find what works best for ourselves and the big job is to really pay attention to when something feels wrong and when it feels right and act upon that knowledge. Life can be unpredictable and, from time to time, we are faced with decisions that require confidence of self. If we have managed to build a broad, stable base to stand on it is harder to get knocked over. My husband and I have strived to give a well balance life to our children and as they are reaching adulthood we see that it is paying off. They are kind, strong, good natured people.

What is your favorite wholesome food, meal or recipe?

I love kale stir-fried with onions and mixed into mashed potatoes. We raise our own cattle and so I will add ground beef to this. My children find this hodge-podge unappealing so I keep each part separate and enjoy the mix myself while my family teases me about the ugly mess in my bowl.

Are you currently involved with any causes, charities or volunteer work?

Last year my 16 year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. She has been successfully treated with surgery and chemotherapy and proved herself to be powerfully courageous. We have since been active with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. I think it has been tremendously helpful for her to walk with other cancer survivors and see that people do indeed go on to live full, healthy and normal lives.

What’s your favorite natural home remedy?

I believe that the very best remedy you can give to your child is your full and undivided attention when they are in need. When they go down and are wounded in a small way or a big way your energy is magical. Your touch and presence helps to make the pain bearable. Never devalue it.

Where do you feel most at peace?

I find peace in my garden. Working the soil is regenerative and the garden is one of the best teacher you could ask for. It requires flexibility and an open mind to sort out the ever present problems that arise from asking the earth to organize itself around your desires. You have to learn to be happy with the limitations of your own environment and come to peace with what you have.

From where/who do you gather your inspiration?

Because I am working with upcycled textiles to make my flower hair accessories I get excited by garments with interesting visual textures. I’m finding tie-dyed shirts to especially nice to make my flowers from. I love digging through the big bins at my Goodwill outlet (where the clothes that don’t sell at their retail outlets go before they are bundled and send overseas) and finding beautiful colors for my petals. I am also starting to work with felted sweaters but I need to be careful not to get too far ahead of myself in the gathering of my fabrics. I can drown in a sea of material wealth so easily.

What was the last book you read?

I’m a bit embarrassed. My book club hostess chose a bodice-buster called ‘The Flower and the Flame’. She chose this after I told her I had noticed a change in the imagery used on the cover of romance novels lately. I had recalled the swooning women falling into the arms of darkly handsome men, dress lacings coming unbound. While at a bookstore I noted that many of those novels now came with bare muscular male torsos with faces obscured in shadow and I couldn’t resist lining them all up on the shelf. I felt quite naughty for rearranging the inventory. I found the novel very hard to read because I just could not identify with the heroine and was frequently irritated by her stupidity.

Name 3 things you are grateful for.

I am grateful for the love of my family, the courage of my daughter and hot running water. One must be practical after all.

What advice/information would you share with a new mom?

Every moment you invest in your children is worth it. Sometimes the demands of the day can blind you to this fact. To squat down and look into the eyes of your child when she speaks to you is never a waste. Let the dishes go unwashed if your heart calls for you sit and read a book with her. The dishes are always getting dirtied but your little one is lap-sized for only the briefest of time.

What advice/information would you share with someone thinking about starting up their own Etsy shop or small business?

Before you start sit down and write out what exactly it is that you want. Ask what your destination is. Do you want income? Lots of income or pin money? Keep in mind that lots of income as a self-employed person is way more than a full time job. So many start-up crafters don’t pay themselves for all the work that has to be done outside of the making of the product. Your time is valuable so remember to price your product so that you get paid for your all your time. Make a map of where you are now and where you want to be and honestly assess how you will travel that road and if you can be happy with that journey. Hunt down information. Many have traveled the road before you and can help you avoid the pitfalls. Most importantly, pay attention to how your work impacts your family life. An unhappy mama equals an unhappy family.

To see more of Tania's designs, check out her Etsy shop here:


What a wonderful interview. Tania your work is wonderful. Thank you for sharing!

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