The emails i get with random questions from y’all are growing so i thought i would answer a few here. xx

Why i blog:
I started this blog in 2008 so i would have an incentive to write, and to keep in touch with my extended international tribe. I was a new mama to my boy and hadn’t been back in NZ very long. I was missing my people. Three years on the GrowMama blog and my readers are very much part of my life. I love the community that has sprung up around the blog, i love that it has made me see the world differently and become a better photographer and i especially love the emails i get from mama’s at home with kidlets who tell me they appreciated a post, or were inspired or comforted by something i wrote. That rocks my world. The blog is heartfelt and very much an extension of our everyday life. Joy, magic, hard bits and all.

How did you come up with the name Growmama? I brainstormed a bunch of names for the blog and found every single one of them taken already. I took the ‘grow’ to represent me growing as a person, growing into being mama, my son growing (like a weed) and my work of growing a more sustainable world. The ‘mama’ part got tacked on because, well, i was so sleep deprived, that was the only facet of me that was running at full speed! I nailed the name after HOURS of trying to see what was available on blogspot. I think it fits nicely.

So, i heard a rumour you were in jail once (or maybe twice?). Uh, yup! I believe in direct action. There are times to stand up and speak for that which cannot speak for itself. Sometimes the only effective way to do that is with direct action. Search Youtube for ‘you get what you give –Greenpeace’. I’m with them.

Do you buy EVERYTHING secondhand?! Ha! Um. Let’s just say almost everything. I like to make many of the clothes we wear and household items. Often from thrifted fabric. I think there is enough stuff in the world, shopping new gives me a rash. Besides, shopping secondhand is fun. Plus, i couldn’t finance all this if i shopped new. True. http://www.storyofstuff.com/

Will you come do a workshop in my town? Or speak at my event? I would love to. Email me and we’ll talk possibilities.

What workshops do you teach? Upcoming i have: Plants as Medicine. Sew Fun (sewing 101 with a vintage/upcycling twist). I design and facilitate a number of other workshops, these will be revealed once i get my workshop pages up.

Where can i read more of your writing? I write freelance and am a regular contributor for Extracurricular Magazine. Feature articles by me can be found in back issues of Organic NZ magazine and Communities magazine. If you are really lucky you might unearth back issues of The Spark, a Washington DC weekly newspaper from 2006...i co-wrote a column called Radical Intimacy. My Plant medicine handbook is being used in two classes at UCLA this year and is available HERE. http://felt.co.nz/listing/106716/GrowMama-Plant-medicine-handbook

Did you write a book? I wrote a book called Picking up the Pieces- healing from rape. I have a nice folder of very supportive friendly rejection letters from publishers and receive emails from all over the world from women or their support folks requesting copies of the book. It is needed in the world. I have it available in PDF form – to be made available shortly. Email me if you need it sooner.

You refer to being sleep deprived alot...what’s that about? Jed was not a big sleeper. At five he still has trouble unwinding to get to sleep sometimes, wakes once a night and is up super early. In the early years he would take HOURS to go down for a nap or to get to sleep at night and waking 4,5,6 times a night. We tried many things to change this. I know now many children who have the same or very similar sleep stories to Jed. Please don’t email me with suggestions for how to ‘fix’ his sleep issues. I have heard it all. Really. And besides, you are missing the rest of the context to his story. I get calls from distraught mama’s from all over asking for advice on sleep issues...uh huh...we are a bit famous that way. Or should that be infamous?! I have made my peace. I have heard the stories from mama’s of five who thought they had the parenting thing down until their child that didn’t sleep. Oh yes, i have made my peace!

Can i advertise on the GrowMama blog? I will only do reviews of products i like and would use myself. I am on the fence about whether to go the sponsorship/associate route with the blog...i think i’ll try. To support people and spread the word about good stuff. Plus, i would like to do more with the blog and need it to make some money to make that happen. Don’t worry, i will keep it heartfelt.

Will you link to my blog? I have a list on the side there called ‘inspiring’...the blogs and websites i put on there are a personal choice. There are so many blogs out there, by all means send me links to stuff and blogs you think i will like/want to support but i make no promises. Far too busy for promises, even eating falls off my to-do list sometimes.

Will you review my product? Would i be an associate? Sure, if i like and want to promote it...email me.

What countries have you been to/lived in? I lived 16 years away from little ole New Zealand, you can cover alot of ground in that time: i lived in Vancouver Canada, London England, i lived in a little village in the Pyrenees Orientale in France, in a commune called Twin Oaks in Central Virginia in the USA, on an island off the coast of Dubrovnik in Croatia, in Prague and a little village called Hole in the Czeach Republic. I have travelled through most countries in Europe, Australia, through South East Asia, Across Canada and alot of the US. I love me a good long road trip. Best way to experience a city? Get lost. Literally. Throw that guidebook and map away and walk and walk and walk. Keep your eyes open and the city will open its secrets to you. Really. Try it.

And you know, i met amazing people who had such wisdom to share who had never left their mountain villages. Not everyone needs to travel. Travel within the mind is the deepest. And cheapest!

Are you still trying for another child? Oof, personal question (and one I get a lot)...well, right now I am focussing on being well. I haven't been for awhile. The fertility road has been a long and ah, arduous road. My arms are still open to another child but i am okay with being a family of three. We are pretty awesome.

Can i link to your blog? Use a photos of yours? Yes and probably. For photos i like to know what it's being used for and give credit. If it's a business thing i like to be paid thanks. Thanks for asking. Just last week i got an email from the Colorado Museum of Natural History asking if they could use my photograph of a male giraffe weevil in an upcoming exhibition.  (I said yes!)

Do you take all your own photos? Yes, i love doing it too. I love how photography forces me to look at the world more closely and from different perspectives. Having said that, i can hide behind a camera and purposely leave it behind and just be in the moment sometimes too. If i do use someone else’s image i will credit them.

Why don’t you post pictures of other people very much? Ah, you know, laziness...i get permission from everyone i post and well, it is just simpler to keep it simple. Then no-one can complain they looked crap in my photo! So far Jed hasn’t complained.

Why did you choose to homeschool? So many reasons. We may not always homeschool Jed but it is the right thing for right now and we are having a blast. (Update mid 2013- Jed has started a few mornings a week at the local Steiner kindergarten, we're just seeing how it all unfolds)

Can you tell me what homeschooling looked like for you? We choose a letter and a theme beginning with that letter each week. V is for Viking. W was for water. Etc. My lesson plans for the week include things like practicing writing, number play/math concepts, alot of learning through play and experiments. We read alot and have many resources and a great home library. At any given time we will have 70 books out from our town library. We do session every morning usually not more than an hour. I don’t force anything but i may encourage. Writing might be with mud paint on the house, with a pencil and paper or in a sand tray. We keep a folder of all Jed’s work and i will post lesson plans at some point. I say lesson plans but its more like ‘checklists of things we may do’. Learning about Vikings included battlemaths with small tin soldiers, making Viking salt, making a Viking shield, a visit to the museum, art inspired by Vikings and learning about daily life in the Viking world. To name a few things. Good fun. Our sessions are a tiny part of our learning journey though...life presents with so many opportunities for learning. I hope Jed always has that passion to learn. It lights up the world he’s so keen.

You seem to do so much, how do you find enough hours in the day? Ha! I don’t. I have a surplus of ideas and often feel overwhelmed. I stay up waay too late for a mama of a kid who is up at 5.30am. Yeah, mornings involve coffee around here.

Does ANYTHING stress you out?! Oh, i laughed at this email! I am human. Very. Human. I get angry, frustrated, feel all the things you feel. I just try to keep it in perspective. Taking deep breaths at key moments helps!

What kind of sewing machine do you use? A Bernina Nova. I love it. It has a carry case. It is cream coloured with red trim. It sews well and looks cool. End of story! I do have a secret hankering for a green Singer Featherweight though.

Can i make and sell one of your designs? Absolutely! I’ll even send you the pattern. But please credit me for it on your labels/advertising. Thanks.

Do you do commissions? Most likely, email me.

I wrote you a comment and you didn’t reply to it, what’s up with that? I do read them all...it’s just, well, life gets in the way sometimes. I am classic for trying to do too much and sometimes things drop off my list. I love it when you comment, it makes my day. You can always email you know. Er, repeatedly, if an answer is pressing!

Where do I source my vintage fabric for the GrowMama line? I get asked this ALL the time. Must be ‘cause I find such cool fabric huh? Well, there is no short answer other than hard slog. I cruise thrift shops, flea markets and traders online. It has to be fabric I love and that is in excellent condition for me to use it.

Sheesh, if you read all that, you must be super keen, high on caffeine or really procrastinating! xx

You can email me at: anissaljanta(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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