Mom Story: Suzzanna from Sushipot Shop
I’m Suzanna Scott, a 36-year-old artist living in Manhattan, Kansas (affectionately referred to by its residents as “the Little Apple”) with my husband Patrick and my 6-year-old daughter Lizzie. We’re living in Kansas while my husband finishes up his PhD in Economics at Kansas State University.
We home school Lizzie who just started first grade and we’ve been running our home business, Sushipot Art Objects, for five years now. I have two Etsy shops that keep me quite busy and provide many learning opportunities for Lizzie. She’s my kindred spirit—a little artist, a prolific crafter in her own right and always an inspiration to me in my work. You can follow along on our family ‘n business adventures through my blog, view my artwork at Sushipot or browse Sushipot Parts which is chock-full of vintage goodies that our family has picked up on our many “treasure hunts”.
We are currently leasing a 3 level duplex while Patrick is working on his PhD. It is touted as “maintenance free” living, which we knew we would need during this busy chapter of our life. I could live without the faux wood trim, “popcorn” color walls and beige carpeting that are standard with rental homes such as these. I try not to think about the hardwood floors and white trim of the home we sold back in Alabama but right now it’s all about efficiency! Oh yes, and I miss having our own private yard but thankfully there are parks everywhere in this town!
What is it you like best about living here?
The best thing about this place is the s-p-a-c-e! I have a whole room to myself to use as a studio with an adjacent “den” which serves as office, schoolroom, playroom and shipping area for Sushipot.
Do you keep your children’s play areas very separate or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?
Lizzie plays everywhere in the house. The dining table makes for a great play house once you throw a sheet over it. The garage is best for messy painting projects. The walk-in closet in the master bedroom is the best hiding place. We’ve set up cozy reading spots for her in almost every room—beanbags, pillows n’ throws are great for that!
I love reading the blogs Poppytalk, Kickcan and Conkers, Aesthetic Outburst, all the blogs on the Simple Living Network and of course Bloesem and Bloesem Kids! The number of artist’s blogs that I read on a daily basis are too numerous to name. My hands-down favorite magazine of all time is Uppercase Magazine — “the magazine for the creative and curious”. Even Patrick and Lizzie like to read them. If you don’t have a subscription yet you need to get one now or at least put it on your x-mas wish list!
Some tidying tips? Do your children tidy up after themselves?
As for keeping things tidy, Lizzie and I have a daily “pick up” time in the studio and playroom area and she is responsible for picking up her own room every night before bed. We tackle any weekly house cleaning chores as a family on the weekends.
A perfect day for us would have to include a trip to the public library, an hour or so at the park (possibly with kites involved!), an afternoon snack and tall coffee at Starbucks, a bit of quiet reading time, a fun craft and dinner magically waiting for us at home in the crock-pot.
What is a normal day with your children? What do you do on weekends?
A typical day for us starts out with Patrick and Lizzie getting up and having breakfast together. After Patrick leaves for school I get up (they are really sweet to let me sleep!), get Lizzie started on her “morning routine” of making bed, getting dressed, etc. I down my 1st cup of coffee for the day and jump in the shower. We spend the morning working in the office together—Lizzie doing schoolwork while I supervise and answer emails, blog, pack orders and tackle any other computer related chores. It’s a bit of a juggling act some days but it works. The afternoons are spent together in the studio where we work side by side on the 8-foot workspace that Patrick built for us. On sunny days we spend a bit of time outdoors while I work on product photography and Lizzie plays. Most days we work in a walk ‘round the neighborhood or a trip to the park. When Patrick arrives home at 5 it’s strictly family time until Lizzie’s bedtime around 8ish. Every evening is spent in our respective office/studio spaces, as this is when our main “work” happens. We rarely call it quits before midnight.
Our weekends are spent grocery shopping, doing laundry and other house chores. I usually have a couple projects for the business that I need Patrick’s help with. We work in at least one family outing whether to the park or a local antique shop. Our mantra is “work hard, play hard” and we find little ways to include Lizzie in our projects.
Tell us a funny story, quote or remark one of your children recently made.
I was explaining to Lizzie what a chameleon was and how they change color to blend into their environment. A couple minutes later she asked me “Mom, when chameleons sit on rainbows do they turn rainbow striped?”
What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
We always have some sort of DIY project going. A project we’re currently working on is fixing up an old wooden doll cradle that we bought for a couple bucks. It’s getting a makeover with white paint, some wooden braces and a new mattress complete with a antique patchwork quilt top. It will be Valerie’s (Lizzie’s most favorite doll) new bed.
Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?
Most of the crafting happens in my studio. In an effort to keep the rental carpet from getting mucked up we installed 4 extra large, hard plastic office mats before arranging the furniture. This way I don’t have to worry about paint or playdoh being ground into the floor. We just sweep up our messes as needed and vacuum once a week. It’s also handy ‘cuz I can use a rolling work chair to move easier while working.
What do you do with all the projects your children make at home or in school?
Most crafty projects find a home on a shelf or cork board somewhere in the house for a few months. They all are documented (thanks to the handy iphone camera) at time of creation so when older projects have seen their heyday they can be disposed of without “as much” guilt on my part.
Any decoration ideas on how to hang, keep or use them as presents?
We’ve turned Lizzie’s drawings into many different gift-able forms such as buttons, magnets, ornaments, doorknob hangers, key chains, etc. Select drawings are framed, displayed on the fridge, hung with washi tape or pinned to one of many bulletin boards in the house. The majority of drawings are added to a box of artwork that I’ve loosely filed by age and date of creation. When it comes to drawings I can’t bear to pitch any of ‘em.
How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?
Birthdays and holidays are family days. We take the day off and spend it together. It always involves opening presents in pajamas, a special breakfast and an outing of the birthday persons choosing. The day ends with birthday cake of course.
What are some of your favorite games in your home?
We’ve collected most of our games from thrift shops and many are vintage classics such as Uncle Wiggly, Chutes and Ladders, Husker Du, Candy Land and lots of puzzles too. Our most recent addition is an antique, hand carved Chinese Checker board—it’s so unique and been fun to teach Lizzie the game.
What are your all time favorite books for your children?
Patrick and Lizzie are currently reading through the entire Wizard of Oz series. They read a chapter or two every night and are currently on the 7th book in the series, The Patchwork Girl of Oz. I have great memories of my mom reading these out loud when I was a kid.
How do you get your books? Bookstores? Online?
Most of our books have come from thrift shops, used bookstores, the public library’s yearly book sale and when we have to buy it new–Amazon.com.
Lizzie spends her leisure time in one of 3 ways: reading, crafting or drawing. She’s a voracious reader, a self-dubbed “crafty chick” (which is always followed by a “peep, peep”) and a prolific artist who loves tiny renditions with lots ‘n lots of detail.
Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?
I love to cook and bake but I don’t have the time to do much of it these days. We usually fall back on the standards of veggie stir-fry ‘n rice, “breakfast” dinners, some sort of pasta meal and lots of crock-pot stews in the winter months.
Do you cook together with your children? Does Dad cook?
Patrick loves to cook. He can make a mean quiche, a “to die for” lasagna and has perfected his red velvet cake recipe over the years. He makes one for me every year on my birthday. It’s my favorite part of aging (hah!). Lizzie knows how to make scrambled eggs, her favorite pickles ‘n peanut butter sandwich and she loves to chop up vegetables.
What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with or without the children?
Most trips involve extended family events and visits to grandparents these days. Vacation days are few and far between while writing a dissertation and running a home business. We do dream and speculate on the luxury of week long family vacations once we enter the next chapter of our lives!
Tips for traveling in a plane or a long road trip with children?
Lizzie has her own suitcase with wheels when we travel and we’ve never had to carry it through an airport or into a hotel. She loves wielding it around all by herself and never lets it out of her sight. We always travel with a lap desk in the car. Our iphones and ipad are invaluable on long interstate drives or airport layovers. How’d we live without ‘em when we were kids?
What an adorable story Suzzanna, thank you so much for sharing it!