Creating a new life with my 4 year old right beside me…
I had a baby in my early 40’s and remember being in a panic when I found out I was pregnant. I was after all, the quintessential creative career gal. I was in the midst of an upsurge in business in my groovy little clothing boutique in Venice, California. I had moved to California and was living my dream. What was I going to do with a little baby when I was designing clothes, running around town pulling bolts of fabric, or selling to customers?
“Bring her along!” my friend, Annie told me. And that I did.
Bonnie-Blue was a regular at the fabric stores, and my favorite video of her is when she just started to walk, climbing over piles of fabric as mariachi music poured over the radio in the background. She laughed as she fell down, rolling down the colorful swatches. She came with me when designing patterns, and was my sidekick at the boutique. She had to wear a cranial orthotic on her head for about 8 months and I embellished it with her name, feathers, Mod Podge, and plenty of sparkle. When she got to the point where she was pulling items off the shelves, I got her a part time nanny.
I missed her when she started preschool full time, but no worries. We got creative in new ways. We started tie dying in the yard outside of our little apartment that we relocated to. We sang songs and pointed out car colors as she rode on the front of my beach cruiser. And we started to art journal together.
After I closed my store last year, I felt at a loss for what to do. My heart told me that I needed a break, so we relocated to Asheville, North Carolina where my hubby had been working for a couple of years. While a mecca for artists, Asheville wasn’t calling my name for fashion. “What’s next?” I would ask myself. Trying to repeat another boutique wasn’t working. People kept telling me to do an online store, but posting images aimlessly online was really bringing me down. Leases were falling through, locations seemed to be amiss to my vision, and my gut told me to stop, wait. HOLD ON. SLOW DOWN. So I kept creating and art journaling. To the point where Little Miss Thing would point out items to put in my art journal… that piece from the cereal box? Perfect. Those coffee filters that we just dyed using snow and food coloring? They’ll look great, too. And while we’re at it, let’s use those to make some paper flowers for the bedroom.
As for art journaling, I have mine. And she has hers. We have rules about when it’s OK to draw and work in each other’s books. But the validation for all of this came to me the other day. In her little girl voice, she looked up at me and proclaimed, “Mommy, YOU are a true artist.” Wow. I can’t even say that to myself. But she did. So I’ll keep working alongside my little muse who understands that gel pens are way cooler than crayons. A handmade bracelet from stretch elastic and colorful plastic beads has a lot more fashion clout than what you buy at the store. And I keep telling myself to hold on, it’s not time to open another store or go crazy about creating a new clothing collection. Now it’s time to make some art. So I do. Every single day, with my sidekick beside me.
M.E. Ster-Molnar is a fashion designer and art journal maker who currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina with her husband, Dave; daughter, Bonnie-Blue Sunshine; dog, Layla Rose; and cat, Summer She is currently doing a year long project of an art journal page a day. You can follow along on Instagram @MEandBlue #ArtJournalDuJour. You can also visit her website, MEandBlue.com.