When I discovered the handmade domestic goods line Pi’lo at a lovely store in Maine, I just had to find out about the woman behind the collection. From the toothfairy pillows to the magnetic car bingo to the party banners, everything she makes is equal parts thoughtful and inspired.
Give us a little background on yourself/what you do/how you came to it. How much did becoming a parent shape what your business is?
I have been making things for as long as I can remember… and have started selling things that I made while at art school. There was no career decision or business plan. It has just sort of evolved, changing with me as I grow. So when my sister had kids and I became an aunt, I started selling the same items that I was making them as gifts, and launched a children’s line on the side. When I had babies, the children’s line sort of took over there for a while and now that my babies are a bit older, the focus has shifted again. I started using their drawings for some of the pillows and am making things that we want to have. I feel very blessed that I have always been able to make whatever I want and that other people seem to want the same things.
How old are your kids, and if they are school age, do you have any tips for how you deal with the morning rush?
Sebastian is turning 9 and Griffin is turning 7. We always lay out the clothes the night before—this has helped a lot. But our morning rush is mitigated by me getting up very early every day. By the time the boys are up, I have breakfast underway and the lunches made so we can just concentrate on starting the day on a positive note. (It also helps that the school is a two minute walk from our house so leave very close to 9.)
How do you deal with working from home?
We bought our house before having kids. It has a studio in what was once a sausage factory in the back yard. It worked really well when they were babies because I could have the baby monitor on while they napped and would even bring them out there with me or bring the work inside if I needed. (The lines become very blurred between between work and home when they are combined—which is fine when you love what you do.) Now that the boys are older, I can be out there working while they play and they come and get me when they need something or are about to kill each other.
Do you entertain much, and if so, what’s your go-to meal/appetizers/drinks for when you have friends over?
We entertain a lot. We don’t have a go-to routine. Instead I take advantage of people coming to make lots of things. Lots of vegetarian salads and baking! I always laugh because the kids take over the living room and dining room and the adults hang out in the kitchen.
How do you celebrate your kids’ birthdays?
Their birthdays are 6 days apart so their birthdays are one big birthday week which can mean lots of mini parties before it is over (ie something on their actual birthday, a family party, something with their friends…) One year I broke my beaters at 11 o’clock at night trying to make 6 batches of cream cheese icing at once.
What do you do in your “spare time”?
Clean up my house. Nest. Yoga. Walk. Go to the cottage. Knit. Lie in the bath with a magazine. Puzzles.
Best kid purchase/bang for your buck?
I think the trampoline we bought at my family cottage was an amazing investment. It works for little babies as a giant playpen, the little kids spend hours in there and the big kids (even adults) still like it as well. I also believe that bouncing is very good for kids—for anyone—so we bought a mini one that has been sitting in our living room that we and the boys jump on throughout the day.
What’s your mom uniform?
Working from home is dangerous. Other parents at the school tell me that I look like I have stepped off of a cruise ship which I am not sure how to take. Lots of vintage dresses, loungewear, aprons and sneakers.
Any rules about TV/screens?
>We don’t watch tv. They like to play wii and see movies so we do: Wednesday and Weekend for Wii and Friday is Film Night.
What websites inspire you and for which parts of your life?
I am sure there would be many if I got started, but I don’t really look. The only one I get in the morning is Remodelista which I love to get house inspiration from. They even featured our home once so we must have similar taste.
Do you have a fail-safe beauty product or routine?
Coconut oil as a moisturizer. I bought it for my son to massage him with as it is supposed to keep your core temperature down in the heat and I have been using it ever since as my moisturizer.
What are some of your favorite finds that make you happy?
Vintage textiles, ironstone dishes, books from series we are collecting, re-usable party decorations.
Best family trip?
Probably camping but really, any family trips. I just love getting away with just the four of us. We have two family cottages that we spend a lot of time at that we love but there is something about going to a new place together and exploring that brings out the best in all of us.
Any personal/parenting “a-ha” tips?
Regarding dinner: I read once that it is only our job to put good healthy food in front of them. It is their job to eat it. Once I understood that, the battles around food ended and they ate much better.
You feel your best when?
I am getting stuff done. The boys are healthy and happy.
Proudest moment in parenting?
Birthing at home.
Eating cookie dough (now the boys do too).
All images courtesy of Heather Shaw except the opening image which was taken for Covet Garden, a Toronto-based online magazine, which just did a beautiful issue on Heather and her family.