INTRODUCTION - A PAST LIFE AND NEW BEGINNINGS
Welcome to my blog, "...and Company" and thank you for clicking over to my first post. By now you may have read my story, and of how Party et Cie came to be. I'll admit writing is not my preferred form of self-expression, nor am I very comfortable with words. So from here on in, most of my blog posts will be filled with visuals (a medium I am definitely more comfortable with!), instructions, ideas and party inspiration.
While brainstorming about how I would introduce my blog, I was reminded by several of my friends that I had only lightly touched on my past in the About page, and that my audience may want to have more context about how I came to do what I am doing.
I grew up in a family with two generations of home sewers, my mother and grandmother, and so from birth was surrounded by fabrics, ribbons, trims and machines, and yes I wore home-sewn clothes! My father was an architectural enthusiast who encouraged drawing and sketching. I was an introverted and non-sporty kid; a natural crafter who was drawn to anything that involved the use of my hands: painting, beading, bookbinding, making polymer clay figurines..the list is quite long. When I entered my awkward teens, my love for sewing grew and I found solace and fantasy in fashion magazines. I also dabbled in photography and all through my four years at the University of Toronto, I began sketching my own clothing designs. At 23, I took off for NYC, and studied for another three years at the Fashion Institute of Technology, of which I loved every minute.
My career before kids began after I quit my briefly held job as a design assistant for a contemporary knitwear company, and launched my own line in 2004. My life quickly became a whirlwind of design and production meetings, sample making, photoshoots, developing seasonal campaigns, and jetting off to LA and Paris for tradeshows. I loved design development, sketching, patternmaking, sewing and sourcing of new materials. And while this was all exhilarating, it was also filled with many frustrations; production houses losing materials, stores not paying, leather not arriving on time, having designer's block (!). Many people have the misperception that a designer's life is glamorous. It was far from that. But I was lucky to be caught in an economic upswing, and things went my way until about 2008.
Like many stay at home moms, I gave up my career to be at home with my kids. In 2009 I had closed up my business in New York City, moved back home and became a mom full time to my daughter. It was an easy choice for me and it was what I had always wanted. My husband was fully supportive of it and we were able to float my choice financially. But part of me felt like I had lost a large piece of my identity, and everything I had worked for, for years. I went from being a designer in NYC to a diaper changing milk machine.
I don't speak for every mom, but I know I definitely speak for some, in saying that I initially found motherhood exhausting, lonely, frustrating and isolating. Getting into the groove of motherhood takes time, and I encourage any moms who find themselves in this predicament to make connections with other similarly situated moms. It takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to raise a mother. While I don't want to delve further into this topic, I want to say that transitioning to a different time in your life also includes redefining your accomplishments and finding new ways to do this. As time began to ease up, I began to explore the fun and possibilities, creatively during my children's parties, and found immense enjoyment in doing this. I had three children, so that was a lot of parties! And while I loved shopping for unique and adorable partyware, I also enjoyed the DIY element, because it added a personal touch to my parties, which is the component of party-throwing I am hoping to foster through this blog.
But just like my career before kids, planning and executing parties was not without its frustrations and failures as well. My eldest daughter's 3rd birthday cake was a princess ballgown cake with a doll stuck in it. I ran out of icing, so the back of the skirt remained un-iced. I also attempted to do a car cake for my son, and by the time I had completed the second side of the car, the first side had completely melted and was running, as it was a hot June day. The list goes on but over time I have definitely gotten better. I am always learning and improving, creating new goals, and setting out to accomplish them.
Party et Cie was inspired not only by my children and by my frustrations over the lack of party supplies available in Canada, but also by my desire to help individuals who find enjoyment in creating joyous and memorable events, achieve their "party visions."
This blog post is dedicated with love to my "village," Meagan
Jenny Robles said:
I love this! So personal, and so inspiring. <3
Catherine S said:
Good job Andrea! A lovely blog post — so inspirational. Beautiful pictures, too. 🎂🧚🏻♀️🐣🦄