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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Elizabeth Street

PRUDENT BABY: WHERE CRAFT MEETS CLASS

Jul 06, 2012

Prudent Baby: Where Craft Meets Class

The word “crafty” may connote some of the schlokier things in life—rag rugs, Styrofoam ornaments, and sock moneys galore. But the women behind the ever-elegant Prudent Baby blog have found a more aesthete, though equally fun-loving, approach. And while the look of their colorful, illustrated website might suggest that these two moms to be joined at the hip, Jaime and Jacinda live very different lives—Jacinda with three kids in Texas, Jaime with a daughter (and a book on the way!) in Los Angeles. “Because there’s two of us, there are different perspectives on the site. It feels like more of a community,” says Morrison Curtis. We say, a community worth joining! —Lucie Alig 

What inspired you to start Prudent Baby?
Jacinda Cannon Boneau: Years ago, when Jaime and I met in the marketing department of Disney, we really clicked creatively and became good friends. Fast forward a few years, and we’re both moms. We still felt creative and loved getting crafty, but we were also sort of in nesting mode. So we had this idea to start a DIY site, and Prudent Baby was born. Now it’s been almost two years! Crazy.

There are so many great craft blogs out there. What sets Prudent Baby apart?
JCB: I’d say we try to keep our projects really “do-able.” For all we know, someone coming to the site has just had their first baby weeks ago, or may be picking up a sewing machine for the first time. So we try to keep everything really simple and manageable, and we try to have a little fun, too! There’s usually a glass of wine somewhere in the background.

Is crafting more about the process or the end result? I’d imagine it’s therapeutic to be in the midst of an elaborate project.
Jaime Morrison Curtis: Yeah, it’s both. When you have a baby at home, it’s important to have something you do just for yourself. Crafting is good because you can really focus your brain on it, and it’s meditative—sewing, cooking, whatever it is. Then again, it’s frustrating to spend energy on something and then not have it turn out well. So end results matter, but they aren’t the most important.

Can you talk a little bit about the “Hot Mess Mommy” section of the site? I feel like there’s a story there…
JMC: [Laughs.] Jacinda coined that term, and I love it so much. When we first met, we were young, fabulous, had nice outfits and great L.A. jobs. Then, all of a sudden, we had kids—that changed everything. So we started the “Hot Mess Mommy” section just to be like, “We get it; you’re a hot mess. But you don’t have to give up on yourself entirely.” We all need to laugh about how we’re covered in spit-up and haven’t showered in three days. 

Jaime, I’d love to hear more about your book! Can you talk about how you compiled the content for Prudent Advice?
JMC: I was dealing with some post-partum anxiety, and the idea for the book came to me one night when I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking all these morose thoughts like, “What if I died and my husband had to raise my daughter?” You never know! So I started writing down bits of advice that I would want my daughter to have, and got to 150 or so before I started reaching out to others for input. Friends gave me ideas, the project was featured on Apartment Therapy, and people from all over the world started sending suggestions about what to include. So the book really is an accumulated wisdom. 

JCB: And I love how the book has inspired people to start thinking up their own advice, which has led to the journal idea.

JMC: Yes, there were hundreds of moms out there who told me, “I saw your book and started my own list for my daughter.” They’d disagree with certain parts of mine, and re-write their own version. So I decided to publish my second book as more of a journal. Sure, it has some new advice in it, but it’s really more of a springboard tool—full of starters, inspirations, and things to consider. And because it’s published by Chronicle, of course it’s really beautiful. 

Well, clearly you’re good at giving advice. What are your words of wisdom for fellow moms?
JMC: I genuinely don’t have any tips for being a parent; I feel like we’re all just trying to get by. My main advice would have to be: Give yourself a break! Especially when you have a young baby, it’s easy to worry constantly that you’re doing something wrong. Honestly, I really don’t know much about how to be a parent; I just know how to be myself. 

And finally, I have to ask. For birthday gifts, housewarming gifts and the like, do you feel pressure to make something homemade?
JMC: Yes! [Laughs.] I used to love it. But now, I’ve done it so much—and the expectations are so high—that I feel a little stressed out by it! Plus, all my good friends have already received so much homemade stuff from me that they’re over it. But I do always try to show up to a dinner party with homemade pickles or something.