Friday, August 30, 2013

Favorite Friend Friday: Lesley Poole of Poole Party of 5

I met lovely Lesley back in the days of Paper Source. She left before Emily came on staff (and Assemble began to burgeon) but we reconnected recently at Alt Summit! Lesley exudes the kind of calm, creative sense that we neurotics tend to look up to. She's a class act, and her blog is evidence that she's incredibly talented at that. If you're looking for gorgeous seasonal recipes, DIY projects and adorable kids' clothing and accessories, skip over to her blog and business, Poole Party of 5.

Tell us a little bit about Poole Party of 5. When did it start? What is your mission? What made you want to start this project?
For about five years, all my energy went towards the having and raising of babies. We are done having kids, so I felt that my next step was to try something new that I could build into a creative career. I wanted to craft a venue to rediscover my own interests and share that journey with others. Poole Party of 5 was born to document this journey. The blog focuses on whatever crazy projects we are working on--whether we are canning local produce in the summer or creating a fun birthday for one of the kids. My time is extremely limited right now, but I truly value catching moments of creativity when they happen, even if it feels like I am never able to do as much as I want to do!

Poole Party of 5, Favorite Friend on Assemble's blog

I started sewing around the same time as I started the blog. My baby spit up like crazy and I realized I needed to add some style to the burp cloths I was wearing every day throughout her first year of life. I added bright fabrics to the burp cloths to keep them functional, while adding a pop of color. We started giving these burp cloths as gifts to families with new babies and Poole Party Designs was born! Poole Party Designs provides personalized gift items that celebrate individuality with a preppy and modern aesthetic. Our style is classic with a twist. I appliqué fresh designs onto classic silhouettes for effortless custom gifting.

What are your goals for your blog and and company?
It is amazing to think about what has happened over the past year with both the blog and the business. I have a difficult time imagining what will happen over the next few minutes, let alone the next few months! I see that Poole Party Designs evolves as our life changes.

My background is in corporate retail and clothing production. When I became a mother six years ago, I decided to take a break from the world of retail. My primary focus is my family, but fabrics have always fascinated me and I realized that this was a part of my identity that I wanted to explore again. I love custom requests and working with my customers to help them create something special. Poole Party Designs allows me to play with lovely fabrics and create beautiful, custom gifts. I hope to keep doing that for a long time. Our family of five provides constant inspiration. The clothing and accessories I design all begin based on a need in my own life. If someone is celebrating a birthday, a child is headed off to his first day of school, or a new baby is being welcomed into the world; we believe all the milestones, as well as the everyday, are worth celebrating.

You went to Alt Summit this year too! What did you learn?

Alt was amazing. I enjoyed myself so much and I was reminded how wonderful it feels to be around people who are passionate. It is very inspiring. At the same time, I feel like the most important lesson I learned was “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle,” -Jon Acuff, author. We are all in different places with our creative process. When starting something new, it is so easy to get overwhelmed, looking around at others and not taking into account that these very inspiring people might be farther along their path. Good things take time. It is important not to get frustrated with ourselves when things go more slowly than we might like.

You also have an Etsy shop where you sell handsewn items for children--do you find yourself enjoying working on those items or your lifestyle blog more?
I find that my focus seems to shift back and forth, somewhat seasonally. There are moments when I am so inspired by fabrics and sewing and feel that I should concentrate all my extra energy on that and then it will switch to where writing the blog feels like my real focus. I believe that the seasons truly impact what I want to work on.

Lesley Poole, Favorite Friend Friday on Assemble's blog

Do you ever struggle with balancing life as a wife, mother and blogger?
Yes, absolutely, every day. Even though I continually struggle to balance every aspect of my life right now, it still feels worth pursuing the blog and my small business. I know that my creative endeavors feed my spirit and that helps me to be a happier person. Sometimes I am able to involve my kids in the projects I am working on and that helps me to feel that this all makes sense. It feels then like I am adding creativity to their life and not just making myself crazy!

If you could eat at only one local restaurant, for the rest of your life, what would it be? What's your favorite menu item?
There are so many fantastic restaurants in Seattle. We are constantly on the hunt for a neighborhood restaurant to become regulars at and we haven’t found that one yet. But, we recently had a phenomenal meal at Tilikum Place Café. We ordered the fried squash blossoms and hand cut pasta and both were out of this world. I also love the cocktails at Zig Zag. The bartender is famous and I order The Blessed Event--a rye whiskey and citrus concoction.

You get to organize a dinner party. Who do you invite?
There are historical and famous people I could imagine inviting and sound much more intellectual, but right now, what I would love most is a little comfort. Life is so busy and we have wonderful friends, but we don’t see them as much as I would like. It would be dreamy to have all my close friends, many of whom are spread out across the country, collected under one roof for a lovely dinner that would go on and on for hours.

What do you like to do for fun?
I love to read. I also love to travel and entertain.

If you had one day completely to yourself what would you do with it?
Life is pretty hectic right now, so mostly I would be enjoying some peace and quiet. I was recently given a morning to myself and I took a lovely run outside with the dog. Then I spent a few hours sewing.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
San Francisco or Seattle. My husband and I met in San Francisco and we loved our time there. But, I am also pretty fond of the life we are crafting here in Seattle. Difficult choice.

And what's your dream job, besides what you're doing now?

I would be a floral designer. I worked with a really talented florist in college and I loved being surrounded and working with so much organic beauty. I also love the idea of bringing joy to other people through my work and who doesn’t love receiving flowers that have been lovingly put together?

Head over to Poole Party of 5 to follow along with Lesley and her adorable brood.

Images courtesy of Poole Party of 5.

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