Melissa is somewhat of a new friend to me and I was so "largely happy" that she agreed to the interview because she is someone I hope to get to know better in 2009. So you see I have old friends and new friends in this inspirational week. Melissa describes herself as a New Zealander living in Norway and I think you can see the influence of both these fantastic countries in her work and life. She and I share a great love for the natural world and you can see if resonate in all her photographs. It was her freehand embroidered pieces of plants, seeds and weeds that secured her a place in my heart and mind. Maybe it is just me but when I was looking through her flickr sets I found that they reminded me a lot of Maya ( day 2 in my inspiration week). What inspires you in your creativity? Lots of things inspire me, but especially nature and the seasons, and living here in Scandinavia for the past year and getting to know the special plants and trees and light. I also love flickr, craft and design blogs, magazines, window shopping, reading letters written by friends and second-hand shopping. If you tried to trace back the series of events that lead to you making things and opening an etsy shop where would it begin? I suppose it would begin first of all when i was very young. My Mum taught me how to knit and sew and I have always been driven to make things- except for a period when i was a teenager. But I remember taking great comfort in art and crafts all through my life. I became seriously interested in sewing and blogging when I had my son Arlo five years ago, and wanted to make toys and clothes for him. That led to my starting up my blog and small business, and I've been enjoying it ever since. How did you learn your crafting skills? I learned to knit because my mother was very patient in teaching me, and generous in sharing her yarn stash, but i have also picked up a few things from craft books and by practicing a lot. Can you describe an environment : time, place and company ( people or pets) where you feel most creative? I do like to be on my own, listening to music or the radio, and making things. I get lots of ideas and new thoughts while I'm quiet and doing something meditative like knitting or baking. But then, the busy times in my day- like when I'm surrounded by children or friends- can be really inspiring too- I like the creativity, energy and general frenzy of children and I think it can be quite contagious. What do you have planned 2009? I'm planning on continuing my writing my blog and making things for my online shop, just like I did in 2008. I do have some new creative ideas i'd like to try and my new year's 'resolution' is to try and organise myself better in order to create a calmer environment for myself and my family. I'm not sure if that will ever happen, though, because we're planning on moving back home to New Zealand in the middle of the year. So 2009 will be one of big changes. What advice or encouragement would you offer another creative person contemplating taking a big step to open a shop or blog in 2009? I'd say, go for it! And also, perhaps not to expect too much from it at first. But if you're willing to put quite a lot of yourself into it, writing a blog and selling your creative work on etsy can be a fulfilling and exciting thing to do. I feel really lucky to be a part of this crafty community. I would love to wear clothes sewn by Melissa, wouldn't you? I just can't let the inspiration stop quite yet so tomorrow I will post an interview with someone that is the most talented nature water color artist that I know and she happens to live in a home built by her husband that I would just love to move into. On top of all that she is a very talented maker of things , home schools her two handsome sons and is so kind and supportive. See you tomorrow!!