I’m thrilled to be sharing this fabulous mini series with you. Each blog post will give you a behind the scenes insight into the life of a Mum that makes beautiful toys and/ or resources for little ones. Without further ado here’s the lovely Mum behind Resourceful Me.
Tell us a little about yourself and your family?
Hello, I’m Emma and I run Resourceful Me. I live in Cardiff in South Wales with my husband, my 9 year old son, 5 year old daughter and a little dog called Oscar. I am a Primary school teacher and have been for the last 16 years.
Tell us a toy that best describes you and why?
I would be a teddy bear. I love cuddles especially with my children before bed! All teddy bears love a picnic and I love nothing more than a picnic during the summer holidays!
What do you make and where did the idea come from?
I make play based learning resources for use at home and in the classroom. At the moment I am focusing on creating wooden peg doll characters to aid storytelling, number recognition, counting and personal and social development.
I started to develop my business idea just over 2 years ago when I moved to teaching a class of 3 and 4 year olds. I had always known the importance of play as part of child development but working closely with younger children helped me to understand and appreciate it further. I’ve always created my own teaching resources and quickly found myself making more engaging items.
When did it all begin and why?
My love of painting peg dolls started when I made a set of castle figures for use in our wooden castle in the classroom. We didn’t have any figures at the time and I had an image of the characters in my mind that I wanted to create. The children loved playing with them and this led me to create a basic counting set to enhance our maths area. I was amazed with how much time the children spent playing with my number dolls and how much incidental learning was taking place. They loved them and were learning while playing.
In reality it has taken just under two years to set up. I’ve had many obstacles to overcome and ensuring that my products were CE tested before selling was a big hurdle. It took lots of time, research and patience to work through this but I got there in the end. My ideas are still expanding and I don’t think they will stop. I have so many ideas and would love to expand my learning resources further in future.
What does your day look like?
I wake up at around 6am every morning. From Monday to Wednesday I work as a teacher and my focus tends to be solely on school related work. I tend to work late into the evening before going to bed at about 10:30pm. I split my Thursday and Friday time into school work and business related work and then spend the evenings from Thursday to Sunday painting! Saturday and Sunday daytimes are always for family. Work has to wait as quality family time comes first.
It can be tricky juggling things at times with appointments, school events for my children and just general mummy jobs! There are times when I need to stop and just prioritise and also times where I just need to relax and ‘switch off’ completely from everything! This usually involves a glass of wine and some chocolate too!
What does your ‘office’ look like?
My ‘office’ at the moment is our dining room table! My children are used to seeing lines of peg dolls, paints and brushes taking up lots of space. We are currently rearranging the rooms in our house so eventually there will be a shared office space with my husband. This may prove to be tricky – my dolls are fairly small but when painting a large number of them it feels like they’re taking over the room!
What was the first product you ever made?
The first set I made was a basic castle set of peg dolls and then a basic counting set. I cringe when I look at them now! It’s amazing how much you can develop in a couple of years.
What’s your favourite make or best seller?
My most popular sets are my counting dolls. They can be used in so many different ways.
What’s your design process and how long does it take you to make a finished product?
My ideas often come from topics/areas of learning that I am focusing on in school, comments from buyers and followers of my pages and my children usually have great ideas too. My son is often eager to help and has designed a set of football player worry dolls. You may see some of them soon!
I always start by sketching my designs first. That way I have an idea if the design will work. I then sketch the design on the doll with pencil and begin the base layer. Usually a few layers of paint are needed. I add fine details like eyes at the very end before sealing the dolls. Painting time can vary depending on the detail involved but to give an idea, a set of four detailed dolls can sometimes take 3 – 4 hours to make from start to finish.
Your family is stranded on a desert island – what 3 toys must you take and why?
Lego because there are endless possibilities, a teddy bear and of course a set of my peg dolls!!
What is the best part of your job?
I love the excitement of designing new sets and my favourite part is actually seeing children using my resources. I am lucky to be in the position to use my resources in my teaching job.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Time management. Sometimes it’s hard to juggle everything.
Who are your favourite Mummy Makers?
I love resources by My Story Stones Rock. The resources are great and can be used in so many different ways.
What’s next for you?
I’m always developing new ideas – I would love to make resources to enhance my wooden peg dolls in the near future.
Where can we find you?
You can find me on:
Where do you ship to?
Ship to UK only.
Copyright – All photographs in this post belong to Resourceful Me and kind permission has been granted for me to use these lovely images. Please contact Resourceful Me if you wish to use any images.
Disclaimer – Please do contact the seller or check out their sellers pages with regard to age appropriateness of toys and resources and any safety warnings. Busy Busy Learning accepts no responsibility for this. Age appropriateness and warnings can change with new legislation and when sellers make changes to their suppliers or products, so check every time.