Let's learn more about Rachel and her amazing country Italy!
Tell us a bit about yourself , your daily routine:
Hello, my name is Rachel, I am 39 years old but I still feel like I am 18, and I think that my physical aspect is somewhere in between the two. I have been blessed with an unusually varied background, ethnically, geographically and culturally-speaking: Chinese mother, Swiss father, and Italian husband.
I speak 5 languages fluently (French, Mandarin Chinese, English, Italian and German), have lived in 5 different countries (3 continents), married my sweetheart whom I met when I was 17 and we now have 5 children and are still rocking the world! I wish there could be a 48-hour day so that I could have triple the time to do all my things and STILL sleep 12 hours (oh, how I wish...!)
My typical weekday: I get up at 7 in the morning and turn into the human alarm-clock for the rest of the family. They all answer “oh could you please come back and call me in another 5 minutes?” and when I get stressed my husband goes “Oh just relax will you”--- can you guess the effect on me? Good! So I needn’t tell you! Thank goodness we can joke about it afterwards. I switch on the PC and whilst I wait for it to get started, I brush my teeth, tie back my hair, slap on the first clothes I can find and help the little ones get ready. I try to check my email, sites, weather forecast in 5 minutes flat... and sometimes get lost in navigation! The eldest children turn up with all the school papers they should have had me sign the day before and other boring requests, or other last-minute news like “I won’t be home for lunch today OK?”, then if there isn’t fresh bread I run out to get some. I sew a seam whilst I walk past my worktable (which is bang in the middle of everything, ‘cause it’s the only way I can ever get any sewing done)
Workspace of Labspace
Meanwhile the three eldest are out the door and my two younger ones are stuffing their faces with cereal instead of the fresh bread I just bought. I pack some snacks in their schoolbags, burn my throat with a mug of hot tea, get the hiccups for eating my bread too quickly, and go drop the children off at school. Then I’m off to work. I am an architect, I have a partner and we redo appartments (see our website: http://www.hg2.it/ ). I love my job, I can manage my hours with a certain amount of flexibility so I try to keep it all to mornings... and nights. So about midday my alarm goes off and I finish whatever meeting or sitework that I’m doing (I get so engrossed in it that I need to have an alarm to remember the time)
RE-DOING AN APPARTMENT
and head towards home, organizing food shopping and lunch along the way. Children and husband are all home for lunch, every single day! Some days I truly run out of menu ideas, but something has to be put on the table, so that’s that: somehow, I get lunch ready. It’s really good to always sit down to meals together. Afternoons, it’s a jigsaw puzzle of children’s activities: sports, invites, extra classes, catechism, teacher’s meetings, etc. and I have designed, I think, the most incredible graphical timetable to keep a grip on the situation. I have made copies of it just in case, because if I ever lost the Family Masterplan then it would be complete and utter chaos! In all the in-between moments (ranging from 5 to 30 minutes) either fit in some sewing for my Etsy shop, or PC drafting for my architectural work.
I go bellydancing twice a week in the evening, even if I am dead tired, because it really recharges my batteries.
Evenings after dinner are another act of juggling, between getting the children to bed and trying to get my own things done. I sometimes stay up late even though I love to sleep, because there just aren’t enough hours in a day. Wednesday evenings in Rome there is a very special roller-blading event I love to attend even though I can rarely make it: all year round, from 9pm until midnight, it’s skating delirium along the streets of the centro with the Pincio group (check them out on http://www.pincio.com/ ) so if you are a sk8er be sure to bring your rollers when you come to Rome and join in the fun!
My typical Saturday: motorcycling time for hubby & I! He coached me completely 15 years ago because I did not like being a passenger (I am so proud that he is proud of me!), so we each drive our own bike, and dedicate this special time to ourselves, either just the two of us or with some biker friends. We head towards the countryside or track and just unplug from our daily routine.
My typical Sunday: mass at 10 o’clock, in the afternoon if the weather is good we all go rollerblading, if not we chill out at home doing crafts or watching dvds or having friends around.
Your horoscope : libra
Your favorite foods: Chinese, Japanese, Italian. I like just about anything except brains and kidney, but then again I love duck’s tongue and chicken-feet, Chinese-style--- and I know what you’re thinking.
Your favorite musics: Queen/Freddy Mercury, L’Aura, Abba, Green Day, Erasure, Tiziano Ferro, Pink
Your favorite films: “Cheaper by the Dozen”, “Das Leben der Anderen” (The Lives of Others), Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts”, “Sunshine”, “Splash” with Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah, “Forrest Gump”, Suzanne Bier’s “Once in a Lifetime” and “After the Wedding”, “Apocalypto”
The thing you like most? - the thing you hate most? : I most love the smell of my children and husband, the patter of rain on the roof, watching a storm from somewhere warm and dry, the crunch of wheels on gravel. I hate hypocrisy, laziness, cross-communication, bossiness. Andd sorting out the family socks! ::)))
You are from an amazing Country, Could you give us Top 5 reasons to visit Amazing ITALY ? We would like to hear your recommendations, please be our guide !
Here are my 5 main reasons for visiting our country:
1. The people (the warmth, passion, noise, tradition, humour)
5. Art in all its forms
For a more intense taste of Italy, and some of the latest news on beauty and creation, come have a look at our Etsy Italia Team blog: http://etsyitaliateam.blogspot.com/
When and how did you start making your handmade creations?
I began to create ever since I was very young: my mother always made sure that we never lacked drawing and crafting materials, and she always encouraged us greatly.
Where can your creations be seen?
On my Etsy shop: http://www.labspace.etsy.com/
On my blog: http://labspaceworld.blogspot.com/
On my website: http://xoomer.virgilio.it/lab.space/
What do you enjoy most about working with your creations?
Letting my Thinking Hands take over: it’s like a sort of magic. I never quite know what I will be ending up with, I let the materials speak to me along the way. I love to “surprise myself”.
Where do you find your inspirations for what you create?
In the beginning I got inspired when I looked for something that did not exist, or did exist but is not quite as I wished it to be. So I tried to make it for myself. For example, that is why I started making clothes: what I found in shops was never QUITE right: too loose, or too short, or not my colour... then I began making little bags for iPhones because I wanted to hang my phone on me in a certain manner, but I could only find protective cases, sleeves or pouches without shoulder straps. Besides I had so much leftover material, sometimes quite small pieces, that I just could not bring myself to throw away, and now I had found a new use for them. The kick I get out of creating happens when I feel that everything is “falling into its right place”. More recently, through my participation in a couple of Etsy teams (EtsyItalia and EuropeanStreetTeam) I have found team challenges to be extremely inspiring and to take me in new directions.
Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations:
One of my favourite creations is a large one by one metre wooden board I painted with my children with acrylic paints, depicting the world, all its animals and seasons. It used to be a homemade coffee table with wooden stumps as legs and a crystal top to protect the painting, but everyone always sat on it and one day the glass cracked and the legs came off, so now I’m keeping it safely tucked away until I find the right place to display it. I love it dearly because we made it together.
Would you please tell about your creative space and studio set-up?I very rarely can actually sit down quietly and steep myself in a meditative, creative atmosphere. Basically, I am constantly creating in the midst of chaos. I wish I could turn on my favourite music but the children broke the stereo (and I never fixed or replaced it) so I am usually making things with other sorts of background noises, such as: children bickering, Hello Kitty and Mister Bean soundtracks, someone else’s phone conversations! That is also because my so-called studio or rather, open studio space (haha!) is strategically placed bang in between one flight of steps and the next, so that I can keep everything under control. I thus never “retire” to create, and my creative process is quite like juggling: whilst the pasta is on the boil, or whilst I am waiting for one of the children to tie his or her shoelaces on our way somewhere.
Has your country’s Culture influenced your creations ?
Oh surely, definitely. All “my” countries have, I think, in some way or other, influenced my creations. Do you know the saying that goes “you are what you eat”? Well I think you also “create what you are”, I think creation is a distillation of what is within you and that of course is also to do with who you are, and where you have lived and live.
Are there any fashion designers that inspire you or that you admire?
This probably contradicts my previous answer, but no: I do not thnk that I can look to any designer in particular because I have always steered clear from fashions and trends as it were, and I do not have any direct sources of influence. That said, I am sure that influence rubs off nilly-willy and none of us can abstract ourselves completely from the culture we are soaked in, so my elaboration is perhaps a global, all-encompassing and subconscious one.
Anything else you wish to share?
I would like to thank my sister-in-law for introducing me to Etsy: it has opened up a whole new world to me! It is incredibly exciting and enriching to be able to share a creative passion with so many talented and fascinating people. It is a new learning experience. Also, thank you so much Sebnem for hosting me.