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Meet American mom Anna Joyce living in Portland, Oregon

Monday, 28 June 2010 by Irene Hoofs

My name is Anna Joyce and I am an artist, designer and mother living in Portland, Oregon. My husband Victor and I have two beautiful daughters, Angelina, age 4  1/2 and Iris who is 20 months old.  We have been back living in Portland for the last four years and I do all of my sewing and designing for my business Anna Joyce Design out of my home studio.  Victor and I are both artists and  have studios at home so we can always we close as a family and still make our art (all though sometimes it would be easier to concentrate if the studios were a little further away...) I have a nanny 2 or 3 days a week so I can sew and work on growing my business.  I am also very excited that I am going to be teaching sewing and applique this summer- new things are happening all the time, we are a busy little family.

What kind of house do you live in, are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you all terribly miss …?

We live in a mid-century duplex that we rent in a wonderful part of SE Portland. I think the children are very happy in our house. We are surrounded by the most wonderful neighbors- there are so many people  on our street who love our children and our wonderful nanny only lives two doors down. It is amazing!
I think the only thing we miss is a fenced yard- I would love it if the girls could play outside without an adult being having to be on guard all the time. But we are so close to a lot of great parks, playgrounds and coffee shops that walks in the afternoon are nice too.


Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?

Yes! I love decorating and dreaming and watching our living space evolve over time as we collect more and more things that we love. Angelina's room is a constant struggle to keep organized, but I try to just let her have all of her things and remember how magical all of my possessions were when I was very young and not judge her room as a "mess". It doesn't always work!


What's it like to raise a child in your town?

I think raising a child in Portland is wonderful. It is a large enough city to have action and culture but there is a very gentle spirit in this town that embraces children and parents. Portland is also so green and beautiful and there are wonderful things to do outside.


Are their any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?

I really love and stand by "The Mother's Almanac" by Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons. It covers everything from crafts, tantrums, hiring a babysitter and how to cope with a bad day.  If I am having a hard day (or week...) I know that after a little bit of quiet time with "The Mother's Almanac" I will come back to being a mother a little bit more refreshed and inspired. And it was passed on to me by one of my best friends and a mother who I respect very much. And when all else fails- I call my own mom, she gives great advice and always listens.


What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?

Since Victor and I are artists we are always working on something. Angelina has been drawing since she could hold a pencil and really loves it. We just keep art supplies out for her all the time. Iris loves dancing and music and is not ready to sit still and craft just yet. We also take the children to a lot of art openings and shows with us, so they are surrounded by art and craft all the time.


Are you a crafter or DIY person?

Yes of course! Anna Joyce Design is a line of home goods, apparel, and design items for children that I lovingly design and make by hand. Both of my girls are used to spending time with me in my studio and especially shopping at fabric stores.  I also love making holiday decorations, cards, collages... we just all love MAKING in our house.


How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?

Both Angelina and Iris have a special birthday banner that I made for them out of fabric and wool felt. We also have a number fairy that comes and brings you your new number on your birthday morning! It is a tradition my mom started and I love it.


My childhood numbers were made of paper but I sew the ones for my girls out of felt, fabric and ribbon. We also say goodbye to our number the night before our birthdays and thank our year for everything we learning and think about our new birthday number and what we would like from the coming year. It is a very meaningful tradition to me, and I hope it will be for the girls as well.


Are there musical instruments in your house?

Oh yes- we just inherited this size drum set and there have been many jam sessions lately...


What are nice activities you can do with children in your place and what could you recommend when people are visiting?

We love going to Jamison Square in the Summer here in Portland. There grass for eating a picnicpicnic really wonderful fountain that all the children play in. It is also on Portland's street car line so we love taking the street car around the city and getting an ice cream cone on hot nights.


Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food’ lover or both?

Both!  I love baking with the girls. When I was pregnant with Iris, Angelina and I baked almost every afternoon and it was really special time together. We like cooking together. And I can get her to peel the garlic!


What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and or without the children?

We have a beach house on the Oregon coast where we go as a family every chance we get. My girls will be the 5th generation to grow up spending summers in our small beach town and it is our favorite place in the world to be.

{All of the photos were taken by their good family friend Greg DeBoer}

..Anna Joyce Design..
..Anna Joyce her blog..

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