Craft, Play and Cook with Local Crafter and Blogger from Handmade Charlotte
Rachel Faucett, metro Atlanta crafter and blogger, started Handmade Charlotte in 2010 with her husband, Jonathan. The brand was named after one of the couple’s daughter, and they have worked with Martha Stewart, Sony Pictures, Anthropologie and more. The mother of five lives on a farm in Dallas. “The Handmade Charlotte Playbook,” published last month, features 100 whimsical and imaginative projects, including crafts, games and recipes. Organized in alphabetical order, this craft book has projects for all seasons, including Bumble Bee Slime Boxes, Graduation Owls, Ornaments and Thumbprint Pumpkins.
Atlanta Parent spoke to Faucett about her new book and how she’s spent her time with her family during the pandemic.
Q: You’re a successful blogger. What inspired you to write a book?
“The Handmade Charlotte Playbook” is a celebration of working with contributors and collaborators for 10 years and took about two and a half years to make. Everyone told me writing a book is a lot harder than you think. With posting on a site, you get an immediate result. You start a project in the morning and can have something up by the end of the afternoon. I like the idea of people using it as an Instagram feed and getting their ideas for the day from it.
Q: How do you come up with new designs, projects and creations?
I’ve been designing for over a decade now. Everything’s inspiring. With the pandemic, specifically, I wanted to make crafting available for everyone. You can run to your garbage can to grab more materials. With writing the book, I wanted to make crafting more accessible. It’s about the process of making. When people look at craft books, they see the end result, and they think, “My family’s just not crafty.” But the maker’s been crafting for 30 years, and they’re likely seeing the third attempt, and it’s beautifully photographed and styled. Make the process the focus instead of the result. Use this book as a jumping off point and an idea starter. You’ll get a decent result trying anything, and it makes it all a win because of the process.
Q: With a family of seven, how do you balance work and home life?
I get up at 6 a.m. I make breakfast, and I try to serve whatever’s in season. Lately, my children have been eating a lot of pomegranates on the way to school. Then, I go to Kennesaw Mountain, and work and walk. I’ll go back to the studio, where I spend about four hours brainstorming and crafting. Then, I go pick up my kids from school. I wrote this book in the carpool line while waiting to pick up Charlotte. I always have supplies in my bag or car. I’m definitely ready to craft whenever and wherever.
Q: You’re obviously extremely creative. How do you encourage that spark in your kids?
I set up different little workshops around the house to engage the kids. I don’t worry about how much time they’ll spend on it. I lay out materials, suggest, and walk away. They’ll find their own way with it, and they can enjoy open-ended playing on their own. Don’t overthink it. You don’t have to have an end goal in mind. I’ll put out a stack of 10 books that seem interesting, and every couple of weeks, I rotate it, just to see what the kids come up with. Put supplies out and make that time, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day. I love a good brainstorming session and listening to the inventions kids will come up with. Maybe they don’t end up making them, but the creative thinking is just as valuable.
Q: How do you organize and store art projects for five kids?
We were working on our children’s portfolios when they were babies! We saved everything. We scanned in all of their artworks and made notebooks. I’ve always kept the ones that use fingerprints or the outline of a foot. Keep your favorites, take pictures of everything else, and the rest goes in the recycle bin.
Q: What would you say to parents who don’t consider themselves crafty or creative?
There’s so much benefit to manipulating materials, and neuropathways are formed from thinking creatively. You get to learn what your creative process is. I love the ages 3-12, because they haven’t become self-conscious yet, and they are so easily inspired. Don’t take away their opportunity to be creative. I think parents would be completely shocked if they set out a basket of markers and some paper and tape. It’s unbelievable what kids will create. And if you’re concerned about making a mess in your house, or you don’t want your couch to look like a Jackson Pollock painting, you can move the projects outside.
Q: What advice do you have for parents for entertaining and enjoying time with the kids during this time?
Stick to a schedule. It was tough in the beginning, but we got into a routine at home, and we’ve enjoyed our time together. I always have things out, like I have a wax pot, so the kids will come by and dip things in it. I set out different little workshops around the house that’ll engage them. I remind myself to stay present: right now, everything is okay.
Learn more about the brand and the book at handmadecharlotte.com.
– Emily Webb