T h e S w e e t n e s s o f F a i t h
an interview with a fabulous featured sister
SAKYNA Magazine has had the pleasure and delight of interviewing sister Aisha Alahmad of Tumbleweed Kids, offering handmade eco friendly natural fiber accessories for children such as embroidered felt hair clips, crochet hats, knit headbands, fabric flower hair clips, and more!
- SAKYNA: What inspires you?
Aisha: My days are spent around my children, so naturally I am inspired by them. I like to create things for them. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for an accessory that I’d love for my kids, but I can’t find what I’m looking for. I figure I’ll just try and make it! I inherited my mother’s “I can make that” attitude. She and I used to admire things in stores and then look at the price tag and think about how much we could save if we just tried to make it ourselves.
I am also very passionate about native and medicinal plants, so this comes through in some of my products. I might be focusing on one particular plant as part of my work in herbalism, and by trying to capture the essence of that plant in a hair clip, it will help to reinforce what I’ve learned, and it will also help my children to know and love that plant. I have accessories that feature dandelion and lavender, for example.
I also feel that we’ve moved away from our American roots as a culture of industry and production. We have become consumption-oriented, to the point that basic skills are being lost. A mastery of the fabric arts, like knitting or sewing, for example, was a necessity not so long ago. Now it’s considered a “craft” or a “hobby.” I want my work to inspire others to become producers as well. I want my children to be proficient in skills that are becoming lost.
- SAKYNA: How did Tumbleweed Kids begin?
Aisha: Tumbleweed Kids began about three years ago. I wanted to outfit my kids with cute accessories that matched their wardrobes and reflected my love of nature and the concept of sustainability. I chose the name Tumbleweed Kids because it alludes to the rough-and-tumble nature of kids. Also, many so-called “weeds” are amazing, life-giving plants. So it’s about children tumbling through the natural world, learning and exploring as they play.
- SAKYNA: How are your children incorporated into the work you do?
Aisha: My children are my inspiration. They are usually my models and often the first recipients of my work. I incorporate my work into their homeschooling. I teach my children how to do the things I do.
- SAKYNA: What’s a typical day at work for you?
Aisha: Sometimes the work is creative, just working with materials to find an idea. I can do this anytime. But if I have shipping deadlines, with all of my other responsibilities as a full-time homeschooler, wife, and mother, early mornings are about the best time for me fill orders. I usually take supplies with me to appointments or classes the kids have. Sometimes I can accomplish quite a bit on the weekends.
- SAKYNA: How do you balance family and work?
Aisha: It’s not easy! There will always be frustrations, but I am blessed to have a supportive family that is understanding, even excited to see me create. My responsibility to my family comes first, then if I have time and energy left in me, I work. When I’m not trying to meet deadlines, I can include the family in my work as a fun, bonding activity, or even as part of our homeschooling curriculum.
- SAKYNA: What is your favorite part of your job? The most challenging?
Aisha: There are so many things I enjoy about my job, but the most exciting thing is the feedback I get from customers. It puts a smile on my face for the whole day when I receive a message from a customer saying how much they love what they bought, or what a perfect gift it was. Knowing that there are little kids out there wearing my accessories warms my heart. The most challenging thing for me is having to break momentum in juggling my numerous responsibilities.
- SAKYNA: How do you come up with new designs and ideas?
Aisha: New designs and ideas flow in and out of my brain constantly, sometimes keeping me awake at night. Inspiration can come from anything really- a color scheme I’ve been thinking about, a flower I saw, beautiful yarn, a time period, anything really. The creative process and ideas occur organically when you’re constantly working at it. Ideas begin to layer and inspire new ideas.
- SAKYNA: Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
Aisha: “Grow where you are planted” is my modus operandi. This sums up my philosophy about life- do what you can with what you have wherever you are. I made a decision to always take advantage of opportunities where I am at the moment. If my situation changes, well there will just be new opportunities to explore.
Aisha Alahmad is a fiber artist, herbalist, and the owner of the Tumbleweed Kids etsy shop. She enjoys the outdoors and learning with her husband and four daughters. Her shop can be found at www.tumbleweedkids.etsy.com