interview & giveaway with lisa of 5 orange potatoes

i am so honored to have the opportunity to interview the amazing lisa whitesell, of the awesome 5 orange potatoes blog! her nature-loving, creative blog has been one of my favorite sources of earthy, artsy ideas. lisa was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her life, work, and inspiration AND to give away one of her adorable owl pillows to one of my lucky readers!!! enjoy her story below and enter for your chance to win at the bottom of this post.

lisa & her creations at her 5 orange potatoes "craftin' outlaws" booth

jen:  your 5 orange potatoes blog has long been a source of inspiration for me. i am so very drawn to the way you incorporate the spirit of the earth in each of your creations — from herbal remedies to nature art activities to upcycling sweaters into the most amazing plush creatures. can you tell us a bit about what most inspires you and the work you so beautifully offer to the world?

lisa: I’m just your basic natural earthy girl that loves the Earth and prefers natural to artificial- from the food we eat, the medicines we use, the art supplies we use, and the clothing we wear.  I have Appalachia roots and my granny is always comparing me to my great grandmother and the way she lived her life. I’m sure I was a peasant witchy woman in another life, a bit of a recluse, with a large herb garden making concoctions for the village people and what ails them -OR- maybe it’s because I was born on the very first Earth Day (April 22, 1970)! I can’t pinpoint what exactly drives me, it’s just something in me, seems to run in my veins!

lisa's acorn jewelry

jen:  you and i are kindred spirits in experimenting with medicinal herbs. i especially adore all of your posts on lavender, dandelions, and those honey herbal coughdrops! (the soothing gremlin softie is one of my favorite ideas of yours, as it blends your offerings of herbal remedies with your talent for creating such fun characters.) how did you first begin your love of herbology? can you share with us some of your favorite resources for learning about herbs and teaching your children about their healing properties?

lisa: Being raised in the country, with parents that always sent my sisters and me outside, and working in nature, with youth camps, really sparked my love of nature and herbology. My first taste of chicory coffee made from fresh chicory roots and a fresh salad made from wild edibles, sent me over the roof, really connected me to the wonderful bounty that Nature provides. Forget the man-made and artificial junk! Hildegard of Bingen, Juliette De Bairacli Levy, Rosemary Gladstar, Michael Tierra, Maud Grieve, and Jeanne Rose are some of my favorite go to herbalists. These amazing herbalists have fantastic books that make up a large part of my herbal library.

lisa's jewelweed poison ivy remedy

jen:  my daughter is blessed to have a couple of your creations. her winking fox, who is now called nuki, has brought so much joy into our home. i admire how you use thrifted sweaters and vintage fabrics to create them, in true earth-loving fashion. each of your plush creatures has such personality – the ones created from the upcycled sweaters are my absolute favorite! how does the idea for the animals’ patterns and images come to you?

lisa: My girls’ drawings are what inspired me when I first started making plush, but now I simply look at an animal’s eyes and the inspiration will be there or not. The actual critter has to inspire me before I can create it, this makes it hard when a customer asks me to create an animal I haven’t made before. For example, I’ve been struggling with a turtle design for the past year, I would LOVE to make one, but the design just isn’t there yet!

an inspirational drawing from lisa's daughter

prim and proper

jen:  it seems that your way of creating has gracefully piqued your daughters’ curiosity about nature and art. it is so wonderful to see them concocting potions and sewing on your blog. can you offer any words of wisdom to us about your philosophy on how to inspire children to connect with the earth and to create with their hands?

lisa: That’s simple, if they see you doing it and making it part of everyday, they will follow. Get outside everyday with your child and explore together, not only will you influence them but they will see and point out things you’ve never seen before! I really believe that experiencing nature with a child is the best way to learn and discover.

exploring nature with children

jen:  what are you most passionate about creating about RIGHT NOW?

lisa: Our basement flooded last Spring and all of our holiday ornaments got ruined, so we will be working hard on creating new decorations for this holiday season.

lovely applesauce ornaments

jen:  i’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve been asked, but i’ve been curious: where did the name 5 orange potatoes come from?

lisa: I get this question all the time! I asked my girls to throw out some names, Araina (5yo at the time) said “5 orange potatoes,” I loved the corky sound to it and kept it. It really works for us too, being vegetarians we eat a lot of sweet potatoes and I have red hair that looks a little orange in the sun. I shared this story with a man at a recent show and he laughed because his 6yo nephew named his goldfish “Roastbeef,” you really can’t beat the creative power of a young mind!

sewing with children

and now for the giveaway… [CLOSED]

lisa is generous enough to offer one of her amazingly adorable owl pillows, hand sewn with love from vintage fabrics or upcycled sweaters, to one of my readers! that could be YOU!

to enter for your chance to win:

  • first click here, which will open a new browser window where you will visit the 5 orange potatoes etsy shop to peruse the beautiful wares. choose which owl pillow is your favorite (that you’d like to win!) and come back here and let me know in the comments which owl you’d choose. *make sure your valid email address is attached to your entry so i can contact you if you win.*

you need to do the above entry to be entered, and for THREE MORE chances to win, you can do the following and leave an additional comment (read: entry into drawing) for each of these actions:

  • like 5 orange potatoes on facebook
  • follow 5 orange potatoes on twitter
  • share a link to this blog post giveaway on your facebook page, your twitter account, and/or on your blog.

i will choose a winner using a random number generator this thursday night (november 10) at 9pm pacific/midnight eastern.

*CONGRATS TO WINNER, TARA C!*

and now for my unsolicited PSA: while you are on lisa’s 5 orange potatoes etsy shop, keep in mind that the holidays are fast approaching, and these make for amazing gifts for special people in your life. if you’d like to support artists and the idea of a handmade holiday (as opposed to store-bought, mass-produced goods,) please consider shopping on sites like etsy, at your local holiday faires, and, of course, making your own holiday gifts this year (and every year!) occupy the holidays! :)

*all images courtesy of 5 orange potatoes.

11.07

2011
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  • http://5orangepotatoes.com/blog 5 orange potatoes

    Thank you Jen!

  • http://www.terrallectualism.wordpress.com mary good

    i’ve been loving 5 orange potatoes for about two years and have enjoyed seeing lisa’s work evolve. now i’m pleased to have come here and to find another lovely blog!

    i think the stripes and flowers owl (vintage fabric) is my fave.

    thanks for the opportunity!!

  • Rebecca Donaldson

    Choco Bunny would make a lovely friend; your creations are wonderful!
    Rebecca

  • Pingback: owl pillow giveaway | 5 Orange Potatoes

  • Jennifer

    We love the gray striped one- it says it’s made from a thrifted sweater and she loves to sit on the couch. She has big black eyes. My email fowles2000 at gmail dot com. Thanks!!!

  • Jennifer

    I follow you on twitter !!!

  • Jennifer

    I shared your tweet and retweeted it!!!!

  • Cassandra

    Oh I love the owls!
    My favorite is this guy: http://www.etsy.com/listing/85362960/handmade-owl-pillow-stuffed-animal-with the bow tow is epic. :o)

  • Cassandra

    I liked you on facebook as well!

  • Cassandra

    And twitter :o)

  • http://mycreativefamily.blogspot.com Terri

    I love the owls made with the vintage floral fabric. One would go perfectly in my daughters’ shared bedroom!

  • http://mycreativefamily.blogspot.com Terri

    I’m following 5 Orange Potatoes on Twitter!

  • https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaSweetgum Blue
  • https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaSweetgum Blue

    I liked you on FB!

  • https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaSweetgum Blue

    I posted a link to this giveaway on my FB page!

  • Carolina

    Adorable!

  • Carolina
  • http://www.marygildersleeve.com Mary G.

    I love these owl pillows .. so fun !

  • Terra

    “Liked” her on Facebook. Such sweet creations!

  • erica

    i love the polka dot one! so cute!

  • erica

    liked her on fb!

  • erica

    shared on fb! thank you!

  • Anna M

    Owls are amazing creatures, and the ones made by 5 Orange Potatoes are adorable! I like the one made with a pretty pink, green and orange swirl patterned fabric, with a pink gingham backing.

  • Anna M

    I “liked” 5OP on FB. I am totally making those oat stuffed apples tonight! :)

  • Anna M

    Oh, I also shared this post on my FB!

  • Carla Reed

    The “yellow flowers and sunshine” is just too cute!

  • Carla Reed

    I just liked “5 Orange Potatoes” on Facebook!

  • Jessica McLaughlin

    So hard to choose just one. But can’t deny the stripey thrifted sweater owl (lavender and purple). Thank you.

  • Chantelle Fritz

    I really like the “handmade and large owl pillow, made from blue, green, pink pastel flower vintage fabric” most of all, and would love to give it to my niece at Christmas!

  • Rachel Hirning

    love love love the orange, brown, and yellow striped owl with the white flowers on it! it would look lovely in every room of our house, not to mention remind me of my sweet mother in law! Owls were one of her totems! Great interview!

  • Heather N

    I love the pastel polka dot owl. So cute. Well, they all are really cute!

    But I laughed out loud when I read that Blueberry, the eco friendly hedgie, prefers raspberries! What a great story and awesome toy.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Tara C

    How Lovely!! My fave is the good luck green bamboo owl- so very cute :)
    Thanks for the chance

  • Tara C

    I like 5 oranges on facebook (as Tara mamareviews)

  • Heather bratulich

    Just liked 5 orange potatoes on facebook. :) thanks. Heather

  • Heather bratulich

    My favorite is the owl pillow plush, eco friendly, vintage fabric… Thanks.. Heather

  • Nancy

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/79496793/owl-pillow-by-5-orange-potatoes
    this owl (link above) would make a fabulous gift for my son. so snuggly!

  • SnowflakeDay (Audra)

    My favorite is the yellow flowers and sunshine pattern owl pillow.
    Would look adorable in my daughter’s owl themed room.

  • SnowflakeDay (Audra)
  • SnowflakeDay (Audra)

    following 5 Orange Potatoes on twitter as SnowflakeDay

  • SnowflakeDay (Audra)

    Liked 5 Orange Potatoes on Facebook as Audra Lynn W.

  • Megs

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/79434845/owl-pillow is so adorable! Thanks for the chance to win.

  • nicoletta

    Im a big fun of 5 orange potatoes!
    very inspirational woman and mother.
    congratulation to you both.

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/79434845/owl-pillow

  • http://www.petitedani.blogspot.com Danielle P.

    I love the good luck green bamboo owl and if I win, I want to give it to my baby sister! :)

  • http://giggedygeekmum.wordpress.com GM

    I’d choose the owl pillow plush, good luck green bamboo- eco friendly- vintage fabric- stuffed animal.

  • http://giggedygeekmum.wordpress.com GM

    I like you on FB.

  • Kt Joy G

    Thanks for your posts, love finding inspirational things to do with my daughter!! I love the handmade owl pillow in pink and yellow stripes, upcycled from a vintage sweater and eco friendly :)

  • Cathy F

    Thank you for doing this- it brightened my day. I really like the yellow owl. So cheery!
    I like you on FB as well.

  • katrina

    What a nice giveaway, I loved reading the answers. My favorite owl is http://www.etsy.com/listing/79567977/stuffed-owl-pillow-plush-5-orange

  • jen

    we have the same favorite, katrina!!!

  • Bethany

    I totally dig the “stuffed owl, owl plush, owl pillow, eco friendly- vintage fabric.” ( http://www.etsy.com/listing/76448927/stuffed-owl-owl-plush-owl-pillow-eco )