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Life and Work with Jenny Cranford

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenny Cranford.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jenny. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve always loved to be creative and had a special passion for writing (I’ve wanted to write books since I was a child… maybe someday). But my job in retail doesn’t allow me much creativity. So, I started finding other ways to be creative. I learned to sew and then quilt. I paint. I build. I bake. I craft and design. I’m even now learning some photography skills. But with all these new outlets, I still wanted to write. With no book ideas running through my head, I decided to start a blog. It was called The Homemade Diva. There, I shared all my crafting and home decor projects. I ran it successfully for a couple years. Then, one day, I’m still not sure how I accidentally erased all the photos off of the blog. Every. Single. One. Gone. I couldn’t recover them. I cried. I was heartbroken. So heartbroken, that I didn’t return to blogging for several more years.

When I finally did decide to start blogging again, I decided I wanted to start fresh. I wasn’t the same person I was before. Now, I was older, a wife, and a mother. I wanted my new blog to reflect all parts of me, not just the crafty side. So, Love, Jenny was born. There, I share home decor ideas, birthday parties, recipes, and all things mamahood and baby related.

I spend most of my time doing things for other people. Working, cleaning, doing laundry, changing diapers, getting groceries. The blog is the one thing I do for myself. Just for me. Because it makes ME happy. And I hope it makes my readers happy too.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No road in life is smooth sailing. Everything worth having has struggled.

The most traumatic struggle was when I ruined my old blog by accidentally deleting all the pictures. It did more than take the wind out of my sails; it defeated me. It took several years to get back to a place where I was really willing to try it again.

This time around, my biggest struggle has been finding time to pursue it.

I work full-time outside the home and my shifts start very early (think 4 a.m.), so by the time I get home I’m wiped. Then I get home to 2 small humans whose tiny worlds revolve around me. Right now, I can’t even LOOK like I’m walking away from the baby or she starts to cry (hello, separation anxiety). There’s also laundry to be done and dishes to be washed, toys to be picked up… every mom knows. It’s never-ending! Then come 830, when it’s FINALLY time for my oldest to go to bed, it’s also my bedtime. So, there is no writing after the kids go to sleep because I’m sleeping them too.

I just fit it in whenever I can, which isn’t as often as I’d like, but I can only do what I can do. I just have to be happy with that, for now.

My advice is to find a way to do what you love and make it a priority. We, as women, spend a lot of time taking care of everyone around us and then neglecting ourselves. But we are people too, and we’re just as deserving of happiness and peace as anyone else. And if you take that time for yourself and your passions, that happiness will spill over into other areas of your life as well.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Love, Jenny – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Love, Jenny is a motherhood and lifestyle blog I created to share my home decor tips/ideas, my DIY and craft projects, recipes, and the things I’ve experienced and learned about motherhood.

Motherhood is hard. Is it wonderful and amazing and fills your heart with so much joy? Yes, of course. But it’s also really freaking hard. I get tired of this image of the perfect mother who never loses her patience and whose baby never cries and who gets to shower and do her hair and make-up perfectly every day and whose life is all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not real, yet it’s the ridiculous expectation we set for ourselves.

So, yes, I share recipes for cookies and tips on how to make your own pinata, because I think that stuff is fun, but I also talk about the real things. Things that matter. Things like postpartum depression or my journey exclusively pumping breast milk for my youngest daughter. I want to share the things I’ve learned that have helped make my journey easier, so maybe they’ll help another mom too. I want to talk about the difficult things so other mothers know that they’re not alone. That there’s someone out there who has experienced the same things and felt the same ways and that it’s all OK. It’s normal and we’re still good moms.

In a world filled with mom-shaming and unrealistic expectations, I want to speak the truth so that mothers everywhere know that we’re all human. We’re all just doing the best we can for our kids. And we’re all good mothers, even if we’re not perfect.

What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
Do what you love, and if you can’t do it at work, find another way. And remember your priorities. My job isn’t my passion, but it pays the bills. I’m a good employee and I work hard, but I’ve always said: “This job is not my life, it’s how I make a living.” So, I say “No” to staying late or working on my days off because my time with my family and pursuing what I’m REALLY passionate about are so much more important to me. I can’t make everyone happy, but I can make myself happy, so I’ll try and focus on that.

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Jenny Cranford

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