Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What's new in cushions

Amongst the Christmas madness I have found some time to get a bit of drawing done. If I don't stop sometimes & make time to draw & create, I get incredibly frustrated. In a way it's my meditation!!

Here are some new designs I have just added to my web site.
Folky Bird  - A pretty bird inspired by the boldness of folk art. A personalised gift that will definitely be treasured.Gorgeous pinks, soft jade, purple & lemons this design will surely co-ordinate in every girls bedroom. 
Monkey BusinessA personalised cushion with a little bit of super fun monkey business. A superhero monkey, a biking monkey & a skate board monkey. Great bold boys colours & a design so full of fun.

Miss Camping BunnyFor lovers of camping will be able to capture memories with this sweet design.
Say hello to Missy Bunny as she plays around her groovy chevron patterned tent, catching butterflies butterflies while the sun is shining brightly.

All designs are now loaded in my shop.

Just a reminder that cut off for international orders is 30th November & Australian orders December 10th to ensure they are posted in time for Christmas.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Free TO DO LIST Christmas download

Hello lovelies, is that clock ticking louder & louder as we get closer to Christmas? 
I hope you are not racing around too much & still getting a chance to look after yourself.
How are you keeping organised? I am a BIG list keeper, & still a strong devotee to the traditional diary. I know its very handy to pop every task into your phone, & I adore the charm that dings reminding me of whats to be done. But I have to admit I forget a lot when it's packed away in there. Where as my diary, it's all there on an open page, lists hand written & a highlighter always so close to mark those babies off!
Around Christmas time I love a separate list, so it doesn't get confused with my every day & work tasks. Jotting down the gifts to give, from family to friends, to teachers doesn't seem as daunting. The food I need prepare & take to pre Christmas "catch up" parties, or my list of things to take on the big day itself. I always feel better when it's written down. Can I be honest? It reduces my feeling of being overwhelmed & keeps me calm & happy which is always such a priority. 

If you're need a special Christmas list, I have created one especially for you. I have used it myself this year so far. It's been a handy little printable to keep me organised. I have a couple stapled together so there is no chance of losing anything. If you think this could be of use, please feel free to download it for yourself. 

Just click on the link & enjoy that sweet feeling of organisation!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

MATS - final week 5 & my feelings on finishing

I have finally finished part B of MATS over a week ago, & just haven't got around to posting my final assignment.

The assignment was party paper goods, have a think about all of the paper goods we use, napkins, paper plates, paper cups, straws, paper buntings, got the idea? It was a great subject matter to finish on, & something I really think I would enjoy working on in the future. The style & influence to design was Ukrainian & Bavarian Folk Art. I just love this style. I never knew I would enjoy drawing it so much, I found it very easy to relate to, & it came naturally. I love the traditional colours some deep dark & completely different to what I am used to, other bright & vibrant which is just what I love.

Here is some style influences to see the direction I had to head towards.

1  2  3  4 

I had to draw a paper plate, napkin & paper cup. 
After sketching up a few ideas, here is my final design, & the one I submitted for review.

I had so much fun drawing this & felt really happy with the end result. I have never really used a colour palette like this before, dark plum ordinarily isn't the first colour I'd choose. However I felt it worked well with the colours co-ordindated. 

I am so happy & proud of myself for taking part in both MATS part A & B classes. It was hard work, & I was stretched to my limits some weeks. I loved how Lilla pushed me out of my comfort zone. I would definitely recommend the course to anybody wanting to pursue a career in freelance art & licensing. I learnt information & insider tips, I would never have found out on my own had it not been for her. It was also an emotional journey, lots of ups & downs, there were some amazing artists in the class, & I admit to feeling completely paralysed. Even sometimes too scared to even submit my work, as that nasty person in my head would start comparing myself to others. It's a hideous feeling. Some weeks were a little on the rough side & made me feel quite anxious. Lilla was great as she made it so clear to never compare, & that everyone's style of art is needed somewhere. So true but I still freaked myself out!!

The only negative about the course was that I never got any feedback on what was right or wrong with my work. Each week Lilla would select about 10 artists, out of the 500 of us, & talk about why she loved those pieces. Unfortunately mine were never picked. Thats not my worry, although each week when I realised I wasn't selected I did have a heavy heart of disappointment. But I would have loved to have known why. What could I have done better? How could I have made it better? Was it OK? It would have been nice to maybe not select artists once they have been chosen, as it was very repetitive as to the chosen artists each week. High fives to them all they deserved it, but I am just speaking from a constructive criticism perspective.

The journey hasn't put me off in anyway, in fact the opposite. After 10 lessons, I have 10 new pieces of art for my folio. Happy!! I look froward to the quiet time over Christmas to start building my folio & also utilising all of the amazing tips I learnt in coming artwork. 

It was a great journey.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pre christmas lovely busyness

I love this time of year, however my ever growing lists just seem to continue.

I feel so lucky that I am so busy, 4 years ago I would never have imagined that my efforts would eventually create this dream job for me. Still being a one woman show, it is becoming more challenging each year, as not only do I have my lovely business, I still am a mum, wife & friend.

Some days I just don't fit it all in. I want to be honest about that, I would never lie & say I can do it all.
I just couldn't do that to myself. So at the moment certain things just have to be attended to when I get to them.

At times my floors can be a little dirty.
The washing basket is getting a little over loaded.
Exercising everyday isn't happening.
Even the extra take out meal has snuck.

Big deal thats life.

On the super dooper plus side;
The kids have loads of Christmas parties coming up.

Our weekends are very full between now & Christmas. We're so lucky to have friends who want to spend time with us.

Charlotte has her first dancing concert in early December. So yes I am not a dance mum. below is the evidence, of the blank costumes waiting to be beaded.

Hudson is finishing 4 year old kinder & starting school next year. His end of year concert is approaching, as will his break up party. Kinda feeling sad but so proud.

Sundays are full with Hudson taking up Milo Cricket, he is loving every moment, & also the sausage sizzles afterwards.

I am having a really successful Christmas season, lots of orders & lots of fantastic personalised gifts going to everyone.

In the future;
I am not getting ahead of myself yet, but I have some great plans for next year. I have completed several e-courses, & the only way for me to benefit from those is to put the new skills learnt into action. I get so excited just thinking about it. When the Christmas frenzy has slowed down, my little book of notes & ideas will be opened. I am thinking of going on a little business date with it,  & sitting quietly with a lovely coffee & slowly plan my next year ahead.

One negative;
This damn cough or whatever it was that knocked me about last week it trying to rear it's ugly head. I am battling with it, lots of vitamin C & vitamins to ward it off. I just don't want it!

It's all good, life is great.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

MATS week 4 - editorial

I haven't had a chance to post my week 4 submission for MATS. I kind of struggled with this one a bit, only due to lack of time, I normally  put my 120% into it. Christmas orders have kept me a little crazy at the moment. No complaining, I am so happy :)

So editorial something you'd find in a magazine, newspaper, on a map etc. The best part of this assignment was the opportunity to create some hand lettering. A favourite past time of mine.

The brief was to create a map, or an identity of your city, where you live. Coming from Melbourne I picked the most iconic places that came to my mind straight away. Again, Lilla managed to throw me out of my comfort zone as usual. I mean take a look, does it look like a piece of art that I would normally create? No way hozay!! But it did give me an opportunity to stretch myself, see how I felt, ask myself if I loved it, & once again see what I could do & where it would take me.

So here it is, bright bold & very Melbourne.

Creating editorial art would be amazing, but I would hope to potentially gain work in areas that would be a little more in my comfort zone.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Burn out....I am a repeat offender.

I fell off the wagon last week, I literally dropped like a bag of lead. Last Wednesday I was feeling a bit off, nothing in particular, just off. By Thursday it hit me I had a sore throat, my chest ached & I was so incredibly tired. Friday I laid around all day, & managed to get Hudson picked up & dropped off at kinder. Bonus!!

I am quite confident I know what it was, burnout.....Burning the candle at both ends.

I am a repeat offender of this, it happens yearly to me. Every year I promise to not allow it to happen, but it does. Like all mums we take on too much, not on purpose it just happens. The life of a busy mum with very active kids, working my dream job,  looking after the house, & fitting in my exercise & other odds & bobs  eventually can take it's toll.  I am a bit of a perfectionist & I do like to keep busy. I have trouble saying no, as I want to live the fullest life possible, not just for myself but the kids.

I could sit here & say it's too much, but I won't it's just not my style. I think I just need to manage the situation a little better, maybe a bit more sleep could definitely help out a little. Not only will it help, it may also reduce some of my tired & grumpy days!

Doing it all with the kids in tow will always be a challenge & every week my routine changes a little, but I am always trying & thinking of new ways to complete things quicker than I did last time.

The only way to stop burnout is to clone myself, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon, so I must soldier on.

I am just REALLY glad to be feeling better, being unwell is such a time waster. I tell you I am not looking forward to the catch up.

Such is life, onwards & upawards.....I hope it was a great Monday.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Making something memorable

Ooooh how I love a wedding, I haven't been to many unfortunately some of my closets friends still aren't married, (no pressure B). As much as I would want to cherish their celebration with all of my heart, I just want a reason to put my best dress on & dancing shoes & celebrate the day & night away.

One of my gorgeous neighbours Cleo, celebrated her daughters (Daphey) wedding on the 26th October. Can you believe I missed her leaving.....bummer...I had Charlotte's dance rehearsal. 

Anyway, she popped over the other day wondering if I could make a cushion for her to celebrate her wedding date in a similar design of their wedding invite. What a beautiful idea!! She wanted to give it to her as a gift, & leave it on her brand new couch for when they arrive home from their Maldives honeymoon. 

How could I say no, here it is.
I gave it to her this afternoon & all I can say is that she was beyond thrilled & couldn't wait to give it to her. Not only that she was telling me how many other people she knows who who also cherish something like this & I should consider designing a celebration range. Oh wow I never thought of anything like that before, & what makes it worse ideas are running through my head  at a million miles an hour. 

Time to get those ideas on paper & tackle them in the new year, I just need to get through the rush of Christmas.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Reaching goals I never thought would happen

About 16 months ago I had a double knee surgery, I had an arthroscopy procedure on both of my knees. Growing up I was a sports nut, I loved it, I still do. But the years of wear & tear well into my early 20's started to cause me pain. I no longer could squat, lunge or RUN which just devastated me. I accepted this as some kind of ageing process, & was told it's just wear & tear on my knees. I eased up on how intense my workouts were to accommodate this, but the slight pain increased, & my knees started to grind. It got to a point all I did was walk, which I find boring, & even to bend down to pick up the kids toys, even kneeling down on them was casing pain. I had so much treatment, physiotherapy, acupuncture, & loads of osteo, as well as taking lots of fish oil & glucosamine, but nothing worked.

I gave in & just stopped moving a lot, which made me annoyed, body conscious, lethargic & tired. I function at my best when I exercise. Eventually my dad got me into his GP who was also one of the doctors for Essendon Football club (my team!!). I figured surely he could help, if he treated professional athletes daily. So I went along, he felt & heard how my knees would grind & said it wasn't good, & sent me to a knee specialist who performs knee surgery. Mind you this happened 3 days after I met him, no waiting I suppose when your doctor has all the right professional contacts. YAY! As nervous as I was, I went with an open mind to see what he had to say. At the end of the day it was my choice as to what treatment I chose to undertake. 

My doctors name was Nigel, he was around my age which I found comforting, & he was gentle & understanding of my frustration. He examined my knees & told me with the grinding sound they were making, & the pain I described he knew I need an arthroscopy procedure. Suddenly I felt brave & said yes to proceed. I was so sick of the pain, I just couldn't deal with it anymore, & feeling so incapable of moving freely. Not just yes, but YES to both knees at once. He said are you sure,? You wont be able to move around much, & the fact I have 2 kids concerned him. Thankfully my mum didn't work, so that wasn't a problem, she could help me for a few days until I got mobile.

A few days later, (yes this happened super quickly) I was at the hospital, gowned up & ready to go. I was nervous but had a strange faith in him. He seemed a genuine & caring man, no eagerness to just cut into my knees. The surgery was key hole, two incisions in both side of my knees. I understood the procedure like this; He went in there & ground off all of the rough edges that were grinding against each other to clean it up, & remove what didn't need to be in there. Your knee & knee cap he described should be smooth like wet ice, very slippery. Both of mine were the opposite, bumpy & rough from wear & tear.

Afterwards I woke feeling fine. My knees all bandaged & I had to walk straight away. Man was I scared. But I did it, as awkward as it was. Recovery has taken me a while, as he told me they were worse than he had predicted, so had to be a little more aggressive on the left knee (my most painful), than on the right. It took a good 6 weeks to be walking normally again, & several months before I could bend my knee completely, that meaning pulling my ankle to my bum & stretching. I had to increase the flexibility of the muscles around my knee. I have taken it slowly & progressed with caution. My goal was to start moving more, & building the muscles up again once everything had settled. I wanted to start running again outside, so prior to this I had using a treadmill so it would help with impact, as it was safe, & flat, I did lots of interval running. Twelve months to the day (early September) I started running outside again. It was hard, always is compared to the treadmill. I didn't care about that, I knew I'd get there, but for the first time in what feels like FOREVER there is no pain. Words can no describe how amazing this is.

So slowly I got back into it with a goal to run 5km. Always in the back of my mind, I have been waiting for them to hurt again, but so far so good nothing. I have kept to safe foot paths or the road, not footy ovals or grassland, as I am paranoid I will find a pot hole & something will happen. Today on this beautiful sunny Melbourne day, (also a public holiday Melbourne Cup), I ran 5km with only three 30 seconds breaks. Sometimes the hills kill me & I need to recover as I am worried the next breath won't come. My legs hurt & feel heavy, but it's a great & normal pain. I would never have ever thought I would be able to achieve this. I am so happy & look forward to doing some fun runs in the future.

It's got me thinking about how amazing the mind is when you really want something. I have pushed to get to this day. It's hard, & some days I didn't feel like it but I didn't it anyway. I am starting to think if I have achieved this, what else is possible?? Whether it be running or other goals in my life.

Doing a happy dance!!

I love hearing about people goals, let me know what you have achieved when you thought it was impossible.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Horse Love...Inspired by the Melbourne Cup

This week there has been horse fever in the air. The race that stops the nation will be run, the MELBOURNE CUP!! A race that is watched by over 17 million people world wide. Wowza!!

It's a crazy time here in Melbourne, celebs roll in, (I believe Naomi Campbell is here this time), women are dressed beautifully with the dresses & hats, spending hundreds of dollars. People are betting left right & centre, sipping champagne & everyone looks amazing.

I am not a punter, & don't really have a lot of interest in horse racing at all. Instead I take advantage of the public holiday, which is tomorrow. It will be a day to have a sleep in, go for a run, spend the day with my husband, & catch up on some work while he spends time with the kids.

Regardless of my lack of interest in the race, I do love to look at horses & found some gorgeous pieces for the home, or for the kids.

Sources 1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6

My favourite item would have to be the pink horse from Monsoon...love it.

However you spend your day tomorrow, holiday or not, I hope it's a happy one.