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The finished product!  All set up yesterday at the Mummy Tree Markets...

The finished product! All set up yesterday at the Mummy Tree Markets…

Yesterday I was part of the lovely Mummy Tree Markets at Everton Park. I had a lovely morning, my gorgeous sister helped me with my little tribe (super huge thank you!!), lots of lovely customers to chat too and friendly stall holders to gossip with between customers.

One of the questions I got asked quite a few times was ‘How do you find time to sew with kids?’

Which is a good question!

So I thought I’d give you the honest, no holds barred answer.

There is no magic silver solution where I can make more hours in the day.

The simple  truth is I schedule in time for me.

Just like you would book in a playdate for the kids, a doctor’s appointment or a class at the gym. I carve out time in my day to be creative.

Sometimes it’s half an hour, sometimes it’s a block of a couple of hours.  Then there are days where it’s a few 10 minutes blocks scattered throughout the day. The point is that I  make time to do something creative every day.  My creative loves include sewing, drawing, designing and writing.

Being creative makes me feel energised, happy and accomplished when I finish a project.

Just like exercising releases endorphins and makes you feel good, being creative gives me a sense of achievement and fuels my imagination and energy reserves.

Which makes me a more content person all round, not to mention a whole lot more productive in all of the other parts of my life.

So it is absolutely worth the effort to carve out time. Why not try it tomorrow?

Start with 10 minutes. If sewing or writing aren’t your cup of tea, how about baking? Or gardening?

Here are  a couple of my favourite places to visit and some creative folk to inspire you…

  • The lovely, clever and very creative soul Pip Lincolne from Meet Me at Mikes. Plus she’s funny to boot!
  • For the literary buffs and writers out there – have you visited Allison Tait’s website? A fab writer, generous giver of advice for writers who are just starting out, plus she’ll even give you a friendly nudge to just get on with it…
  • Cinta from My Poppet – subscribe, visit regular or buy one of her digital creations. Take your pick! This clever lady provides the perfect inspiration for crafty folk.

I’d love to hear what inspires you to get creative!

Enjoy xx

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Fab start  on a to-do list (via The Organised Housewife)

Fab start on a to-do list (via The Organised Housewife)

Happy Tuesday!  Today is Super Tuesday – when I kick in to super-speed mode and smash out a big day on all fronts.

Fuelled by coffee (all catch-ups today are taken at cafes when I can), I have jam-packed my day full of meetings, networking, finishing off, planning, big thinking, then after work I have a stock-take to  complete, labels to attach, a giveaway promo to prepare (hooray for that one!)…

That giant to do list of mine is getting attacked on all fronts.

The secret to a successful Super Tuesday for me goes like this:

  • Write a detailed to do list. Make your jobs specific, like ‘finish reviewing x report, and send back for editing’ or at home ‘clean three shelves in pantry’ or ‘sort through odd sock pile and throw out/ up cycle any remaining solo socks’. Check out The Organised Housewife for some great printables and tips.
  • Make sure you aim high! Write a giant list when you first get up, you can use it as a base for your next Super Tuesday.
  • Do it on a day when you are going to have some energy. For me Monday is rough after the weekend, Wednesday I am well and truly into my week. Tuesday is about right. This works well for me as I work five days a week.  Change it up to suit your routine.
  • Ban all distractions.  No social media, no TV, no time-wasting and no procrastinating.  If it’s not on the list, don’t do it.  Push back on meetings, lunch dates, anything you can to give yourself the best chance of success.
  • Tackle your most dreaded jobs first.  Make the awkward phone call.  Clean the crisper/ veg drawer in the fridge. Tackle the most complex report.  Whatever it is, tackle the big stuff first.
  • Take the time at the end of your Super day to reflect on how it went. What did you smash through? What gave you a lot of satisfaction when you finished?  What took you longer that you thought? How did you go with your tough jobs?  What’s left for next week? 
  • Reward yourself!  Read a magazine, spend a bit of time on Facebook, Instagram, whatever your favourite social media time waster/pleasure is.  The point is to take the time to celebrate you much you rocked it on Super Tuesday!

Enjoy xx

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Thinking? Gorgeous print via artretro (Etsy)...

Thinking? Gorgeous print via artretro (Etsy)…

One of the wonderful things about being on holidays is having the time to think.

Sure, between playing with the kids, sewing up a storm for my Etsy shop, and the usual domestic biz, there’s not a whole lot of *spare* time.

However, I have still found time to think, mull over and take stock.

I received a brilliant email newsletter from Meet Me at Mikes Pip Lincolne (do you subscribe? – it’s fab!). Her lovely post came with a list she had compiled taking stock, and an invitation to do the same.  So here it is… There’s a blank list below if you’d like to do the same!  Maybe even print it out and keep it, then take a look at the end of the year?

Making : Sundresses for my Etsy store
Cooking : Zucchini and carrot pie (will post a recipe this week)
Drinking : Pimms
Reading: Home (Beci Orpin)
Wanting: a cleaner
Looking: A Beautiful Mess via Feedly
Playing: Lego
Deciding: Where to buy a house?
Wishing: The weather would cool down soon
Enjoying: Time with the kids
Waiting: for news on Perth Upmarket
Liking: Fresh fruit and veg from the Mt Claremont Farmers Market
Wondering: How this year will pan out
Loving: My boys starting to become little men
Pondering: Publish an e-book?
Considering: Cutting my hair short again
Watching: Justified and Person of Interest
Hoping: I get a spot at Finders Keepers this year
Marvelling: At how quickly the kids are growing up
Needing: New runners
Smelling: Frangipanis in my backyard
Wearing: Thongs and Birkies…a lot!
Following: Mr Jason Grant… Sydney style gold!
Noticing: Fab prints (check out Dan300)
Knowing: The year will fly by!
Thinking: About finishing my PhD
Feeling: Happy (cheesy but true)
Admiring: Pip Lincolne (such a crafty generous lady)
Sorting: The kids clothes (hand-down, donate, up-cycle)
Buying: Ethical fashion this year
Getting: School gear organised
Bookmarking: Crafty inspiration at Sew Mama Sew
Disliking: All the negativity about gay marriage
Opening: Little packages from Craftumi
Giggling: At Little L testing out grown-up words
Feeling: Grateful and inspired

 

Here’s a blank list for you:

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :
Reading:
Wanting:
Looking:
Playing:
Deciding:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving:
Pondering:
Considering:
Watching:
Hoping:
Marvelling:
Needing:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Feeling:
Admiring:
Sorting:
Buying:
Getting:
Bookmarking:
Disliking:
Opening:
Giggling:
Feeling:

Thanks Pip!

Enjoy xx

*Love the gorgeous print at the top? You can get it here on Etsy at artretro

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#Year of Ethical Fashion

#Year of Ethical Fashion

Happy New Year!

Its been a busy start tot he year in this neck of the woods, with markets, lots of sewing, creating and photos, returning to the office, and thinking about what the year holds.

This year, after reading a fab post from the lovely Pip Lincolne at Meet Me at Mikes,  I have decided to take up the challenge of ethical fashion. Here’s how it goes…

When I’m looking for things to wear (for the kids or myself) I will only:

a) Buy from ethical makers or
b) Buy second-hand or
c) Make it myself  or
d) Wear things I already own or
e) Borrow or swap garments with friends

(credit to Pip @ Meet Me at Mikes for the fab words)

I had already started down this path last year whilst sewing and creating clothes for my own little label (This Grand Life). Each piece takes me time (especially gorgeous little dresses and boardies), and so I have a real appreciation for anything handmade.  It’s a labour of love some of the time!

This is countered by having four little kids to clothe, and not wanting to spend a small fortune each time one of the kids has a growth spurt (a very regular occurrence in my house).

I had started to introduce the kids to the world of op shops and vintage fashion, along with teaching them how to sew (a hand life skill for boys and girls!).

Until I read Pip’s post, I had kind of left in at that, a nice thought and some good intentions.

So I decided to make the make the pledge to have a Year of Ethical Fashion, and in the process hopefully help the kids learn about making good choices along the way…

Enjoy xx

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So very true!

So very true!

Happy Friday Folks! 

I thought I’d take the time to think about what I am grateful for today (the fab print about is available here on Etsy via West Sheridan):

  • Getting the chance to spend some Q-time with the little folk in my life (and also at the same time expanding my knowledge of dinosaurs, Zelfs – more about those tomorrow, and Lego)
  • Having a lovely supportive partner in life who a rock of encouragement and support this year while I pursue my somewhat lofty creative/ career dreams
  • Being in good health and having a lovely family

What are you feeling grateful for today?

Enjoy xx

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I am basking in the glow of a daydream come true. After years of sewing /creating for my own pleasure and for my little tribe, I decided to take the plunge and start a boutique design label. Featuring fab frocks, sunny sun dresses, cool shorts, super cute totes, brooches…and a whole lot more, This Grand Life, the label became a reality.
This weekend I braved The Finders Keepers market in sunny Sydney, and it was…wonderful, terrifying and inspirational all at the same time. Within minutes of opening, my nerves disappeared, and I didn’t stop smiling all day.

Hello from Finders Keepers!

Have you got a daydream? A dream trip? A great idea?

Enjoy xx

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Scared of technology? Join the club…

Scared of technology? Join the club…

Technology used to scare the pants off me.  I would even proclaim, loudly and proudly, that I was a technophobe.

Then a shift happened.

I wanted to create a blog, and get back into textiles and design.The thought of using technology to do any of this quietly terrified me.

What if it was all too hard?

What if I was so clueless that I couldn’t even get started?

So I started small. My first triumphant feat was actually tiny in the grand scheme of things.

It was a widget.

Literally.

A widget that allowed me to connect my Facebook site here to my blog here.

Sounds simple right?

Despite being a small task, in the past I would’ve skirted around this by getting someone else to ‘help’. Which is code for please do it for me. You know, because I am useless with technology, and am a technophobe.

In spite of my inner voice protecting, that it was all too hard, I charged headlong into it.

And won!

I found and installed a dinky little widget myself.

Connection successful.

How great is this? I thought.

If I can do this, I can take on anything tech. A few days later it hit e, I was no longer a technophobe. There was another unexpected shift that occurred. I realised that technology is a huge part of our lives.

How we embrace technology is a signal to our kids, our loved ones, our friends and our workmates about how they could embrace technology in their lives.

Do you embrace technology? Or are you a bit of a technophobe…

Enjoy xx

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'Our backyard!' I think I may have at least one other optimist in the family...

‘Our backyard!’ I think I may have at least one other optimist in the family…

It’s been a tough week in my neck of the woods, and I am feeling blessed that I am an optimist at heart.

Being a natural optimist is at times a double-edged sword though.

Whilst I  always tend to see the good and I think on the whole it’s a pretty good way to walk through life, not everyone feels the same.

I also get accused of gilding the lily.

Not being pragmatic.

Wearing rose-coloured glasses.

There is an element of truth there I suppose.

Sometimes a reality check is a good thing, being practical and laying out the risks is useful.

Mostly though, I think it’s about how I view the world.

I don’t see huge insurmountable problems and no glimmer of hope.

I see challenges. This seems tough, but I’ve survived and thrived in tougher environments.

Opportunities – this may seem unbelievably scary now, but who know maybe I’ll love it (that was diving…for work…near a huge drop-off), the thought of public speaking scares the pants off me, but I know I’ll love it once I am up there…

Rays of sunshine – singing Wiggles with Little L – who doesn’t love that crazy Captain Feathersword? –  when someone says thank you when I finish a tough job.

How about you? Optimist or pessimist?

Enjoy xx

 

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Satisfaction

I have been contemplating my future, career aspirations and life in general over the past week.

Kicked off my a 360° session (where you seek out and invite your leader and co-workers to assess you – sounds like fun right?) in the office, and spurned on by a thought-provoking day at WIMWA 2013(Women in Mining Western Australia).

I have been wondering what is it that keeps me satisfied in life?

The fabulous Jane Caro, gave an inspirational and hilarious speech at WIMWA, and spoke of finding the balance between boredom and fear.

This struck a chord with me.

Feeling satisfied, and happy isn’t the result of one silver bullet, one thing that makes everything right.

It’s more in a constant state of flux.

When life is becoming a little stale and uninspiring, it’s time to dial up the risk factor a little and try something new. Learn a new language. Apply for that job that may be a bit of a stretch. Eat somewhere new. Try cooking something different. Take a risk and cut your hair. A small change can make a big difference and be enough to get the fire burning again.

Likewise if your head is spinning, and life seems to be weighing you down, and it’s all getting a little hard, then it’s time to take your foot off the pedal and slow down.  Get back to routine. Cut out a couple of essential activities for you and the kids (let’s face it, nobody really needs to be playing three sports before the age of 5!). Go back to eating simple wholesome food. Walk instead of drive.

Which brings me back to where I am right now.  For me, it’s time to change it up, and dial up the risk factor a little. I have started my own blog (thank you for visiting!), started my own retail space and am amping it up a notch in my corporate life by getting more involved, joining the Institute of Company Directors and seeking out and accepting speaking gigs (my big fear is public speaking, I also happen to love doing it, after the event, when my nerves are a little less frazzled).

Where are you right now?  Are you satisfied?

Enjoy xx

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Feeling like a square peg in a round hole?

Feeling like a square peg in a round hole?

Life can be hard-core at the best of times.

The road can get even rougher when you add work, kids, study, and anything  else the universe throws at you.

When I was younger, I thought the way to make it all a little easier was to try to blend in. Whether it be clothes, hair, taste in music, you name it, surely it life would be a little easier if you could just blend in with the crowd?

People can be pretty brutal when you don’t fit the norm.

Too fat, too skinny, too smart, too eccentric, too loud, too quiet, too fit, too lazy, too ambitious, too laid-back…

Argh!!  How on earth do you get it right?

I think the simple truth is you never will, not if you only focus on what others think is right. For you.

The beauty of experience is you (hopefully) start to appreciate who you are and become more comfortable with who you really area. I have been thinking and reflecting on life, work, and well, me, over the past week. Maybe it’s this rainy weather we’ve been having in not so sunny Perth…

I had started to think about why I continue to work in a male-dominated industry (mining), and why I also find the energy to write, create and connect with people here.

It all boils down to what’s right for me. I love working with people, listening to their stories, helping them out, guiding, coaching and leading people.  Would I love to see more women in the industry I work in? Hell yes! It can be more than a little confronting being the only woman in the room, being a square peg trying to fit in a round hole.

Does that stop me from working in this industry I have grown to love? No way.

I also love being creative, so I chose to work out a way to have this too. For me, it’s my blog and my little online retail space.

It’s not a textbook approach to having a career, but it’s one that works for me.

In fact it’s one of the many reasons I feel like I am thriving, not surviving as I navigate my way through life.

What makes you thrive?

Enjoy xx

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