My Vintage Childhood

My Vintage Childhood: May 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Post: Six years on.....

As you wake up this morning and possibly as you read this post, I've got up with sparrows and have headed off on a day of adventuring and treasure hunting, I'm thankful to have the distraction today and to be spending it with those dearest to my heart whilst doing something that I love to do.

I could not have ever imagined the life I have now six years ago to this day, the truth is I couldn't even imagine what a month, week, day or even what an hour ahead would look like. I was quite literally existing with each breath after our twin girls Elle and Meg were born dramatically and too soon for this world.

Six years ago in the thick of my despair I wished that the grim reaper would take me in my sleep, but like lightening quick flashes there would be a glimmer of a moment where I knew in my heart that I didn't want to feel that way forever and that I wanted to be able ride out of the dark hole. Out of my darkest days I slowly climbed and from those very early days I have been on a pursuit of happiness to live my life honouring my souls desires and dreams.

Prior to losing the girls life was good but I was a serious over thinker and I often let doubt rein supreme in my life and hold me back from fully committing myself to many things. I let my thoughts, doubts and negativity limit me and what was possible for me and my happiness. Losing Elle and Meg turned my life and my way of thinking on it's ear, it slapped me upside the head, spun me around and shook out the woman I have always wanted to be.

Today I'm living a life I could not have imagined six years ago, I don't live doubting my moves and decisions anymore. Today I just say what the heck give it a go, what's the worse that could happen....the worse has already happen. Today I'm surrounded by abundant love, the love of my earthbound children and a husband who rode out the most darkest of days together with me and with his own pain. Today I'm surrounded by abundant love from family and friends in my day to day life both on and off line. My love, my relationships, and friendships both personal and professional are deeper and more richer than I ever could have imagined six years ago.

I often question whether or not I would have come into the world of blogging had I not lost Elle and Meg, it's because of their loss I ever started writing online in the first place. I wonder if I would have ever actualised a business dream and plan that sees me have incredible fun and adventures, with growing successes. Would life of continued to have been half lived, held back by my doubt? All I know is that the light in my life does not exist without darkness. It's the contrast of the darkness that shows me how bittersweet and beautiful my life is, how blessed I am, how abundant with talent, knowledge and skill I am, how loved I am, how STRONG I am, how determined I am.

I thank all of you who have been a bystander to my journey both on and offline, some of you have been with me from the start and have known me forever, where others have learnt of my journey along the way in recent times. Either way whatever amount of time you've been with me the one thing that has not changed is the warmth and compassion you have shown me. Not only that, you support me with excitement and enthusiasm in all that I do and dream for. I seriously could not have imagined six years ago I would have such a huge cheer squad for my life.

My sweet Elle and Meg, your heavenly journey left tracks in my soul where dust will never settle. You are in my thoughts, heart and my words every day. I live life as I do now because of you and for you, for your younger earth side brothers and your sister. You my loves, are the reason I am the best me I can be today and everyday. I thank you both for all the love, compassion and opportunity you direct into my life and my journey, I could never have dreamt a life as blessed without you.

Rest in peace my sweet girls, I hope today you're dancing in clouds and giggling with glee. Today we will be hunting for treasure and I know like every other year, there will be a sign that you are near.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

{Style Collective} Colour for Krista.....

There's an amazingly beautiful and colourful babe in vintage blogging land many of us know. Krista has been and is still going through difficult times at the moment, but she remains steadfast in being one of the most colourful people online I know. In a recent post she said that she's needing colour more now then ever before amidst worries and sadness.

I couldn't agree more, I find colour so important in my life and even more so since losing Elle and Meg nearly six years ago. Dark colours make me feel dark, down, depressed and worrisome, whereas colour gives me light, life and joy and therefore I prefer to live in the latter. That is why today's style collective post I'm breaking routine (heck I might start breaking all my routines) and dedicating this post to Krista and sending her colour to fill her day.

I chose this outfit (although it's had outings on the blog in many forms before) and colours as they certainly are reflective of Krista's tastes as well as deciding that the brightest wall in the house would be the best backdrop for colour filled dedicated post.

Vintage Osti Dress - op shopped
Cardigan - op shopped
Belt - op shopped
Beads - op shopped
Ballet Flats - retails but they've nearly had it

It only seems appropriate too that I send puppy love as well, so I scooped my wee Jada up for a photo to say hi to Peetee too.

Krista I don't know if you'll see this but either way I just want you to know that colour, light and love are being sent to you. May colour and light continue to creep and ooze into every corner of your days.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mums the word on Mother's Day.....

Mother's Day was on Sunday, and I needed to take yesterday as a go slow day to get back on top and organised again. I've been taking quite a few go slow days (okay maybe weeks) recently as Cohen, Sarah and Fraser are all going through developmental spurts and changes. I guess that's going to happen with them being close in age five and three years old and nearly nine months old.  They've all been needing a lot more of me in recent times, which means I have had to slow down and pair back some of my commitments here and there.  The good thing is that we are slowly coming through it together. On Sunday we had a lovely day together and I was reminded of the my little ones love for me. Whilst also being reminded that Mother's Day is really just like any other day, just one with a special title to it........which is code for being busy dealing with all the normal woes of crazy little souls.

It's become quiet a tradition the last few years for us to head for Mount Tamborine to the markets on Mother's Day. It's their busiest market of the year and there are loads of families celebrating the wonderful women in their lives. We strolled around, bumping into and catching up with old friends, eating wood fired pizza and listening to funky tunes. I'm thoroughly enjoying this CD we bought from this Indie musician who plays the didgeridoo (well several didgeridoos) and instruments while backing it up with funky cosmic "didj" beats. You can check out some of his performances here on his website.

Our afternoon was spent visiting my mum, followed by an afternoon run for the kids before popping in and wishing Ben's mum a happy Mother's Day too.  I took the sneaky chance to chase after the kids trying to nab some photos in the dwindling hours and light of the day.

I like these photos I took, they're just in the moment with a squirmy wormy little girl who will just not stop for a moment these days. The few sweet pictures I caught of Sarah were just in split seconds before she twisted and flew off in another direction.  Although her unruliness is driving me somewhat crazy parenting her at the moment, I just adore what I see in these pictures and it serves as a great reminder that she is exactly what she should be a three year old girl living her life according to Sarah.  

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Inspiring Creative at Home Business Insights with Christina Lowry Designs......

I'm excited that today I have Christina Lowry back from her feature last week. Christina shared so many insights into her processes with having an out home business through our discussions that we just had look at a second post, to get the most out of it. So if you're a mum or woman who has been considering venturing into having an at home creative business, these words here are for you.

Through our discussions I also asked Christina about her tips for mums wanting to start a business, about her inspiration and her strength and weaknesses, and this is what she shared with me:

Do you have some time management tips to inspire other mums wanting to take the plunge to develop an at home business?

The best advice that I can give is to be organised and find rhythms and routines that work for you! I'm a bit if a neat freak and can't stand a messy house, so it's important to me to stay on top of things. We also us clothing nappies and make as much of what we eat as we can, so I incorporate this into our routines, Since my son started school I have become even more organised in order to get all the necessary things done and leave as much time as possible for thing I want to do. Each evening I make dinner while my husband bath the children. At the same time I pack Cohen's lunch box and make our breakfast (overnight oats, yum). I make sure his uniform is laid out and his bag is packed the night before, so we aren't rushed in the morning. Both my little ones are early risers, which give me time the dishwasher, do the hand washing, vacuum and throw a load of clothes in the was each morning before taking Cohen to school. I tend to bake each Sunday afternoon, so Cohen has a homemade treat in his lunch box each day, and we avoid prepackaged food. In this way, I get all the chores out of the way early, so I have the most amount of time free to work at the bench.

In terms of managing my time at the bench, I always have more than one project on the go. Usually a big and small project. This way I can make the most of any little bits of time I have, and I am never sitting empty handed waiting for a piece to clean in the pickle. I save similar jobs to do all at once, like polishing. If I am going to polish and clean one piece, I may as well wait until I have several to do, as it save so much time and I only have to heat up the ultrasonic once. In the same way, I often in a bit of production line when building up stock, making several of them same items as I go. It save a lot of time and it's so satisfying to have several finished pieces all at once. I also always make more than what I need for thing I use often. So if I need to make one jump ring or a pair of ear wires, I will make several of them, as it doesn't take much longer and it save me that much more time next time. I do this when preparing metal too. When drawing down wire, I draw down more than I need, so I have it to use next time.

What are your inspirations when designing?

My latest collection, "The Sentimental Collection", was inspired by the draws full of doilies I would carefully rummage through at my Grandmothers house as a child. While other collections are inspired by the materials I am working with, sketches from nature or visit to art galleries - one of my favourite things to do.

I go through rather set phases with inspiration and design. It took me a long time to learn the pattern of how I work and not be intimidated by it. Inspiration usually comes in big rushes to me, with lots of ideas  and then nothing for quite awhile. Sometimes I can't sleep for all the ideas and images swimming around in my head, and the only thing for it is to keep a notebook and pen beside me at all times to jot down as much of it as I can. This can last weeks, and I am often forgetful and vague at these times, as my mind is elsewhere. Then, just as quickly, the rush vanishes and the real work begins of turning those idea in to things. Working also often inspires new ideas for me. When I start to get nervous that I will run out of idea it's usually not long before I experience another rush. I'm not sure how it is for other people, but this is how it is for me!

What are your strengths, weaknesses or challenges in having and running an at home business?

I'm such a home body that working from home suits me perfectly. I have friends who couldn't bear the thought and need to leave home for their work and their sanity. I love to potter at home, crafting, cleaning, baking. The challenge for me is to give myself time off. Between the children and the business there is always something I could be doing, and it's easy to just keep going without stopping. But I know I also need to take time to do things just for me, like knitting whilst listening to a pod cast, or visiting an exhibition, or catching up with a friend. So I make sure I schedule those things in. I will even write "knit" on my to do list, and reward myself with some craft time after crossing a few things off the list!

I have overcome the challenge of working alone by having what I call "my craft brain trust", a groups of talented, creative, small business owners in different fields who get together once a month for sort show and tell and support, encourage and share with each other. This has proven invaluable, as has the support and feedback I receive online from my blog, Instagram and Facebook page.

I love being able to work for myself, from home, with my children. By doing so I am able to be extremely flexible, share my days with the people I love most, design and make whatever I want, set my own deadlines, be in charge or all aspects of my business, while challenging myself constantly.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mum in Business Christina Lowry Designs.....

Christina from Christina Lowry Designs and I have gotten to know each other over time and share many things in common. We both have little men in our lives called Cohen that are the same age, as well as having some similar interests, passions and stories. One thing however we don't share in common is a talent for making and designing jewelry, that is a talent I do not possess but Christina does in bucket loads and she runs a successful business from home whilst managing her brood Cohen and Emerson all whilst expecting a new addition to the family as well. See! I told you, we have a bit in common, we like little people in our lives and keeping busy with family whilst honoring our passions.

I have fallen in love with Christina's designs and I'm quietly lusting after some of her pieces and will be dropping some hints to Ben and the kids for upcoming special occasions. But what I have also fallen in love with is Christina's words of wisdom and insights about having an at home business whilst being an at home mum. Here's what Christina wanted to share when I asked her to share some insights with you all.

How long have you been making jewelry?

I made my first piece of jewelry in 1999, as a seventeen year old, while studying a Bachelor of Fine Art/Visual Art at Griffith Uni. My romantic notions of being a painter had proven to be just romantic notions, but my passion for art, design and craft found their medium in the Gold and Silver Smithing studios. Form there I decided to work in the jewelry industry and attain an apprenticeship and continue gaining as much knowledge as I could in my field. As a result I learnt Diamond Grading and Pearl Threading, completed a Vocation course, as well as numerous design, casting and tool making workshops, all the while making jewelry.

What prompted you to start a work from home business? Were you going that before having children?

It was while I was pregnant with Cohen I started a blog and gradually, at the suggestion of family and friends, started creating jewelry to sell. Prior to that it was more of a hobby, and I made gifts and repairs for family and friends. I had thought I would wait until the child/ren were in school before starting by own business. But eventually I took the plunge, opened a bigcartel shop and have been stocking it with my handmade jewelry ever since. My shop has gone from strength to strength, with many loyal, repeat customers. I started accepting custom orders and pearl re-threading, and then attended my first market in November last year, after being accepted in to the Brisbane's Finders Keepers market. This experience really encouraged and inspired me and has lead to so much growth in my business - a new logo and packaging, new display, advertising, guest posts - and now being accepted once again to the Autumn/Winter Finders Keepers in Brisbane in July.

When do you create and how do you mange your time being a mum, wife and a creative?

Initially, when I had a little free time, I sat down and worked at my bench, it was a bit of a luxury . I had no set times or days, and everything else took priority. I attended the Big Hearted Business morning tea with Clare Bowditch in Brisbane, where she asked us to write down our answers to several questions, such as as where we wanted to be in five year time. I had a moment of realisation. In five years time I could have a clean house and both children in school, or I could also have a successful business. I just had to make it a priority. It seems so simple now, but that changed my entire mindset and the amount of time I was dedicating to my business. I took it all much more seriously, started keeping proper records of my income and expenses and surprised myself. You don't really know where you stand until it is all written down in black and white.

Now I am at the bench most days except Sunday, which is our family day together. I walk my son to and from each day, Emerson and I have a weekly Playgroup play date together, and I have an intern who comes twice a week who I am training and who helps out. The rest of my time is really flexible and I make the most of my daughter's naps to get things done, and work at nights sometimes too. Emerson loves to be in the workshop with me, and plays with my tools, draws, plays with play dough and dolls, and I am continually stopping to interact and play with her and to talk to her. I remind myself that she is the first priority, she is the reason I am at home and I am able to run my business as I do. So if she is tired or cranky, I down tools and go to her. Similarly, when I pick my son up from school I don't go back to the bench again until both children are asleep. I love having that  time to spend with them, even if it is just doing homework with Cohen and trying to keep Emerson from drawing on the walls (her latest trick).

Christina is going to be back next week here on the blog sharing more insights into having an at home business, being inspired and organised as well as talking about her inspirations.