Wednesday, 31 October 2012

On Working Towards A Balanced Life

Generally speaking, I like to throw myself into whatever I am doing, and do a good job of it. "It's not worth doing if it's not worth doing right" or whatever. It seemed to be easier when I was working full-time, before kids. I threw myself into my job, while at work, and threw myself into maintaining my relationships with my hubby, my church community, friends and family. I would get overwhelmed from time to time (like the time I realised I had over-committed myself at church and had to back out of teaching kids' church and leading Missions Team and focus just on leading a home group). But it seemed a little more manageable. Maybe it's just hindsight, and I don't remember it as I actually experienced it. But I recall hubby and I having a goal-setting and review session every few months, mapping out all the areas of our lives and evaluating how we were doing with keeping our priorities in check. Sure, there was always plenty of stuff to work on and make changes to, but we managed to have these sessions fairly regularly. Since having kids? Well, ha ha...

Having children has changed our lives in a massive way. They are a wonderful change, but a huge change. I don't think that there is any way to be prepared for the enormity of that change. There is suddenly so much more to juggle. How can one tiny person bring so much change? For me (and, as I understand it, for many other women too), having my first baby ushered in an identity crisis that shook up all I had ever known as 'me' and turned it inside out. Now, I consider myself to be a fairly psychologically-minded person, quite self-aware even. I knew becoming a mummy would introduce a new element to my concept of self, and would take some time to process. I knew having a baby would change how my hubby and I relate to each other. I did expect a transitional period, of course. I just did not expect it to last years. 

I did a lot of soul-searching, as I tried to figure out who I was now that I was a mum. My sense of self changed in so many ways - my body image, my fashion choices, my sense of competence (or lack there of), my relationship with I worked through these changes, I found that I tended to throw myself into one aspect of my new role at home after another. At first, it was housework - keeping a "good house". I worked hard at setting up new housework routines (which had to change each time Miss E reached a new stage of development and mobility), ironing my hubby's work clothes, packing his lunch, because that's what a "good house wife" should do. Then, developing an exercise routine - I walked an hour a day for a good many months. Then, I discovered gardening, and threw myself into that (to the detriment of aforementioned housework routines). During my first trimester of my second pregnancy, I grew far too exhausted for gardening, and so I rediscovered my love of making things, and starting putting a lot of time and energy into it. But each time I started focusing on something new, I had to give up something else. 

I can't count how many times I've said to hubby, "How do other women do it, I just can't seem to do it!" Sure, I can manage to dress nicely each day and put my make-up on and have the children clean and nicely dressed - as long as I don't try to keep the house clean. Or, I can maintain the garden and make nice meals, as long as it doesn't matter if I am in daggy old home clothes all day every day. Or, I can exercise and take care of my body, as long as I worry about cleaning the house...I just can't do it all. So I had better be clear about my priorities.

I got to a point where I felt relatively content with my balance of priorities...and then, my life (and my identity, and my marriage) was shaken up again with the arrival of another beautiful little person. In case you have never heard, the birth of a second child can be just as life-changing as the birth of a first child. This has certainly been the case for us. 

If you've been reading for a while, you will have witnessed some of my struggle with priorities over the last few months. My son's first birthday is fast approaching, a fact that is forcing me to stop and reflect on the last twelve months. While I could sit here and notice all the ways that I have failed in my attempts to live a balanced life, I am not going to do that...

I am not going to focus on my short-comings, but look forward to the future and laugh with excitement at the possibilities. I am not going to hate myself for the times I have failed my children and my hubby, but surrender them to God and draw the strength from Him to face one day at a time. To truly be in this present moment with my children. To breathe in all the sweetness they exude, and not take their failings personally. To hold them close, tickle and cuddle them, laugh with them and JUST BE WITH THEM.

There is no rule for a balanced life. There is no perfect formula. There is just one day at a time.

She's Making Jewellery Now!

A happy Wednesday to you. Here's a little clip, courtesy of Portlandia, to make you crafters giggle.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Kids Artwork Embroidery Update

We've had some rather overcast days here lately. My dodgy little old camera is happy, because those overcast days create some great light for taking photos outside. I have finally updated some photos of my kids' artwork embroidery pieces. I usually have the dilemma that I am working to a tight deadline, and have to take a quick photo with whatever light I have, right before posting the artwork off to it's new owner. However, since I have three pieces to complete for one customer, I have the unique opportunity to wait for good light to take some better photos...

I also finally did up a price guide for those interested in commissioning a work. (Prices are subject to change at my discretion, and are as a guide only).

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Felt Rain Cloud Brooch Giveaway

Hi lovely friends! 

Just a quick note today, in case you haven't heard. I'm giving away a felt rain cloud brooch over on my Facebook page at the end of October. All you need to do is 'like' my Facebook page to be in the running. The competition is open internationally, and of course, includes postage to wherever you happen to be (provided you give me your postal address if you win!).

The prize is your choice of the cloud with the blue raindrops or the rainbow raindrops. Feel free to share with your friends and family, but there is no requirement for you to do so. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator on the 31st October.

If you can't wait until then, you can purchase the cloud brooches from my Etsy shop for $18 plus postage.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Have You Met Hazel, Freda, Mirabel and the Others?

Here's a little something that I have been busy with recently. Well, a few weeks ago now, but I did not get a chance to blog about it at the time. 

BrisStyle, supported by Brisbane City Council, runs wonderful FREE monthly workshops on a range of topics to help crafty types in their making and selling ventures. Basically professional development for crafters. Thanks to the super advice from Melanie from Kimono Reincarnate at a recent session on photographing your creations, I was inspired to have another try at getting my product shots right. And thanks to the incredibly supportive Homespunsociety team on Etsy,I have had a lot of helpful feedback. My new product shots of my miniature felt dress brooches are certainly far from perfect, but I think I'm heading in a positive direction. 

I also FINALLY got around to making little stories for each felt dress brooch style, and have included them on the Etsy description! Just thought I would share some with you.

JEMIMA owns a dress boutique. She has a passion for helping other women find the right outfit for that special occasion. She has a keen sense of style, and just the right blend of tact and frankness. 

RITA is your average girl-next-door. She is fresh faced and fun, with a keen sense of adventure. She is a most loyal pal, just the kind of friend you want to have with you when you get into trouble. Which is just as well, as trouble seems to follow her!

VALERIE is an air hostess. She takes her job and its associated responsibility very seriously. She will be the first to tell you that it's not all glamourous. She does, however, like to look her best, especially when she hits the town.

MABEL is a girly girl who loves to dress up. She only owns one pair of flats, and she only wears those on the tennis court. She is in her element planning parties and baking up a storm – wearing an apron to cover her good frock, of course!

PENELOPE is a warm, compassionate counsellor at the local high school. She loves playing scrabble and drinking tea while her cat keeps her lap warm.


MIRABEL is sweet and kind. She is a primary school teacher who is well-loved by her students. She loves to knit in her spare time, and donates the blankets she makes to those in need. 


MOLLY is a librarian, whose favourite part of her job is reading books to little kiddies during storytime. She likes to go dancing in her spare time, and travels when she can. She collects spoons from her travels and hangs them proudly on her wall at home. 

EVELYN is all about understated elegance. To unwind after her days at the office, she loves watching Audrey Hepburn films with a glass of wine. She paints landscapes on the weekends, with her loyal golden retriever by her side. 

 HOLLY is an aspiring actress who is currently doing TV ads for yoghurt. She has dreams of one day making it big on Broadway. She is into fashion in a big way.


HILLARY is a smart, ambitious career girl, with a great sense of fun. She's your go-to girl if you need to take care of business (in a totally non-mob kind of way).

SALLY is an athletic sort, who loves nothing better than a good long run first thing in the morning. She has a sharp wit, which she frequently uses on her clients at the local country club, where she coaches tennis. 

LUCY teaches piano to children in her home-based studio. She is a fun teacher, with a flair for the creative. She collects figurines, and loves to make up stories about them.

HAZEL has a childlike playfulness. Maybe it is her impish smile, or her large, round, twinkling eyes. Or perhaps it is her propensity for playing practical jokes on her dearest friends. Whatever the cause, Hazel is well loved by those who love her. 

FREDA is a graceful, softly spoken dance teacher. But she has a secret wild side - she loves to drive her sports car far too fast with the hood down. 

(All available at my Etsy Shop, or at the BrisStyle indie Twilight Market tomorrow evening.) 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Update and BiTM reminder!

Hello! I apologise for being sporadic with posts lately. Oops. 

Just a little update on the home front - 2 days after I posted Decisions, Decisions, my hubby got a job offer! Yay! Lovely confirmation of my choice to stay home with my kidlets being the right one for us at this time.However, while the blessing of a new job has been marvelous, there has been a difficult adjustment period. Just getting the family into a new routine. Miss Three finds it especially hard, as she is such a Daddy's girl, and relished his period of unemployment. Just this morning, she was suggesting that she go to work with Daddy. When I explained that it would be dead boring for her, with nothing for her to do while he worked on his computer all day, she reasoned that surely somebody else could "have a try at Daddy's computer and he can stay home with me". Awww...

In other news, the BrisStyle indie Twilight Markets (BiTM) are on again in King George Square this Friday evening, 5pm to 9pm. If you are in the vicinity, pop in and check out the awesome handmade goods. I finally bought my lights yesterday (nothing like last minute, huh!), so I'm set to go! I'll be in the middle of the market, in the co-op section. 

(My pink felt dress brooch even made it into the BrisStyle promo collage this month - woohoo!)

For more info on the BiTM, go to the BrisStyle blog.

Hope to see some of you on Friday night!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Country Town Op-shopping!

Thrifted fabric remnant with gorgeous kitchen print

As those who follow me on Facebook would know, my kidlets and I had the best part of a week at my parents' place last week. They live in a country town in the same state, a mere two hour drive full of beautiful scenery, but somehow we just don't get down there enough.

I grew up in this town, and while I was eager to get away by my late teens, it is a wonderful place to go back to. One thing it really has going for it is its op shops. I developed a love for them in my teen years, and love to go back and sift through the treasures waiting to be found and given a new life.

The bonus for me now is that I have very willing babysitters in town (my parents) who encourage me to go op-shopping, shoo me out the door even, so they can have some time with the kids without a pesky parent around (they love me, but hey, we all know parents cramp grandparents' style, right?).

So who was I to disobey?

I had some wonderful finds, mostly vintage bed linen, as well as a handful of handmade vintage aprons and some hand embroidered bits and bobs. I hope to photograph the aprons soon (they need a good pressing first), but here are some of the other finds.

A tea tablecloth and two different citrus coloured single sheets

Gorgeous flannelette cot sheet

Floral curtain and sheet
Gorgeous sheet with a print of an illustration of a pair of little girls, and a set of floral sheets

An embroidered handkerchief pocket

An embroidered tea tablecloth

A sweet hand painted dip bowl, still in its gift box
I have plans for the floral sheets...I have some 1950s dress patterns in my size that I have been wanting to try out, but don't trust my sewing skills enough to buy expensive fabric, so a set of double bed sheets with a lovely print for $3 is a really wonderful blessing.

Now to find the time to sew...


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