A rainbow of books

That has got to be one of the most self-explanatory blog post titles ever. As Sylvia noticed from my last post, I have organised some of my books by colour. Earlier this week I went to Ikea with Kell (check out Lana's room revamp Kell did with the furniture she picked up) and bought some bookshelves. Just the white Billy ones. I have installed two in the lounge room, one each on either side of the entranceway from the foyer.

One has our red velvet couch in front of it, so three shelves are hidden behind there and four are visible. They have mostly my things, with a shelf for Ben's sci-fi novels and some gaming stuff. Board games and a few stray kids books are here as well. I will photograph this area another day.

The other has almost all kids books. The top shelf has a few that are child and family related, Autism related and a few craft books. But the rest of the shelves are entirely kids books. I've sorted them by colour, but due to the different sizes of all the books I couldn't effectively put them in blocks of colour. It would have meant less shelves. So I made it a running rainbow from left to right. It's easy enough for the kids to put things back in roughly the right spots too. At the moment having them all here in one place, so accessible and visible, has meant an extra surge in the amount of reading going on. Especially by Cedar ;)

Now I am reorganising the bookshelves in my room to be storage for Curious Bazaar and other business stuff. The lovely Wendy Hill gave us a lovely mention the other day, if you haven't already you should check out her blog The Textured Leaf, I just love keeping up with her thoughts and stitches. Though I don't comment on it anywhere near as often as I have comments in my head. I must work on that. Thank you, lovely Wendy :)

Anyway, the foyer bookshelves I'm still figuring out, but am hoping to mostly put baskets and boxes for random shoes, bike helmets and whatever other junk gets thrown around that area. Streamline things a bit. Anyone who has been to my house will tell you that streamlined isn't the word that would come to mind describing it ;) It is quite small (saying foyer makes it sound grander, which is quite funny, our glorified entranceway is actually our study as well). And we are quite crafty and busy. But it's about headspace. I need to have more control over our environment so that tidying up isn't quite such an exercise in futility - i.e. some things have actual homes where they can get put away. Bonus, right?

It's almost 2012. Half an hour to go. I'm going to go to bed, and think about that later. Though I can't help dream of fireworks and snow (despite the 35 degree day we've had) ...

Have a great night :)

A Curious discount

Almost forgot when I was posting last night, Curious Bazaar has a sale on this week only! End of year discount of 15% off storewide. It was a Facebook sale so I'm being a bit sneaky and popping it here too ;)

Simply enter FACEBOOK2011 at checkout until the end of the year (only a couple of days left now).

Note: If you want to pick up your item locally, or have me bring it to Adelaide in January for you to pick up, just let me know and I'll refund your postage! Here are a few of my personal faves:

Home life

I decided to take a few quick snaps today at the goings on around the place, this was at about 5:30pm while I was making dinner:

Vegies ready for grilling

Sienna's addition to the shopping list "trits" (treats).

Another of Sienna's ideas, this is her mobile flower shop. She put holes in the cardboard with a needle and then carefully put the stems in and carried the full card around offering flowers to us all :) That was earlier today, they aren't looking as happy now.

 Just what our fridge looks like at the moment. Mostly Ash's drawings.

 And the boy...

A little something I've been working on, more on that later.

And the munchkin, grubby face and all. That's just the way it is...

Weddings, parties, everything

On Saturday Ben's older brother Toby married Sonja, aren't they gorgeous? Sienna did a great job of being a slightly shy flowergirl, but was a little uncooperative when it came to bridal party photos in the rain, hehe. It was an awesome day.

We drove home on Monday from Adelaide. Yesterday I kept the kids home from school, as there was a whole-school excursion to see Arthur Christmas. Since we don't celebrate christmas, I took the kids to see Puss in Boots instead and spent the rest of the day washing, tidying the house and getting ready for Sienna's "girly afternoon-tea party" with five of her friends after school. I'll share photos when I get them on the computer later! It was a great success, full of gorgeous edible treats made by Kell, some funny makeup and nail polish bits and pieces, arts and crafts, lalaloopsy dolls and lollipops.

Phew, then all the girls were off home again by 6 and I made fish burgers for the fam's dinner. Today I took the kids in to school a little bit late - Sienna had, unsurprisingly, slept in. Then I found out that both kids had class end-of-year parties at 10am, so I picked up a few free range cabanas and made up some cheese, cabana and bread stick thingies. After taking them back to school, I drove to Burwood to pick up an ipad2 which had been ordered through Ash's fahcsia funding to supplement his Occupational Therapy.

This afternoon I spent an hour sorting papers and moving books around looking for some paperwork, and then headed to school early to get the kids. They had dentist appointments in Ferntree Gully. Ash was fantastic, took all of five minutes to be examined. Sienna had a kicking, screaming and running away approach to the whole dental exam thing, but in the end we got a brief lookin. They are both doing fine. We had pizza for dinner. I had a beer. Tomorrow is the last day of school, and I have an overdue scrapbook project which I am currently printing photos for!

Excuse the mind-numbing summary, LOL, just recording a brief overview. For posterity. Or something. ;)

On the road again

Well blogging is a little sporadic lately, mostly schedule-related! I shared some photos earlier this week from last weekend's session in Murrurundi, and I also did a one-on-one workshop in Newcastle.

Today I am blogging from my phone toward the end of our drive to Adelaide. We'll be here for 3 days for a wedding and some family catching up! We'll drive home on Monday, on Tuesday afternoon Sienna is having a little girly party, Wednesday I'll be editing editing. On Thursday the kids finish school at 1:30 and that is it for the year :)

So today's dull update aside, things are busy behind the scenes... Check back for a wedding sneak peek in a few days!

Rejection and perception


I feel like every time I write an email, answer a phone call or write a blog post, I'm all like "I've been really busy". It's true, and I always seem to have more and more that I invite on to my plate (so to speak) but I don't want it to seem like a complaint.

I like being busy, though I do realise it's a fine line between being healthily busy to keep my mind occupied and being overextended to the point where it's more of a handicap than a help! That is why my reevaluation recently - while I feel like I only got part way through my thought process - was as much about working out what to drop as what to do.

Yesterday I built Sienna's loft bed that I've been painting bit by bit over the past week or so. Ben helped me move the window seat from Sienna's room (up until yesterday, Cedar's room) downstairs into the boys' room. I took the cushion off so that it can be a toy table as well as storage. The cupboards down there look great with Ash's pirate ships spread across the tops! Of course, having had to clean the room before rearranging didn't hurt either ;)

So now Sienna's room is upstairs again, she has a loft bed that I bought off ebay and painted white (though I realised when assembling it that it was actually a bunk bed, just without one of the pieces, rather than an actual loft bed as advertised - never mind!). The 'games cupboard' - a raw timber buffet that has been in our lounge room for a few years - is also in her room where the window seat used to be. The same white wardrobe is still in that room, but has been shifted to where Cedar's cot used to be. So my arms and legs are a bit sore today from all the construction and furniture shifting.

I have a collection of kids clothes still to add to Curious Bazaar, which I will try and get to next week! But tomorrow I am off to Newcastle for the weekend. I have a photo shoot on Saturday morning and a workshop on Saturday afternoon. Quietest workshop yet, with just two registrations (a kind of rejection, in a way, but realistically it's a lack of audience), but I'm taking the opportunity to try out a kind of 'photo walk' and coffee stop style of workshop, more like a one-on-one mentor session. We'll see how it goes, and how the weather in Newcastle holds up - apparently it's been a bit wet there this week.

I was thinking the other day that I've had a few rejections this year, but for the most part have just kept moving on. I spoke awhile ago about trying to push the market art thingy for a little while, to have a market-intense few months, and then stop and reevaluate. Well, I have been rejected by three markets this year, and pretty much just moved forward. There are little rejections here and there all the time. Things NOT happening can be a rejection. Getting no response can feel like one, even when it isn't really that at all.

I put in my application for two wedding markets for next year, and was bracing myself for rejection (though Kim of Portobello Bride had been really encouraging last year when I enquired and wanted me to participate, so I felt reasonably confident of acceptance). But I was accepted to exhibit at those, and then I put in my application to the AIPP to become an emerging member. Something that's been on my to-do list for awhile. That was accepted, so that was exciting!

I guess my point is something about passion and perception. I can see now that the things I am most passionate about in my work have the most chance of success - as much as I enjoy the wall art side of my photography, it is a side point to the parts of my work that really get me emotionally invested. As a result, I never dedicated a lot of time or effort into making the art side a proper product line or whatever. I want it to still be an organic part of my art and business.

The less organic - and more official - parts of my business are changing for 2012 to a focus on graphics, blogging and website work and online stuff (Curious Bazaar, for starters) on one side of the coin, and wedding photography on the other. The first is more every day for me already. With two blogs, a handful of Facebook pages and an online shop, I always have more to learn about social media and web marketing, subjects I really enjoy digging into.

Wedding photography isn't new to me - technically, my first job as official photographer was a wedding, and I still love some of those shots (taken on film!). But I have never focussed on it for my business before, so it is taking some reshuffling and things that I am still hammering out details for. I have gone from nervous caution at weddings to relaxed confidence over the years, and I know that I can get beautiful images. It's a beautiful thing, after all, so it's not hard. I love being there to see those moments and to have the honour of capturing all that joy and excitement. Anticipation of a new life.

With marketing of anything, though, there has to be an element of rejection. If there is no rejection, then that's kind of bizarre - after all, everyone is different and how many businesses truly cater to every person's needs and tastes? Finding the right audience is part of marketing. So, handling rejection is part of it as well. It's back to perception. It doesn't have to lead to self-condemnation, which I think is often the way we take things. Emotionally, at least, and then we can rely on our brains to bring some logic back into the picture. Realign our perception. I think about it a lot because it is against my type, but I am constantly rewriting my thoughts to avoid that black hole that low self-esteem can lead to.

I read this post on Maxabella today and it reminded me about this reevaluation that I had planned for the end of the year, and which I've obviously gotten part of the way through, at least for the professional side of my life. I feel like I'm constantly rejuggling, in my head, to work out what to do - the next day, the next week, the next year. I have travel dreams, which I would like to be plans but in a practical sense there's a lot in the way (i.e. money!). So I have other plans to help with that, so that dreams feel like possibilities and wishes feel like hope.

And for now, my insomniac Aspergers daughter *may* be asleep in the next room, my laptop is overheating again and my cold seems to be turning back into hayfever. So I'm off to bed, to put my brain to sleep for awhile, and I'll start again in the morning.

What are your plans and passions? Does rejection cut you down, or are you a mind-over-matter person who takes it in their stride? Perhaps, like me, a bit of both?

*All photos from a photo shoot I did featuring Polkadot Lane, Monet Paisley and Little Tree Kids, a session that is currently featured in Tickle the Imagination online magazine.

Putting stuff places

With Curious Bazaar stock, scrapping supplies, loads of crafty bits and pieces, clothes, books, toys and so on and so forth, storage has been on my mind lately. I'm painting a loft bed I bought on ebay at the moment, it will be ready for Sienna soon and then Cedar will go downstairs to be a 'big boy' in the bottom bunk!

As unoriginal as it is, I've been making wishlists and shopping lists from IKEA and hope to have at least a few of these to add to my decorating plans within the next month or so. The plan is to increase actual storage! I might just have to declutter a touch as well. Wouldn't that be nice ;)

Billy bookcases

Stenstorp plate shelf

Stenstorp wall shelf

Mostly, though, it will be moving things around that we already have, furniture from one room to another (as well as children, hehe) and things from one cupboard to a more useful cupboard. Gradual spring cleaning. A bit at a time.

Maeve and Tickles

Well while I've been squirreling away with dentist, occupational therapy, doctor and speech therapy appointments, photographing stock, posting orders, burning discs, painting Sienna's new bed, making moussaka, babysitting a little munchkin and talking to my mum on the phone, a couple of new exciting things have come out online!

First, I write for Maeve occasionally and their Summer 2012 issue has just come out. If you have a good look, you'll find my article 'The busting dance' tucked in there somewhere :)

Tickle the Imagination is the other online magazine that has a new issue out this week, this time featuring my photography shoot of clothes by Little Tree Kids, Monet Paisley, Dinky Me and Polkadot Lane, as well as accessories by Sew Chirpy (Sew Chirpy and Polkadot Lane stocked at Curious Bazaar, of course!). Sienna appears throughout, she's a pretty easy model, and Cedar and Ash both appear somewhere in there ;)

Have a read here - our feature is from page 53 onwards. Yay!

Curious Bazaar is here!

179 products so far (and I haven't added any magnets, bags, dresses or skirts yet!), some fun time playing with design and html, and some linky love happening on Facebook. Here we are, Curious Bazaar is officially live! I'm stealing Kell's nifty idea of introducing it with the 'About' page content ;) but before I do, there is a promotion going on to help with our launch.

Help us grow:

As mentioned on the Curious Bazaar facebook page, obviously, we are very new and would love your help to grow. Share the 'Curious Bazaar' store, or one of your favourite items from the store, on your facebook wall or personal blog and I will send you an exclusive discount code! Don't forget to let me know that you've shared (either here or via messages)...

Of course, you'll also have our happy go lucky gratitude and some warm fuzzy feelings to go along with it, which is always nice.

What we're doing:

Curious Bazaar was launched on 28th November 2011 as a result of long chats with friends about craftiness and market stalls. We thought it would be great if customers could go to one single online space to browse a wide variety of things we make, from our various brands, and have them combined in one parcel for a single delivery price.

In this, we present you with a unique niche market of whimsical, creative and handmade, arising mainly from the Dandenong Ranges area east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Shopping at Curious Bazaar is part of supporting handmade, supporting local artists and craftspeople, people who make things because they love to and want to share those products with you. Poppytalk share a fab list of 101 reasons to buy handmade if you need any more inspiration! Speaking for myself and the women behind the brands stocked here, we're proud and excited to be part of the handmade landscape!

Amazing Creativity (and a bit of a bargain!)

Jude Craig is a local artist, she actually leaves next-door-plus-one from my sister here in Upwey, who does amazing dying of natural fibres with all sorts of creative things :)

She's running some one-day workshops where you can learn to dye silks and wools with natural bits and pieces like onion skins, cabbage, leaves, rusty bits of wire and all sorts of other stuff!

The details are here on Jude's blog :)

More teeth and a new project

So yesterday's dental appointment didn't go exactly as planned, as the two fillings ended up taking ages to do (apparently they were tiny cavities and my teeth are small-ish which made it a bit tricky), so she only extracted one wisdom tooth. After all the tension of the drilling and whatnot for the fillings, the extraction was a bit of an anti-climax! Didn't hurt, but now is a bit achy there and tastes disgustingly fleshy - reminding me of Cass's comments on my last post. Anyway, the next two are coming out tomorrow, I'm getting the occlusal splint mould (for the teeth grinding) taken next week and leaving the specialist until another year ;)

Thank you so much everyone for your stories, it was great to hear different experiences before going in, as it's not pain I'm worried about as much as feeling out of control, not knowing what to expect. I might be a tiny bit control-freakish ;) So I felt loads better reading about what happened for other people.

If you're on Facebook, you would have seen news of my latest project, which I'm very excited about. It's been theoretically in progress for a couple of months now, and arises from attending markets with my sister and friends. Some weeks ago I sat down with Ben and evaluated my business, all the different bits and pieces I do, and we prioritised / reshuffled my direction for the next couple of years. One big change was no markets, but to replace market attendance with one online shop that also promotes and sells the work of friends and others over time. A few other changes are also lined up, but more about them another time.

So I'll be running a new 'whimsical gift shop' online and stocking the creations from various local crafty people, such as The Kooky Green Owl and Polkadot Lane, as well as my own art prints, canvases and cards. You'll be able to buy gorgeous jewellery, hairclips and bands, handmade children's clothes, funky screen-printed totes and t-shirts, art prints, a range of cards, art prints, magnets and original art. Yay!

Curious Bazaar launches on November 28th, but in the meantime 'like' us on Facebook to keep up with the news!

Bite worthy

A few weeks back, I visited the dentist for the first time since I was in school. So, maybe 15 years? I'm 30, I finished school at 16 but don't recall going to the dentist during year 12, though I could be wrong. Anyhow, a long time. It just seemed like an unnecessary use of money, when on a strict budget, and then time drags out, and before you know it... 15 years. Or so. The closest I've gotten to an examination until now was taking the kids in for their check ups.

So I went and had one of those super-thorough and it turns out quite painful cleans, and an examination. Tomorrow I'm going back for my two fillings (I thought that wasn't too bad for such a long time without dental care) and three - count them, three! - wisdom teeth extractions. Yes, in the chair, and no, I'm not going under. It has been kind of freaking me out ever since that a lot of people I've told have been like "Oh, no, not in the chair!"... I don't know what that means! Is it a bad idea? It's what the dentist said to have done, so that's what I'm doing.

I'm quite apprehensive. But this time tomorrow I will have three less wisdom teeth, and I believe a referral to a specialist who will need to perform surgery to remove the final wisdom tooth. I doubt I'll be in a hurry to get that done, given the expense. I also have to get an occlusal splint (or something like that), because I am apparently grinding my canine teeth away as I sleep. As for the recovery, I have made sure I don't have too busy a week, at least that I only have work I can do easily from home and without too much pressure. But life waits for no pain, so I expect it will be juggling kidlets and such like it is normally. I have relief tomorrow, with my lovely sister Kell taking Cedar and the older kids in school and after school care. So it should be fine, I'm thinking.

Do I have any idea what I'm talking about? What have been your wisdom teeth experiences?

Favourites from a family

I often wonder where my faves from a shoot and the actual family / bride & groom's faves differ.... Here are some of mine from this recent session :)

RedBubble and a Discount

Ooh that arty farty bubble site has a discount code for you all (and me too!) on calendars. You can find my calendars here and there are also a lot of other art and photography calendars to check out. Enter the code BIGCAL15 for 15% off, until November 18th!

October pages

 This page is of Sienna's bestie Imogen and was obviously inspired by Van Gogh's Starry Night, using Martha Stewart products for Aussie Scrap Source (click through to the Aussie blog to see detail shots!). I used flocking powder for the swirls, the punch-all-over-the-page stars punch to cut out all the tiny stars and the cute doily embellishments.

Another creation for Aussie Scrap Source, this time featuring Fancy Pants Designs 'Off to School' range :)

These last two were created for Scrapboxx and use a lot of Crate Paper's 'Random' range, which I'm still loving. The first one 'Daddy's Turn' was for a DT challenge with the dad theme, plus had to include chipboard. I made these at Kell's place and stole one of her BasicGrey chipboard bits for the clouds.

Finally, 'Sweet and Beautiful' was for the Scrapboxx newsletter scraplift feature, where I used a layout from the Boxx gallery by Jess Mackenzie as my page inspiration. I have a couple of pages from the latest Scrapbook Creations to share, I just have to double-check which issue is out first :)