Friday, November 26, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

Blog reading has all but replaced my love of magazines and other incidental reading (and also threatens my actual reading of books, but that is another story!) Through the wonders of technology, Google Reader keeps me up to date with the blogs I subscribe to and a handy little "next" button on my tool bar means I am only ever a click away from something new to read!

So getting a Versatile Blogger Award from one of my bloggers was pretty special, to know that someone considers I give as a good as I get! 

Sazz wrote: Ramblings, one of my favourite Breastfeeding Counsellors and Queen of the Breastfeeding Education Class. She blogs about so much more than boobies, also her family, and her scrapbooking etc.

Which pretty well sums up the point of my own blog: It is a place I dump my brain on whatever I feel like, so is a wild ride through every aspect of my life. I purposefully do not blog to a schedule, to a topic or even to an audience - I blog to get stuff out of my head and into a space where I can easily refer back to it - that others come along for the ride is a bonus!

So, apparently I need to share 7 truths about myself and pass the award onto 12 other fantastic bloggers.

  • I currently have a bad cold and cough. This is my Kryptonite, my Achilles heel: throughout my life, the common cold has been guaranteed to turn me into a quivering heap of self-pity. It pushes my patience beyond my limits - I would rather face a flare up of MS, have surgery, have teeth pulled out or any number of other horrors. And I share my misery to maintain my sanity.
  • I absolutely LOVE being middle-aged! Who would have thought? Is it because I had my children so young, that I now reap the rewards of independence and companionship? Is it, once again, the fact I ride the coat-tails of the Baby Boomers and they make everything fun by the time I catch up? Who knows, but I am loving my 40s and looking forward to my 50s and 60s and even anticipate a fabulous old age!!!
  • I still have utterly no idea what I am doing! Honest - I expect someone to tap me on the shoulder at any minute and announce they know I am making it up as I go along. Nothing in my life was planned or expected and I have no idea what the future will bring either - AND THAT'S OKAY!
  • I am an eternal optimist (unless I have a cold) and truly expect that others mean well. I believe the world is full of nice people, but the bad ones get all the press. Even in the midst of depression, I still see the silver lining. I loved Pollyanna as a child! My cup is always half full and rising.
  • I really do colour my world at every opportunity. I always loved purple and orange, they were my room colours as a teen. During the 80s, I mainly dressed in pink, until I "had my colours done" and discovered that orange is a really great colour for me. When I turned 40, I gave myself permission to wear purple, even though it isn't on my colour wheel. Nowadays, I dress in what I like, when I like and care not if anyone else does or does not like it. I fully intend to become an eccentric old lady known for her bizzare wardrobe and want to be the Aunty and Grandmother who wears interesting clothes and jewelery.
  • In a recent online course, I was asked "who would you like to trade lives with and why?" and I could not think of anyone. Even when I tried really, really hard. I am taking this to be a good thing.
  • I see the next half of my life filled with opportunities to do  new things - and those things will include art and travel and learning and friendship and fun.

Now, selecting 12 bloggers who I love and adore is probably not as easy as I think it could be, so I am going to go with the first 12 who come to mind and leave it at that!

  1. Going Slowly Tara and Tyler became part of my life when I stumbled across them at the beginning of their world journey by bicycle about two years ago. Through their eyes, I have seen the world and hang out for every post, fretting if there is any delay. I hope they make it to Australia eventually and I can meet them in person!
  2. Emily Falconbridge is an Aussie mum/scrapbooking legend/artist/world traveller who fills my day with warm, fuzzy feelings and delights.
  3. Goddess Leonie - she who inspires me and brings light and colour to  my every day. If you are not part of her Goddess Circle, you must do so, with haste.
  4. Ilsa Evans is a wonderful author and a fabulous inspiration.I am so proud to call her a friend and love how her experience of mid-life seems to mirror my own.
  5. Amanda Cox makes me laugh and cry. And thank the goddess my children have grown and the angst of getting through the every day with small people is behind me :)
  6. Morgan Gallagher keeps in the loop with the world of breastfeeding in the UK. She inspires me. She motivates me. And she amuses me.
  7. Anaylytical Armadillo is one of the newer latavism bloggers and always puts the cat amongst the pigeons. I love sharing her posts of Facebook and watching the reaction!
  8. Laine Ehman is my scrapbooking goto for laughs, inspiration and her LOAD challenges. In Five Things, she shares snippets of her life, always entertaining.
  9. Peaceful Parenting is another blog that has me hitting the "share on Facebook button" on a daily basis.
  10. Ruby Claire one day I will say "I knew her when she was young" because this scrapper/artist/blogger, still at school, is going places!
  11. Tangerine Meg when I grow up, I want to be able to create like she does!
  12. Tara Whitney just because I love her photography style and wish I could put my family in front of her lens one day!
I am always looking for new bloggers to follow, so give me shout if I am not following one you know I will love!

Friday, November 19, 2010

They are married!

Isn't it amazing - my little girl is married and on her honeymoon! Where did the time go?

Both families and friends came together for a magical celebration last Sunday. Everything went as planned and we were even blessed with fair weather after a constant down pour the day before (nature washing everything for the big event!)

As Mother of the Bride, I could only take a few photos, but luckily other people caught the magic for me - and soon we will see the wedding photos taken by the wonderful Rachel Richter.

All for now, bound to more later!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It is the week of the wedding

I am not sure how, but the time has absolutely flown since Ashley proposed to my daughter Kaitlyn 12 months ago and they set the date for The Big Day, which is now known as This Sunday!

This week is a whirlwind of pre-wedding preparations and finalising all the plans that have been steadily made over the months. Who knew how busy Mother of the Bride (MOB) would be? So much for turning up on the day and smiling at everyone.

This week's To Do list is along these lines:

  • Final dress fitting and collection of bride and bridesmaid dresses
  • Wedding rehearsal
  • Primping and pampering, of the willing (girls) and the bribed (Kieran)
  • Checking and double-checking that everyone will be correctly dressed from head to toe.
  • Planning for the "other" princess - aka Molly the dog!
  • Packing for two nights away
  • Confirming booking for bride, bridesmaids and MOB at a B&B the night before
  • Confirming everyone who is booked will be there!
  • Preparing to do reading in ceremony without too many tears
and then all the aspects of "normal" life, which insist on making their presence felt:
  • Awaiting the arrival of my new glasses, as now officially short-sighted!
  • Making sure that general provisions - like pet food - are in supply: this weekend is shopping day!
  • Making myself go to yoga class, because I know I really need it and the time is well-spent
  • This thing called paid work, three days a week
  • Taking my Photo of the Day, because the finish line is in sight.
Seeing her in her wedding dress and then hours later watching them all practice for Sunday's ceremony made is all very real. All those years of dress-ups and this is the real thing!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Following up - commitements of an Aussie eco-shopper

Hard as it is to believe, but it is almost two months since my review as an Aussie Eco Shopper and I thought it was time to review the commitments I made at the end of that process.

The list:

* planning to check out the local Farmer's Markets - there are plenty to choose from in our area, so I intend this to become part of my regular weekend activites.

Well, I think I am now officially addicted to Farmers Markets! What a wonderful treat they are! I aim to go to one each weekend and so far the only weeks I have not have been due to other commitments or weather! This is something I hope will continue to be part of my life.
* try and reduce the takeaway meals by planning ahead more. 

I am pretty sure I haven't ordered take away at all in this time - if I have, it has slipped my mind! I have been preparing alternate quick and easy options on the nights I don't have time/energy and home made pizza (store bought bases, I am not a saint!) have become what I hope to be regular options.
* revisit the recycled toilet paper section and see if the quality has improved!
Okay, I finally did this for the office, but habit kicked in when we did the monthly grocery shop and I only remembered once I had the 18 roll pack at home! next time. Extra motivation through the Wipe for Wildlife campaign.
* sticking with my new moisturiser, Moo Goo, which I love and discovered via this book!
I still love it and have a couple of tubs and a handy pump pack in my handbag, however I was disappointed to see it wasn't ideal for my skin over time. I have gone back to my organic lavendar-based product from the health shop, so not a complete fail and I use the Moo Goo on my feet and hands, which aren't so sensitive.
* sticking with my new crystal deodorant, which I am not sensitive to AND find quite effective :)
All good here :)

* buying fair-trade coffee for work and home.
Still my intention, just not had to do so yet.
* buying a stainless steel drink bottle
I ended up getting a Sigg bottle from lululemon, a yoga supply store. I love it and use it daily, however it is a little on the large size and becomes very heavy when full, so I am looking for a smaller one to lighten the load.
* awaiting a response to my email to Motto about how and where their fabrics come from.
I got a response!

You are right, we do make all Motto garments right here in Australia which is great. Because of a lack in makers in the country though, we will most likely eventually have to get manufacturing done in China as the facilities are getting very scarce here. This wont happen in the foreseeable future but eventually all businesses will have to outsource unless there is a big trend in garment manufacturing which would lead to experienced makers in our community.
We have recently started a new brand called "Motto Inc" which is currently made in China (although we've only done a few styles) and that goes through an agency we deal with in Australia. They take care of all the manufacturing side and find various factories to make each item so we aren't specifically tied with one factory over there. Im not 100% sure but I think this is because many factories wont take us on as we only make boutique quantities rather than 1000's which most other brands do. We want to keep our line very exclusive and to do that we cant make too many of the same thing so we aren't very attractive for China to take us on!
In regards to our fabric, the same applies as our clothing. We buy all our fabrics through a wholesaler in Australia (about 5 major ones and then buy stock of other people) and they get their supplies from various manufacturers. From what they have told us, most of it is from Taiwan (we think they have much better quality although this of course is not always the case) but Im sure some does come from China as it has to originate from somewhere!! We are way too small a company for any factory in China to really bother with so we don't have enough "power" to negotiate with them directly. We really cant make the "rules" which is why we make in Australia and will do so for as long as we can.
Most of our printed fabrics are also designed by an artist which we get printed in Korea and they are a very ethical country so we have no concern here. We have visited the factories and they are lovely and also very small like us so we have been very pleased with all our associations with them so far.
I hope this answers your question, feel free to pop in and see our factory or email me anytime for any extra info!
Lauren Browne

I think that is about as good as it is going to be for such a company. I will continue to support them, as small businesses are my preferred first option.

* investigating worm farming!
After finding the options available at Bunnings were suspiciously expensive, I surveyed my Facebook community and got lots of great information! I have decided to buy online from Kookaburra Worm Farms - just waiting for some time and money after the upcoming wedding!

So I think I pass the test I set myself! I have added other changes as well, but they can wait til another day!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Baring My Soul To The World!

I spent time this weekend creating an assignment for the Art, Heart, Healing course I am doing and feel really shy sharing the result, but I am pleased with it, so putting it out there! I am fascinated that I have no hesitation in sharing my scrapbooking creations, my photos or even my thoughts in writing, but for some reason, sharing art created from scratch causes me to feel vulnerable. However, I am beginning as I mean to go on and I don't want to be a secret artist!

So - here it is! The assignment was:
Art Journal Spread: basics on a front-facing portrait & several background techniques.

The figure is a (very) stylised version of myself - (who is apparently much younger and more willowy, LOL!) and the text is a message to her, resulting from the healing assignment, which I will keep private.

I did all of this from scratch! I think the last time I did a portrait of any kind was in high school art class, of my friend Jackie. That was a life-time ago, yet I can visualise it any time I try, even though I have no idea what happened to the original. I have always been drawn to works of this kind and felt a wish to try my hand.

I figure the second half of life is a great time to do all the things you spent the first half saying you would really like to do one day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

When life gets too hard ...

The ever-wise Goddess Leonie recently blogged her list of what to do when everything sucks, her list of things to comfort when things go bad.

I thought I would put together a similar list, to remind me of the ways I look after myself when everything I touch turns to mud.

  • Escape. If not actually, then mentally. If possible, head for the beach. Or bed.
  • Nurture my senses. Freshen the oil burner, light the incense or candles, dim the lights. Play gentle music. Get away from noise.
  • Refresh my body. Have a relaxing shower, put on my jammies, snuggle under the doona.
  • Get outside. Take a walk. Potter in the garden. Breath fresh air.
  • Drink tea. Herbal or black. Make it a calming ritual - use my loose teas, my tea infusers, my favourite mug.
  • Disconnect. Retreat. Switch off the world.  Get away from negative people.
  • Surround myself with positive "people". Friends online or IRL. My children adults. My dog.
  • Read a book that makes me smile. Watch a program that makes me laugh.
  • Move on. Plan for change. Turn over a new leaf.