Tuesday, June 28, 2011

back from bali...

Have you ever had a week so special that you don't quite know what to say about it?
That's how I feel about my time in Bali...although you probably wouldn't believe me if you'd been in my office yesterday where they couldn't shut me up about it!
I was doing a workshop called The Art and Craft of Writing the Senses, run by The Sydney Writers' Centre and delivered by the extraordinary Patti Miller. A writer, a teacher, an absolute gift and a total inspiration. 
I went to Bali to find out whether writing was something I could possibly do. Well, that is. And as I left Ubud on Saturday night I told Patti and anyone else who'd listen that this had been one of the best experiences of my life. And it's true. The camaraderie of 12 women, all with a passion for writing and a huge variety of life experiences; all supportive, caring, nurturing. And clever, oh so clever.
I knew, well before the end of the week, that this is how I want to spend my life. After looking for what seems like an age, and trying out lots of things, I've finally found my focus. I'm going to write. 
I'll take small steps (there are after all mortgages to be paid!) but I already know what the first of those will be. Just the thought of it makes me feel both excited and tranquil [and if I'd been reading this out during a class last week I'd be in trouble for using abstract words!]
It certainly wasn't all work; and even the work felt like play. There was sightseeing, shopping (I was very good given my '100 day don't buy anything I don't really need challenge'), and I took a lot of photos of food. And I mean a lot!
A cooking class at the Casa Luna cooking school was a real non-writing highlight. I'll do a separate post about that.
I won't go on too much more about my wonderful week, but if you're interested in doing something like this, feel free to email me and I can give you the low down :)
all photos: a tranquil townhouse
p.s. And guess what? I didn't buy a buddha, not even a little one :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

young designer::erin lightfoot...

Our family has a huge soft spot for Erin Lightfoot. She was the first friend Jess made when she went off to a new high school not knowing a single soul. I'm still not sure I've been forgiven for that! They sat together in the cavernous assembly hall and they've been friends ever since. Even survived weekly after school flute lessons together. And a whole pile of other things I'm sure it's best I don't know about!
Now there is another reason to love Erin...not that we need one. Look at the amazing fabric, clothing and jewellery she is designing. 
Erin was recently featured on the Finders Keepers blog. You can read her interview here.
Now Erin, when I come off my self imposed 100 day don't buy anything I don't really need challenge, there's this chair I have that needs some new fabric...
and those beautiful bangles would make some nice gifts too don't you think :)
That's Erin on the right, my girl in the middle and their friend Matt. I may get shot for posting that. But I'm overseas so they'll have a hard time finding me:)
You can see more of Erin's wonderful work on her website...
images of erin's work from her website; family snap by me 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

a cool magazine spread::aka look what my clever girl has done

If you can't use a personal blog to brag about your kids occasionally then there isn't much point in having one as far as I can see!
Many of you will know that the first born works at Cleo magazine. She started as an intern after doing work experience at Girlfriend magazine and is now the photo editor/features assistant.
More and more she's being given the opportunity to showcase her skill and talent and I'm so proud to be showing you this 10 page spread she and her colleague Kate put together for the July edition. All the words are by Jess. You might have to click on them to make it easier to read.
Or you can go and buy the magazine...on sale now :)
It's about happiness as you can see. And does my girl Jess make me happy? Oh yes, even when she's not being clever and smart and funny. 
You make me proud my precious :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bali::and off I go on a writing retreat...

I'm heading off to Bali tomorrow. It's around 30 years since I've been there. Horrifying thought. The 30 years thing, not the actual going to Bali. Some of you were probably in nappies, or at pre-school or still wearing knee highs (does anyone still do that) the last time I went; with my long permed hair and new husband in tow :)
This time I'm heading off alone (it's not sad, don't worry) to attend a workshop run by the Sydney Writers' Centre. Aren't they clever going to the tropics so that when you're sweating about what you're writing you can brush it off as the effects of humidity!
I booked this ages ago when I was searching for a focus other than the paid work. If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know that I'll have a go at most things. It could be called a short attention span; I prefer to call it a fascination with learning :)

But writing is one of those things that is a constant in my life. I do a lot of writing for work. I love that part of it. Discussing problems with my clients, working out what we're trying to achieve and then producing it. The solution always involves words. If I'm really lucky I get to design some graphics too. But not all the time. Rarely in fact. And while I try not to use too much formal language, sometimes it has to be so. Which I suppose requires its own creativity. That's me with my Pollyanna hat on.

Writing creatively is what I'm looking to do sometime down the track. This blog is a small part of that. I feel like I'm embarking on something. I'm not sure of its shape or form, but it's exciting. And the worse thing that can happen by heading off to Bali? I'll meet some nice people, have a crack at something different, revisit a beautiful place, have a cocktail or three....:)
I probably won't blog while I'm away but I have scheduled two posts about two very lovely young women I know so you don't miss me too much. So you all take care and I'll catch up with you when I get back. And wish me luck getting everything finished at work today before I can down tools with a clear conscience...that could be a challenge :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

my creative space::quilt beginnings...

Thanks to the inspiration provided in this book...
and the birth of a baby called Ruby Grace (isn't that a beautiful name)...I am attempting...with this fabric...
the making of a cot quilt...ta da!
I'm so happy with the top layer. The dodgy photos not so much :) The striped fabric will be the backing and I'll have a selection of the quilt top fabrics as the binding. That's the plan anyway...we'll see how it all works out once I get back from my travels.
Lots of creative spaces...probably involving finished projects, over this-a-way.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

top ten pictures from the week ~ 14 June 11 (and a relative of mine starts a blog!)

Hello possums...
how was your long weekend?
...if you were lucky enough to have one that is.
...mine was mixed.
by nic at make space
I spent most of saturday starting to make a quilt for a new baby
paul candales as seen on the style files
her name is Ruby Grace...isn't that lovely
seen on mfamb
you can see the start of it over on my FB page
but my plans to finish it were scuttled by that thing called work
seen on anya adores
which seems to be crowding my life just a bit too much at the moment
I shouldn't complain...it pays the bills after all
seen on alkemie
but still...
taken by anya adores
My cousin Phillip has started a blog (he says he was inspired by me...silly bugger. I've warned him about blogging addiction)
...it's called Reinventing Home and it will chronicle his and his partner's search for their first home somewhere in the Blue Mountains. Pop over and say hi if you get a chance. He's family after all :)
There'll be no top ten next week...I'll be out of the country and quite possibly incommunicado!
You'll cope I'm sure......but I've given you a few extras today just in case you don't :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

soul food friday ~ redefining "I need..." and a 100 day challenge

Soul food friday posts are written mostly for me...to help me get my head on straight about things that concern me, or sometimes just a bit of fluff about things I've been thinking about. But I do know that sometimes they strike a chord with some of you. Maybe this one will too. See what you think.
I read an article a little while back called 60 small ways to improve your life in the next 100 days. You can find it hereIt's a bit of false advertising if you ask me. I'm not sure that all of those 60 things could be classified as small. For example, keeping a log of your mental chatter (both positive and negative) for the next ten days is not a small ask. It's huuuuuge. Especially if you talk to yourself a lot. Who, me? Don't be silly.
But one of the 60 caught my eye.  It was this: don't buy anything you don't really need for the next 100 days. 
I'm big on concepts. I work with them all the time in my day job. For me, the 'concept' of not buying anything you don't need for 100 days is fine. Will it improve my life? I'm not sure what the evidence is to support that, but I'm happy to give it the benefit of the doubt. But as with all strategies, it's the execution that's the killer (ooh, I think I just made a clever, but unintentional pun!) The execution...and the definitions.
To be more precise, the definition of 'need'. For certain, there are things that we absolutely, positively, definitely need in our lives: love, affection, shelter, food, clothing, appreciation, someone to lean on. But the kitchenaid that I so admire? Perhaps not. Especially when I don't bake.  Which is why I painted this one.
So I thought about whether I would take on this challenge. If I were to examine my possessions closely I'd have to say that I don't really need much of anything. I have furniture, clothing, a reliable car that gets me from A to B, a reasonably equipped kitchen, nice things to look at, good plates to eat off. So, on the face of it, not buying anything I don't really need for 100 days seems an easy enough challenge.
I would have to say though, that all my life I have been, and continue to be a 'consumer' (although probably to a lesser extent now). I have lost count of the number of things that I have bought (and brought into) my life that I didn't need, and perhaps as a result, no longer have. I have bought things out of desire, want, maybe if I'm truly honest, even competition. And many times I've bought things out of need...not for the thing itself, but for the hole in my life I thought it would fill. It invariably didn't.
Why do I want to undertake this challenge? A couple of reasons: to save a bit of money; to not bring anything else into the house until I've had a chance to donate things that I no longer need...and if I'm honest (twice in the one post!)...just to see if I can do it. I've always been ever so slightly competitive :) But probably, most importantly, to find that line between spendthrift and savvy. To know, without question, what purchase will bring pleasure way out of proportion to its cost. Because, there are of course 'things' that can lift us up simply by looking at them. And why would you deny yourself that. That's just crazy talk. It's also probably about defining 'what is enough?'
Here's what I've decided fits into the 'I don't really need' category for me for the next 100 days:
  • magazines (other than the ones I've already subscribed to which are therefore 'free'!!);
  • books (this will be very, very hard for me)...but as I have an entire shelf of books in my bookcase waiting to be read, and I'm a member of the library, and I have friends with books...I think I can do it. Just.
  • appliances (unless it's to replace an essential item that has given up the ghost);
  • clothing, shoes and accessories;
  • music;
  • craft materials (unless it's a gift for someone and it can't be made with what I already have);
  • anything decorative for my house;
  • linen and towels;
  • cosmetics (unless it's to replace a basic that's run out...don't want to scare small children now do we)
  • iPad applications!;
  • anything from an op shop that I don't need even if it is an absolute bargain and I'm helping a charity. If it's that great someone else will snap it up anyway;
  • wine (just kidding...!)
So my friends, it starts from now and according to my quick calculation it will end on 18 September. That's more than a bit scary when you write it down! I'm going to keep a few notes about the things that have enticed me along the way and whether I succumbed or not. Because sure as eggs or little green apples I am likely to fall off the shopping trolley at some point or another!
Caveat: (I'm not silly).. and no, that's not the caveat, although it could be. I'm heading off to Bali next weekend for a writing course run by the Sydney Writers' Centre. It was booked months and months ago so don't go asking me if it's really a need! And in any case, it is. There will be things I see there that I will want to buy. And I will. I know that. Because I have always bought something special back from my travels, and I'm not prepared to stop that for this bit of self imposed nonsense. So, apart from that...let's see how I go. Maybe you'd like to make my list a bit longer so it's more of a challenge. Please don't :) Or just tell me what you think. Or join me if you'd like. I'm happy any which way.
All images found on pinterest. And why all the buddhas? Because that's almost certainly what I'll be buying in Bali :)
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