Friday, December 18, 2015

Giving Thanks & Merry Christmas

  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful community around me, supporting and encouraging me in my business and creative dreams; reading my newsletters and blog posts, leaving comments and feed back, sharing my pictures and creations with friends, playing a part in growing my handmade business and of course buying, wearing and gifting my jewellery.

I have long had this dream about working with people to create jewellery that reflects their loves and wishes, their creative side and sentimental side. Jewellery that is made from silver and gold and will be passed down from one generation to another without dating. A dream that involves supporting Australian suppliers and artisans, from the company that creates the gift boxes I use, to the local small businesses that specialise in master engraving and Diamond setting. This dream has been coming true with your help.

How far I have come in the past two years, and how much bigger my dreams are for the future. Thank you again for all your support, big and small, for when doubt and fear creep up on me, I look back over the number of sales I have made during the year and the kind emails I have received, and I persevere.

Already I am filling my sketchbook and journal with ideas for 2016. I hope you will join me again as my creative journey continues.

A wonderful and safe Christmas to you,

Christina xx

PS. Usually we are a 'stay at home for Christmas' kind of family, but this year we have booked eleven days by the beach with interstate family! And so, the Christmas order cut off for my store is today. After today orders will be processed and mailed out after the 4th of January. Today is your last chance to tuck a little Christina Lowry Designs under the Christmas tree!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Workshop Tour

My unassuming workshop means the world to me. It's my space. My office/ studio/ workshop. My workshop was once a very ugly bar area in a rented house that had seen better days. That's how I first saw it, when I came to view our home during the pest and building inspection. My husband and I were both so over looking at houses at that stage. We'd sold our last house and were living with family, I was pregnant with Emerson, and we just wanted to find our new home. But the right home eluded us. We knew where we wanted to live, we knew what we wanted to find, it was just a matter of finding it. We thought we had found it a couple of times, but highway noise and gigantic cracks had put us off a few properties. In the end my husband viewed the house without me, on his way home from work. He put in an offer and signed the paper work before I had even seen it. But I trusted him.

The first time I saw my workshop I was a little in shock. We had wanted a house that was a fixer-upper. But I had not bargained for a home that was full of asbestos and needed a new roof and ceiling. As the building inspector pointed out all the faults, I walked around the weed filled back yard with it's millions of pot holes from a bored staffy, thinking I might cry. Dave was enthusiastic, despite the fact that we couldn't move in until the asbestos had been cleared, carpets removed, floor polished, walls painted and so on and so on.

When we viewed under the house I saw my workshop with it's marine grade carpet, large wooden bar and brick walls. And I saw it's potential. Dave and I argued discussed in the car on the way home as to who had rights to the bar area. Dave saw it as having great man cave potential, and had mentally relegated my tools to the garage. I on the other hand had the financial argument on my side - that my workshop was capable of returning money, while his man cave was not. My husband is a good man, and I got my workshop. 

Many thanks to the lovely Trudi Le Brese for coming and photographing my unassuming, well loved space. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Shop Closes in 5 days!

Hello lovelies! I just wanted to let you know that I am taking orders in my shop until the 18th, then I'll be finishing everything and getting it posted by the 21st, so that I can prepare for our family holiday on the 23rd. 

Which means you have 5 days to get your orders in! 

I'll be back at the bench on the 4th of January. I will keep you up to date here and in my newsletter. Add your email address here to sign up, and follow me on Instagram for pics from our travles. xx

Friday, December 11, 2015

Choosing A Name - A Birthday Letter

Happy 7th birthday my beautiful first born! What a blessing the universe bestowed upon me when I created the baby of you, and you created the Mother of me. 

Recently I told you a story about how we named you while you were still in my tummy. How we knew you were a boy because I couldn't wait to find out at the ultrasound. Your Daddy wanted it to be a surprise. I promised him that if he supported me in finding out the sex of our first baby, I wouldn't find out until after the birth of any future babies. And so it was with my three births. Knowing and not knowing were equally wonderful.

But you sweet boy, you I knew were a little boy inside of me, with strong kicks and prone to hiccups. You were lulled to sleep when I walked and danced in my belly when I lay down to sleep. And while you grew and slept, kicked and hiccuped, we tried to think of a name.

Choosing a name for a baby is more difficult than you might think. So many names are ruled out. Ex boyfriends, school bullies, musicians, politicians. We made a rule not to include family names, which ruled out many more. But it was your father who ruled out the most, and it was me making the lists of names. He had a relaxed, I'll know it when I hear it attitude. While I had a slight case of panicky first time Mama, envisioning that it would be weeks after your birth that we would settle on a name. 

I looked though books, I looked online, I fell in love with names only to have your Father point out possible nicknames which made me fall out of love with them again. I had given up, wondering if perhaps we would just 'know' when we first saw you. But life has a funny way of doing things, and as it happened we visited friends whose dog had had puppies. They were the most adorable, soft and loving little creatures I had ever seen, and every pregnancy hormone in my body made me want to bring one home with me. Your father was the voice of reason who suggested a baby, and the dog and cat we already owned, might be enough for now. I handed the puppy to him to tempt him, explaining that it would keep our dog company when the baby came and that we could call him Cohen. And although your Dad just laughed at my efforts to smuggle a puppy in to the family, he did ask me about the name in the car on the way home. 

"Cohen, as in Leonard Cohen, the musician", I explained. I'd not even offered it for consideration, as I thought it too would be crossed from the list. But there it was. A name we both fell in love with,. and which we began speaking to you whenever we addressed my bump. 

Our next trick was to find a middle name to go with Cohen, and here we took a cue from one of my earlier lists, a name that held meaning for us as a couple and soon as a family. And so you became Cohen Byron. Had your Father and I not gone on a holiday to Byron Bay in the early days of our dating, we may not have fallen in love. When we married I walked down the beach to your Father, surrounded by just our family, in an intimate ceremony on Belongil Beach, Byron Bay. Afterwards Dolphins swam though the waves and goats hopped along the cliffs beneath the lighthouse as I threw my bouquet off the most easterly point of Australia.

For seven wonderful years you have been Cohen Byron, and for me they have become two of the most beautiful words in the whole world. You have been loved every second, since I first dreamed of you, and will be loved with every breath I have. As you grow in to a man and venture further out in to the world I hope your name will always remind you of your family, of our love, and how once upon a time you were a dancing baby with a Mum and Dad who hoped they were getting it right when they chose your name for you.

My love, always and forever, Mama.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Instagram For Business and Self

On the back of the post about my Christmas photo shoot, I wanted to share some of the photos I have been taking for Instagram lately, and the little photo shoots I put together for them. When I began Instagram, I took photos as I saw them. I posted them then and there, with no thought as to whether or not anyone was seeing them, if my gallery was beautiful, or what I was trying to achieve with Instagram. And while that is perfectly fine for a personal page, given that my IG is a part of my business, I decided to be more mindful with my time and energy in order to create an account that I could be proud of and that shares the story of my business.  In return I have found that a large majority of my sales now come from Instagram. (So if you have a small business, and you are not yet on Instagram, I urge you to start now. It is not too late!)

At first I was scared that I would loose my audience if I posted too many jewellery photos, but rather the opposite happened. People love to see photos of my jewellery, whether they are behind the scenes peeks in my workshop, pieces being worn, or beautiful still life's and flat lays. Not only has Instagram increased my sales, it has been such a wonderful creative tool for me, offering me a simple way to experiment with photography and styling. I found the wonderful The Photo School Online Class a great way to learn more about iPhone photography and capturing the pretty light. I watched a class with Sue B Zimmerman (the Instagram Expert) and learnt some really valuable information (you can get a free Instagram Strategy Guide on her site). And most recently I took part in the five day Makelight Online Taster Course, dedicated to creating beautiful photographs and flat lays.

I have little vintage bits and bobs all over my home, in printer trays, bowls and baskets, so using them as props made perfect sense. Adding leaves, flowers and berries to my collection is a joy shared with my three year old daughter. Usually once a week, I try to gather up some interesting bits and pieces, take my jewellery out of the safe, and start playing around with different back grounds, props and lighting. Then I edit the pics in VSCOcam, and I have a selection of images waiting to be used in my feed, while also taking photos as the mood takes me, or as I am working.

And it's not just jewellery. Sometimes it's just flowers, a shot of my work bench, or a video of my baby starting to walk. I only have one Instagram account, and it is still my account, just as it is my business and my name on the business cards, so I don't want it to become impersonal. I love the community that is a part of Instagram. I love that being a small business owner means that I am always dealing on a personal level. And I love being able to share my thoughts and creations both here on my blog and on Instagram.

A few links you might love -

Emily Quinton's Instagram Feed
Sell More With Instagram
How To Grow Your Instagram Following
Step By Step Flat Lay
And of course, my Instagram feed! xx

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Photo Shoot

There are so many things to love about running your own business (although a guaranteed income is not always one of them) high on the list of pros is most certainly creative freedom. Only in my own business can I be a designer one moment, jeweller the next, social media marketer before lunch and a copy writer after lunch. Much like Mothering really, where one moment I am referee, next I am nurse, then I am counselor, and then cook. If I wasn't born this way, then having three children has definitely made me a multiskilled multitasker. 

I remember when I was an employee at jewellery stores, I watched with interest as photographers picked up and returned jewellery, then returned once more with product and lifestyle photos. It was all very exciting and out of the ordinary for me. Especially seeing those images in print, and having brides-to-be bring in magazines and point out our ads. I once watched on from the sidelines as a high end jewellery catalogue was produced - models and locations chosen, jewellery pieces designed and created, days spent photographing on location and in a studio while the Marketing Manager apparently sat around bored, as she was bound by insurance to wait with the jewellery. 

But now, as a multiskilled multitasking small business owner, I can create my own photo shoots for my own jewellery pieces, and have an absolute ball while doing it! There is a lot of tea and laughter involved when photographer Trudi Le Brese and I get together for a photo shoot. While Trudi specialises in portrait and family photography, she was brave enough to throw herself in the deep end with me when I proposed our first photo shoot - a product and lifestyle Look Book of my jewellery. I bribed my beautiful yoga teacher at the time, Harriet, with jewellery so that she would model for us, another friend allowed us use of her library and garden as our location, and together we stumbled our way through our first shoot and produced photos that I am still so proud of!

This time around, with a little more confidence, I decided to tackle a Christmas shoot to create content for the holiday season, and broke the rule again about working with children and animals! As Harriet had moved overseas (please note jealousy) I put myself in the firing line, together with my youngest two, with my kitchen and dining room as our location. Together we baked, decorated, faffed and styled our way through the shoot. And I think, for two self taught multiskilled multitasking Mama's we did a darn good job at creating some amazing images!

Sunday, December 6, 2015


How busy the days are in December! The most hectic month in a jewellers calendar, and a Mothers too I would argue. Between an influx of orders, school craft days, a looming seventh birthday, preparations for Christmas, and a holiday by the beach, it's a time for breathing deep when the to-do list threatens to overwhelm, A time to ensure there are scheduled time outs to enjoy life as a family and not get lost in the hustle and bustle of break up parties, school assemblies and swimming lesson blocks. And so was our adventure last weekend, as we explored the GOMA markets, APT and the museum. Amidst the visual feast. we were all taken by the carpet of flame tree flowers between the galleries, and they way their colours popped against the green of the grass.

I hope you are enjoying the season of celebrations, and finding time to explore and discover as well too! xx

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Her Canberra Lust List

I am thrilled to be included in the HerCanberra Lust List, along with my beautiful stockist Timber & Tailor. You can snap up a pair of the 'Follow Your Dreams' earrings in the Braddon, Canberra store, or pop over to my online shop.

Monday, November 30, 2015

New in the shop - $25 Rings

Can you believe it is the last day of November today? December always creeps up on me, no matter how organised I am! I am so looking forward to the season of celebrations! There are birthdays, holidays, beach escapes and Christmas day to look forward to.
I have a little something else to share with you today - two new rings designs! I've popped them in to the shop today, though I have been wearing them and loving them for the past two weeks, and I know you will love them too.
The 'Ava' ring is a sweet spotty daring and the 'Elsa' ring is equally winsome and wonderful. Both are now available in Sterling Silver for $25 each, with free shipping.

Not sure of your ring size? Add a ring size gauge to your cart for $2, and I will post it out first.

Monday, November 23, 2015


It's my birthday today! I still get so excited about my birthday, especially as I share it with my best friend/ twin sister. Celebrate with me by using the code HOORAY at checkout for 20% off everything in my online shop for today only!

Hip, hip, hooray!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Eats & Beats Logan

Logan locals, you will find me at the fabulous Eats and Beats Christmas Festival this Friday night! I will have a super lovely stall full of Christmas gifts and market specials. 

Come and say hi!

Behind The Photo Scenes

'Doc McStuffins wants to be in a photo too, Mum.'

The realities of working with children. :)

My new About page photo, by Trudi Le Brese Photography

Friday, November 6, 2015

Refilling the Well

There doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to keep everything up to date lately, and get some time to myself. There are so many dishes, so much laundry, children who need feeding, bathing, entertaining and help with homework. It's so easy to leave myself to last and end up with no time of my own each week. Rather than rush around multitasking and wearing myself out, I have taken the opposite approach lately, looking for little ways to build in me-moments each day. 

Besides scheduling in Yoga once a week and going regardless of how I feel (I always feel better afterwards!) I have been slowing down, reading Ellie's A Week Of Slow, and carving out time each day to spend as I please. I find it so easy to keep going and doing what I think I 'should' be doing, thinking I will stop once I am 'done'. Only, I am never done. I clean the dishes and more appear, I tidy the lounge room and toys creep straight back out again, I sweep the floor and the baby throws his dinner as far as his chubby fists will allow. 

But one must re-fill the well. So I treat myself to a Frankie Country Style mag. I reward myself with a cup of tea. I write my morning pages after school drop off. I sit with my Drawing Journal and draw, just because. And it helps. 

How do you refuel after giving so much of yourself?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Meredith Woolnough

 'Meredith Woolnough's elegant embroidered traceries capture the delicate beauty of nature in knotted embroidery threads. Through a delicate system of tiny stitches she creates intricate and complex openwork compositions that are then carefully pinned in shadowboxes, just like preserved specimens. 
The work maps the frameworks of the various veining systems found in nature to create work that explores the balance, harmony and connectivity of life on Earth. Inspired by the patterns, structures and shapes found in plants, coral, cells and shells Meredith's embroideries represent both the robust beauty and elegant fragility of life.'
- From Meredith's About page

Meredith Woolnough's work appeared in my Facebook feed recently as I scrolled though the usual articles, photographs and updates. I followed the link and was first struck by awe at the stunning details and general beauty of her work, a feeling that was followed closely by a pang of jealousy. Not the green eyes monster variety of jealousy, but of the variety that enables you to recognise a successful maker and encourages and inspires you to keep going. Keep making. Keep expressing yourself. And who doesn't cherish such inspiration? Who doesn't wish to gaze at the tiny stitches that create such 'delicate beauty' and mirror those efforts in their own life.

So many more amazing stitches in Meredith's Gallery.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Bottom Of The To Do List

When I was a child my father painted our bedrooms. We were allowed to pick the paint colours. And Mum made us new curtains with fabrics of our choosing. I remember my sister picked a baby blue to adorn her walls, while I selected a pale jacaranda hue and floral fabric to match. Not only did he paint our rooms, he painted the rest of the house. My brother's room, the lounge room, kitchen, hall way and bathroom. Everything, except the doors. For years my Mother waited for my father to paint those doors. She had a list of renovations taped to the inside of a cupboard door, and would cross items off as they were completed. For all I know, those doors are still on that list, as he never got around to painting them. And hasn't painted them in the seventeen years since I left home. 

I couldn't understood that as a child. Why didn't he paint the doors? Especially when Mum was so keen to have them done. I didn't understand how easy it was to leave something at the bottom of one's list of priorities. That just because something was important to someone else, it may not be as important to you. Sometimes you run out of steam over something.

I understand better now. I have unpainted trims of my own to remind me how one's priorities change. When we brought our house and were renovating while pregnant with our second child, we did as much as we could before we moved in. We scheduled the removal of asbestos, the replacement of the ceiling and roof, the removal of the carpet, polishing of the floor boards, and of course, painting through out. The last job before we moved in was to have the floor boards sanded and polished. The day we'd booked in the floor sander came around and the trims were not finished. Never mind. We'll paint them when we move in! Then we had our second baby. Then our third. And still those trims wait for paint. 

But you know what? It doesn't bother me enough to over come the obstacles and tackle the task - moving the furniture, keeping the children away, cleaning and taping up the trims, finding the paint, brushes, drop cloths etc. actually painting and then cleaning up and putting it all away again. Time is too precious for such things right now. It makes me think of other items that are lurking at the bottom of the to do list, that I haven't the heart to get started on.

One day I imagine those doors will get painted and so will our trims. Perhaps when we paint the exterior of the house. But in the meantime, I'm leaving them off the to do list...

What's at the bottom of your list?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Handmade Christmas Gift Guide - Nephew

I'm creating a few handmade Christmas Gift Guides this year, to make shopping for our loved one a little easier this year. 

Every Christmas I endeavour to support as many local makers as possible, rather than shopping in the big box stores. As a small business owner it is so important to me to buy from the creatives themselves, to find out their stories and purchase beautiful, unique, well designed and crafted pieces. I know it is much simpler to walk in to a shop that carries everything and get all the gifts brought in one hit. But I find it is so much more enjoyable and satisfying to spend my money mindfully.

Perhaps you have similar ideas? Yes?!
Then read on!

Nephews can be tricky to buy for. Depending on their ages their shelves and baskets are no doubt full of Lego, books, and the remains of kinder surprise toys. Puzzle pieces get lost beneath the bed. Trucks get left in the sand pit. While older children are looking to technology for amusement.

Why not indulge their love of dinosaurs or space? Send them outside to play with a swing or bike bell? Decorate their walls, and get them learning at the same time, with a fabulous alphabet chart? Or perhaps invest in a handmade quilt that they can snuggle up with night after night, feeling warm and loved?

Add suspense with the wrapping by covering a box, within a box, within a box.

Left to right: RAAAA Dinosaur T-Shirt $30 - Freddy Alphabet
Quilt Number 18 $200 - diddi
Cosmos Circle Cushion Cover $60 - Such Great Heights

Stay tuned for more Handmade Christmas Gift Guides - everything from Fathers to Sister In Laws.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Taking Stock In October

Making : animals from play dough, sticks and leaves with the children
Eating : blueberries, when the kids haven't eaten them all first
Drinking : less wine, and buying flowers for the garden instead
Reading: about homeschooling, and incorporating those ideas in to the experiences I plan with the children, and the way I handle school homework
Wanting: to make the most of the cooler evenings before Summer comes and makes the nights uncomfortable.
Looking: at all the pretty things in Frankie and Country Style magazines
Playing: rocket ships, robots and water play with my imaginative toddler.
Deciding: my garden needs more flowers
Wishing: I had a cleaner who would take care of the dishes and the bathroom for me - least favourite jobs
Enjoying: feeding the ducks with little friends
Waiting: with excitement for the photo shoot images to be ready, while trying not to rush the photographer!
Liking: rainy mornings that make me want to stay in bed and read all day
Wondering: what would happen if I just DID THAT, just stayed in bed all day, the world would keep turning, right...
Loving: seeing my jewellery being worn by lovely ladies
Pondering: my goals for the next five years
Planning: Photoshoots for next year already 
Buying: stationary online - thus avoiding shopping with the little ones and impulse buys...
Listening: to the new podcast - Thrive By Design
Hoping: my sister gets her job promotion
Marvelling: at the way my oxygen bottle runs out in the middle of soldering a project and never at the end
Taking: time to rock my baby to sleep and then just sit with him in my arms and breathe him in for awhile before putting him down
Needing: a hair cut - thank goodness for messy buns
Questioning: whether to decorate for Halloween this year?
Smelling: wet leaves and cool breezes
Wearing: a pair of my 'Travelling Companion' Studs, and loving them
Following: The Black Hen on Instagram, and wishing I could pop over to Tasmania and wander around their gorgeous store
Noticing: the Jacarandas in bloom all over the neighbourhood
Knowing: that our Mulberry season is over, but there is still a stash in the freezer
Thinking: that there will be another Mulberry Crumble happening soon
Admiring: 50 of poetry's most poignant lines
Sorting: out all of my paper work and finally getting it all up to date. Phew! (Now to keep it that way)
Meaning: to cull the number of newsletters I get in my inbox
Bookmarking: Ellie's blog for A Week Of Slow
Coveting: half the Kikki K store
Opening: bills and bills and bills and bills
Giggling: at the way Miss three says, 'once uponce a time'
Feeling: so good about going to yoga one night a week and making it a habit
Snacking: on honey Macadamia nuts. Yum!
Trying: to get my book club book read... 
Hearing: 'Happier' by Gretchen Rubin - which I have been binge-listening too and loving! So good! Start at episode one and go and listen right now, ok?!


Joining In with Pip to take stock.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Miffy Giveaway! - Closed!

Miffy, that sweet and simply drawn bunny, is well loved in our house. The clear story lines, the uncomplicated art, the sweet characters - my three year old is as in love with Miffy as her brother was at this age. I must admit, I have a soft spot for Miffy too!

I'm really excited to have a bundle of Miffy goodness to giveaway to one of my readers, thanks to Annabel Trends. As a small business owner, Annabel Trends is an Australian small business success story that really inspires me. Started by Ann Dawe, her daughter Sally Dunn now runs the business from the Gold Coast, where they employ thirty staff. The family owned company is approaching it's 40th anniversary, and at least part of that success is due to their love of fun, colourful and innovative products made with passion!

The prize pack includes one large and medium Miffy money box, two Miffy toothbrushes, two Miffy photo clip holders and three Miffy bag tags or key chains. RRP value $110. As Christmas approaches, this beautiful collection of nostalgia inducing goodies makes for a wonderful gift for babies or children. 

To enter the giveaway leave a comment below telling me - if you could choose a Christmas gift for yourself from Annabel Trends, what would it be? 

I'm thinking I need a pair of these gardening gum boots...


Giveaway open to Australian resident only. 
One winner, chosen at random, will receive the prize pack. 
Winner drawn on the 5th November 2015.
Please leave an email address with your comment.
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