Saturday, May 30, 2015

This Brown Wren + A Discount Code

Have you come across the lovely blog, This Brown Wren? Steph writes beautifully and is an inspiration to those wishing to slow down, live simply and cherish motherhood. She has a wonderful sense of style, three adorable cherubs and an enviable instagram feed. Her blog is a gorgeous reminder for me of what this blogging community is all about - creativity, sharing, support and authenticity.

Make a cuppa and settle in for a read, and while you are there, you'll find a discount code valid on all items in my shop this weekend. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Reading and Listening

Sometimes I feel the gap left by my identical twin's move to Canberra more keenly than other times. I miss her dearly, for she is not only my sister, but my best friend. She is also my creative partner in crime, and together we visit galleries, museums, poetry readings, markets, fairs and book shops. Neither of us has been able to find a suitable replacement since her interstate shift. Despite talking daily, face timing and letter writing, there is still a Fiona sized gap. As a result, I often feel a need to inject a little extra creative conversation and company in to my days, particularly as I work from home in the company of my little ones.

One way I have been filling the void is with books, magazines and podcasts. I picked up the Frankie and womankind magazines while in Yamba, and have become quite enamored by womankind - an ad free women's magazine with a focus on arts and culture. While the lovely Pippa recommended the podcast The New Normal - in which Emma and Tess chat with creative mothers about their life, work and family - and the website Creative Women's Circle; from which I brought 'Conversations with Creative Women' Volume one and two. I find reading about successful women who have followed their creative dreams so very interesting and inspiring, particularly when they are Australian and it seems they were once not so removed from my current situation.

I have been listening to audio book again lately, having newly discovered the joys of Borrow Box, which allows me to borrow audio books from my local library and download them on my phone, without even leaving home. I listen to a lot of podcasts and books while I work at the bench or knit. Even while I do the dishes or sweep the floor! Recently I fell in love with How to Paint a Dead Man. A wonderfully woven tale with four protagonists in different eras who are dealing with similar themes of love, loss and art in their lives, which are entwined. (Not one to listen to around children, due to the inclusion of sex scenes.) But a thoughtful, moving and beautifully written novel nonetheless. I have also been listening to a book I have long loved, The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain deBotton. Listening to a book one has previously read brings with it a new level of appreciation. Read or spoken, this is the kind of book you can revisit many times, for it covers the work of several great minds from history and applies their philosophies to our modern lives and every day dilemmas; such as a lack of money, anxiety and the pain of love.

There is another pile of books next to my bed currently, which I hope to find time for soon.
But tell me, what have you been reading and listening to?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Working From Home

My work schedule has changed lately. As you may know, I work from home around my children. And while I used to work at the bench at least two days a week, now the baby is older it has gotten that much harder to keep my two little ones occupied in the workshop while I work. The days of them both sleeping at the same time seem to be behind me too. Instead, I find I am working on the business side of things during the day - placing orders, paying bills, answering emails, marketing and updating the shop - between the of building Lego, the making of snacks and the changing of nappies. My bench time now happens after all three children are in bed. Which is fine, until a week of teething leaves me crawling in to bed not long after the children, and my to-do list starts to get out of control.

I'm torn at times. I imagine how much jewellery I could make if I just had one or two days to myself. If I put my little two in childcare while my big boy is at school. Then I remind myself that the whole purpose of my working from home is that I get to be home with them. With that, I am content again. Content to make as much as I can, in the pockets of time that I have, and allow the business to grow as much as it can for now. I know there will be time. These years before school are so swift. In no time at all Emerson, and then Oscar, will be following Cohen to school and I will have more time to spend at the bench. In the meantime I want to enjoy this season. Make trips to the library. Walk to the park. Paint pictures. Read stories. Picnic on the grass. Drink pretend tea. Build up blocks. Knock them down. And answer pretend phones.

I'm so grateful that I get to follow my heart and express my creativity. I'm so thankful for all the support I get in doing just that - from each comment, each like, each purchase - thank you so much.


Monday, May 25, 2015


As a stay at home Mama with a breast fed baby, a toddler and a school boy, it's very rare that I go out without children. Where I go, they come. One, two, or all three of them. I had been going to yoga one night a week until the class time changed and I couldn't make it work anymore. That had been my time-out, my 'me time'. But a month or two have passed, and 'me time' just hasn't happened. 

I scheduled some time out this weekend, booking my husband in to solo-parent while I spent the day as I pleased. And it was wonderful. I felt guilty initially. But given the amount of time my husband spends surfing and playing golf, the feeling soon faded. First, I wandered a Sunday market with all it's trash and treasure. Without interruption I browsed the stalls and brought myself a couple of books and some potted herbs, all for a few gold coins. Next I wandered through Freedom Furniture and brought a new throw, a ceramic house and a vintage style light bulb to feather my nest. Most luxuriously of all, I stopped in at a cafe for brunch. eating and drinking my tea alone, before wandering through Ikea and emerging with a cushion cover, a set of wine glasses and a note book. 

Oh how I love my three babies. But how necessary it is to have a little time to ones self, to be oneself, every now and again. I was delighted to see them again, and they were delighted to rummage through my market basket and discover all that I had brought home with me.

I shall be booking in my husband again soon - there is an antique center that I have been wanting to visit.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Free Shipping

Love this pic! It's a great reminder that every sale in my shop comes with free shipping, tracking and insurance.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Taking Stock : May

(Photos from my Instagram account. You can find me at @christinalowrydesigns. Come and say hello!)

Making : A striped knitted baby blanket for a friend
Baking : Banana bread - then thinking I should have made a double batch
Drinking : Loose leaf tea
Reading: 'Love and Summer' William Trevor
Wanting: A garden full of flowers
Looking: At the rainbow lorrikets that come to eat our neighbours flowers
Playing: Lego with the little ones
Deciding: To attend a whole sale or Bridal Fair next year
Wishing: My sister wasn't so far away
Enjoying: Library trips with the little ones
Waiting: For my 'Real Australians Say Welcome' poste
Liking: The #mystillsundaycompetition hashtag pretties
Loving: That my big boy is devouring chapter books.
Pondering: My little boys first birthday.
Considering: What to buy the third child, when they need nothing? 
Thinking: I would like to have his portrait sketched or painted.
Buying: Delightful, pastel, porcelain bird whistles at a market.
Watching: 'Jane Austin and her many lovers' on iview.
Marvelling: A how quickly bubba's first year has flown by.
Missing: The view of the sea and the river we had last week in Yamba.
Needing: More holidays!
Waiting: For more episodes of 'Vikings'
Wearing: A second hand swing coat I brought while we were away.
Noticing: How many Myna birds there are now
Getting: New postcards with images from the photo shoot. Can't wait!
Pinning: Linen kitties that make big and little girls swoon. 
Coveting: A group of creative business owners to discuss my business ideas with.
Feeling: Excited about doing the Red Hill Fair on 25th July
Hearing: Three year old Emerson 'reading' to Oscar


Joining in with Pip.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

10 Months - Oscar

For anyone keeping count, my little Oscar is actually turning one this month. But between laptops dying, the busyness of business and babies, and a holiday too, I'm a wee bit out of date with this project. In an attempt to remedy that, I present you Oscar's 10 month old post. There weren't many shots taken on this particular day, as my teething babe quickly fell out of favor with the whole idea and wanted to be held instead. Oh teeth, how difficult they can be. I often say if it wasn't for the three T's I would have had ten children - teething, tantrums and toilet training. At ten month he had three teeth, at almost twelve months he has six.

I see many more sleepless nights ahead of us yet...


Here's Miss Emerson at 10 months.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Oh, holidays

My boys
Our accommodation - 'Sea What Happens', Yamba
A child in each room
Cafe chickens
Gazing towards the lighthouse

Shell inspector
Marmalade thief


I think the best thing about holidays is the ability to pay very little attention to time. In our normal day to day there is the pressure of time, like school drop off and pick up times, and the necessity of feeding and dressing four people before getting out the door. While on holidays, such rush is unnecessary, there are no deadlines except checkout. Time is more fluid, the days more relaxed, and things happen at their own pace. Just by relieving this pressure, and thus the urge to nag, I find spending time with my little ones is all the more enjoyable. Surely this is why we take holidays? This escape of the everyday. Late nights, slow mornings, afternoon naps, days spent walking and exploring. Or so was our holiday.

The chill in the air morning and night was a welcome to change to the heat of the months past. The days warmed as they went, lending themselves to a layering of clothes. The shadows were cold while the sunlight was hot. The crowds of the Summer were long gone. The ocean was surprisingly warm as we waded in up to our knees, but I had no desire to dip in any further. You could feel Winter moving in. Dave on the other hand, mad body boarder that he is, donned his wet suit and flippers and paddled out.

A week away was exactly what we needed. We had such a wonderful time, we have already booked for next year.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mothers Day!

Mothers, Grandmothers, Mothers-to-be, here's to a wonderful day for you! May your tea be hot, your family adoring and your sleep-in luxurious. 

And if not, may you find five minutes peace in the chaos to remember what an amazing job you are doing are how very important you are.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Shop Makeover

My online shop had a makeover this week. I had been researching graphic designers to handle it for me, but my excitement about the photo shoot images (combined with my lack of patience) meant I pushed my technological abilities to their limit and transformed my virtual store in to it's current incarnation. My aim was to create a friendlier, easier to navigate, beautiful site, and I am so pleased with the results. 

The new photos, along with Bigcartel's recently introduced theme and my modest programming skills, have combined to showcase my jewellery in such a way that you get a feel for the items as if you were in a bricks and mortar store. The larger images give greater detail of the quality, the pictures of the pieces on the model portray the scale of each item and allow you to imagine wearing the piece yourself and the Featured and Collections pages make it easier to navigate from one item to another when browsing for the perfect piece.

I would love your feed back on the new design if you have a moment.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Winter 2015 Look Book

How gradually my little business has evolved. I hadn't imagined at University that I would one day be my own boss and work from home around my children. I didn't think as an apprentice that I would ever stop working for others. I couldn't have imagined how the internet would allow me to share my work with my tribe and create pieces for the special moments in their lives. But little by little I have been building, creating, learning, investing and making, in order to grow a seed of a dream in to a reality.

And now I am one step closer to a bigger dream, as I share with you images from my first ever photo shoot and my very first Look Book. I am so excited about these images! It's wonderful to see the ideas I sketched on paper and then brought to life in metal, being worn and so beautifully photographed. It feels like quite the achievement for this independent jeweller and small business owner, let me tell you. The images just seem so 'me' and so in tune with my brand. I love that Trudi and Harriet were able to interpret my vision. I am thrilled and I would love for you to take a look and share your thoughts with me. 

And if I could be so bold, perhaps you could share the Pinterest pin of my Look Book too?

Many thanks! 



Photographer: Trudi Le Brese
Location: Residence of Brisbane poet Carmen Keates
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