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.
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