Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pinteresting Whites

Pretty and interesting Pinterest finds
Inspirations i vitt, Healthy Homesteading, patheos

Oh, the subtlety and beauty of whites and pastels. The texture, opacity, softness and shine. It's something I have appreciated more and more as I have gotten older. Some people are drawn to bright colours, while I am drawn to images like these.

My rule with home wares, if in doubt about colour choice, buy it in white.

Do you have a go to colour?

Friday, January 30, 2015

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - SouleMama 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Creative Freedom and Sketchbook Explorations

I dedicated a fair amount of time at the end of last year and the start of this year towards creating a twelve month plan for my business. It's not something I had ever really done before. Using the lessons I had learnt in 2014 and Lisa Jacobs' 'Your Best Year, Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner' as a guide, I planned out my collections, busy times and holidays for 2015. I wrote down my ambitions and dreams. I reflected and prioritized, planned and questioned. Not only my work life, but my family life and my free time. Thus, I now have monthly goals and plans that I break up in to weekly to do lists. As I tick each item off, I am better aware of how it fits in to the bigger picture and what the end result will be.

It feels like less of a scramble. There is less pressure to be constantly working in order to achieve my goals, because I can see the steps I need to take to get to them. Breaking everything down in to parts has made my dreams feel less overwhelming. Another one of the positive results of this that I am appreciating is the sense of creative freedom I have felt. I am able to allow myself time to indulge in other creative pursuits besides jewellery or business demands, without guilt! Instead I can see the long view, take the pressure off, and nurture my creative self. Which can only be a good thing in the long run for my sense of self, my jewellery design and the running of my business.

Part of this creative freedom meant I was able to take on Lisa Congdon's 'Sketchbook Explorations'. A wonderful four part course of short videos that introduce the viewer to Lisa's techniques, favorite materials and specific projects. It's been such an interesting challenge to pick up water colour paints again, purchase new-to-me water colour brush pens and work with a much brighter colour palette than I am used to. I'd highly recommend it, no matter your skill level, as a way to connect or reconnect to the page and experiment.

So here's to embracing planning and productivity, in order to live more of a creative life!


Other great resources -
Susannah Conway's 'Unravelling the Year Ahead' 
Create and Thrive
Flourish and Thrive Academy
The Tiffany Han

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On My Bench - Wax Carving

I remember years ago, when I was being taught how to carve wax, the jeweller was very particular and not altogether friendly. While I was interested in creating free flowing organic curves, he was interested in teaching me how to measure, mark and carve a symmetrical piece of jewellery. It was all very dry and mathematical and my left brain kept wanting to wander off. I'm so pleased now that I wrestled with my will to day dream (and his unpleasant nature) and listened carefully. 

I carved wax for the first time in a long time yesterday and it was like riding a bike - it all came back to me. I carefully measured my stone and marked out the wax with my calipers. I sawed, filed and emeried the plastic-like wax to reveal the first piece in my next range - a statement ring featuring a large, faceted Mint Quartz (also known as 'Green Amethyst').

I will be transforming more of my sketches in to three dimensional wax pieces this week. I promise to share progress photos of this new collection as it goes from creation to completion! For more behind the scenes peeks, find me on Instagram @christinalowrydesigns

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Unexpected Guest

Living in Australia, one does get used to living side by side with native animals. Wallaby's on the road side. Possums on the roof. Huntsman spiders in the toilet. Geckos on the eaves. Frogs on the deck. 

However, this blue tongue lizard was pushing the friendship a little to far when she took up residence in my workshop. Her head poking out between two boxes just a few centimeters from the baby swing Oscar was occupying.

She has since been evicted to the backyard. (Much to the toddler's delight.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - SouleMama 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Work Life Balance Myth

One of my greatest take away's from last year was that the idea of a 'work/life balance' that I could create and maintain was a myth, and one should stop wasting time and energy pursuing.

As a stay at home Mum to three and the owner and maker of a creative business, I have keenly sought advice on the best way to prioritise my children while still fulfilling my creative passion. Every day I undertake to fill my children's cups with love and attention and meet their individual needs, while still finding time to do at least one thing for my business. I know that 'you can have it all, just not all at once', I know that the time will come when all three children are at school and I will have more time to dedicate to my business. But in the meantime, I know I spent much of last year trying to find a balance between mothering and working from home.

I kept looking for a routine that would fit everything in, so that my to-do lists would be repeatedly crossed off. I looked for ways to lessen the load, cut down on house work, find a little extra time for myself, but stay on top of everything and connect with my family. I beat myself up if I posted a sale a day later than I had said I would, if I ran out of apples for the Cohen's lunch box, if I brought biscuits instead of making them myself. Each week something would interrupt my well planned routine, and something would have to give. A child would fall ill. The baby wouldn't settle. There would be guests for dinner. It would rain for three days straight. And all my meticulous plans for getting everything done would be thrown in to the gentle chaos that is everyday life.

I'm flexible though. I'd handle it. But I would still try again the next week, only to be disappointed yet again. I tried to compartmetalise everything. Break my days up in to blocks of time and dedicate that time to that one task. But I just ended up frustrated at being constantly interrupted. Until I realised, creating a week to be continually repeated, in which everything ran like clock work and nothing changed, would be rather boring. One of my strengths is my flexibility, so I shouldn't be going against that. Those days when all the house work was done by nine AM were so satisfying because the next day it might be lunch time before I got a chance to sweep the floor or make the beds. Three days of rain and no dryer makes me appreciate it even more when I get to the bottom of the laundry basket (for that three minutes before someone throws more dirty clothes in to the hamper.) And getting a two year old and a baby to nap at the same time during the day so I can work, well, that's not always going to happen.

The lesson has been that there is no perfect balance. There is no one routine that I can set for each week and follow to the letter. Some weeks life takes over and family sways the balance, other weeks there is lots of work on, deadlines to be met, and I am spending more time at the bench. Sometimes I will run out of apples, there will be a huge pile of clothes or I will pack store brought biscuits in Cohen's lunch, and the world will keep turning, life will go on. And I will appreciate the fact that there is nothing else I would rather be doing. I chose this. I chose to be a stay at home Mum. I chose to start my own business rather than return to work for someone else. And both of these jobs are the most satisfying and challenging jobs I have ever had.

I understand now that I can't create a divide between myself as a Mother and myself as a maker, particularly as I work from home. They are entwined and I am passionate about both. Instead I have relaxed more about blurring the lines between both and allowing circumstances to determine where my energy is spent, rather than trying to engineer a time table to squeeze everything in. Just letting go of the idea that there is a way to get this perfect work/life balance has been incredibly freeing. We all need balance in our lives, but trying to achieve and maintain one version of that balance just isn't viable for a creative person like myself.

So here's to letting go of the myth and enjoying a creative and connected 2015.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Yarn Along

My, oh my. When I checked Ravelry for the start date of this project, Ravelry informed me that it was May, 2012. And we all know that Ravelry does not lie. Poor dear 'Larch' cardigan. I had such high hopes when I began this knit. My first adult garment. It seems children's knits, I can do. Baby blankets, I can do. Adult knits? Well, they will sit in knitting purgatory for years, only to be pulled out to have a few rows added before being condemned to the knitting basket once more. 

I do wish I could knit faster. 
Lets see how much further I this time.


Joining in with Ginny.
Ravelry notes here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Expectation Vs Reality

My loves at Redcliffe Lagoon

You know those 'Expectation vs Reality' photos you see on Facebook? Like the one of the Mother and child all dressed in white, sleeping sweetly snuggled in together under the 'expectation' side of co-sleeping, and then the baby sleeping on the Mother's head on crumpled sheets in the 'reality' shot? I giggle at those things, because so much of parenting seems like that. Expectations not met by reality. Not that a baby sleeping on your head is a bad thing, it's just not how you imagined it. It didn't stop me from bed sharing, or getting morning cuddles in bed after a feed.

Pre-children expectations, I had so many. Lately I'be been remembering how I would cringe when parents would laughingly say they couldn't wait for their children to go back to school. I was horrified and inwardly shook my head, naively promising myself that I would never say such a thing. I wondered if they were lazy or selfish, or if perhaps, I admit it, they had out of control children? (Ha!) I vowed that I would enjoy having my children home. We would explore, craft, play, read, draw and have a wonderful time on holidays and I wouldn't want to send them back to school. Please feel free to laugh at my foolishness.

Because here I am, five weeks in to the six weeks of holiday between Prep and Grade one, feeling the need to confess - I am rather looking forward to Cohen going back to school. Not because we haven't been exploring, crafting, playing, reading and drawing. We have, and it's been wonderful. Not because my son often has an age appropriate inability to listen and needs to be told simple instructions several times before again ignoring them. He does that regardless. But rather because my six year old son and my two year old daughter really seem to need that six hour break to stem them incessantly irritating each other. That bit of space five days a week seems to make the heart grow fonder and the play nicer.

Oh the fighting, the intentional annoying, the shriek and screams and 'he pushed me's'. The toy throwing, hair pulling, biting, lego breaking, paper scrunching, food stealing, sibling rivalry of it all. It has only increased a little more each week, despite my very best efforts to the contrary. Oh, the refereeing is exhausting! Having all three children to contend with each day on my own can be a little too much of a good thing.

So if you bump in to me and ask me about our holidays, yes they've been wonderful. I shall indeed be sad to see Cohen go back to school, though I am excited for him starting grade one. I will miss the long lazy mornings, the pancakes for breakfast during the week, the day trips and projects and afternoons spent with friends. I will miss the sweet moments of all three children climbing in to bed for cuddles and the golden moments when they are playing sweetly. But I get it, I do, I understand now why the return to school can be so alluring. I'm sorry I judged.

Only one week to go!


It seems Mike gets it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Five years? Oh, my!

Today is my Facebook business pages fifth anniversary!

To celebrate, I have made a new header for my Facebook page and my much loved blog.

I remember when I started my Facebook page, Cohen was just a year old. I had started a blog in 2008 while I was pregnant, in order to document my creative projects and my introduction to motherhood. At the time a friend told me I couldn't just have a blog, I needed a Facebook page too, as that was where people were spending their time online. She said it was a great way for people to find you. Since then 523 people have found me, and we have a lovely little community where everyone nods and smiles at my (attempted) witty comments, and likes my links, pretty pictures and parenting observations.

If not for you my dear reader, I would not still be here five years later, sharing my stories and creativity. I hope you will accept my heartfelt thanks for every time you have clicked over to my blog or Facebook. For every comment, like and share. For every bit of advice and inspiration you have given me. I have grown up so much since starting this blog. I know so much of that has to do with finding this community, becoming a mother, making a space to express my creativity, and building a business with my hands. Thank you once again.

Here's to another five years! xx

Rainy Day Mushroom Prints

Cohen's prints
My prints
Emerson's prints
Serious business

A nature walk after days of rain revealed quite a few mushrooms, and the children collected them eagerly. They may have been edible for all that I know? But unskilled as I am in these areas, we consigned them to art and not dinner, just to be safe. Together we painted them, or pressed them in to an ink pad, and stamped them on to our paper. The effect was interesting, and my big and middle children were engrossed in the activity. Emerson could not be discouraged from sitting upon the table to complete her masterpiece.

What fun it is to play, experiment and encourage my children to look at the world and create with the things they find around them.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Last Chance! 30% off Laser Cut Jewellery

Today is quite literally your last chance to purchase one of the final doily inspired laser cut jewellery designs from my shop. There are only a few pieces left. Use the code GOODBYE at the checkout for a 30% discount, which includes complimentary gift wrapping and free postage. 

I am making way for a new collection in the coming months, so help me say farewell by giving these beautiful pieces a new home. They won't be in the shop come Monday.

Friday, January 16, 2015

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - SouleMama 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Brisbane Pearl Threading Workshop!

My lovely Brisbane-ites, join me for a crafty morning, Saturday 21st February at Newstead, as I teach traditional pearl threading and you create your own knotted pearl strand.

If you love pearls, beads and jewellery, this workshop is a must. Perfect for beginners, makers wishing to learn a new skill, or those wanting to add a new service to their business. The workshop will equip you with pearls, thread, clasp, beading needles and gimp to create your first necklace, as well as a kit to take home in order to practice the new techniques. The workshop will provide you with step by step instructions, wholesale contacts and resource list, tips and tricks, as well as details on charging out re-threading to clients. 

I encourage you to bring along any pieces you would like advice on, whether it's Grandma's pearls or a broken strand of beads. After completing the workshop you will have your own strand of traditionally knotted pearls, and the know how to thread pearls and beads like a professional.

An additional selection of pearls and clasps will be available for purchase on the day.

Places are limited so Book Now!

I'm so excited! Can't wait to share my years of experience with you. xx

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Damn Cute DIY's

A curated collection of cuteness I found while rambling around Pinterest. There are so many talented and creative people out there making such sweet and fun projects. That Dandelion paperweight has just gone straight to the top of my to-make list! I have resin and dandelions, time to find a vending machine for the 'mould'...

What's on your to-make list?

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Fond Farewell - 30% Off all Laser Cut Jewellery

30% Off All Laser Cut Jewellery with the code GOODBYE
All laser cut jewellery will be reduced by 30%!
It's time to bid a fond farewell to the remaining pieces of laser cut jewellery in my collection. It was wonderful working with new techniques and materials and I'm very proud of these designs. I'm sad to see these pieces go, but I'm making room for the new collection I am working on.
Once these pieces are gone, they won't be coming back again. If you have had your eye on something. now is the time to grab it. There is no custom ordering available for these wooden pieces. The stock levels in the shop are up to date and once they are sold out, there will be no more.
This fantastic discount includes free worldwide shipping. 
Don't miss this opportunity to spoil your jewellery box with a unique piece of limited edition jewellery by using the code GOODBYE in the shop now.

Sale will run for one week, or until stocks last. (12 - 18/1/15)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Inspiration - Cressida Campbell

'Interior with Red Ginger' 1998
 'White Waratah' 2000 
 'Interior, Margaret Olley's house' 1992
'Kitchen Utensils' 1993
'Nasturtiums' 2002

I recently discovered the art work of Cressida Campbell, an Australian artist who depicts the grace and beauty of home, and everyday still lifes in order to create timeless works of art. Each piece is carefully crafted, first as a wood cut and then as a hand painted water colour print, of which she will only ever make one copy. The workmanship and skill involved is admirable, and I hope to view one of her works in person to see the effect upon the paper in greater detail.

I find myself repeatedly drawn to art work of this nature - intimate, beautiful, decorative, domestic - like the work of Margaret Olley (who was a friend and mentor to Campbell), and Vida Lahey - both Australian artists. I'm inspired by their talent, style and success of these women.


While searching for these images I found a great interview with Cressida Campbell on Design Files from 2013.

There are many more images of her amazing work on Pinterest.

Friday, January 9, 2015

7 Months - Oscar

Oh my little bundle of joy! Look at those sparkling eyes and those chubby cheeks! My little Oscar is a darling seven month old now and he wants to move. He is inching further forwards on his tummy each day, after weeks of being able to wiggle backwards. He's quite vocal when the object of his desire is frustratingly out of reach. I snapped this photos in a hurry, before we went out for the day and he was just about ready for a nap.

As you can see from the photos, he's fascinated by the cats, who walk teasingly close to him. He does manage to grab a handful of fur occasionally. At this age Emerson was fascinated by our cat too. How different they are as babes. Oscar has been rolling for months, while Emerson was this age when she started rolling. Emerson had been sitting unassisted for a month or two by now, while Oscar is still wobbly and unable to find his balance while sitting independently. All in their own good time. I'm still in no hurry for them to grow up.


Emerson at seven months.

Oscar at four monthsfive months, six months.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Create and Thrive: New Year Challenge, 1 - 5

I'm a naturally reflective person, looking back over an experience, lesson or time and processing the thoughts and wisdom gleaned from it. The New Year gives me greater reason for such reflection and encourages brain storming and planning activities. I love sitting with a notebook and diary in front of me, creating goals for each coming month, penciling in new collection releases, holidays, promotions. I have been working my way through Lisa Jacobs' excellent 'Your Best Year Yet' work book and creative planner, and have joined the Create and Thrive 30 Day New Year Challenge too. All of which I find extremely helpful as an independent maker, to really envision and set my goals, reconfirm my direction and enable me to keep going when times get tough.

What's your why? 
I believe in the beauty, meaning and skill of handmade objects over mass produced objects. I value working from home as a stay at home Mother, because my children are my first priority, while creativity is a close second. I am grateful for the freedom, flexibility and satisfaction of being an independent jeweller. But in one word, joy. Making with my hands, running a business, creating personal pieces with a story and connecting with my customers brings me joy.

What is your ultimate business goal for your business? 
This question reminds of another I've been pondering lately - if I knew I couldn't fail I would... Ultimately my business and creative goals include financial security, a shop front and International recognition as an exhibiting jewellery artist.

What is holding you back from reaching your ultimate goal?
I have over come many of my fears since committing myself to building a business. Fear of failing, fear of illegitimacy as an artist, fear of letting go. Now the only things standing between me and my ultimate goals are the time and money to do the work to reach my potential. This is an ongoing journey and I'm in no rush. I have learnt so much from allowing my business and ideas to evolve organically and will continue to do the work to realise my dreams.

What is one word that sums up your plans for your business in 2015?
Consolidate. Last year I focused on growth, branding and creating collections. I learnt much, which will be put in to practice this year. I'm back to work today after my twin sister @noniponyhappy flew home again. I feel refreshed by our holiday and ready to start crossing things off my to do list.

What will your business and life look like this time next year? 
In many ways the same as this year, with a focus on my family, their education, our home and keeping things simple. Growth and success in my business, several workshops taught and two new collections in my store. Feeling satisfied, content and joyful.


Are you a maker and a planner? 
How do you prepare for the New Year? 
What resources are high on your list?
Are you joining in with the challenge?
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