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.
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