Some days are just a struggle, are they not? Monday was one of those days for me. For whatever reason, I found that everything was overwhelming me. I couldn’t concentrate, designing seemed a real challenge and I was far from feeling inspired – about anything. Sometimes I find that my life gets too ‘noisy’. I worry easily about everything and anything, the pressure to ‘keep up’ and to be ‘getting it right’ seems suffocating and I forget entirely the things I love about what I’m doing.
I cannot express to you how thankful I was for Matt’s advise on this particular Monday. As I tearfully explained how I was feeling, he pursuaded me of the importance to take a break and to simply switch off. There is nothing worse than feeling like you’re not getting anything done, he reminded me – but in those times, chances are it is better to step away than to force yourself to keep going.
So step away I did. I took the afternoon off and drove to The Art Gallery of New South Wales. It was just what I needed. As I wandered the big, light filled rooms it was like my lungs were filled with fresh air all over again. I took time to absorb the colours and the brushstrokes – and as I did I was reminded afresh that creating takes time, and patience.
And slowly but surely the inspiration came.
Sanna Annukka is my most favourite designer so you can only imagine how excited I was when I discovered this morning that she has illustrated her first children’s book, The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Anderson. If I’m lucky, I might get to add it to my children’s book collection this Christmas!
I distinctly remember announcing to my parents when I was in 3rd grade that I wanted to be an author of children’s books. I attended creative writing classes and workshops – I was even part of a ‘club’ that you could submit your writing to in the hope of having it published in their magazine. I could fill diary upon notebook with my poetry and short stories, and loved nothing more than doing just that. My love for writing took a turn when I was introduced to visual art at high school. I just knew that I had found what it was I truly loved. To draw the story, to create the characters or scenery and make them come to life with vivid colours and crisp linework – it all made sense to me and I delighted in doing it.
All the same my love for children’s literature has remained – but it is less for their stories and more for their pictures. They are such a rich source of inspiration for me. I especially love children’s books from the early 20th century – so I was delighted to discover this beautiful blog last week. Sarah has done such a wonderful job collating and recording amazing illustration! The stunning Cirque Zoo may have even landed itself on my Christmas wishlist.
When people visit me at home, they will without fail comment on one particular artwork that hangs on my wall. Not only is this artwork unique and charming, but it also happens to have been created by one of my favourite people and closest friends.
Kym Shaw has an incredible talent of creating artwork from fabric and thread. Over the weekend I was lucky enough to see her latest offerings at the Scarborough Art Show and purchased another of her gorgeous works to add to my collection.
As a mother of two little boys, Kym particularly loves transforming children’s hand drawn artwork into embroidered keepsakes. By her skillful hands I have seen the scariest of monsters, most beloved of pets, quaint little neighbourhoods and family portraits transformed – as they are patiently cut, sewn and threaded to life.
Please be sure to pop over to her Facebook page – you can even meet her family there, in all their embroidered beauty!
There is an image that has stayed with me long since we left New York after our trip this year. I did not capture it on camera. I was not game even to pull out my phone, pretend to use it but instead take a photo, so afraid I was that I would spoil the moment.
The image is of a homeless man, huddled under a blanket, sitting upon a mat of old newspaper pages. He has a smile as wide as his face, and he is totally immersed in his own world – unconcerned by the rush of people passing by.
And while he sits, he knits. Long, colourful yarns carefully coming together to create a scarf.
I have often wondered who the scarf was for. Did he sell it? Was it for him or was it to be a gift? Was it his first, or something he does day to day, week by week?
The photographs that Brandon takes for Humans of New York transported me back to that man. I don’t doubt for a second that he would have captured that moment, in all it’s simple, heart warming beauty.
Does that last image not make your heart ache?
I may or may not have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with Pinterest. I ask you, what’s not to love about wasting time by pouring over gorgeous images?
When I first signed up I stumbled upon a recipe for homemade snickers bars. To be honest, I’m not a massive fan of chocolate with peanut butter – but Matt is. The recipe was American and required ingredients like ‘marshmallow fluff’ so I wasn’t even one hundred percent certain I’d be able to achieve it, however I was determined that when I had an hour or two spare and was in the mood I would at least attempt them.
Having arrived home from Fiji on Sunday, and in an effort to keep the ‘holiday’ mood alive – I spent Monday afternoon (it was a public holiday in Sydney) melting, stirring and creating this slice. I assure you it was well worth it – and better still, it was actually very easy to make, albeit a little time consuming. Needless to say Matt loved having to sample the finished product.
If you’d like to give them a go you can find the recipe here.
*For those of you in Australia, I purchased a jar of Marshmallow Fluff whilst I was in America earlier this year (especially to try these), but I have since learned that you can purchase it from the Reject Store of all places!
I explained to Matt yesterday that I felt like I had inhaled deeply while we were in Fiji and was still in the process of breathing out now that we were home, it feels like I have woken from a fabulously deep sleep ready to start a new day. The holiday was exactly what I needed. I have come away refreshed, re-energised and relaxed. Before we went away I was feeling so utterly overwhelmed by everything that I couldn’t seem to focus on any one thing. It was such a wonderful blessing to be able to switch off – no phones, emails, internet, and spend time enjoying many of the simple things in life.
Having said that, there is lots to catch up on now that I’m back. I’ll be adding some new products to the shop in the not too distant future, and am excited about some new projects that I’m yet to start too.
These were quick snaps I took on my phone while we were away. We stayed here, each morning spent diving in warm, clear waters admiring the stunning sea life of the Astrolabe Reef.
All going well, this time tomorrow I will have finished packing my bags. I will have ticked off all the things on my to-do list and will have put work temporarily from my mind (or be at least trying to). This time tomorrow I will have boarded a plane with some of my favourite people and we’ll be well on our way to a dive adventure in Fiji. For seven days, this will be the view from my bedroom.
I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to it.