Just A Minute | June

Reading | Craft For The Soul - Pip Lincolne (the best book I've read in ages - really uplifting and great advice), Uncle Tungsten - Oliver Sacks, Art Before Breakfast - Danny Gregory (a gift from my brother) and a bunch of excellent zines I picked up in Sydney last month.
Listening | Feist records on my fancy little old record player. 
Watching | Bunheads (fun), Populaire (gorgeous French film) and 20,000 Days On Earth (I saw this with my friend Jaine at a little bar in town last night and drank warm mulled cider with whiskey out of a metal cup! The film was fantastic and so was the beverage). I also went to see Nazeem Hussein to a fantastic with my friend Jaine and he was excellent.
Consuming | A million cups of T2 French Earl Grey. Toasted marshmallows (Theo tried one and said "yuck!" - more for Mum!). 
Making | Illustrations for all sorts of fun things including a piece for a little girl's room, a poster for a local band, a canvas as a gift for a friend, some envelope lettering and a chalk mural at a local cafe - more on this in a later post!
Looking forward to | Warmer weather - seems so far off right now! Brrrr. I love scarves and coats and hats and warm drinks and my crackling fire, but the cold effects my morale so much. Tasmania has three amazing, beautiful seasons and one in which I just wish away the time!

This month I returned home from Sydney after attending the zine fair, seeing Morrissey in concert, celebrating Theo's birthday, visiting my sister and her babies and I came home to an especially chilly Launceston. I've been having Theo at my house from Sunday - Tuesday each week for the past few weeks and it has been the best part of my week every week. We play, we go for walks, we go out for babycinos and chai, we jump on the bed, we watch shows, we kick balls around, he helps me to light the fire. I bought him an old fashioned wooden train set last week and sat the box in his room for when he arrived. When he came over he went to his room to get some toys and he brought the box out to me immediately with a look of awe on his face (he'd played with one at his cousin's house, so he knew what it was). I took all of the bits and pieces out of the box and he got straight into assembling his little track and he played with it for a solid three hours. He then had the biggest meltdown he's ever had when I told him it was bedtime - back arching, guttural crying, head banging on the floor . The next day he was up at the crack of dawn to get straight back into it. It was lovely to see him so obsessed and focussed with a toy and seeing his dexterous little hands assembling the pieces. He makes lots of fun sound effects too. I think I'm going to get him some extra little pieces like bridges and turnstiles and other bits to add to it. He is getting much more conversational lately too. He's a dream boy.

I've been a bit stressed out lately freelancing, so I'm planning on paring my jobs right back as I head back to study in a few weeks time. I really love freelance and feel so very lucky to have people interested in my work, but I'm having trouble juggling several jobs at the moment with my supermarket job, Theo, study and trying to work in my personal work somewhere.

Life is good at the moment though. The past six months have been really character building and positive for me, despite the tribulations. Thanks for reading folks, xo.

Little Joys | June

+ The shaggy Dachshund that lives across the road from my house
+ A fresh, new little red Moleskine for keeping ideas in
+ Lovely lady dates involving cake
+ Dipping chocolate chip biscuits into hot Milo with my toddler mate
+ Putting together little packages for nice people
+ A pile of zines to read by the bed
+ A roaring, crackling fire
+ Finding pieces of fruit under furniture after Theo has gone home with tiny teeth marks on them
+ Packages bound with twine
+ Going out to see a great comedy show with my friend Jaine
+ Books that give great advice
+ Theo playing with the wooden train set I bought him for hours on end
+ Compliments from customers on my new glasses
+ An opshopping adventure in the works
+ Making up little melodies while I'm in the car

I've not been feeling much like myself lately. Getting out of bed each day has been especially difficult (not helped by the temperature being somewhere near zero each morning). I am trying to do some nice things for myself and have some nice moments. I just wanted to say so, to commit the feeling to paper and try to move on from it. I hope you're doing okay. 

Favourite Things | Flow Magazine

Since the end of last year I've been really interested in mindfulness. Making my mental health a priority has been essential to my personal growth. I use an app called Smiling Mind to meditate before bed, I see a counsellor once a month, I've been able to make small changes to my patterns of thinking and I know small positive actions that can help when I am feeling anxious or depressed. I'm still working at it of course. Finding Flow Magazine has been lovely and fortuitous because of the focus that it places on mindfulness, interspersed with gorgeous illustrations and clever articles.

In the past I bought Frankie magazine as my go-to, but I'd tend to flick through it once or twice, nothing really standing out to me and then I'd shelve it with my other copies. I think that Frankie does still have a lot to offer but I think it's stopped feeling relevant to my life. Flow however gets me thinking and I often catch myself later in the day still pondering on something I read in it.

I've been buying English editions of Flow from my local bookstore (the original Flow magazine is Dutch) , but they take forever to come in and they're a little on the pricey side. My sweet NZ friend Pip sent me a copy out of the blue a few months ago which was a lovely surprise. I'd love to be able to afford a subscription.

Every issue has a sweet little papery inclusion (above) and lots of tear-out frameable images. Some of my favourite articles have been about making time for play, learning the right way to fight, accepting unhappiness, the glorification of 'busy', overriding negativity bias, enjoying the everyday, time prosperity, living in the now, making time to consciously and constructively evaluate your life and lots of great pieces about artists and makers.

I think it's really constructive, uplifting and inspiring little magazine, and for that reason I can justify spending a bit of money acquiring each issue. It's for my mental health!

Spaces | My Brother's Studio

While I was in Newcastle with Theo we spent some time hanging out with my older brother Luke. He is an artist and works in childcare and was recently able to set up a sweet little studio just off Newcastle Mall in Wolfe Studios as part of the Renew Newcastle project - he calls it Tiny Boat Productions. While I was there checking it out I took some quick snapshots.

It has been a total joy to watch my brother's progression as an artist over the past few years - he seems so much more fulfilled, motivated and energetic. He drew a lot as a kid, but then took a decade or two off. Him picking the pencil back up has been wonderful to watch. His talents are many; he is an incredible musician, a really fun, playful dad to my niece Rose and in recent times he has self published two little children's books (which you can click through here), made a really moving animation about asylum seeker children in detention in Australia, had two really successful exhibitions and facilitated lots of art workshops and creative storytelling. If you've ever been to Newcastle, you've probably seen some of his little paste-ups which appear in numerous places around the city. 

His space is full of imaginative pen sketches (of moons, owls, funny little men, rocket ships, animals, monsters, robots and hot air balloons), art supplies, musical instruments, paper cut outs, stories, books and cute little plants on the windowsills.

Seeing my brother's creative space was really inspiring and has spurred me on a little to look for a studio space outside of home and to think more seriously about my vocation. 

Theodore | Turns Two

Theo and I recently went away for ten days to visit family in NSW and Victoria and while we were in Newcastle, I threw a little park picnic birthday party for Theo. A nice bunch of our friends and family attended. It was Theo's first real time eating junk food and he sampled each jelly snake and salty ridged chip with delight and reckless abandon.

Below is the little digital invitation I illustrated for the occasion.


I took a couple of photos on the day, just with my iPhone, but my sister, sister-in-law and Aunt also sent me a few photos that they took, so please excuse the varied quality of these shots!

I bought a dozen fantastic cupcakes from Cupcake Espresso for the party and despite Theo being fascinated watching the cupcakes being made through the glass window inside the shop and delighting in getting to choose each of the twelve cupcakes that were placed into the box, he did not care for the taste of the cupcakes whatsoever. Everyone was poised to capture photographs of him stuffing his face, but he ran off to play on the grass instead. And, he refused point blank to wear a party hat. Oh well, haha. 

The amazing balloon monkey pictured above was created by a rogue balloon artist named Michael AhMazing who approached us and asked if he could gatecrash the party as he'd just moved to Newcastle and was looking to get his skills known in the local area. Of course, we couldn't refuse and he didn't disappoint! 

It was fun to spend time with our interstate family and friends. Theo and I got a terrible flu while we were away and I lost my voice for the second half of our trip (this seems to happen to me in Winter every year). Theo wasn't really himself while we were away and had lots of tantrums and meltdowns, which are usually very rare for him. I think the travel took it out of both of us. I am happy to be home and back to my creature comforts (despite it being sub zero most nights/mornings lately!). Some of my highlights from time away included attending the Other Worlds Zine Fair, spending time with my beautiful half sister in Melbourne and her two sweet boys (Theo and Connor are two months apart and were inseparable) and seeing Morrissey at the Sydney Opera House in the second row, center with my friend Ash for free!

Any glimpses of Theo looking like a baby these days are quickly disappearing, it is of course bittersweet! He is two! He's a real boy! Wow. It's such a good time being his mother.