The Artful Business Conference…

11 Sep

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Well my dears, it’s been quite some time since I’ve chatted to you. As you all know (from previous posts) I’ve been dealing with trips to and from hospital due to a back problem. That has now turned into trips to and from hydrotherapy, pain management and other fun stuff… But the one thing I knew that I simply HAD to be well enough for was ‘The Artful Business Conference‘!

And, am I glad I broke through pain barriers, brought my little back cushion with me and put on my big-girl panties and just sucked it up to get there.

I learnt SOOOOO much! I’m not one to go on and on, but honestly friends, this was amazing for somebody who is creative and has to make that work in a business sense. You see, when you work from that creative side of your brain there’s a whole lot of brain that doesn’t get a good workout and becomes retarded. Things like numbers, actually selling stuff (I know, duh!) and making your PR and marketing work for you – things that you simply MUST do to survive if you’re ever going to make it through and leave any kind of legacy to your children… a plan of mine – but that’s a post for later.

With speakers (who also ran amazing workshops) such as The Editor of ‘The Collective’ magazine, Lisa Messenger; Valerie Khoo from the Australian Writers’ Centre; Elle Roberts(who ran the whole thing!) – Studio Exsto; Denise Duffield-Thomas – Lucky Bitch.com; Julia Bickerstaff – The Business Bakery; Karen Gunton – Build A Little Biz; Jess Van Den – Create and Thrive; Victoria Gibson – Breakout Success Online and the lovely, fontalicious Tess McCabe – who has a number of lovely businesses, including the Creative Women’s Circle.

I was overwhelmed (kept copious notes to ensure brain didn’t explode) with commonsense advice, business savvy tips and methods and the knowledge that there are a huge number of other creative, crazy, awesome women running their own creative little businesses just like me!

A light has been ignited within me that I have promised myself to nurture…

My next post (very soon… promise!) will outline the main, and most awesome, stuff I learned and will – and in some cases already have – implement ASAP! These tips are amazing for small businesses, full stop. Creative or not, do yourself a favour and come back asap!

Lauren Bacall…

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Sadly, it does appear that media reports are confirming the death of the beautiful Lauren Bacall at age 89

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If correct, it appears that she died on Tuesday at her home. Bacall was best known for her roles in ‘The Mirror Has Two Faces’, ‘Designing Women’ and ‘To Have and to Have’.

She was also known for her marriage to Humphrey Bogart, which lasted 11 years until his death in 1957.

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Click here to go to her bio and all the info you could need on IMDb.

Upon life sucking as a mother, and it’s not why you think…

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What’s on my mind at the moment? Glitter.
Why?

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Yes, Rebecca, why, when I can hear the anguished cries of my beloved daughter in the next room with my husband calming her, would glitter be on my mind?

Bear with me friends as I give you this longish, but I think, rather interesting, backstory…

You see, this month alone I’ve had 4 separate stays in the hospital due to a bulging disc in my back and the complications that have come about from bits and pieces related to this chronic condition I must suffer for life with.

Surely not! I hear you cry! Modern technology! Modern medicine! Modern stuff, anything… Nope. Doesn’t work that way.

Just last week I was told by this State’s most super, of all super doctors who are super at this orthopaedic kind of thing, that I’ll always have ‘episodes’ where my back goes ‘out’. I’ll always need super strong drugs and super awesome doctors to help me during said ‘episodes’ and even super rehab people to build me up again and, of course, rely on my super trusty bloody walking stick AT THE AGE OF 42.

Each and every time this happens – you know, probably a few times a year if I’m unlucky…

As I type this my husband is still comforting our daughter who it seems is probably teething again. And what’s on my mind? My daughter? Nope – that is too painful to think about so I’m doing my best to move over to glitter at the moment. Because I love it. It’s pretty. It makes me happy.

Why? Because if I don’t I think I may just go mad…
Honestly it would be so easy to just let go and stop fighting to keep it together, because life is really rather awful for me, and our family, in many ways at the moment.

You see, Edie my daughter, who will be one in a few days won’t come near me if she has a choice. If she’s given to me she struggles to get away and if she’s got to stay with me for a few minutes she’ll scream the house down before she realises she’s stuck and better make the most of an unfortunate situation.

As a mother, who frankly went through something akin to hell to carry her to a safe gestational state to leave my body, I die a little inside each time she turns away…

Why has this happened and why on earth to me? A mother who a few short weeks ago was the centre of my daughters world?

Well my friends it seems that everything comes at a cost! Some more severe than others…

You see all of the ‘wonderful’, pain relieving medicines I’ve been given to get me moving, need additional medicines to cancel out the rather bad side effects of the ‘wonderful’ medicines; but in addition to the ‘wonderful’ drugs and their additional ‘wonderful’ helpers I still need to take daily doses of ‘restricted’ medicines that give me relief from what is called ‘breakthrough’ pain.

This, on it’s own – besides being a confusing and extraordinarily large amount of pills – isn’t actually that bad…

Well it wasn’t all that bad until I came home from my first hospital stay of 5 days; where, by the way, I found myself a Grandma – hooray (I’ll save that story for another post!).

I’ve never been away from Edie for that long before, and Mr Jones brought her and Dexter in to visit me daily. But when I got home she was not particularly thrilled to be around me, which I took as just her being a little snippity at my ‘holiday’ away from her, the centre of my universe!

Nope. The little narc knew I was on ‘drugs’! She could sense it! It seems that she knew I was on some pretty strong stuff and as a primal protective behaviour decided I wasn’t up to the job of Mama and so Daddy better gear up pretty quickly because he had become her number choice of parent! Fair call… In fact, I felt pretty proud that she had such strong instincts that could protect her.

But, 4 weeks and another 3 hospital stays down the track, I now need to keep something pretty positive in my mind before I go to bed these days… Hence the glitter. It makes me happy – don’t judge.

You see friends, the fabulous and, I’m sure, personally delightful, team of medicos at the hospitals I’ve recently been the guest of, in their collective wisdom actually decided to put me, a patient who is on daily medication for anxiety/depression, onto these ‘wonderful’ medications whose collective side-effects include –

“trouble sleeping; feeling anxious, nervousness, unusual thoughts or dreams or feeling deep sadness; abnormal thinking or changes in mood; unusual changes in mood or behaviour; signs of new or increased irritability or agitation; signs of depression”

Well, God Bless ‘em because within 2 weeks on the meds guess who was up at the ED for a midnight visit suffering from some ‘unusual thoughts': my iPad was controlling my mind (actually this could be closer to reality than I’d thought…); some ‘abnormal thinking': none of it was Steve Jobs fault and he was NOT to be blamed, especially by Mr Jones; and some ‘unusual changes in behaviour': I spent a good deal of my trip to the hospital making the exact noise Edie does, a clicking/blurting thing… She’s not yet one. I’m 42. Clearly this wasn’t an awesome change in behaviour…

Don’t fear, I’m not done here, there’s so much more to tell you and the answer to why being a mama is killing me at the moment, and yep, it’s definitely NOT why you’ll think it is…

So darlings, keep a sharp eye out for my next post which includes more of the charming, and I’m sure amusing, adventures of ‘Becky the useless and rather disliked by her progeny Mama’…

Love you all more than ever (the drugs make me say stuff I only think!)
Mrs Jones x

Going Grey Was Too Hard…

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Hello darlings,

I’ve had a terrible month… I’m writing to you from hospital – second visit in a week, but I’ll explain all of that in a later post!

I really wanted to tell you that although I’d really been trying to grow out my hair to grey, and had gone somewhat ash blonde to facilitate this change, it just wasn’t me.

Here is the blonde… Yes, this is from my last hospital stay…

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The blonde has been terribly hard to keep up and unfortunately when I was in hospital I couldn’t brush my hair and ended up with a huge ‘chunk’ of ponytail and when I got home I had to have handfuls of conditioner left on for a few hours to bring it back to brush-able goodness!

The reason I’m in hospital is because of a disc in my back that keeps slipping, so the dream of continuing the regime of bleach, waiting, checking, waiting, head burning, waiting some more whilst suffocating, rinsing, adding an ashy toner to get rid of any horrible yellowish colour is, frankly, a nightmare…

So, what colour do I truly want? Oh how I’d love to wake up with glamorous grey tresses! But luvvies, that ain’t  gonna happen, so the next best thing was taking a good hard look at myself, figuratively, of course – I’ve not been looking so crash hot since these hospital stays!

In between leaving hospital on Wednesday and coming back in on Saturday I turned the very boring and unmagical age of 42… Okay, I say unmagical, but perhaps I’m not giving this age enough credit because I found myself thinking that I really wanted to do something that makes me happy when I look in the mirror each morning; something that I think is super purty; something me!

Taa daa!!

Pink hair, yeah, yeah!

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My favourite colour. My happy colour. My warm and safe colour. So darlings THAT is what I’ve chosen to represent who I am to the world. Sure, there will be haters, but kiddos, haters gonna hate. And no longer do I worry what ‘they’ think! Pink it is for me and I believe pink I shall stay!

I will be a granny with pink hair – I may tone it down a little then, but for now my aim is a true raspberry colour. I’m rocking flamingo currently, but that will fit with Edie’s first birthday party coming up in a few weeks!

So… New hair. Bad back. Ooh, also a new business venture for Mr Jones and myself (that’s for another time though!). But lots and lots of interesting stories from my stays! I must dash because I’m waiting to be discharged and I have to make a detour to the ward I used to be in to see my brand-new adopted Grandma, Jeannie! She’s a hoot and officially asked to become my adopted grandmother during my last stay, and as I don’t have any of mine left, I was beyond thrilled to begin this new relationship!

I’ll fill you in on the rest of my adventures once I’ve had a little rest!

Love Mrs Jones x

Like A Girl…

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Having a daughter, I found the Always, ‘Like A Girl’ campaign poignant and, hopefully, world-changing for young girls out there. Get on board and support the Always #LikeAGirl campaign.

‘Always’ are trying to change the negative connotation of the phrase ‘like a girl’ to one that is positive and affirming to help pubescent girls gain the confidence they deserve.

It’s not easy living in a world saturated with messages that being a girl is somehow weak or never quite good enough, strong enough or sexy enough. That being who you are, just as you are, will never quite make the grade – and believe me (as most female readers will understand) this isn’t something that stops after puberty, it is a constant and unrelenting message that the media, in all of its forms, bombards us with on a daily basis.

I want more than that for my daughter and that’s why I’m supporting the promotion of this campaign.

It’s okay to be a stay-at-home Mama. It’s okay to work. It’s okay to be kind and gentle. It’s okay to be strong and fast. It’s okay to read books or play sports or prefer being outdoors or staying indoors. It’s okay to be a girl. In fact, I think it totally rocks to be a girl!

We can do all kinds of things and being fortunate enough to live in a country that is free from war, famine, pestilence, and a generally safe one, the majority of girls here in Australia have many, many opportunities to achieve a life they can be proud of. Of course, there is an undercurrent of sexism, a silent epidemic of domestic and sexual abuse, and myriad other terrible daily ordeals that both boys and girls, men and women endure and we will only make lasting change with revolution of the people – I do not believe that this will ever happen however, and experience has taught me that the only way I’ll make a difference is to help, love and support those in need as I come across them.

But you know what? I’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud of the girl I was and I’m excited to rock the establishment by bringing my daughter up with the strong and unrelenting message that doing things #LikeAGirl is awesome and NEVER something she should be ashamed of!

Check out the Always campaign and get behind supporting #LikeAGirl!

1940’s Vest for a 2014 Man…

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Last week Mr Jones entered the house after a long, hard day at work (I may be dramatising that part!) and announces that he ‘needs’ a vest. He also wondered just how long it would take me to complete said vest…

Hmmm… After many discussions way back in Autumn about what he’d like me to knit him for winter, nothing was decided upon because, to be honest, Mr Jones is still a little snippy about the lack of socks that emerged when he requested them 5 years ago!

True, he never got his socks, but my excuses are good ones!

First time knitting socks. Tick!
First time using multiple double-pointed needles. Tick!
Starting the project as something to keep me occupied after surgery while in hospital and finding out I could only sleep and whine in pain. Tick!
Project taking too long for my liking in the end. Tick!

And that’s where it ended…

Anyhow, he stopped asking and I buried the UFO and promptly forgot about it! Over the years I’ve knitted many other bits and pieces for him, but the unfinished sock project still burns… Meh heh heh!

So back to the matter at hand; the vest!

Mr Jones wanted a vest fit for work, which to me meant that it had to be a small ply knit and a classic design. So off I went to the vintage pattern collection I’ve amassed to search for something suitable. I found a great pattern from the Retro Knits book; Men’s Vest 1940, which is classic and more importantly for me, one that will knit quickly despite the small needles used and “…uncomplicated, take-along knitting, with enough interest to prevent it from becoming another UFO”; right up my alley!

I’ll keep you posted with updates on my progress!

Love Mrs Jones x

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Organizing Continued…

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Taa daa! I’m nearly done organizing my little crafty space! And… I’ve managed to find room for my collection of Japanese piggies, my Kewpies and my vintage religious icons too!

My wool has a new home, so that I can see what I’ve got…
My washi tape is happily organized into jars.
Knitting needles, crochet hooks and little bits and bobs are sitting amongst the Kewpie dolls.
My reference books, vintage and current knitting patterns are within easy reach and…
With all of this work comes a much clearer mind!

How did this amazing thing happen?

Well, my Physio, God bless that woman, gave me the all-clear with looking after bebe myself! Modified lifting, T.E.N.S. Machine for pain relief and physiotherapy, combined with patience and accepting I’m pretty much unable to use that arm as I did for the time being, is my reality. Hoorah!

And to ensure I keep Mother happy, I okayed a few things with the Physio – her continual questioning of the safety of crochet and knitting (the things keeping me sane!) whenever she saw me was starting to get a bit much!

My life is beginning to get back to normal at an albeit, physically slower, pace.

I’ve managed a one-armed, and occasionally helped, clean out and reorganising of my crafty workspace (just a few little things left to finish off) and I’m feeling able to breathe and think straight again…

I thought I’d share some pictures to show you I’m on the way! Hooray!

Love to you all,
Mrs Jones x

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Organizing…

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Okay… so my workspace is a total mess! Seriously, I have to tiptoe between piles of wool, stacks of paper and baskets of stuff… Stuff, stuff, stuff everywhere and it’s making me feel so disorganized and out-of-sorts in every other area of my life.

There is a reason for this madness! I decided to ‘tidy’ or ‘consolidate’ or, well, I suppose you could say organize little crafting and workspace, but the problem is I seem to be working in circles and not achieving anything much!

This may have something to do with the fact that for the past 2 weeks, and for the following 4, my left arm is in a sling and out of action due to a tendon tear that hasn’t been healing. This also means I’ve got helpers in my home from 9 am to 5pm to pick up, play with and change my bubba and drive us where we need to go… (I adore and am incredibly blessed and thankful for these wonderful people, but being a bit of a lone-wolf it is actually causing me EXTREME stress and anxiety!!!)

I just can’t seem to get myself organized and I think it could be because the rest of my day is so disorganized because I’m not in my normal routine and cannot do the things I normally do around the house and to keep the house running smoothly!

What do you do to get back on track when you’re feeling overwhelmed?
How do you physically organize your craft/workspace at home?
Have you ever had a big craft supply clean out?

I’d love to hear what you do to get yourself organized because friends, I’m starting to sink over here!

Love Mrs Jones x

Donut Day…

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Hello friends! Did you know that the first Friday of June is officially
National Doughnut Day? Okay, in this instance ‘National’ refers to the grand landmass of the United States, but I fail to see just why there should be any roadblocks to celebrating such a worthy day worldwide!

This very worthy day succeeds the Doughnut Day event created by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the men and women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I.

The holiday celebrates the doughnut (a.k.a. “donut”) with many American donut stores offer free donuts… I think something should be done to bring this very worthy giveaway here to Australia!

I’ve tracked down some fantastic vintage images to whet your appetite – yes friends, that was a near perfect pun…

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If you’d like to read a little further on this celebration, head on over to Wikipedia…

1st of June…

1 Jun

Well friends, the first of June here in Melbourne means it’s officially winter…

It’s the end of sunny days lazing in the sun…

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The end of enjoying outdoor sports and activities, with the exception of Aussie Rules footy…

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It’s time to pull out your needles and get knitting, no matter your age…

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Because soon enough you’re going to be dodging raindrops to and from work…

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So you’d better dig out your woollies, wellies and brollies…

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Now is the time to snuggle with your sweetie, all warm and cosy! Both inside…

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Or out…

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After all, what other time of year can you give shaving your legs a miss without fear? Put on a few kilos without worrying just how you’ll fit into your swimmers? Wear all the black you want without comment? Add a sassy collection of headscarves, gloves, hats and coats to your wardrobe?

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Enjoy the change of season friends…

Love Mrs Jones x

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