Friday, February 08, 2008

News and goodbyes

Ok, so what is the news I eluded to in my post of 26 Jan?

Well, I have finally set up my business to sell my handmade accessories with plans to add other products in the future.

So what, you say - that's no biggy. Oh, but it is!! For me anyway. Since high school I have dreamed of making a living from my creative endeavours. The form of these creative endeavours has changed over the years (cloth dolls, mohair teddy bears, revamped tshirts, etc), but always in the back of my mind I've wondered "what would it be like to take my hobby and make it my profession?". For a long time I didn't think it was possible, but then I started reading books, web sites and blogs of people doing just that - making a comfortable living from selling what they love to make.

For a long time it just wasn't practical for me to even try - I had financial commitments, people relying on me, not enough time (for a few years I was working 2 jobs and doing university by correspondence). Then I got married and I felt it wasn't fair to expect my husband to carry all the financial load while I chased a dream, especially one that I didn't really believe I could achieve myself.

Then, over the past 2 years things have happened in my life that brought me to a place where I thought that maybe, just maybe I might be able to give this a try. But still I hesitated. When I started trying to work out why I was resisting doing this I realised it was due to a number of factors - my fear of failure, my desire to do everything "perfectly" the first time so not even starting incase it wasn't perfect and my worry about spending money establishing the business.

Finally, after some prodding from my wonderful hubby, I started working through these issues. I'm far from having everything sorted out and still regularly have moments of anxiety about it all. But, I have started! Things are far from perfect - I'm just starting to work with a graphic designer so I don't even have a logo yet, my web site looks very average, I'm not keen on the template I'm using for my blog, I'm still working out how to take good photos of my products, and so on. But, on the flipside - I have made contact with a graphic designer, at least I have my domain name registered and hosting set up, I've started posting to my blog, my photography is improving (you should have seen my first attempts!). I've made a start! I've put my creations and therefore myself out there for the world to judge.

I'm proud of myself because I finally pushed myself to do something I have wanted to do, inspite of my fears. I'm letting it not be perfect, but always working towards making it perfect (well, my definition of perfect anyway!). I'm working hard to do this in a professional manner, not just thinking of it as some little hobby I do in my spare time, but treating it as my job, allocating time to it, focusing on quality.

Ok, so enough talk!!

You can see what I'm up to here:
Complete Fragments Etsy Store
Web Site

Please don't judge me too harshly yet. I so wanted to keep this a secret until it was perfect! But where's the fun in that??!! So, it's out there, in all it's glory. But just watch out, it's going to blossom into something beautiful - I promise you!

Ok, so now the goodbye part of this post. I'm going say goodbye to Inspire Create, at least for a while anyway. I just know I won't be able to do everything - make products, post to my other blog, manage my etsy store, look after my family, sleep and post here. So poor old Inspire Create is going on a vacation. Thank you for reading. I will still share cool stuff I find on the Complete Fragments blog, so please visit there regularly - even better, subscribe to the feed and then you will know when I have posted something new.

Phew - there is nothing more liberating than just putting it out there! Wish me luck.

PS - keep an eye on the Complete Fragments blog - once I have the web site and my logo, etc sorted I have big plans to really get my business moving - including giveaways!!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Group Artist Blog

Art Pub Studios is a network established for the career-minded individual, comprised of professional mixed-media artists. Their primary goal is to provide a supportive environment in which to explore new ideas and promote their members' work in the art industry.

What I love about this site is that most members have a blog where they share pictures of their work, tutorials and giveaways. They are full of eye candy - plus you can win stuff!! How good is that!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Etsy Loving

Oh, I love Etsy. If you haven't heard about Etsy, it's a marketplace for handmade goods and it is just busting at the seams with gorgeousness! If you can think it, you can probably buy a beautiful handmade version of it here.

To get even more out of your Etsy experience, try Etsy Wiki to help you find great stuff to spend your hard-earned on. It has great info including Top Sellers, how to guides, lists of Street Teams (groups of like-minded sellers) and stories by established sellers.

If you are a creative person, Etsy is a great place to sell. It's easy to set up your own "store" with your own URL ( It charges a listing fee and then a commission on all completed sales, but these charges seem reasonable.

There are a number of other webstores focusing on handmade items, but I don't have any experience with them including Yessy, Ruby Lane.

If you know of any other great marketplaces, please leave a comment - my credit card will love you!

Giveaway Carnival

If you love you some freebies then scoot over to Bloggy Giveaways - this week they are running their Giveaway Carnival - already they have listed 550 different giveaways. Most only require you to comment on a blog, however a lot will only post to US addresses :(

Go nuts - get commenting! My fingers are crossed for you!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lots of activity - announcement to come!!

Lots of activity behind the scenes here at Inspire Create, because I am finally taking the plunge and doing something I have dreamed of doing for years! I am beside myself with worry and apprehension, but also very excited. I will dish all the details in about a weeks time, once everything is set up!

I am also very proud of myself for finally signing up for a yoga class. This is also something I've been wanting to do for a long time, but always found excuses not to. But I just paid for the next 9 weeks' classes, so I'm committed - once I pay for something, I go!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Lately I have been really enjoying listening to podcasts on all sorts of topics - crafting, art business, buddhist teachings. I don't get many opportunities to listen, but when my gorgeous little boy is at day care and I have time to spend creating, often I listen to a podcast or 2 while I work.

If you are new to the whole podcasting thing and are going "pod-whatting???", then at the end I will give you some information on what it is and how to do it.

But first, here is an eclectic selection of podcasts to get you started. Those marked with "#" are ones I listen to regularly and can recommend. All others have been recommended to me, but I haven't listened to them yet. Descriptions generally have been taken from the hosts' web site.

* Craftypod# - a bi-weekly podcast that’s all about "making stuff". Sometimes it’s about project tutorials. Sometimes it’s an interview with someone craftily fascinating. Sometimes it’s the history behind your favorite craft supplies. Always, it’s a big, crafty geekfest. Hosted by Sister Diane.

* Craftcast# - live interviews, reviews of the latest supplies and materials, as well as addressing listeners questions. Hosted by Alison Lee.

* Craftsanity# - discussion about art, craft and all things creative. Hosted by Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood.

* Zencast - discussions on Buddhism covering topics like different methods of meditation, mindfullness.

* Creative Mom Podcast - The goal of the weekly show is to provide a creative talk show filled with good creative discussion and inspiring music for creative moms (and non-moms and artists and creatives of all types) to listen to for a feeling of community, understanding, and inspiration. The format for the show is fairly organic and changes often, but staples of the show include creative projects with kids, artist notes from the week in review, journaling ideas and suggestions, book reviews, blog mentions, weekly prompts, and, sometimes, creative non-fiction essays.

* FrenchPodClass - learn French via podcast. Download as a guest, or become a member and get access to more information.

* Prosperous Artists - designed to support you in building the career, business and creative life you desire. The podcasts offer inverviews and forum participation as support for your goal of living a creative life doing what you love.

* ABC# - Australian radio station that makes many of it's segments available for download. Has regular segments on art, science, religion, spirituality, health, sport, etc.

* Triple J Radio - another Aussie radio station, this time focused on indie music.

* Podcast Directory - huge listing of podcasts, sorted by genre.

* Yahoo Podcast Directory

* Podcast Pickle - another directory.

Ok, now to the nuts and bolts - what is a podcast? From Wikipedia:

A podcast is a collection of digital media files which is distributed over the Internet, often using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers. Though podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically when new content is added, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.

How do I find them?

You can just visit the web site and manually download the file, you can subscribe in a feed reader like Bloglines or check out the Wikipedia list, or you can subscribe through podcasting software such as Juice Receiver (an Open Source cross platform podcast receiver), Apple's iTunes for Mac and Windows or similar podcasting software.

How do I listen to them?

You can listen straight from your computer, you can download them to your mp3 player, you can even burn them to CD and listen to them on an mp3 enabled player.

I'd love to hear more recommendations - leave me a comment with your suggestions.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hug your children

Today I am feeling quite distraught over a couple of news reports I have read on the internet about people killing the children in their care. It makes my blood turn to ice whenever I hear about this type of tragedy. I won't link to the reports because, well, they are pretty distressing.

Please - if you have children, give them a hug, tell them you love them and remind yourself how blessed you are to have them.

And if you are a carer of small children, but finding it too much and you are thinking abouting hurting them or yourself - PLEASE TALK TO SOMEONE, get help, and please get yourself away from the children or send them somewhere they will be safe. No child should have to endure any trauma because an adult is struggling with the difficulties of life.

If you know anyone that you think might be on the edge, don't stand back thinking "it's not my place to get involved" - well, it bloody well is your place - protect the children and worry about any fallout later.

Children are pure, love-filled gifts that should never, ever have to suffer at the hands of anyone.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


How come I've only just discovered Threadless??? What a cool concept!

The Threadless site accepts contributions for tshirt designs from the public, which visitors to the site then vote on. If your design receives enough votes, you get paid and the Threadless team produce the tshirt which can then be purchased via the site.

A very simple idea, which seems to be well executed. What has caught my attention though is the amazing designs people submit.

Here are some examples:

I've already started a list of all the people in my life who will be getting Threadless tshirts for their birthday, next Christmas, etc, etc!

Friday, January 11, 2008

it's the little things

I have just discovered the blog of Lisa Leonard - it's the little things - and I am in awe of this inspiring mum, wife, jewellery designer, blogger.

Her jewellery is beautiful and her site is filled with gorgeous photos. She has 2 little boys, one with a disability, and her attitude to this is quite remarkable. You really have to read today's post - it's a tearjerker, but also so positive and life-affirming.

This site is filled with food for your eyes and soul. I'm sure you will leave her site feeling inspired, lucky, thankful and impressed.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Naughty Embroidery

I have been cruising the internerd today checking out some very cool indie craft designers' sites which I will share with you in coming posts. First one I'll tell you about is Nicole Locher who makes sweet, prim and proper tops and accessories, except that they all have a rather naughty phrase embroidered on them. Warning - if you are easily offended by 4-letter words, please don't visit this site!

Nicole is a Swiss designer, based in Paris, who takes her inspiration from flea markets in Paris and London. Her tops and accessories, at first glance, look very prim and proper with traditional embroidery of flowers etc. But then she includes such statements as "Will f@#$ for shoes", "I don't play nice", "I like it rough".

They all look beautifully made and I love the contrast of traditional embroidery with very modern, in-your-face phrases. She seems to be a designer pushing the limits a bit, and having fun doing it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Craftster Best of 2007

The wonderful site Craftster has just listed their best of 2007. From the site:

"Craftster members posted tens of thousands of craft/DIY projects in 2007. All of which were brilliant in one way or another. The very notion of choosing "the best" projects from 2007 is absolutely insane! But alas, we thought it would be fun to try and programmatically determine “the best” projects. Here’s how we did it…

For each craft category on Craftster we determined which 10 projects posted in 2007 got the most replies and views. Then we whittled each of those lists of 10 down to our 5 favorites. (An excruciating exercise to say the least!)

And so here we are… “the best” projects of 2007… or perhaps a better way to describe them would be… “a bunch of totally kick-ass projects out of tens of thousands of kick-ass projects!” "

It is a huge list of very cool, clever projects - with tutorials. Gotta love that!

Superhero Mondo Beyondo

The gorgeous Andrea of Superhero Designs starts each year with her "Mondo Beyondo" list (see here for details). This year she has started by firstly cleaning the slate and saying a proper goodbye to 2007 - from her site:

"The surest way to start fresh and move forward is to be at peace with what came before. You might have had an incredible year, a dull year, or a truly difficult year. Whatever happened, your aim is to celebrate what there is to celebrate about it and grieve what there is to grieve..."

To do this she has invited her readers to join in by answering 3 questions. Below are the questions and my responses:

1. What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2007? (What did you create? What challenges did you face with courage and strength? What promises did you keep to yourself? What brave choices did you make? What are you proud of?)

I helped my gorgeous little boy continue to develop into a healthy, funny, clever, cheeky toddler. I started creating regularly. I got over the shock of the big move to a new country and having a baby and started getting out and making friends (this has saved me, I'm sure. The loneliness I felt in 2006 was crushing). I have made our home a haven. I found the strength to keep smiling and to find fun anywhere I can.

2. What is there to grieve about 2007? (What was disappointing? What was scary? What was hard? What can you forgive yourself for?)

My Mum's ongoing battle with breast cancer (god, just writing that made my heart stop). I live in denial of the possible negative outcome, and constantly remind myself to be positive because she is doing really well at the moment.

I grieve because I live so far from my family which means my parents aren't a part of my son's everyday life. This makes me so sad.

3. What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete?

Thanks 2007 for the lessons you taught me about being a mother and wife. Not always easy lessons, but I'm starting to see the benefits and understand the changes I need to make. Thank you for being much easier than 2006 (otherwise I'm sure I'd be in a straight-jacket by now!). Thank you for letting me finally start to unravel the creativity I always knew was locked up inside me. Even for all that, I'm still glad to see the end of you! I heard the word "cancer" too many times, I still had times of terrible loneliness and sometimes I struggled with the person I am compared to who I would like to be.
Then, we declare the year complete:

I DECLARE 2007 COMPLETE! May only the good things about you remain in my memory, may the lessons I learnt make me stronger and may 2008 be better, bigger, easier.

If this feels like something you would like to do too, go read this post on Andrea's site and take part. What have you got to lose?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Handmade 2.0

There is an interesting article about the DIY/indie craft movement on the NY Times web site titled Handmade 2.0 by Rob Walker. It is an interesting review of the movement, mainly focussing on Etsy, but also referencing other sites including Craftster and

I found it inspiring as I love reading about people being successful from their creative ventures, plus it gave me some ideas for the future when I hope to sell some of my creations online.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Andrea the Superhero

I'm sure I've blogged about Andrea of Superhero Designs before, but her site is so wonderful I just had to mention it again!

I think I enjoy it even more now that we are both new mums. Her writing on motherhood is so insightful and often so close to my own feelings and experiences that it is almost spooky. But it makes me feel good to know I'm not the only one going through changes, difficulties and joys getting used to being a mum.

Andrea is a very inspiring artist - she is so honest, thoughtful and fun. She shares wonderful stories of her life as a creative woman, wife, mother - all the joys, tears, triumphs and trials. Please check out Andrea's journal - I promise you that you will be thanking me!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I am deeply affected by colour, especially the colours of the countryside I’m in. Moving to New Zealand was quite a shock for me as the colours are so different to Australia. Below are photos showing the stark differences between where I live now (bright greens and flowers) to where I lived in Australia for 5 years (dusty browns and washed out greens).

Such different colour palettes! But I love both of them - the richness of my new home...the stark harshness of my home country...just wonderful, inspiring, beautiful...

Following are some resources available on the Internet directly related to colour:


Pantone Fashion Report Spring 2008 - an analysis of the colours predominately used by designers at New York Fashion Week, September 5–12, 2007

Color Matters – lots of interesting stuff on colour theory. – a very cool site that lets you select and save colour schemes and tag colours with names that are meaningful to you. You can also view and rate other people’s colour schemes. has a very good overview of colour theory.

Colour wheel

Colour therapy, also known as chromotherapy, is often facilitated in the healing rooms of alternative health practitioners. It can be used to balance energy in the areas of our bodies that are lacking vibrance, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental. Try Colour Therapy Healing or Color Therapy

The Power of Color -
One of the best tutorials on the web. Excellent design, easy to understand basic concepts (from The Poynter Institute)

Web Safe Colours for those designing web sites.

Some things to think about, and hopefully spark your creativity:
• How do you use colour in your art/craft
• How does the colour of the countryside around your home influence your work? How do you think that would change if you moved somewhere with a very different palette?
• What is your favourite colour to wear? Does this colour appear more in your work than other colours? Is this intentional or does it occur unconsciously?
• What is more important to you – colour, texture, light, technique?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Where Have I Been and Where am I Going?

I just wrote that title and now looking at it realise that it is a huge statement and beyond my abilities to answer at this moment!! But I'm going to stick with the title and just see what happens!

First - the easy one - where have I been? Everywhere man!!! I have spent the past 6 weeks circling the globe with my wonderful husband N and my gorgeous, resilient, adaptable 19 month old son D. We made our annual pilgrimage to the northern hemisphere for N's work and to visit family in Glasgow, plus we added on a few other countries along the way. The plan was to keep each travel leg to a manageable length to avoid the dramas we had with D last year (30hrs straight on planes with a sick, screaming baby was hell on earth). So we ended up with an itinerary that looked like this: starting in New Zealand, 1 week in Perth, 2 days in Hong Kong, 2 weeks in France, 1 week in Glasgow, 2 days in New York, 1 week in Chile, home... phew! It was wonderful, eye-opening, exhausting. And I'm so glad to be home!!!

Where am I going? God, I wish I knew!!! Going straight to insanity maybe? (do not pass Go, do not collect $200) I have all these ideas of what I want to do, but the reality is so far removed from what I dream about that I get so disheartened and then don't even start. I am so lucky - so blessed with love, good fortune and good health - but I still sometimes feel hollow and lost. I feel like I need to talk to someone who isn't family or a friend, who I can be completely open and honest with and not worry about hurting their feelings or having them worry about me. Someone who can talk straight to me. Maybe someone who can help me with my lack of motivation and will-power, who can support and advise me. I have even considered seeing a hypnotist to get me back on track, to reboot my brain and get it working properly again. Then maybe I could work out where I am going, and actually start moving towards that place.

Hmmm, enough downloading of thoughts for now...time for sleep. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Latest Projects #3

Busy, busy, busy! I've been busy working, being a mum, entertaining visiting family, and all the usual "life" stuff. In amongst all that I have managed to complete the following crafty projects.

Two amber glass and brass necklaces. The first is the planned one, the second was made from the leftovers.

A stack of ATCs ready for swapping on ATCards. I have been developing a style of portraits that I'm really enjoying doing. I wanted to work out a way to draw slightly quirky people with only a bare minimum of lines and colour. I'm happy with how this series is progressing. I'm also continuing to do more Picasso inspired portraits. I'm pleased and surprised at how these are evolving.

And altered bottlecap charms for a swap on ATCards. These contain all sorts of found objects sealed with epoxy resin. These were fun to make and I can't wait to get back my swaps. I plan to make a charm necklace from them.

A sterling silver, blue lace agate and chalcedony charm bracelet I hope to sell.

I also reorganised my craft supplies cupboard. Previously, everything was stored in plastic tubs, and of course anytime I wanted something it was always in the bottom tub. It was driving me nuts! So I spent a bit of money buying some stackable drawers and now I can easily get to whatever I want. I am soooo loving this! I'm still using some plastic tubs, but they are Ok as they are on shelves and easy to access.

So, relatively productive. Some weeks I feel like all I've achieved is about a dozen loads of washing and lots of running around after my son. But then I sit down and put it all together and it don't look half bad!