Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I have a secret ....

There is an old saying – if you want something done, get a busy person to do it. Well it certainly rings true for me. 

Pretty girls in their peasant dresses and ruffle playsuit
Not content with my already busy regime of being a working mum with two small children, giving my time to my local community, blogging about everything from my family life to creations for my owlets and sewing my extensive range of children’s clothes and toys for my small business, I decided to expand my business further. 

New gorgeous shirred dresses
At the beginning of January this year, Bridie formerly of Little Magnolia Button has joined the fold of Lil Pip Designs. We live only about 10 minutes apart which makes sewing days and work ‘meetings’ very easy but most of all, she is an incredible person and I’m very excited to be working with her.

Bridie has two gorgeous children – a two year old girl and a newborn baby boy. She has been creating some new, gorgeous creations specifically for babies through to toddlers which has allowed me to explore my long desires to cater to older girls and most of all … boys! 

Girls clothes are very well represented in the handmade world, but I have always thought about what I could make that would be perfect for the little men in our lives. My seven year old son is quite discerning in the fashion sense and has been giving me lots of feedback – not always good!

I will share more photos later but this shows
how easy these boys shorts are to wear

Of course, working in marketing in my day job has meant I had to get all my ducks in a row (there’s another saying!) before I could announce our new adventure. Bridie and I have been madly working on a new range which we share with you now and will launch at the Huckleberry MarketExtravaganza on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 March and the following week at the Maribyrnong Makers Market, Saturday 22 March. 
While I am expanding my business, I am hoping that this will actually mean less pressure on me during the busy market period which will allow me more time to do everything I love.

So I hope to see all my old customers and my new ones at one of these markets to see the new Lil Pip Designs in person!

Gorgeous Bridie and me (after wrangling all the kids for photos, we were exhausted!)

We will be bringing you more sneak peeks in the coming weeks of our new range.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Words of Wisdom

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." Herm Albright

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tips for surviving as a busy working family with two young school children

Ros from Sew Delicious and I were recently chatting about our new back to work/school routines and I thought I would share some of my survival tips. I am no expert and I strongly advise you to read blogs like The Organised Housewife or Planning with Kids if you want a more professional opinion. But if you are like me and sometimes what others do seems like too much work or totally overwhelming, here are my top tips!

Here is Master 7 helping by cooking dinner on
the weekend. A simple Carbonara Pasta

Don't over commit
Goodness this is easier said than done. Our household is super busy. I think it is important for children to be involved in some type of sport or activity. Master 7 has just finished cricket over summer (the grassroots program was amazing) and is about to start footy for the third year in April (as much as I just have no idea about AFL, we do live in Victoria!). Miss 4 (will be 5 on Saturday!) has ballet every Saturday morning too. They both have swimming lessons on a Wednesday night but this is more an activity that we as parents feel is important rather than something they choose to do.

In and around these commitments, I volunteer running our local market four times a year and have my own business. Mr Lil Pip has his own radio show, involved in various community groups and has just nominated himself for school council. 

Ok that all sounds like we over commit but I guess what I'm trying to say is know your limits and schedule for down time. Since we both work (hubby full time and me four days a week), our children don't have something on every single day after school. And they don't need it. I know others do and that's great but for us that would just be another stress we couldn't deal with. Generally speaking, we don't plan much on a Sunday and if we do, never on a Sunday afternoon or evening. This is our family time. Time to relax, regroup and get ready for a new week.

Do as much as you can beforehand
This is something you can get your kids involved in, no matter how old they are (clearly do whatever is appropriate for your child age wise). After dinner each night, I try to pack most of the kids lunch boxes. The next morning, all I need to do is cut the fruit and pop in a freshly made sandwich. The few minutes the night before seems to save so much time in the morning. I also ask the children to lay out their uniforms to wear the next day. Again it just saves time if they are all there in one spot ready to put on. 

Meal plan
How many times have you been driving home from work/school pick up with tired and hungry kids and been thinking about what to make for dinner? What is in the pantry/fridge/freezer that I can create something wonderful, healthy and balanced for the family. I try to menu plan for a week ahead as much as I can. I will admit that I have been a little slack on this lately so have to get back into the swing of things. My slow cooker is also a god-send during the cooler months. I love coming home on busy days knowing that dinner is all prepared.

Every few months I do a big slow cooker of bolognese sauce
and freeze in two kids size portions. Easy dinner!

And if all else fails, wine helps! No seriously, a nice warm bath, candles on and a lovely chilled white makes all the stress go away!

Tell me - what are your tips to surviving work, family, school runs, sports commitments and squeezing in some crafting/sewing too?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Words of Wisdom

"Concentrate your strengths against your competitor's relative weaknesses."
Bruce Henderson, American Businessman, CEO of Boston Consulting Group

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Words of wisdom

"I am one of the few men honest enough to say they do not understand women." Robert Menzies, Australian Prime Minister, 1894-1978

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happy New Year (can I say that in February?)

Hello my rather neglected blog. It is so nice to see you again. 

I'm very lucky with my 'real' job to be able to take 6 weeks off every summer holidays to look after my owlets. I always have the best intentions to do so many amazing things but after another hectic year, I was quite content relaxing and being with my family. And honestly, there is nothing wrong with that. I give myself permission for a good, long break!

Do you follow me in Instagram? I love the creative environment and it is a great way to be in the moment.

So a summary of sorts for you on the last month or so:
  • My youngest finished kinder and daycare (yes we have paid our last childcare fees - woohoo!)
  • My eldest declared he was having a sans-undies summer. OK .....
  • We went to Ballarat and stayed in an amazing Big 4 caravan park for a week. Loved every minute. Certainly going back. Especially since it is only an hour away.
  • Survived 'heat-week' in Melbourne with temperatures in the mid-40s all week and a very hot little house.
  • Managed a little sewing in preparation for my first markets in March (example above)
  • Lots of baking, trips to the zoo, playcentres, play dates, sleep overs, ice creams, slip 'n slides and general summer fun.
  • Over three days, completely cleaned out the entire house. Still need to tackle the pile of stuff to either sell or donate.  
The bag is almost bigger than her!

And just last week my little, baby girl (ok not so baby anymore) started school. She is so ready for 'big' school. No issues, no tears and no dramas. In fact the night before, daddy was tucking her into bed and said to her that he was proud of her and couldn't wait to take her to school the next day. Her response .... 'I can't wait to leave you behind' !! Yes we have raised a very confident and happy little girl.

I can't neglect mentioning this big boy too. He started Grade 2 and seems to have matured in front of my eyes the last few months.

Miss 4 (very soon to be 5) just loves her teacher and entertained us with what she did on her first day. We have a tradition to each talk about our day when we sit down to dinner. I usually don't get much out of Master 7 but wow, I really couldn't believe how much Miss 4 told us. Is it a girl thing? Or perhaps just very different children?

Yes mummy made special hair ties, clips and headbands

I can't help but share these photos. He may not have grown that much taller but he has certainly grown up. Thinner in the face and now won't show his teeth when he smiles as he is embarrassed by all the gaps (which mummy loves!).

In a couple of weeks I will be sharing some exciting news about Lil Pip. Curious? I hope so. I'm very excited! So stay tuned.

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