Freebie Friday June

June is almost over - eeeek! Luckily, there's still time for a Freebie Friday post and look at how pretty it is! This month's freebie is stock images for use on your blog or creative projects via Love from Ginger. Rachael the creative behind the blog has put together a library of lovely images that are free to use! The general theme is colourful and just plain delightful - to see more just click here. Happy Friday!

My First Business

Today I want to share my very first business with you. I spent most of my teenage years loving fashion, but I never quite knew where it fitted in career wise. It sort of took shape in 2003 as I started studying. My dad paid for my studies, but I needed to figure out a way of buying my own text books. I did have two jobs at the time - I worked in a night club (yep that's right) and also at Urban Degree and then later as a waitress. During it all I needed a creative outlet and decided to start a small business. I began by making flower clips (very aptly called 'Flower eCLIPse' - yes you can laugh if you like) and brooches. The name of my new business was... (wait for it) *glam Accessories. How unique (ha ha)! I was so nervous for my first meeting with a boutique owner to show her my wares. It was a challenging and exciting process! She placed a huge order and I was overjoyed. The making process was hard work, but my parents were so helpful - offering advice, helping me to work with costings and my dad taught me my first lesson on creating a production line (life changing)! When I received my first cheque upon delivery - I was hooked! The business continued to grow even as I moved into my first real job in marketing. It was my biggest love at the time - I spent all my extra money on supplies, I researched, I stayed up all night making and I was was always off to the craft shop. The 'fabulous' flower clips and brooches gave way to beaded accessories and I continued to get orders. I stocked several shops and created personal orders for clients. I loooooved it! I still own quite a few pieces that I made during that time and almost a decade later they are still in tact. This post wouldn't be complete without photos and I'm so happy that back then I photographed almost every single piece. So here they are... keep in mind changing fashion and skill levels and don't laugh too much!

And... my very first advert! What a beauty (he he).
What I love about sharing this is the fact that I'm still proud of these accessories because they were my first window into owning my own creative business. We all value those first few rands we made through doing what we love.

Snail Mail Monthlies - June Part 1

Incoming snail mail is surely the best kind - treats and treasures coupled with a lovely letter. I have split my latest mail into three parts as I wanted to show you a few more detail shots as requested by some in the last post. I have to admit I battled to get the light just right in these snaps, but I thought I would share them anyway. The pretty gifts make up for it - I'm sure you agree. 
This delightfully interesting package is from Nadya and isn't it just wonderful! The piece de resistence are surely these bento food picks! I'm so happy to add them to my pretty things collection. I've kept it all together and untouched until I could take some photos and now I can finally dive in. I hope you enjoyed seeing this package from a very special penpal.

Meet Free Monday #26

It's Monday and hello to you! I'm feeling optimistic today - not sure why, but it's a good thing. The weekend flew by way too fast as it always does. On Friday night Daniel and I cooked a roast chicken dinner, watched one of our favourite shows and I even fitted in a bit of hand sewing for a gift I'm working on. Saturday was a personal day at home as Daniel was working and I did a few household things as well as catching up on MasterChef The Professionals (love it). In the early evening we went to a party with an incredible Durban view. We were only going for an hour or so, but ended up staying much later and we had quite a bit of fun with friends. On Sunday we were up early, way too early post party in fact. We headed out to run a few errands at the plastic shop, Makro and to do grocery shopping. Now, I know this might sound like the worst plans ever, but we really love it! Odd, but true. We shopped for a few things we needed, stopped for brunch and got a few very useful things that have been on the list for a while. We spent the afternoon relaxing and fitted in a nap followed by a very healthy and delicious dinner using our new Sistema steamer. How was your weekend?

The Working Week in Review / Last Week:
Glancing at my planner and reviewing last week it was a fairly good week. However, there are several things I didn't get round to. I set tasks for the weekend and ended up taking the weekend off completely with the exception of one quick job. It was needed and has definitely helped my mindset today as I feel rested. 

The Working Week:
One of the tasks on today's list is searching for a venue for the Cape Town workshops. My inbox was so beautifully organised last week, but as always it is in need of some TLC today. I've mentioned before that it's an ongoing work in progress. I was meant to take part in a shoot for a magazine tomorrow, but it's been postponed which gives me some extra office time (always useful). Last week I worked on utilising some of the ideas on the list below. The reward one works really well for me - going to keep referring to it and see what else can work.

Things I'm excited about this week:
Mmmm... there isn't anything major taking place this week, but in general I'm always just happy to have time at home. I'm currently ensuring I schedule in creative time to make something or to craft in some way as it makes me really happy.

What will challenge me this week?
Getting stuff done - I think this is a challenge every week. It's not because I don't do my work, but I often look back on a day and feel like I just didn't do enough. It's all in finding a balance I suppose.

Personal Thoughts:
Personally last week was so much better than the week before from a mental and thinking point of view. Isn't it funny how our brain can sometimes be obsessed with one way of thinking and then almost overnight it changes. It's hard work to be an emotional being. I've been feeling quite concerned about the amount of sugar I eat - I love treats you see. So, from a health point of view I'm focussing on cutting back (tips welcome).

I would like to encourage you to comment and share your own personal thoughts for the week. I've mentioned it hundreds of times before, but it really helps when I hear from you.

Featured in today's photo:
The first image is via Mail Models - I can highly recommend this site for beautiful inspiration and stationery. The second is via Yumi Sakugawa.

Beautiful Products & a Useful Tip or Two

I've had my eye on a brand lately...Tiger. Who? Well... Tiger is a Danish discount retailer started on the basis of being similar to a pound store. If you've lived in the UK then you will know every high street has a Pound Land or something similar (much like American dollar stores). 

Tiger was recently featured on CNN - giving the business serious credibility. I really enjoyed hearing more about the concept and how it all began. The point of the post is to share beautiful goodies with you, but it's also a quick look into a successful and affordable brand. It combines two of my favourite things - stationery and great business!

Here are a few very basic and simple tips via Tiger's founder Lennart Lajboschitz:
Innovate: It's something that should be happening all the time - on the move.

Make the ordinary extraordinary: Change a normal experience into a magical one. Think about how you can implement this in your own business - is it via customer experience perhaps?

Packaging can change it all: Within creative business this is truly a point to absorb and take on board. 

Experience what you sell: Lennart spends time on his shop floor to see the dynamics, how shoppers experience the environment in order to evaluate what needs to be changed.

Have good people around you and listen: Take on board input from others and surround yourself with people who aim to shape and grow with you.

Adapt to consumer / customer desires: What do people want and how can you incorporate it into your services or ideas.

And... here are a few of the the drool-worthy products:

To see more check our the Tiger site or watch the inspiring CNN video. 

Cape Town Creative Business Workshops

As mentioned in last week's update post I'm planning the Cape Town creative business workshops scheduled for mid-August. I am in the process of looking at venues, exact dates and sponsors.

There are two ways to take part:
  • Attend one of the workshops and invest in your creative business.
  • Sponsor either a giveaway or goodie bag items for the workshop as marketing for your business. Services are welcome too for example photography or a florist.

If you are interested in attending - please leave a comment and let me know what you would prefer:
  • Weekend or weekday workshop?
  • Introductory course or intermediate?
  • You can also leave your email address and I will email you the minute the dates and further details are released (you will also receive a booking discount).

If you are interested in sponsoring something then email me with a short intro on what you would like to offer.

Any great venue suggestions will be great too.

I'm really excited to be heading to CT soon! To take a look at past workshop fun - just click here.

Meet Free Monday #25

16 June: A Day at HQ

I'm so pleased that today is a public holiday! Daniel is at home and somehow everything feels so much more relaxed. It's also a welcome break after a very busy weekend. Daniel's dad came to stay with us so we spent a lot of time out and about which included a family dinner and the highlight - an invitation to celebrate. On Saturday we took a mini-road trip down the coast to Daniel's great aunt's 100th birthday party! It was an honour to meet someone who was still so happy and capable. There was champagne, balloons, a beautiful cake and the birthday girl wore sequins! Weekend made! 

The Working Week in Review / Last Week:
I was tired last week - the weekend was busy and the Etsy party really took it out of me. As mentioned in my previous post I took some time off from blogging to regroup. I battled a bit to get focused and to get going. I was happy to get through several tasks, but the list continues this week. I realised that I still need to work on my routine and way of dealing with tasks - it's always a work in progress. So much of what I do is rooted in how I feel and if I feel slightly off I work on feeling better and understanding why certain things don't work for me. I also spent some time last week thinking through what I want from my blogging and business. Sometimes blogging can be a task of giving and often it's quite lonely. 

The Working Week:
I'm feeling inspired for the week. Today I plan on doing a bit of catching up and relaxing too. I'm also off to a massage a little bit later - one of my favourite things and a real stress buster. The main focus of this week is simplifying my 'to do's' and work schedule in general. I want to group everything together. Tomorrow and Wednesday are office days. Thursday is a day out for meetings and it's fully booked. Friday will be an office day with Claire to work on several of our current projects which are currently dominated by client blog related work. 

Things I'm excited about this week:
Oooh I'm looking forward to my massage just now. Yey! I have a few snail mail projects to finish off which is always fun and relaxing. I have quite a few newish crafty things and it's so fun to use them. Quite simple, but it makes me happy.

What will challenge me this week?
Feeling motivated to get through all that needs doing. I also really want to focus on healthy eating this week - last week we hardly ate at home and this week I'm craving simple, healthy home cooked food.

Personal Thoughts:
I'm feeling quite reflective and thoughtful at the moment, but to be honest I'm always a thinker and have a million things on my mind (some are useful and some are silly). I'm still loving yoga which really helps to silence my mind.

How are you and what's on your mind at the moment? 

Featured in today's photo:
The details on a snail mail package for a friend in Germany.

Let's Catch-Up

You might have noticed I have been fairly quiet this week. I needed some time to regroup and get back into the swing of things. I gave myself permission to step back from blogging (sometimes necessary). I wanted to cover a few things and have a little catch up in today's post.

The Etsy Party was great! Thanks so much to everyone who made it possible. I still have a host of 'thank yous' to send out. I'm looking forward to sharing more photos soon, but in the meantime take a look at the Instagrams below.

Up & Coming Events:
I'm excited (and only slightly nervous) to share that I will be in Cape Town in August to run consulting sessions and workshops. I'm busy setting up the dates and will do a post focused on that asap.

Another awesome thing that will be happening during my trip is I will be speaking at the Top Vendor Wedding Awards and sharing tips on creative business via my talk.

My client Fashion Nanny is hosting Style Camp at the beginning of July. The workshop is aimed at teen girls who want to learn more about fashion, beauty and etiquette. I love this concept and wish there was something like this during my teen years. I will be speaking at the event about blogging, online safety and etiquette as well as fashion online.

The Etsy Party has further inspired me to do a few small craft workshops. I have some wonderful supplies on hand and I had so many ladies asking for guidance at the party that it seems like the perfect idea. These will start in Durban for now and will be open to five ladies at a time. I will share dates and the venue soon. The focus will be on being creative rather than for professionals. I will be teaching so it will suit people who want to be more inspired in their wrapping, packaging and general creativity.

Past Events & Features:
Emma-Jane of EmmaJaneNation was in Durban recently and hosted a wonderful dinner very simply called Durban Dinner. It was such a fun evening of chatting and catching up with fellow bloggers. Ask Ashe, Ruby and Swallow and Jane of Marketed were just a few of the lovely ladies in attendance.

The super funny, clever and creative Che from indieberries did a very helpful post this week - all about naming your business. She included a Q&A with me about the subject. You will also see that I am offering a creative consulting special - don't miss out.

You might remember me mentioning the in-store workshop at The Ruby Orchard - the event went really well and was exceptionally well organised. I sponsored notebooks for all the creative attendees and I did a short closing talk to sum up what we learnt. Thanks so much to Hannah and Nicola for being so welcoming. It was a day full of tips and how to improve the business aspect of creative work.

This past weekend Blog Boot Camp  was held and I was proud to sponsor a prize to inspire the blogging minds who attended. The day looks like it was beautiful and full of useful learning. Lana and Kathryn are both respected bloggers so it was wonderful to be a part of the event and to share my creative business thoughts via my branded giveaway.

The photos start off with a few snaps of the Etsy Party, including an Instagram from Peg & Pencil. Followed by a photo of Emma-Jane and I taken by Nicola. The gorgeous blooms are from the workshop held at The Ruby Orchard as is the notebook photo. Lastly, I captured the packaging for my sponsored prize sent off to Blog Boot Camp.

I hope you have had a lovely week so far! Chat soon.

Party Day & A Reflection

As you might have noticed I have been focusing on one thing this week! The Etsy Craft Party! Why, you might wonder? Well... I am hosting the Durban party and from what I can see the ONLY one taking place in South Africa. The event takes place across the world today only and is run via Etsy HQ in New York! I think it's an amazing thing to be a part of and I'm honoured to host it locally. This week I have been utterly amazed at the incredible items and giveaway goodies that I have received. South African creatives have been absolutely wonderful and generous in their contributions! 

I take on this party because I want to do SA proud and give our city a chance to be represented in the international creative arena. Etsy does not fund the party and I use my own money to plan the entire thing from hiring additional items through to snacks, supplies and decor. There have been loads of wonderful people involved for example Marco from Spiga who is sponsoring the venue. In Good Company who have sent the most amazing item for each attendee. Tickets were sold out and I expressly asked that people committed and only booked if they could attend. The booking system doesn't allow for local rand payments so everyone pays at the venue. Sadly, many people booked tickets and waited until late this week to say they can no longer make it, leaving me with very little time to market and sell those tickets. Life happens - I get it, but it makes my planning and dedication really difficult and it definitely makes me question why I take on this risk. Now, don't get me wrong - it's just that... a risk so I can't complain. This event is incredible and I'm not saying that just because I'm involved - it really is. I just wanted to take a moment and be honest in what I do and also share in the ups and downs on taking on a project like this. It's hard work!

There are still tickets left due to last minute cancellations - so if you want to join in, have some fun, meet wonderful people and get a few freebies come and join us tonight. I promise it's worth more than you can imagine. In turn you will be helping people like me who have a vision to keep on doing what we do!

Etsy Craft Party Update

This year's international Etsy Craft Party is only two sleeps away - how exciting! I wanted to post a quick update showing the inspiration behind the craft and to remind attendees what to bring. This year's theme is 'Recapture: Bring new meaning to your photographs', in that spirit we will be decorating photos of course. There will be lovely supplies via Typo, Washi Bug and a few other suppliers too.

A couple of tickets have become available - to book visit this site. Please (I beg of you) only book if you can attend.

This inspiration just hints at what can be done when you get creative and I have a few lovely locals working on some examples for the night to add even more idea. If you are attending please remember:
  • Your R100 cash entrance fee. (Drinks will be for sale so some extra cash for that is a good idea.)
  • Scissors and Pritt.
  • A photo of your choice - I suggest a jumbo size printed in black and white or sepia. Another option is printing an Instagram pic or if you have printed any pics via Nifty250 then those will work brilliantly too. The awesome Nifty250 team have also sponsored a few prints which will be available to use on the evening, but only as extras to what you will already be decorating.

Feel free to let me know if you have questions or want to confirm anything. If you have booked a ticket and can no longer attend PLEASE let me know so that someone on the waiting list can fill your spot! See you on Friday!

Inspiration via Amy Tangerine and Be Crafty.

A Delayed Meet Free Monday #24

2 June: Planning at HQ
Sorry for the delay in this week's post. Things have been really busy and I have been out the office quite a bit. The planning, however continues so let's not delay further with this month's planning edition of MFM as we head into June. I'm always on the hunt for visual inspiration to keep me going in my own planning and organising journey. Being organised is something that's a constant, it's a pursuit that never ends, which is either an exciting or daunting fact depending on how you look at it.

I have had this quote in my mind consistently. Almost as soon as I complete something I can already come up with ways to improve what I did - which robs me of joy. This quote reminds me that I do the best I can at the time. I'm going to add this to my planner so that I never forget it!
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” - Maya Angelou

There are two things that come from IHeart Organizing this month - a blog I have mentioned before. The first picture is from a great post about saving on purchases for your home. The pictures on right showing wrapping goodies are from a brilliant post about creating a 'wrapping station'. I really love the look of this space and of course how beautifully organised it is. I have a drawer dedicated to gifts and when I spot something pretty I buy it and save it for gift giving. I few of my friends have also started doing the same thing and it really does save time. Do you stash gifts or cards?

Whitney English is a US based brand which I have seen quite a few bloggers mention. It's a range of diaries / agendas with a system set out by the creator behind the business. See and read more about the brand here. I love the stylish simplicity of the covers.

I have mentioned It's looking love-lee today, but this sweet creative is always an inspiration from her planner through to her Instagrams. I'm driven by seeing how others get organised and this blog offers beautiful and fun examples.

Time management - that elusive thing we are always working towards. I found this post via dear handmade life a great read to remind me of how to work and think. This blog is a great resource to bookmark as it has loads of other useful posts too.

Lastly, take a look at this lovely printable from DDG DIY. If you are looking for a new addition to your current planning or if you haven't really gotten into listing this year then perhaps try using this. To download this freebie visit this post.

I hope this offers some inspiration for June! Have a wonderful and organised month!

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