Each year, during our annual trip to Merimbula, we visit Foxglove Spires Garden at Tilba Tilba. Established in the 1980s, you'd think the garden has been there for much longer. It's a magical place for children to explore and it makes me long for a larger garden! We have taken many photos of our children there over the years, and now that we've gone digital we don't have to worry about running out of film.
Sometimes I google Squirt Baby and see what turns up. There's stuff about baby feeding spoons, sometimes there's references to entries with unsavoury content. *sigh* And then sometimes you find things like this.
It's an article in the blog of Small Magazine. And I find it exciting. And funny. It made me giggle. My "company" occupies a 3m x 3m space (and, ahem, overflows into the dining room, our bedroom, prop-storage in the garage...).
When I attended Mathilda's Market last November, I had a chat with Sarah (who was compiling the article for Smaller). It felt odd, talking about myself and my "product" like that. It doesn't come naturally - although I suspect that's true for most folk. Anyhoo - if you have the time or inclination - you can click here, or up there, or just google it for yourself!
The holidays are nearly over, and the year is about to begin with a bang.
On Monday, Mate and Marv head back to school, and the Man of the House returns to work after 8 glorious weeks of long-service leave. Swimming, cricket and kinder start at various points through the week.
I haven't missed the morning mayhem. I haven't missed plotting my days around school times, kinder times, extra-curriculum times, play dates. The relaxed atmosphere around this home is most welcome. Late afternoon is marked by the pouring of drinks, lighting the BBQ and eating outdoors again! I've enjoyed having adult company throughout the day (especially the bit where the washing is hung out and lunches prepared!).
At Christmas I scored some fab new recipes books plus an ice-cream machine. The food around here has been rather good of late!
And what are the holidays if not an opportunity to take photos?
Im and Luce this time. Although Luce was not entirely willing!
I need to make up my mind, methinks. This is what I know - I'm still on parental leave (just about to celebrate my 9th anniversary with another year to go), I have no desire to return to this job, there is no pressure for me to return to this job from my fabulous husband, I have four children, I'm time poor, I like to be in control.
It seems to be a recurring theme, amongst my friends and acquaintances - the dilemma of the woman who has taken time away from the workforce to have children and who now faces a tricky decision - where to from here? Do we return to the same workplace working the same hours. Do we turn are backs on the years on study to brach out in another direction? What happens if you don't have a choice?
Personally, stepping out of the workforce to have children has afforded me the opportunity to consider what I want to do next. It has become apparent that my next step will be in a different direction to my background in science. My future, for the moment, lies with Squirt Baby. I have my own goals in mind, which are linked to my children reaching school age! I want to be around during the day for them, to take them to and from school, to help out in the classroom and in the canteen. I also want to contribute financially and undertake work that is fulfilling. I understand now that there are people out there who like the clothes and accessories I produce and that Squirt Baby has potential and ticks all those boxes.
But what if my creative outlet was in a different field? My talented friend Rosie is a writer. Once upon a time she was a teacher. Rosie has written a bit lately about the dilemma facing writers as they strive to become published authors. Recently I heard Jacquie Collins being interviewed. She has written 27 books and sold 400 million copies. She comes across as being supremely confident - she says she's good at writing novels that are easy to read. Good luck to her. But do her sales figures mean she's a great writer, or does it mean she appeals to the masses? Mills and Boon have great sales figures too.
How, as a writer, do you get noticed by the right people?
Right now I'm happy for Squirt Baby to be "boutique" and "limited edition" if it means I can continue to make all my stock. It's important to me that I actually do the making. I like the fact I can make it all as I go. I don't make things 6 months in advance - I'm just not that organised!
This morning I stopped in at Kisschasy Clothing in Moonee Ponds (you know, that great kidswear shop that stocks Squirt Baby!) to drop off an order. Out the front was a glass replacement truck and I just knew the news was going to be bad. Sure enough - the store had been robbed in what seems like a targeted attack. The thieves were specific in their choice of stock and it appears that they also took some of my new skirts.
You can see it in the photo below - the "green circle skirt". Three green circles are appliqued onto black textured cotton suiting and finished with green vintage ric-rac. Part of the range for autumn/winter 2010, I've made eight of these skirts. It seems up to four of them have been stolen. (At least four of them have legitimate homes). I'm upset for Julie and Suzi (the owners of Kisschasy) and pretty darned annoyed that these skirts, along with other stock stolen, are likely to end up being sold in some dodgy market or on Ebay. I feel quite protective of my wares. They are all handmade, by me. And now some thief is going to profit selling them off cheaply. Boo, hiss, thumbs down to them.
I think these skirts are pretty distinctive - you couldn't pretend they were excess Myer stock or anything like that! I'm disappointed Squirt Baby wares have become, for someone, just a commodity. When I make and sell something, it's not just a financial transaction - there's a little bit of me in there too. It is upsetting that these thieves just don't get it. They don't see the hard work done by people like me, or by Julie and Suzi. The thieves see an opportunity to make something from nothing, at great personal and financial cost to the people they've ripped off.
Last week, when I was still spending a lot of time on the couch, Mate and Marv asked if they could cook dinner. We do a bit of cooking together. Meaning I keep a close eye on proceedings and provide direction/assistance where required. This was different. This was me on the couch while the cooking happened. I set myself up with the camera and let them loose. Of course, the two youngest had to be involved. And this is what they did together - what a team!
Slightly overcooked, but yummy and much appreciated!
I thought I'd write and tell you how crazy the pre-Christmas period was, but it's over and I'm happy to leave it in the past. Christmas was fantastic - I hope you had some golden moments with those you hold close to your heart. We've spent a couple of weeks away in Merimbula, and last week I was the (un)fortunate recipient of a kidney infection. Happy to report all is now well and I'm about to embark on catching up on my emails, getting to work on the on-line shop and the image-make-over for the Squirt Baby website.
In the meantime - here are a few pictures from our (much needed) summer break: