Just a quick update

Holy moly! How hectic is life at the moment. I’ve found myself with a quiet moment and enough brain power to actually write at the same time! I didn’t forget how much time babies take up but it is still a bit of a shock. Especially with Dan being away for more than half of James life so far. Having 2 older kids has made things easier and harder.

James – perfection ❤️

I have managed to get some gardening done and been able to look after my indoor plants as well. I still have an incredibly long “to-do” list but I’m slowly ticking things off. My art has suffered a little. I did manage to get a little landscape completed. Sunshine Forest – digital drawing is at the bottom of the page.

James is now a month old, almost 6 weeks. He’s been a total blessing. All the rubbish I went through to get here was worth it. Even though we’ve had a few rough nights, a trip to the hospital and an amazing amount of wee and poo. He’s made me re-evaluate everything. Figure out what and who are the most important in my life.

Some of the new editions to the garden – Vireya

Turns out, although I want to be exceptionally good at my job, I was putting too much of my energy into it. I was giving too much. Considering they would replace me in a heart beat if they wanted to.

The kids and Dan are far too important for me not to be in the moment while with them. Family time is family time, work time is work time. Boundaries need to be put in place to distinguish between the two, and being 100% focused on each at the appropriate time is essential. I also need to carve out some me time, that doesn’t consist of running errands, that I feel will take some more time to figure out.

My latest digital drawing – Sunshine Forest

Learning to balance work and life has been tricky. I haven’t mastered it yet, I’m still on maternity leave so it’ll be interesting to go back to work and see if I can manage it. I do think it’s the most important thing I need to focus on though.

Chris

Remembering those we’ve loved and lost

How do you remember those who you have lost?

I’ve been struggling with this one for a while. I’m not one for visiting graves, it’s not something I’m comfortable with. Breaking down and crying while strangers could see me – heaven forbid. I want to be able to sit and think about those people we’ve lost and miss so much, in private when I want to. Not necessarily on an anniversary. Not to mention, I am not able to visit all of the graves of loved ones as they are either in another state and some in another country.

Lavish Pink Lavender – also in my front garden

A few weeks of each year are the anniversaries of several lost loved ones. Yep, one particular week has 3 significant dates and is always hard to get through. I’m not great with remembering dates, but some how my subconscious must know and those particular weeks because I’m a blubbering mess.

This year I was struggling a lot, with life and one of those weeks in particular I was having a really hard time. I actually started crying at work, for what I thought was for no reason at all. Until I realised what week it was.

I have an obsession with purples of all shades. Artwork I created to decorate my gardening journal.

One of my work colleagues, who I now consider to be a good friend noticed I was upset and asked me about it. Obviously I was highly emotional and nearly fell apart. Some of my grief was – how do I remember all these wonderful people? How do I show my respect, honour their memory if I can’t remember dates? She had a wonderful suggestion, knowing that I was slowly getting into gardening. To plant a tree for everyone I’ve lost. A tree, not just a plant, that will be there for many years to come, more than likely it will out live me.

I can’t plant one tree for everyone that we have lost, I’d need a few acres for that. So I’ve altered the idea slightly. I’ve designed our front garden to be a memorial to those we’ve lost. I’ll have a couple of out door seats and a cute little table to be able to sit surrounded by nature, and be able to remember all of those we’ve lost. I’ll cry and smile, and hopefully laugh at the memories we shared.

I’ve got a lot of work to do, I’ve only just started with one garden bed at the front. It will be a labour of love, I’ll take my time.

Melaleuca Thymifolia – native to Australia’s eastern coast.

The first plant I planted for someone. A Melaleuca Thymifolia. It’s a beautiful native bush with beautiful purple flowers. This one reminds me of my Grandma. Her favourite flower was actually an Angel Face rose (her nickname for me), which I do plan to put in if I can find one. They are super rare so I have to be patient. Grandma loved Bribie Island, she loved walking along the beach. She loved her garden, she would always tell me to go and smell the roses. She loved to read and taught me how to knit. Now, I’m teaching my daughter how to knit. We would sit together and read, I used to take her grocery shopping when I was old enough to do so. I miss her dearly. We were close. She was the first significant loss in my life when she passed.

Just having a plan to create something like this, a memorial has given me a lot of peace. Even if it does take me years to complete it. The sobering fact is, it will never truly be complete. Unfortunately their will always be new names to add. The good thing is, a garden, trees, plants the ecosystem that will be created will long out live me and be a beautiful calming place for all.

Hope or hopeless…..

This weeks blog post is late, I’ve been recovering from gastro. That was not fun being 33 weeks pregnant let me tell you! I have been thinking a lot about my post last week and how the general consensus is that this year has had a lot of downs. Trying to climb out of a slump emotionally and mentally has been really tough these last few months. I’ve been trying to figure out why most of us are feeling drained or afraid to start something. The uncertainty of current times and all the negative news within our society is surely playing a big role.

Flowers starting appear on my blueberry bush

I feel in our society, we are told to make a difference and are expected to make a big impact. I think this is far too daunting. Imagine having that on your shoulders, that’s an unbelievable amount of weight. Too much for many, this then causes the “I can’t impact the world, so there’s no point in trying” attitude, which I absolutely understand. The mentality of “Go big or go home” is frustrating. It indicates that unless the actions and impact are great then don’t bother. I certainly wouldn’t want my children to feel that if they aren’t going to change the world their lives mean nothing.

This is not to say people can’t make a huge impact. Nor that they shouldn’t try. Anyone can make a big difference, if they find the right power within themselves. What I am saying is, changing one life is just as important as changing the world. If one thing you do changes one persons life for the better, then that should also be celebrated as a big win. Not on social media for the likes, congratulate yourself. Smile and remember that feeling. If you are the person who was helped, thank them. You don’t have to praise them to the world, but a simple heartfelt thank you goes a long way.

Monochrome evening sky – created with Procreate

We should be passing this knowledge down to our kids. So they don’t feel like they are starting from scratch. They certainly have much more to contend with than we did as kids. The skills they need are slightly different. We need to teach them to care and be kind to themselves first. Than to do small things to help others. The small things make a huge difference. If they already have some of these skills under their belt before they are thrown out into the world, maybe it won’t be so daunting to reach a little bigger each time.

How we teach our kiddos this when we too are probably overwhelmed and buried under the recent stresses of the year I don’t know. I guess talking to them about how we are feeling, seeing if they’ll talk to us about their feelings would be a good step. I know we can’t unload everything on them, they are only little and they shouldn’t be dealing with our problems. But letting them know we can get a bit scared and anxious too, will let them know that they are not alone.

Changing the world isn’t a one person job, you need a team, to surround yourself with people you can trust, who have the same will and desire to do good. Together we can all make a difference, whether it be small or large it doesn’t matter. It’s the intention and emotion (love and gratitude) behind the actions that count

The first raspberries from our bush this year ❤️❤️

Triggered – Already?

Continuing on from my last post and my comment about being triggered at some point. It didn’t take long before it happened. After talking to work colleagues it seems it’s still happening. I felt myself starting to become angry. Me standing up did nothing to help anyone. I had to stop myself getting upset. I took a deep breath in and released all that emotion out. Am I little annoyed nothing is going to change? Absolutely. If I could go back, would I choose not to say anything, knowing that it wouldn’t help? Absolutely not. I may have altered how I said enough, but I would still say it.

New growth on my philodendron – beautiful

It’s not always rainbows and butterflies when healing, we have set backs, often. The only way to move forward is to acknowledge the trigger, figure out why it was so strong and then learn from it. I’ve decided I need to try and remove myself from the situation for a while. So enough writing about toxic work places, at least until I can keep the emotion out of it.

I was talking to one of my favourite people this week. Her thoughts – everyone is having a rubbish year. Everyone she knows seems to be struggling one way or another. Whether that’s in their relationship, financially, at work, emotionally, physically and every other aspect life has. I certainly agree, the signs of this year have been weird from and for all. People seem hesitant to start anything, reluctant to move forward in their life. I think we all need to be kinder to ourselves and loved ones, this year in particular as all this uncertainty is causing all of us so much worry or anxiety.

Raspberry Trellis made by me – ignore the weeds, they are a work in progress.

This is not to say people aren’t still kicking goals. Many friends and family members are kicking huge goals in their career or personal lives, but they seem to be doing this in spite of many more obstacles which seem to be in their way. These people are an inspiration to me, although I’m in a resting phase of my life, they show me that we as humans can be pretty impressive. Do things that are extraordinary, even while things seem against you. I know when I’m ready, I will be able to do the same. It’s in us all, we just need to know, believe or have faith in our abilities.

While I’m in my resting phase, I’m enjoying my maternity leave. For those of you that have been reading and watching, you would have seen me create a few bits and bobs and potter around in the garden. I’m trying very hard to unwind from a fast pace work environment. My mind wants to do a lot more than my body is able to at the moment. Slowly I think I’m getting there. I have an enormous To Do list, with a couple of little projects that may be coming to fruition soon so that will be a little bit exciting. I can’t help myself, I like being on the go. I like creating and dreaming up new ideas.

While pottering in the garden, I’ve been able allow my mind to be quiet. The downside is, a lot of the work I’ve got still to do in our garden is pretty labour intensive. I’ve worn myself out on a number of occasions. Feeling good while I’m working but hitting the wall once I come inside and sit down. I literally have to time myself so I don’t over do it. I wore myself out so much Monday, I was up at the hospital on Tuesday making sure Bub was ok. All is well in case you are wondering. Even trying to relax is difficult for me.

An apple I drew this week – I’m working on realism… not sure I got there.

This week I’ve managed to do a mountain of washing, put a raspberry trellis up, plant some ground cover, weed some more of my little garden, been on 2 day trips to various garden centres and had coffee with a very special lady and bubba. I’ve also been reading, drawing and cleaning. I still find that I’m chastising myself because I haven’t done enough this week. Sometimes personal growth is one step forward and two steps back. I’ll get there in the end, I guess that’s all that matters.

Toxic work culture and maternity leave

On my first day of maternity leave, I decided it would be an excellent idea to write down my thoughts regarding said maternity leave and the toxic work culture I am currently on leave from. I have been the only one to stand up to said manager, make complaints (that were not handled well, or not at all in my opinion as the same narcissistic behaviour is still going on), the replacement for my job is on a permanent contract so I have no idea what job I’ll be coming back too – however I felt it necessary for at least my own benefit to talk or write about it.

Day one – I’ve been clothes shopping, washed the dishes, done some craft, I’ll be doing some grocery shopping with the kids once they come out of school. I’ve completed almost nothing, except made myself a cute little key ring using the one the kids bought me for Mother’s Day that broke.

Who doesn’t love turtles?

Normally, I would have accomplished anywhere up to 100 tasks for managers at work by now. I’m feeling a little strange. I need to keep reminding myself that I’m allowed to take it easy now. I won’t be able to soon. Soon I’ll be a busy mum of 3.

I’ve had a rough 6 months, I’ve been struggling with some pretty serious anxiety caused by bullying at work. Bullying that even after 2 complaints never stopped. I’m having to start maternity leave early due to the issues that the anxiety has caused. Thankfully, my heart palpitations have subsided and I can eat again. This was only due to help from family, friends and a psychologist, who up until now, never thought I would need.

Cauliflower seedlings are in – sunshine and gardening.

I’m going to use my maternity leave to sleep and rest before the baby arrives. I’m going to make a whole pile of craft that I’ll never sell, paint a number of pictures that will never see the light of day. Most importantly I will be using this time to heal, and learn how to build more resistance and to deal with narcissistic bullies. Unfortunately the world is full of them. The more I learn how to tell the signs, the more shocked I am at how common it is.

Day five – I’m now at the end of my first week of maternity leave. I do feel I haven’t done enough, when I look at the incredibly long list of things to get through – all created by me of course. However, when I stop, pause and actually look at what I have achieved this week, the knowledge I’ve gained (I’ve been reading) and the time spent with my mum and aunt (which I wouldn’t have been able to do had I still been at work) it’s all been worth it.

I found the following quote/meme on the internet, I think it sums up why I’ve been feeling like rubbish and no amount of sleep or extra iron will fix. (Quote is anonymous, artwork is all mine).

“Sleep doesn’t help if it’s your soul that’s tired.”

I had a moment yesterday, while hanging the washing. I was happy. For the first time in a very long time, I was happy that I’m about to have another baby. I’m happy that I have some time to myself, and that I don’t have to go back to a job (manager – I want to make it very clear, the job was absolutely not the issue, just the culture and one manager in particular) that has caused me so much anxiety and upset is wonderful. Starting to see that this is not the end of the world, or end of my career, but just a new challenge for us as a family. One that I intend to make good use out of.

At the end of the day, I have a wonderful support network around me which I am incredibly grateful for. Here’s to the next 12 months of learning and to healing and rejuvenating my soul.

P.S I’m currently reading – Toxic People Survival Guide by Chase Hill. It’s quite insightful.

What my mornings have currently consisted of. Peace.

Mental Stress

How I de-stress on my weekends – gardening

Mental stress is a funny thing – it’s not like when you’ve just got a lot to do, or a tricky work task that needs a lot of concentration. Mental and emotional stress (of which I’ve been under a lot lately) is strange.

In the work environment; your put with different personalities, you learn to navigate tricky situations and try to lead a peaceful and harmonious work life. Well, lately I’ve been putting up with some really crap behaviour that I would certainly NOT put up with in my personal life.

Another way I love to de-stress – Digital Chalk Drawing

Why do we do this? Why do we allow other people to blast through our boundaries and just suffer in silence?

I don’t know why, maybe it’s because as kids we are told to sit down, shit up and do what we are told. I say NO MORE. I am not going to be put through it any more. Now that’s not saying I’m going to be an asshole about it. I am however going to learn better ways to say “No” and “Back Off”. I am then going to be teaching my children to do the same.

I also plan to paint and draw more with my iPad and do a lot more gardening. I really need a holiday!

My biggest art fear

I’ve always shied away from drawing people. I doubt I’m the only one, but for some reason I’m scared of doing a rubbish job. Which is ridiculous, no one else needs to see it if it is rubbish. Let’s face it, if its not on social media – it didn’t really happen did it?

So, I’m starting. I’m just going to draw. I’ve watched some tutorials and I have a fair idea on how to start now. Skin tone is hard so I’m starting there. I still want to keep some artistic flair and not produce photorealism.

I’m using procreate and I love it so far. Highly recommended!

Finished – Hand

I’m happy with my start. I need to now find some good reference photos to practice with!

Digital Art Vs Traditional Art Vs Photography

Purple is my favourite colour. I’ve said so many times, it calms me, makes me smile. The first image is my digital illustration version of a tree I painted when I first started my art art journey in 2017 (if I remember correctly).

Marigolds – my reference photo and then digital illustration of the photo. I used the pastel pencils in Procreate to create this one. I am loving Procreate for many reasons.

It’s a whole lot less messy and I can do it anywhere. I don’t need internet or Wi-Fi. I often run my Apple Pencil flat though.

Follow me on insta to see how I progress with procreate. I am creating some thing special so keep your eyes pealed!

Faces, Figures and Feeling Blue

I’ve been working really hard the last few weeks on my digital art. I’ve done a few tutorials, played around with the features and had some fun with different styles. The ups and downs of recent times have been a bit difficult for me to navigate. My family and my art has helped my cope ok.

Abstract – Feeling Blue – Prints are available

I’m using stamp brushes in procreate. I’ve never been good with faces so using a stencil for now just to get a feel of shapes and shadows has helped a lot. Someday cheating but I say if it looks good, and it’s your idea then go for it. Especially if it’s just to practice!

Lockdown has been a god send for me. Although I do get lost in my art and forget to exercise, and eat.

I have so many more designs and painting I’ve created and I’m excited to share with you. Come back next week to see some more awesome artwork.

Digital art Vs Traditional Art

There are so many differences between digital art and traditional art. One is there is a whole lot less mess with digital art. Especially for me, because I trash the joint when I’m painting……. Just ask my other half.

Some people prefer the traditional and some prefer digital. I thought (before I started digital art) that it would be easier, oh how wrong I was! It’s just as difficult to get a fantastic image, the challenges are just different. You still need to learn how to use your brushes, how the ‘canvas’ feels.

Grass in the park

I can’t wait to learn more and more. As with traditional art I have so many ideas that I want to try. My reference photo library is going to come in handy. I’ve already used several of my photos to help with shape, style and colour palettes.

Weekly trips and adventures are going to become a regular occurrence in our family life. My aim is to get at least 2 images for my library every week. They give me inspiration and ideas for my art. Looking forward to the next few weeks of art!