Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I ♥ Melbourne, and so do lots of other people by the looks of things

Is it just me, or has Melbourne grown up and found it's (beautifully shod) feet? Everywhere I go, people are telling me how great Melbourne is, how much they want to move here, and declaring that this here is the creative hub of modern, urban Australia.

Preaching to the choir there.

Every week it seems there's a new rag on the streets extolling the virtues of Melbourne living, from the endless cafés to the pop-up shops to the burgeoning cycle culture. And to complement this new-found Melbourne-crush are a host of goods and services that celebrate the lovely, quirky and iconic things about my home town.

The trams:

The coffee obsession:

The skipping girl:

The architecture:

The slightly grungy, vintage style:

Hook turns:

The Nylex sign:

The railway stations:

Even the good old Melways:

I'm feeling the Melbourne-love right now. It's in the air like the pollen, dusting you gently every time you step out of the house.

(click on images to visit supplier). 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday 7-Up

Reading: outdated copies of British Vogue (from the library, yo)
Browsing: Creative Women's Circle
Watching: Marty-bom and his class performing "The Billy Goats Gruff"
Eating: Lindt Passionfruit Intense
Listening: Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine
Visiting: Harvest workroom
Wanting: Christmas to hurry up

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Inter-generational friends

A few weeks ago, my good friend Karls informed me that her 6y/o Marty would like to invite me to  'Special Friend's Day' at his primary school. My heart melted a little. Soon I received my invite in the mail, complete with sunshine/rainbow drawing and xo's around my name. Lord, the cuteness. So this afternoon I caught a train and cycled to his bayside primary school, where a bunch of grandparents and I watched the kids perform 'Billy Goats Gruff', followed by scones with jam and cream.

Let me tell you a bit about Marty. He's the epitome of sunshine; full of high energy in that 6y/o boy way, and he talks at HIGH VOLUME, ALL THE TIME (which might have something to do with sharing a house with 3 teenage girls). I've never seen him throw a tantrum, although once he got mad for about 2 minutes when an old guy pretended to tip his chair over. He's thoughtful and caring, loves to talk but also listens. He's curious and playful, a natural acrobat who likes to use me as a climbing gym. He will talk to anyone and throw himself into any new situation with absolutely no hesitation. He's told his mum, a social worker, that he would like to be a nurse when he's older so he can look after people.

He has the most beautiful head of curls and leonine eyes. If I had to sum him up, I would describe him as a 'happy lion'.

What an awesome kid. I'm proud to be your special friend, Marty.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Anatomy of the perfect weekend

I had a super-busy, super-lovely weekend.

Friday night: Roman Holiday and tim tams on the couch. Audrey Hepburn. Cary Grant Gregory Peck (I always get those two good looking men confused). Rome. *the mother of all contented sighs*

Saturday morning: Up and off to yoga class in the warm rain. Afterwards, stretched and calm, a friend and her curly-headed moppet of a 6 y/o pop over for an impromptu brekkie, bearing flowers and raisin bread. Then off to Williamstown, where we enjoy a delicious veggie lunch with friends and play with their 3 crazy dogs, driven inside by the continuing rain. On the way home, after a quick detour through Costco at Docklands, we catch the King Tut exhibition at Melbourne Museum and ogle at the ancient treasures on display.

Sunday: Local coffee and breakfast with a mate. Come back and read the weekend papers on the couch. Wander over to middle bro's to say hello to mum and dad, who have dropped in on their way to the city for a quick cuppa. Lots of hugs and banter. Browse the outlet shops on Bridge Road, where I buy these:

Aren't they amazing?? I don't even want to wear them, I just want to look at them and marvel at their awesomeness.

The shop assistant tells us that we should go to the Spanish fiesta in Fitzroy, he would if he wasn't working, it's such a gorgeous day for it. Why the hell not, we decide, and jump on a tram. 20 minutes later we are caught up in the festive crowd, handing out balloons  to gorgeous hispanic kids and being told off by the police for drinking Sangria in the street. We head home before dark, and end up watching The Big Bang Theory/Mythbusters on the couch before falling asleep.


You may have noticed I'm using the royal 'we' for this post. There's a boy in my life right now, and I'm having trouble keeping a lid on the gushing.

Let's just leave it at one word: 'lovely'.

Creativity takes time

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday 7-up

Reading: Australian Rolling Stone mag
Browsing: Vintage bike poster set on Flickr
Watching: Breaking Bad
Eating: Aussie mangoes
Listening: Theme Time Radio Hour, with your host Bob Dylan
Visiting: Espresso 3121
Wanting: A cure for hayfever

Monday, November 14, 2011

Welcome back to Australia!

"Oh hai there!! Ooops! Looks like you dropped your soap. You just continue your shower, girl, don't mind me hanging out here on your window. I'll keep an eye out for you, in fact I'll keep FOUR eyes out for you, that's not creepy AT ALL hahahaa! Can I borrow your razor? I think my legs need going over..."

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Workin' for the man... oh wait, I'm the man

Six months in and this 'working for myself' thing is turning out great...SO FAR. I don't know why I'm so reluctant to jinx myself by talking about how well it's going - I'm usually the opposite of superstitious (I can't believe that people still get upset about opening umbrellas indoors - as Napoleon Dynamite would say, GOSH) but for some reason I'm reluctant to celebrate the fact that I'm doing alright. It still feels a bit precarious, and I'm still getting used to surviving quiet weeks/months (August... yeeesh) without fretting that I will never work again.

But overall, I'm surviving. I've met some great people. I am loving it, still. I am never going to be rich, but that has never been my motivation. I just want to work. I still have a little trouble getting motivated in the mornings, but I'm quite happy to work into the evening, so - hey, it doesn't really matter, and I love that freedom. My interest in design has been rekindled. It was the corporate office environment that was killing me - the clock-watching. The time-wasting. Feeling hemmed in and straight-jacketed, even though I could wear jeans and flip-flops (I mean thongs).

More things I've learned on the way:

1. Be transparent about costs. Most people have no concept of how long something takes to design; and even less about how much time is spent mucking around with it (at their behest) afterwards. Be clear with your clients about how much time you're spending on a job and what it will cost them.

2. Protect your intellectual property. This is such a grey area, but after a client alerted me to it, I have added a clause about my designs remaining my property until the invoice is paid in full, and specifying that I retain the right to use the work for my own promotional purposes (unless they opt out).

3. Marketing without tears. I've been somewhat proactive about marketing myself, but I could certainly do more. However, networking is not my strong point and I'm not going to bust a gut going to events where I hand my card to 3 people and never hear from them again. I tend to do more 'passive' marketing, like leaving my postcards at cafés, posting (and replying to) ads on gumtree, and emailing studios with a link to my website. If I'm going to do networking, I want it to be fun - which is where meetup interest groups come in. This is something I was doing anyway, and occasionally I get asked for my business card, or even make a lovely new friend (hello, local buddy!).

4. Roll with the punches. You just have to go with the flow - enjoy the lulls - my flat, btw, has never been cleaner - and put your head down in the busy periods.

It's a fun, challenging, and endlessly interesting ride.
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