Monday, October 31, 2011

{strange days, endings, beginnings and a giveaway - blogtoberfest day XXXI}

Ordinary Moments

There was a song we used to sing when I was little:

There was an old man called Michael Finnigan
He grew whiskers on his chinigan
The wind came along and blew them in again
Poor old Michael Finnigan, 
begin again

It's been playing over and over in my head as I've been thinking about blogtoberfest coming to an end.  The ways things can start over and over again.  The number of times I've posted on this blog about beginnings.  The cycle of endings and beginnings.

I don't think there's ever been a Blogtober where I haven't felt a sense of things changing around and within me.  I'm not sure if it's simply the arrival of Spring and it's inherent regeneration, the taking time to notice and reassess that seems to come hand in hand with the practice of {almost}daily blogging, or just pure coincidence {if you believe in such things}.

This Blogtober has been the most challenging so far.  It's been the first time in four years where I haven't actually managed to blog everyday.  There was no way through.  I was running on empty, and ultimately my body gave in on me and there was nothing to do but surrender. It wasn't really about blogging, but everthing about how much I was trying to hold.  How much I'm always holding.  And all the stuff underneath.

Blogtoberfest will be back next year.  I love it and I'm committed to it, for it's longevity alone.  For the way it brings people together, for the new connections it creates, for the noticing it brings.  However, it's also time for me to let go of the reigns a little and invite some new energy into this space.  I want to build a blogtoberfest team.  A group of creative souls who will help me take this little festival of ours to it's next incarnation.  If you would like to be part of the team please email me at tinniegirl/at/  I don't know what you'll be signing up for and we won't even begin the conversation about it until sometime next year.  But I'd love to have you.  I know that both Blogtoberfest and I need you.

Thank you, again, for being part of my journey.  For riding these waves of growth, hope, defeat and renewal.  For being with me through the beginnings and endings, the seasons of my life.  I feel profoundly changed by and grateful for your presence in my life.

I've decided to save the grand finale giveaway until tomorrow.  Beginning of a new month and all!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

{sunday snippets - blogtoberfest day XXX}

Creating Clearings



My Boy

Are you joining in this week?


Please forgive me if you've emailed me recently {including the giveaway winners} and are still waiting to hear back from me.  I'm a little swamped with some good stuff and some shit stuff just at the minute.  I'll get back to you soon.  I promise.

See you tomorrow for the Blogtoberfest wrap and that super special giveaway that Cam hinted at yesterday.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

{psssst: a super sneaky post - blogtoberfest day XXIX}

Granny fabric 4

Well hello there Dear Blogtoberfesters.... it's me CurlyPops

I'm taking over to write a little super sneaky blog post, because poor {tinniegirl} is internet-less. It seems that the gremlins that interrupted my supply on Thursday, have now travelled North.

I really want to tell you about a super fabulous giveway that is happening right here in this space, to celebrate the grand finale of Blogtoberfest for this year.

Amongst the prizes is a fat-quarter of my Go Granny Fabric.

There's lots more to come..... stay tuned peeps!

Friday, October 28, 2011

{words: a list - blogtoberfest day XXVIII}

New letters

A random collection of words that I'm carrying with me right now:

I am a woman on a mission, whoa
Nothing can stop me, I'm stronger than ever
I wanna see this through
I am a woman on a mission, whoa
Whatever it takes, I'll do what I gotta do
                                            On A Mission - Gabriella Cilmi 

These two posts by Goddess Leonie blew me away.  Take the time to read all 11,000 words. I don't have children and I don't intend to experience birth first hand but  I promise you there is a message for you, for every single one of you in these words.

I found this post by Lori Portka.  It's like she took the words I've been trying to articulate for weeks now and just wrote them down for me.  And then she added some advice to guide me on my way.  Everything I needed to say and everything I needed to hear right there just waiting for me.

So raise your glass if you are wrong, in all the right ways,
all my underdogs, 
we will never be never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty dirty little freaks
Won't you come on and come on and raise your glass,
                                          Raise Your Glass - Pink

More real - here, here, here and here.  I know, I keep talking about it, but I can't get enough of the real at the moment.    I've been living a 'groundhog day' kind of existence these past 5 months.  Trying to numb myself to the enduring and overwhelming sense of mediocrity that has been taking over my life.  I am only just seeing the cost of that survival.  How I've had to silence myself.  How in order not to scream I've hardly been able to speak. Of dreams, hope, fear, hopelessness, envy, sadness, confusion, of how my heart has been breaking.  No more I say.  No more.

No need to run and hide
It's a wonderful, wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry
It's a wonderful, wonderful life
                                         Wonderful Life - Tina Cousins

Words from me, to me and to you today: you are perfect, exactly the way you are.

Lastly, I'm sharing words over at Your Heart Makes a Difference today.


Can you believe blogtoberfest is almost over?  It's been a blur this time around, but I'll save my reflections for Monday.

Pop round tomorrow though.  I've got another seriously kick ass giveaway for you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

{simple pleasures - blogtoberfest day XXVI}

Absent Present

Catching up with a great friend for the first time in years.  Don't you love how with some people it's like no time has passed at all.  Good conversation, Indian food and a glass of luscious red.

Excuse me, gotta get back to it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

{and so it goes - blogtoberfest day XXV}

Meat and 3 Veg

Inspired by Susannah's post, which I mentioned yesterday, and the idea of bring more authenticity and 'real' back to this space here's my list:

Good stuff
  • Spending the WHOLE day out of bed.  The simplest things can bring so much joy.
  • Taking a 20 minute walk.   The first exercise I've done in 3 weeks.
  • Seeing my former personal trainer today and the first words out of her mouth being OMFG on seeing how much weight I've lost.  Almost 10kg now!  That's without being able to exercise too.  Just a firm resolve and a totally new relationship with food. Feels so, so good!
  • Getting a second glimpse of the super secret squirrel business I'm collaborating on.   It is blowing my mind, and completely changing the way I see my art forever.  I can't wait to spill the beans and it's not too far away now.
  • More work on getting my Etsy shop re-opened.  Feels great to be getting ready to put my creative self back out in the world.
  • An upcoming skype date with two fabulous women.
  • Getting some major blogging mojo back.
  • Hanging on to my positive outlook despite all the shit stuff.
Shit stuff:
  • Ms L coming down with the lurgy!  We are seriously praying that it does not become a bout of bronchitis for her too!
  • 7 days of no pay for me and 4 days of no pay for Ms L this fortnight.  It's going to be a tough month.
  • Feeling some days like we might never do anything but merely get by in this lifetime.  All the dreams of a creative business, a life of travel and adventure, spending my days doing work I love can feel so completely out of reach.
  • Chronic illness.
  • Suspecting that my blogging and all other mojo may disappear on returning to work tomorrow.
  • Having to work so damn hard to stay positive.

How about you?  Do you want to make a list?  Leave your link if you do so we can come take a look.

PS.  You don't have to swear like me!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

{random - blogtoberfest day XXIV}


A gratuitous cat shot makes for a nice post don't you think?

I spent more hours out of bed today.  Feeling very pleased about that.

Being so sick has had me thinking a lot about being being real and being positive, and how to balance these two things in this space.  I thought Susannah Conway did a nice job of it here.  I also really liked what Kat said in this post about how our struggles connect us.

In other news I'm going to be a regular contributor to a new project that Louise Gale has launched.  Your HeART Makes a Difference is all about living with gratitude, practicing self-care and kindness, creativity and spreading positivity and happiness throughout the world.  I'm so excited to be part of this collaboration.  Go and explore the website and join in.

I'm super excited about another collaboration that I'm working on at the moment.  It's so incredibly awesome and I can't wait to spill the beans.  It's total super secret squirrel business at the moment though.  Stay tuned.

It's about time I announced some giveaway winners.  Michele from Just Pipi, Nettie, Erin_in_Boston and Anna from sew and read you've all won yourselves a fancy schmancy new USB thanks to the good folk at Zip Zip.  Email me at tinniegirl/at/ with your address and any particular colour preference {red, green, blue and yellow} and I'll pop your prize in the post.  I only have one of each colour so first email gets first preference, etc.

I've got another super dooper giveaway coming up.  You won't want to miss this one either.

I've got a million other things that I want to get working on when I get my energy back.  I've got my first solo gallery exhibition coming up in February 2012 {which ain't all that far away}, I'm itching to create some new paintings that are floating around in my head {it's been way too long since I've painted regularly}, I've got plans and ideas {always} and some other collaborations, and I want to get my Etsy shop reopened in the next couple of weeks.  See, I don't have time to be sick or go to the day job!

Will you look at that!  A whole blog post!  Just like that!  It seems I really may be back from beyond.  Yippee!!!!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

{back from beyond - blogtoberfest day XXIII}


Hello peeps!  I seem to finally be on the mend.  Ever so slowly but surely.  Boy oh boy, has this one knocked me for six.  I can't remember being this sick in a very long time. 

I didn't manage any {sunday snippets} today.  Nor did I manage to draw winners of the giveaway yet {which means you can still enter here}.

But I made it here to my little blog and that feels like an achievement today.  I also managed to spend a couple of hours out of bed and took a slow walk around the block.  All good signs.

Not sure if I'll be back tomorrow, and I very much doubt that I'll return to daily blogging for the remainder of the month, but I will return soon.

Thanks for all your lovely well wishes.  They really buoyed me through the last few days.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

{zip-a-dee-doo-dah - a giveaway, and a temporary farewell - blogtoberfest day XIX}

This is one of those great stories of ask and thou shalt receive.  I was sitting in my studio a few Sundays back thinking that I wanted a new USB stick and I remembered the really fab one I bought Ms L a few years back.

Image courtesy of zip-zip

I was at the Design Market at Fed Square when I first came across Zip-Zip.  The coolest USB stick on the block.  As I was browsing their website thinking about buying myself one I had a different thought.

Image courtesy of zip-zip

So I wrote to the company and told them about a little thing called Blogtoberfest and asked them if they might consider donating one for a giveaway.  It can't hurt to ask I thought.  I got an email in response saying they'd love to help out with four Zip-Zips for me to giveaway.  How fantastic is that?

Image courtesy of zip-zip

If you would like to win your very own fabulous Zip-Zip USB stick in either red, yellow, blue or green all you need to do is leave a comment.

I'll draw winners on Saturday.  Go....

In other news I'm very sorry to say that I'm going to have to take a couple of days off Blogtoberfest.  I have been trying with all my heart to continue blogging through a very nasty bout of bronchitis.  The truth is I'm not feeling particularly festive at all.  I'm actually exhausted and I need to rest body, mind and soul.  I don't even have the energy to organise some guest posts or to manage a daily photo.  So I will bid you farewell until Saturday and will see how things are then.  Keep the campfire burning for me won't you?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

{i heart Ms L - blogtoberfest day XVIII}


From my heart to yours.

Happy birthday Ms L, aka Dr Doc!

Monday, October 17, 2011

{um, no thanks - blogtoberfest day XVII}

Not Sure About This Fella

It seemed obvious to me that they were destined to be mates.


They're practically twins, right down to their sweet ginger noses.

Nup, No Thanks

But no, she's not having a bar of him!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

{here's one I prepared earlier - self-portrait challenge - blogtoberfest day XVI}

Me - Sept 2011

This one was taken a few weeks back at the Montalto Vineyard sculpture park.  Happy and relaxed, enjoying the sunshine.

Today's self-portrait would look pretty similar to yesterdays.  In bed, in my sleepwear, bed hair and a worn look on my face.  I wish this lurgy would go away now.

Are you joining me today in the self-portrait challenge? Pop your link in below.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

{i heart Ric-Rac & Baxter - blogtoberfest day XV}

I'm not sure when I first came across Baxter.  I trawled through Jodie's blog looking for her very first post about him but I couldn't find it.  It's enough to tell you that it was love at very first sight.

Today Ms L arrived home from a trip down the street with a parcel in hand!  Ric-Rac has been conspiring with Ms L and CurlyPops to surprise me....

My new buddy

My very own Baxter to love and to cherish.  And trust me, I already do.


We've been getting acquainted and enjoyed a spot of lunch {courtesy of Melbourne Epicure - it was absolutely divine Cathie}.

Baxter enjoys lunch

Thank you soooooooooooooooo much Jodie.  You are the best {and you saved me from a total Blogtoberfest fail cause I had absolutely nothing to say today}.


If you don't know Jodie you should definitely pop over and visit her blog.  As well as being generally awesome she's also extremely funny and extraordinarily talented.  We've know each other though blogging for quite some years now and she's definitely one of my favourite peeps.


Tomorrow will be self-portrait day here on the blog {replacing Sunday Snippets for this week}.  Over the last year or so I've become quite interested in putting myself in front of the camera more and really love taking self portraits.  I've just signed up for Vivienne McMaster's You Are Your Own Muse, which feels like such a gift to myself at the moment.

Last year Karin from Sum of Mum suggested we all do a self-portrait on our blogs during Blogtoberfest. I posted mine here.  Join me tomorrow with your own self-portrait.  I'll put a linky list up for everyone who's playing along.  I know this was a big challenge for some people last year and I would love to see your lovely faces again this year.  If you're too, too shy you can always be creative and take a self-portrait of your feet, or maybe your hands, or maybe you've got some other great idea.

See you tomorrow?

Friday, October 14, 2011

{i'd rather be - blogtoberfest day XIV}

Inspired by a comment from Erin_In_Boston here's a little list of what I'd like to be doing instead of being sick.

Make your own catalog card here

I'm sure my employer would love to see me at work sometime too!


So my plan next week, if all goes well, is to talk about community, about building a great blog, and about some of the people who have/do really inspire me in this great blogosphere. Oh, and to have some giveaways.  That's the plan!  We'll see what next week brings hey.?

In the meantime I'm loving H's Blogtoberfest blogroll.  It really does make it easy to keep up with all the blogs.  Thanks so much H.  I'll definitely make it a standard part of the festival from here on in.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

{nothing to see here - blogtoberfest day VIII}

Reality Bites

Being sick is so boring.  I'm sorry to be such a dull host.  I'll be back full of inspiration, stories and giveaways as soon as I possibly can.  In the meantime I'll see what kind of post I can manage on a daily basis and you'll have to talk amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

{besties - blogtoberfest day XII}


It was a rocky start years ago when we brought home the 6 week old Little Cat.  She was so tiny and timid.  We thought BigCat was going to tear her to pieces.  

I was completely smitten and in love from day 1 and I remember the anxious first weeks where we were terrified that we'd have to take her back.

Over the years they seem to have found an amicable life side by side.  I don't think either would ever admit it but I'm pretty sure they'd be lost without each other now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

{please join me - blogtoberfest day XI}

Sit Down

Did you know that I host a group on Flickr called {messages from the universe}?  It's a place to share all those great signs and messages that you come across in your travels through life.

I started it a while back now and I've sadly neglected it most of this year.  I'd been lamenting the fact that I never seemed to see any messages from the universe anymore until recently when I realised that I'd just stopped noticing.  I've being seeing them all over the place again and soaking them right up.

I'd love it if you'd join the group and share your finds.  I'll be starting a monthly {messages from the universe} post here on the blog featuring some of the great finds.

I wish I'd listened to the message in the photo above.  The dreaded lurgy is back {thankfully not with the same vengeance as the last time}.  I think I'm going to join Louise Gale's Color Bliss Mini Retreat and have a good cleanse and re-energise.  Anyone want to join me?

Monday, October 10, 2011

{how it goes - blogtoberfest day X}


Sorry, I'm totally bombing out today.  It's been a full on few days.

I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with that post I promised yesterday and a bit more energy.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

{sunday snippets - blogtoberfest day IX}

Dinner prep

Saturday dinner

Studio shot 091011

Sunday Sunday
There's definitely a pattern to Sundays/weekends around here

Are you joining me for {sunday snippets} this week?  Leave your link below.  If you're wondering what this {sunday snippets} business is about read this post.


If you'd like to join blogtoberfest pop down here to read all about it and sign up.

I've now got two awesome giveaways coming up soon peeps.  You are so going to want to win them.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post.  I'm going to talk a little about how to build your blog, how to keep your mojo and how not to feel like you're talking to the walls.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

{we heart packages - blogtoberfest day VIII}

Box Love

Thanks Monica.  Both BigCat and I very much loved receiving your package a little while back.  I never got around to showing you just how much.


H from Stitcharooney came up with a very useful idea for Blogtoberfest.  She's put together a blog roll over here of all the Blogtoberfest participants to help keep up with all the happenings.  Thanks H, it's a great idea.  I'm off to visit some new blogs this afternoon.

How are you enjoying Blogtoberfest so far?

Friday, October 7, 2011

{buzz, buzz, buzz - blogtoberfest day VII}


It's hard to believe it was April 2009 when I first made mention of a yearning to collaborate with other creative souls.  I've carried that yearning ever since.  There have been a couple of tentative steps, lots of reaching out and some intentful discussions, but nothing solid has ever come to fruition.  I reached a point where I knew I just had to let go of the longing.  But it never left me.

There is a shift taking place in my life at the moment that feels so much bigger than anything I could have planned or foreseen.  A part of me is both laughing at myself and wanting to reject the oh-so-simple truth that things do happen in their own good time and only when we are truly ready.  It's all the stuff that I know in theory, that we all know in theory, that I've written about for years, that I've studied in e-courses and read in books.  It's the tape reel that plays over and over in your head and the learning that you seem to have to learn over and over again.

I have a number of really, truly, ruly exciting collaborations in the pipeline that I can't wait to share with you.  Although they are in the early stages of development they are more solid than anything that's been on the table before and I know it's only a matter of time till they'll reach fruition.  And they're good.  Oh so good.

I am so grateful to share this journey with all of you who travel with me.  I am humbled and honoured.  And I feel blessed to see the path ahead for the first time in a long, long time.  And to see that it's sunny and warm.  And to see myself standing strong on it ready to break into a run.

Have a gorgeous weekend my friends.


I haven't forgotten the giveaway I mentioned on Wednesday.  It just has to wait a wee bit longer.  It will be worth it though.  Trust me.

There's still time to join in with the Blogtoberfest goodness.  If you haven't signed up yet just pop down here to add your name to the list.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

{sombre - blogtoberfest day VI}

Man and his traveling companion

There's been a lot of grief in my life.  Both my best friends in life gone within a few years of each other.  Both taken young.  Both after fighting for their lives.

And many other deaths of friends, relatives, clients across the course of time.  It feels like death has always circled my life closely.  Perhaps that's how it goes for everyone.

This recent passing is a little less confronting.  It's not someone quite so close, and from what I know he lived a long and full life.

But I'm constantly learning that our grief always sits just below the surface, all wrapped up together.  And it takes so very little for it to step up and travel right alongside you again for a while.  Over the years I've made peace with it for the most part.  It's become a traveling companion of sorts.

Travel well and safely Brian.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

{roly poly tumble bumble pell mell - blogtoberfest day V}


The end

Down to the ground

Look up

I remembered while on holidays how great it is to roll down steep hills, to laugh lots and do silly things.  I remembered how good life is and I've been reminded this week of how it comes and then it goes, and how much I want to savour all of it.  I so want to live a big hearty life.  I guess I already am.


Have you joined in for Blogtoberfest yet?  It's not too late.  It's never too late.  Sign up right here.

I've got the best giveaway coming up.  Can't wait to spill the beans.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

{the house of retro goodness - blogtoberfest day IV}

Happy House




Retro Cold Collation

Ms L's friends own the most fabulous house down on the Mornington Peninsula.  I've dubbed it 'the house of retro goodness'.  It's full to the brim with sensational retro furniture, bric a brac, etc, etc.  It's absolutely delightful.  Stepping into it is like stepping back in time.

A time where I sat at my grandmother's laminated table on the vinyl chairs having supper before I went to bed.  A time where I cosied up in the lounge room in front of the heater in the evenings playing monopoly and cluedo.  A time where the tv got turned off in favour of spending time with people.  Good times.  Simple times.

We're very lucky that these wonderful people have offered up their beach house to us on a number of occasions this year.  On both visits I've returned home feeling completely refreshed and renewed.  There's some magic in that house , 'the house of retro goodness'.

And I so want to take home that dinner set!

Monday, October 3, 2011

{a travelers guide - blogtoberfest day III}


Here we all are, three days in {or two days for my northern hemisphere friends}.  Thank you so much for your phenomenal response, for your support, for taking the challenge, for joining in.   It's so exciting and it really does feel like a time of renewal for me on so many fronts.  I've loved reading all your comments, feeling your enthusiasm and watching this amazing community come together.  Yay for Blogtoberfest!

So I know a few people have signed up for their first Blogtoberfest, and even a few old timers have said that they wonder how they'll make it through a month of daily blogging.  Here's my list of tips and tricks for getting through the month relatively unscathed.
  • Have fun - that's my number 1 tip.  I don't think blogging should ever be a chore or a stress.  It's definitely a commitment and totally a challenge but if you're not having fun feel free to walk away.  For a day, a week, whatever you need.  Feel free to come and go or participate in whatever way works for you.  Feel free to just take the pretty button and post it on your blog and leave it at that.  Seriously, it's all in fun!
  • Let out you're inner naughty kid - you know, the one who likes to skip school or has the best excuses for not doing their homework.  Let's see who can come up with the best excuse.
  • A picture's worth a thousand words - if you've been around this blog a while you'll know I'm a huge fan of photography.  Nothing fancy schmancy.  Just simple photos of daily life.  If you've run out of words just snap a picture and post it.  I actually love photos with no explanation.  It's kind of like reading a great book, you know where you create the images yourself.  Well this way you get to create the story yourself.  You could even run a guessing game and get people to come up with different explanations. 
  • Get someone to guest post - invite your kids, a friend, your partner, a blogger you admire, a complete stranger {ok, the last one might be a little hard logistically} to do a guest post on your blog.  Give them a topic or give them free reign.  A fresh perspective is always fun.
  • Start a meme - in the blogosphere a meme is a post that you do regularly that you invite other people to join in with by also posting on that theme to their own blog.  Our Creative Spaces is a great weekly meme started by kootoyoo {definitely check out her amazing blog if you don't already know it}  {sunday snippets} is my weekly meme that I've been doing for the past couple of months.  Why not start one of your own.  It could be a regular thing or just a one off or just for Blogtober.  Another good one is to list 5 or 10 or a million things about yourself that nobody knows and ask others to do the same on their blog.  Oh and here's one that Cath of Chunky Chooky fame did last year that was really fun.  I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you fired it up this year.  If you've got any great memes you think people might like to know about or you decide to start one up shoot me an email at tinniegirl/at/ and I'll put a meme list over in my sidebar as well.
  • Here's my survival guide from last year if you want a few more ideas.
  • The great big list - For easy reference I've put a link to the sign up list over in my side bar, just below the button.  That way you can easily come and find the list if you want to dip into some new blogs.
  • Giveaways - if you haven't already be sure to stop by and visit the giveaway page over at CurlyPops.  There's already a few giveaways up for grabs and I'm sure there'll be more over the month.
  • Have fun.  Have fun.  Have lots of fun.
OK, I think that's about all I can suggest.  If you've got any other great tips and tricks for cruising through Blogtober leave them in the comments so that everyone can have a read.  I'd love to know how you approach Blogtoberfest.

And if you see anything fantastic out there as you're traveling on the Blogtoberfest highway or you're doing something special yourself  be sure to shoot me an email and let me know.  I want to hear all about it.

Oh, and if you haven't signed up to join in yet you can do that here.  It's never too late.
See you tomorrow.  I've got something lovely to show you, and a story that goes with it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

{sunday snippets - blogtoberfest day II}

Le Wagon

Studio shot 021011

DWYL Values Exercise

For those of you new to my blog {sunday snippets} is a weekly post that I do.  I like to take some photos of my weekend every week and post them on a sunday afternoon to show what I've been up to.  I let the photos do the talking and don't bother with any words.

You're invited to join me for {sunday snippets} each week.  Take some photos, post them to your blog and leave your link in the weekly link list.  In your post link to either my weekly post or my blog so others can come and join in.


Thanks everyone for the awesome response to Blogtoberfest this year.  It's so great to have you along for the ride.  If you haven't signed up yet go here to join.  Stay tuned for my travelers guide to Blogtoberfest tomorrow.