I asked Kat Deschan Illustrator, if she would have a quick chat with me, while I was admiring her stunning hand drawn art work, she was kind enough to say yes. Her art work was on display at the Byron Bay Festival of Design. The black and white pencil A1 drawing of a pair of one piece togs, covered in sunflowers and strawberries is the art work I was admiring. Kat told me that it took her about 25 hours of work.
I wish this was my sole income source, this is all I want to do. I just want to draw. I have a lot of support from my friends, but I have never really shown anyone my art work, this is the first time today. I really hope one day that this will be it for me. I loved her instantly, as this is exactly how I feel about my writing. She was honest and generous in how open she was, especially as I put her on the spot with the interview.
“So you have never sold your art work?”
“No. Nowhere, I mean I have never tried to.”
“Seriously? You have never tried to sell this beautiful art work!”
“No, I mean I have sold some things, I have done mostly drawings for friends. My friends are happy to pay for my art.”
I studied design and photography and film. When I was studying I got carried away and thought that I wanted to work in film, I finished my study, but soon realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I came to Australia from Germany and met my partner about two years ago. Only a couple of months ago, I remembered that I like to draw. I did draw when I was small. And now I am back doing it. But this is what I want to do now that I am in Byron Bay.
I have my Instagram account for now but will eventually get someone to set up a website for me. I would love to do workshops that would be so much fun. Where I work everyone is so interested and want me to show them how to do it. I mean it is so relaxing. At home I listen to audio books and music and draw. I would be happy to do that all day, twenty four seven.
Lounging in the sun at a coffee shop enjoying a heavenly caramel latte, with my photographer friend Marina and her pot of tea. We were discussing her love of photography, the sentimental importance of photographs, and the memories they can induce. Marina reminisced about her grandmother when speaking about photos that are most valuable to her.
“I look at the photos that I have of her, I remember the times that I spent with her”.
“The best gifts I received as a child were from my Grandmother, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, she would find beautiful presents, sometime months in advance and buy them for me and put them away. I remember as a little girl – I don’t know how hold, but small enough that, one time I saw package/ box on top of the cupboard and dragged a chair over, stood on tip toes and peaked in the box at a lovely new dress.”
“I spent most summer holidays with her; I loved spending my time with her. We didn’t have a car so was difficult to get to her home, but my father passed her village on his way to work and would drop me off on the way and pick me up after work, or leave me for the weekend or a fortnight. Her kindness, her cooking and her hands are clearest in my mind. She had rough hands, scratchy hands from working and cooking. I would pull up a little stool and sit between her legs pull up my top and she would run rough, scratchy hands over my little back.”
Marina stops and laughs and scratches her back “my back is itchy know as I tell you this”.
“We moved house at one point, I didn’t see her for a while until she moved 500 metres down the road from us with my uncle. I spent time with her every day. I am the oldest grandchild so got to spend a lot of time with her.”
“Once we moved from Kazakhstan to Germany, I only saw her twice in 9 years. I knew she was sick, but didn’t think that she would pass. We didn’t talk on the phone much, but I always knew how she was doing from my Mum, who spoke to my aunt. I was in Australia when she passed. I found out a week after she was gone. My poor Mum couldn’t cope, and my dad was looking after my Mum. I think they were stressed and that is why it took a week.”
“As a child we moved to Redcliffe when there was still dirt roads, we had to clear our own piece of land so that the house could be built. When Grandma was pregnant with your Aunty Kelli, I would take our dog for a walk in the pram practicing for when we had a new baby. When all the kids were born (mums 3 siblings) I would ride kilometres and kilometres to the Catholic girl’s school where you also went to primary school. I would have to ride past your fathers, Grandparents house and Grandfather would come out every afternoon on my way home, and give me a bunch of flowers for your Grandma”.
“Once we got married we never went on many holidays, only a couple of times beach camping. Then you girls came along and your father worked all the time.”
From my point of view as the eldest daughter, Mum has handled being a wife and mother with grace, dignity and elegance. She always had the whole family’s happiness as her focus, even Dad after he had torn her heart out.
“I think that I did ok raising you girls, I mean you’re good girls who have lovely families.”
I find perception amazing. Yes it was sad and devastating and it took a long time to adjust to the fact that we became a single parent family, and the way that happened. But it was almost a relief to just have the four of us girls at home. A decision had been made and it felt much more stress-free.
“I felt like such a failure, he left me for a women that was at one time a friend and had three daughters the same age as you three girls.”
Mum continued with routine and family traditions – like always eating our meals together, where we shared our day and what was happening, there was always something baked for afternoon tea (Mum makes the best caramel tart with whipped cream). Even through her pain, “There was some days that I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.” I never felt as though she let us witness those painful days, after the initial heartache had worn off. Mum always got up and presented herself in gorgeous clothes, shoes and had her hair styled.
Mum is a wonderful role model for me, she has taught us work ethic, through having her two jobs, always having an impeccable house and yard. She is also a stickler for routine, which made me feel safe as I always knew what was going on. She showed us how to be kind and generous and supportive by looking after Dad’s sisters in the palliative stages of their breast cancer journeys. She taught us to always be respectful and use manners and morals as a guide. Mum showed grace, courage and strength by never arguing with Dad in front of us, she always remained polite and accommodating, towards him.
“I always preferred when your father came to our place, to see you girls and having you girls with me than your father taking you away. Even though every time I saw the tail lights head down the drive way, I felt like I had taken 10 steps back”.
Mum always made sure that we had everything that we could need and never felt like we went without.
“I was left with $50″.
The school swimming carnival of that year, I needed new togs Mum took me to the surf shop and brought me a pair of pink Roxy one piece togs with little flowers on them, I LOVED them. But felt bad as I knew she couldn’t afford it.
As a mother myself of two boys and fumbling my way through as a wife and mother, I can only hope that I will be half the mother and granny that Mum is. I lean on Mum for support and guidance in the way that I mother my boys and live my wife life. Mum always offers sage advice, sometimes I don’t want it and sometimes it’s not just words that I need from my Mum. Mum has always made us kiss and cuddle each other goodbye, and sometimes even after a long chat I just need to feel like a child again and be held in Mums arms and feel her heart beating. At times just having mum cuddle me brings me to tears, knowing her support and love is always there.
Why back me financially, by having to pay to read the interviews? Because I am creating a platform for me to showcase my best work, build a community and get paid to keep on creating. The more patrons in our community means more interviews, and more stories. A portion of this money will be used to pay it forward, sharing the love with other women and girls and raising their voice.
Dressed in cut off shorts, t-shirt and jumper, big sunglasses and blonde pixie hair that I ran my fingers through before leaving home. I Embrace my inner lizard and climb the wooden rail and take up a spot on a sandstone rock to soak up and enjoy the little bit of warmth the winter sun provides, while my family surfsin the ocean below. All the surfers and body boarders look the same in with their black wetsuits and white boards. I am nervous with my boy’s out there in the expanse of ocean, but they love it. They don’t care about the size, temperature or being the small, amateurs amongst the adult locals.
A woman in her late teens dressed in cut off shorts exposing a leg tattoo that skims her knee, long hair piled on top of her head in a messy bun, a jumper with bikini straps hanging out the top, her little boy on her right hip and her left arm full of towels and bags followed her partner carrying a surf board down the wooden steps to the sand. She sets her load down on the sand, strips off her jumper, and starts unloading a bag with a hat and board shorts for her little one. Her little guy starts walking in the car tracks lining the beach.
Looking at the ocean I am silently cheering on one of my boys as he catches a beautiful wave all the way to the beach. (Lucky I didn’t loudly cheer like I wanted to. It was not one of my boys.)
A few minutes later in between a stream of surfers and body boarders, another family walked past me baking on my piece of sandstone rock.
A woman in her late twenties dressed in jeans, shoes and socks, jumper, scarf and a backpack. Her partner behind her with a little boy and surf board in one arm and towels and a bag in the other. The lady shakes out a towel and has a seat. The partner sets down the little boy, towels and bag. Arranges a towel for the little boy, grabs his surfboard and runs into the surf. The Mumma pulls out a phone and an Ipad, she hands the Ipad to the little boy and starts tapping on her phone.
As I watch the ocean and try to identify my family, little boy one runs to the edge of the water and plays tag with the waves, I can hear his belly laughs as the waves almost touch his bare feet. Next to him his Mum writes with a stick in the wet sand.
My husband catches a great little wave and flings himself into the water as the wave ends. I know that it’s him from the colour of his wetsuit and the way that his foot sticks up as he duck dives.
Little boy two runs to copy little boy one, his mum puts down her phone, picks up little boy two places him back on the towel with the Ipad and dusts off his shoes.
My littlest boy comes out of the ocean, with a slight purple hue about him. I peel myself off my rock and meet him at the stairs. He is frozen and can barely speak, but tells me he had heaps of fun and runs to the car to get changed.
As I try and find my other boy in the crowd of surfers, little boy one races away up the beach with his mumma pretending to chase him. Little boy two hasn’t lifted his head from the Ipad screen. My littlest one comes up behind me and puts his freezing cold hands over my face and laughs his little head off.
I notice people’s hands, I have a weird little quirk about hands, I find them interesting and I think you can tell a lot about someone from looking at their hands.
It has been a running joke with my husband for the 19 years that we have been together – I always tell him he is lucky he has rough manly hands or he wouldn’t be touching me. He was a tradie for most of the time that I have been with him, I like that his hands look like they have worked, with callouses, skin off and stains on his strong hands. I also work in a hospital, and find Doctors hands fascinating. I look at some hands and they are more feminine than mine but am blown away with the knowledge that those hands save lives every day.
At work last week it was my job to admit to the hospital a patient that was having a right pneumonectomy (removal of right lung). I called the ticket number corresponding with the patient and prepared the paperwork for the admission. There was three forms to be signed and total of 4 signatures needed.
The two chairs in front of me promptly filled I looked up and said “Good morning, I am just going to complete your admission paperwork and get you up to the ward. Ok?” The man spoke softly in Burmese to the 39.3kg woman that is the same age as my Mum and wouldn’t even reach my shoulders. She smiled a beautiful smile that made the skin around her eyes wrinkle and nodded her head. I explained all the paperwork to her, letting my gaze bounce between her and her interpreter, ( I always feel awkward in these situations, because I don’t want to be rude to either person, so end up looking like one of those clowns in side show ally at the show, with my head going side to side).
I handed the petite lady then pen and pointed to where she needed to sign and what the signatures were for. Obviously, me with my weird hand preoccupation noticed this ladies hands. Her tiny hands, looked as if they had been made of beautiful tan leather, with deep wrinkles, scars, callouses and dark spots on the back of her hands. Her fingers were short, nails trimmed and clean but were thick and muscled up. These hands had worked hard all of their life. She gave me another beaming smile as she held the pen at a clumsy angle in her masculine hands. I smiled back as her interpreter instructed her to sign the paper. I continued with my job of admitting her and entering information into her file on the hospital data base, while talking to the ward to secure her bed. The interpreter pushed the paper across the desk to me as I continued to process this ladies details. I looked down to start the paper trail, sending the documents to where they needed to go and noticed that my sweet, happy, hardworking Burmese lady had signed all the paperwork with a circle.
I tried not to let the moisture clouding my vision fall.
I finished her admission, secured her bed on the ward and instructed the interpreter on where to take, this gorgeous soul. The interpreter spoke to her and she stood from her chair, placed praying hands at her solar plexus and bowed to me. I of course had tears, blew her a kiss and bowed my head.
Sarah and I had coffee on Wednesday morning like we always do, she said “I will send you my CV, I am finding writing it and my portfolio frustrating because I know that I am good, why can’t people just see that”. My gorgeous friend Sarah Heath, emailed me her CV, and asked if I could go over it and let her know if I could find any errors, let her know about the wow factor that I felt.
As I was reading through the CV, I understood her frustration. Sarah is a graphic designer, the document had perfect layout and my eye was drawn to headings like – experience, education, interests and references. I know all of this this information is important, and tells potential employees and clients what Sarah has done, and she has completed some impressive work eg. Senior freelance designer at Evolve Salons. Designing, branding and marketing for 15 salons. She has designed for icons like Sheraton Hotels and Commonwealth Bank. Earth E Magazine, a quarterly online magazine has been graced by Sarah’s creative eye for design. She has impeccable brand design skills. I call Sarah the berry lady, My Berries and numerous soft fruit and berry producers have built brands on the back of her logos, packaging, advertising and marketing material. Various Wordpress and websites have also been designed and overhauled with Sarah’s skills. Ever the generous lady, multiple high school and university students have benefitted from Sarah’s mentoring.
While the above is important and this is how people have to sell themselves. As I was reading, I kept thinking about the lady that I know. That is the vibrant woman, motivated by culture, by diversity and design features from all over the globe. She is broad in her thinking, and is continually educating herself, not only formally via her Internet communications degree. But by listening to podcasts hosted by experts, by attending events like writing festivals, she seeks out alternative articles and information from multiple sources like flip board and reputable websites. I thought about the woman that for the next 12 months has quenched her wanderlust, while she builds a home, in a location that will give her direct access to other loves of hers, like the theatre and galleries. I thought about the art fanatic that loves to wonder a gallery and admire great works as much as she enjoys traipsing an ally and admire street art. Sarah has travelled the globe, this woman has travelled everywhere, she has experienced the world, and she has embraced other cultures and their societies. Her favourite place to visit is Spain. I thought about the merlot sipping, foodie that loves nothing more than to spend time with family and friends and enjoy interesting conversation and belly laughs. The Mumma that agonised over the design, layout and flow of the school magazine for weeks also entered my mind. The woman that loves green, I don’t just mean the colour, she is passionate about respecting, being conscious about, and looking after our earth. This consciosness spills over into her designing method.
See all of the above doesn’t really fit into a CV. BUT, for a creative person and designer all of these life experiences influence her thoughts, design and work. But, maybe her creative, and design style is in her blood coming from an architect father and a highly educated mother who is active in multiple facets of the arts.
Wouldn’t it be great if the last page of a CV, could be a page of friends thoughts or knowledge on a person.
I really didn’t have faith in myself on 1st November that I would actually make the 30 days. I am so glad that I did though, it has been a fun but confronting and scary challenge for me. I have found it incredibly nerve wracking to post my writing on a public page and let others read it. I have had hundreds of likes on my page and I have gained 44 followers in one month of writing. I have had fun learning about blogging, I have read some really fabulous posts from other bloggers in the challenge, and I have revealed little bits about me On my last day of daily blogging, (maybe, I haven’t really decided if I will continue to blog daily, weekly, monthly or ever again) I thought I would tell a little, very personal story about me.
My poor heart is pounding out of my chest and my fingers are shaking and I keep missing the keys while I am writing this. There is maybe a handful of people that know about this and really only one other person that knows most of the story and I wasn’t going to tell anyone else until it was finished, but this seems like a good time and place.
Just over 1 year ago, I made contact with a lady and asked her to help me with something that she specialises in, we talked and communicated with each other for a few weeks mostly on Facebook. She set up everything that was needed and I went and spent 4 hours with her one afternoon. I hadn’t even told my husband about this appointment. He called me just to say hi and have a chat on the morning of my appointment and he knew straight away that something was going on with me. He was flying in the next day and me in my stupidity thought I would talk to him then. That didn’t happen and in my nervous chatter told him what was happening that day, he was shocked speechless and told me about one thousand times to text him or call him to let him know what was happening.
For me it was a surreal experience, I walked into where I had to meet the lady, I wasn’t nervous, or scared, and I had this weird calmness about me.
She got me all set up and I was lying face up on a massage table, staring at the ceiling that needed painting and a fan that needed cleaning. Just as I was starting to get a bit nervous, my phone beeped with a text, it was a girlfriend that I had called and asked her to meet me here in my freak out as I drove to the appointment. She was texting to say that she couldn’t make it – I was actually glad and was relieved to be doing this on my own. I felt incredibly rude texting while lying on the table and apologised to the lady, she laughed told me to do what I want, listen to music, text, call people whatever.
There is no way in the world that I could have talked, texted or listened to music, while this lady scratched away at my skin with her tattoo gun. YES. That is right I have a big ol’ tattoo across my left side. A big one. I thought long and hard and there was A LOT of Pinterest pictures involved in how I wanted it to look. It is the birth flowers of my husband, my two sons, my mum and my dad, I have 3 butterflies that represent me and my two sisters, I have a hidden tea cup (representing my friends), a stack of books (I love books, learning and a good story), and lady doing a tree pose in yoga (I love yoga) (kinda where’s wally style, you have to stare at the tattoo to find them).
Let me tell you about the place I went to and the experience of getting a tatt.
The lady that did it was a kind, gentle and truly lovely lady, with great skill. She was COVERED head to toe in tatts (she really was, she had them on her face and she told me the first one she ever got was when she was 15 and it is on her bum). When I walked into this place, I nearly laughed out loud at the absurdity of me being in a place that was quiet obviously a biker tatt shop, seriously, the dude on the front counter had about 3 phones that he was using and only one of them looked legit, I am positive the rest were throw a ways. He was polite enough offered me a drink, seat, a smoke. (I mean it was hilarious, me the straighty one eighty school mum, that has never tried a cigarette, only drinks occasionally, has had the same guy since I was 18, and gets stressed if we don’t eat dinner by 6pm).
There was me in the shop, the same time I was getting prepped to get my HUGE tattoo, there was a football player on the table next to me getting a deer head tattooed on his foot. (This guy must have been a front rower because he was HUGE, and he yelled and cried out for the tattoo dude to stop every 5 minutes. He was there nearly as long as I was. At one point the tattoo dude, stopped what he was doing pointed at me with his tattoo gun, in my trance like state, staring at the ceiling and said “look at this petite, little, tiny, chick she hasn’t fuckin moved or stopped once, and you, you big brute are being a baby, man the fuck up.) There also seemed to be a constant stream of walk-ins, at one stage there was two eighteen year old girls came into to get best friend tattoos (that seems like bad karma to me).
I found it a bizarre experience, I was on my back most of the time and a one stage I was on my belly for a little while. I apologised profusely to the lady that I hadn’t been chatting to her. I was in the kind of daze where I literally just stared at the ceiling, my feet or glared at the baby footballers head, willing him to shut up. I was there for four hours straight, the scraping and scratching of the gun I found quiet soothing ( I was definitely in one of my darker places, and when I am feeling this way I seem to go a bit numb. This has increased since we have done fifo, I think I go a bit numb with emotions when my husband is away so much, because it is a bit of coping mechanism.) So to actually have no choice but to feel, felt like a release. The buzzing and vibrating over the bottom section of my ribs made me want to vomit and towards the end when she was shading and going over and over the same spot, I felt like I had really bad sunburn and someone was scratching the needles directly onto the burn. Just before she finished, the baby footballer limped passed me, gave me a high five and told me I was one tough chick. When she did finish, I felt high and quiet alert and my nerves seemed to be heightened, I could see how people get addicted to the feeling.
After I got the tat, I expected to have a feeling of wanting to show it off to everyone. But in fact I have almost guarded it and protected it and kept it very private. There is only a few people know that I have got it and that includes my husband and children. It is not finished yet, I still have to get the colour done, and I expect that it will be even more special to me when that is done.
The writing, the professional setup, and images on these blogs is freaking gorgeous!!!!! Makes this new blogger feel like the ugly, new kid in high school, compared to the gorgeous popular girls.
I also stalked there Instagram accounts, talk about blown away with the images, branding and the amount of followers some of these women have. (barefootblonde 1 MILLION, 1 MILLION followers), I find it absolutely fascinating that 1 million people follow one person. Can you imagine every image you post 1 MILLION people see it, this woman must seriously have brands throwing their products at her. I would love to get to sit down with a wine or a coffee and chat to this woman.
In the 20 days that I have been doing this blog challenge, 15 gorgeous people have started following my blog, 999,985 to go before I have brands throwing products at me.