Wednesday, October 28, 2009

savers haul

I just got off the phone with Jo from Frankie magazine for an interview in an upcoming issue. As a teenager I was totally shy, and I'm still kind of getting over it, so I was nervous-but-thinking-happy-thoughts. Near the beginning I had a total brain freeze at one of her questions but otherwise it was a lovely conversation. There's a photo shoot sometime soon and I have no idea what I'm going to wear (I'm such a girl).

Yesterday I went to Savers with Ellie, which is tricky business. She's not content for very long in the pram without it moving, and when I get her out it's all 'Mummy!' repeatedly until I give her my full attention, and then a dragging me in the toy direction, where I must be constantly fascinated with her at various buttons and switches and pictures. If I then turn to look at something else there's a 'Mummy!' again, in that 'and what do you think you're doing?' tone.

Fortunately, she can be reasoned with. I figure that if I give her some of what she wants, it's then my turn. It doesn't always sit perfectly with her, but I think she's getting it. We spent time in the toy section, time in the clothes section, and then wandered across the street to get some lunch, look at the pets, and climb up on the mechanical coin-slot Barney car (yes, me too, she patted the tiny seat next to her each time she sat down). After that she fell asleep and I had some more time in Savers. It was fortunate because I found these gorgeous vintage sheets and fabric bits to turn into pretty clothes.

And this little top for my little person.

Plus I got a couple of gorgeous ethnic woven cushions which are being washed so no photos just now. All this plus a huge load of t-shirts to reconstruct and a Bananas in Pyjamas video makes it my biggest Savers haul. I must go back to Greensborough more often.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

style number two

The Yoki tee. Available in different size and colour combos in my Etsy shop upon relaunch (visit the shop to sign up to receive an email when it reopens).

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I've never before had a change-my-life breakthrough. Sometimes I get really excited about a new idea and hope that it's going to solve my problems (like this one), but it doesn't end up making a huge difference in the end.

I came across The Fluent Self about a month ago. I read a few pages and a bunch of the blog and thought I'd stumbled across something exactly up my alley. I like that Havi is genuine, has a sense of humour, and writes really well. And I'm her right person!

An hour later I wanted to fork over the $108USD for Havi's Dissolve Procrastination package, but I decided it probably would be something I just procrastinated reading - another distraction.

I'd been getting particularly stuck before I wrote my last post but felt a bit better after coming to some realisations:
  • Bullying myself made me feel even more like poo (but I didn't know how to stop)
  • I felt defeated afterwards (but I didn't know what to do about that)
  • It helped to focus on making a choice in the moment without thinking about how much was still to go or all the other items on my to-do list (but I'm actually quite a good planner. I love planning. When I don't feel stuck.)
Penny's comment (thank you Penny!!) reminded me of The Fluent Self and I was feeling motivated enough to work on my problem, so I bought the package.

Thank god.

There is barely a word in the book that I didn't have the "yes, exactly!" response to. I guess I knew about some of the principles in it, such as that the root of the problem is blaming and being hard on yourself, but I didn't know what to do about that. I didn't get the concept completely, but it's all laid out in such an easy-to-understand way in Havi's book and I get it now.

So. I'm being nice to myself. I'm allowing myself to feel that I don't want to do something. How I feel is allowed. I'm in the process of removing the 'shoulds' and blame, and when that bad habit does come up, I'm just letting myself be aware that the blame is there, and then deciding whether I want it to be. I'm reminding myself to keep in mind that my goal isn't about getting to x point, it's about flow. It's not about the end result, it's about being happy with myself. After removing the blame, all that's left is me, without all that blockage and inner struggle. I'm free to make choices about what's best for me and I'm trusting myself to know when I need a break and when I really want to be working. (Most of the time, I want to be working, so I do.) I'm enjoying the process, and I'm really, really motivated to make my business great.

Now that I've starting working with myself instead of against myself, I can work out which techniques will help me work best (there's a bunch of ideas for that in the Dissolve Procrastination package, too). I'm keeping a notebook of little observations about how I work, what makes me more likely to want to procrastinate, and what makes me want to work.

I know I'm not 'fixed', just like that. I know it's something I'll have to keep working on. But I know how to maintain this. I'm confident that things won't be as bad as they were ever again.

$108 is almost too little a price to pay for that.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I've been having a lot of trouble with motivation and procrastination lately, more than usual. This is an issue I had second thoughts about posting in case I give the impression that I'm lazy or not dedicated enough. Those are definite fears of mine. But I figure that most people have these issues, and they're not going to go away by ignoring them.

I'll give you a run down of my morning.

I got to sleep in (for me that's getting up at 8am), I stayed in my pyjamas and got right to work making Yoki tees while listening to Triple J's Hack podcast. I made two tees and then ran out of episodes of Hack to listen to. I made some food and ate it while looking for other podcasts to listen to.

For two hours. I didn't want to get back to work and the distraction was a relief.

One genre of podcast I came across was the motivation variety, and I listened to a few, mostly unimpressed. I started searching out articles on motivation and time management. Some time during the search I realised that none of them would help me. None of the authors know me. They don't know which unique combination of things works for me. They don't know the cause of my problem.

I realised that if I wanted answers, the only place I'd find them was in my own head. I guess it helps to know which techniques are out there. But the techniques I've found most useful are the ones I've come up with myself because I saw a problem and took the time to think about how to fix it in a way that works for me.

I opened a blank text file and started writing about what my bad work habits are, what my thought process is when they occur, why they happen and some ideas on how to alter them. Writing my thoughts down always helps to shed light on them.

I think I figured out what my problem is. Problems are.

I'm a bully to myself. I can't shake the thought that success and productivity are about control, that I need to push myself hard, harder, and force myself to fit into schedules, deadlines, I "should" do this and I "can't" do this.

I feel defeated every time I should be working and I'm not. I feel like I've given in, and even if it's only been ten minutes, my motivation declines to zero because I haven't had the willpower to stay productive. And if I don't have the willpower, how on earth do I expect to be successful? And if I can't be successful, what's the point? I'm procrastinating and lazy and I might as well give up now because it's too hard. I try to escape and distract myself with anything but work. I write off that hour or the rest of that day, thinking that tomorrow will be a new day and it'll be different and I'll definitely work harder then.

With all that written down I could try to work out solutions.

I think the root of my issue is feeling defeated. So I wrote, "What will help me to not feel defeated?" and rambled whatever came to mind. What sprang from that was the idea that I need to disregard thoughts of later or tomorrow, and how overwhelming the work I have to do between now and then is. I need to focus on now. And I need to make a choice, right now. I need to choose defeat or strength. Every minute is another minute that I have a choice about.

When I feel strong and capable I work best. When I feel defeated it doesn't matter which amazing time management techniques I try to enforce, my productivity still suffers.

It sounds a bit New-Agey, but I wrote down the positive ideas that address the root of my problem on Post-Its and stuck them around the place. It immediately made me feel energised again.

I don't want to have to bully myself into working. It's helpful to remember that I have a choice, that I can do this and that I want to do this. It's helpful to remember that these are things I enjoy. Instead of feeling backed into a corner and looking for an escape, I want to feel confident enough to be able to focus on what's important to me.

If you don't relate to this issue, it might sound ridiculous and obvious. If you sum it up in a sentence it seems simple, but I think it's pretty complex. For me, it is by far the most challenging aspect of running a business.

I'm going to spend a little time regularly to think and write journal-style about how to improve it. I can work it out.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

writing a sewing book and tutoring

I want to write a book. Or I should say I'm going to write a book. The idea has been swimming in my head for ages and I keep coming back to it and thinking of more reasons why I want to do it.

It will include everything I know about sewing and pattern-making in knit (t-shirt) fabrics. I took the hard road in my learning by taking a little bit from books, a little bit from online tutorials, a little bit from my fashion course, and a lot of trial and error.

I want to empower people to think outside the box, to express their own style rather than the looks of the magazine stylists, to never have to rely on made-in-china cheap finds in the shops, and to have clothes that fit you exactly as you want them to.

I need your help.
Have you tried sewing? Have you tried sewing knit fabrics?
If not, what's stopping you?
If you have, what info out there do you think is missing that you want to know?

I'd love to hear from every one of you! It would be a big help.


In the interest of experiece (and because I think it'd be fun) I'm looking to tutor a few local girls everything I know about sewing and patternmaking in knit fabrics, and I'm letting you guys get first dibs! If you're interested and live in Surrey Hills or surrounds in the Melbourne suburbs, shoot me an email for more details at hayley [at] Those who have never used a sewing machine before are very welcome (in fact, I'd love to teach someone from the start).

Monday, October 5, 2009

eco your coffee addiction

I have to admit that I'm a tea-drinker and don't like coffee much at all. But Tim can't start the day without his, and it used to result in an expensive daily purchase of take away coffee because he couldn't stand the crappy instant coffee he'd tried. A while ago he found a brand of tasty instant organic coffee at the supermarket, but it's pretty expensive at $8 for 100g.

Fortunately, when I went looking on the shelf for it at the supermarket yesterday there was none there, so I checked online. The Australian company, Nature's Cuppa, is having an online special on the coffee granules I was after, at $60 for 6 jars of 200g, including shipping. That's $5 per 100g instead of $8, so I saved $36. The coffee is certified under international codes for its organic and environmental protection of forests, birds and wildlife.

I thought a coffee-drinking reader or two out there might like to take advantage of the bargain as well. You could try some at the supermarket before buying 6 jars of it.

I also went looking for a good thermal cup, because the ones we bought in the past broke after a couple of months. I found the KeepCup. They're cute, environmentally-friendly and the company is based right here in Melbourne. It's designed to replace unrecycleable take-away cups when you visit a cafe with it, and is made from the most eco-friendly plastics they could use.



Thursday, October 1, 2009

style number one

The past couple of weeks have been hectic with distractions. Family life has been more stressful than usual and it's amazing how terribly that affects my work motivation and productivity. It's also amazing how having wonderfully relaxed family days can make me feel incredibly energised. I feel like my mojo has returned a bit since Tuesday in the park with Tim, Ellie, the sun (how I've missed thee!) and plenty of fruit.

Anyway. Meet my new friend:

He's a beast, but a tame one when you know how to handle him. I'm a little in love.

I've made up a basic tshirt pattern with a casual fit - it tapers in at the waist a little and has a little bit of extra room at the hips. I think shirts that are tight at the hip are the worst - any size person will display some sort of muffin-top if they're wearing jeans.

My first style is a casual fit tee with contrasting sleeves and a scoop neckline that gets wider at the front. What do you think?

I'm going to be filling my Incube8r space with just these in different colours and sizes. There's not enough room to provide a good selection of more than one style there, I think. So I'll see how these go. By next week I should have enough to fill the shop space and I'll take them in. Then I'll be developing other styles and making some for my Etsy shop. I have to work on the Incube8r stock first, because the rent keeps coming so it costs me money to wait.