2021 was a year of growth for me, it wasn’t the showy spring flower kind of growth but the seed slowly growing under the soil ready to bloom when the time is right. In the last year I’ve finished a little book called Happiful filled with my illustrations, mindfulness activities and journal prompts. It’s released in late March this year, and I have to pinch myself saying that!
I thought I would share with you seven things I learnt making Happiful.
– I’m capable of more than I think I am. – To be kind to myself. – I drink way too many pots of peppermint tea. – To let go of control and trust other people with my work and illustrations, they often can see the bigger picture. – It’s totally normal to feel creatively spent after a big project and it’s okay to rest my drawing muscle for a while. – Remember to enjoy the journey because I’ll never make my first book again. -To celebrate my achievements.
I’m so excited to share Happiful with you and see it out there in the world. I have a renewed energy to create a range joyful products this year using my new laser cutter and a few other goodies to support the book. I feel like releasing Happiful is like a new chapter for me and I’m looking forward to seeing where it will lead.
You can can pre-order Happiful: 100 Uplifting Illustrations for Your Journey to Joy now wherever books are sold. Find out more!
It’s a Wednesday in late June and it seems like as good a day as any to take you along on a day in the life of an illustrator, me!
After the morning rush and school drop off, I’m home. Time to make a pot of peppermint tea, check my Etsy and online shop for orders or inquiries. I’m going to spend a little bit of time this morning finishing off a new illustration to share on Instagram. It’s about ‘hope’ and where you can see it.
I decided to draw and have tea snuggled up in my green armchair, so now I’m off to the studio. My studio is a space we built in our backyard. My hubby also works from home. Today I am printing off orders, stamping envelopes and creating custom cards. Then a spot of hand lettering names for custom star map prints, using astronomy software for plotting the stars to the date and time the little ones were born.
Creating and sending digital mock ups of custom prints and cards to customers. I export a jpg of the illustrator file and then place this into a photo in photoshop. Then a bit more drawing on the iPad as I had an idea!
Now I’m writing a letter to my subscribers. I send this out roughly every month. Though I have been a bit slack so this one is a bit late! Also uploading my free printable monthly calendar to my website to include in my letter.
Time for lunch and another pot of tea. I’m an avid tea drinker and only have one coffee a day, which is decaf. If the weather is nice I like to sit in the garden to eat lunch and then check on the veggie patch to see if there are any pests. We’ve struggled with caterpillars and rats eating our produce this winter.
Printing and packing orders! Today I have a few custom cards going out in the post. So I print, cut, hand crease, fold and then package cards in tissue paper. I also like to include a handwritten note with the order and a copy of my latest monthly calendar too!
Orders are all ready for the post office run and now off to pick up Harry from school. I like to listen to a podcast on the drive to pick him up, it makes the daily routine of school pick up more interesting. I’m loving Nova Reid’s podcast at the moment.
All the daily things like dinner prep, unpacking school bags and reading. In winter I like to close all the shutters and turn on our lamps to make the house cosy! We like to eat dinner together as this is a way to chat about our day and share stories.
Bedtime for Harry! We usually journal together using my Happiful Journal so he can pick a daily page or an activity to relax before bed. Sometimes if he doesn’t want to journal we read a book and then when snuggled up in bed, I ask him some of the journal prompts and then make up an activity idea or share a quote. We like to call this our verbal Happiful Journal!
Now I like to make a cup of Chamomile tea with a bit of fresh ginger. I’m going to snuggle up on the couch with my iPad and do some drawing. I don’t do this every night, sometimes I just like to watch Netflix or do some yoga.
Bedtime. I like to do a guided meditation on the Calm app for 10 minutes before bed. Then reading my book and sometimes if my brain is really active I like to journal my thoughts. Then off to sleep!
I hope you enjoyed a look into my daily life as an illustrator and mum. If you have any questions for me, include them below and I’ll answer them!
Empathy, solidarity and strength. At times when words fail me, I draw. Over the past few weeks my sketchbook has been the place I’ve written quotes and drawn sketches, while I’ve been listening and learning about white privilege and anti-racism.
The venn diagram illustration come from one of those pages and is a reminder to me that within us all we can create change – be it large or small – and together that is powerful.
I have a range of positive prints in my shop and you can use the code ‘POSITIVEPRINTS’ for 15% off (when you spend $40 on prints).
This past week I’ve been taking more photos, the main reason has been as a mindfulness practice for me. I’ve been wanting to focus my attention on the little everyday moments that I often overlook and stop mindlessly scrolling on my phone.
So instead of pulling out my phone to scroll the news I try to take it out to capture a moment of joy instead, and if I feel the itch to scroll I take a photo instead.
My pockets of joy so far have been:
picking oregano from my veggie patch for dinner
the flowers on the window sill when I wash the dishes
Harry picking the perfect coloured pencil
evening bonfires in the backyard
hours of little hands making craft at the kitchen table
Our first week of homeschooling was a roller coaster. There were highs and lows but the one constant was our Happiful Journal. I thought I would share our week in Happiful Journal snaps.
Harry wrote that his ‘three things I’m grateful for’ is mama. So many happy tears! I must be doing something right, though his favourite smell is diesel. He does love trains!
Together we drew things that made us happy that day. I always find once we start drawing Harry opens up about how he is feeling.
It was a smelly texta journal time tonight! And all the LEGO and mobilo trucks came to help. There was an activity idea in the journal to pick a flower and smell it each morning, so we planned to pick the next morning.
Harry decided to draw his own happy emotion tonight and mentioned that he didn’t feel sad or worried. And he only wanted to draw with the yellow textas.
His journal can get messy and that’s totally okay. Messy, imperfect and colouring outside the lines is exactly what the Happiful Journal is all about. Today Harry was thankful for his veggie patch!
Tonight just before bedtime Harry decided it was perfectly reasonable to use watercolours for journal time! While a part of me thought not another craft activity, I took a deep breath and the rational part of my brain stepped in and reminded me how relaxing he finds painting.
Side note, tomorrow we’ll be having a dance party as that was the activity idea in the journal. Cue Frozen 2 soundtrack!
There is just something special about receiving a handwritten letter in the post. So I’ve created free gal pal postcards which you can print at home and send to your besties for Galentine’s Day!
The postcards have conversation starters on the back as a way to share things you love and admire about your friend. You can also tick an option to plan a catch up because there is nothing better than spending time together.
The postcards come in a set of two so you can even include one with your letter so your friend can write back!
Remember as a child riding a bike down a hill and letting go of the handle bars? I’m ready to feel the wind in my hair. To simply go with the flow, rather than striving for control of the steering. I’m hoping my word of the year, flow will guide and centre me this year.
Like last year, my word of the year found me. I drew an illustration ‘go with the flow’, then I was reading articles and podcasts which mentioned creative flow. It seemed that the word was popping up everywhere and my soul was drawn to it. I sat with the word in late December and by January it just felt right.
I know flow will challenge me. Last year I chose the word bloom and it pushed me outside my comfort zone. I drew and created from within, nurturing my inner garden. I also felt I ‘should’ be blooming quicker, and compared my growth to others.
What bloom taught me in 2019 is that I was blooming in my own time. That like in nature I needed to go within, tend to my soil, plant the seeds, nurture my soul garden and then trust the sprouts will come.
“I had to trust that doing winter work would lead to spring flowers.”
I’m excited to see how flow will influence and guide me. My hope is I can let go just a little bit of the handle bars and feel the freedom that comes with trusting myself and the universe. Here’s to going with the flow in 2020!
What is your word of the year for 2020? I would love to hear! Also you can download my ‘go with the flow’ illustration as a phone wallpaper here.
Christmas is such a magical time of year. As a mama I love experiencing the festive season with my son. We enjoy slowing down in December, baking gingerbread, singing Jingle Bells and reading Tosca’s Christmas for the 100th time! I’m sharing the magic of receiving a personalised letter from Santa with my new product, North Pole Post.
The North Pole Post elves (aka me!) work with Santa to type a personalised letter, on official letterhead of course. Printed on heavyweight parchment paper, each letter is individually packed by a Post Elf whose name is included on the letter. Also Santa gets quite hungry writing letters, so the number of biscuits he’s eaten while writing the letter is also included!
Each letter is personalised with Santa mentioning how proud he is of your child’s achievement that year, like learning the guitar. It’s then packed inside a cream envelope and stamped with the North Pole Post seal. Two festive stamps are printed on the envelope and it’s finished with a real or make believe address. In addition, you can choose your letter to be from Santa Claus, Papa Noël or Father Christmas.
Harry is writing his letter to Santa this week and I can’t wait to create his personalised letter! My hope is that North Pole Post will add a little magic and wonder to your child’s festive season.
You can find out more about North Pole Post and your personalised letter from Santa here.
At the last market I overheard lots of people say ‘I don’t send Christmas cards anymore’ because: ‘they are too expensive’, ‘postage costs too much’ and ‘I just don’t have time’ to name a few of the reasons why. And this just made me sad. There is so much joy to be found writing a card to a loved one and receiving an unexpected letter – that isn’t a bill – in the post can brighten your day.
I decided to take action and the idea of a free printable Christmas card came to mind. So I’ve created Jolly Mail, which is a collection of free Christmas cards on my website. You simply download the card, print it at home, write a lovely message and pop it in the post. And as a bonus the cards are black and white so perfect for colouring-in, which I thought would be a fun activity to do with little ones!
My hope through Jolly Mail is simple, to spread Christmas cheer. The festive season can be so busy with gift buying and end-of-year activities that we forget to stop and reflect on who we are thankful for that year. Spending a few minutes writing a card to say thank you to your child’s teacher, your mum or the lovely barista who makes your coffee can be such a powerful act of kindness.
You can start sending Jolly Mail now, with two cute Christmas cards available. I would so love it if you would share Jolly Mail with your friends and family, and tag me I’m @wordfindersclub on Instagram.
I’m a mother who journals with her child. I never thought I would be. But what I’ve found this year with Harry starting school is time is such a precious gift and we needed to ‘make’ time in the day to spend together.
By time I don’t mean the morning rush or driving home after school, but slow and intentional time where we can really connect. It was this need for connection in our busy day that became my purpose to create the Happiful Journal.
I thought I would share three happy moments we’ve had over the past few months using the Happiful Journal.
One of the activity ideas in the journal is stargazing, so one night we journaled by starlight. We set up a picnic rug in the backyard, filled in the daily journal page and lay back looking at the stars. Harry shared how he felt proud about swimming under water at his lesson that day.
After journaling one night Harry said to me ‘you make me so happy, Mama’. So sweet! I’ve noticed over the past few months of regular journal time, Harry can express and identify his emotions more freely.
Another night, the daily prompt was ‘I was brave today when I’ and Harry said ‘I rode my bike down the hill’. This got us chatting about how bravery isn’t always climbing Mount Everest or jumping out of a plane. But can be those simple, everyday moments that can nudge you outside your comfort zone.
What I’ve come to realise having a now six-year-old is the days are short with our little ones. The time will whiz past in a blur of school drop offs, birthday parties and bedtimes. So I decided to slow down and take 10 to 15 minutes each day with the Happiful Journal, and it has so enriched our days.
What special rituals or routines do you have with your little ones? I would love to hear. Also you can find out more about my Happiful Journal here.