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!
Last year I made a letter from Santa for my six-year-old son to capture the magic and joy of Christmas. It was this idea that led me to create North Pole Post, magical and personalised letters from Santa Claus.
This Christmas you can find letters from Father Christmas, Santa or Papa Noël on the North Pole Post website, or here on mine too! Each letter is unique to your child and includes details like a present they would like or an achievement Santa is proud of that year. Also I love adding the number of biscuits or cookies Santa ate while writing the letter too!
I’m also excited to share a new letter this year. It’s the Christmas morning letter, which can be discovered on Christmas Day under the tree or by the biscuits and cup of milk. This letter is handwritten by Santa and includes details like a special location he flew over in his sleigh.
I know Christmas this year is going to look different for many of us. These letters are my way of bringing the magic of Santa into your home, without having to go to shopping centres to see him. Creating these letters brings me so much joy and I can’t wait to share them with you this Christmas!
What is your wish this Christmas? I would love to hear, comment below!
As I type Harry is flying his latest LEGO creation around the house, it’s chilly outside and I’m on my second pot of peppermint tea. 2020 has invited me to slow down and embrace the ebb and flow of life. So for these winter holidays we are intentionally spending more time at home and using what we have.
1. Happiful Club
I created Happiful Club in April and Harry loved it. So we are bringing out the free 12-page activity and gratitude ebook again for the winter holidays! Already Harry has been doing the daily gratitude journal page and has collected the merit badges for cloud watching and stargazing. I find the book gives me ideas of things to do when the inevitable ‘I’m bored’ is said, I can now say ‘well let’s look at Happiful Club for some ideas’.
2. Nature Walks
While it may be cold outside, I like to rug up in our winter woollies and go on a nature walk. My favourite places to go are the Botanic Garden and our local forests. I like to make the walk fun by turning it into a nature hunt. We can spot different seasonal things like mushrooms, a flowing creek, puddles or even red autumn leaves.
“I find doing this brings my attention back to the present moment and awakens my wonder and curiosity.”
3. Home Movie Night
We like to cook a big batch of popcorn and eat it warm while snuggled up under a blanket. We usually take turns picking a movie from Disney+ and at the moment Harry likes to watch documentaries about space. The next movie on our watch list is WALL-E!
Stargazing is a favourite activity in our house. We use an app SkyChart which you can point to the night sky and it shares the constellation and planets you are looking at. I find being out under the stars with a fire feels ancestral – like coming home – and I like to read aloud the mythological story behind the constellation name. Storytelling is a such a beautiful way we can pass on knowledge and history to our children.
What winter holiday activities do you enjoy or remember fondly from when you were a child? I would love to hear, comment below!
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.