Monday, July 22, 2013

Stop. Reflect. Refresh.

(Picture Credit: Pinterest)

Recently I was fortunate enough to travel overseas - first time as an adult - and finally visit some of the places I had been dreaming of visiting for so long! Places like New Zealand, French Polynesia and Hawaii. To say it was 'memorable', is an understatement...

In just a few short weeks, I discovered the truth of what Danny Kaye said above and my perspective on life was refined. As we visited place after place, tasted one culture after another, spent quality time with my family, met new people, made new friends, did new things - I had the chance to stop and reflect:

Was my life, my work, my relationships, really heading in the right direction, or could things be better? Did I really have the life I wanted? 

When we finally arrived home again, I felt renewed. I knew the answer to those questions and was inspired to jump in and do something about it. I knew there were quite a few things that needed adjusting, but wasn't daunted by the task ahead. I was pumped and ready to go!

So, in a nutshell, that's what I've been up to these past few months - busily working away in the background, making things happen, getting things done. But it hasn't just been all about personal stuff either...

I've been working on plans - big, exciting plans for Minky Minx - but, as with many things in life, I've realised they're going take a little time to make happen...

So, after much deliberation, I've decided that I need to shut-up shop for a while to help me reorganise, revamp and refresh.

But before I do so, I've got a little sale planned for this coming week. So, if your wanting to make a purchase, this may be your last chance for a while. Further details about the sale will be announced on our Facebook page over the coming days - including how you can get a further 10% off + FREE postage - so stay tuned!

Till then! x

So, have you ever had an experience that changed your perspective on life? If so, what was the result? 

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Teddy Bear's Picnic... and a Historic Home

Bright and early last Sunday morning. I once again packed up the car and headed off to the historic Rippon Lea mansion for their annual Teddy Bear's Picnic. It was the second time I attended as a stall holder, and despite my initial hesitations about going, and the less then favourable weather forecast (32 degrees!), that morning I felt a sense of calm come over me. I had done my best to prepare for it, and no matter what challenges the day would throw at me, I was determined to make it a good day. And for the most part it was.

Sharing a stall with four other local designers - BabyButton, Fourzero, Piccaninny Rugs and LimeDaisy Design - we stocked our stall with a variety of goodies to please both boys and girls of all ages.

Our Combined stall. And, Yes, we remembered our teddies!!
One side of our stall showing delightful play rugs, balloon bags and cute softies by Piccaninny Rugs.
And the other side packed full of goodies by Fourzero, LimeDaisy Design, BabyButton and, of course yours truly, Minky Minx!

Of course, besides the many other market stalls on offer, there was plenty to keep the kids entertained, including rides and bear hugs, ice cream and parades...


But there were also things for the grown ups to enjoy too, such as visit the historic mansion. Thankfully this is something I too managed to do, and was most certainly the highlight of the day for me, especially as I had not done so for quite some time.

The historic Ripponlea mansion - built in 'polychromatic romanesque' style.
The grand entrance way with original marble pillars and stained glass window doors.
The living room - restyled in Hollywood glamour during the 30's.
Lovely period details - a stunning parquetry floor and gilded fireplace mirror. 
The dining room.
The grand staircase, with original Victorian wallpaper, over-painted in white in the 1930's. Can you imagine how it might have looked in the 1800's when it was embossed in gold?
The 'green' bathroom - in the 'jazzed up' style of the 1930's. Oh, did you spot Mr Ripponlea Bear??
The master 'best' bedroom overlooking the lawns. Note the original Oriental screen given to Frederick and Marian Sargood as a wedding gift in 1858.
The master bathroom, complete with 'modern' plumbing.
A rocking horse (which may have been ridden by the Sargood family children) and elaborate cast iron plant stand.

I'm not sure why, but it was only really until I explored the servants' quarters downstairs, that one of my favourite period dramas - Downton Abbey - came to mind. It felt as if, at any moment, Mr Carson or Mrs Patmore might come around a corner, and ask me what I was doing there. After being locked up for fifty years, it was wonderful to get a glimpse at the beating heart of the house, and see how it might have been 100 years ago.

The original Victorian kitchen.
The pantry and cool room.
Although used as a laundry in the 1930's (hence the sink under the window??), this was originally the servants' sitting room, where they could spend their 'time-off'. 

While the house has undergone much change in it's lifetime, and sadly only a few of the original furnishings remain, it is still wonderful that it remains today along with much of its extensive gardens, in much the same way as it's last occupant, Mrs Louisa Jones, left it. It therefore is a magnificent example of how such stately homes changed and adapted with time.

Now in the safe hands of the National Trust of Australia, this is a property well worth visiting for yourself. By doing so, you will not only get a glimpse at life now long gone, but also help preserve this unique house for others to enjoy.

~ ♥ ~

Congratulations too, to the winner of our fabulous 'Baby Hamper' - N. Brain!! We hope you enjoy your prize!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Finding Balance


Isn't that a word we all struggle with at some point in our lives? In whatever area of life it might be in, I think it is for most of us. Finding the perfect work/life balance is getting increasingly hard, and that's even without having to deal with major problems! So I know I'm not at all alone in finding it hard to get the balance right...

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently decided to take a step back from my creative work for family reasons - and I've found that to be immensely beneficial. It's helped me to care for my family's needs without additional stress, while giving me time to reflect. Time I really did need!

Perhaps it was just withdrawal symptoms, but it was during this time that I realised how much I missed my 'creative outlet', my work. At the same time a big opportunity came my way. What to do?!

At first I felt guilty to even consider it. I had made my decision to take a break, and this would just complicate things again. But the more I thought about it and discussed it with my family, I realised that this was where finding the right balance and being reasonable was important. This opportunity was a once off, not a long term commitment. I basically had everything already ready to go, so I wasn't going to have to spend a lot of time preparing for it. And it might actually help, rather then hinder. Yes, I had been feeling down and finding it hard going. Could this be just what I needed to get back into the swing of things again?? Maybe...

The more I carefully considered it and discussed it with my family, I realised that, Yes! it just might be. And you know what??s Strangely enough it already has helped! Although I haven't really done anything for the event (which, mind you, is in a little more then a weeks time!) besides write this blog post, I already feel more energised and focused.

So the decision is made. We're off to Ripponlea's Teddy Bears Picnic again on the 24th of February!! And as it's likely to be a while before we do another market or event, we so hope you can join us there. If you'd like to come and say hello, please head over to their website for further details on the event and how get there.

See you there!! 

P.S. Here's a helpful map to find us... We'll be at stall number 13 & 14. Oh, and don't forget your teddies!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Making Sure of the More Important Things...

'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.'

I remember reading those words almost daily as a child as they hung on my parents kitchen wall. Never would I imagine how many times I would be reminded of them as I faced challenges growing up. And as a adult...

Once again, those same sentiments come to mind as another year begins. Why? Simply because they remind me that when life gets tough, that's when I especially need to realise what I can and can't deal with on my own, and that often a Higher source of wisdom is key in understanding this. And yes, my life has been tough lately...

Sadly, two cherished members of my family are facing serious life-threatening illnesses. One has terminal cancer. The other a rare brain disorder called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). And both are progressively getting worse.

Although I've had some time to get my head around what that really means, it still hasn't been easy to accept these diagnoses... 

To say it's hard to see those you dearly love gradually get older and sicker really is an understatement  The feeling of helplessness, at times, is almost mutual. The question of Why them? almost unanswerable. That's when a veil of sadness begins to overshadow you. It's the realisation of loss, the realisation that one day you will need to say the words most hardest to say and continue your life without them.

This realisation is not new for me. Both have battled bravely for several years now. But something about the last few months have left me feeling sick in the stomach, and made it clear that the end could come sooner then expected - far sooner than I'm ready for. Hence my decision to write this post.

The past few months have helped me realise that for my family and I to be better prepared for that that day, I must make certain changes in how I live my life now.

This is by far not an easy thing to do. However, it's something I simply must do to lessen the possibility of future regrets. (To lose them, will be hard. But to lose them and have the regret of not spending more time with them when I could, would be even harder.)

So in view of this, I've decided that it's necessary for me to especially make some changes to how I run Minky Minx Design Studio

But, don't worry. All stores will remain open and I will do my best to add new items as I am able to. I just wish to ask, though, that you please be patient with me. If an item is not ready to ship, it may take a few days longer to make and ship out then it might have done in the past. Also, please note that I will not be able to take on any new custom orders for the time being. As the situation changes I may need to make further noticeable adjustments, but that's all for now.

It's a big step to have just spoken about this (and yes, I've given great thought to it), let alone have to tell you about these unfortunate changes. But it's a step I simply had to take, not just for my family's sake, but for mine. I hope you understand...

P.S. If you're concerned about me, don't be. As I mentioned at the outset, my firm belief in God's assistance helps me to keep going. Although it's still hard at times, He really does give me not only the strength needed to accept the things I cannot change, but also the peace of mind for the future. I am also comforted knowing that that although I may eventually lose these loved ones in death, our goodbyes will not be forever, nor will be our tears of sorrow.  : )