Tag Archives: happiness

Friday Finds – Keeping it Kind

6 Jul

It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for kindness and random acts thereof.  I’ve written a couple of posts about being kind (if you missed them you can have another read here and here).  I like the feeling that kindness gives me, and the changes I see it making in others.  It’s not hard to be kind, and if there was more of it going around I think the world would be a happier and more harmonious place to be.

Today’s Friday Finds isn’t a thing that you can touch and feel, it isn’t a new super cool design trend or must have outdoor designer piece.  It’s a blog that I follow, and always makes me smile.  Kindness Girl thinks up different ideas to spread the message of kindness in ways that are different and sometimes just a little bit magical.  Interwoven with the Kindness projects are stories of her own children and family.  Entirely relatable and full of love, Patience has a knack for creating beauty both through her images, her words and her actions.

If you’re in need for a kindness hit, a little bit of love or a dose of the warm and fuzzy’s, take some time out and visit Kindness Girl or her Guerrilla Goodness page.

Sam

Note: all photos from http://www.Kindnessgirl.com

Watch out UFOs about!

2 Jul

Have small green freaky looking creatures invaded Drawn Outdoors HQ? No, but we do have a lot of UFOs, UFPs and just a whole lotta stuff that needs to be done.  Not UFOs in the sense of strange flying saucer shaped alien transportation devices, UFOs in the sense of UnFinished Objects, UnFinished Projects and yes, just general stuff to be done.  I’ve talked about my powers of procrastination (check that one out here) and my list making love (that one is here) but I have another confession to make…

I’m not very good at finishing things.

I’m fabulous at starting, at dreaming, at thinking big.  If you need ideas, and you need them big, fantastic and mind blowing, I’m your girl.  The more freedom my mind is given to wander the better the idea.  I’m glad that this is a fabulous skill to have in the wonderful world of design.  It is so much fun to take an idea for a wander and see where it ends up taking you.

If you need a project planned and started, I’ll also put my hand up for that one.  I’m great at identifying what needs to be done and finding a pathway through the murky depths of “it’s too hard”, breaking problems down and then building up a solution.  My problem comes when I start to walk the pathway and something more shiny gets in my way, or another problem or idea jumps up and shouts out “look at me!”

I think my problem is deadlines.  When a project has a deadline, has a finish point, a clearly defined date and time, I manage to knock it out of the park.  When a deadline is a little bit  more flexible, or even worse, non existent, we have a problem.  I’ve worked out that when I’m wearing my Drawn Outdoors hat things are completed, on time and well.  It’s when things matter or people are relying on me that I tend to do my best work.  Why can’t I apply this dedication to all those incomplete little projects?  Why is the dress I started in my dressmaking class 3 years ago still not finished, and the 30th birthday present for my now 32 year old sister still waiting for its final touches?  Not to mention the multitude of stitches, sewings and ideas who’s seeds have been planted, allowed to germinate but not been able to grow and bloom.

I’m finding that blogging is helping with this problem.  When I blog about doing something, I tend to do it – I think it’s the guilt feeling I get when I don’t achieve a goal and too many people know about it.  Our 1000 things in winter is coming along fabulously, the girls are a third of the way there – Yay girls!  And my 31 posts in May was a total success.  But on the down side some things have slipped through the cracks, most obviously our own garden design and the Drawn Outdoors office.

To bust out of the half done rut that some things have found themselves falling into, I’m making a new financial year resolution.  When I have an idea that needs to be done, I’m giving it a deadline, letting someone who cares know about it, and then doing my best to stick to it.  I’m hoping that extra rewards won’t be needed along the way, the feeling of sheer unadulterated satisfaction when I”m finished should be sweet enough.

So here it is, my new financial year resolution to do list, with some deadlines and “reporting mechanisms” – I know you’ll hold me to it!  I’m starting small, just ten UFOs to start with, I don’t want any aliens messing with the engine.

1. Finish the 1000 things in winter challenge – and win!  This one’s a no brainer in terms of time – I have until the end of August, but just to make sure we’re on track I want to hit 500 things by 15 July, and 700 by 1 August.

2. Design OUR garden.  I’ve been designing a few gardens lately, but not ours. It  has been placed on the “when I get to it” pile for a bit too long.  I’ve measured the yard, analysed it to within an inch of its life, and now it’s time to turn my seeds of ideas into a reality.  Deadline – 1 September , or the first day of spring, ready for us to start building and enjoying this summer.

3. Set up Drawn Outdoors Office - I should really say finish setting up the office.  At the moment it’s working, but not well.  I need a desk.  It’s hard keeping things on a tilted drawing board and not so easy drawing on a flat one, and the computer desk is tiny.  I need to streamline and organise what I have so it works for me and so the office looks like an office and not a halfway house for anything without a home.  Target dates are 31 July for desk, then 15 August for office organisation.

4. Knit the Drama Queen’s scarf – I have taught myself how to knit (Yay me!) and my first project is a scarf.  I will have it finished so it can be worn this winter.  Completion date 31 July.

5. Finish the 30th birthday present - can’t say what it is, that would give away the surprise, but I will share when I get there. I’d like to have it done before Christmas.  30 November is the deadline.

6. Repair our walls - When we moved in, just over a year ago we repainted then replaced the light fittings.  Most are fine, but there are a couple of holes and patches of wall that need painting.  Deadline 31 August.

7. Plan a ski trip.  Mr Perfect and I love the snow, but The Drama Queen and the Daredevil have never seen it, and we’re feeling a bit sad about that.  We have decided that this year we will take them.  Holidays don’t plan themselves, someone needs to do it.  Deadline 20 July, any later and it might melt!

8. Finish the stitching for the Drama Queen’s new cushion – You know, the one I blogged about here.  Done by 31 August.

9. Plan our christmas presents - I like to make rather than buy, but I tend to get my great ideas around the end of October, and I’m left scrambling to get things done.  This year I’m going to be a bit more organised and get my plan ready before the end of July

10. Make myself an exceptionally cool post it note list that I can keep track of all my things to do on.  Just like this one from Cornflower Blue Studio.  I’ll show you this one by the 10th of July, and I will only use materials we currently have in the house.

There are so many more things I will need to add to this list, but if I just focus on 10 at a time I think my success rate might be a little bit higher, don’t you?

Sam

31 days in May and I blogged them all!

31 May

I thought I was biting off more than I could chew, thought I had over estimated my blogging prowess, but I proved myself wrong.  There’s nothing like setting yourself a challenge and rising to meet it.  I have had so much fun posting every day in May, but I know that it’s not something that I’ll be doing regularly.  My usual 1-2 per week, with the special edition of 3 or 4 is more my style, less structured and also gives me time to feed my ideas a little more.  There is one thing I will miss just a little bit, with the regular blogging my stats have skyrocketed.  While I don’t blog for the numbers it’s nice to know people are reading, and with fewer posts will come fewer views (theoretically), though I have mades some great new blogging friends who I hope will stick around!

The good news now is that I’ll have a bit more time to get back too the real world work of designing.  The Daredevil is set to have his first full day of child care on Monday, so watch out world here I come, munchkin free, and ready for inspired designing and busting barriers in my way.  Who knows, maybe our garden will finally be designed and built.  Maybe I could get myself a cool super outfit to bust out in, some ideas…

It’s also the last day of my Happy Days in May project, so to wrap it all up…

28 May 2012 – Child free for an hour while the Daredevil had his child care orientation, time to breathe and clear my head and enjoy a coffee without a babycino friend.

29 May 2012 – Hair cuts for the munchkins, the Drama Queen was right at home, and the Daredevil cruised through his first haircut – mullet be gone!  I have the best kids!

30 May 2012 – Frustrating but fulfilling, spent a large chunk of the day sorting out household and business accounts and records – feel much happier having completed them.

31 May 2012 – Crazy time with the cousins – how much fun can you have with 6 kids under 5 – apparently never too much!

Short, sweet, and time for a little feet up time, though I will be back tomorrow for Friday Finds – damn I didn’t time that one well.

Sam

Does kindness = happiness?

27 May

I’ve been trying to be kinder lately.  I recently asked the question “have you been kind today?” in a post.  I’ve not really gone out of my way, haven’t planned any over the top grand kindness gestures, I’ve just been doing the things we should really be doing, but that are sometimes forgotten in the daily rush of things.  I’ve been doing things that don’t come so naturally to my generally more shy personality.  I’ve been chatting to more people, saying hello more often and definitely smiling more.  I’ve helped upset kids in the playground find their lost Mums and let the Drama Queen’s friends at child care treat me like their climbing frame.  I’ve tried to help where I can, and generally spread some happy karma into the world.

I thought I might take stock of this kindness and see if it has made a difference to my general happiness, and because I’ve been joining in the Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May project, it’s perfect timing to reflect while I’m posting my weekly happiness post.

Has it made me happier? Has mindful kindness affected my general mood and made my world a happier place? The short answer is yes, or at least I think it has.  I feel as though the people I interact with seem happier.  Maybe it’s because I’m reaping what I sow and the energy I’m sending into the world is being reflected back.  I’ve definitely had a lot more casual conversations with strangers in the street.  I have seen a lot more people smiling, and it looks like they’re returning my smile a lot of the time.  My general mood has been a lot better and my patience with the little inconveniences of life is definitely improving.  I haven’t measured anything, don’t have any facts and figures, just a general feeling and a hunch, and that hunch says that kindness does equal happiness.

I do have a kindness highlight that I would love to share.  About 18 months ago I had a bus trip into the city.  While this in itself isn’t extraordinary, I catch a bus quite often, the bus driver I had on this trip was extraordinary.  She embodied all that is kind and happy.  In a world where it is all too easy to just go through the motions, this bus driver went out of her way to greet every single passenger onto her bus.  I chatted to her on the trip into the city, and it made my journey unforgettable.  I went home and sent an e-mail to the transit authority thanking and praising this bus driver.  I hoped that she had received a copy of the e-mail because I knew she deserved to know how much happiness she had injected into my day.  This isn’t where my story ends.

This week I was out shopping with the Daredevil, I was waiting for a lift and started chatting to a lady about the lifts and which one would come first.  The lady looked familiar, and when I saw the Sydney Buses logo on her shirt the penny dropped.  This was my bus driver, the one who had given me the best bus riding experience ever!  I couldn’t let the opportunity pass, I mustered up the courage and asked.  It turns out that not only was she my bus driver, but she had also recognised my face and remembered that I had been on my first night out without the Daredevil (he was only 6 months old at the time).  Unfortunately she hadn’t received a copy of my e-mail, but I think I made her day by remembering her and thanking her in person.  I know it made my day!

Now for my Happy Days in May update.  If you want to catch up on the last couple of weeks, you can see post 1 here, post 2 here and post 3 here.

21 May 2012 – I ran into my bus driver lady today!

22 May 2012 – Today I got to be a eucalyptus tree for the Drama Queen’s imaginative child care Koala friends –  lots and lots of laughing.

23 May 2012 – Mt Perfect went away for a boys golf escape, so the Munchkins and I got to have carpet picnics for dinner.

24 May 2012 – Mr Perfect and I escaped for our night of culture at the theatre, I always feel happy being immersed in another world, another reality and expanding my creative horizons, though Jack Thompson’s smooth voice almost put me to sleep!

25 May 2012 – An afternoon nap for all of us recharged the batteries.

26 May 2012 – Lunch with the family at the Hard Rock Cafe – cocktails, too much food and Brownies to die for, Yum!

27 May 2012 – A morning of garden creation with the family lead to smiles,  a lot of mud and a big mess to clean up, hope our green grows!

I’m off to polish up my smile for tomorrow!

Sam

Going to my happy place

20 May

Doesn’t everyone have a happy place?  The place that you go, whether it be a physical or more metaphorical, when you’re not really feeling the happy vibe.  When you want  to pick up those failing spirits, or when you just want a happiness boost.  Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and go to your happy place.  I’m loving joining in the Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May Project, but thought I’d switch it around just a little this week.  I’ve concentrated my happiness sentences on the happy places that I visited this week.  In this instance the happy places are physical, though they definitely did have an emotional effect.

This is part three in the Happy Days in May series, you can check out part one here and part two here if you want to catch up on the happiness goodness, and with a couple more parts to come, it really has helped make a happy May around our place.

14 May 2012 – In all the party planning pandemonium I took the opportunity to visit Spotlight to collect some “essential” supplies for the party, I also managed to do a little bit of other looking too!

15 May 2012 – Headed over to Haberfield to catch up for coffee, great coffee, great company and lots of fun with the Daredevil and his new “friend” in the park.

16 May 2012 – Ordered balloons at the party shop – how can a party shop not be a happy place???

17 May 2012 – With Mr Perfect taking a day off work, I got to go to the supermarket alone!  Not normally an exceptionally happy place, but this time a tranquil haven of happiness without two munchkins sneaking contraband into the trolley or running away.

18 May 2012 – A trip over to Surry Hills with the Daredevil to see the doctor is a trip down childhood memory lane, plus a brush with fame as I park behind Hugo Weaving (mmmmm….)

19 May 2012 – We don’t have to travel far to find a happy place today as the party comes to our home - perfect people, weather and location!

20 May 2012 – A walk through The Rocks to get to Walsh Bay for the Sydney Writers Festival – inspiring talk and buzzing atmosphere, but more about that tomorrow!

I do have to admit that sometimes I do feel like my happy place is a little bit like this….

… though fortunately not very often!

Where was your happy place this week?

Sam

Party like a 2 year old

19 May

Happy birthday to my little Daredevil.  He has made it to two despite every attempt to jump, fall, climb, and run into the face of danger.  Although I had fantastic plans for a gorgeously themed second birthday party, we settled for a “theme” of good food, good friends and good fun out in the late autumn sun.

Utilising a big open common area within our villa complex we were able to have enough room for munchkins to run and adults to relax and soak up the blue sky sun.  I realised how good it is to have a big garden space that is able to be adapted and utilised as an extension to your inside living space.  If we had tried to have the 30 odd people fit into our place it just would not have worked.  While the space is nothing special, there is a lot of potential, and the potential is the best part about it.  It is almost a blank canvas waiting for users to shape it.

It has been a very big day, I’m exhausted and ready for bed, so thought I would just share some of our photos from today.

Time to blow out the candles and go to bed!

Sam

Drinking from the happy glass.

13 May

We have a happy glass in our house.  It is, of course a wine glass.  We were given it as an engagement present, and it came with a beer glass mate.  The base of the wine glass is engraved with “happy” and the beer glass with “engagement”.  Therefore it is my happy glass, and at the end of a long day designing or kid wrangling I do enjoy a sip or two from the happy glass.

As today is Mothers Day in Australia, I’m having a little drink from the happy glass to finish off the day.  I’m having a drop of a special wine.  Mr Perfect and I have a tradition for the respective parents days, we organise for a case of wine with personalised labels as our mothers and fathers day gifts.  The labels always feature the Drama Queen and Daredevil and we try and come up with a clever name for our special drop.  This year I’m drinking “More Trouble and Mischief”.  We have collected a great timeline of empty wine bottles (we’ve only kept one of each!).

I’m talking about happy glasses because today I’m doing my second instalment for Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May Project.  (You can see my first instalment here if you missed it last week).  What’s made you happy this week?

7 May 2012 – Bigger than expected tax return – big smiles all round.

8 May 2012 – Babycinos and magazines with my little Daredevil – could do this all day.

9 May 2012 – 12 months of blogging, so proud that I’ve stuck with it, grown and am still wanting more!

10 May 2012 – PJ day at home followed by Mothers’ Day afternoon tea at child care – according to the Drama Queen I have pink and purple eyes and her favourite thing to do with me is dance – I feel magical!

11 May 2012 – Happy dances as the Drama Queen is moved up a class in swimming lessons, it has taken a while, but she’s finally getting a little bit more confident in the water.

12 May 2012 – A sleep in followed by a boy free morning – chill in with my girl and a bit of Drawn Outdoors.

13 May 2012 – Running around the wildlife park pretending to be kangaroos, emus, tigers, eagles and crocodiles is too much fun, we were so good at being monkeys that the Cotton-topped Marmosets all came down to the window to watch us!

Happy Mothers’ Day to all the Mums out there, I’m off to have More Trouble and Mischief from the happy glass!

Sam

Have you been kind today?

12 May

Kindness generally doesn’t cost anything, but has a value beyond measure.  There is a burgeoning kindness movement starting to sweep across the globe.  Google “kindness” and you’ll find a whole heap of kindness movement websites and associations.  They tell you about being kind, it’s benefits, ways to be kind and all about world kindness day, and information about the activities they have organised.  These sites are great.  They are happy places and you leave them with a bit of a warm and fuzzy feeling, hoping that everyone will find their site and just implement one or two of the ideas.  My favourite idea for today is

Drop a few coins in an area where children play, where they can easily find them. Do you remember how excited you felt, when as a child you found a coin lying on the ground? – from Australian Kindness Movement

But now it has left me wondering whether our world has become so self absorbed that we need kindness associations and movements?  When I was young my sisters and I were taught to smile, because it not only makes you happy, but everyone else that sees it too.  A smile seems to me to be the general communication of kindness.  It is rare that a kind act isn’t accompanied by a smile.  I don’t think I see quite so many smiles out and about that I used to and I’m hoping that this isn’t a reflection on how much I’m smiling, I don’t think it is, at least I hope not!

I like to smile.  I like to smile at shop assistants, when I travelled in the UK, I made a game out of smiling at the shop assistants and telling them that I hoped they had a great day.  Sometimes I was greeted with a scared look – what’s this crazy Aussie chick trying?  Sometimes I got a surprised little smile.  And a couple of times they replied with “You’re the first person to say that to me today” and we had a bit of a chat, apparently it’s not all that common to be kind to shop assistants in London, other areas of the UK are different.  It was easy, didn’t cost me anything, and made a difference to somebodies day.

Do we treat our shop assistants, service professionals, tradesmen, waiters, teachers, nurses, insert appropriate occupation here, that poorly?  There are numerous stories of increasing stress levels in service occupations.  Hospitals and schools are full of signs asking people to be polite and non aggressive.  Have we become so focused on ourselves that we forget that we have an impact on others?  What in the world are we doing?

Kindness can’t be seen or measured, but if you make a choice to be kind, make the choice to give to the world what you want to receive, then we can create the kind of world we want to live in, but you need to start with yourself.

My challenge to you today is to be kind.  Smile more, worry less.  Say hello, ask how someone’s day has been.  Leave some loose change for the kids in the playground.  Make someone else smile.  Be kind to your family, your community, to the earth.  Maybe, just maybe, it will change your day, your experience, your environment.  If you’re not really up to getting out there, how about just be kind to your garden, not only will your plants love you, but the benefits will spread beyond your fence.  You can even be cyber kind.  Bloggers love getting comments and likes (hint, hint) it really makes us smile!!!

I’m starting by just laughing with the Drama Queen while she steals biscuits from the pantry, hiding behind a wall of open cupboard doors.  Then we might move on to some more hard core kindness I know the Drama Queen and Daredevil will be up for the game, Mr Perfect will warm up to the challenge too.  Maybe I’ll post something about what we did and how we went next week.

Sam

Happiness is…

6 May

This is my first blog post linking with Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May Project, and it couldn’t be better timed.  The Drama Queen has had a sad day.  She’s not sure why, but everything has been a bit of a challenge, and as she is prone to a bit of over dramatisation, we have seen some spectacular tantrums.  We sat down and had a girly chat tonight about happiness and how she was the only one who could decide if she was going to be happy.  When I told her that if it was up to me I would make every day a happy one for her, she informed me, with her infinite four year old wisdom, that not every day could be a happy one.  She went on to tell me that you had to have days that were sad, angry, happy, really really mad, and that some days would just be love.  She is a wise old soul in a very young body.

The idea of the Happy Days in May Project is that you choose a time each day and write a sentence about what has made you happy that day.  You can check out the project here, and it’s never too late to give it a go.  Here’s my first few days

1 May – Finally managed to get the tax documents to the accountant – Massive tick off the to do list and weight off the shoulders, Yay me!

2 May – Listened to a sparkling rendition of Happy Birthday sung by the Drama Queen to Nanna Mon – She was so happy to hear from us and have a good chat, I’m so lucky to still have such a wonderful grandmother

3 May – Chocolate cake – are there any two words that could make you happier??

4 May – The Daredevil is a super fish – he loves swimming, and Mr Perfect loves taking him – I love watching!

5 May – Love when family gets together, lunch, drinks, old family and new friend?  Happy that everyone is happy. (cryptic much?)

6 May – Sunshine, lollypops and rainbows everywhere, everything is wonderful when we’re together – had a really nice family afternoon in the sun and the park.

I doesn’t take much to keep me happy!  What made you happy this week?

Sam

Am I Mad May???

1 May

Thanks to the wonderful Bizness Babes for this little piece of motivation to kick off May

A post a day in May.  Am I crazy? Have I bitten off more than I can chew? The answer is probably yes to both, but who doesn’t love a challenge.

This month is the first birthday of the Drawn Outdoors blog.  There’s a lot to celebrate.  I wasn’t sure how long I would last, how much I would enjoy it or even if anyone else would enjoy my inspired ramblings.  I have survived, have loved my blog and grown with it over the last 12 months.  The best news is that it appears there are a few people out there who enjoy it too, and my page views are gradually increasing as each month passes.  For this I am grateful as it provides me with a small sense of purpose and motivation to keep on going.

To celebrate the last twelve months and to kick off the next twelve I’m challenging myself to a post a day for the month of May.  I have some great ideas for posts.  Some may be very short, just a photo or an idea, others might provide a bit of inspiration, information or just some light reading.  I’m not sure that it will be the easiest way to celebrate, but it will be fun.

I’m also linking up with Seven Cherubs Happy Days in May project. It is such a perfect way to recognise the great things I have going on around me.  I don’t think I’ll post my sentences daily, but save them up for a weekly happiness update.  If you’re game, you can come along on the happiness ride.  No need for a blog, a pen and paper will do.  Check out the project here.

31 posts will be a lot, I might  need a little inspiration, so I’m throwing it out to the universe, what do you want me to write about?  Is there a burning thought or question you would like addressed?  Is there something you’re interested in or think that I should be interested in?  Leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

One down, 30 to go, wish me luck!

Sam

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