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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

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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

Are you a Babe?

22 May

Of course you are!  But what I want to know is do you have a burning desire or a little flicker of hope to run your own business? I did, and Bizness Babes was the course that has helped me start the little spark of fire under my dreams.  Now I’m paying it forward just a little.  Here is a post written by the Brisbane facilitator of Bizness Babes, Samantha Jockel.  Bizness Babes have asked all their graduate bloggers to post this in their blog, and I’m so happy to be able to spread the news.

Business … do I really have what it takes?

Ever found yourself asking this question? For most people this is where it begins and also where it ends.  What sets an entrepreneur apart from the rest is not that they have ideas but they actually DO something about them.  That is it.  One tiny thing can take you from stay-at-home-mum to business entrepreneur, leading a ‘choose your own adventure’ life you only ever dreamed of.

My name is Samantha Jockel and for the last five years I have been a stay at home mum and business entrepreneur. It has been the most exciting, scary, fulfilling, frustrating and ultimately awesome time of my life.

I started contemplating the idea of business seven years ago when I was thinking about having children.  I knew I didn’t want to go back to work and leave my kids but I also knew I would need more stimulation than looking after a baby.  I have always been an ideas person with my fingers in many pies but just hadn’t made my own pies yet.

I decided I had to come up with an idea which could work with a baby in tow.  My background was social work and community development and my superpower was making things happen.  From a random thought in my head one day and a few encouraging conversations came my first business called Biddy Bags.  

Biddy Bags merges the skills and abilities of crafting nanas with the design ideas of young fashionistas to create stylish, nana-made ethical products.  Refer to www.biddybags.com.au for more info.

From setting up and managing Biddy Bags I learnt that I LOVE business and have spent the past three years experimenting with lots of the different potential I see in the market.

I currently run a large facebook page, sell products and services at markets, co-founded two social enterprises and run a consultancy business.

What I have learnt about running a business is that it is not about having a great idea as much as it is about a willingness and love of learning. 

As Richard Branson said: “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming”.

I truly believe you can do whatever you want if you can be bothered the secret of business success is that it’s not necessarily about talent or a great idea but a desire to learn and grow and an ability to work hard. 

What excites me the most is not what I have done but what I am yet to do.  As a stay at home mum you are in the perfect position to experiment with small business and see if you have the ability to learn, create and work hard in business. You too can choose YOUR own adventure, live YOUR dreams and be in control of YOUR own life.

Three years ago I was lucky to be offered a job working with a social enterprise called Bizness Babes.  Bizness Babes supports and empowers stay at home mums attempting to give business a go.  We run free training programs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and have had over 400 women come through our program since 2006.

Some graduate Bizness Babes businesses include Sunny Mummy, Peppermint Magazine, Home Life Simplified, Seven Cherubs, Gregarious Peach, Greensacks, Maternal Instincts, Kiss it Better Bags, Seven Canaries, and the Karma Soap Company 

The great thing is that YOU could add your name to that list.   We are currently taking applications for our next round of courses.  In order to be eligible you need to meet a couple of criteria outlined in the application form.  Our Small Business Development Course is free to women who are unemployed, underemployed or marginalised in some way (see the FAQ on our website).

You can find out more about Bizness Babes and apply for our courses online at www.biznessbabes.com.au

Like our facebook page www.facebook.com/biznessbabes for regular updates, networking and inspiration.

And remember you are always in the position to CHOOSE your own adventure!!!!

And thank you Bizness Babes for not only making my business planning easy, but also making today’s blog post so easy!

Sam

Woo Hoo! One year old today

9 May

One year ago I sat down at this computer desk, at a very similar looking but different computer and tapped out my first blog post.  Drawn Outdoors the blog was born!

I’m just a little bit proud of the achievements I have made in the last twelve months, they’re only relatively small in the bigger scheme of things, but most have been significant first steps into previously untested waters for me.  A bit of faith, a bit of inspiration and a lot of hard work, and I am well and truly on my way.  If I could have predicted the future, I would have thought that this blog would have started out like a burst of Sydney New Years Eve fireworks, and then kind of faded away in the haze of smoke that was left in its wake.  I wasn’t sure that I would still have things to blog about, how I would find inspiration and ideas, and even if anyone would read what I was writing.

Fortunately I was wrong.  My daily page views are steadily increasing each month, and I seem to be enjoying blogging more with each post that I write, this is my 88th post, so by the end of May I will be well and truly into triple digits.  I am constantly amazed that my most read post has had over 1,000 views, and that it was this one

What have I achieved, what happened this year and where to from here?? Is it time to make a new blogging year to do list, re-write some aims and objectives and set the bar just a little bit higher? Hell yeah!  It’s time to dream bigger, better and in every colour of the rainbow!

Drawn Outdoors’ first year saw births, deaths and marriages.  We had hospital stays and holidays, and an incredibly huge amount of rain!  At least the weather is my prevailing excuse for the lack of activity on the Drawn Outdoors courtyard.  Drawn Outdoors has attracted a few clients, I’ve dusted off the drawing board and designed some fabulous gardens, though still not ours!  As I said, baby steps, but at least when I prepare my tax return this year I’ll be able to show a very modest income!  Significantly I graduated from the Bizness Babes program, and blogged about it here.  Without these wonderful women and fantastic program I don’t think I would have had the nerve to start down this road.

As for the rainbow coloured dreams, as the Daredevil will be heading off for a day or two of childcare soon I’ll suddenly be presented with the luxury of time.  Time that will be used to grow my business, improve my blog and take the next step and start to develop my website.  With the extra time I’ll be able to start to market Drawn Outdoors and find clients rather than waiting for potential clients to find me.  And maybe, just maybe I’ll actually finish my business plan, rather than continually “improving” it!

I know that this year I’ll be taking bigger steps, confident strides, and there is a possibility you might even see some running and jumping, though dancing might be more my style.  Bigger things are in store, better things down the track.

Happy birthday Drawn Outdoors!  Thank you for reading, I hope I have informed and entertained.  At the very least I hope I have made you smile, think and feel inspired.  I hope you’re really starting to feel drawn outdoors!

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

Back to the books

6 Mar

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I am amazed at how tech reliant I have become. So much of my life seems to revolve around what I need to e-mail, research, or communicate on line. But what happens when mother nature strikes? In this case literally, and your portal to your online world is zapped?

Sydney has been experiencing some very un-summery weather, and for about a week we had some very impressive electrical storms. Unfortunately it seems that both our computer and router were fried in one of the storms, and we’ve been without them for about two weeks now. Frustrating and inconvenient? – yes! The end of the world as we know it? – no way. An opportunity to reconnect with an old school way of doing things? – Definitely!

I’ve talked about going slow before. You can refresh your memory here. The difference is that last time it was voluntary and this time it is an enforced tech-out.

I have had to come up with some creative ways to get plans finished, prepare quotes and research and select plants. I have a fantastic library of books, and the lack of computer has given me the opportunity to open the bookshelf doors and reacquaint myself with these old friends. I had actually forgotten about some of the books, so it was like a little walk down memory lane.

Some of my books were bought while I was travelling, some when I was at University, and others were gifts. It was the books that were gifts that bring back the best memories. My Mum has given me a mountain of landscape books over the years, she knows me well. She also has a great eye for books, and having been the wife of an architect and mum of a landscape architect she’s learnt a few things about design over the years. I’ve spent a bit too much time flipping through the books she brought back from the US, or the gorgeous Australian Garden Design book she gave me a couple of years ago, but it was the Collection of Australian Wildflower Illustrations that made me stop and think.

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Mum and Dad (or should I say Santa) gave me this book for Christmas when I was 10. Long before I was a landscape architect, before I think I had even considered it as a career choice. I remember spending hours flicking through the pages and savouring the delicate water colour illustrations. Could it have been this book that started me down the path I’m following? Could it have sown the little seed that has grown into the garden of my life?

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I’m quite enjoying my tech exile for the short term, my books are keeping me company, and reminding me of my roots, but I can’t wait to re-discover the convenience of the world at my fingertips.

Sam

Little drops of milk.

25 Nov

You might have noticed that last week was the first ever postless week for Drawn Outdoors…or maybe you didn’t, but either way, here’s the story of the post that never was.

Mr Perfect had last week off work.  He left the world saving and environmental super hero work to others and dedicated himself to Drawn Outdoors HQ.  Recently I posted about my need to organise (check it out here) and it has been a bit contagious.  Both of us have been feeling a bit unsettled and needing to reset some roots in our now not so new home.  We both expected to have a few more things done and be a little bit more progressed with some of the “projects” we had set for ourselves, but November came along and when we took a look at what we had achieved we were a little underwhelmed.  So, equipped with pre-prepared “Did you remember the milk” lists plus a new “week of organisation” list we set off on mission declutter and organise.

What did we achieve? How did we fare? Are we both still alive (well, obviously I am!)? and what happened to the missing post?  So many questions and well, plenty of time to answer.

The good news is yes, we are both well and truly still alive, not even a scratch or bruise to either person or ego,which if you know our accident prone abilities is a miracle in itself.

Our major achievement was that the messy room is now the not so messy room and we have made space for a desk and drawing board, so hello Drawn Outdoors head office.  The stumbling block now is Christmas.  The space for my drawing board has been earmarked for the christmas tree, so setting up the office will have to wait until the new year.

I’m super excited about setting up the office and have been planning where shelves, desks and storage will go, and what inspirational words and images I might need to make my business home.  This has been a long time coming.  I first started thinking about my home office a while ago in this blog post, and believe me, the thinking hasn’t stopped, it’s just been temporarily stored on a very pretty imaginary shelf.  Green is featuring in my imaginings at the moment, not sure how much I can use without it becoming too much though!

I don't think Mr Perfect will let me paint the walls green!

From a list of 47 things to achieve in the week we managed to get 32 completed, and during this week I’ve knocked a couple more off the list.  Some of the things still to be done revolve around the gardens, and the weather has kind of kerbed our enthusiasm to get outdoors and dirty.  With only a couple more to do’s to be done I’m calling Mr Perfect’s week off a success!

As for the missing blog post, there were a couple of posts started, a sentence here, paragraph there.  You will probably see them over the coming weeks or months as they are finished, but with Mr Perfect and his determination to “get things done” breathing down my neck, time on the computer became limited.  Posts were thought of, but not given time to flourish and finish and therefore I decided that if Mr Perfect could have a week off from the world, so could Drawn Outdoors.

Back to thinking green offices…

Sam

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