My Plan For World Domination Is Inching Closer

March 30, 2011  
At the beginning of the year, a little nugget of an idea burrowed its way into my brain, pitched a tent, and happily thwarted all of my plans to ignore it.

Eventually - when I gave up and embraced the idea - I decided I quite liked it.  I was going to pull on my big girl panties and start my own business.  I didn't know exactly how, or when, but I knew 2011 was going to be 'it'.

Now this might not be earth-shattering to most people, but it was quite the revelation for me.  When I was a teenager, my mother (the best knitter this side of the equator) got it into her head that we would make and sell knitted toys and baby items at a local craft market.  We spent many an afternoon happily embroiled in the BBC's version of "Pride & Prejudice" (a glorious five hour romp through times past, punctuated by the very yummy Colin Firth) while knitting (her) and sewing together (me).  We were good, too, making a lot of these dolls (our favourite was Sidney - look at the rainbow colours! Squeee!).

But, you know, the idea kind of fizzled as I progressed through my teens.  I wanted to get out and do stuff with my friends and though she tried valiantly to keep the idea alive, Mum soon realised she was fighting a losing battle.

Fast forward fifteen-odd years and wouldn't you know it - the bug came back.  By this stage I'd moved on to sewing, so I started picking the brains of anyone and everyone I could grab a hold of that had ever held a craft market or sold on Facebook, Etsy or MadeIt.  And because I am such a planner, while I waited for my ducks to get in a row (namely that pesky little dude called Finances), I projected the gee-willackers out of the idea until I was satisfied there was a market for the items I was thinking of selling. 

One particularly lovely lady, Sarah, put up with my late night Facebook inbox insanity and walked me through a lot of my questions. Today, while waiting for my twice weekly crack caramelatte, I got to finally meet her and she's every bit as awesome as I expected (although I'm quite certain she now thinks I could talk the ear off a brass monkey - meh, it's probably better she realises this right off the bat!)  She's quite the success story as the business koochie koo ('like' her on Facebook, too!) and she makes absolutely gorgeous baby and kids items.

As for me? I'm not quite there yet, but I'm not far off.  My original plan was to fire up the world domination countdown (ie, launch the business) on May 17, which would have been Mum's 60th birthday (May 30 this year marks the 5th year since she passed, and she would have been thrilled beyond comprehension that I was about to begin selling again) but I'm not good with waiting so I'm going to launch before that, possibly by the end of April.

So keep an eye out, okay? Because I'm fragile and needy and want everyone to 'like' my page to validate my existence - you know, the normal stuff.

On Blogging Absences

March 28, 2011  
It has been a long time since I blogged with any regularity.  When I eventually did start to miss it after the better part of 18 months away, I kept trying to fit in with the accepted notion of a successful blogger in whatever niche struck me as exciting at the time. Pffft - I was an idiot. I could kick myself now for not working through the writer's block and disinterest - I'd be clocking up four years in keyboard servitude by now.

Writing feels like a best friend I haven't seen in years, someone who I might run into at a coffee shop, a stack of unread books under one arm, rushing out the door to her fourth appointment of the day. "Hi!" We might exclaim to one another. "Let's get together soon - I'll bring the wine and you bring the inspiration!" We'd exchange numbers, promising to call when life calms the heck down and we're ourselves again.  And then ten minutes pass, another edition of daily minutiae crops up, and the conversation would be forgotten entirely.  Eventually, we'd lose each other's numbers and move on, too busy to regret the effort we chose not to put into our relationship.

Writing was always my 'go to' when I'd had a bad day.  Words flowed naturally, and sometimes excessively (in the early days I was known for my long, winding posts!) but they were there, non-judging.  Words were magical, powerful things that could transport you anywhere.  Who hasn't read a blog post or article and been moved to tears at one point? Who hasn't become enamored with a favourite blog, written by someone you've never met but somehow still feel a personal connection with, because the writing was so engaging, so hilarious, so skilled?

To be a writer, you need to read, and again, this is something I have virtually ignored for a good year now.  Reading for pleasure gets pushed aside with every vomiting child or school sports carnival, over and over again, until you're quite sure you've forgotten how to do it altogether. Our local library / community centre has been busy being completely rebuilt from the ground up over the past twelve months, which has severely impacted my access to good reading material (libraries spoil every budget-conscious reader - I couldn't bring myself to pay retail for a book, and other libraries in the district were too inconvenient to get to). But - *squeee!* - at last update, the doors were due to open today.  I miss books.

And as for blogging - I may have been the friend who disappeared for a while, but this week I've moved back to town :)

To My Daughter, Before She Hits Her Teen Years And Starts To Hate Me

You're nine.

I don't know how that happened - one day we were dressing you up in your Pooh Bear 'coming home from the hospital' outfit and the next day it was all school uniforms, requests for ear-piercing and independence.  Time is marching on, and soon the topics of conversation will revolve around clothes, boys and cars.  Or worse, boys with cars.  I'm not ready for this.  Your Dad isn't ready for this either and in a few years time, you'll realize just how not ready your Dad is when those boys with their cars come calling.  I'm pretty sure he's going to make you walk everywhere until you're twenty-five.

You are my last, and you're my only girl.  Though of course I love your brothers, you are special in a different kind of way.  What did we always say when you were little? Girls stick together.  I mean, how many mothers and daughters do you know that have the same scar, in the very same position underneath their bottom lip? (This is probably less fate and more a genetic trait for misadventure, but whatever!)

At nine, the world is still a pretty small sphere.  Home, school, Nana and Poppa's house, the occasional play date or outing.  Pain comes, but it is brief, and usually in the form of a bumped knee or bruised noggin.  Five minutes later, you've forgotten the pain and are jumping back into the next hair-brained adventure or game with as much enthusiasm and disregard for the effects of gravity as your brothers.

This will change.

Not only do I expect you to experience intense sadness and pain, but I want you to adapt and grow and change and adjust and yes, even welcome these moments, good or bad, for what they are and what they will teach you.  There will be dreams that will become all-consuming passions, friends who will come to know your thoughts almost as well as you know them yourself and so many disasters and mistakes they'll be impossible to count.  But then joy.  And excitement.  And love - oodles and oodles of it.  And all the bad stuff will fade into insignificance. 

But before you get to take a swan dive into life, there are whisperings that I want to tell you, lessons I want you to learn, stories I want you to hear and people I want you to understand.  I'll tell you all about your history - how your Dad and I met, where we both grew up, stories about crazy aunts and practical jokes, tales about houses we've lived in and secret family recipes.  And though I'm not even sure blogs will still be popular by the time you're old enough to read these words, they are my gifts to you.

Strap yourself in, my beautiful girl. You're in for the ride of your life.

Positive & Transparent

After having my new persona almost fly off the page at me yesterday, I thought I'd dig around the dictionary some more. Yup, I live life on the wild side. This is what I found:

The purity of a colour, or it's freedom from white or gray
(as mentioned yesterday).

The intensity of a distinctive hue, ie the saturation of a colour.


(In photography) A positive colour transparency.

I like that last one.  Positive and transparent.  When you blog, it's hard to know where to draw the line.  Privacy vs Community?  Omissions vs Authenticity? Some of my very favourite bloggers ever have gone the road of authenticity over personal embarrassment, opening up about family struggles instead of hiding behind a "Little Suzie HomeBlogger" character. They might cuss like a sailor (I'm looking at you, Magneto Bold Too!), they might have walked down roads I can't even begin to imagine (Moosh In Indy) and they may even do strange things to certain parts of their body (*coughRedneckMommycough*), but we love them dearly because they are raw, honest souls, and that's a rare commodity in the world these days. We triumph and commiserate with these lovely ladies because we can see something of who we want to be on their pages.

So.  Real and authentic. Are you guys ready for this?

When The Words Just "Fit"

March 27, 2011  
I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to naming things.

When our second son, Middle, was in-utero, I was determined to name him Willoughby (Will for short) after that dastardly character in Austen's Sense & Sensibility.  I came to my senses when I realised such a horrible character was hardly the strong, formidable sort I wanted my son to have as a namesake, despite my love of the name itself.  There are just some things that stay forever meshed in your mind, and this fictional Willoughly just wouldn't do.  So I set myself to thinking - which other character from literature could I exploit to name my offspring? Let's just say Sense & Sensibility came through in the end and provided us with a new, solid, dependable name.  And one far less prone to run after the first rich girl he sees!

But sure, I do spend an inordinate amount of time in the pursuit of a good name. I write, so character names, town names, names of streets, it all gets the somewhat-obsessive treatment.  And blogs are no different.  For the past year or so, I have toyed with a dozen different names as I've searched for 'just the right fit', a persona that was short, sharp and sweet yet still showed that I was more than a mama, more than a crafter, more than an Aussie, more than anything that could possibly be contained in a few words floating about in the Blogosphere.

Chromama is what I came up with.  Let me break it down for you.

Chroma is Greek for 'colour' and it's defined as the purity of a colour, or its freedom from white or gray.

Freedom from white or grey, huh?  I don't know about you, but for me, it's really easy to get bogged down by 'all things wife and mother'.  The days seem to meld together, a kid - usually the same one - is perpetually ill, the working spouse is absent for a lot of the 'hands on' stuff, there are meals to plan, shopping to do, cleaning to avoid, not to mention you're exhausted....well, life can get decidedly grey. And it's not that you don't love or even enjoy doing these things for the people in your life.

It's just that everyone needs the chance to find their colour again. To explode with creativity or excitement or drive or determination or love. To make the days count. To live with purpose.

To enjoy life!
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