It’s been a little quiet over here – ICYMI, I’ve got news ;)

That’s right, I wont beat around the bush, BABY BARRAS NUMBER THREE is on his/her way!

I feel like I have been pregnant for an eternity – in all honestly I have been keeping the secret (not very well) since I was just 4/5 weeks in – and yesterday after my 12/13 week scan we decided to let the cat out of the bag on Facebook and Insties.

To say we are all chuffed is an understatement – we’ve been thinking about a third for a while, but kind of maybe only towards the end of the year – this little miracle had other plans and just decided it wasn’t waiting that long, much like how my other two made their start in life ;)

After a week of denying the symptoms,  I eventually took a test and voila, two dark lines appeared almost immediately… (But lets face it, 3rd time round, you just KNOW that when the mince smells weird, and you need to start taking midday naps, you are knocked up so there wasn’t really much denial involved!)

So here we are – 13,5 weeks in, with a due date of 16 October. It’s been a rough few weeks, nowhere near as bad as it was with Addi though, but I have had to slow down a lot. Have taken on much less work, my bank account is feeling the pain of it, but my body is thanking me for the extra sleep and less stress…

The kids are excited – Jules doesn’t ‘get it’ as much as Addi does but we all talk about the baby often and Addi seems to think it’s a boy (who she wants to call “Jordan Bernard” after her mate at school?!)

We are DYING to find out the sex and hopefully will in the next few weeks. I will honestly be happy either way, but there is much external pressure for a boy, for obvious reasons ;) Name ideas have already been thrown around, but as before, will only share once baby is born.

Despite my blogging absence of late, had to share this snippet because we are truly over the moon and – I hate to use this term but it’s quite apt – feeling blessed!

Do you think these two ragamuffins (living their best lives) actually have any idea what they are in for?! I’m not quite sure ;)

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Recent Work: VINE & NOMAD – identity design and websites

As a designer, it is always a pleasure to work with inspiring creatives on projects they are uber passionate about, especially when they are your friends and you just ‘get’ their vibe ♥

If you don’t already know Keri from We Are The Wildflowers, hop on over to her blog and read in her own beautiful words about the vegan-omni restuarant (NOMAD) that she and her hubby Andy have just opened, and about the work they are doing at their new guesthouse VINE, on the same property along the Bottelary Road in Stellies…

Some pics below to show off the work I did for each establishment – full branding/identity and websites for both – would love to hear what you think!

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LOVING: Noisli – boosting my focus while I work

For someone who doesn’t typically work well with background noise, and who generally CRAVES a few minutes of silence (because, two times toddlers = lots of distraction) I’m LOVING Noisli – a ‘white noise’ / productivity-boosting desktop app that is not only functional, but beautifully designed, which is always a plus for the creative in me!

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(Before I carry on – just so you know, this isn’t a sponsored post at all – I just like to share cool stuff!)

So basically, how it works is that you set up a profile on Noisli, and you can pick and mix your own ‘white noise’ – unleash your inner DJ and think ambient sounds like rain, wind, the rhythmic whirring of a fan – using sound in this way is a well known technique for improving concentration, but equally as useful for drowning out irritating noises (for me it’s the neighbours daily leafblower sessions!) The sound is delivered directly from your speakers and can be played with or without earphones (I prefer the latter, extra noise-blockage!)

If you dig the combination you’ve made, save it by adding it to your personal ‘favourites’. For the uninspired, there are random pre-mixes so that you don’t need to waste all your time playing around with sound effects when you actually have work to do (see – already boosting your productivity!)

Noisli also has a timer so you can get your Pomodoro on, and a text editor that, quote, “allows you to pleasantly write in a minimal and distraction free environment, helping you to focus more on what you are writing and boost your efficiency

I could waffle on for ages – but honestly, just go check it out for yourself – it’s really helped me over the past few weeks to remain focused while I work.

I’d LOVE to see Noisli figure out a way to incorporate the idea into a bookmark plugin – #JUSTSAYIN’… I only use the desktop version (which is free) but there is also a mobile app (low cost) for those on the go.

More at Noisli.com

 

A little makeover for Caffeine & Fairydust

Maz contacted me towards the end of last year to chat about designing a new header (plus some other bits) for her blog Caffeine & Fairydust, and I’m so excited to share the revamp with you, but first – a before pic!

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Initially we were only looking at a ‘cosmetic’ change (i.e. graphics only) but I came across a WordPress theme on Etsy that I just KNEW Maz would love, something clean and fresh that would work so well in streamlining the function of her blog and making it look more professional and glam! With a beautiful new header, a few coding tweaks and some changes to the sidebar – the new look C&F was born!

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As a fellow creative, Maz already had a clear idea of what she wanted, I totally felt her ‘vibe’ from the start, and was able to to create a look that was not only pretty but meaningful – the objects pictured in the new header are representative of aspects of her life (including one of her own fashion design sketches) and the fonts and colours used are feminine and strong, with a bit of added sparkle, much like the blogger herself!

Really pleased with how it all came out!

Maz is holding a giveaway in celebration of the new look – head on over to the blog to find out more about entering, and to stand the chance of winning Pretty Fun party package worth R2500 – and let me know what you think of the new look while you’re there!

Im busy working on some other exciting projects at the moment, including a new look for my own blog and other sideline projects too! 2016 is going to be a great year on the creative/work front, I can feel it already!

 

 

Good Read: Steal Like An Artist – Austin Kleon

I have been wanting to read Steal Like An Artist, by Austin Kleon, for a while now and was so chuffed that Nicola took notice of my Christmas Wish List hinting and ordered a copy for me! (She actually ordered it before my wish list was published which makes here an even better friend so I’m very lucky to have her as a partner-in-business-crime in more ways than one!)

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With the kids being on school holiday and my beloved Fikile on leave, I’ve been balancing all sorts of things and haven’t had a chance to get into the book properly – until last night. Finished it one go, and just loved it!

It’s a quick, easy read and reminiscent of one of my other favourite motivational books, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be, by Paul Arden. Both have the black and white design vibe going on; they are easy to read; and I dig the straight-to-the-point pearls of wisdoms they share,  that can be applied across many creative fields…

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Basically, Kleon shares ten things he wished he’d heard when he was starting out – and as a relatively experienced creative, I can totally relate – there are still things on his list that I’m learning about and experiencing for myself – a great read for creatives of all levels.

DO IT. I’m off to buy his other book now…

{ above pics BORROWED from Austin’s website }

My beautiful painting by WP Van Heerden

Recently I wrote about commissioning my first painting and I’m so excited to share WP Van Heerden’s masterpiece with you! I picked it up last week and it’s currently hanging in our entrance hall until I decide on a permanent place for it to hang.

What do you think?!

WP-van-Heerden-cleverbirdbanter-1WP-van-Heerden-cleverbirdbanter-3WP-van-Heerden-cleverbirdbanter-2WP-van-Heerden-cleverbirdbanter-4(to give you some perspective, it measures 75cm high and 50cm wide…)

I’m pretty much in love with it and so chuffed at how brilliantly WP interpreted my brief – the florals, the colours, the textures – spot on <3

Something I will treasure for a long time to come, literally can’t stop looking at it – thank you Willem!

 

 

Holla 2016 – you are going to be everything!

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Day four in, and I still CANNOT BELIEVE that a whole year passed so quickly and that we are now in 2016!

My diet is going swimmingly (just ate Chuckles and Milo cereal for brekkie) and I’m feeling so relaxed and happy after a few days break here and there… Just feeling so grateful and content right now – even though some things aren’t as perfect as I’d like them – I have good health, a wonderful hubby, my two beautiful girls and a world of opportunities around me – POSITIVE VIBES 2016, whoop whoop!

Some follow on questions from my previous 2015-round-up post to get the ball rolling for the year and to summon the goodness into my sphere:

What do you want the overarching theme for your 2016 to be?
BALANCE – especially between work and home life (I think I say this every year, still striving towards it clearly!)

Who do you want to spend more time with in 2016?
My family of course – but both hubby and I would like to make more effort to socialise more often – we hardly ever get out for various reasons (too much work, too tired etc) but when we do we enjoy ourselves and unwind so much so I really think we need to just do it!

What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?
Errrrrrything! But really, I do love to learn new things all the time, to improve on my design skills and the service I offer is always a top priority too.

Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?
Working at night and on weekends – it has to stop. Burnout aside, it means I spend less time recharging and/or hanging out with my peeps which makes me sad :(

What do you want to achieve career-wise?
I want to continue to grow my design career, and I have a few other business ideas up my sleeve that I would like to focus on and get moving with early in 2016 (just need to find/MAKE the time to work on them!)

How do you want to remember the year 2016 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?
The year I made my first Million? ;)

What is your number one goal for 2016?
As cliched as it sounds, my number one goal is to be more healthy and as mentioned above, create more balance in my everyday life.

My other random goals:

  • get back into Run/Walk For Life vibes and sign up for another event soon
  • blog and website makeover
  • work on my gentler, more present parenting vibes – less yelling, more understanding
  • keep my office tidy for more than a few minutes ;)
  • plan a proper family holiday/break (so needed!)
  • more hands-on DIY and creating, less computer time!
  • save more money, spend less!

What is everyone else doing in 2016 that will make it a year to remember, would love to hear your plans?!

My favourite photo from 2015

Time for my end of year traditional ‘favourite photo of the year’ post – this was an easy choice, I just love this photo of Addi taken at home in our garden one sunny afternoon…

“Come lie wis me, Mommy!”

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The picture of childhood – dirty face, happiness radiating from her face even though her eyes are closed, and completely oblivious to the worlds problems… All as it should be

Ps. If you’re interested, here are my favourite photos from previous years:
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014

2015: The Year That Was

I know we aren’t quite at the end of 2015 yet, but I feel like we are close enough for me to justify a round-up post like this ;) I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to answering questions/filling in forms, I just love it! So here we go, a few bits about the year that was…

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If you had to describe your 2015 in 3 words, what would they be?
Busy (even though this is a word I am trying to stop using so much!) Creative, and Exciting

What new things did you discover about yourself?
That I can do anything I put my mind to, as cliched as it sounds; and that I can juggle more than I ever thought I could!

What single achievement are you most proud of?
That I spotted an emerging trend (adult colouring in) and then started, successfully grew and sold a business (You Biscuit!) in the space of less than a year!

What was the best news you received?
Probably news of the acceptance of a really big quote by one of my American clients; but also all the positive feedback I received on my You Biscuit! posters

What was your favourite place that you visited in 2015?
Easy – my recent trip to Cape Town was the best, cant wait to visit again next year!

Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
Another easy one, my homegirl Nicola Tweed – ever supportive and inspiring.

Which new skills did you learn?
I cant narrow it down to a skill per se, but I guess the most important thing I’ve learnt overall/in terms of business, is to keep assessing, refining and improving things constantly.

What, or who, are you most thankful for?
Always – my husband Murray, and my beautiful girls Addison and Julia

What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2015?
Not to worry about money, clients or work – it will always come

What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
Changing my attitude towards doing work for free/underpricing – valuing myself and my skills more; once this changed, the type of clients I attracted began to change too and I am now blessed to be in the position (most of the time) to actually choose who I want to work with

What was your favourite compliment that you received this year?
As work-driven as I may appear, my kids are number one – I always feel special when someone compliments my mom skillz ;) I also loved to hear how people were enjoying my colouring poster, loved to get feedback from happy customers.

What cool things did you create this year?
Lots of things, because, full-time creative – but I reckon creating my own inspiring work space in the form of a dedicated home office is probably high up on the list

Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Yes! I commissioned a painting which Im really excited about – I am going to pick it up soon but have seen photos and Im just thrilled with how it looks!

How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I have learnt (decided) not to waste time/energy on people who do not bring positivity and joy into my life – this has been a big realisation for me this year because I have experienced the empowering vibes of positivity and the law of attraction.

What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
My sister, telling me all her favourite Afrikaans swear word combinations that she likes to make use of during bouts of road rage (runs in the fam!)

What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
A small Macbook Pro to function as my secondary computer (iMac my main one) and allow for flexibilty in terms of where I work (sometimes you just need to escape your desk, even if you have a fabulous workspace!)

What did you think about more than anything else?
Work, lol! Luckily I love what I do :)

What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
Probably learning more about WordPress websites and design – I completed the design of my first two proper WordPress sites this year (with the help of a local developer while Nicola, my go to, is on Maternity leave) and I’m so chuffed with how they came out (see Warlaby Beef and Vine)

What one thing would you do differently and why?
I would definitely try to balance my work and personal life a bit more – less working on weekends and at night… I know most freelancers/work from home types struggle with this and it’s going to take ongoing work to get to where I’d like to be…

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(list of questions adapted from this 2014 blog post on Into Mind)

Christmas Wish List + Gift Ideas for All

Last week’s thoughts and feelings are still fresh in my mind, but I’m bringing some festive Cheer to this next post by sharing some of the things on my Christmas wish list, which I hope in turn will inspire some fab gift ideas if you are still looking for a prezzie for someone special…

xmas-wishlist1. The Happiness Is… 2016 Calendar by talented Durban illustrator Fathima Kathrada
2. Cactus Print Swimming Cozzie – by Liza Clifford3. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon from Exclusive Books online
4. Palm Leaf Cushion from Superbalist
5. Wooden Clonette Mermaid sculptures from Noush
6. Clear Frame Rectangular Sunnies from Woolworths
7. Yellow Gold Weave earings from the new Shashe collection by Dear Rae
8. A set of Copic Markers – available from PNA stores and other select retailers
9. Ndebele Hut tin with Handmade Assorted Cookies from Woolies
10. How to Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone (kiff exchange rate at the moment means that Santa probably wont be bringing this to me LOL!)
11. Round Watermelon Fringed towel from Cotton On
12. Motex Labeler from Love Letters Stationery
13. White Delicious Monster Leaf vase from Mr Price Home
14. Eiffel Tower shaped scissors from Typo
15. Gold Big Beetle ring by Anna Rosholt
16. Dapper Sandals in Nude from Saint & Summer
17. Cleopatra By Night necklace by Anna Rosholt

Happy shopping!