Anyone still there…?

Not quite Mayday, Mayday as in the emergency call for help, but I have chosen to put fingers to the keyboard again and post this on May 1st as it is May Day in the northern hemisphere – despite being located in the southern hemisphere. I am clearly confused, or perhaps simply a tad bonkers (!), or I may simply have a childhood fondness for May Day – I did live in the UK as a child.

So is anyone still out there? A tremendous amount has transpired since my last post all the way back towards the end of 2017, and it feels somewhat peculiar to say Happy New Year in May even though this is the first post of 2018 for me.

So much has transpired that I am need of a new blog title. Why? I ask myself – in case no one is still there and it is only me reading this! North Melbourne is shortly to no longer be my primary home. Indeed I am already hopping between there and Queenstown in New Zealand. This was my view from the supermarket carpark yesterday morning!Queenstown Remarkables

Simultaneously to changing this blog title, I thought I would take the opportunity to use the same name across my Twitter, Etsy, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook accounts. Currently they are semi-aligned. Or perhaps having seven social media accounts is a signal of “a bit over the top” and it is time to rationalise the number. My blog and my Twitter account are aligned; my Twitter handle is @nthmelbournemum. My other social media accounts are all aligned to my Etsy shop; Made In North Melbourne. So as you can see there was intent to the groupings, a connection with both using North Melbourne, and at the same time a touch of separation as my blog and my Etsy store are different outputs for me. It writing that prior sentence it could be that even with a rename keeping them aligned but separate may still be the way to go, especially as I am in two minds about whether I retain my Etsy shop; it has been in holiday mode this year. I have reached the conclusion that I can remove my Facebook account; it has always been the one not used naturally. What do you all think? So perhaps there is touch of the Mayday Mayday call for help after all!

All idea, comments, and thoughts welcome…


Made in North Melbourne, still going strong

It has been a long time, perhaps two years, since I have made mention of my Etsy shop. To be fair there has been a lot happening, and the blog and the Etsy store are kind of separate identities, albeit with a passing reference to each other.

However there has been a flurry of activity this year. My sales are at an all time high – there has been three this year! A scarf and two recycled bracelets have sold. Of course insufficient to generate a living income but the excitement of someone buying something you have made is unbelievably rewarding. My new sock fetish has now made its way into my shop and I am in the process of knitting baby and toddler socks for my Made in North Melbourne brand.

Speaking of socks I have this week made the most fabulous purchase, the Sock Ruler®, the invention of one Denise in California. I am only a beginner sock knitter and so all you guns out there may laugh, but I find it a tad awkward when trying to accurately measure the length of my work in progress socks. No longer. My Sock Rulers arrived in the mail on Friday and were used today – utterly brilliant. If you live in Australia the place to get them is Kathys Fibres in Adelaide – she is very friendly by email; if you are in another part of the world the stockists can be found here. That gorgeous blue sock yarn below I purchased in April 2015 with the intent of making my first pair of socks. After two and a half years I am least pleased to say that I am knitting the very first pair of socks for me! And the afore mentioned first use of the Sock Ruler® was on the cuff of the first sock. I look forward to showing you the finished product.





Since finding out the Etsy exists I do endeavour to purchase from there on occasion. And boy is there some cool stuff to be had. I recently purchased this for a good friend, how groovy is this?!

Now there are endless good causes in the world, how do you choose child poverty over breast cancer – you can’t. Different causes resonate with different people at different times in their lives. As a woman who has had the good fortune to be well supported in my educative endeavours – my parents, who went to every parent-teacher evening, a father who never saw a single barrier to what I wanted to pursue (neither of my parents finished school but I went ‘all the way‘ obtaining a PhD in Science); a country that had a ‘Girls can do anything campaign while I was at school (that phrase has never left me and I still take it to heart); a supportive other half (he who did almost everything at home while I went and obtained an MBA while we both worked full time); my education has taken me to places and given my opportunities most women would not dream of.

Hence no stretch of the imagination to understand that I do like to see girls get the support or opportunities that they need or that can make a difference. And that is why I am making mention of #makeforgooda project powered by Australian ETSY sellers and in partnership with Plan International, who have a Because I am a Girl campaign, helping girls around the world access their right to education, health and protection. So if you happen to be shopping on Etsy, why not check out the #makeforgood products – as every sale gives a minimum of 20% towards this endeavour.

Girls can do anything: Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand

Made in North Melbourne – Going Pro!

Gosh, starting to be a bit missing in action here.  I could fib and say it was because I really am going pro with my Made in North Melbourne gig, but alas fibbing and I are barely even acquaintances!  And I have no desire to change that.  I have just been sucked into the work vortex, but am clambering out again.

Speaking of fibbing there is however some truth in my post title, and I am very proud of myself. Having made the second sale from my Etsy store (crowd goes wild, round of applause, champagne corks popping,… ok slight exaggeration!) I decided to lash out and get some branding.  And I am thrilled.  Check out my fancy pants new business cards, with a nod to my grandmother on the back, and even cooler my little stickers for when wrapping up items before posting.  I now of course need a third order to try these out.

Now I still have a long, long, did I say long way to go with my actual products – some may say I am not necessarily putting my attention quite in the right place.  But I am having fun! And have a gazillion ideas (sticking with the fibbing theme that might be slightly overstating the number!), but my products can only get better.

So, do you like my branding?  What about a bracelet made from a bread bag – the ultimate in up-cycling!

Yarn appetite sated for now

According to my Mum, my grandmother always used to say a little bit of what you fancy does you good.  I have always kind of liked that, in fact I kind of try to live by it.  And as part of ensuring at least a little bit of time to myself (a working mum’s rare treat!), about a month ago I went to the Yarn and Craft Market hosted by the Handknitters Guild.  So much beautiful yarn…I was very restrained and purchased with my new baby bootie range for my Made in North Melbourne Etsy store in mind – two merino in the traditional pink and blue and one utterly gorgeous yellow in merino/cashmere.  I was so taken by the name of the wool, how can you resist Mother’s Love for making baby booties?  This is a locally hand dyed yarn by the almost eponymous Dyed By Hand Yarns.  I have not started knitting with it yet, but will show you when I have.  I think sunshine yellow booties might appeal.

And very recently I purchased some wool just for me.  It is delectable.  I know – not a word you would normally associate with wool, but it is just so divine.  I had the good fortune recently to be in picturesque Arrowtown in New Zealand, and wandered into The Stitching Post (what a cool name for a store) and knew I could not leave without a purchase, it was just a matter of what.  There it was, hanging up, a big loose hank of incredible softness, lightness and colour, hence delectable.  The yarn is Alpine (though that might be the colour) from Touch Yarns, and is a super fine kid mohair, merino wool.  And for the far more seasoned knitters that I, this would come as no surprise – because even though to the eye the yarn is slender in appearance it knits as 12 ply.  The lovely man at the store wound it into a ball for me (read he took pity on me, may have been something to do with the fact that I had asked whether I could knit the wool directly before it was wound up in a ball…!).  They even gave me a free pattern.  I started knitting my delectable new scarf last night.

Rant of a working mum

I am totally missing in action and it annoys the hell out of me!  Now according to The Free Dictionary the definition of rant is, “To express at length a complaint or negative opinion“. So here I go.

I am soooooooo busy.  Work seems to be coming out of my ears.  I cannot recall the last time I stopped for lunch.  I work through it every day.  I do not stop for morning or afternoon tea.  On the flip side the best thing about being a working mum is that I do leave at 5 pm, and being late means I leave somewhere between then and 5.30 pm at the very latest.  In the past (B.C. = before child for me!) I would seldom leave before 7 pm, and often worked many evenings and weekends.  My daughter does come first now.  She has my undivided attention from the moment I leave work until she goes to bed.  But then once she has gone to bed and her dad and I have had dinner, if we haven’t had it with her, I generally get back on the computer and of late have been working until 11/11.30 pm.  Go to bed.  Get up.  Repeat.  No relaxation whatsoever.

I am managing about a blog post once a month.  My Etsy efforts have dwindled almost into non-existence.  Don’t ask me that last time I did any exercise (that was pre-arrival of the little girl).  I am not doing anything for me.

Now many of you out there could say that this is self-inflicted.  And there is probably much truth in that.  My dear other half is always saying that workplaces even without intent will take advantage of people.  There is always more work that can be done.  I should say that I am in a senior role, in the core of senior leadership at a large organisation.

But I have to say that ever since I went back to full time work something hasn’t felt quite right.  Now I have been incredibly lucky, with the luxury of 9 months off when she was born, and then being part time with a progressive time increases over 15 months, commencing at 3 days per week, then 3 & 1/2 days per week, and then 4 days per week until she turned 2.  And for my first 3 months back at work when she was 9 – 12 months old she was at home with Dad.  I managed to breast feed until she was 16 months old, she has homemade food, and there are only a handful of nights when Mum & Dad haven’t both put her to bed together.  But I would go back to 4 days per week in a heartbeat. There is something about that additional day that on one hand helps me not get so drawn into work, and more importantly gets me that wonderful, will never occur again time with my little girl.  I have this personal manifesto that if I complain about something 3 times I have to either do something about it or shut up!

Ok, rant over, time for me to take action or be quiet…  Any thoughts out there?