30 August 2010

Change is as Good as a Holiday...


Or so they say.

Whilst standing in the middle of our market stall last Saturday MooBeeGran and I had a moment.  None of my tees were selling.  Well, we sold two, but that's not enough to feed the children.

'Aren't they as good as everyone elses?' I asked MooBeeGran.

'Of course they are dear.' she replied.

'Then why isn't anyone buying them?' I asked.

'It's winter.' she said.

'Since when did the season have anything to do with a cashed up mother at a market?' I quickly shot back.

At that point I received the stare of a mother who was not going to answer any more childish questions.  I knew when to stop talking.  But it did make me think.

What could I do differently?

What should I do differently?

What is my point of difference?

Do I offer enough choice?

How do I make myself stand out from the crowd?

As a result of asking these questions there are going to be some changes at MooBeeTees.  We are still going to make beautiful handmade items for children - but - and this is a big but - we are going to streamline our range, give you more choice within it and  do it better than before.


Big words, I hear you say.  True, but I think change is an all important component to any business, fledgling or established. So this is our first important change.  I'll let you know more about it as it happens, but I'm sure you'll all be pleased with the results.  I know MooBeeGran and I will be.


How has it shaped your art/craft?  How do you embrace it?

The first part of our change challenge will be a Mega MoobeeSale...more on this shortly.


26 August 2010

Planet You and Cate - These Words Are Not My Own

Every now and again something touches my heart in a way that makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.  It makes me want to question why things happen and how we can help to make them better.  This is such a moment.

I was reading the latest blog from one of my all time favourite bloggers - Cate Bolt - and was so moved I  needed to repeat it here.  I'm not going to try and explain as I think the original says it much better than me - all I ask is that you read, listen and perhaps, should you be so moved, help :)

My thanks to Cate for allowing me to reproduce her work here :)

These Words Are Not My Own by Cate Bolt

At night in silence the tears trickle down my cheek,
This cancer inside my brain is called Medulloblastoma,
In my heart I know this is Gods plan for me,
Yet I didn’t know if I was ready to travel this journey.

They pump the toxic drugs into me hoping for a cure,
The treatment is frightening and makes me so ill,
My platelets are low my body has bruises that are all black and blue,
Forever my life has changed and will never be the same.

I look in the mirror and hardly recognise myself,
The person I was is no longer there the girl looking back is someone new,
Resilience is what I need now to fight this battle,
I need to find the power to be strong, positive and courageous.
So many people are praying for and thinking of me,
I am touched by their kindness I shed another tear,
They give me strength to carry on even on days when all goes wrong,
My light is rekindled and I want to keep it burning brightly.

I will keep fighting as hard as I possibly can,
There are dreams I have for my future and I want to achieve them,
Cancer is a demon that tries to take away happiness,
But it won’t win for I know I want to be a survivor!

It’s funny how a random sequence of events can lead you to a place that you’d never imagined you’d be. The words above, as the title suggests, are not my own. They are – believe it or not – the words of a 12-year-old school girl. Her name is Dainere.

Just under a year ago, my kids and I made a video for a competition run by Australia Zoo. Actually, my kids made it, I stood back in awe of what my kids had learnt at school about film and television and realised how damn old I was. That video won them second prize and they had so much fun doing it that they decided that they wanted to do more.

So between us we came up with an idea to create a video series that would do what they loved doing – educate and inspire others. We had some awesome people jump behind us and throw in their talents to create the branding and website. We had some sponsors throw their money & products at us and we interviewed hundreds of kids to find out what they were most worried about.

What started as a “bit of fun” quickly turned into a LOT of work and an expensive exercise which we’ve continued to fund because we believe the end outcome will be worth every cent.

If you’ve followed us along the way, you’ve probably got sick of hearing about who we’re interviewing and not seeing the end result. Unfortunately the sad reality is that every 1 minute of end video is the result of TEN HOURS of work, so every 10 minute video takes 100 hours to produce, and with 10 videos in the series …I’ll let you do the maths.

The plus side to all of this is that we’ve had the opportunity to meet some AMAZING people. We’ve been more educated and inspired ourselves than what we ever anticipated we would be. When we put out the call to find a child with cancer who we could interview for Planet You, several people pointed us towards Dainere.

Ash & Dainere 

Dainere Anthoney is 12 years old. In 2009 she was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, I’ve included some very roughly edited footage from the interview we did with Dainere and she describes the journey she has been through far better than I could ever hope to.
When the Starlight Foundation offered to grant Dainere a wish, there were so many things that she could have wished for, so many things that everyone would have wanted her to have – for her. But Dainere didn’t want anything for herself. What she wanted was to help others. Dainere represents everything that we hoped to produce in Planet You with a selflessness that we’ve never ever experienced before.

Dainere’s wish was to have her blog published as a book. She wanted this so that other children who would have to travel her path could have something to read and know what to expect. She wanted to ease the unknown and provide comfort to others. If that wasn’t enough, she wanted the funds to be donated to the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation – Brain Tumor Fund so that one day, perhaps they could find a cure.

I was concerned about doing this interview, as a mother. I knew that Ash would be incapable of meeting this inspiring young lady without becoming emotionally involved. In preparation for the interview Ash read every page of Dainere’s book from cover to cover and instead of becoming upset by the injustice of such a beautiful human having been dealt such a terrible hand – he got inspired.

The Planet You team decided that this book was too important to be limited to a short run and that it needed to be available to every child, Australia wide. So they’ve set themselves the task of having the book in every school library around the country. In order to do this, however, we will need to pay for a reprint at a cost of $15,000.  

Dainere has done the hard work in writing this amazing book. Planet You will work tirelessly to ensure that Dainere’s dream is realised and that her words can benefit others. We need YOU to help us raise the money required for the reprint.

I’ve done a rough edit of the interview that we did with Dainere just 1 month ago. I’ve never attempted to edit a video before, so you’ll have to excuse – I don’t know how to do the fancy things that my teenagers can do!

Dainere now has trouble thinking to form answers as she speaks and her speech has been impaired by her treatment. We gave Dainere the opportunity to write her answers before the interview so that she could read them and be confident in her answers. It’s hard to believe that she’s only 12. Please watch…

Since recording this footage, Dainere’s condition has worsened and she has lost the use of her right arm. She is having seizures and will travel again to Sydney on Sept 5 for more tests.

We intend to make sure that while Dainere may never benefit from the money the book will raise for Brain Tumor research, she will see her legacy in her lifetime and know that her book will provide light and hope to children Australia-wide.

On the right side of this blog there is a widget that says Sydney Children’s Hospital Fund – you can donate directly through Paypal. You can also use the “add to site” button to put this widget on your own blog. Please give generously so that Dainere can see her dream become reality.

**This fund raising is done under authority from the Sydney Children’s Hospital Fund Authorisation number #1510 the beneficiary is the Brain Tumour Rehabilitation Program and all donations over $2 are tax deductable – receipts will be issued by the Sydney Children’s Hospital Fund.

21 August 2010

Have You Seen GiveawayScout Yet?

I was contacted recently by the lovely Josh from GiveawayScout who wanted to know if I had considered listing my giveaways on this site.  So I had a look and I thought 'Why Not?'

Here's a little about what they aim to do:

GiveawayScout provide access to all blog giveaways, contests and sweepstakes in one place. Giveaways have become extremely popular in recent years and thousands of blogs offer them on a regular basis. Giveaway Scout scans a large number of giveaway blogs and updates every hour with the latest offers.

Since giveaway contests usually expire quite quickly, we offer an automated update service that informs you by email when a new giveaway in your chosen category is discovered. 

So as I said, 'Why Not?'; I do love a giveaway and if I can be alerted to them without having to search, I say 'Yay'!  Check it out - you might find it useful too :)

17 August 2010

MooBeeView #10: TopazTurtle - plus Fabulous Giveaway!

Welcome to the August MooBeeView with TopazTurtle.  The fabulous jeweller behind TopazTurtle is Saunthra who works her magic with resin and other creative media.  The end result?  Wonderful, colourful pieces of art that you wear with a smile on your face.

As well as answering MooBeeTees' Fabulous Four Questions, TopazTurtle is offering a Giveaway especially for MooBeeView readers.  Just click on the 'August Giveaway' tab to see how you can enter :)

So sit back and enjoy a few minutes with TopazTurtle...

 1) Of all the media available to you as a jeweller, what is it about resin that has drawn you to it as a major medium for your jewellery?
What drew me most to resin and what makes me keep going back to it was the ability to inject colour into the pieces I create. I have tried my hand at a number of different types of jewellery making. I played around with metal for a bit but found the colours limiting and personally uninspiring. I use beads and wire too but again found the colours not exactly right. 

When I was given a resin jewellery making course as a birthday gift, it was an eye opener to how versatile resin is. When I was setting myself up as a resin jewellery maker buying pigments was a joy and a strain. I wanted to buy everything! I first started by buying the primary colours rightly thinking I could mix all my own colours. Gradually, once I had a better idea of what I wanted from my designs I bought other colours as well.

I still have my primary colours and I still do my own mixing to get that exact right shade.

2) Circles, rounded edges, spheres, smoothness - even your spikes are rounded! Tell us, what have you got against corners? How do you determine your design shapes?
No, I'm an equal opportunity designer. I don’t discriminate against corners!
Seriously though, most of my shapes are rounded as a matter of comfort rather than design. I can make some beautifully sharp corners with resin but very early on I found that this makes jewellery quite uncomfortable to wear. As a result I spend quite a lot of time sanding back sharp edges and corners to ensure that the piece of jewellery is smooth with rounded edges.
3) You use a lot of colour in your work. How does colour inspire you in the creation of your pieces?
Colour is an integral part of my work with resin and it’s what drew me to the medium in the first place. Colour doesn’t inspire me as much as things happening around me inspire me to create with a specific colour. Just take for example the song ‘Airplanes’ by B.O.B. It has these lyrics that go ‘can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are shooting stars” and that line was going round and round in my head and led me to create the dark blue beads in the pictured necklace.It has gold streaks in them that look like shooting stars. Sometimes it’s a line from a book, flowers in my garden, clothes or a scene from a movie that drives me to work with a particular colour. When I work with bright cheerful colours, it usually an indication that I have been having a particularly grey week.
The marriage of colours and shapes is another issue altogether and I usually let my subconscious guide me as I feel very strongly about using some colour and shapes.
4: What has been your biggest resin disaster (come on, we've all had one!) and what did you take from this experience and turn into a complete success?
I have had a number of disasters. Very early on I was experimenting with embedding fibres in resin and the fibres I tried to use caused this foaming effect and huge bubbles in the bangle. I think there is actually a picture of it somewhere. I stayed away from fibre as a result.

Another time I added too much pigment to the resin (I was going for a very deep colour) and as a result it made the cuff that I poured very soft. I couldn’t understand initially why the cuff kept falling off and others didn’t! What a way to learn the lesson about what too much pigment can do.
(MooBeeView Note: All pictures in this interview are successes!  No disasters present!)

I'd like to thank TopazTurtle's Saunthra for taking the time to answer my questions and letting us in to her world of beautiful wearable art.  If you want to learn more about TopazTurtle, please visit one of the following online sites:
Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/topazturtle
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/topazturtle
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/topazturtle 

MooBeeTee's Four Word Review:  Resin Rocks Wearable Art!


And now for the Giveaway!  

Click on the 'August Giveaway' tab for your chance to win a  


16 August 2010

What comes First - Family or Craft?

Now this might seem a fairly simple, if not odd, question to ask.  Of course, we say, family comes first.  Who could possible answer otherwise.

Hmm.  I'm starting to suspect me.


Am I the only one who finds themselves saying just one more minute as the kids look for homework help?

Am I the only one who quietly fumes when hubby/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend asks what's for tea, assuming that you are the one who is supposed to drop everything (crafty) and go and make it?

Am I the only one who would rather go to jail than go on a family drive - especially when I have a market the following weekend and stock levels are low?

Has my 'hobby' started to mean more to me than my loved ones? 

custom family tree : cozyblue

Does this make me a bad person (I suspect not, but it does add to the drama)?

That's five questions in a row - none of them easily answered.  What do you think?  Do you put off family in order to finish craft?

How sneaky are you in order to do this?

Family or Craft - what do you think????

09 August 2010

MooBeeView #10 - Coming Soon!!

I'm pleased to announce that MooBeeView #10 will feature Topaz Turtle - there may even be a little giveaway in it for you!  Keep your eyes peeled...