Vintage Sheets, Furniture Restoration & Daydreams – The Reality Check of Taking a Break

Custom Bracelet and Earrings Set

My littlest one is almost 6 months old now. He arrived two weeks early. Not so early as to be worried but early enough to scrap my plans of getting everything organised before our lives entered the haze of newborn-ness again. For this reason I returned to my business as soon as I came home from hospital to organise donations for the charity auction I was holding for beyondblue. It never slowed down.

I am now at a point where I can finally take a breath. I have decided to take a week or two after the Coffs Coast Craft Expo I am exhibiting at this weekend to stop, recharge and get my head together before the rush of Christmas. It’s a sort of belated maternity leave.

So now I am busy, preparing for the expo, catching up on correspondence and finishing custom orders. But in one little corner of my mind, the plans for my break are already forming…

*cue daydream music*

I love op-shopping. I recently found a little stool that I am planning on painting white and fixing up to make a lovely addition to my daughter’s room. I also discovered a set of vintage sheets in a gorgeous buttery yellow floral. Dress and skirt designs are swirling around in my head as I make plans for sewing projects with the sheets. I also found a little tutorial for making your own breastfeeding dress from a top and some fabric here, so I’ve bought the necessary bits and pieces to make that too (I’ll let you know how it goes)!

Vintage Sheet Love

I am also picturing trips to the park with the kids. Painting together in the sunshine. Play-dates. Building train tracks around the coffee table.

Then there are the odd jobs around the house. Sorting and storing the kids’ clothes that are too small now. Vacuuming out the car. Backing up all the photos on the computer. Updating the budget. Finally hanging up those last couple of pictures that have been leaning against the wall since we moved in January.

All this (and probably much more) in just one week or so. Hmmm…

Sometimes in all the planning we (or rather, I) forget to just be. Stop. Smell the roses. Savour the moment.

This is a skill I’m not very good at. I’m the kind of person who’s always doing. Multitasking is a natural way of life for me. Even as I’m writing this I am feeding my son and trying to prepare for bath time!

So, as I prepare to take my break I will plan to…take a break. The only way for me to remember to take a moment and stop is to plan it. Schedule it in. Then maybe it will actually happen.

So, I’ll be back in a little bit. Maybe with a new dress or skirt to show you. Maybe with a nicely restored stool to borrow from my daughter for photo shoots and markets. Maybe with a nicely organised house (ok, maybe not….I am mother to a toddler and an almost-on-the-move baby). But hopefully I will return relaxed and refreshed and happy in the knowledge that I had taken time for me and my family.

Fingers crossed. x

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Mental Health Week & My Passion to Remove the Stigma

Anyone who has been around me or my business Facebook page for any fair length of time will tell you that I have another great passion besides creating – mental health.

To understand why you need to understand my own personal story (I’m about to be raw and honest so prepare yourself!).

For as long as I can remember I have been a glass-half-empty kind of person, a state of mind that was not helped by difficulties with friendships at school, a little bullying and the immense pressure I put on myself to achieve at school. Still, I sailed along with just a bit of teenage ‘moodiness’, graduated Year 12 and embarked on a wonderful romance with the man I would marry just 3 years later in 2006.

In May 2007 my life changed. It sounds so cliched but it’s true. I began to lose motivation to do simple everyday tasks. Tidying the dining table seemed like a monumental job that required more effort and energy than I had. I trundled on, putting on a ‘face’ when out in public and always answering “I’m fine, thanks” when asked how I was. One morning over breakfast the thought of having to get up and brush my teeth was too much and I broke down. Discussions with my amazing and caring boss prompted me to seek help as she thought I might have depression. I first went to the beyondblue website and took the little questionnaire to assess the likelihood of having depression (to do it yourself go here). It gave words to what I was feeling and with a resounding positive result I made an appointment with my doctor.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression just before my 22nd birthday.

I tried all the natural therapies out there for depression, along with starting counselling with a psychologist. With still no improvement I decided to try antidepressants. With these, the fog started to lift and I began to make progress in my therapy sessions.

Apart from a 2 month stint that resulted in horrible thoughts circling in my head I have remained on antidepressants and I don’t see myself ever going without them. I don’t see this as ‘giving in’ or as a ‘crutch’ or as an ‘addiction’ – they are a medication to correct a chemical imbalance in my brain. Would you pass these same labels on to someone who takes insulin for diabetes? No. For many, antidepressants are necessary to help the body work the way it is supposed to.

Today, I am well. I still have down days but they are far outnumbered by my good days. I have had two children and have been thankful every day that I have not relapsed into post-natal depression (the chances of which are greater due to my history). I am also aware of how my thought patterns affect how I feel and (most times) can recognise when I am slipping back into that dark hole.

Recently I also held a charity auction on my Cordelle Facebook page to raise funds for beyondblue as they were a source of invaluable information during my depression. I am so proud to say that we raised over $1000 for beyondblue!

So, this brings me to Mental Health Week, an initiative to encourage everyone to talk about depression and anxiety. Today is also World Mental Health Day – and this is why I have chosen today to share this with you all. I believe talking about mental health, and especially sharing your own experiences as I have done here, is SO important in helping to remove the stigma associated with having a mental illness. Talk with your friends, family and colleagues about it. Keep those channels of communication open.

For more information on Mental Health Week and depression and anxiety, please go beyondblue. For urgent assistance, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Taking the Plunge – How a Love of Vintage & Jewellery Became a Business

Welcome to Vintage Cordelle! My new little blog to give you an insight into my business Cordelle, the inspiration I find around me, some crafty DIY projects and the vintage treasures I unearth in my virtual travels.

First, a little bit about me. I am first and foremost a wife and mother. I have two children, a girl aged 2 years and a boy aged 5 months. I have always loved art and craft, and grew up trying every new thing that came into fashion. Growing up I also loved old MGM musicals and the movies where the actors/actresses were stars not celebrities. This is where my love of vintage came into being, often believing I was born in the wrong era (the ’80s didn’t really offer the same style and glamour that I coveted)!

One of the crafts I enjoyed doing was jewellery making. Just simple beaded jewellery at first, making pieces to match my outfits. My very supportive colleagues at my job as a preschool teacher encouraged me to sell the jewellery I made as they often admired my creations.

OK, I thought. I’ll give it a whirl.

I made a few things and listed them on eBay. Nothing.

I tried Etsy. Nothing.

I held a little open house market in our tiny flat and invited friends and family. I sold stuff! Oh the elation of making those first sales! Of finding out that other people like what you make and want to wear it or give it as gifts!

Selling personally to family and friends became the main way I traded my handmade jewellery while I worked full-time. Then, in 2010, I went on maternity leave and had our first baby. Struggling with not working for the first time in my adult life and wondering how to stop my brain turning to mush while taking care of a newborn, my thoughts turned to making my jewellery business a serious endeavour. In between feeding, nappy changing and doing sudoku (my other non-brain-mush activity) I researched starting a business and how to make a website.

By January 2011 I had (painfully) built a website and without thinking too much into it, started a Facebook page to help advertise it.

‘Likes’ started rolling in. Friends at first. Then people I didn’t know started popping up on my page.

The snowball had started rolling.

It wasn’t long before I started making sales and the number of likes hit triple digits.

I got to know my customers. My style developed and soon my love of vintage started seeping into my work. The response was incredible and ‘vintage-inspired’ became my aesthetic.

‘Likes’ increased past 1000. Sales increased. And that amazement at people actually wanting to wear what I make still caught in my throat. It still does!

My maternity leave finished and I returned to work part-time, but now I also had this growing business to take care of, not to mention the world’s most adorable baby! The juggle began and somehow I muddled through and continued to make my business grow.

The beginning of 2012 saw a move to a new city and another baby on the way. As I had to leave my teaching job I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take on my business ‘full-time’ (because a toddler and a newborn aren’t full-time enough!).

So here we are today. We are now a family of four. My business branding has been updated and a new website has been (professionally) designed. I have started selling at local markets too. I still juggle, it’s just that the balls in the air are slightly different now.

This blog will be a sharing of my journey in business, insights into my inspiration and new product ranges, as well as a showcase of other vintage-loving businesses that I stumble across along the way.

I do hope you’ll join me on this ride and maybe even leave a comment or two if I post something that interests you.

Annaliese x