How I scored even more vintage fabric

It’s been a little while since my last blog post. Things have been busy and something had to give way. While I was gone from this arena fundraising concluded for beyondblue, with $1500 raised through my handmade charity auction! I’m … Continue reading

Fundraising & World Mental Health Day

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day (WMHD), an initiative that seeks to raise public awareness of mental health, reduce the stigma and encourage people to seek help when they need it.  I had planned on writing about this yesterday, on … Continue reading

Get Creative & Get Mental Health Aware

October is Mental Health Month. This week is National Mental Health Week. This is an important week for many reasons – not only does it mark one year since I started this blog (thanks to those that are still reading!) … Continue reading

A Special Announcement

When I first started this blog one of my very first entries was during Mental Health Week. I discussed my history of depression and how one of my great passions is to remove the stigma of mental illness in the media and community. You can read that post here.

Well, this year during Mental Health Week in October I will be doing something actionable on removing this stigma and bringing awareness to mental health in Australia. I will be hosting a “Get Creative Auction” proudly supporting beyondblue!

Proudly supporting beyondblue!

I have my Authority to Fundraise letter and I am about to begin accepting donations to the auction.

“Get Creative” is about using our gifts and talents to express ourselves and to regain and maintain our wellbeing. Creativity is instrumental to my wellbeing – from painting to express how I was feeling in the depths of my first breakdown into depression, to creating beautiful jewellery for my business Cordelle Designs today – it feeds that part of my soul that strives to make something beautiful out of the mess.

All items accepted into the auction will be in keeping with the “Get Creative” mentality – handmade, personally crafted and an expression of the donor’s own creativity.

I am so excited about this opportunity to fundraise for beyondblue as this organisation was fundamental in supporting me and my husband as carer during my darkest times of depression.

There will be more updates in the coming weeks and months as things get organised but mark it in your diaries now!

Mental Health Week: 6th – 13th October, 2013 | “Get Creative Auction” held on the Cordelle Designs Facebook page.

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

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.