Gee, it's been awhile between "What I Wore" posts, huh? I'll try to make them slightly more regular, a combination of work, weather and inclination has popped them on the back burner for a little while. I couldn't resist pairing my crisp woollen coat with the bright red berries that have popped up in the recent frosty weather we've been having.
I can't remember if I mentioned it, but I bought a fire pit with the intention of roasting some veggie snags and cobbling together some Australian S'mores (substitute Graham Crackers with whatever I can - Granitas for now). We enjoyed one bonfire but jeez, it's been so cold we haven't had the inclination to spend the evening outdoors again, brrr! Even with a fire...
Regardless of my desire to stay indoors, I'm loving the chill in the air. It makes you feel more alive after a lazy summer. Speaking of laziness, do you ever feel like you get totally stuck in a rut? I suppose everyone reaches that point at various times. I'm not feeling so rut-ty but more... like things are about to burst open and something new is just around the corner. I've been pouring my energy into work so much that I've had blinkers on for just about everything else in my life. But really, you know when your head is down and you just get a feeling. Bring on change, I'm ready for a shake up!
This 225 year old tool was used for measuring the blueness of the sky. And it has the best name ever: The Cyanometer.
If you still love writing on paper but could use those notes later, Mod Notebooks offer a digitising service with their notebooks. Fill up the book, send it to them and they'll digitise it, return it to you or recycle it. Brilliant.
I hope you had a lovely weekend! I never thought I'd say this, but after watching True Detective (BEST. TV SHOW. EVER.), I've decided that I don't actually despise every Matthew McConaughey movie (since he ditched romantic comedies). We watched Mud over the weekend, it was a great film. We've taken to browsing the local video store again, you always find something random to watch :)
My pottery love is showing no sign of ending anytime soon. Next up on the list of pieces I want my hot little hands on are these Gem Cups from Milly Dent Design. They're handmade right here in Sydney, Australia too! The marbled interior glaze is gorgeous.
Melyssa shared her insights from the recent Alt Summit. For those of us who didn't have the luck to be there in person, her tips get us a little closer to the expereince! Thanks for sharing your knowledge gained Melyssa!
How's your weekend shaping up? You'll never believe what I have planned. Work! Insane and unbelievable, right? I sound like a broken record lately. Don't worry, there'll be more exciting things happening after mid-July. In the meantime I'll escape my screen as often as possible to stay sane.
It's been a little while (ok, a long while - way back in February!) since I participated in my first class at The School here in Sydney. There is always a stack of great courses running there, from styling to photography to crafty pursuits. Megan Morton is the mastermind behind the operation, as well as being a renowned stylist (you can attend her styling classes too!)
As soon as I saw the name Maryanne Moodie, I was in! I've been following Maryanne's adventures on Instagram for some time and I knew the girl would be one serious well of information. If you haven't heard of Maryanne Moodie, you probably will soon. A former primary school teacher from Australia, she is now based in Brooklyn where she makes a living from her handmade woven creations. She shares the secrets of her trade with enthusiastic weaving apprentices around the world, most recently spotted in cahoots with Design Love Fest. My interest in learning weaving did bring up some conflicting feelings though... Have I turned into my mother circa 1978? When did this happen? Will I be getting a perm soon? I buried those feelings deep inside and went along to the course.
With her background in teaching, Maryanne proved to be an incredible teacher, patient, informative, attentive and encouraging to our tentative fumblings with our looms. Soon we were all weaving like pros, it was amazing to see what everyone produced in such a short time. We took our looms home for future weaving magic - I've been stalking the dusty corners of thrift stores for leftover wool treasures.
A spectacular close-up of a mistake! D'oh.
I'm looking forward to sharing some of my future creations with you. Have you ever tried weaving? It's such a fun and therapuethic exercise (until you make a mistake and have to undo everything)
If you have a chance, you should try learning something new this year. It such a rewarding experience, and better for your brain than re-runs of Dawson's Creek ;)
So winter solstice happened here. All I see on the internet is summer, summer, summer, but I'm enjoying the chill in the air, warm scarves and snuggly cats weather. Though it's been so up and down here that my mulberry tree has green shoots on it?! It's really confused. It was C and my anniversary on Friday, I surprised him with flowers after work and he surprised me with... flowers! We were like two sheepish kids trading bouquets ;) A pleasant side effect is that our home is now full of fresh cut flowers.
I hope your weekend was fab, whether is was carefree and summery or snuggly and hot chocolate-y
I shouldn't even look at the Anthropologie sale. Before I know it, I'll have 19 different napkin and tea towel sets, new crockery, curtains and a bedspread. That's before you peek inside the wardrobe. One thing that won't break the budget (if you can control yourself) are these pom-pom push pins. Frivolous, maybe. Necessary? Yes.
I know I already mentioned this necklace in another post, but... I recently won a giveaway on Fernaly for some handmade jewellery from Emily over at A Lively Blend. Since I received said necklace (and other goodies) in the mail, I love it even more! It's so simple but still makes a nice statement with the little cube of pyrite sparkle taking centre stage.
I seem to be talking a lot about work lately - as a freelancer, it's a good problem to have, but alas, I have no post of the week for you since I have read exactly NO posts this week. Between working normal office hours, working on the train and then catching the flu... It's been a little crazy around here. I have a few jobs lined up for June/July so there's no end in sight just yet. But hopefully I'll get back to some more regular posting over here when I start working from home at the end of next week (and earning back those 5 hours I've been spending commuting!)
I hope you have a fabulous weekend. As I type this my cats are making all manner of strange sounds at the TV. C just put on their special video which is birds and squirrels frolicking in someone's yard. Nico actually 'asked' for her video to be put on and is now sitting beside me, chin resting on paw, chirruping at the TV.
It seems that Sydney has a full schedule every May and June, with the Vivid Festival, the Biennale and the Sydney Film Festival all piled up on each other in my calendar. I made it to Vivid twice this year, once to view my work which was projected at Darling Harbour, and another time to see the Opera House and Circular Quay area. It generally rains a lot during Vivid, and despite a fair weather forecast, the night I visited my animations was a washout! We got completely drenched and unfortunately I didn't get any decent pictures, just phone snaps.
Circular Quay had some fantastic animations on the buildings, but for some reason the vibe just wasn't happening this year. Perhaps we weren't in the right mood, but for whatever reason it felt a bit flat. There didn't seem to be as many interactive displays and people were just filing past the lights without the exuberance I witnessed in previous years. I still managed to geek out at the animation and wonder how the Opera House approved a post-apocalyptic theme for their artwork this year... The MCA building projection was my favourite, so many interesting things to see and the music was great.
Did you head to Vivid this year? I'm wondering if I chose a bad night to go or if it was a bit dull in general. Unfortunately I missed the ginat bunnies and Martin Place display which a few people said was good. Que sera sera.
One of the toughest things for me as a freelancer is the amount of time I spend managing client feedback. Often there is more than one person that I am speaking to, they have meetings with each other, separately with me, and we often spend a lot of time re-hashing the same feedback and discussions multiple times. If I was the boss of the world, things would be more streamlined, but as it turns out, I'm not, and client feedback and project management can be time consuming and messy.
Have you ever worked at a job (any job) where you feel like you spend more time emailing, explaining and repeating yourself than actually working? Yep. Me too. As a freelancer, it's up to me to manage my time as best as I can and try to minimise the time spent on admin, so I can spend my valuable hours on designing rather than emailing.
When Concept.vu contacted me to do a review of their new platform, they definitely caught my attention! I signed up and gave it a test run. You can use Concept.vu to share audio, video and images with clients, which is awesome for me, since I do a lot of video work. The interface is really simple and intuitive, there's no fancy menus or complicated systems to figure out. To share your work with a client, you just:
1. drag and drop (or upload) your work
2. add overall comments
3. annotate comments directly on a specific part of the image
4. designate one client as the bossman (i.e. the approval fairy)
5. share with your client(s)
The Concept.vu interface is clean and easy to use.
You can see where the approval process is at a glance.
For the sake of research, I pretended to be my own client (hey, a girl can dream, right?) just to see what the process is like from the client side as well. It's really easy, actually. The client receives an email with a password to access the project (no account setup required!) They just log in, look at your notes and then add their feedback. Again, the client can add annotations to specific spots on the image, or they can add overall comments. Each time a comment is added/amended, you get notified, so you know when the client has done their thing. No more back and forth asking where the approval is at. Once everyone is happy, the designated approval fairy simply clicks the big green "Approve" button and you'll receive an email to let you know it's good to go.
Another great feature of Concept.vu is that you can add multiple versions of the same file to a project. You can address the feedback and upload another image as a new version, keeping all notes and versions in a handy dropdown menu (together) for future reference.
I've been using Concept.vu for a couple of weeks now and I'm loving it. I can see it being a really useful tool to keep projects running smoothly and (hopefully) removing a whole lot of email thread-searching for feedback and client review notes.
If you want to try it out, you can get a free trial for 30 days. After that, there are a variety of options from the Freeloader Plan right up to the Agency Plan for companies with 50 active projects going (phew, glad that's not me!)
Have you ever used a project management system like this? I'd love to hear your experience. If you don't use a project management system, what are your tips for handling client feedback, deadlines and communication?
Concept.vu has provided me with a 6 month plan in order to trial and review their product. As always, all opinions and words are my own (including approval-fairy™) and not influenced in any way.
Work Your Way | Project Management: Concept.vu Review
Sarah has written a great post on being ambitious and pushing forward with your plans and ideas.
I hope you have a great weekend! I've got four (4!!!) movies on this weekend. What can I say, it's Sydney Film Festival time! I saw a brilliant documentary last weekend, called Jodorowsky's Dune. If you're not familiar with Alejandro Jodorowksy, please check out his work, he makes incredible films. The documentary is about his failed attempt at making the film version of Dune, working alongside such incredible people as Mœbius, Dan O'Bannan, Chris Foss, H.R. Giger, Salvador Dali, Orson Wells and many more. Jodorowsky has an infectious energy and the documentary really highlights his heartache at having the project slip through his fingers. But it's full of hope, excitement and shows what an incredible mark he has made on cinema through just the storyboard proposal he made to Hollywood. Riveting stuff.
This weekend is all about Ghibli. I'm seeing two Ghibli films and a documentary on Miyazaki as well! This has to be my favourite time of year in Sydney, there's always so much to do and see.
Howdy! I've been a bit under the weather today, so I didn't to finish the post I had planned. But I thought I'd drop in and let you know that I'm hosting a giveaway over at The Nectar Collective. It's open internationally and the winner will get $100 gift card for Anthropologie plus an $80 gift card for Amazon! You can pop over to Melyssa's blog to check out all the details, or you can even enter right here, using the rafflecopter widget! Good luck :D
Back when I worked full time I used to be pretty organised when it came to calendar planning and my schedule, but now that I'm freelancing, I have to be on top of it all the time. Keeping track of various clients, appointments and deadlines as well as a social life (hopefully!) can become extremely complicated. Even nail painting time (procrastination) is booked in (jokes!)
There are lots of productivity assistants out there and I've tried many of them. The one thing I can rely on myself to check regularly and keep up to date with is my google calendar. It's not perfect, but I have a few tips that make it work just that little bit better for what I need.
I try to make each block on the calendar and accurate representation of the time required for the task. That way I have a realistic plan for each day. Colour coding is also really helpful. At a glance I can see if I'm designing, blogging, going out for a social event or doing housework. Appointments have their own colour and I even go so far to highlight my commute in another shade so that I know that time is pretty much lost (except for reading, and today, writing a blog post!)
Like most people, I just slot in my work days into the daily schedule. It makes it really easy when I get a call or email from a prospective client to glance at my calendar and see if Im booked with work, or if it's something more flexible like my blog plans. Big orange blocks say "no way, I'm busy on that day!" In addition to work, I add in any commuting that I might need to do, meetings, lunch/dinner breaks and chores. With everything having a time, I'm theoretically less likely to spend a whole day folding socks.
This is my own personal system, I wonder if anyone else does this? I have a section at the top of my calendar that has "all day" items, though for me, the items aren't related to a particular day. I just have seven bonus chunks of information to work with. These sections are split into:
Someday (things with no deadline that I'd like to do)
Design // To-Do (for current tasks)
Design // Waiting (waiting on client feedback)
Design // Me (personal work)
I repeat the tasks each week, so they are always there until I cross them off (delete them). It's perfect for long-term projects, ideas for blog posts and my wish list of things to-do. They're always on my calendar so I don't forget about them. I also might add notes into the item "description". If I have notes, I * the item so I know there are notes inside.
One thing I like about google calendar is the collapsible tasks bar. You can use it as a to-do list for the day so that if you have, say 4 hours blocked out on "blog design for Kitty & Buck", you can expand in more detail on the to-do list, and check off items as they are completed. I don't always use this, but it's handy.
My biggest piece of advice for you is to be realistic about how long things take and don't overfill your calendar. I read somewhere the other day to plan for 4-5 hours of work a day and the other few hours will fill up naturally. It's so true! When I try to plan a 12 hour day (it happens) I could end up working 16 hours and not finishing everything.
An old rule for estimating on design jobs is to work out your estimate and times it by 3. So if you think something will take one hour, allow three hours. It seems excessive, but after years of experience, it definitely works! I'm sure the rule applies to other kinds of work too. Any time left over is a bonus! I generally block out the time in my calendar so I'm not tempted to fill it with other things, and then plan for the 5 hours of work in the 8 hour block (and inevitably fill it up through the day).
I'd love to hear about how you schedule your time, and any tools that you use. I've tried to streamline my scheduling process into one place to save me forgetting to update apps here and there, or keep track of tasks on a million post-it notes. What's your technique?
To bring you up to speed, the Instagram challenge is designed to keep our photography flowing throughout the year, in the form of creating a nice collaborative rainbow. Each month will have a different colour theme. I'll announce a new colour monthly and then showcase my favourite shots on the blog at the end of the month. If all goes according to plan, I think we'll be able to paint a beautiful spectrum on Instagram through the year, which you can watch unfold by searching the hashtag #kittyandbuckcolor
If you'd like to join in, there are no rules, other than using the hashtag #kittyandbuckcolor and taking a snap (or multiple snaps) that predominately features each month's colour. You can create a scene to photograph, or walk around your town and find new places that show off the colour of the month. Just use it as an excuse to exercise your creativity and photography skills!
My secret is out. I have pasty legs. So pale! Disregarding that, what do you think of the frouf? It was nice to have an excuse to bring it down from it's place of pride on the wall. For June's colour, I chose purple. It's a little tricky for me, I don't seem to see a lot of purple things while out and about. But there's always food (blueberries?), nail polish, fashion and probably some knick knacks you have around the house. Maybe you have some decadent purple tie-dyed pillows or a nice throw rug. Whatever it is, I'd love to see, so share your purple snaps on the #kittyandbuckcolor feed on Instagram, starting... NOW!
If you'd like to spread the word, feel free to grab this button to share on your blog. You can resize it to fit your sidebar by changing the width and height values in the code when you copy it to your blog's sidebar. (just keep them the same so it stays square!)
Find me on Instagram @kittyandbuck - I'm looking forward to seeing your beautiful photographs! Remember, if you are private, let me know your username in the comments if you'd like me to see your pictures and I'll follow you.
For anyone working on a laptop, take a look at the Pillar. It's a lightweight, portable laptop stand designed to prevent neck and back strain associated with laptop use. I've backed it, it's really affordable and looks like it will really help my neck problems!