On turning 45 and other Milestones

Today I turn 45.
To have a birthday falling between Christmas and New Year has its obvious pitfalls but also many positives.

So while everyone is reflecting on a year of goals missed, goals scored and goals to be considered, I also get to reflect on another year of living. It’s the perfect Reminder Service!

Last birthday sucked – really, really sucked. I was in a big, fat funk and used all my energy squeezing a smile and positive attitude out of an orange that had been sucked dry. On the up-side, things in 2013 could ONLY get better. And they did.

I was busy with a steady stream of supply teaching in the form of weekly contracts. I had the insanely good fortune to teach in the Art Department for a month which improved my own practice at home. Hubby was still jumping between contract work so I am forever grateful to the school and Mike K for the opportunity of regular work while our family was struggling.

However, by August it had taken its toll.

I developed a massively serious sinus infection. Taking a heavy dose of antibiotics while on a full load, plus playground duty each day, then coming home to deal with a child with a disability and a husband who’d broken his ankle, was probably taking it a step too far. I also lost my voice first week into a 3.5 week contract in a subject area I’d been desperate to teach again.

I was spent.
I wasn’t thinking straight.
I had nothing left to give.
I was shattered that I’d damaged my relationships at the college and subsequently didn’t teach again after August.

My GP and Naturopath agreed. The tank was bone dry. No more long contracts, no more giving and giving and giving. Bed rest. Self-care. Lots of tests and lots of nurturing and lots of good food, exercise and self-ish-ness.

And so I turned inward in order to turn outward again.

What HAD I achieved this year? Time to focus on the positives.
I revisited my plans for this year to see if in amongst the angst, there had been progress and achievement.


Thankful to Grant and Michelle for my introduction into the world of group exhibitions. Looking at my work, appraising, pricing advice and other tidbits that I wasn’t expecting. I felt empowered as an emerging artist.

I surrounded myself with a fabulous group of people and artists and made plans. I always imagined exhibiting my artwork, but never thought it would be by taking all the risk. I thought I would happily let a gallery do all the work for me and I’d just sit back and let it all be fabulously successful — haha!!! Thankfully these women are incredibly knowledgeable and experienced in self-exhibiting and we found a delightful space not far from my house and it was a huge success.

I began focusing on what I love to do (which is teach) and set up my Vimeo channel to reflect that. I only posted one new video this year, but I’m really happy that the groundwork has been done for future online classes.

I was invited to teach at The Scrap n Patch in Toowoomba in July. Fabulously cold there in August but made the trip up the Range and to a place where I spent a lot of my childhood. Both classes were full and the techniques were flowing thick and fast (as was the paint and mediums). Forever my own harshest critic, I would’ve loved to have done things differently but everyone went away with 4 pages of instruction and techniques and 2 canvases to finish and continue with their experimentation.

Markets were in overdrive the second half of the year. I had the St Peter Chanel School, Krystal Clear Projects High Tea, Ferny Hills State School and Mt Maria College markets. My goal was to try at least one new market and I managed 3 newies!!! I’ve been learning what works and what I need to avoid. Markets are a great way to see exactly what the general public “sees” in my work. Instant feedback!! Oh, and the deadlines and set-up procedures run like clockwork now.

I attended the Artful Business Conference online this year. OH MY GOD…..possibly the best business decision I’ve made so far. Wonderful to be in Aussie company, with other Aussie business owners listening to local and international speakers on stuff that gets your head in the right place. Thoroughly entertaining and chock full of information for any type of creative business owner (or a wannabe like me). The best thing about virtual conferences? I am STILL going through all the speakers and I can replay any at any time. Genius!

Naturally some goals didn’t make it. Hubby tells me setting financial goals is difficult, so I don’t feel so bad not achieving my $10K goal. This week I’ll crunch the numbers for the last quarter and then set a realistic goal for 2014. With 2013 being a year to put a greater, artful focus on my life, I’ll have a benchmark and then do 20% better in 2014.

Another booboo is the situation with my online class fettish! Instead of finishing current ones (mentioned here), I signed up for another! Totally addictive but it was only 3 weeks worth…c’mon!!! So, NO MORE! Breaking this addiction is hard. I need to see to the bitter end, 3 classes from The Land of Lost Luggage, then REVIEW!!! (Some days I’m surprised I’m still with the same man after 20 years – haha!!)

Well, there are loads more things to review, but Hubby is taking me out to dinner and a movie tonight (lucky me).  In the hope of saving you from further long posts, I endeavour to post more frequently and give myself more time to THINK here and explore more creative peeps out there.

Thanks for reaching the end of this year with me. It’s been a tough year and some things were just too raw to blog about at the time, hence this essay – haha! I appreciate you turning up for each post, visiting, liking, commenting and making a connection. You haven’t been forgotten.

I wish you all a peaceful Christmas break with loved ones and a fabulous 2014.

xx Giovanna (The Birthday Girl)IMG_4952


Looking Like Christmas

Good morning/afternoon/evening friendly peeps.

Well, today it seems Summer has arrived in Brisbane. We’re having hot, humid days and storms at night. Magic, really! Wouldn’t live anywhere else.
But everyone is gearing up for Christmas holidays. Our Year 12 students have finished their final exams -ever- and have descended onto the Gold Coast for the annual Schoolies Festival. I never got into that whole scene, but I hear some kids are ready to come home after 3 days….classic!

I’ve been a busy munchkin, preparing loads of goodies for your gift and card giving this Christmas.
Almost everything’s been entered into the Etsy Shop and ready to leave my Studio boxes!





The Ferny Hills Twilight Market was fantastic. It’s the perfect event for this part of the world…the weather cools rather than heats up. More market events should embrace the twilight concept, especially in the hotter months.

Thanks to all my friends who came, bought and lent some moral support. And to my new customers – thank you too. It’s much more edifying when strangers buy my bits & pieces (but don’t tell my friends that LOL).

What’s next on the agenda?
I’m heading back to where the ART all began for me – my High School!
Yep, Mt Maria is hosting a Community Market 30 November from 8am to midday.
Curious to know more? Go to their Facebook Event page for directions. They are on Osborne Rd, Mitchelton next to Brookside Shopping Centre. You can catch the train to Mitchelton and walk across the road or there are bus services that drop at Brookside. Would love to see you there and meet more online buddies!!!

Remember, my ETSY SHOP is up and running. More items will be added next week.


Much Love and Sunshine – Stay Cool

Market Fever

Hi again folks,

It’s that time of year again!



I had such a wonderful time last year, that I decided to pop up shop with some new items.

Bracelets! 10 unique designs, 2 finishes (polished silver and antique finish), glass domes (not acrylic) to give a beautiful clear image. $35 each.

silver_bracelet antique_bracelet


Necklaces! Loads of unique designs, 4 styles (oval pendant with antique finish with ball chain; black wire choker with square, rectangle and circle pendant), glass domes. $15 and $20.

necklace_square_set necklace_round_set necklace_rectangle_set necklace_oval_set


Magnets! 10 unique stories, pack of 3, glass domes, industrial strength magnets. $12 pack of 3.



Christmas Cards! 4 designs of original artwork by Yours Truly. 3 at C6 size, one at 150x150mm, includes envelope and individually wrapped, blank inside. $5 each.



I’ll also have some of the old favourites re-stocked or some that need a home urgently!!

Remember, I have PayPal facilities which is very very very convenient and a limited float for cashola peeps. Would love to see some local-yokals. The twilight time means we relax in the summer evening breezes rather than swelter in the midday sun.

Oh, and of course I have another new product to show you before Market Day, so stay tuned!

xx Giovanna