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Working update (January 2014)

Wednesday, 19 February, 2014

Since I did December last week, I thought I should also move onto January.

(Note to self: label your posts with the year, otherwise there will be too much of an overlap in the blog database.)

M&M Vanity Project

This was still out of my hands, but it didn't come back to me when I was expecting it to. Instead, we'll probably have to revisit it when baby things settle down.

Eternal Life (OGN)

Paul finished most of the pencils for Part 1; there were just a couple of panels that needed tweaking. I admit I've sort of let things slide a bit: other things were becoming more pressing …

Supanova

We've booked a table in the revamped Alley for the Sydneyshow in June! Once again, we're sharing with the wonderful Nathan Seabolt. I've even sorted out public liability insurance for us for the year: how organised am I!

Comics Masterclass profile

Comics Masterclass profiled me in their January newsletter. (Thanks to the lovely Julie Ditrich of Black Mermaid Productions for the opportunity!) (Unfortunately my publication details weren't quite right, so they fixed that in the February newsletter.)

Sci-fi & Squeam interview

I was also interviewed by Sonja, alongside Sam Calcraft (Escape Velocity and Mamath) and Alex Rosek (Escape Velocity) for part 1 of the Sci-fi & Squeam special on Australian women in comics. Sci-fi & Squeam is a LGBTQI radio show devoted to sci-fi, horror, fantasy, comics, video games and pop culture, and I stumbled across their call for interviewees somewhere on Twitter. That show is well worth a listen: it goes for about an hour and 10 minutes and it's full of interesting interviews with various women in comics. (My bit starts 40 minutes in). Also listen to part 2, which features Julie Ditrich (Black Mermaid Productions), Caitlin Major (Space Pyrates) and Alisha Jade.

Growing Faith: 10 things I learned about myself when I became a mum

This just scraped in before the end of January, which is fortunate as I didn't really get back into the swing of writing things until well into January. Anyway, it's an article called “10 things I learned about myself when I became a mum”, which is the second article I wrote for Growing Faith, a website run by Youthworks devoted to all things related to parenting from a Christian worldview. Given that it was such a little piece that I pretty much wrote in an afternoon or so, the feedback on it has been lovely, with a number of people contacting me to let me know how encouraging they found it.

Big Hearted Business Conference

Big Hearted Business is an initiative started by the supremely talented Clare Bowditch that was started last year: they ran a Pozible crowdfunding campaign to gather the money they needed to start the business. Their goals are to teach creative people business skills and business people how to be creative, which, given all the thinking I've been doing about money lately, seemed right up my alley. So when Bec linked to the campaign on Twitter, I decided to support it. I chose the reward tier that would allow me to come along to their Sydney morning tea last August. Then later in the year, they announced that they had put all the materials from their first conference in Melbourne online and they were selling them as a package. Supporters were given the opportunity to buy the package at a reduced price (i.e. $100 less than what they would sell it for retail). Bec, Sammi and I decided to go in together for it (first making sure that that was okay with Big Hearted Business, who said it was). And then we managed to find a day on the long weekend in January where we could all get together in Bec's lounge room to watch some of the talks and do craft at the same time. It was quite an inspiring and relaxing afternoon. Out of all the talks we watched (and we weren't able to watch everything, of course), my favourite was Rachel Power's talk on “Giving yourself permission to create”, which Bec blogged about. (Rachel Power, you remember, wrote and edited The Divided Heart: Art and motherhood, which I wrote about a couple of years ago.) She said a lot of very interesting and practical things about creativity that made me want to revisit her talk in the future.

My memory is a bit blurry, but I think what I took away from that day was that it is possible for people to make a living from doing the creative things they love. I'm just not 100 per cent convinced that all people will be able to do it—even after putting in mountain loads of time and effort. But it's always worth trying, though.

Church volunteer work

A lot of work time in January was dominated by doing a bunch of volunteer work for church—especially as I was going to be handing over a bunch of jobs that I normally do to other people (particularly for Music Time, our church playgroup/music class for under fives). I created a few signs plus a new editable rego form, and updated the website. Also for Music Time, we normally do a snail mail mailout at the beginning of each year to let people know when Music Time is starting again and to invite them to return. However, there were a few difficulties with the church database that I had to sort out before I could compile the data I needed to do the actual mailout. Once the way forward was clear, it happened very fast, but it was a bit of a headache getting to that stage. I also had to train two other women at church in how to do things like send bulk emails through the system we use and how to update the church database. I did this face to face at a time that suited both of us as well as in writing step-by-step manuals that outlined exactly what to do for each system. We are still experiencing a few teething problems with database issues, but otherwise, so far, it's going pretty well and it's nice to be able to step back a bit and let others take over.

The other major thing I did in January for church was to sort out their sheet music: evening church had just moved into the church building, which meant there was no need to keep evening church sheet music separate. So I collated evening and morning church sheet music, but I also tried to make things a little less messy in the filing cabinet where the music is all kept by organising music and lyrics into manila folders and adding a few more suspension files. That took a couple of dusty afternoons to sort out and hopefully it was worth it! Unfortunately now the CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) material that I had painstakingly put together in a folder that used to live in the resource room has gone missing and no one knows where it's been moved to. Also unfortunately, I am in no position to go looking for it all over the church because my pregnancy mobility issues.

Knitting

On the knitting front, I spent all of January plus part of February working on this Issara coat by Anne Kuo Lukito for my friend Little Rachel, who normally lives with her husband in Mongolia. They had to come back to Australia unexpectedly because of visa issues, and while they were here, we talked at length about patterns and materials for this coat because I figured I might as well take advantage of their presence to make the coat so she could take it back and use it to keep her warm in the crazy Mongolian winter. She covered the cost of the pattern, yarn, buttons and snaps, and even replaced one of my circular needles, which broke during the making of it. I just followed the pattern and made the coat (which took a little over a month). Despite having knitted garments before, for some reason, I kept freaking out at points, worrying that it wouldn't fit, that I had used the wrong gauge, etc. etc. I shouldn't have worried: it turned out completely fine. I even had enough time to block it before they had to leave again, though it was still a bit wet when I gave it to her. (It did dry before their flight a couple of days later though!) She has since told me that she's getting a lot of wear out of it and that it's keeping her nice and toasty warm!

Here are a few pics of her modelling it after I had sewed on the snaps and buttons. Note that the coat was still a bit damp at this stage, but you can't tell and it looks fantastic on her:

There are a few more pics on my Ravelry project page.

(I should also note that we went back and forth for a long time, wondering what sort of yarn to use. The pattern calls for bulky or 12ply, but the amount required meant that the cost of the yarn would have been somewhere in the vicinity of $150. Then I noticed that Anne Lukito had posted an FAQ on the pattern where she suggested that two strands of DK/8ply yarn held together would be a good substitute for bulky/12ply. So we did that instead because it was a lot cheaper and it also meant that Little Rachel had more colours to choose from. It was interesting for me because this was the first project I had ever done where I was doubling the yarn as well as the first project in which I was working on ribbed cables.)

Baby prep

Finally, it may be worth mentioning here even though it's not strictly creative “work” that a substantial part of January involved getting ready for the baby—moving furniture (the change table is now outside the kitchen instead of in Astrid's room); getting out the size 000 and 00 clothes; buying car booster seats (for Astrid, who has pretty much outgrown her old one), nursing bras, breast pads (and it surprised me how hard it was to find washable/reusable ones), maternity pads and so on. I suppose part of that also involved selling my car (because my mum was passing on her old car to us and her old car was newer than my car), because the change of car means having to get the infant car seat fitted again properly (still on the To Do list!), and I was so nervous about the whole thing because I'd never sold a car before and I had very little idea about what to do. Fortunately the whole process went very smoothly and I was able to get what I wanted for it.


Right: that's it. Funny: I had thought January had been a relatively quiet month, but looking back over all that stuff, it seems it was quite full!

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