Slow Toys from Little Citizens Boutique…

Slow Toys from Little Citizens Boutique…

I’ve just read a great blog post from a fab online store I stumbled across today, all because I was searching for one of these…

Woodland_Doll_Yellow_1024x1024

So, anyhow, do yourself a favour and read this article because this great article has only strengthened my belief in slowing down our lives to a mid-century pace…

With love, Mrs Jones x

“May 25, 2014 How Slow Toys make for better child development.

What in the world is the Slow Toy movement? Like the Slow Food and the Slow Fashion movements, we now have a Slow Toy movement and thank goodness for that.   Along with their darling baby there are two things that arrive at the house of every new parent 1. noise and 2. plastic.

Toy trends of the recent past insist the louder and more plastic the better. Walk up and down the aisles of the biggest toy stores and you notice most toys today need batteries because they do something. Sometimes they even masquerade as educational, think of the loud A’s, K’s, P’s resounding through your living room –but the tide is changing. A new movement is gaining momentum.

It’s called the Slow Toy movement and it celebrates old-fashioned ideas of play because children don’t actually need all the bells and whistles. The theory is that children can be taught and encouraged to explore their own ideas, through listening and by giving them creatively designed toys. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to take the time to get down on your knees and play with your kids, this will help them slow down long enough to ignite their imaginations.

Thierry Bourret, a French toy distributor in the UK coined the term in 2011. Bourret also founded the Slow Toy Awards, held annually in London, they award toys that are well made and nicely designed. There is an element of educating children on taste, the way you would teach a child to enjoy the flavour of a tomato, but most importantly– the toys must allow children to make a world of their own. Another important goal of the Slow Toy movement is to buy ethically and it’s no coincidence that many of the manufacturers of slow toys are small family companies. The inspiration often stemming from their own genuine parenting values and not from the board rooms interested in licensing TV characters. Your purchase helps to support a way of life for villagers, crafts people, families and artists.

There are similarities to the Slow Food movement as well, like the desire to draw attention to the drawbacks to the globalization of toy brands. Why should ever little girl in the world want to be a Disney princess? There is a risk of homogeneity and not celebrating individual differences. The reason it’s so important to wake up to this new trend is because there is sound science backing up its benefits for our children. Studies, including one recently published by the Mid Continent Research for Early Learning, an important learning think tank in the US, have shown that when children have time to engage in unstructured play and make-believe they develop a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function helps kids to self-regulate, which means controlling their emotions and behaviours.

The study concluded that, “today’s 5-year-olds were acting at the level of 3-year-olds 60 years ago, and today’s 7-year-olds were barely approaching the level of a 5-year-old 60 years ago”. The study explains that self-regulation is incredibly important. Poor executive function is associated with drug use and crime. It goes so far as to say that a good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than a child’s IQ, which is really quite revolutionary. Howard Chudacoff, a cultural historian at Brown University, publishes on the subject a history of play. He has studied the radical changes that occurred in the second half of the 20th century. He says, “Instead of spending their time in autonomous shifting make-believe, children were supplied with ever more specific toys for play and predetermined scripts.

Essentially, instead of playing pirate with a tree branch they played Star Wars with a toy light saber.” Chudacoff calls this the commercialization and co-operation of child’s play. In other words those loud plastic toys may be doing our kids a disservice. Let kids do what they do best, use their imagination to explore the world. And then hope that you can keep that spirit alive well into adulthood.  “

Advertisements

Vacation = Done!

Vacation = Done!

Mrs Jones

Ahhh… What a great vacation was had by all. And as you can see, I got some time to think about a few changes this blog needed to spruce it up! So folks, here ’tis!

Thank you to Virgin Australia who, honestly, are a really super airline. We paid a little more for our tickets, but we had ourselves a little snack on the way and knew that we could take whatever luggage we needed – and if you bring an under-two with you they let you bring quite a lot of kiddo-important stuff for free. Baby seats, prams, travel cots and the like are all included when you bring a little one who sits on your knee during the flight.

ThanksVirginAustralia

I’m back home which I love. I’m a homebody, friends, and not ashamed to admit it. Vacations cause me stress and I find that relaxing is super-difficult for me. Not that I don’t enjoy myself, but I’m not the lie on the beach-type gal who relaxes as the plane lands. As you’ll see by the sign below – Aviation Security is NO Laughing Matter… I find vacations the same 😉

Flying is serious!
I feel rested – not relaxed however, but rested none-the-less.
I had time to think. About priorities. About family. About slowing down. About my life and my work.

Me and the kiddos spent time with their grandparents and gorgeous Aunt & Uncle in the balmy surrounds of Palm Beach, Queensland. It sounds kinda beautiful, doesn’t it? Well, it certainly was! We didn’t have a day below 22C and the hottest it got was 29C – so all in all, not too hot and not too cold.

Miss Edie had a lovely day with her grandparents, although there were a few concerns that I may never return…

IMG_7956 Lots of kisses when we returned. I did tell her that I’d be back…

IMG_3889

The Boy and I went to Warner Bros. Movie World… lots of lines, lots of waiting, expensive food and surprisingly cheap merchandise!

IMG_6778
We spent a lot of time in the Justice League shop buying gifts for Mr. Jones, and a little something for myself too. Friends, this top is probably the most loved thing that I could now wear from Mr. Jones’ point of view! No sexy lingerie for him, it’s all about Batman…

I’m so glad to be home with Mr. Jones, in my little house and slowing life down again! And it’s not just me – Edie can play with all of her cars and other stuff ‘that goes’, The Boy can read to his heart’s content and Mr. Jones has his family back again!

Playing cars

Love and kisses to you all
Mrs Jones x

Regarding vacations…

Regarding vacations…


6a00d8358081ff69e20148c7ea1256970c-800wi

So, I realised that it’s actually been more than 12 years – seriously, OVER twelve years since I had an actual vacation. Yes, I shall admit that I’ve travelled but it’s been for work and frankly, as you’ll know, that pales after a while and you don’t get time to relax, which is EXACTLY what I need.

This year has been absolutely TERRIBLE for me on the health front and I’ve had to change a lot of things around in my life. But, you know what? It feels like I’m coming through the other side. Each week there is a setback and be it minor or major, I’m 100% done! Done, I tell you! People talk about how health is the most important thing to them, and I’ve always thought ‘yeah, yeah, I agree’, but it’s not until you’re stuck in hospital, or at home and unable to look after your family that you really take stock and decide to give yourself a kick up the bot-bot and do something concrete about it….

I shall hold myself accountable to you, my cyber-friends, you! I have started a 100-day journal for this blog so that I actually turn it back into a proper website that details all of the services that I shall officially have back on the market come, January 2015! Yay! I’ll be offering photography for all of you delightful ‘vintagey-indie-gorgeous type product’ selling people; personal ‘small-home-based business’ mentoring to the same type of clients – but with a twist! – and workshops for all of you guys who are running small (in fact, let’s call them what they actually are,  MICRO-businesses!) micro craft or creative businesses. A business where it’s just YOU, well, there is probably a partner, friend or love who is on hand to help out when things get busy, or perhaps they’re not so busy? Well, that’s where I come in!

We’ll have fortnightly mentoring sessions, just you and I, over a cuppa and discuss vintagey/crafty/creative things and how they are going to make your business some money. Yep, you read right, M.O.N.E.Y!

We’ll also work on putting business goals into action and getting you ‘out there’ and by out there, I mean out in the marketplace, where and when it works for you. Do you need to work around family? You know what, if you’re going to get serious then we need to take very clear stock of exactly what can be achieved, in what amount of time and at what sacrifice to your family. Yep, you can have just about anything, but you cannot – I repeat – CANNOT have everything! Anyhow, we’ll chat about that kind of thing too.

I’ll also take some time to go over your marketing, PR and advertising – and we’ll work out just why you’re not getting the type of business you need, or not getting enough.

Oh, and we’ll talk about strategic planning for your business – you know what are you going to do to prepare for Christmas? What if you’d like to take a holiday every now and then (yes, I expect that once we’re on track with your business, you’ll have the time and money to take one of those!), and what should you do if things start growing and you’d prefer to stay small…

Basically friends, when it comes down to it, running a small, creative business is darn hard work and while ‘makers gotta make’ there is other stuff that YOU SIMPLY MUST get done if you’re going to have clients to sell your gorgeous goodies to.

So, there it is – Mrs Jones Vintage, may have a tiny, wee, rebrand come December, but I’ll be bringing the above to the amazing micro business ladies (oh, and of course guys if there are any who need help, but mostly we’re talking mamas here!) of Melbourne in January 2015… And I cannot wait! I really look forward to getting to know some of you better and bringing the skills I have to more people, more often.

Anyhow… back to the fact that I haven’t had a vacation in forever… well, my gorgeous husband suggested that I take the kiddos up to the Gold Coast to visit his family so I can have a break (they cannot get enough of their grandchildren!!) and I have a feeling he’ll be getting one down here even though he’ll be working each day! A holiday apart isn’t ideal, but it’s all we can manage this year and I think we’ll both be refreshed, miss each other and revived both personally, family-wise and professionally.

Love, Mrs Jones x

 

The Artful Business Conference…

The Artful Business Conference…

artful business conference

 

 

Well my dears, it’s been quite some time since I’ve chatted to you. As you all know (from previous posts) I’ve been dealing with trips to and from hospital due to a back problem. That has now turned into trips to and from hydrotherapy, pain management and other fun stuff… But the one thing I knew that I simply HAD to be well enough for was ‘The Artful Business Conference‘!

And, am I glad I broke through pain barriers, brought my little back cushion with me and put on my big-girl panties and just sucked it up to get there.

I learnt SOOOOO much! I’m not one to go on and on, but honestly friends, this was amazing for somebody who is creative and has to make that work in a business sense. You see, when you work from that creative side of your brain there’s a whole lot of brain that doesn’t get a good workout and becomes retarded. Things like numbers, actually selling stuff (I know, duh!) and making your PR and marketing work for you – things that you simply MUST do to survive if you’re ever going to make it through and leave any kind of legacy to your children… a plan of mine – but that’s a post for later.

With speakers (who also ran amazing workshops) such as The Editor of ‘The Collective’ magazine, Lisa Messenger; Valerie Khoo from the Australian Writers’ Centre; Elle Roberts(who ran the whole thing!) – Studio Exsto; Denise Duffield-Thomas – Lucky Bitch.com; Julia Bickerstaff – The Business Bakery; Karen Gunton – Build A Little Biz; Jess Van Den – Create and Thrive; Victoria Gibson – Breakout Success Online and the lovely, fontalicious Tess McCabe – who has a number of lovely businesses, including the Creative Women’s Circle.

I was overwhelmed (kept copious notes to ensure brain didn’t explode) with commonsense advice, business savvy tips and methods and the knowledge that there are a huge number of other creative, crazy, awesome women running their own creative little businesses just like me!

A light has been ignited within me that I have promised myself to nurture…

My next post (very soon… promise!) will outline the main, and most awesome, stuff I learned and will – and in some cases already have – implement ASAP! These tips are amazing for small businesses, full stop. Creative or not, do yourself a favour and come back asap!

Lauren Bacall…

Lauren Bacall…

Sadly, it does appear that media reports are confirming the death of the beautiful Lauren Bacall at age 89

Lauren+Bacall

If correct, it appears that she died on Tuesday at her home. Bacall was best known for her roles in ‘The Mirror Has Two Faces’, ‘Designing Women’ and ‘To Have and to Have’.

She was also known for her marriage to Humphrey Bogart, which lasted 11 years until his death in 1957.

Bogie-Bacall-wedding

Click here to go to her bio and all the info you could need on IMDb.

Upon life sucking as a mother, and it’s not why you think…

Upon life sucking as a mother, and it’s not why you think…

What’s on my mind at the moment? Glitter.
Why?

20140730-233636-84996587.jpg

Yes, Rebecca, why, when I can hear the anguished cries of my beloved daughter in the next room with my husband calming her, would glitter be on my mind?

Bear with me friends as I give you this longish, but I think, rather interesting, backstory…

You see, this month alone I’ve had 4 separate stays in the hospital due to a bulging disc in my back and the complications that have come about from bits and pieces related to this chronic condition I must suffer for life with.

Surely not! I hear you cry! Modern technology! Modern medicine! Modern stuff, anything… Nope. Doesn’t work that way.

Just last week I was told by this State’s most super, of all super doctors who are super at this orthopaedic kind of thing, that I’ll always have ‘episodes’ where my back goes ‘out’. I’ll always need super strong drugs and super awesome doctors to help me during said ‘episodes’ and even super rehab people to build me up again and, of course, rely on my super trusty bloody walking stick AT THE AGE OF 42.

Each and every time this happens – you know, probably a few times a year if I’m unlucky…

As I type this my husband is still comforting our daughter who it seems is probably teething again. And what’s on my mind? My daughter? Nope – that is too painful to think about so I’m doing my best to move over to glitter at the moment. Because I love it. It’s pretty. It makes me happy.

Why? Because if I don’t I think I may just go mad…
Honestly it would be so easy to just let go and stop fighting to keep it together, because life is really rather awful for me, and our family, in many ways at the moment.

You see, Edie my daughter, who will be one in a few days won’t come near me if she has a choice. If she’s given to me she struggles to get away and if she’s got to stay with me for a few minutes she’ll scream the house down before she realises she’s stuck and better make the most of an unfortunate situation.

As a mother, who frankly went through something akin to hell to carry her to a safe gestational state to leave my body, I die a little inside each time she turns away…

Why has this happened and why on earth to me? A mother who a few short weeks ago was the centre of my daughters world?

Well my friends it seems that everything comes at a cost! Some more severe than others…

You see all of the ‘wonderful’, pain relieving medicines I’ve been given to get me moving, need additional medicines to cancel out the rather bad side effects of the ‘wonderful’ medicines; but in addition to the ‘wonderful’ drugs and their additional ‘wonderful’ helpers I still need to take daily doses of ‘restricted’ medicines that give me relief from what is called ‘breakthrough’ pain.

This, on it’s own – besides being a confusing and extraordinarily large amount of pills – isn’t actually that bad…

Well it wasn’t all that bad until I came home from my first hospital stay of 5 days; where, by the way, I found myself a Grandma – hooray (I’ll save that story for another post!).

I’ve never been away from Edie for that long before, and Mr Jones brought her and Dexter in to visit me daily. But when I got home she was not particularly thrilled to be around me, which I took as just her being a little snippity at my ‘holiday’ away from her, the centre of my universe!

Nope. The little narc knew I was on ‘drugs’! She could sense it! It seems that she knew I was on some pretty strong stuff and as a primal protective behaviour decided I wasn’t up to the job of Mama and so Daddy better gear up pretty quickly because he had become her number choice of parent! Fair call… In fact, I felt pretty proud that she had such strong instincts that could protect her.

But, 4 weeks and another 3 hospital stays down the track, I now need to keep something pretty positive in my mind before I go to bed these days… Hence the glitter. It makes me happy – don’t judge.

You see friends, the fabulous and, I’m sure, personally delightful, team of medicos at the hospitals I’ve recently been the guest of, in their collective wisdom actually decided to put me, a patient who is on daily medication for anxiety/depression, onto these ‘wonderful’ medications whose collective side-effects include –

“trouble sleeping; feeling anxious, nervousness, unusual thoughts or dreams or feeling deep sadness; abnormal thinking or changes in mood; unusual changes in mood or behaviour; signs of new or increased irritability or agitation; signs of depression”

Well, God Bless ’em because within 2 weeks on the meds guess who was up at the ED for a midnight visit suffering from some ‘unusual thoughts’: my iPad was controlling my mind (actually this could be closer to reality than I’d thought…); some ‘abnormal thinking’: none of it was Steve Jobs fault and he was NOT to be blamed, especially by Mr Jones; and some ‘unusual changes in behaviour’: I spent a good deal of my trip to the hospital making the exact noise Edie does, a clicking/blurting thing… She’s not yet one. I’m 42. Clearly this wasn’t an awesome change in behaviour…

Don’t fear, I’m not done here, there’s so much more to tell you and the answer to why being a mama is killing me at the moment, and yep, it’s definitely NOT why you’ll think it is…

So darlings, keep a sharp eye out for my next post which includes more of the charming, and I’m sure amusing, adventures of ‘Becky the useless and rather disliked by her progeny Mama’…

Love you all more than ever (the drugs make me say stuff I only think!)
Mrs Jones x

Going Grey Was Too Hard…

Going Grey Was Too Hard…

Hello darlings,

I’ve had a terrible month… I’m writing to you from hospital – second visit in a week, but I’ll explain all of that in a later post!

I really wanted to tell you that although I’d really been trying to grow out my hair to grey, and had gone somewhat ash blonde to facilitate this change, it just wasn’t me.

Here is the blonde… Yes, this is from my last hospital stay…

Blond hair, yeah, yeah!

 

The blonde has been terribly hard to keep up and unfortunately when I was in hospital I couldn’t brush my hair and ended up with a huge ‘chunk’ of ponytail and when I got home I had to have handfuls of conditioner left on for a few hours to bring it back to brush-able goodness!

The reason I’m in hospital is because of a disc in my back that keeps slipping, so the dream of continuing the regime of bleach, waiting, checking, waiting, head burning, waiting some more whilst suffocating, rinsing, adding an ashy toner to get rid of any horrible yellowish colour is, frankly, a nightmare…

So, what colour do I truly want? Oh how I’d love to wake up with glamorous grey tresses! But luvvies, that ain’t  gonna happen, so the next best thing was taking a good hard look at myself, figuratively, of course – I’ve not been looking so crash hot since these hospital stays!

In between leaving hospital on Wednesday and coming back in on Saturday I turned the very boring and unmagical age of 42… Okay, I say unmagical, but perhaps I’m not giving this age enough credit because I found myself thinking that I really wanted to do something that makes me happy when I look in the mirror each morning; something that I think is super purty; something me!

Taa daa!!

Pink hair, yeah, yeah!

Pink!

My favourite colour. My happy colour. My warm and safe colour. So darlings THAT is what I’ve chosen to represent who I am to the world. Sure, there will be haters, but kiddos, haters gonna hate. And no longer do I worry what ‘they’ think! Pink it is for me and I believe pink I shall stay!

I will be a granny with pink hair – I may tone it down a little then, but for now my aim is a true raspberry colour. I’m rocking flamingo currently, but that will fit with Edie’s first birthday party coming up in a few weeks!

So… New hair. Bad back. Ooh, also a new business venture for Mr Jones and myself (that’s for another time though!). But lots and lots of interesting stories from my stays! I must dash because I’m waiting to be discharged and I have to make a detour to the ward I used to be in to see my brand-new adopted Grandma, Jeannie! She’s a hoot and officially asked to become my adopted grandmother during my last stay, and as I don’t have any of mine left, I was beyond thrilled to begin this new relationship!

I’ll fill you in on the rest of my adventures once I’ve had a little rest!

Love Mrs Jones x

Like A Girl…

Like A Girl…

image

 

Having a daughter, I found the Always, ‘Like A Girl’ campaign poignant and, hopefully, world-changing for young girls out there. Get on board and support the Always #LikeAGirl campaign.

‘Always’ are trying to change the negative connotation of the phrase ‘like a girl’ to one that is positive and affirming to help pubescent girls gain the confidence they deserve.

It’s not easy living in a world saturated with messages that being a girl is somehow weak or never quite good enough, strong enough or sexy enough. That being who you are, just as you are, will never quite make the grade – and believe me (as most female readers will understand) this isn’t something that stops after puberty, it is a constant and unrelenting message that the media, in all of its forms, bombards us with on a daily basis.

I want more than that for my daughter and that’s why I’m supporting the promotion of this campaign.

It’s okay to be a stay-at-home Mama. It’s okay to work. It’s okay to be kind and gentle. It’s okay to be strong and fast. It’s okay to read books or play sports or prefer being outdoors or staying indoors. It’s okay to be a girl. In fact, I think it totally rocks to be a girl!

We can do all kinds of things and being fortunate enough to live in a country that is free from war, famine, pestilence, and a generally safe one, the majority of girls here in Australia have many, many opportunities to achieve a life they can be proud of. Of course, there is an undercurrent of sexism, a silent epidemic of domestic and sexual abuse, and myriad other terrible daily ordeals that both boys and girls, men and women endure and we will only make lasting change with revolution of the people – I do not believe that this will ever happen however, and experience has taught me that the only way I’ll make a difference is to help, love and support those in need as I come across them.

But you know what? I’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud of the girl I was and I’m excited to rock the establishment by bringing my daughter up with the strong and unrelenting message that doing things #LikeAGirl is awesome and NEVER something she should be ashamed of!

Check out the Always campaign and get behind supporting #LikeAGirl!

1940’s Vest for a 2014 Man…

1940’s Vest for a 2014 Man…

Last week Mr Jones entered the house after a long, hard day at work (I may be dramatising that part!) and announces that he ‘needs’ a vest. He also wondered just how long it would take me to complete said vest…

Hmmm… After many discussions way back in Autumn about what he’d like me to knit him for winter, nothing was decided upon because, to be honest, Mr Jones is still a little snippy about the lack of socks that emerged when he requested them 5 years ago!

True, he never got his socks, but my excuses are good ones!

First time knitting socks. Tick!
First time using multiple double-pointed needles. Tick!
Starting the project as something to keep me occupied after surgery while in hospital and finding out I could only sleep and whine in pain. Tick!
Project taking too long for my liking in the end. Tick!

And that’s where it ended…

Anyhow, he stopped asking and I buried the UFO and promptly forgot about it! Over the years I’ve knitted many other bits and pieces for him, but the unfinished sock project still burns… Meh heh heh!

So back to the matter at hand; the vest!

Mr Jones wanted a vest fit for work, which to me meant that it had to be a small ply knit and a classic design. So off I went to the vintage pattern collection I’ve amassed to search for something suitable. I found a great pattern from the Retro Knits book; Men’s Vest 1940, which is classic and more importantly for me, one that will knit quickly despite the small needles used and “…uncomplicated, take-along knitting, with enough interest to prevent it from becoming another UFO”; right up my alley!

I’ll keep you posted with updates on my progress!

Love Mrs Jones x

20140629-192340-69820915.jpg

Organizing Continued…

Organizing Continued…

Taa daa! I’m nearly done organizing my little crafty space! And… I’ve managed to find room for my collection of Japanese piggies, my Kewpies and my vintage religious icons too!

My wool has a new home, so that I can see what I’ve got…
My washi tape is happily organized into jars.
Knitting needles, crochet hooks and little bits and bobs are sitting amongst the Kewpie dolls.
My reference books, vintage and current knitting patterns are within easy reach and…
With all of this work comes a much clearer mind!

How did this amazing thing happen?

Well, my Physio, God bless that woman, gave me the all-clear with looking after bebe myself! Modified lifting, T.E.N.S. Machine for pain relief and physiotherapy, combined with patience and accepting I’m pretty much unable to use that arm as I did for the time being, is my reality. Hoorah!

And to ensure I keep Mother happy, I okayed a few things with the Physio – her continual questioning of the safety of crochet and knitting (the things keeping me sane!) whenever she saw me was starting to get a bit much!

My life is beginning to get back to normal at an albeit, physically slower, pace.

I’ve managed a one-armed, and occasionally helped, clean out and reorganising of my crafty workspace (just a few little things left to finish off) and I’m feeling able to breathe and think straight again…

I thought I’d share some pictures to show you I’m on the way! Hooray!

Love to you all,
Mrs Jones x

20140626-113200-41520498.jpg

20140626-113159-41519233.jpg

20140626-113159-41519505.jpg

20140626-113159-41519882.jpg

20140626-113200-41520062.jpg

20140626-113159-41519702.jpg

20140626-113200-41520244.jpg

20140626-113200-41520429.jpg