simple living: the great outdoors

January 27, 2012

There's nothing like some time away from the noise and busy-ness of the city to remind you how good it feels to keep things simple.

Some lovely moments from my mid-week camping adventure:
  • Falling asleep to the sound of the rushing creek right next to our campground.
  • Waiting for the billy to boil for that first cup of tea for the day.
  • Sitting around the campfire at night telling jokes and stories and sharing random observations.
  • Staring up at an endless sky filled with twinkling stars.
  • Swaying back and forth in the hammock we strung between two trees, with a good book to keep me company.
  • Taking the longest time to get dinner ready & enjoying each moment of the process - building and lighting the campfire, chopping up the veggies, cooking on the fire, and then sharing the meal together.
Another good thing about camping trips is that they make me appreciate those things I have at home that often get taken for granted, such as a hot shower and comfy bed. Although it was hard to leave the bush today, I must say I am looking forward to curling up under my doona soon : )

Happy weekend xx

a camping adventure

January 23, 2012

{Image from Junkaholique}

It's Monday morning and instead of getting to work on the sewing machine I'm packing up the car to go away camping for a few days. Yay!

I am in love with this tent which belongs to Artemis & Nao of Rust Jewellery and Junkaholique blog fame. Alas the tent I'll be staying in is a stock standard nylon zip up type, but to cosy it up I have packed some pretty vintage bed linen.

See you in a few days!

simple living: on a budget

January 20, 2012

How cute is this budget tin from the 1950's -1960's?

I'm excited today as I have just opened a new savings account that I've nicknamed 'Yurt!' - I've been talking of living in my own yurt (or other sustainable dwelling) for a few years now, so I thought it was time to start putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak. Perhaps one day I will live in my dream yurt, perhaps not. But I am going to work it into my budget to put some money aside each month, so when the opportunity comes, I am ready : )

I used to be wary of the 'b' word - budget. When I had a fortnightly wage, I would just keep spending until the money ran out. Occasionally I would save something. More likely, at the end of the month I would also end up with a credit card bill to pay. Where was all my money going?

When I started working for myself, having a budget became essential. I had to know how much money I needed each month to cover the basic costs of living such as rent, bills, and groceries. I started keeping records of everything I was spending, and used this information to formulate a realistic budget. My budget is done on a monthly basis, and is divided into categories such as groceries, entertainment, and transport. I even have an Excel spreadsheet that calculates how much money I have left each month. I'm not saying you need to go this far, but it's certainly helped keep me on track.

One of the things I've found most useful is to set up several savings accounts for some of the bigger things I need to budget for. Each month I contribute to a 'Bills' account, which is there when I need to pay those big bills such as car insurance. I also have accounts for my business, such as 'Tax' (not my favourite one!) and other accounts for personal things such as 'Travel'. And now I have my 'Yurt!' account. These are all high interest earning savings accounts so the bank contributes to them every now and then also : )

Now I just need to start researching to find out how much a yurt actually costs.... : )

lucky dips are back!

January 17, 2012

Lucky dips are back!

This time around, receive $40 retail value of Rabbit & the Duck goodies for only $15, with free shipping to Australian addresses.


monday inspiration: pretty coasters

January 16, 2012

Ah, Monday always comes too fast! I spent the weekend clearing out my old stuff from the house, and um, bringing in some new stuff. Not a lot of new stuff, mainly a rug for the living room and also a cute little wooden dining table so guests don't have to eat on the sofa or in my studio surrounded by sewing mess.

The new dining table is painted white, and I got to thinking that it might need some coasters to brighten it up. It's hard to choose but these are definitely on my short list:

From top to bottom:

All these cute things are not exactly helping with my downsizing philosophy! At least they are handmade, right?

simple living: inspiration

January 13, 2012

Most people dream of having more space, myself included. But how much space do we need? And is it more about being efficient with the space that we have, rather than having more of it?

Last night I watched this video and was so inspired. I was dreaming of patchwork quilts made from vintage fabrics to put on my bed in the loft. Of pretty flowerpots on the front porch. Currently, most of my income pays for rent and all the bills involved in living in a house. How nice it would be to not have to worry about those things.

While I'm not ready to downsize to a tiny home just yet I am ready to start clearing out the things that I no longer need. This week I've been going through each cupboard and making piles of things to sell and things to giveaway to the local thrift shop. I now have a few empty cupboards in the house and I hope to keep it that way.

To keep me inspired, I've been collecting more images of beautiful yurts. If I was going to move to a tiny house it would definitely be a yurt : ) I love this one with it's external bath house.

{Images courtesy of Oasis Design}

For more information on tiny houses and downsizing visit here and here.

getting the ball rolling

January 11, 2012

{Simple Porcelain Brooch, from Mrs Peterson Pottery on Blue Caravan}

After a lovely holiday break, I'm back in the studio and ready to get started on my projects for the new year. I'm so excited for the year ahead - my year of simple living. When I first started Rabbit & the Duck in 2008 it was mostly a hobby that I thought I could earn a small income from. Since that time, I've watched the business grow and change and become an integral part of my life. Rabbit & the Duck is not just a way to earn money, it's become an all-encompassing way of life. What do I mean by that?

Without my lovely customers, I would not be able to do what I love (make stuff!). When I started selling at markets I met so many other great designer/makers also having a go at earning a living from their craft. From then on I decided to stay away from the shopping malls and support independent designers as much as I could. For me, it's important to know where my money is being spent. This philosophy has now started to spill over to other areas of my life - my fruit and veggies are bought from the local green grocer or farmers market rather than the big chain supermarkets. My skincare is from local producers who use organic ingredients and are truly passionate about what they do.

Switching to a home-based work environment has also seen many changes in my life. I eat healthier as I have the time and the opportunity to cook myself a yummy lunch. I walk more - to the post office in the mornings, or to the local shops in the afternoon to pick up ingredients for dinner.

My home is very important to me as I spend so much time here - I've been looking around each room recently and can see many ways that I could simplify things while still allowing for creativity and my own personal touch. Everything is so intertwined - home / work / self - it makes me smile when I take a step back and see how all the areas of my life seem to fit so nicely together.

So, where is all this rambling going? In 2012, I would love to dedicate more time to sharing my ideas, thoughts and inspirations with you. It is my goal to practice living a more simple life, while also having fun and continuing to be creative. Every Friday (just in time for the weekend so you can put things into action!) I will share an idea or a resource on simple living. I'm excited to get started!

There will also be other regular features and new things on the blog, so stay tuned!

Shannon x

2012. Simple.

January 2, 2012

Hello 2012!

Christmas has come and gone, and I am now in the midst of one of my favourite times of year - long days, warm weather, and not needing to be anywhere or to do anything in particular.

I have been wondering if it's possible to carry this feeling with me throughout the year. The feeling of taking things at their own pace. Not having 100 things on my to do list each day. Making time to do the things I love to do - walks down to the beach, tending to my garden, spending hours in the kitchen preparing and cooking a meal, catching up with friends, and generally just feeling happy and relaxed.

And I've decided that yes, it is possible - with a little practice, and perhaps a few changes to the way things are done. The key (I believe) is keeping it simple - both within and without. Keeping a calm mind - being in the moment - stopping negative thoughts in their tracks. Simplifying my life - clearing out the clutter - getting some new routines in place.

I was organising my wardrobe the other day (that's it above) and I realised that I have a LOT of dresses in there. Sure I love them all, but in honesty I have probably only worn half of them. It got me thinking about all the other stuff I have, and how necessary it is. So first on the agenda will be a big clear out. I tend to clear things out on a regular basis, but I'm pretty enthused to see just how much I can let go of this time : )

I also found this great link to other ways that you can simplify your life - the Simple Living Manifesto - I will be tackling a few things from the list once the great clear out is complete.

Happy new year!

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