Conversations with Creative Women: Rosanna Marshall

Rosana with her Mum and her three men!
Rosanna and her parents in Brazil
Sometimes you stumble across a real talent. My gorgeous friend Rosanna has a story to tell. She is a gifted writer and creative soul. She shares her food, stories and family with mine. Today I want to share her blog 1heart2homes. It is a blog in its infancy but has a heart of wisdom, experience and love. It is a story of life across different continents and cultures but her home has one heart. Enjoy!

What does being creative mean to you?
I think being creative means using that source of inspiration that everybody has inside to bring joy to life. It’s finding ways of doing the same thing differently, from cooking a simple meal for the family, to solving problems at work. It’s making life more colourful, more interesting. It’s trying new things, even when we are not so sure of the results.

What things have inspired you, given you pleasure and joy?
In general, nature has a powerful effect on me. I am a very visual person, so gorgeous beaches, colourful mountains, just being in these places and absorbing their beauty is something that inspires me and brings a lot of joy. You know that feeling when you are in your car just watching the scenery roll by, listening to some good music and letting your mind wander? Everything seems better, all the answers are found…yes, nature definitely inspires me. And people, generous people, people who make a difference, who find a life project and devote themselves to it, no matter what.

Where did you grow up and how did family life and your home influence how you “see” the world and ignite this desire to create?
I grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I’m an only child, so my family memories are usually of our small group of three plus my best friends. We were very close and spent a lot of time together. Our holidays on the beach, in summer, or in the mountains, in winter, are memories that I’ll never forget.
My parents were my friends, always on my side, helping me with my projects, my dreams, I can’t remember one single occasion when they would not have been there for me. It really helped become who I am. I pursued my dreams; I studied what I wanted, I travelled, always with a lot of support from my parents.
As for my country, it couldn’t have been a more creative environment. Brazilians have this way of being happy, of finding joy in little things that makes them different, special. I grew up in a vibrant country surrounded by jubilant people, “the Brazilian way” as we say.
When you are there, when you are part of it, sometimes you don’t realize how special it is, but now that I’ve been away for so long, it is so clear to me what kind of person I am and want my kids to be, and how much of this comes from my parents, my country, the values that were taught to me from a very early age.

What are some of the ways you have had to juggle your creativity around different seasons in life?
In Brazil I was an ESLT(English as a second language teacher), and worked in this area for more than twenty years, but there were different stages in my career, usually 8 year cycles, I don’t know why.
I worked at one school for 8 years, and then I ran my own school for 8 years; I started teaching privately and kept doing it for about the same time.
Most of the time I was dealing with adults, professionals who needed English in their careers. It is a very competitive market in a big city like Sao Paulo; you have to be creative to survive. You have to offer something different, to be outstanding in the mainstream.
Even when you are working for a school, from the moment you step into a classroom you have to be creative, to make your students feel comfortable and eager to learn.
I had to develop some custom made material to be used by different clients. It was a lot of work, and back then, my life revolved around my business, but it was worth it.  I’ve learned a lot about who I am, about people, how to solve problems, survive them and keep working. Yes, it was very good. But that phase is over, and I have to say, being a mum and taking care of my family, which is what I’ve been doing in this other season of my life, requires as much, if not more, creativity and work.


You have recently started blogging. What inspired this creative venture?
You are one of the reasons I started blogging, you know that.When I first saw your blog, I really related to the idea of sharing thoughts and stories, registering a bit of my family life. I wasn’t sure I could do it, though. I wondered ‘what if I run out of inspiration, what if I have only 3 posts and that’s it’? But I gave it a try, and ideas and posts just keep coming…it’s my way of saying things, being heard (or read), telling our stories, recording our memories, using my creativity from the moment I choose a title to my post, to the choice of artwork to illustrate my thoughts.
I just love it!

How do you balance family life with time to blog?
So far, I’ve been balancing my blog and my studies in a good way. I’m studying on line, hoping to be accredited an interpreter/translator here in Australia. I did a course in Brazil many years ago, but never really worked in this area, except for some translations for some clients and students. But I really like it, and I think it could be something I could do from home.
I try to do both in the morning, an early start after dropping kids and husband and after doing my exercise (a bit of swimming, gym and/or walking the dog). I will sit in front of the computer for hours if possible, reading my course texts aloud, or writing my posts.
But I don’t do it every day, for obvious reasons, and I never do it on the weekends (obvious reasons, too).
Once everybody is back home, my time is theirs.

What creative people do you admire – writers, artists, cooks…. How have they influenced your work?
So many people, hard not to forget some…I admire writers for their ability of saying things in a magical way. When I’m reading a book, I sometimes just read the structure of the sentence and  marvel at how beautifully chosen the words were, how talented a person can be when putting ideas on a piece of paper.
When I travel with my family we love to visit the local artists, and then again, I marvel at the beauty of so many paintings, the artists’ creativity and gift. Now that cooking is a major part of my life (and I have to say it, I love cooking), I admire so many chefs, the way they discover new ways of bringing feasts to our table. And when there is a project behind the name, like Jamie Oliver, then they really get me!
They influence my work by inspiring me, by making me believe that we can do it, we can find sparks of creativity in anything we do. We just have to try.
What can we expect from your blog in the future? 
I don’t know, I started talking about general thoughts, having in the back of my mind that this could be a good way of leaving something for my boys in the future, you know, ‘let’s read some stuff mum wrote in the past, let’s see more of the woman she was’.
Then I started translating the emails I had sent to my friends in Brazil after we left the country. Our journey to Australia. So right now, it’s all about registering how we ended up here, and what our life felt like while settling in. I already have some ideas of things I want to write about once I finish this phase, but to tell you the truth, there’s only one thing you can expect from my blog for sure: honest thoughts, loads of love and impulsive creativity…..hope it works.

If I could deliver anyone at all to your desk who would you most like to share a cup of tea with?
I’m trying to find interesting names…Richard Gere keeps popping in…..seriously, I love meeting women who have stories to share and who are willing to share these stories. But if it were to choose very special people, like dreams come true, I think I’d love to meet Madre Teresa de Calcutta and Chico Xavier (a Brazilian man who had more light within than the sun itself).

Complete this sentence: I wish I had known……it would be this good; I would have done it earlier.

And finally, what advice would you give someone starting on their journey of blogging?
Ah, just take the plunge, enjoy it, go out there and do it!!!Dare, explore, be creative! It’s a lot of fun and very inspiring!

Follow Rosanna’s blog: 1heart2homes

Thankfulness

…for the grey clouds that have over taken the hint of blue. For the wind that whips the trees into swaying and singing on this winter morning. For the breakfast bowls I have packed away and toast crumbs that I have wiped from the table, for little mouths marked by hints of toothpaste, for sudden outbursts of drums or piano as a child does a “practice’. I am thankful for hot showers, cups of coffee that are deep, dark and full of crema, for a call from my man…just to say hello, hours after he said goodbye. For a sense that when the winter blues continue to characterise life and the busyness seems to take over just a little, spring is only days away. Warmth, light, hope is promised. And I know even though I don’t always feel the hope, He promises that it is true. For that I am thankful.

Betty Bunny and Book Eating Boys?

It is Book Week 2012 in Australia: Saturday 18 – Friday 24 August. The theme for 2012 is Champions Read and no doubt families across the country are preparing for the much anticipated dress up for Book week at their local primary school. We have had great fun over the years pulling together costumes: Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, Elizabeth Bennett, Pippy Longstocking and the rest.
While we get distracted but the costumes and making links to favourite books the Children’s Book Council of Australia shortlist some fabulous books worth reading or putting on the list for Christmas and Birthday choices.

We have had great fun reading over the last few weeks. These are not on the BCBA list but here are two of our favourites from our local library:

Betty Bunny is a ‘handful’ and her frequent misunderstandings and the quaint humour of this story is played out in Betty’s large family. My three year old can relate to some of the great lines that Betty delivers.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

This is a lovely tale about a boy who eats books and gets smart. But realises that really books are meant to beread and there is so much to learn by reading…..the illustrations are wonderful.






Inspiration

Be inspired….this is a pencil drawing. Amazing.
If you have time and energy to find ideas worth sharing, then you’ve got time and energy to bring ideas of your own to life.  Bernadette Jiwa
So….I figure a lot of what I do here is sharing ideas, encouraging others to use, create, reflect. Well at least I hope that is how you respond to the blogposts. So maybe I need to be bringing some of these ideas to life! What should I do? How should I use the next season of my life to do something I am really passionate about? Now this is a question that flaws be on a grey day. How about you? What are you hoping to do?

Urban Road

What a wonderful find today! Suzie Atkin’s enterprise Urban Road offers amazing, affordable prints that delight with colour and a quirky contemporary edge. I have been particularly taken by these three prints and can imagine them in my girl’s rooms. If you want to find out more about Suzie you can visit Urban Road or read this delightful blog interview here.

Quick Ideas for the Home

Artwork in Plastic Sleeves via Apartment Therapy

Bread Tags to organise your power cords via The Organised Housewife

Sometimes the most simple solutions and ideas escape me. Here are two I came across this week that will help you sort out : 1. The tangle of power cords behind your desk and 2. The endless piles of kid’s artwork. You could have living space organised this weekend. Enjoy!

Indulge

It was a first time for me. Wanting to indulge in wheat free dishes!  Rowie Dillon’s fabulous recipe book Indulge is an amazing collection of gluten free food that has the average Joe  wanting to give up gluten and jump into the test kitchen.

More than ten years ago Dillon discovered her own intolerance of gluten. Encouraged by her family and friends who affirmed her culinary skills, in 2001 Dillon  opened Rowie’s Cakes, a kitchen that bakes wheat, yeast, dairy and gluten-free. More than ten years on, Dillon has had much media attention following the release of her book Indulge and developed a real following. For the amateur gluten free cook like myself it is an inspiring go to manual. She has a fabulous glossary of flours she uses for different recipes for example rice, potato, quinoa and so on. The photography is playful and fun. I am hoping to try this wonderful looking cake. And….the morning slice looks fabulous and easy! Enjoy.


LIME AND COCONUT ISLAND CAKE
INGREDIENTS
150g unsalted butter, chopped and softened 230g (1 cup) caster sugar
5 eggs
140g (11⁄4 cups) coconut flour
11⁄2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder 150g (13⁄4 cups) desiccated coconut
430ml (13⁄4 cups) buttermilk
SYRUP
230g (1 cup) caster sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
zest and juice of 1 lime
125ml (1⁄2 cup) water
ICING
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons lemon juice
375g (3 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease and line a high-sided (approx 9.5cm) 20cm springform cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric beatersuntil pale and fluffy (the sugar needs to dissolve and the mixture should be very creamy). Add the eggs, one at a time,beating well after each addition. Sift thecoconut flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and mixin the desiccated coconut with a whisk. Fold the coconut mixture and the buttermilk

into the egg mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour, or until firm on top. Cool in the tin on a wire rack. To make the syrup, place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes without stirring. Pour one third of the syrup over the cake in the tin. After 5 minutes pour over another third of the syrup. If your cake still needs more liquid, after a further 5 minutes, pour over the remaining syrup being careful not to add more than it can absorb. Set the cake aside for at least 3 hours or overnight. To make the icing, beat the egg whites and lemon juice with electric beaters until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the icing is thick and holding perfectly smooth and shiny ‘standing’ peaks. Be very careful not to overbeat, this will cause the icing to break down into clumps. Using a palette knife, quickly (the icing sets fast) and evenly spread the icing over the entire cake to create peaks all over the top and sides.



Conversations with Creative Women – Danielle Thomas

Danielle Thomas








It has been such a pleasure to be able to interview the very talented Danielle Thomas. I love learning about what drives creative women and how they are able to pursue their passions whilst raising a family. Danielle offers a candid and honest take on how her successful business “Danielle Thomas Photography” has developed and some new ventures that you are sure to want to be a part of, including a blog reader promotion! Read the interview carefully – a fabulous offer awaits you!

What is ‘Danielle Thomas Photography’ ?

Danielle Thomas Photography is candid, true, fresh photography. It’s an experience; it’s a wedding, a family, a moment, a new adventure.
Most importantly it’s real. It’s far from posed or created. It may be enticed or encouraged but never posed.
Danielle Thomas photography is unique and instinctive. Imagine the timeliness of natural lighting combined with sweet, mischievous, honest faces.

I want each of my clients to leave their session feeling the love that sometimes can only been seen by others around us. I also want images that are modern enough to grace the cover of a magazine, timeless enough for to cherish forever and most importantly real. This is all a delicate balance.

Do you remember the first photograph you ever took?

I remember having a Kodak 110 film camera in my late primary days, grade 6 actually. It was pink (totally not me) and mum and dad gave it to me for Christmas. I thought ‘I’ was Christmas with this thing. Its flash would blind you and the noise it made when it was winding onto the next frame was so totally cool! As for the photo I think it was of some goldfish in a pond on our Grade 6 camp.I actually think I still have the picture in print.
The images this gorgeous little snapper took have today’s popular iPhone Instagram appeal to them. When I think back to this camera and actually see the appeal of owning one again, for fun. Your images are not always perfect, far from it but they are TRUE to that moment, very live and instinctive.

Where did you grow up and how did family life and your home influence how you “see” the world?

I grew up in Hamilton. I went to George Street Primary School and Hamilton High School. My parents are both exceptionally hard working which instilled in me an importance of a work ethic. Life for us was about family and fun.

Can you identify a particular moment when you realised that photography was your real passion?

Ooh ooh I love this question I have wanted to be a photographer since I was 6 years old (LOL).I loved photo’s. That’s about it. I loved photographs. If i went to a strangers home and there were albums on a shelf or side table I wouldn’t be able to help myself.

I was given a SLR camera from my husband Troy, it was the first Christmas we shared together. I remember sitting looking at the box with my mouth open, mind spinning “how did he know I would love this, oh how ridiculously expensive, how do i use it, this is crazy…. OMG! I GAVE HIM SHORTS!”

Now to look back on my days at school (all of it) I was not an academic and honestly will admit to only just passing my VCE. I can see myself, laughing, doodling on my pages, staring out the window. Dolly magazine hidden in my school books so I could read it in class. Colour, fashion, trends.
I can now identify myself as being visual and creative, much to the frustration of my teachers and peers back then who didn’t deal well with visual and creative learners. So it comes to no surprise to me that the gift of a camera unlocked the visual and creative me.

The power of photography has never ceased to amaze me. The ability to fit a couple’s love story within a single frame, a family adventure stopped in time to be relived forever, to shape the way we see one another, see ourselves; it’s quite a magical thing.

At what point did you know that you wanted to work as a professional photographer?

I started shooting everything that I could initially: birds, shoes, fences, nails, holidays.I read my manual cover to cover. The manual for all my lenses, flashes and so on. I read blogs, tutorials, posted in forums, pimped my lack of ability to anyone on the web who was willing to help.I watched you tube tutorials until all hours of the night, photoshop, light room, depth of field, f/stops, iso, light, histograms. I was obsessed because it was finally something that could power my brain like nothing before it. It was so mentally satisfying.
I would read. Shoot. watch. Shoot. listen. Shoot

I would get a lot of feedback on my images. Then I started to look at what I was doing with my images and that it was not just taking a picture on Auto, I was aware of composition and exposure. I would ask what people ‘didn’t like about my images rather than what they did like. I would work on it day and night until I had it right.

So to answer this, I will be really honest and say that it ‘just happened’, I didn’t set out to be a professional photographer. I didn’t see it coming.
The day came when I was asked to photograph a wedding by my sister- in -laws Aunty who knew me and liked what she saw. I did. It all clicked. The ‘ah ha’ moment. 


As a working mother how do you balance family life with a hectic schedule dealing with client photo shoots?

Balance is a very tricky thing to describe. What is one mother’s balance is another mother’s worst nightmare…lol
Troy, Zane and Rubi are number one. All else follows along.
I answer emails and do little tasks throughout the day whilst searching for missing jigsaw puzzles or rescuing a lego man’s head before its eaten for lunch my the Rubi monster.We play, farm, adventure, all the regular things that happen in a busy house.
Once they are in bed at night then I start my day as a photographer. Email, blog, edit, confirm, marketing, create until about 10.30 – 11pm.
When it comes to weddings we have plenty of warning and Troy the super dad steps in there. Shoots for families are usually weekends and my mum is fabulous, if Super dad is away.
Our little farm also takes up some time, it’s on top of everything so it demands attention from Troy so I am fortunate to also have our fabulous neighbour, who provides private care, who we adore and she is my saviour for anything through the week. I do get asked a lot ‘how do you find the time’ and have felt judged on few occasions which is a horrible feeling, and something that one mum should never do to another. Balance between career and family life is not an easy thing, but there is a middle ground, not too much and not too little.
I love being a stay at home mum… but I also love to do it my way (of course).

How do you engage your clients to capture them at their best?

I have one hard and fast rule I follow with portraits and weddings. IF IT’S NOT HAPPENING, DONT TRY TO CREATE IT! My style of photography is candid. Photojournalistic. It’s raw and needs to just be happening in front of me. Weddings fit this really well. Portrait sessions can be a little more work in that you need a bit more time. You need to give families space, distance and a few moments to be themselves. I have games and tricks I use to help little people relax and they are usually at the expense of the parents.

Do you have a ‘niche’ market that you are targeting with your photographic style and business ethos?

I have not really set out to target a ‘niche’ so to speak. I have very much let my client base lead me in a direction.

Last wedding season has seen big growth for me, word of mouth and some selective marketing see’s me going into the coming season very close to fully booked (yes, every weekend). I have had a lot of demand from Melbourne and Geelong brides for Winter weddings for 2013 so that will see the treasured 3-4 month winter break being invaded which is very exciting (maybe not for super dad)

Portraits are again a selective market. I am predominantly a natural light photographer. I have a strong regular family base which is great and I love seeing them come back again.

Have you ever had a seriously funny or embarrassing moment trying to get a great shot?

Touch wood not yet. But I am sure like everything my time will come…. I have witnessed some pretty hilarious moments on the other side of the camera, I guess in a movie they would be the outtakes or bloopers, like the too cool sister of the bride who gave us grief (including the bride) all day leaving the loo with her skirt tucked into her best Bridget Jones undies is a sight that still makes me chuckle…

How do you stay up to date with what is happening in the industry?
Being visual I research… well my research is magazines or web tutorials, forums, groups.I often find I have a random moment when I am meant to be editing that all of a sudden I realise I have clicked my way into a maze of interesting web links and blogs. I have also made a promise to myself that I will attend a workshop or professional development event annually, irrespective of how much I may ‘need’ it, they make for fabulous networking and I always think that its worth it if you come away with one thing…. just one new item, process, idea, thought, project, skill… at worst a peaceful nights sleep!

As an artist do you have photographers that you admire? How have they influenced your work?

Photography is a field that you can literally be inspired by all everyone, you can appreciate what it has taken to get that image.
A photographer that keeps my measure would be Meaghan Cook, whom I know and adore and has played a pivotal point in building my business and me as a photographer, she is also candid with her shooting style.
Jasmine Star who is a award winning wedding photographer in California USA, who I emailed many moons ago with a myriad of questions (some quite nosy) and was in ore when she not only replied but had taken the time to stop by my website, critique what I had asked and provide me with over 1000 words of wisdom and direction. Photographer Jodie Knell. We met about 4 years ago at a workshop and connected instantly, together we have had failures, accomplishments, tears, babies and we maintain a constant vigil at each other’s professional doors.

What can we expect from DT Photography in the future? How do you envisage your business developing in the next few years?

Well…..  I am currently in the process of finishing ‘The Outdoor Studio’ here in Tarrington. It has been a project over the last 12 – 18 months with a further 2-3 years ahead until fully complete.
Come this Spring you will be able to come visit for all sessions. On one large acre here in Tarrington set amongst our gorgeous bush setting. We have a range of settings perfectly designed for photography, with some very unique main features.
It’s very exciting to think that my clients will be able to arrive, walk through the gate and adventure around and I will just follow. It will offer a portrait experience that is unique to western victoria. Little people and families will feel relaxed and shoots will be candid and unposed. It will have very interesting settings that will be intriguing to little people, couples, singles, brides and grooms.  There are specific settings for newborn shoots that are naturally lit and wondrously whimsical.
Little Boys can adventure and Little Girls can skip and play. Couples can laze and relax and families can just be ‘families’

All the while I can stand back and let it all unfold, capturing the true essence of what their lives were like at that very moment. I am so excited about The Outdoor Studio.

If I could deliver anyone at all to your studio who would you most like to photograph?

Hugh Jackman. (remember I am visual. Not academic lol)

And finally, do you like having your photograph taken?

I don’t dislike it but I don’t loooove it. I really don’t do it enough, which was highlighted when Zane needed a picture of the two if us for kinder and I didn’t have one, we had to execute the less than perfect selfie. (note to self: get family portraits)

Danielle is offering blog readers a very special offer on a Family Session. (RRP $250) The session includes  a print gift pack (1 x20″x30″, 1 x 16″x20″, 1 x 8″x10″) for $200.
Conditions Apply: Location-Tarrington, Victoria. Book before 30th September 2012
Email Danielle with the code word : Tarrington.




danielle thomas photography
a: po box 85 tarrington, victoria, 3301
p: {03} 55711632 m: 0438803422

wander by my website  or follow me on facebook or pinterest

Give to Receive

Retro Jumble Sale

I have started a process of de-cluttering. Sorting out kids clothes, books and toys. It is amazing how many trinkets and craft items my girls can hoard in secret places. And clothes…..well we always have a good supply of hand me downs and I am constantly on the look out for a vintage or op shop bargain piece. But enough is enough….we have too many clothes. Simple. True. So I decided on a whim to move on many of the clothes that I have had stored in boxes, waiting for the girls to get to the next size. In spite of well sorted, labelled boxes I have missed complete sizes and seasons. Furthermore, the kids are different sizes and some are fussy.

 So….I organised a mini give away in my lounge room. I sorted the clothes into groups (t shirts, jumpers, denim etc) and texted a dozen or so friends who I knew have kids of the same gender, age and size AND more importantly who might consider taking 2nd hand clothes.

We had coffee and cake and we juggled each other’s small people while clothes we considered and selected. It was such a good process for me. There were many items I loved and had memories of child x wearing a particular dress or top. But we have too many clothes and I needed to say good bye to them, all. What better way to do it then hand them on to friends who need an appreciate them.

It is in giving that you truly receive, immeasurably more than you can anticipate. I learnt that I do “like” things and perhaps would like to keep them, even if they are hidden in a box and not being used. Are you like that? Do you hide your treasures for a rainy day? Generosity is not easy. It goes against our human nature. But but it is an amazing, rewarding habit to cultivate. Are you prepared to be generous with all that you have this week?

What do you do before Breakfast?


  Laura Vanderkam’s new e-book What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast suggests that morning is “prime time for self-improvement.”  Many highly successful people are being productive before most of us have even opened an eye. Among the early morning accomplishments:

Exercise. A dawn workout is common among CEOs and other high-powered types.
Meditate or pray. Monks aren’t the only ones who start the day on a spiritual note.
Work, often on personal or long-term projects outside the scope of their daily duties.
Fix a family breakfast — sometimes as a substitute for a family dinner — or play with their kids.

What a challenge? Are you thinking what I am thinking? What about those late nights, broken sleep when kids are awake from a bad dream or sickness, when getting up early means running the risk of waking everyone, including the little people. Are these all just excuses for not being productive? I know early mornings would be great for a walk, blogging, reading, journaling and reflecting (while drinking a long black.)


David Mathis has a great take on Vanerkam’s e book and how his own faith equips him for the morning, here.
But those ideas of productivity in the morning also remind me of the book Shopping for Time written by Carolyn Mahaney and her three daughters. In this short, practical and wise book one of the things women are encouraged to do is to rise early. Years ago they promoted a 5 o’clock club, which for a woman with young children is like a red rag to a bull. But they would argue it really works. In the quiet of early morning we find time for the most important things. It is not so much me time, but for the woman of faith, it is God time. What does your morning look like? Would you be prepared to commit to the 5 o’clock club?