Thursday, September 27, 2012

Major Changes

I realize that I am essentially the worst blogger in the world, but today I feel the urge to update you all on what has been taking place in our lives over the last year.  So much has changed and if I write a major post I can finally feel up to date to post on a more regular basis.

Where to start.  Essentially Isaac and I have been working like crazy and enjoying our tree house life.  Auckland now feels like home, we are so blessed with incredible friends and community here.  I feel rooted now, finally having carved out a piece of NZ for myself, graduating from 'Isaac's wife' at last!  I am very thankful that life has transitioned for us as I was definitely over the tumult of our arrival and first year.  Its good to finally feel home at last.

If you were not aware, Isaac works steadily for Meadowlark, a brilliant jewellery company led by a husband and wife team.  He manages a lot of their production, transforming pieces and setting stones which he thoroughly enjoys.  I also have been working a day or two a week for them which has been really nice.

Isaac also is always creating with wood and also makes his own jewellery when he finds the time.


Here are some of his latest creations:

Kauri and Italian Poplar Screen
White Gold and Green Stone Wedding Band

Turquoise and Silver Pendant.  This was my 34th birthday present from Isaac.  He wanted to make me a badge of honor to acknowledge my leather art achievements.  So sweet and totally  made me cry!

Turquoise and Silver 5 year wedding anniversary ring.  (Also cried)

 I have been balancing a full time job at LAPCO Leather with trying to complete shoe orders on the weekends.  This choice was due to needing financial stability and needing to access how to approach Spirocreations in the context of NZ.  I really enjoyed my job at LAPCO, assisting to handle sales, shipping and receiving of orders and general customer leather education.  I also was able to buy oodles of leather at a discounted price...yeow!  This is a very dangerous thing!

I found it difficult to balance Spiro and work.  I was growing weary and needed to take some downtime.  I also needed Spiro to die and resurrect itself as so much of my inspiration was in Canada and I was finding it hard to find my creative flow in the context of NZ.  I am still going through this to a certain extent but have definitely regained some inspiration and have been making and designing heaps at the moment.  Here is a sneak peak at some new stuff which will be on sale soon:

Brand new braided flat

Lamb Shearling Vest

Gold Deer Neck Wrap

Cognac Deer Clutch

Dark Brown Deer Hand Bag

I am very excited about my new creations and also have a few more shoe/boot styles to show case.  I have been very inspired by fur and am trying out some new hand lacing styles.  Stay tuned for more to come!

I also have some incredibly exciting news.  Isaac and I are pregnant!  We are both crazy excited to meet our little one that is growing steadily in my belly.  Its such a beautiful experience to be bonding and growing our little son or daughter.  I am 32 weeks this Sunday and getting VERY big!  Tying my shoes and bending over is a whole new experience!  I have been working hard to transform our tree house into a baby friendly environment and honestly can't wait to meet our baby in two months.

28 Weeks! Woot!

Along with our joy we have had an incredibly sad few months.  I traveled to Canada end of June till August to say goodbye to my father who passed away after a long battle with cancer.  This was an unbelievably hard, and trying time.  I am so thankful I was able to stand with my mom and say goodbye to a man I love with all my heart.  It is difficult to know I won`t be able to place our baby in his arms, he was an amazing loving father and would have made a wonderful Grandad.  The support of my family and friends through this time was overwhelmingly beautiful, I felt so surrounded and loved.  Thank you again to all those who were so gracious and loving to us.  You are in my heart in such a huge way.

Here is a photo of me and my dad in healthier times:

Love you forever dad...miss you.
My favorite picture of my dad at 21  I think.
Had to put this in.  Grade 8 Graduation night!
Dad in NZ
Also love this at 12 I think.

Since returning Isaac and I have been trying to get back to normal while taking time to reflect and grieve in a healthy way.  We have been busy preparing for baby, fitting in as many visits with friends as possible, working hard and spending as much time as we can together before baby comes.  I have finished working at LAPCO and can now focus on Spirocreations full time.  Winter is finally over and spring sunshine is starting to filter through the windows.  I feel very content and excited about where our life is heading next.

Love from us to all you beautiful people out there...we will try to be more regular in letting you know whats happening in our world!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A New Year Begins

Happy New Year everyone!  It has been a long time since the last post and a lot has gone on.  In May I took on a full time job at a Lapco Leather Company in Auckland.  This was very timely as Isaac and I truly needed some stability after such an up and down year.  Since that time, I have found it difficult to balance Spiro time with work schedule.  I am settled into the routine now and feel a new vigor to communicate so here we go!

I have been in NZ two years now...what a feat!  It seems unreal that this amount of time has passed.  Since moving to Auckland a lot of life has finally come together.  I am slowly making great friends and beginning to feel like NZ could be my home.

In light of two years I miss the weirdest things, though hard to put into words...I miss the 'feeling' that Canada gives me...certain smells and sights which I can't conjure up here.  I miss the crisp smell of fall and crunching leaves.  I miss the animals, I miss the sounds of snow crunching under my boots.  I miss having numb cheeks and seeing my breath.  I miss truck stop restaurants and pick up trucks with dogs.  I miss the First Nations community and the diversity of ethnic identity in Canada.  I miss quiet lakes and stately pines, wide straight country roads which go on forever without a hill or curve.  I miss the warmth of my family and friends.  I miss the smell of cinnamon and apples.  I truly miss my amazes me how much of my identity is wrapped up in where I originate from.  I am so proud to be is hard to transition to a new land.

NZ smells sweet and is lush and green.  The bird life is amazing and I adore the Tui's and Fan tails.  It rains a lot here.  The natural land scape is breathtaking and reminiscent of Middle earth.  I love the blend of British and Island/Maori culture.  The amount of tea cup envy is amazing!  I love how people love the outdoors and truly live their lives.  Kiwi's are very carefree and yet interesting mix.  The fish and chips are to die for and the lemons heaven on earth!  I love the amount of bare feet I see and the fact that a beach is only potentially an hour away from any part of the Island. 

I have made some incredible friends and taking a full time job has really helped me to open up and feel capable.  Working at home by myself all the time was not helping me to transition into NZ life.  Though I do feel the grind of trying to balance creative time with means to an end work time, I am grateful for stability.  I am also learning a lot about leather and the leather artisan community in NZ.  Isaac is also working full time at the moment for Meadowlark jewellery as well as making some wedding rings on the side.  We are very grateful for a time of peace and rest.  We are making enough money to survive and feel very nourished in our beautiful home.

looking into our studio space

In Sept of last year we headed home to visit my family and our friends in Canada.  This was an amazing trip, so good for the soul and wonderful to invest again in incredible people.  I ate enormous amounts of dill pickles (can't get this here) and my mothers home cooking!  We had a whirl wind week in Winnipeg(5 w's) was crazy to try to fit everyone in and in the end I wish we could have stayed longer!  Winnipeg has a huge piece of my heart and I truly miss my place there.  The majority of the trip was focused on supporting my mom and dad.  My dad has been fighting cancer for a long time, and due to recent complications with his blood, is now in need of a bone marrow transplant.  If you have any moments over the next few weeks, can you please pray for them both as my father is going to be doing his transplant mid February.  This has been very hard as my heart is quite torn.  Thank fully Isaac and I were able to really spend some amazing time while helping practically around the house which allowed me to be able to return to NZ.  This is another element of marrying into a different land...someones heart is always a bit torn.  I believe in my dad and know he is a fighter.  He also has an incredible family and friend base around him which I know makes all the difference.  (thanks Aunt Linda!)  Thank fully Isaac and I also have supportive family and friends here...thank you guys!

Dad, mom me and Isaac in the wagon dad built.

me and my dad:)

Isaac and I on my parents property
These photos were taken by my beautiful life long friend Tracy of Fathers Eye Photography.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about where to take Spiro as I had lost a lot of my inspiration and essentially needed to let it evolve.  I still am trying to get my act together...classes are on the list for this year, as well as a new range of shoes and boots.  I will keep you updated as I design and put the pieces in place.

I have been struggling a lot with feeling like I 'have a place' or have become 'someone'.  A huge amount of this is linked to having to completely redefine myself in a new place.  The readjustment period really disabled me from being able to move forward in a creative sense and I felt a bit lost for direction.  I am still very keen to begin a masters in Art therapy later this year as well as working slowly to grow Spiro again.  I'm sure you can relate to having a creative dry time...its a bit unnerving and has kept me up late at nights.  Thank you again to all the friends who have kept me sane through this...I have so much to learn.

Isaac and I have worked hard to put our house together...Here are a few photos of our space as well as some of Isaac's latest creations.

Our new bed Isaac just finished making. Note the rigging...there are no nails.

Updated bedroom 

Isaac's studio

Updated Kitchen
Updated Lounge

A beautiful Shaker side table that Isaac designed and made.
My studio

Our new movie corner!

Isaac's new tattoo...bison playing the accordion and smoking a pipe!

I hope that gives you a window into our life....until next time!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Treehouse Life

Hello all,

A LOT has occurred since my last much that I doubt I can summarize it all easily here.

March was spent enjoying the company of my good friend from Winnipeg in our cozy house by the sea.  At the end of March, we had to leave our home on the coast as it was becoming to awkward to live so far from the city.  We managed to house sit for friends in Auckland over the course of March-April...they being nice enough to allow us to cram all of our stuff into their garage.  I was able to use the old granny flat at the back of the garage for a studio...this flat had been lived in by all of the couples sons over the course of many years.  It was truly a boy cave and I really enjoyed retreating to my cave to work every day.

Isaac continues to work for Meadowlark finishing jewelery.  He is also getting out to the wood shop when he can to continue his training as a furniture maker. 

Once May rolled around we were searching hard for a new place...which proved difficult as what we required and what was available did not match up.  We managed to stumble upon the most incredible 3 floor studio in the bush..and I am very happy to say it has become our new home!  The house was built by a sculptor and 2 journeymen from Germany.  It is incredibly unique and features all the details we love so much.  We are literally still pinching ourselves to come to terms with the beautiful place we now get to live..thank you God!  There is a lot I could say about the house but I would rather let the pictures do the talking...enjoy!


The Studio...2nd Floor.  Divine light! Note that the doors are 13 feet tall!

My new Studio!

Studio looking up to 3rd Floor

The bedroom.

The view out our bedroom window.

The house is only a small drive outside the city center, so we are able to commute in easily and still have access to a natural, more laid back life.  The place is surrounded by native NZ bush...I am still so grateful that I get to hang out with birds and go to sleep amongst the treetops. I also am blessed to have the most incredible studio space!  A far cry from the boy cave I was using before.  After an incredibly hard year of transition it feels as if we have finally come home.  Fingers crossed.

More changes are in the mix.  I have decided to take on a full time day job to help us continue to stabilize financially and to get out of the house for a change!  Ironically, it is at a leather store...a perfect fit and I am just giddy everytime I get to sell leather to someone...I am so weird!  It has been a huge relief for both of us...Isaac can now focus more on building his own creative business and I can step back from Spiro a bit, allowing myself to go back to a place where i can resurrect my creativity and inspiration.  Churning out orders has dampened my heart and I need to be able to play again.  It is a relief to be able to enjoy Spiro rather than depending on it to pay our bills.  I have many ideas...already I have a new shoe design in the tube and am leaning back toward creating one of a kind beautiful pieces.  Stay tuned...more to come.

I was also able to find a part time job teaching soft leather craft via a really cool art studio in Auckland.  I am crazy excited and will begin teaching a few weekend classes over a few months.   Anyone keen in Auckland to learn more about leather craft should come out to play!  I will let you know more about the classes very soon.

We were also fortunate to be featured in the very lovely 'Extra Curricular' Magazine'!  If you haven't checked it out you should give it a read.  The magazine is based around crafty creative people and looks into their creative process and projects.  Thank you so much Ellie for the special feature and blog post!  We appreciate you:)

I have to say that I feel incredibly happy and content.  It is as if our lives have finally come together and life is making sense. 

I'm sorry I have been so bad at corresponding over the last little while.  In a way, life has been so stressful that I have been unable to share and too tired to function.  I feel more alive now then I have in still amazes me how life can turn around and present you with a beautiful home and perfect job.  We are truly blessed and I feel ready to find my feet.

Love Barb and Isaac:)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

An Update....FINALLY!

Hey all!

SOOO much has been happening and it has been crazy around here.  We had a wonderful extended family Christmas with the Morton clan in Opunake...a tiny surf town in NZ.  This was my first summer Christmas and I actually really enjoyed it though I did miss the context of snow and cold and cozy homes which really is Christmas for me in a lot of ways.  It was really fun to enjoy a Christmas day water fight...and I spent a lot of time getting to know family members I did not know which was great.  New years was also fun with heaps of food and fireworks on our deck...several of which went awol and barreling toward our neighbors homes...luckily nothing was damaged in all the excitement though we did have a good laugh about it!

New Years on our deck.

We received our friends Matt and Karin in from Canada the end of December and  it has been great to catch up and to re-experience NZ through their eyes. Matt was our clever photographer who originally photographed our shoe designs.  His lovely wife Karin is the beautiful blond model in so many of our photos.  They are both very talented people and if you have a moment you should check out Matt's photography collection here.

Karin and Matt fresh off the plane

My parents also arrived here from Canada Feb 6th so I have had an influx of Canadian warmth to keep me going!  It has been really wonderful to see my parents again as it had been a little over a year since I saw them last.  They are enjoying the momentary break from the cold and we are enjoying showing them the sights of NZ as well as spending time together catching up.

Showing mom and dad our beach
Mom finding shells

Beautiful sunset

We decided to have Christmas together here in NZ , so we enjoyed an amazing dinner (courtesy of my mom), gifts (complete with several squirrel themed items which I was VERY happy about) and played vintage Christmas records which were always played over Christmas when I was a  kid.
Christmas in Feb
End of January we helped to move out our good friends Gem and Nathan to their new home in Auckland.  We were sad to see them go but are happy for their new adventures.  Together they create 'Hunter Gatherer' goodies.   If you haven't heard of their crafty wares, you should check out their quirky design and accessory work here.
Hunter Gatherer

Isaac and I have been VERY busy as we are also preparing to sell our wares at the upcoming festival of world music and dance  in Auckland called Jambalaya.  You should definitely check out this festival if you can...when I found it I drooled over the line up as I am a HUGE world music fan.  In essence, Isaac and I really just wanted to attend so we decided to also set up shop as our pieces really fit into the overall feel of the festival.  The festival also features workshops which include Tango, Swing, Beatboxing, Salsa, Hip Hop, Dance Hall, Contemporary, A Capella Singing, Samba drumming, African, Flying Trapeze and many more.  If you have a chance please come round for a dance, a workshop and a bit of a browse as it would be lovely to see you.  Festival information can be viewed here.

Another gorgeous sunset

We also are thrown back into a season of transition as we sadly have to leave our beautiful home on the coast as we can no longer afford it on our own.  This has been hard on us but we always knew this day would come so we are trying to be grateful for our beautiful summer and are searching to find a new place to live in Auckland city for April.  Both of us are excited for the change as it will be lovely to see our friends, have access to art and music and also be closer to Isaac's current work at Meadowlark.  We feel a bit torn to leave the beach as we are pretty tied to nature but as we have literally lived on the coast for a year over a variety of locations, I think I can give it up for the time being.  So...if you know of a 2 bedroom place with a garage in the city for rent...let us know!

Last one
We are back in a tight place financially and have been praying that our needs would be met.  Amazingly within a week of finding out we had to move we were featured like crazy on Etsy and I sold a few pairs of shoes.  We are so grateful to the Etsy community for their support!  Thank you Etsy for being so wonderful!  One piece that I was particularly honored to have my mukluks featured on was a handmade portrait of Mabel Pike...a Tlingit Native elder in Alaska who creates incredible moccasins.  Please take a moment to view her story here.   My parents arrival meant lots of food to eat...they are really so lovely and generous!  I seriously have gained five pounds since their arrival!  Please keep your fingers crossed for us that everything will come together.  I feel a surprising amount of peace about it all as we have really gone through this all year and have never lacked a place to live or food to eat.  I am looking forward to getting into a new place and NOT moving for 2 years....sigh...that would be great.

Shoes that I made for my friend Layce

Anyways...that's about us.  Hopefully I can see a few of your faces in the near future or bump into you at Jambalaya.  Thank you again for all your incredible love and support!

Love...Barb and Isaac