Featured post

The End of Mountain Moon and Sea


If there is anyone out there still reading this I just want to say hello and goodbye.

Mountain Moon and Sea was a wonderful adventure and a lot of fun. It was a great learning experience too.

As my tax returns are now up to date, my business name and ABN are in the process of being de-registered.

Mountain Moon and Sea will soon officially no longer exist. I just need to close the bank account and transfer the $4.10 to my personal account.  Continue reading


BIG changes, Art 4 Refugees and The Bulli Show

My internet connection has been a little unreliable of late so I thought I’d play around with word’s publisher layout to create a pretty newsletter for my followers. I’m really looking forward to the opening night of Art for Refugees on Friday.



Recently I entered The Bulli Show, something I had never done before. I entered a piece jewellery, a double page of scrap-booking and two mixed media art works. Having your work judged in a show is different to selling in a gallery as it is a competition. Your work is assessed and judged by an expert in a show, in an exhibition the only judge is the red dot and the hearts and wallets of the public, there are no rankings.

As I entered the pavilion I was excited to see if I had won anything, but also interested to see the quality of the other entries, which was exceptionally high. There is so much talent in the Illawarra!

I was so pleased with receiving two “Highly Commended” certificates for my mixed media works, including the orange one above, I squealed with delight. (Something that may not be proper show etiquette). I then saw around the corner that my jewellery had a big blue ribbon attached to it. There is also a pic on my Instagram of the mixed media work “Spring Flower” that I did the afternoon of submission deadline!

My decision to enter a scrap-booking piece was sparked by visiting the Berry Show earlier in the year and seeing that I could probably do better with the skills and experience I had from making ATCs and art journals for Swap-Bot swaps. Most scrappers I know of do pages for their kids. I don’t have kids. I thought that scrapping my 30th birthday last year was a good idea. I used elements from some of the cards that friends and family had given me, photos of the celebrations, stamping, inks, glitter and coloured chalks on matching backing papers to create a cohesive collage.


We Have a DOT COM!!

It’s taken a bit of wrangling and a bit of frustration and feelings of “oh my gawd, did I do that right or did I just break it” but it’s here!


Notice how that “.wordpress” is missing? (Not that I minded it). WordPress is awesome and I love the things I can do with it. I particularly love that WordPress is cool with me taking their name out of my domain. I’ve not got the time or skills to throw together a kick-ass webpage without the use of a template.

Why do I have a Dot Com? Great question, Me. Because I can.

No seriously? Okay, because I’m expanding my hobby, trial business, fledgling business thing into something bigger, better, and more professional.

And you’re still talking to yourself in third-person and interviewing your (first-person) self? Yep. Nobody else around at this hour to interview me. Except the cat and I doubt he’d like me waking him at 1:40 in the AM.

Fair enough. Anything else you want to tell us about the new you? I’ll soon stop ranting about business plans, marketing plans and financial plans. As I’ll be finished my TAFE course.  That’s great. Anything else? I’ll be working on new product ranges with new materials and with new purpose.

What do you hope to achieve as the new you? World Domination, mwuhahahaha. Well eventually, but for now I’ll settle for creating some kick-ass ethical products, letting the locals know about it and hopefully finding some retail stores that like what I’m doing and want to stock my stuff…. Maybe finding my sanity, oh and some sleep. Everyone loves sleep right? We’re overdue for a bit of a branding overhaul as well. Pray to your deities that I get that Suncorp Grant!

Right. We do. So you best get back to work and finish that bloody assignment. NOW!   Yes maaahm!

Oi, you forgot to post a picture in your post! Ok here you go:

“LOVE XO” print by hark home on Made It

Much Better!  You’re welcome.

From both of us: if you can see this and not the “Crazy Domains” page it’s a minor miracle.

Kick Start Your Business with a Helping Hand

I’m currently writing my business plan for my final subject of my Small Business Management course. A big, important chunk of this is the financial plan. (Understandably so). You can’t plan anything in your business unless you can fund it. Most people will suggest that you get an overdraft or a business loan, sounds simple right? But what if you don’t have a car or a property to secure finance against? What if you’ve been studying business stuff so you can actually succeed in the business world and don’t have a steady income for the banks to make their income calculations against? If this is you then you’re in the same boat as me. You could ask your family to go guarantor for you, but you may feel like you’re losing your independence. If you’re like me, you can’t live with the thought of them having to repay the loan if anything happens to you.

Small Money Tree by Elmira Titeyeva on Etsy.  “Money Tree-an attraction to wealth and money. According to Feng Shui in the tree must be an odd numbers of coins. 9 coins with a hole or multiple of 9 and attached red thread.”

If you want to start a charity or not-for-profit there are philanthropists all around the world who would love to help you out. Almost every financial institution has a charitable grants programme. If you’re a tech-based start up you’re ok, lots of investors out there waiting to cash in on ‘the next big thing’. If you want to start a community program to help under-privileged peoples then you’re also covered. If you want to make a short film or theatre production there are quite a few government grants available. If you’re under 30 you’re in luck with many youth programs for young entrepreneurs available.

What if you want to start a business because it’s something you’re good at, something you enjoy, it’s a good idea, there’s a gap in the market for it and it may do some good in this world? Then you’re like me, biting your nails, reading through grants websites til 4 in the morning.

“Be The Change You Want To See In The World” – Ghandi
Hand Stamped Jewellery by Kottage Kreations on Etsy

This morning I stumbled accross the Suncorp 5 Grand Helping Hand. $5,000 may not sound like much to big business, probably their annual budget for paper clips and highlighters. But for someone small, (a one-woman-show working into the wee hours to research, plan, network, blog and get things done), it’s a BIG deal. It’s just what you need to hire a professional graphic designer for some rebranding, get sample products made, get some advertising and get to some local wedding expos to get some paying customers. To be able to do this, without going into debt, would be ah-mazing!

Mountain Moon and Sea makes customers look and feel great. We create innovative recycled and hand-crafted stationery, accessories and giftware, made from ethical materials using fair-trade practices. Our product lines include ethical wedding stationery, greeting cards, event invitations and paper bead jewellery.

If you like what I do and what I write, can you do me a favour? (I will rarely ask my readers to do something for me). VOTE FOR ME for the Suncorp 5 Grand Helping Hand. As a reward I would like to offer 40% off total purchases from the Mountain Moon And Sea Etsy Shop with the coupon code “HELP2012” for all who vote. This includes 40% off already reduced, discontinued lines.

If you’re looking for funding and but more into communities and crowd-sourcing try Kick Starter. There are many Kick-Started success stories such as that of Allegory Pens. In the world of music Amanda Palmer is THE kick-ass Kick Starter.

If you’re not familiar with Kick Starter, it works by you submitting an individually crafted “all-or-nothing” project. The public pledge funds, yes that’s people you know and many you don’t, from all over the world. Any donation amount from $1 to $10,000 is catered for on Kick Starter. The artists have full control and responsibility over the project and usually showcase what they want to achieve with their projects in a video to convince would-be investors. Each project offers different rewards for different levels of funding pledged. Often rewards are a copy of the finished product, limited editions or exclusive experiences and are only limited by your imagination.

There Is More Than Enough For Us All by jessicagswift on Etsy. For more beautiful and inspiring prints click on the image to go to her Etsy listing.

Kick Starter really is an all-or-nothing game. You set your budget and your deadline and get people to pledge funds. If the target is met by the deadline you are funded, people’s credit cards are debited and you’re obligated to send rewards to your backers. If your deadline comes and you’re short of your goal well that’s the end, no one gets charged and you don’t have to send anyone anything.

Kick Starter may sound a bit like the hippie commune barter system of business funding, but you know what? I’m totally OK with that. It has power, with over 20,000 projects funded, over 2 million people pledging funds and over $200 million in funding granted.

I hope this has helped some other small business person out there to not give up. It may seem hard but if you have faith, believe in your ideas and keep sharing your ideas with people, the abundance you need will come to you.

🙂 Diane

Got Something To Say?

“What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

I had to do a powerpoint presentation for my Cert. IV in Small Business Management course it was scary and daunting, but empowering at the same time. It was part of the networking subject, as often at networking groups different people will take turns to give a presentation. We were taught to use an attention-getter to open. This is short phrase or quote that get’s the audience’s attention and focusses them in on the topic you are speaking about. This has a particularly good impact if you can put up a visual of the text and an accompanying image as you say the words. (Having one of those remote controls for the projector helps). Use your strongest, most confident voice. Don’t let yourself think you’re not good at public speaking, because this just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Believe in yourself and in your message.

By ValentinaDesign on Etsy. Click link for listing and check out her shop for more gorgeous zentangled artworks.

After you’ve delivered your attention-getter introduce yourself, if you haven’t been pre-introduced, and introduce what you are going to speak about. Show an outline of your talk. This will work a bit like a table of contents does in a book.

Clearly mark each new section of your talk with headings and sub-headings (my TAFE teacher said to number them all but I’m not convinced either way). Be brief with text and where possible use bullet points. This way you can talk to your points without having to know word-for-word your entire talk. Use diagrams, graphs and charts where appropriate. Try and break up long sections of text with images. I try to do this with my blog posts so my readers don’t get bored. (I know you’re a visually-intelligent bunch, like me!).

Speak Up print by TipsyMouse on Etsy. Click the image to see the listing and other art-prints with a touch of wit.

Be aware that people take in information in different ways. Some people are more visual, others more auditory. If you can, get your audience moving and participating in some physical way. They won’t forget your message and they definitely won’t fall asleep!

Every essay has an introduction, body, and conclusion, so should a presentation. At the end recap what you’ve said by going over your headings again. This will trigger any questions people will have. Let people know that you will take questions, or if you are not able to take questions let them know another way that they can contact you for more information. (E.g. After the talk, email, relevant website details).

As my teacher used to say :

“Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you’ve told them”.

I hope this helps. 🙂

Etsy Success Sydney with Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson

I started the day as an usher-ette smiling and greeting fellow delegates, speakers, media people and a face I recognised from Playschool as they got off the elevator at the top floor of the Museum of Contemporary Art. (That was me in the purple dress, lace tights and metallic blue Dr Martins). The view from the Harbourside room was ah-mazing: a panorama of the Harbour Bridge to the left and the Opera House to the right. Even though it was drizzling and overcast it was still quite impressive. (I’ve put the photos of the view and the speakers up on the Mountain Moon and Sea Facebook page as they were taken on my mobile phone).

Meeting the faces behind the Etsy teams and shops.

I must say that the staff at the event were really friendly and helpful, they even delivered a coffee to me when they realised I was on crowd control duties and couldn’t wait for it to be made. All the presenters brought their A-game! Chad Dickerson, CEO at Etsy, was a great opener, speaking on Finding Your Courage. He shared his own life experiences in small business and answered a lot of questions.

Chad Dickerson is a really dynamic speaker, a hard working person and a giving person as he was so willing to share his knowledge and life experience with all of us. He spoke about not giving up, connecting with and supporting your community, and taking advice from everyone but to only apply what works for you. This, in particular, really struck a chord with me as he emphasised how important it is to listen to your truest self.

“Sometimes you just need someone to believe in you and support you.”

Chad Dickerson, CEO, Etsy.com

I know that my life has blossomed and grown because of the support and encouragement I’ve received from family and friends. I will never forget the encouragement of Grace Kingston, who invited me to be a part of my first group exhibition. Grace encouraged me to join in a life drawing class she was hosting and this sparked my interest and helped me to develop my creative and artistic skills. That initial positive experience, of exhibiting work and selling my work has changed my life and created a career path for me.

During question time I found my courage to stand up, with mic in hand, to ask Chad Dickerson a few questions. My first question was : What helps make an Etsy store that lasts? Chad responded by emphasising how important it is to be passionate, have good photos and market your Etsy shop through social media like PinterestTwitter and Facebook.


Etsy Decor

My second question was: What has helped him through the most challenging times in his life?  His response was to stay focussed and have faith that it will get better. Wise words.

After the formal programme concluded we were all treated to a magical, light-filled wonderland inside, with an amazingly VIVID city skyline. I took some cool photos and some shaky video footage during the cocktail networking session on my Nikon Coolpix L120. (Not an expensive or fancy camera but it is handy for stock photography and taking HD movies). I’ve found the courage to try new things, explore new (for me) technologies and to share my truest self with the world, because life is too short to be afraid. With this in mind, I present to you my first EVER video production. Hopefully there will be more in future as it’s a whole lot of fun!

The Etsy Success Sydney forum was one of the most inspiring and educational days I’ve had in my adult life. I enjoyed being a part it, volunteering and helping everyone find where they needed to go. I’ve already started to apply what I learned. I’ve stopped resisting Pinterest and Twitter as I can see that if I embrace them and use them selectively that they are great ways to connect with the people I want to reach and the communities that I want to be a part of.


Mood lighting during the cocktail reception. I really want one of these trees!

Happy Birthday Blue Twig Studio

Happy Birthday Blue Twig Studio!

My lovely friend Deb over at Blue Twig Studio is celebrating her Blog Birthday with a great give-away of some craft kits. There is a great green mixed media art kit, an awesome orange embellishment kit and a pretty pink mixed media art kit.

Head on over to the Blue Twig Studio blog to have a look and enter into the competition. If you’d rather just join a club and get a kit sent out every month in the theme of either Mixed Media Art, Ribbons & Trims or Vintage and Found Objects head over to the Blue Twig Studio Store.

My best wishes to you Deb, for every success. Your friendship, creativity and inspiration have been invaluable to me on my creative journey.