Sunday hiking is my reboot for the week that lies ahead. I discovered the Modderfontein reserve in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December 2018, whilst scrolling on Facebook, and oh my word, what a find! It’s the old AECI explosives testing site, which now comprises 700 hectares of the most pristine and beautiful hiking, cycling and running trails.
My health has been an issue for many years, but in 2018, I decided to take it back. I got off all the meds that I’d been put on, because nobody knew what was really wrong with me. All I knew was that I was in pain from my brain to my toes. 13 months later and I hiked 10km’s today!
I stopped eating inflammatory, synthetic foods and I slowly started exercising. In the beginning I exercised through the pain, but as I lost each kilo, the pain diminished on it’s own, with no pain killers needed. I’ve lost 12 kilos and many more inches, and I feel human again. It’s a very special feeling to feel human after feeling like an alien in your own body, for so long.
Of course I could never do it without the support of my patient beautiful life partner Mr. C. Without him I know I would never get up at 5am on a Sunday, to go hiking at 6am.
I’m an iPhone photographer, with a passion for turning my iPhone photos, into art.
I’m blessed to live in a city, where the weather is beautiful. I’m extremely blessed to have a beautiful garden, that affords me so many beautiful opportunities, to photograph nature at her very best.
I recently bought two exotic Hibiscus plants, that inspire me daily. Their flowers are exquisite and they flower profusely. I feel as though I get a new gift everyday. Some days the flowers are more perfect than others, this day was one of those.
Besides the joys from my garden, the other amazing joy that I’ve been given, is the joy of app editing. I have been introduced to a world that enables me to go on creative journeys that take me to places I never thought I could go to.
From the phone that I hold in my hand, to the incredibly powerful apps like iColorama, my world is filled with never ending editing joy.
I took this Hibiscus on an inspired journey, starting off with the ability to blur the actual image. Imagine that with one tap, I was able to create a perfect blur background, on which to build multiple creations.
My go to app for creating and designing my prints, is iColorama. I am continually blown away by what is possible. It is app editing on steroids, and I have so much admiration for the creators. It affords me the opportunity to go on the craziest design journeys, that enable me to take this blurred image, and create the beginning of a future print.
Within iColorama there are endless opportunities and for me it’s about pressing buttons. My hubby knows that when I start frenetically pressing on my iPhone or iPad screen, I am lost to the real world. And so the build begins.
My aim is to build this into a step and repeat pattern which I can then use for my clothing creations. The repeat pattern starts out very simply as a tile effect.
I love playing around in the Superimpose app where you can go completely crazy with masking. Confession…I spend hours there.
I took the blur background and superimposed the tiles on top of it.
This will make a perfect step and repeat pattern, but there are so many amazing options in iColorama. I’m on holiday, so I can play, with no time constraints. It’s a wonderful place to be – we take time so for granted – I’m spending hours binge watching iColorama tutorials, and then going on these amazing design journeys.
I see the one below as a greeting card and also the cover of a journal.
Here are some never ending possibilities.
And from all of those, I will build a final fabric print, that will look something like this.
My appproach to my life is a choice. I choose to see the beauty in everything. It doesn’t make me lucky and it isn’t always perfect, but it sure beats wallowing in the negativity that we are purposefully exposed to. The more pretty pictures I post, the more people tell me how lucky I am that my life seems so perfect. There’s no such thing as the perfect life, but there’s definitely a thing called the perfect choice.
How do you keep the masses from questioning your dodgy actions?
You keep them stupid, hungry, cold and in debilitating debt. That way they will just be trying to survive, they will never have time or capacity to question or see the beauty in anything.
How do you not become one of those masses?
You make a very conscious choice to choose a different life. You enlighten yourself any way you can. Don’t assume that you have to pay for everything, you don’t, you live in the smartest world, with access to things called Google and YouTube, that can teach you anything you want to know, for free. Don’t tell me it’s not free because you need data, there’s free wi-fi, you may just have to choose to look a little harder for it.
How do you shift your thinking from shame poor me to Yay me?
You stop listening to fake negative news, that’s a logical choice. You choose to search out the beauty that we are surrounded by, and hardly ever see, because you’re so busy obsessing about situations you cannot ever change. You hold a thing in your hand every single day that enables you to capture so much beauty. Go to the camera in your phone, focus on something beautiful and capture it, and then share it and make somebody happy, because you made a choice to share beauty and not ugly! You don’t have to be a photographer, you just have to be committed to seeing the beauty that is everywhere, and that has been gifted to us for free. You’re surrounded by it, you just have to start seeing it.
And when you start experiencing the feeling of satisfaction, because you put something beautiful out into the world, then you will understand the difference between being lucky and being the navigator of your own destiny.
It’s always a choice 💜
Being able to share this print journey with you, from a photo taken by me on my iPhone, to a complete garment, is indeed a very special moment.
This is a print journey that starts with an out of focus orange Gazania Daisy taken in my garden, and ends in a fabric print that I’m so incredibly proud of. I spent days figuring out a way to get to the final result, and I do think that I went to the moon and back…probably unnecessarily…but it was sooooo worth the result, considering I don’t really know very much about fabric design. What I do know though, is that you don’t have to be clever, you just have to be determined!
So what to do with an out of focus photo? I’ve been incredibly lucky to be part of the iPhone Photography School, and have been introduced to so many amazing apps, that are available to us all via the App Store. As I was about to delete the photo, I changed my mind and converted the ‘bad photo’ to black and white. Violá, totally blown away, I loved that the sprinklings of pollen looked like glitter.
Whilst playing around in numerous apps I tried a mosaic effect, but I realised that it’s very in your face, so I carried on experimenting, and then happened upon a grunge filter which was perfect.
On my buying trips to Hong Kong, I used to see these kinds of prints, in these grunge colours, and I so yearned for somebody to import them into South Africa. I was just never able to get any of the importers to understand the need for these kinds of prints. Being able to design them myself, and print them, and then manufacture collections out of them, is down to pure determination.
I’m passionate about Roses and could quite happily put them on every future print. I took a photo of a beautiful pink rose in my garden, and put it through the same grunge process.
I then went on an editing journey that took a very long time, actually an insanely long time, because I’m such a perfectionist. I’ve come to realise though, that if I want perfection, I’m going to have to learn patience.
Placing the roses perfectly in the lines of the mosaic was a mammoth undertaking, but I taught myself how to do it and this Grunge Rose print is the result.
I’ve printed it in plain, and then I had some real fun with it in my numerous apps, and I came up with some fun prints by adding coloured hearts. Hearts and roses work really well for me, they make me happy.
Red hearts and Grunge roses
Turquoise hearts and Grunge roses
Knowing that this process starts with a plain piece of white fabric, and in a couple of hours it’s printed fabric, and in another couple of hours, it’s a fabulous Plus size, Miracle shape top, makes me a very happy fabric designer, and an even happier fashion designer. I now have access to anything and everything I dream of, because if I dream it, I can now have it.
In conversation with a very dear client this week, she told me that I absolutely have to share my experiences so far in 2017, because there are so many people going through so much, and sometimes it takes somebody else’s experiences to put your own into perspective…so here goes…whew, and it’s only the middle of March!
2016 was a year of immense challenges both personally and as an entrepeneur. The world as we knew it shifted once again, and new challenges presented themselves. Personally I was dealing with watching my beloved father dying a very slow death in front of me. Watching the slow degradation really took its toll on me towards the end of 2016, and it was only my faith in focusing on the light, that enabled me to keep the darkness at bay.
But then as life does, it always offers up two choices. I had embarked on a journey to realising my dream of designing and printing my own exclusive fashion fabrics, that would allow me to take my Plus size fashion collections to a whole new level, and that was my welcome diversion. I completely immersed myself in my great love which is all things fabric related. And so 2016 came to an end, and I was able to go away for 4 days and indulge my love for iPhone photography. I discovered a love for bugs and macro photography, and captured nature at it’s really ‘up close’ best.
And into 2017 I came with an excitement I hadn’t felt in a long time. I went full steam into converting my iPhone photos into fabric prints, and on the 10th of February we printed our first samples of my exclusive designs. Realising my 25 year dream was a defining moment, and I came alive with a feeling that made me really excited. I rushed home after work to share my excitement, only to find that my Dad had taken a really bad turn. An hour later he died in front of us, and even though I never got to share my news with him, I knew that he had moved on, to release me to be able to go forth and give this new venture my all. It is a venture that will prove many things, because I’ve gone into it knowing very little, but am determined to take full advantage of the amazingly smart world we live in.
On the 11th of February, 24 hours after my Dad passed on, my beloved mother tripped over a shoe and fractured her hip. At this stage you’re probably reading this going “what!!”, well I felt the same way as I stood looking at her lying on the floor. It is 5 weeks since her fall and I have been ‘nursing’ her, never having taken care of anybody on this level before. I’ve been asked so many times how I do it, and it’s a crazy thing, but there’s a side of you that kicks in and you just do it. As negative as the actual experience was, there are many positives that have come out of it, the most important one being reconnection. We had all become so disconnected whilst dealing with my Dad’s illness, and in a crazy twist, my Mom’s fall forced us all to reconnect.
They say that things happen in 3’s and I so hoped that it wouldn’t be true, but unfortunately we’ve been dealt another devastating blow. Three weeks ago my father in law was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer, and has been given four to six months to live. I’ve had to go from being supported to being the supporter.
I’m not one to question, so I’ve accepted that this is our journey in 2017, and our lives at the moment are filled with many juxtapositions. We live with tremendous sadness, and we live with tremendous excitement. The diversion that the excitement provides from the sadness, is one we will only truly understand in the months to come.
You’re probably asking how I’ve stayed upbeat and focused. My only advice is to find something that you can immerse yourself in when the going gets tough. I hope that your going is not as tough as mine has been, but my iPhone photography and iPhone editing, has been my absolute ‘sanity saver’.
Life as I knew it, is going to be forever changed in 2017, but I have a little toolbox in my head, filled with ‘life tools’ and I think I’m going to be calling on them a lot. Feel free to reach out if you need support.
A year ago I entered the world of online studying, and it proved to be life changing on so many levels. This week I entered that world again, and into day three I’m reflecting on how much my life has changed in a year.
I chose to do an Online Digital Marketing course with Getsmarter, and I became enlightened as to how smart the world is, that we live in. One of the things that really stood out for me was the constant reference to ‘images are king’. It made perfect sense, that in a world where so much information is coming at us every second, the only thing that would stop us in our scrolling tracks, would be an amazing image.
With that knowledge in hand, I decided to sign up to a random online iPhone photography course, that completely changed my life. If like me you believe in the law of attraction, then this course epitomises all that I believe. One month into the course, I started designing potential future fabric prints, with all the new apps I’d been introduced to, and the incredibly generous advice that I was given by the members in the Facebook group. A whole new world opened up, and that very distant fabric design dream, started to not look so distant. In November last year I was introduced to the world of sublimation printing, and I saw my iPhone photos, that I’ve manipulated into fabric print designs, come to life.
Just over a year later I’ve signed up to study again. I’m now going to learn how to put the photos that I’ve taken, and edited, into proper print ready designs, so that I can produce exclusive fashion fabrics for Hayley Joy. I’ve seen the samples, and I feel like a kid whose been gifted a new toy, that is very, very clever. This world we live in is exceptional, we should all focus a little more on that, you will be blown away by what is at your fingertips.
I dream about filling Hayley Joy Shop, and Hayley Joy online, with the most sensational prints. By designing and manufacturing my own exclusive prints, I offer my loyal clientele the next level in Plus Size fashion, and that is exclusivity. Wherever you go in your Hayley Joy designs, you will stand out, because I’m going to now design the prints that we’ve all been dreaming about. No more lamenting about what we can’t have, now we can have anything and everything we dream about. If you want pink and purple with a touch of grey, I can create that. If you want a marble print (which is one print I’ve been dreaming about, and have never seen in South Africa), I can design it. The world of design is now my playground, and I am going to prove that there really are no limits to dream.
I’ve never been more determined than I was, to make it out of 2016 with my confidence and my determination intact, and I’ve never wanted to persevere as much as I do in 2017. 2016 was a challenging year but I didn’t allow it to take me down. I went back at it hard and focused on the end goal, which is always to deliver 100%. I made an interesting observation about ones state of mind in tough times. It seems to be so much easier to succumb than to fight back. Well I fought back, I never gave up (there were times when my faith was tested), but if I know nothing else, I know that I must succeed, there is to much at stake for me to crumble.
During the last 6 months of 2016, I had an awakening, I started to see things completely differently, and I started to really feel 2017. I’m not the biggest planner, I tend to wake up and see how I feel, which usually dictates the plan (interesting way to operate as an entrepeneur I hear you say). But it’s how I’ve always done things, and I’m lucky to have a team that flow with the uneven and unpredictable tide. The only plan that I ‘planned’, was to become more aware, more in the moment, and more determined to see only beauty in 2017.
So it’s back to work on the 9th Jan and part of the perseverance plan is to take me and my business to a new level. I have nurtured a great team around me, who are able to take care of themselves, so for me it’s off to have some fun. I’m going inside my creative brain and I am hoping to deliver the most wonderful and innovative designs that can be applied to any surface. I’ve seen a mock up of one design on a variety of surfaces, from bags, to cushion covers, to T-shirts to canvases, and the cliché ‘the sky’s the limit’ has never been more appropriate.
The photos that I took of these mushrooms, made me really think about perseverance. They were growing out of a pile of debris, and yet their determination to show off their beauty and determination, was never going to be impacted by their surroundings. In 2017, I’ll be looking to nature as my constant inspiration, and these photos prove how much inspiration there is all around us, if we just take some time to look.
2016 was a year of learning for me. In my 52nd year I went back to school for the first time in 35 years. I chose to do an online digital marketing course with Getsmarter…yes me…the once VERY technologically challenged girl!
I ran my business and I studied for 10 very intense weeks, and I passed…proudly.
I learnt how to REALLY delegate. Yes me the one time control freak. And how did it feel I hear you asking, it felt sooooooo liberating. If you’re not good at it, try it, it is life changing. Hire right, my business coach Brent Spilkin from Growing Pains said, never a truer word spoken. Delegating allows you to dream big, and deliver even bigger.
I learnt how to take a random chance and I signed up for an online iPhone photography course, that has completely transformed my life. It has unleashed a creativity in me that I never knew was there. It has taught me patience, it’s taught me to be so much more observant, it’s connected me with some of the most amazing humans all over the world. It’s awoken my creativity on an explosive level.
I learnt how to expand my business without stretching myself thin. I took Hayley Joy online and have enabled women all over the world to have access to true Plus size fashion, designed by a genuine Plus size designer. To date we have not had one garment returned for a refund, and have only had two size changes. That is an enormous achievement in the online sales world.
So how do I top 2016 in 2017?
I go back to school to do an online graphic design course, to realise a 30 year dream, to design and print my own exclusive ranges of fashion fabrics. They say that the only way we are going to make it in business, going forward, is to stand out. I have every intention of taking my new found love and knowledge of photography, and creating collections of fabrics that have never been seen before. I am going to listen to the future predictors, and I’m sooooooo going to stand out. I want to be that girl that at 52 took on the world and did it her way.
I get really, really irritated when people tell me how lucky I am to have my own business, be my own boss, have my own choices blah, blah, blah. I’ve decided to become ‘unirritated’ and choose to accept that I’m incredibly blessed with luck. Blessed to do what I love, blessed to make a difference, and especially blessed to work with some of the most amazing women.
I’m going to be featuring some of those amazing women through 2017. I thought I should kick off the initiative by featuring a woman who inspires me, who makes me so proud to dress her, and a woman we should all know about because she embraces who she is…very proudly.
Mari Lee is the founder and CEO of DevCom, a company that prides itself on creating a direct link between effective communication, and achieving business objectives. Mari has 18 years experience in development, project management and strategic projects.
Dressing Mari is inspiring on so many levels. I’ve dressed her personally, I’ve dressed her team for corporate events, and every time I work with DevCom, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have such grateful and loyal clients…and very lucky too!
Mari shared these photos with me, and has graciously consented to me sharing them with all of you.