Welcome to Drawer Full of Giants 2017 pictorial year in review.
As I'm a location independent business, I can theoretically live and work anywhere in the world I want, however during Twenty Seventeen, at the request of my daughter, Sofia, I hung around the North Island of New Zealand.
First up, my year of house sitting adventures
DECEMBER 2016 - FEBRUARY 2017
We enjoyed/endured (depending on how high the mercury rose) a very hot Summer in Gisborne, on the East Coast, where we house sat and looked after a family of two dogs, a couple of cats and some guinea pigs while their parents visited England to see family.
I scored 15GB of data with my mobile provider's Data Treasure Hunt! WOHOO! Give you one guess who kept wanting to tether with me as she only managed to get 3GB.
My parents traveled up to Gissy and spent a month over Christmas with us.
A few days before Christmas while walking the dogs on the beach we came across 'Sandy Claus' and just HAD to have a photo with him, furs and all!
The eldest dog, a 15 year old chinchilla, would often wake me at 2 am barking at the wall and that would wake him up too! Sleep barking was a new one on me. He'd also do it in this waking hours. Such fun...
During Feb the door opened for Sofia to audition and be accepted into Waikato University's Music program. With a long held passion for all things musical and with some experience under her belt, she leaped, bounded and excelled all through the year and became madly-deeply in love with her tutors, what she's learning and performing on stage. She even ADORES her job as usher and stage manager in the lavish Gallagher Center.
Her class end-of-year Cabaret Showcase performance was UH-MAZING!
We road tripped the 5 1/2 hours to Hamilton from Gisborne several times in the weeks leading up to her finally settling her into dorms and soon learned, at 24, she was the oldest in her class.
Taking advantage of the fact that my folks live in the Central Hawkes Bay these days, (originally we're all from the South Island until 2011) I thought I'd go hang out with them for a couple of months. They live in a cool little RV community with other nomadic retirees that come and go.
I actually RV-sat for them as they went touring for a few weeks. I learned to clean out the loo (yes I did get poo on my hand - and yes that was gross) but it was all worth the experience of RV living. Usually when visiting I sleep in their 7 meter bus, which I find extremely cosy, it's like my very own fort, and easy to work in with lots of natural light.
I was thrilled at the invitation to look after an adorable pup, Fenix, at his place for 6 months in a tranquil rural setting 40 min south of Hamilton. The area was abundant with green rolling hills and I relished having the opportunity to put roots down for a goodly amount of time, and was enamored by having cows as neighbours!
The main draw card was being close-ish to Sofia. She was able to come spend the odd weekend with me, taking home baking and prepared meals, while I was also able to combine my visits with her with my supermarket needs, one stone, two birds etc.
My brother, Brent, visited from Australia, along with our parents, who took the opportunity to see their kids and be close to any of Sofia's musical school and community performances while snoozing in from of the fire. It was novel to simply hang out as a family like we did when we were kids.
We enjoyed a day trip to Auckland (picking up Sofia on the way) for a family reunion and I meet my Mum's 84 yr old never married half-sister who had a feisty spirit that made me see her as an older version of myself. Totally enjoyed her stories of adventure travel and her secret pleasure of "dropping the clutch while careering down College Street" (in Auckland) "just to see how my car performed". GO Auntie!
My folks shared BIG numbers this year, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary... awww... and Dad had his 70th the week before. We arranged a relaxed get together, or as the oldies like to call it - 'a knees up', in Takapau the first weekend of November, which coincided nicely with their 50th and the week gap I had between house sits. Most of their friends made it, and Dad's sister drove down from Auckland while my brother flew over for the weekend again.
It never ceases to amaze me just how house sitting can fill a complete year, but it has for a few years now - I feel completely grateful. Before leaving Pataruru I was invited to look after another rural property waayyyyyy in the boonies of Gisborne on a little farm looking after a gaggle of animals, which is where I'm writing from as the first week of January morphs into the second.
This is our '8th Annual Family House sit'! We recently spent a lunch time amusing ourselves trying to remember where we've spent each Christmas as a shared house sitting gig, writing them all down, it gets hard to recall where we were months ago, let alone years! We hooted at the remembrance of Mum HATEing the idea of having a Christmas in someone else's home that wasn't her's in the beginning. But its worked out extremely well over the years and we kept all the good bits of our family tradition, and have eased the burden for Mum over time so the day is totally delightful for her too.
I get to ride a 4 wheeler to run the dogs, maneuver a ride-on mower and drive a raised-up 4x4. Not to mention that I get to enjoy collecting 11 fresh eggs daily that I freely share with my farming neighbours, and in return they give me vegetables, win/win.
Made some changes to my health since October through intermittent fasting and have dropped 11kgs/24lbs as of writing. WOHOO!
SO WHAT DID 2017 HOLD FOR
DRAWER FULL OF GIANTS?
If I had a word to describe the year with my biz in mind, it would be 'developmental'. I've been for the most part head-down-bottom-up working towards the goals I've felt inspired to create for myself. Consequently there has been a constant moving forward over all, and writing this end-of-year review has helped me see the big picture of what I've achieved.
Over Waitangi Weekend in Feb, a kind-of Kiwi Independence Day, the 3rd series of The Chronicles of Paki launched. I illustrated this series of 5 cartoon-style books in the second half of 2016 - making this 13 of the 15 books in total for Paki I've personally illustrated for Big Book Publishers here in NZ. Each series can be found in libraries and schools all over New Zealand - I get a thrill finding them on the shelves when I breeze through town.
I made friends with some local business owners in the township of Waipukurau while visiting my folks. I worked with the Mayor in giving a few Lunch-and-Learn sessions on 'DIY Graphic Design for business' and meet some awesome people.
Had a face-plant, Oopsy-daisy afternoon when I realised I unexpectedly and unintentionally spammed an entire New Zealand-wide franchise. Mortified, I profusely apologised and learned a lesson.
I was inspired to develop and create a Fundraising Support product I've named Pint-sized Colour Peels. They're a 40 page colouring note pad with 6 fun themes to choose from for anyone looking for fundraising support with a great return, pocketing up to 150% of the profit. It's also a double-giver. 50% of the purchase cost is used to support a Uni student with their living costs in the form of care packages in NZ. 40% of the purchase cost is allocated for printing and the remaining 10% is yours truly. I've also created a FB page for my Giving Back endeavours for 2018, maybe you'd like to LIKE and share it with friends to be kept in the loop. Pint-sized Colour Peels are available world wide also, as I source local printers close to you.
October saw the launch of my economical, licensed Forever Cards which are edit-able and reusable for self employed entrepreneurs. This was the 3rd and final package I had intended to create for my series of Greeting Card Packages in support of business owners wanting delicious business-themed artwork personalised to them. You can see all the different themes I've created so far here, there are several. Further into January I'll announce the business owner who went into my draw to win a Forever Card theme designed with their business in mind. No I hadn't forgotten, and you didn't miss out if you entered.
I started creating video content in the last few months of the year. I learned it is something I really enjoy, but time consuming, I've much to learn. Going into 2018 I plan on creating more behind-the-scenes videos of DFoG and posting them on my YouTube channel, be sure to subscribe.
Drawer Full of Giants turned 7 in December - where has THAT time gone! It's such a milestone, I've found big changes happen at 7 years, and it is proving true now for DFoG as I prepare for the the upcoming 7 year cycle.
I found a great community of New Zealand business owners on FB to get to know, collaborate and network with (The WE Network). This solved my hope to be regularly involved in a networking group while being nomadic.
In 2016 God said to me "You've lived your lifestyle long enough now to share how you do it, it's time to share your story". Exciting eh? I started the process of writing an introduction booklet of myself to send to churches who'd perhaps like to invite me to theirs and share my story with them, but nothing really came of it. I figured two things,1. I was being narrow minded in my assumption that I was only to reach out to 'church' to share with, and 2. perhaps this needed some percolation time to bring me into the right space. I was right on both counts and it took a year to gain traction in a natural way. During 2017 I was invited to two different churches to speak, gave several Lunch & Learn informal seminars (mentioned above) where my lifestyle was of interest and asked about, and have been interviewed for some upcoming pod casts about 'God in my business and lifestyle'. I have more of a holistic picture of what this looks like and will be more purposeful in this in 2018.
It kinda feels like my duckies are coming into alignment as I ready myself for the next stage of business and lifestyle adventure. I'll be sharing more about this in the upcoming months.
Would you like to join me in the journey? Sign up to hear from me on a semi regular basis to be kept in the loop. I've a Forever Card freebie for you for your trouble, something to support you in your business or personal world. FYI - the licence value is $30.
ONE LAST INTERESTING FACT: How I Created This Info-graphic.
Info-graphics are glorious fun, I adore the detail and the easy to grasp information, the colour, the images, it just all makes me happy. So it seemed logical to create one for my yearly recap. I often feel prompted to create such things, and I'm only now really taking notice of such inspirations.
Recaps - I was researching a little about 'how to NOT make such a thing boring' when I came across a company with a simple graphic image as their yearly review. My brain pivoted to the idea creating one too - now, THIS is not boring, thusly motivated...
I looked through my calendar at all the things I've done throughout 2017 and made a list of the highlights.
I opened Adobe Illustrator to a fresh page and began drawing out shapes that formed the first images straight on the screen. I did not pre-think or plan the process of creation, I only wanted it to be squarish. I'd stop often and just stare for a few moments at the screen and an idea for the next image would come to me ideal for the space I was working on. I'd look at photos I'd taken to jog my mind for detailing purposes, especially for the homes, cars and characters of my family etc - my brother's is a terrific likeness, Dad agrees!
The Road was the first shape I created, and became the central element to the story that the other images would jigsaw around.
I 'drew' using only my two index fingers and touch pad to create this graphic, with my laptop poised on my lap. No pencils, paper, or digital pen were used in the making of this picture.
Total number of hours of creation - 28.04 hrs/min - in 4 days! Holiday illustration at it's best.
Have questions about my this post, house sitting, or my business? Please feel free to also email me, happy to answer anything.
That's it folks, till next time...
Happy New Year :D