Sunday, 26 April 2015


Hello!! Welcome to another INSPIRING MY EVERYDAY interview. You can read the others here.

Meet my most amazing friend Tanyalee. 

Tanyalee is the author of The Drawing Board where she shares her beautiful project life pages, art journalling, gardening and recipes. Tanyalee did a guest post about a year ago here.

We live in different states but we 'talk' everyday and our husbands wonder how we haven't run out of things to talk about yet. 

Tanyalee inspires me with her motivation and commitment to getting the everyday things done. She works full-time and is a dedicated mother of 3 children, so on weekends she is an absolute machine when it comes to getting through the housework, meal planning and preparation, driving children to work/sports, and she still makes time to craft and blog, AND get a decent night's sleep. Amazing. 

Tanyalee is great at reminding me to stay true to myself when I have moments of self doubt. I love this girl to bits. Always there to motivate and inspire me to get things done (ie. get off couch!) and there to listen and offer supportive words of advice and reassurance when I need it most.

So let's meet Tanyalee! 

In a few sentences, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a mum to three big kids, a wife to my childhood sweetheart, a full time graphic designer and a part time crafter/art journaller. I love growing veggies to feed my family, I love raising my fur babies (cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens) and I love spending my spare time just pottering around my house. I LOVE being at home more than anything else - as long as my family is nearby of course.

What is your favourite childhood memory that makes you smile?

To be honest, my childhood was a bit of an up and down experience - especially my teenage years so I don't have many happy memories of those - so choosing my favourite childhood memory is a bit of a struggle. I do remember two trips to Whyalla, South Australia quite fondly though - they were both to be part of the wedding party for two of my Aunties. 

One was when I was 11 or 12 and it was such a fun time, getting dressed up and walking down the aisle (or through the gardens as the case was) to be part of my Aunty's special day. 

The second was when I was 14 or 15 and again, I was so proud to be standing up for my Aunty in her Big Fat Greek Wedding. It was truly an experience I will remember forever and makes me smile for sure.

You are a Graphic Designer by day, and an amazing art journaling artist by night. If money was no object, what would your dream job be like?

Hmmmm, I actually really love what I do every day. I love being able to communicate messages using imagery and design styles. I love making pretty things. I call myself a pretty picture person at work - it is kind of the only way people actually understand what I do. So if money was no object I think I would actually still be making pretty pictures. Maybe not with as many defined rules though. Maybe I would branch out and experiment further with my art, take more photos, play with paint, and learn even more skills to make pretty things on my computer. Design is my life - but you know what - it was only by reflecting on this question that I have realised just how much it means to me. I can't picture myself doing anything else.

Describe one of your happy places. 

My happy place - at first I thought this was a tough question - I thought that the answer would need to be somewhere with amazing scenery or somewhere expensive and lush, but to be honest the place that I am happiest is wherever my family is. Wherever my kids and husband are I will be happy. In my home - be it a small brick box in the suburbs or a stone cottage in the country. Home is my happy place, surrounded by those near and dear to me.

Who inspires you and why?

I am inspired by a lot of people - crafters, bloggers, friends, family - but the one person who I will never lose respect for is my Mother-in-Law. 

She is the most dedicated, caring, self-less person I have ever met. She has raised four amazing men, she has been there to help us with our kids when things were tough, and in more recent times has cared for her husband through a terrible, debilitating illness. 

She always puts her families needs ahead of her own, even when doing so puts her own body under enourmous strain. She inspires me to be a better person, to care more, and to help people more.

What is one of your all-time favourite quotes and why?

"Do not worry until you really have something to worry about." 

This has become my self-appointed mantra in the last 10 years. I have suffered from debilitating anxiety for the past 10 years or so and this little reminder has been my saviour on quite a few occassions. It isn't anything ground breaking, but it is enough to help me break free of the crazy and get on with things. I mean really, what is the point of working myself into a frenzy if there actually isn't anything to worry about. Easy to say - not so easy to do!

What has been the most challenging thing in your life and what positive lessons have come from it?

The most challenging thing in my life is also one of the hardest things for me to talk about. I was sexually harassed/assaulted when I was 15 years old by my employer. It was an awful, awful thing for a teenager to deal with and it has had many, many repercussions for me as the years have gone by. And while this was a horrible experience that I wouldn't wish upon any teenaged girl (or boy for that matter) it has also taught (and continues to teach) me some great lessons.
  • I am stronger than I think I am.
  • It's definitely OK to ask for help and to talk about the bad stuff in our lives - especially with our kids
  • And sometimes we have to face our demons head on to be able to move on in life.

It has been said that children are our greatest teachers. What has motherhood taught you?

Motherhood is such a wonderful thing. I can't imagine my life without my kids. Sure I started early, and kind of bluffed my way through things, but I wouldn't have it any other way. My kids are my world, followed very closely by my husband and my animals (in no particular order - haha).

Being a Mum has taught me that happiness is about more than material things - it is about creating happy experiences and memories for my kids by just spending time together. It isn't always about getting the biggest, most extravagant gift for birthdays or Christmas, it is about spending time together and enjoying each others company.

Being a Mum has taught me patience. So much patience. Toddlers are trying little creatures and without patience we would never raise healthy adults.

Being a Mum has taught me to accept everyone for who they are. Each child is different and we cannot create expectations for them based on past experiences or even their siblings.

Being a Mum has taught me that I am worthy of love, and that I can love freely.

Can you share one of your proudest moments?

One of my proudest moments in life would have to be the delivery of my first baby - and picking just one of my kids births is really hard because they are all such amazing creatures, but my first baby was a surprise - a very happy surprise. I was young, had no idea what I was getting myself into, and I was alone - apart from my boyfriend (now husband) of course - but I had no family nearby and I felt very alone. I could always call on my Mum and Mum-in-Law for advice, but it isn't quite the same thing as having them on the other side of town, or just around the corner.

I remember being handed the phone not long after Nik was born and ringing Mum and saying 'I did it Mum, I made a baby and he is beautiful'. I was just so proud of myself, and I don't think I have ever felt that proud in my life. Well except for maybe when they reach their own cool milestones like starting school, and high school and university (yep my boy is a uni student and I am very proud of that), and watching them perform at dance concerts and eisteddfods, or school assemblies, or watching them play sport or get their drivers licence. So many cool moments - just being a parent makes me proud almost every single day.

Tanyalee's eldest son (now a teen) with much loved and greatly missed AstroBoy.

Lastly, what would your friends describe as three qualities they love most about you?

These kinds of questions are always hard - what do people love most about me? I would like to think it is because I am loyal, and I care about them, and that I am honest.

If you are good to me, then I will do everything to fight for you - I will defend your honour, I will talk you up, I will keep your secrets, and I will be there whenever you need me.

I care about those close to me very deeply. If you are sad or frightened or struggling, I will be there to support you. If you are happy, I will be happy. If you are sick I will try to help you.

I like to think I am an honest person. I definitely won't lie - honesty is a very important quality to me - it is the basis of building trust. Therefore I am always honest with my friends and family and I hope that means as much to them as it means to me.

Thank you Tanyalee for your time, and for your openness and honesty with your answers. 

You can find Tanyalee here: 
Facebook: thedrawingboardau
Instagram: @drawingboardau

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know these lovely individuals. I have one more to share with you soon! 

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