Where the magic happens (in my mind mostly)

Today I thought I’d share my working space with you guys…
I’m a bit of a crazy creative (you get neat ones too) but when it comes to me things can get a little messy while I work and I don’t really mind. That being said I like to surround myself with pretty things, so it can get “pretty messy” hehehe

My little file that goes around with me
There are sections for family, Oh!Boy, the blog
and yes that is loads of stationery in the background
the boxes are filled with things as well – I wasn’t kidding about my addictions
The wall above my head, I love that mantra!
also I love being surrounded by pretty pictures
Some pretty material in my shelves

My trusty sewing machine
The overlocker/serger is under the table, we are not friends right now

Some pretty things on my walls
Book shelf, wayyy too small
How messy things can get – this is a pretty tame day

My absolute favourite part of the room is my giant green mat covered in oversized pillows
This is where Aidan crafts and Robin plays X-box or they read or play board games…
This is where my heart is

Tiny Superheroes and other Oh!Boy stuff

I thought I’d give you a little update on how Oh!Boy was doing
As you all (regular readers) know I started Oh!Boy last year to fulfil this dream I had of owning a “label”.
I wanted to do accessories for kids that were unique and handmade, something you couldn’t find in every second shop.

Since starting I have been blessed to be featured on some amazing sites such as:

Using Aidan as my muse I started out doing things like snoods,bibs and pj pants. This past Christmas  I did a lot of Christmas bags and my heart nearly exploded with joy from the knowledge that kids from various parts of South Africa would be opening an Oh!Boy Santa Sack on Christmas morning!!!

As the business grows I find that what I really love is custom gifts. Small batch or once off items that are as unique as the kids I am making them for 🙂 

My favourite item right now are my little Superheroes…

A rag doll dressed to look like a little child dressed up as a superhero, all miss matched but adorable – you follow me? 
I try to give the doll the hair and eyes and skin colour of the recipient (as far as my material choices allow me) and can even make them using a favourite item of clothing. 
The idea came about when one of Aidan’s friends took a doll away from him and told him “boys don’t play with dolls” That irked me because you guys know my stance on Aidan and toys.
So I decided to make him his own doll for Christmas.

And it was love at first sight: 

Although my first dolls have been boys, I can easily make them for girls too, because who doesn’t want a miniature superhero version of themselves?

Here are some of the other gift options I have been working on… 
To end off thank you so much for all your support guys 🙂 It means the world! and remember the name Oh!Boy when you are looking for a special little gift for the prince or princess in your life.

Real Wahms of SA: Samantha and her Dimple baby

Today’s Wahm is the maker of super cute baby clothing range Dimple Baby.
I asked the beautiful Samantha Gardner how she handles a baby and a booming business from home and here is what she had to say…


Tell us about your family?
My family did not start out as the typical … first comes love, then comes marriage,  then comes the baby in the golden carriage type of  family. But rather, baby, love then marriage.  My fiance and I will be wed in April 2016 and i love my little family.
Why did you become a work from home mom?
 I was unemployed, attending multiple interviews when I found out I was pregnant. Once my little boy was 3 months old,  I started searching for work again. The fashion industry didn’t seem to take kindly to me having a small child. So I decided and with the emotional backing of my now amazing fiance, I was able to fulfil my dream of owning my own kids clothing label. I was so grateful that I could be with my son and not rely on others.
What was the most unexpected part of becoming a wahm?
That feeling of not doing enough for your child. I mean, why are you at home? Because your child needs you. But so does your business. Find a balance.  I incorporate my son into my marketing, so we then share special  mommy and me time and he loves the camera.
What has been the hardest part ?
Money doesn’t grow on trees. You invest so much up front that when sales are slow, you panic. I realized that I needed to give myself and my business time. Start up businesses are not always over night successes. Believe in your product. Target the right market.
What is the most rewarding?
 The most rewarding is having my son sit with me while I work and watch his face light up when he sees and feels my different fabrics. That if he cries, I can comfort him. If he’s happy or feeling sick,  I can share those moments with him.
What is your day like?
Wake up, feed baby. While he has his nap i will ensure I get dressed and ready to tackle the day. Once he wakes I usually spend time reading or playing with various toys. Or these days we practice our crawling capabilities. Once he’s fed, he will sleep in which time I get to do some work. Daddy  takes over some nights then mommy goes to gym. If not, then it’s dinner duty, bath and dress baby, feed baby and put baby to sleep.  Tuesday and Thursday are a bit different as we attend mom and baby groups together.  Great for socialising mom and baby. It does get lonely at home sometimes.
Tell us about your business 
Dimple baby and kids clothing started as a dream. It soon became reality when my little baby smiled at me one day and one little dimple appeared on his beautiful face. He is my inspiration, my joy, my dimple baby. Dimple is all about functional fashion for little ones. Babies explore their new world and they like to do it as comfortably and as fashionably as possible. And well,  to make our jobs as mom’s slightly easier too. I see Dimple dressing many a fashionable baby in years to come. Dimple is designed by a mom for her baby and well,  mom’s know best.


Real Wahms of SA: Kat teaches

Today we chat to Kath Kenyon, she has taken her love of learning and turned it into a career 🙂
She does private tutoring and has found real joy in watching others learn…here is her story 🙂

Tell us about your family
I am a mom of two, living with my husband, who’s an engineer.
I have a nine year old boy and a two year old little girl.
Why did you become a work from home mom
I was teaching in the State sector and just got sick of the admin and the internal politics.  I was in the fortunate position that my husband supported my choice to venture forth and set up private practice.
What was the most unexpected part of becoming a wahm
How much of an emotional roller coaster it can be, and how rewarding too.
What has been the hardest part
Finding students for my morning slots.  There are lots of children for lessons after school, but I found that many homeschool parents are very wary of professionals.  
What is the most rewarding
Watching children’s faces light up when they grasp a concept, and also being told by the Department of Education that they wished they could “lock me in a cupboard so they could tap into my skills whenever they need them” when I had to terminate working with a particularly dangerous boy  with whom I had managed to achieve a great deal more than had happened beforehand in his life.
What is your day like
I do the school run for my own children, before starting to teach at 8.  I teach till 11 and then have a break until 2:30, when I teach again until 4:30
Tell us about your business
I am a private remedial teacher.  I offer individual and small group lessons as well as tailor made workshops for those parents where private lessons are beyond the budget.  I also offer training for teachers at schools and am trying to find ways of improving inclusive education in South Africa.  If possible, I would love to collaborate on designing a specialist curriculum for children that will equip them with basic skills in Independent Living.  
Where did business idea and name come from
My name is Kathryn, often shortened to Kath or Kat, so I decided to incorporate that and I also wanted to ensure that people knew a bit about my business from the name — hence the Learning Kat brand.
What sets you apart
I try to find ways to help children where extra lessons are a luxury — by training teachers and parents in techniques they can use themselves.  I also use a multisensory approach to learning and find that a personalised curriculum allows me to do this best, so I use the child’s interests in designing an integrated curriculum that will develop a range of skills through different activities delivered within a theme — such as minibeasts.  Where we are learning about a variety of creatures, their habitats, food webs, ecology, mathematical skills in the form of data handling, addition, subtraction, fractions, comprehension skills, creative writing, art and more.  We have a wormery,, and farm and tadpole nursery set up to keep it real.


Real Wahms of SA: Celeste Virtually Assists

Today’s Wahm is Celeste Jonkers from over at the blog Surviving Jonkersville before getting up the courage to start my own business I read up on others who took the plunge and Celeste is one of them. I really enjoy her blog and admire her organisational skills (I can be a bit of a mess) here is her story

Tell us about your family
A: We’re a music crazy, dance loving, lighthearted and mostly foolish family of five. The husband (eldest kid not born of this body), 3 kids and I. My husband keeps me grounded while my kids inspire me on so many levels. I secretly wish that I could be more like all of them all at once.   
Why did you become a work from home mom
A: Finding a job after being retrenched has and is still a nightmare. The job market is tough and instead of sitting back and waiting for a job I decided to turn all those ‘favours’ people are always asking into a job. It was more of a circumstancial thing as opposed to me wanting to do it. If someone would pay me to sit still I seriously doubt I’d ever have any money.
What was the most unexpected part of becoming a wahm
A: That people actually bought into it! I am good at what I do but I didn’t expect to ever make a cent off it.
What has been the hardest part
A: Getting clients. Many people haven’t quite warmed up to the idea of Virtual Assistants yet and don’t fully undestand the concept. Therefore it’s difficult for them to learn to trust someone with important tasks. Quite understandable really. It’s up to me to kind of ‘teach’ them to ‘let go’.  
What is the most rewarding
A: Knowing that I am making a difference. Being able to assist entrepreneurs with the nitty gritty details they don’t even think about when they start their businesses. Admin is everyone’s worst nightmare (mine too) but it’s also an integral part of staying afloat. I get to do all this and not be bothered about getting all dressed up. In fact I get to do it in my pj’s sometimes.  
What is your day like
A: Wake up at 5am to get the kids ready for school and only have my first coffee fix by 8am. Madness I tell you.  Depending on the mood my kids wake up in, I either have a workout between getting them done, otherwise it’s after 8am. Then it’s grindstone time only to collect the little one at 1pm, play mommy for a bit, work, cook, work, play mommy again, suppertime, play wife, work and play sleep. 
Tell us about your business
A: I’m a Virtual Assistant. Basically I do everything a normal assistant does in the office but from home and communicate via email and telephone. My services include bookkeeping, correspondence, ghost writing (my favourite!), copywriting and a whole lote more. I come from a financial background thus it’s one of my strengths I can offer clients but writing has always been my passion and I’m kinda good at it. (Don’t judge my writing by my blog. That’s just the conversations in my mind I share on the interwebs.) Clients have the benefit of having someone to do their work without the responsibility of having a full time employee. I use my skills, own hardware and time so there’s no extra costs involved for clients. 
Where did business idea and name come from
A: The idea was born out of desperation. It was either find something constructive to do or climb the walls out of boredom. I wasn’t born to be a stay-at-home-mom and I there’s only so much of cleaning and tidying up you can do in a day. I love helping people where I can and turned my “thank you’s” into profit. I’m somewhat “nameless” as I only go by my name with the title Virtual Assistant.
What sets you apart
A: I don’t take on too much work all at once. When I work with a business (no matter the size) I “become their employee” for the given time and give my all as if I’m on their payroll. It’s no use being money hungry and not living up to standards. I always aim to exceed expectations. It’s my business and reputation at stake after all. Having said that I also need to say that in order for me to work with anyone/business I need to know whether they themeselves take their business seriously. (You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t and those are the ones I decline to work with.) Might sound cocky but I learnt the hard way that there is nothing more difficult than trying to do your best for an entrepreneur/SME and they don’t really care about their business and just want fast cash in their pockets.
Where do you see it going
A: I guess the smart answer to that would be that my plan is to have a large admin outsourcing company of sorts, but I am too simple for that. Instead I’d like to help other people set themselves up, to empower themselves and possibly do the same thing. Especially women who really want to stay home and still contribute financially to their households. There are so many “get-rich-quick” and pyramid schemes out there and sadly many people still fall for it. Not entriely sure of specifics yet but my idea won’t be a pyramid scheme. Possibly an NGO or something. Being forced into a SAHM position and turning it into WAHM status really does change your perspective and makes you realize how many people are looking for opportunities and failing not because of lack of skills.

Real Wahms of SA: Elizna has an awesome prize for you

 Get ready to just pass out from cuteness!!! when I first heard about Elizna and her personalized cups for little ones I thought, now really does a little kid need a special cup?!? then I looked through her work and the answer is a resounding YES!!! OMW YES!!!

It is so cute!!! and guess what, she is offering one lucky reader the chance to win a R150 voucher to get their own Boeretroos mug!!! go on, read about this amazing Wahm then enter our comp!


Tell us about your family

 I saw a quote on Facebook the other day:  “I live in a madhouse ruled by a tiny army that I made myself.”  – I love my army, and they are a true blessing in my life. I live with my husband and two daughters Anria (3) and Alise (6 months) on the outskirts of Stellenbosh.


Why did you become a work from home mom
In a way I never knew anything else….My dad is an entrepreneur, he had to travel a lot when we were kids, my mom made the decision to rather be there for us than to follow her career. While my dad did his job, my mom looked after us, drove us around, did my dad’s admin, taught us a many crafts, and later started her own Guesthouse – we learned things no school or varsity could ever teach us. I wanted to do be able to do the same for my children…

 I got married (my husband is also involved in a family business), and we quickly realized I could make some money as a freelance designer while looking for a job closer to home or one that would at least pay enough to cover my gas.  By the time I found a job that offered better pay, I already had a few regular clients – this was the start of Letter Chef. 

5 Years later our first daughter, Anria was born, I was so glad I could be with her as she grew up.

What was the most unexpected part of becoming a wahm

…I was a new mom with a fairly established home business, and I thought:  “Maternity leave mmm, not nessecary, I’ll just work when the baby sleeps “ (BIG SURPRISE THERE)


What has been the hardest part

Learning to say no, and referring potential new clients to other designers – if you sell time you have to make a decision between your business and your kids.  In the end that which you can’t measure is where you’ll lose the most – It is possible to measure your busniess’s performance, but how do you measure quality time with your kids?


What is the most rewarding

Being there for my kids and being able to manage my own time – even if it means working at night


What is your day like

See Q1 – no I’m kidding, we have an olmost 7 month old baby in the house – our routine is slowly getting established…I mainly work at night, and run around during the day.  Luckily my eldest daughter loves drawing and painting, she loves ‘helping me work’

Tell us about your business

Letterchef is a graphic design & illustration studio, I love typography – letters are the main ingredient in the logo’s and monograms we create. 

Koppie Boeretroos is very new  – I hand illustrate babycino (espresso sets)…


Where did business idea and name come from

Letter Chef – Q2 – I tried to come up with a name for my studio resembling my love for letters & typography, I asked my mom’s help and she came up with Letterchef.

You can read the Koppie Boeretroos’s story here:  https://letterchef.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/boeretroos/



What sets you apart

I love what I do, and care about the people I’m working for (some clients are like family, and others become family – one of my clients actually married my sister 😉 –  I draw with my hand before anything goes to computer, I’m an expert working with type and I love letters….

What are your prices

With graphic design it really depends on the project….our babycino sets start at R120 per cup

Where do you see it going

The past 10 years has been nothing but grace, it is a privilege to be able to be with my daughters and getting paid for doing something I love.

With Letter Chef I am pretty happy, I work for small to medium size businesses and some of my clients are even going national…I have enough work and interesting clients –  I find joy in referring new clients to other designers if I am too busy to help them.

Koppie Boeretroos is barely 2 months old, It might be a bit soon to say, but I would really love if this part of my business can grow in order to provide work for others – South Africa needs more Entrepreneurs.


Go to the BOERETROOS fb page, then comment on her wall, tagging @JustEllaBella and tell Elizna why you should win the R150 voucher. (you can do this through the little competition app below)