Become a Makelight Member and Win a New Olympus PEN

Building a company is exciting, scary, at times totally over-whelming and then really exciting again. This year Stef and I have put everything into Makelight and have spent the last couple of months really thinking about how we want to Makelight to be and how we can grow it. 

We have spent time with our mentors, got through about a hundred packets of post-it notes in planning meetings and really listened to the Makelight students. 

Community & Inspiration

Community is what really makes Makelight what it is. Community and Inspiration are the two words that really stand out when we receive feedback from our students and when we both think about what we want Makelight to be. Providing guidance, teaching and inspiration and building a community to support that. Learning together is fun. Supporting each other is amazing. And being able to connect with likeminded people all around the world is quite incredible. The friendships that have been formed through Makelight really make my heart sing.

Building the makelight membership

Stef and I have so many ideas. And I know that when our ideas are flowing and we have the opportunity to make these ideas happen amazing things happen. We have been working on all sorts of projects together for the past 12 years. Right now though we have the exciting opportunity to not just work on things in the evenings but to really put all our energy into making something amazing and big. We are doing this together, full time.

But to really be able to grow Makelight we need to grow our Membership. We launched this back in May and already have 150 people subscribing to Makelight each month. 

Our aim is to build on this and for Makelight to become a membership community. To take our courses, use our Hashtag Library and the Makelight Image Feedback Tool, receive a monthly Makelight Insights Report, regular Live Q&As, team up with a Makelight Buddy and so much more you will need to become a Member. 

As we grow the number of people paying us £20 per month we can really invest in building the products, apps and courses to really help you to improve your photography, creativity and to build your own businesses. 

A membership model will enable Makelight to become sustainable. It will help our cash flow to be more stable and for it not to be reliant on us always needing to push the next thing we are selling. It is a stressful way to live and work, especially when Stef and I are both working on Makelight full time. 

With sustainability comes space to think, focus and really do our very best work for you. 

Join today

If you sign up today you can access our Makelight Beginners' Course, as well as have access to the Hashtag Library, your Insights Report, the Image Feedback Tool, and a welcoming and supportive Makelight Subscribers' Facebook Group. 

And, if you sign up before I turn 40 on Monday 3rd October, you will be in with a chance of winning the brand new Olympus PEN EPL-8 camera when it is released next month and access to the Makelight Olympus PEN online course. 

You can choose to pay £20 per month or £150 for the year. 

I really look forward to welcoming you into the Makelight Membership community and inspiring your creativity every day. 

Turning pretty petals into colourful confetti

People always ask me what I do with all the flowers that I have in my home and studio...apart from taking lots of images for my Instagram Gallery of course! 

I really love to dry flowers and press them to make cards and gift tags. I also love to make confetti to use at parties or for styling images, especially with Roses and Delphiniums. 

Colourful Confetti DIY : Makelight

To make this confetti I left the flowers in water until some of the petals had started to show signs of drying but before too many were turning brown. Who wants brown confetti?! I cut off all flower heads and separated the petals out and left them on a tray to dry. 

Colourful Confetti DIY : Makelight
Colourful Confetti DIY : Makelight
Colourful Confetti DIY : Makelight

Every couple of days I gave them a little shake to make sure they were all getting enough air and space to dry. Once they were completely dried I chopped, ripped and scrunched them until I was happy with the look of the confetti. 

Colourful Confetti DIY : Makelight

I love the darker, Autumnal colours that these bright roses have created. Look out for this confetti in my Autumn images! xo

Colourful Confetti DIY : Makelight
Colourful Confetti DIY : Makelight
Colourful Confetti DIY : Makelight

The flowers were kindly sent to me by Bloom & Wild. To see what other bloggers have created with their Bloom & Wild flowers check out their Instagram Gallery.

Building Makelight : The Work/Family Balance Challenge

At the end of each month Stef and I review how we are doing with our work/family balance. We know it's going all a bit crazy this year because for the first time both of us are working flat out at the same time. In the past we've both worked super hard but there have been times when one of us has been able to slow down a little, to let the other one go all out and vice versa. 

Right now we're in a huge growth phase with Makelight. Stef joined full-time in April and it's now the only source of income for our family. We have no choice but to go big or go home with it. It's exciting and it's something we've wanted for a long time but it's also tricky to balance with four young children.

We have four children because we love children! And for us family is super important. (Obviously you can do this with 1 child too but for us four was what we wanted.) It makes it harder to work hard when we're missing our children and everything feels all out of balance. So, this regular review is very important for us. 

Last weekend I was hit pretty hard with burnout, sadness and stress. It's not surprising. My children had just gone back to school and Rudi was about to start full-time pre-school. But we'd also spent a lot of our holiday in Cornwall working. And I think it was a reaction to that too. 

I don't want to feel like this ever but especially at the weekends. So, I looked at what was stressing me out and stopping me enjoying the one day I had with my family. I had worked the Saturday, which hadn't helped these feelings!! I realised that I couldn't relax because of two main things. 

The Work/Family Balance Challenge : Makelight

Email

This is going to sound ridiculous I am sure but for some reason I had still got my email notifications on for two email accounts. All day long, every day for as long as I have had an iPhone I've been alerted to every single email. Sometimes this is great. Happy emails make you feel AMAZING don't they? But they also suck you into work mode pretty fast. Even happy work. But those emails that sound negative from that first cut off sentence that you see when you get that notification (even though they are probably not) seriously stress me out. I get a lot of email. So, I could never go to school to pick up my children without them pinging up, or in the dreaded over heated, over crowded swimming pool viewing room or on an idilic family day out...or on date night. Ping, ping, ping....high level of underlying stress all the time. 

I turned all my notifications off. Pure joy! Why did I not do this sooner?? I have no idea but I've done it now and in just 5 short days my stress levels have gone down and I feel happier already. If you have your notifications on turn them off. You really do only need to see your emails when you are ready to answer them. 

Makelight Facebook Groups 

If you are a member of the Makelight Community you will know that I like to help and support you all as much as I possibly can. It's really, really important to me. But I can't always get to everything, or when I start replying to your questions more keep appearing! 

This is great when I have the time and I'm there ready for you but not so good when I've just popped onto Facebook to share something with my Mum or best friends. 

And it's also not so good at the weekend. I can never have a full day off because there is always something to reply to. That's pretty wonderful because it means I have a really engaged and active community out there - hooray and thank you! But it causes me lots of guilt too. 

So....new rule. I only give feedback, advice and answer questions on Facebook Monday-Friday. All posts from the weekend will be responded to on a Monday. 

I think it's really important for me, for my family and for you all to see an example of setting boundaries to create balance in your lives too.

I hope you will understand and support me in this.  And I also hope you'll have a wonderful weekend. xo

PS Check out the Howies hashtag #howiescape on Instagram for ideas for your weekend.