Chopping and carrying wood and starting.

I pulled the gleam of silks and satins and other such fineries from their dusty draw last night, and splayed them on the lounge floor.

Pre-loved scarves, shirts and shawls gathered from many an op-shop visit lay at my feet as I imagined the stories they could tell, the lives the women lived, the places they went……dreamt of going. You know of my passion for thrifting, re-purposing, simplicity and travel, well I also love the idea of self sustainability and making my livelihood out of these things……out of the things I love.


Living doing what I love has been my desire for a plethora of time, though now I seem more aligned to act. I am starting by making my line of ‘bags for precious things’ which I posted here three or so months ago.

Truth be told I’ve focussed to hard on the end game, the outcome of where I want to be. The end vision left me with an impossible path, grand canyon in its proportion in the valleys from ‘now’ to ‘there’. A preciousness and perfectionism of ‘this will be the thing’ rode the coat tails of every idea and drive to be creative. The weight of my desired life – ‘another life’ anchoring me firmly in my current position, the distance feeling SO impossibly long to travel that it rendered me unproductive and unmoving.

Try as I might to build my desired life I was my own gatekeeper, never realising the extent to which my forward wanting was holding me firmly fast to the spot. Having a vision of the end game, of the cathedral you want to build is essential, though I hand’t spent enough time chopping the wood and carrying it, let alone any time building and that’s where it’s all at. You have to do the yards, the hard work – every day do something to enable your desire into being. An analogy told to me by my lovely and patient psychotherapist who I used to work with when I lived in Sydney.

I live daily with my tendencies (built from past coping mechanisms) for day dreaming, escaping, retreating, abandoning, scattering focus, anxiety, switching off. I know them well, their well worn pathways and triggers, where they live, who they hang out with, and trust me these are not great allies for follow through. They are the WORST for follow through and have had me on a perpetual merry go round of ‘ideas stage’ and ‘starting’ for what feels like an eternity. Though there is always choice once we are aware of the strings we have allowed to pull our actions. And lets just say the passing of time has done some wonders for shifting their hold. There is nothing like getting older and running out of years to live your desired life to shift the hold of safety and wound.

I digressed there a little, sorry.

Though the stories that pull me in for more are those told with the veneer sanded off. And I didn’t call this blog and my business The Alchemy of Hustle for nothing. At the heart I want to know your wound and your victory because there is something so glorious about rising from the human condition. Glorious. And on occasion I’ll share my foibles and achilles heels on my creative journey.

You know

On the drive home from a lovely day trip with my Ma to Mount Maunganui we hurtled through the first descent of dark, with a sliver of a moon heralding our way.

It had been a beaut of a day full of drives through autumns glory, treasure hunting in op shops, afternoon tea in a vintage tea room and snoops through fresh and unique design stores in the lovely Mount Maunganui (mother and daughter creative duo Carol and Chloe’s Neon Gypsy is a wee diamond of a store + Paper Plane and Good Regards – are all worth a visit). All finished up with a beach walk and fish and chips. Oh I do love a good day trip, it clicks me out of ‘day in day out’ routine to a different beat. I’m left feeling re-energised.

So back to hurtling through the dark, eyes locked on a magnet of a moon. Its sliver was cradled in the faintest outline of round with a bright star atop pulling it north. I was mesmerised.

While mesmerised a recurring image of my business, the one I have been tentatively flirting with for longer than I care to remember came into vision. And being a terribly awkward and crap flirt, ‘my business’ currently translates to ideas and drawings and a few prototypes. Nothing more. Though on this drive, moon atop – I found I was flush with creative imagery, ideas and a forward alive vision of my business thriving. The days motherlode of inspiration, the moon, the last day of Autumn…..I don’t know where it was coming from but it was welcomed.

And then as I lowered my gaze to earth their hurtling along in front of us on the back of a ute was a personalised number plate that read ‘YOU NO’.

Shining out of the sea of dark was the voice ‘You Know’.











How to get inspired on a shoe string budget

Yesterday I went treasure hunting through op-shops and ended up with the most telling stash of goodies. It wasn’t until I was home and rested that I noticed the story my finds were telling and the inspiration they brought me (which is like getting an added bonus to what already feels like a windfall). Inspiration, ideas and motivation all for little money, win win win. For details of my inspiring stash skip down or if you’re feeling a tad beige and un-inspired all while grappling with low funds, bills to pay, savings to be made then read on. I may have a wee pick me up tonic (for little cost) that might just be your ticket.

Instructions for getting inspired on a shoe string budget
1. carve out 3-4 future hours, lock it in your diary
2. covet and protect your future appointment with self
3. research/google local op-shops in your area, you want 4+ to snoop through
4. feeling adventurous, go op-shopping out of town
5. wake up on the day of your appointment with self, smile
6 pack a wee flask of tea and a snack (snooping requires fuel)
7. make sure you have cash and small change, some shops don’t have eftpos
8. hit the road and make your way to your awaiting treasures
9. before entering shop, take a big breath in and then out, leave the weeks busy behind
10. go in with an open mind, be attracted to what attracts you, don’t judge
11. enjoy the snooping, and who knows what you find that just might inspire!

My inspirational stash
*Hawaiian lace top* made in Hawaii $2.50 (I see me on a tropical holiday-adventure which sometimes has me looking fabulous by a pool with this lace fifties pool jacket)
*Collection of mens shaving brushes* $6.00 (I’m missing a man in my life. It’s time and I’m due, and now I have brushes!)
*Delphin Water Filter Jug* $40.00 (I get simple well-made living and it’s time to make a home from this beautiful piece)
*Semi-precious Ring* $10.00 (I’m channelling my higher self with this baby, and its only been a day of wear!)
*Necklace* $3.00 (it’s time to channel the feminine)
*Joseph Campbell Book* $3.00 (my soul and spirit need some time with the grand master, social media needs to quieten the fuck down)
*Gift for friend* $2.00 (nurturing my relationships is important even when big seas divide)
*Wooden Massager* $2.00 (if I don’t take care of my body it won’t)





how to be a fox in your own back garden

I like a ‘how to’ just as much as the rest of the populace.

Tips, steps, a game plan all wrapped in a soundbite – the internets burgeoning legion of online advisement offering you a panacea and nudge.  Well meaning I know, though I’ve always been left wanting.  Wanting an insiders peek into what the hell goes on behind the scenes – how hard the heart beats, lungs breathe and fear takes hold when you’re changing your world, that’s the voice I want to hear.  I’m not interested in half a story, it short changes everybody.  If you want to rise, feel good, do what you love – live in partnership with self, you’ve got to get on with change.

Knowing who you are, why you are and how to stay your ground when the ground is moving from under you, without a guarantee of stability.  Tapping reserves you didn’t know you had.  Being okay with not knowing, and continuing the conversation anyway.  Holding curiosity and belief beyond the parameters of what you’ve known yourself to be, that’s what the voice of ‘how to’ needs to start sounding like. That’s the conversations we need to start having.

Under no circumstances do I have all steps figured out on alot of things, but I forge ahead anyway and figure as I skate.  This makes me no different from anybody, though sometimes you wouldn’t know that, with all the social norms, pleasantries, supressed stresses and mouthfuls of media we find ourselves digesting.

How to be a fox in your own back garden?  First up ask yourself, do you want to be a fox?

Ask, what fires your pistons?  And if you can’t answer that then make that the conversation.

Start bringing discernment to what you digest and for the love of god, step out and look in.  No change will come from walking the well worn groove of what you’ve always done.

I want to be part fox, part black panther.  So what.  That’s what I want to be.  Our commonality comes in sharing the human condition and how we navigate it, not necessarily in the ‘what’, that fires our pistons.

My voice in this blog will be on all these things and more.


Changes under foot


There are changes underfoot for the alchemy of hustle.

The shape, size and story of the change is still in formation, but suffice to say I’m looking to realign what is shared on here and how I interact.  As yet there are no set concrete foundations though I’m feeling into handcrafted, bespoke, reused objects + stories crafted with love to support your journey through change and joy creation.  The success of my efforts will be in the telling over the next 3-6 months as I work a nine to five to keep me heading north and flush while creating beautiful bespoke objects and writing stories of people and love and heart and joy.  Juggling passion and foundation-laying while building my joy.   You know, what a lot of you are all doing – what millions are doing around the planet as I type.  Bringing heart to the fore.

For a taste of the handcrafted, bespoke, reused objects I want to make and sell in my shop I’ve shared this wee photo of my new creation – my version of a dream catcher.  I feel passionately about having beautiful objects that support your transformation and re-connection to heart up in your home, surrounds and on your person. They can only but make the change process that little bit more beautiful (when it doesn’t feel so beautiful).  They can remind you when sometimes you’d rather forget that it’s worth not giving up, that your joy and dreams are actually one of the most important things you have going on. I know I could have done with them while navigating the hills, valleys and peaks of change over the last couple (ahem) over the last swag of years.   So I’m hoping there will be a few people out there that might like some of my bespoke handcrafted objects.  I’ll see how it plays out.

To my wee group of readers (aka my friends and family) thank you so much for your support over the last couple of years it has been tremendously lovely, I hope to see you when I relaunch (and in a few shared stories along the way).  I like that I haven’t given up on the alchemy of hustle, it reminds me that success can also be in the not giving up, just as much as in the arriving.

Much aroha to you, Maree x

What’s your heart telling you?

Welcome to your new week, I hope your heart is well and warm.

I’m excited to share that the alchemy of hustle will be launching a new series on following your heart in the next month or so.  I’m building this path of exploration for those brave enough to ask and follow their hearts call.  It will be a gentle invitation of nudge if you feel you’re not living your joy, doing what you love.  So if you’re feeling disconnected and unaligned with dashes of joylessness watch out for this series, it may just be your ticket!

On that note I thought I’d ask a question for you to hold gently throughout the week.  Be present to how you respond to its first saying – to your body, head and hearts response.  And remember no response is a response.

It’s a bit of a barnacle of a question to start a Monday with, but when’s a good time to get downtown with the business of your life, I say.  So in that spirt I’d like you to ask yourself;

What’s not working?  

There are so many layers this question can sit with, fall down into, open up.  Let it sink as deeply as feels comfortable.  And be gentle with it, and yourself.  Hold the dialogue for as long as you want, though giving yourself a space to stretch into – say of a week (or more) allows you to filtrate down to the pebbles at the bottom of the pond versus wrestling with the noise of first response.

I drew this sketch awhile back when I was thinking about what we I cover our my hearts song with.  I imagined my heart was a beautiful lush garden of green and my disconnect-discomfort-unauthentic living was sticky black tar – clogging access to joy.  I imagined the jug’s pour as the conscious, unconscious and gathered-learnt ways of being which guard and block our self’s leap into trust and action – into living our joy.  I imagined that jug as the history we’ve yet untangled ourself from – the story we sold ourself short on.

So again, I’d invite you to ask yourself;

What’s not working?  


Artwork: Sketch by Maree Forbes – me.




catalogue of gratitude and love

This week I’m grateful and have love for:

  • new beginnings.
  • family love and support.
  • friends. They bring the light, take off the edge, make me laugh and they give a shit – about me.  lovely and affirming much.
  • home soil. I still get a kick out of my neighbourhood’s natural beauty – I have abundant gratitude for living in this place.  abundant.  And I’m slowly warming to the unique beauty of Auckland city too.
  • lessons learnt.  See below
  • being okay with where I’m at.  Even though I’m not where I want to be or thought I would be (after taking a year out to realign my vision to my reality) I’ve made peace.  And more importantly I’m not letting that put me off going after my joy again.  Just because I didn’t get it right the first time doesn’t mean I can’t take the lessons learnt and create my joyful vision.
  • liberace.  On the last day of my year-long sabbatical mum and I went to the movies to see Behind the Candelabra.  It was a visual treat.  I just loved the story, jewellery, costumes, era, acting.  And Vegas in the eighties.  I loved everything about it.
  • shelter-food-security-stable government-democracy.  This quintet will grace my catalogue every week because I need reminding of just how good I have it in comparison to many other global communities who live in the absence of all five.  Imagine that; makeshift to no shelter, little to no food, zero security from a constant threat to yours/your families safety within an unstable government where democracy is a concept not a reality.  Imagine that when you think about what your grateful for, and what’s not working in your life.

What do you hold gratitude and love for this week? 









the heart of the alchemy of hustle

Have you ever had to succinctly describe yourself-your work-your passion-purpose on paper, in a speech?  It’s a really interesting exercise to do and the closest most of us get to it is in preparing our CV’s.  The production of my CV is a story for another time, but lets just say that the energy of ‘putting yourself out there’ can take an academic exercise and ratchet up the difficult.

I’ve been chipping away at honing in on what the alchemy of hustle is about and how I want it to support a community of individuals carving their own joyful lives following their heart.  Chipping for over two years like a faithful labrador sticking around for its owner, which in my case is a creative bloodline which has impatiently waited for expression for twenty years.  The progress of this blog is an external reflection of my internal machinations in moving into the creative light of left brain leanings lashed with self belief and love.  It’s been and is a process – what isn’t?

So the other day I finished a rewrite of my about page which you can read here and I drew-painted-created the below heart-dartboard as a visual representation of what will be explored on the alchemy of hustle (and what happen to be my passions-hearts desires).  If you’re interested I will be sharing how to make your own heart dartboard filled with all the things you love, that bring you joy.           

The heart-dartboard along with a whole lot of other goodies will be part of a series I will be delivering on ‘following your heart’, though first up will be a few exercises on connecting to where you’re at now – what’s working, what’s broke.  So if you want to join me and explore your heart you’re more than welcome.

Enjoy your Friday and entry into the weekend.

Love and light, Maree x