Seedheads, swimming and chilling.

 

Hello good people! How’s your week going? I start a new term of art classes today. I am SO looking forward to it. There’s talk of seed heads, and later on a Victorian theme. Eeeeee. I don’t even know what a Victorian theme looks like…but I’m jumping in with both feet and a grin on my face. I love art class. It wakes up the excited kid in me.

 

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On the other end of the scale, Wunderlist has been broken since yesterday. This is very, very bad news. I may have to go back to a notebook. At least that usually gets returned to you if you write your name and phone number in it…

Today I thought I’d share some of my discoveries at swimming classes. (Paul and I signed up for adult improvers’ lessons because I want to extend my range of strokes and he “swims like a brick”.) For instance, no other activity is transferable to the pool, which is why I get so tired out, but everything achieved in the pool is transferable to other activities: fitness, breath capacity, stamina and co-ordination. I find that weird trade-off quite fascinating. Not fair, but fascinating.

Also, the more relaxed I become, and the more fluidly and confidently I am able to turn my body in the water to take a stroke or a breath, the easier it all becomes. And the easier it is, the more enjoyment I get, and the further I can go. Isn’t this like life? When we’re confident and flexible and unafraid to move forward freely, doors fly open to us. People are drawn to us and our relationships become  positive and energised. We are less stuck. We make things happen. It’s all about trust.

Finally, my teacher’s words, that have been bouncing around in my head for a couple of weeks:

“If you find you’re getting tired, you’re not breathing out enough.”

It’s top advice. Exhale!

Make it a beautiful day. Walk in peace.

 

Make no. 25: Medieval masquerade leaf masks

Well hello! Yes, I’m still alive and kicking…but what a few weeks we’ve had. Mostly good, but with a couple of hard challenges that have taken up a lot of mental energy for me. Isn’t it funny how you’re sailing along quite happily, and something monumental comes to light that upturns your boat in the space of a day. The tranquil mind is a lifetime’s work.

We’ve also had some time away, which was wonderful. We had a weekend of larp, which inspired Make 25. Our faction is very druid-like, worshipping the land and the Goddess, protecting the natural cycle and freedoms of the people. So when we were asked to bring masks to a day of the dead masquerade to honour our fallen around the campfire, my mind immediately leapt to leaves. I made four in the end, and they did look pretty cool in the firelight. I’d really like to make a coat out of leaves, and one day I will…but that will surely take a while 🙂

 

Leaf mask

 

After our weekend of drinking mead and battling undead and werewolves, we took ourselves off to a valley in Exmoor for a few days’ holiday. I hadn’t realised how beautiful that part of the world is…steep wooded valleys (how do the trees hang on? I have no idea), a wide river that ran through the campsite and on for a three mile stretch of forest with a perfectly charming tea room at the end, a gorgeous sandy beach with hundreds of rockpools, evenings giggling around the fire and more stars that we’ve ever seen before. Exmoor National Park is a dark sky reserve, the first in Europe and the second in the world. And oh my, it was breathtaking. No TV, no internet, no phones, no radio…just birds, wild ponies, deer and a silent, voluptuous landscape, resting in its magnificence. We had one day of solid rain, during which we dozed, read books, chatted, ate, dozed, read books, chatted…and the world didn’t end. Even though the most productive thing I did all day was wash the dishes 🙂 Wonderful.

So here we are back home, all recharged and filled with inspiration – and I’m still kinda behind with my 52 makes! So I’ll be catching up with them over the next few weeks, I hope you enjoy them.

Have a wonderful day. Walk in peace.

Learning to swim (again)

Good sunny Sunday evening! How’s your weekend been so far?

We had a wonderful day of choosing fabric for various upcoming projects in Leicester yesterday. I love our little pilgrimages. Most of our haul came from Stuart’s Fabrics on the market (he’s still there! He’s still talking about retirement but I’m delighted to say he’s still there…that makes 24 years of buying from him…eek). We spent so long on his stall, we were too late for pizza at the Criterion. Next time. I was so tired when we got home, I went to lie down for twenty minutes and woke up six hours later. Just in time for bed. So I went to bed. I’m putting it down to a very warm day, a sleepless week, and a lot of walking and decision-making. Or maybe I’m just getting old 🙂

Today was just as exciting in a totally different way. I’ve been swimming for donkeys years, but I can’t do the face-in-the-drink stuff well. You know, where you can move through the water and breathe. Until now it’s been one or the other…not both.

So a month ago I bit the bullet and bought us some grown-ups’ lessons. I’ll be honest, I was a tiny bit scared. What if we had a class full of accomplished people and couldn’t manage? What if the horrible (fifty year old) kid dunked me? What if, what if.

I needn’t have worried. We had a lovely, funny, very able teacher who set us exercises to build our confidence and it was fun. Properly fun. The time flew by and I can’t wait for our next lesson. I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to do this. I can actually imagine doing front crawl without drowning before the year’s out.

So the moral of the story is…want it more than you are afraid of it. Whatever it is.

Have a wonderful evening!

Warning

Warning

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph

If someone left a vacuum cleaner running outdoors for three years straight, would it suck in the sky?

I saw that this trending on Twitter recently. It made me giggle. And then I thought, if I left a really intelligent vacuum cleaner running at home while I went to work, it might gather up all the dust bunnies and clutter for me…wouldn’t that be nice?

Clutter is my nemesis (also lack of sleep, but that’s a subject for another day). When bits and pieces begin to accumulate around me, I start grinding to a halt, losing focus, losing clarity, losing drive, getting tetchy. If it gets out of hand, I lose momentum altogether. The importance of clear space to me has really struck home since my wonderful, gorgeous and rather untidy man moved in. Sometimes I feel that I spend much of my time simply holding back the surging, squirming wall of Things. And we’re not big shoppers or extravagant people; it’s just that we have many interests and projects and they generate…well…Stuff. And we cannot afford to be lazy about managing it.

The trouble is, clutter attracts clutter…sometimes so slowly, it’s hardly noticeable. Beware the Crap Magnet. It tends to be a corner. The corner of the bedroom. The corner of the dining room. The corner of the shed.

I think I’ve found the solution. I’m going to live in a round house.

How do you deal with your clutter?

20 Beliefs That I Took To Aikido (and killed with aikido)

I am weaker because I am smaller.

I don’t have much patience or perseverance.

I will never be really good at a martial art.

People will think I’m stupid if I keep getting things wrong.

At some point I am bound to be laughed at and feel humiliated.

Training in a male-dominated environment is scary.

Making mistakes is not enjoyable.

I’ll never cope without some previous experience.

A negative experience in class will set me back.

My feelings of inadequacy are a part of me.

I’ll have to do weeks of research to understand what’s being taught.

Being in the spotlight is embarrassing and uncomfortable.

I’m likely to get hurt.

I will never be part of “the gang”.

I should understand instructions immediately.

I don’t have any special abilities.

I will never have the “breakthrough moment” that people talk about.

Martial arts won’t affect the rest of my life.

I will never learn this complicated, subtle art.

I cannot change my mind.

As it turns out, every single one of these thoughts that have crossed my mind at some stage is a LIE.

Does your head lie to you?

Are you a hummingbird, too?

Hello on a beautiful fresh spring morning! I hope you’ve had a lovely few days, whatever you’ve been up to. Or not! Sometimes you just have to stop, right?

Our garden is getting a makeover at the moment. It’s wonderful to see the vague ideas I’ve had rumbling around taking shape…but at the same time as I’m weeding, planting, repointing and head-scratching I feel the pull of the other things I could be doing…that colour block top needs redesigning, it’s sunny and I could be out taking pictures and having a picnic, but then the house is full of dust bunnies, and I want to learn how to make that peyote necklace, and there’s that notepad to experiment with for a friend, and we need new cushion covers and I want to carve my own stamps and …but wait, shouldn’t I just be enjoying my garden? Oh yes. So I’ll concentrate on wildflowers and trellis, right now.

I can’t do everything I want to do this instant. I haven’t even started half of the things I’d like to try, but you know what? This wonderful video makes me realise that it’s okay to be in the carnival funhouse. It’s absolutely fine. I’ll never be one of those people who has one passion and follows it in a straight line. It’s a relief to know that I’m not failing, because I’m a hummingbird, because I’m going to spend my life collecting nectar from a thousand flowers. The trick is to take it one flower at a time…so for now I’m just going to decide where the strawberries will go.

Have a wonderful day!

 

 

 

 

Stencil, pencil and paint

I’m making two tunics today. No honestly, I am. It just looks like I’m colouring in.

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The stencils came from Claritystamp. If you like paint, print and stamp, you’ll love Barbara Gray.

And now, inner calm is restored. Honestly, I could have murdered someone this morning. Well, maybe just battered them to a pulp. Colouring pencils are much cheaper than solicitors, I think.

Now then. Where’s that fabric…

Caged Bird

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

 

Maya Angelou