Archive for the ‘Life Stuff’ Category

So the school summer holidays are about to begin here, six weeks of fun and me tearing my hair out having the kids home twenty four seven but I’m determined to be productive and enjoy my time with them over this month and not allow my usual summer funk to kick in.

I have some big stuff planned such as the super secret Disney Land Paris trip at the end of August and some smaller activities in the works including a stash box of random and odd art supplies that I organised after a studio clean out for the kids to get creative with while they are home.

My studio time has been all about experimenting at the moment. Playing with colour, form, composition, texture, anything and everything I can think of:

Mark Making Experiment ~ Telling A Story Through Marks

mark making experiment

mark making experiment 3 mark making experiment 2

After wrangling with myself for months about wanting to get myself a Midori traveller’s notebook I finally ordered one yesterday which should be arriving in the next couple of days. I’m super excited about getting it and the inserts I purchased for it as well. If the kids allow me enough peace and quiet I may try to make an un-boxing video for it.

I also started working in the Bindewerk and I’m absolutely loving it so far. The paper has taken my fountain pen and watercolour pencils pretty well. I like it when it buckles a little and creates texture over the pages and while the pen does ghost through slightly to the other side it doesn’t bother me and, I feel, adds to the character of the pages. I’ll be doing a little update post soon to show how I’m using it and what I’m putting in it.

Phew, this week has been a busy one. With the kids having a half day today I feel somewhat unmotivated to start anything major, knowing I’ll have to stop working on it early to pick them up. Since Wednesday I’ve been out of sync with my days thinking it’s Friday but now it actually is I feel a little disjointed. Between you and me I think my body is trying to prepare itself for the insanity of the next six weeks.


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It’s that time again folks, the arrival of Spring mean Big Spring Clean in my house. It’s desperately needed it too, for a long time. The house has felt stagnant for a while energetically and I’ve been letting myself wallow in the negativity knowing that in order to really cleanse the place I would need to have a massive clean and declutter.

I may have gone a tad over board but I felt it was time. Time not only to clean but to be ruthless and really clear the place out. I’d been pondering this compulsion I had last week when I went to the library with the little man to kill time before we had to pick the little lady up from her after school club. It was there that I stumbled on the book Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston.

I felt that pull and knew I had to read it. I am so glad I did. It’s centered around the absolute need to declutter your home before applying any Feng Shui principles and I have to admit that her writing and enthusiasm for this was completely infectious, so much so that I’m going to order her other book; Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui.

What I found when I began this process of ruthless decluttering (and I can assure you I decluttered everywhere) was that not only did my mood and enthusiasm change but I found myself decluttering more than just the physical objects around my house. My work ethos seemed to change and I realised as I went through some of my creative projects that I’d fallen into the trap of creating for others rather than myself again. I didn’t realise there was so much crap in my house, stuff that I was just holding onto for no reason. I tried to approach the whole exercise by looking at each thing individually and asking myself; When was the last time I used/wore this? Why am I keeping it? Do I like it? Does it bring me happiness?

I was pretty amazed at how much there was in my house that I didn’t use and didn’t even like in some cases. Was it really any wonder that my depression had been fluctuating so much and I tried to avoid being in the house all the time?

So now I’m sitting with mountains of stuff to go to the tip for recycling and disposal along with several big bags of things for the charity shop. It feels good but I know that once it’s all been disposed of tomorrow it will feel even better.

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…A Painting Dies?

It’s hard sometimes to get a painting finished. I’m a master at starting and never getting around to finishing paintings, something that I’m working on rectifying by revisiting my old work and finally bringing them one by one to a close.

Even more infuriating though is when I do finish a work to a point where I’m pleased with it and I don’t feel I’ve over worked it only for it to meet an early demise. This morning my son killed one of my paintings. It was an accident, he didn’t mean to do it and yet he still did after I kept telling him not to go near my work. The canvas has two large holes in it now that I doubt I’ll be able to repair. I wonder if I can salvage it by cutting the painting up and using it for other projects, I’ll not let it go to waste and the frame can be reused if I order some new canvas to stretch over it. Thankfully the other two canvases that were involved in the accident seem to have come out of it unscathed…

…I just… it’s hard, surprisingly hard to lose a piece of work that I’ve put a lot of time and energy into. Better that the damage was done to the painting than my son, I suppose, unlike the last time he was doing things I told him not to but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with the loss.

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If you’re a long term visitor to my blog then you may well remember my admission back in July last year that I have a slight addiction to filofaxes, specifically of the purple Malden variety.

Back when I purchased my personal sized Malden I had really wanted an A5 one however they were no longer available to purchase or, from what I could tell, being made anymore. In a way it was a blessing because it stopped me from the internal debate of which size to purchase, in the end I knew I wanted a purple Malden and so the personal one it was.

At least that was until a little while before Christmas where the helpful people at filofax pricked at my Achilles heel in an email that advertised the return of the A5 purple Malden. I’m sure you see where this is going…


…yes, I am weak. Yes, I spent so long trying to talk myself out of the purchase that I missed the sale as well but as you can see, I caved. I felt very guilty for this purchase but finally managed to justify it  as a ‘for my business’ purchase. It’s been a good buy too, I’ve been using it in conjunction with my personal one quite successfully for the last few months despite telling myself that using two may be a little bit of an overkill for me as I do like to have everything in one place rather than spread out.


My system is that I use the personal sized one is for my general day to day and family organisation. Things relating to the kids, chores, household tasks and my planned work hours/days off all go in there as well as personal addresses and contact details for various things. It is a colourful array of post it notes and tags relating to clubs and activities but I’ve found a system that works really well for me without being too complicated using the standard week on two pages diary that came with the filofax.


The A5 Malden has become my business planner, specifically to keep track of my work, writing, blogs and more specific things for it all. I really didn’t like the diary that came with the A5 however, so after a lot of searching I finally settled on this downloadable one by Philofaxy and it’s been working perfectly for my needs. As with my personal filofax I use a color system of three different pens for the main three areas that need attending too plus ‘post it’ notes for other tasks that I need highlighted or that can and do roll over into the next weeks.


Here’s the front, jammed with goodies much as my personal one is as I use the same pens and accessories with it. I kept the A-Z index in this one and use it for business related information and research which has been working really well for me.

002 (2)

001 (2)

I was also really happy to find this set of mini-magnetic Little Miss Bad bookmarks to brighten up the pages of both of my filofaxes. I found them in WH Smiths while I was looking for something else entirely and snapped them up for around £3.

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eye eye


I’ve been quiet for the last little while thanks to a problem with my right eye. After a pretty bad migraine a couple of weeks ago I lost a lot of the vision in my right eye. For a few days it was particularly bad and a visit to the doctors had me sent for testing at the hospital and all the worry that accompanies it.

This was the first time I had ever really thought about what it would mean to lose my eyesight, even in one eye, and I have to say it really scared me, both as a parent and as an artist. There was also the fear that my visual problems could have been a brain issue rather than an eye issue.

I went to see an eye specialist who found my eye pressure to be over double what it should be and additionally diagnosed irisitis and a possible viral infection as well. I’ve been taking two lots of eye drops and they seem to be working so far, my vision is still blurry but stabilised a bit better though light aggravates it and my distance vision is less than stellar.

Slowly I’m starting to catch up on the work I missed as well as the fun stuff with a new found appreciation for my sense of sight. With any luck my eye will continue to improve and I won’t need further tests as I gotta admit, the possibility of having a needle stuck in my eye to collect a fluid sample doesn’t exactly give me the happy feelings. If it’s taught me anything though it’s that things can change drastically very quickly and that’s reason enough not to loiter and not make the best of things.

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It’s been a funky kind of week but anything but quiet. Piece by piece I have been building my Indiemade website, more news of which will follow shortly once I have some items up for sale on there and recent work to show off.

Little progress has been made on my Journal Fodder exploration though I still want to complete it by the end of the year, how feasible that is is still in question but it’s what I’m aiming for and I’m just over halfway through the book.

Last week I discovered my bank card had been canceled as it had been compromised and the fraud department of my bank notified by the police. While a pain to sort out nothing was taken from my account and my bank got it sorted extremely quickly for me which I am very grateful for.

It’s half term this week so the kidlets are home with me making work difficult. It doesn’t help that my eldest’s homework is to build a model Tudor house. Her teacher sent home an instruction sheet and I can tell you now it’s not the simplest project in the world so a lot of my time has been thrust into making the model happen. We also have an assortment of Samhain activities going on as I teach the kidlets about my view of this time of the year, how and why I mark and celebrate it and what it means to me.

To cap the week off NaNoWriMo is fast approaching and while I probably have enough on my plate as it is I seem to be a glutton for punishment and have another goal I desperately want to complete before the year is out. That is to finish the first draft of the novel I have been working on. NaNo is the perfect opportunity for this i think and my best chance of completing it before the New Year. Whether or not I reach the 50,000 word goal I don’t really mind as long as I get my first draft finished ready for editing and re-writing next year.

A busy week that has just flown by and left me wondering both what happened to it and where all my energy went, still with the kidlets going back to school next week things will be back to some semblance of normality…I hope.

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