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Just Be You (That’s Enough)

Howdy, folks!  Here’s another little canvas I’ve been working on.  It’s only small – about 6″ x 6″ – but I packed a lot in to it 🙂  The background is a little bit too busy but I tried to use colours I would normally not be drawn to and add a bit more texture.  My faces still leave a lot to be desired, but I figure the more I practice, the better they will become (hopefully).

The butterfly at the top right hand corner is actually brighter than it appears in the photo, so it does stand out a bit more.  It’s more like the colour of the wings on the girl.

The text – sigh – gave me problems, because half way through I realised I didn’t have all the letters I needed (I was using rub-ons).  So I had to make a couple up by cutting into different letters to form new ones.  It worked well enough, I think.  The smaller font is done with little rubber alphabet stamps.

I used a scrap piece of bubble wrap, as a stamp, to make the splotchy white detail in the background, and a piece of vintage dictionary for her crown.  Otherwise, just paint, paint and more paint.  I probably painted over the whole thing about four times.  I’m kinda enjoying that process though – keeping going until it’s right.  There’s less room for error when you’re making cards, so these painted canvases are a nice change.  I’m going to be brave and do some larger ones soon.  I have a tendency to always go small.  My eyes, if nothing else, are starting to complain about that particular trait of mine, even if I have been good and do remember to wear my specs (some of the time).

This canvas is dedicated to the little voice in all of us that says “I’m not good enough.  I need to be like everyone else…”  Don’t listen to that voice – it’s a bully.  You’re ok the way you are and your uniqueness is important.  Don’t try to be like anyone but yourself.  You are more than enough (and anyone who says otherwise is just a big meany head!).

Thank you for dropping by.  Take care of yourselves x

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How to Have a Happy Birthday

Birthdays have always been a bit tricky for me.  For a long time I believed that something bad would always happen on my special day (mostly because, for several years in a row, I had disastrous birthdays where loved ones became gravely ill, pets died, people got in car accidents and general chaos and doom reigned) and so I tended to try to just get it over and done with as quickly as possible.

As I got older and, particularly after surviving a life-threatening illness, I starting believing that having another birthday was actually pretty good.  Bad stuff could still happen, but then it could on any other day, so why worry about it?

Usually, I try and organise a dinner out, or a get-together of some description with friends or family or both.  This year, I just wanted time on my own.  I didn’t want to involve anyone else, which sounds really selfish and unsociable, but I just wanted to spend my day pottering about by myself, doing as I pleased and not having any schedule to follow.  I highly recommend it 🙂  I don’t get lonely and am quite happy with my own company.  I wanted a stress-free, restorative, recharging kind of day.

So, my idea of a good birthday goes something like this…..

1. Dress in a comfortable outfit, in your favourite colours.  
Makeup and hair done for no one else but yourself.

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I don’t feel blue wearing blue!

 

2. Take yourself out for a delicious, hearty breakfast…….

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Field Mushrooms on Sourdough, with Goat’s Cheese and Poached Eggs…

3…..and eat it all up.  Don’t feel guilty at all.

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All gone!

4.  Visit a favourite, gorgeous shop.  Wander around for an hour or so and don’t buy anything.  Feel good that you didn’t spend unnecessarily (even if it is because you’re a bit poor right now and couldn’t afford to even if you wanted to).

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Antidote in Mount Hawthorn
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Hammered and stamped recycled spoons at Antidote – Love them!

 

5. Make yourself a birthday cake and share it with loved ones at dinner time.   It doesn’t matter if the cake is a bit homely looking.  People will be polite and eat it anyway.

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6.  Drink vast quantities of tea, preferably out of pretty china so you feel like a lady.

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Tea for one!

 

7.  Go op-shopping.  Buy shoes for a ridiculously low price (in this case $4.25).

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New shoes! (well, 2nd hand new!)

 

So, for me, a perfect birthday is one in which I spend time doing things I enjoy, with no schedule or plan.  I ended the day with my brother and his family, which was lovely – I even had candles on my cake and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me.  Delightful. Maybe spending a day on your own isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it was exactly what I needed and I’m so glad I did it.

So how do you spend your birthday?  Do you like to ignore it, go all out and spoil yourself, or plan a quiet day of solitude and reflection?  Whatever you do, I hope you always feel loved and appreciated on your special day.

Thanks for dropping by x

Little words make a big difference

Little words make a big difference

I am having a bit of a sad/stressed/upset week.  I’m not going to go into it (I promised myself this blog would no longer be home to my whinging and depressing monologues on love/marriage/pain/illness blah blah blah) – suffice to say I have been feeling quite low, a little panicky and just a tad unsure of my place and value in the world.  It may be hormonal (I’m always hormonal!!!) or the time of year that causes reflection and navel-gazing.  Anyway, I am trying to cheer myself up and look to brighter days and words of kindness.

Just before Christmas, one of our departments at work had a Christmas party that I was also invited to (as the librarian, I tend to deal with all the departments and be involved with them on a daily basis – it has perks ha ha!).  One of the activities for the afternoon was to write “compliments cards”.  Everyone had a paper bag pinned to their backs and were given a stack on index cards.  We all had to write about people in the department and say nice things about them – what we liked about them, how they contributed to the organisation and just what made them special etc.  It was such a nice idea.  I wanted to write something about everyone so I ended up with a rather large stack of cards – well, I didn’t want anyone to be left out…how horrible would that be!?  It would be like going back to school and getting picked last for sport teams…so sad!

When you’d written a card, you popped into the paper bag on the corresponding person’s back and, later, they got to open the bag and read the cards.  I got a nice little stack written for me – such an ego booster!  It’s lovely to be appreciated and validated.  I think it was a nice way to spend an afternoon and I hope everyone else got a kick out of it too and felt good about themselves.

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I’m a bit sappy so I love this kind of thing (I keep nice emails, little notes from people, thank you cards, birthday messages etc…hoarding strikes again!).  We don’t often get to tell people how much they are valued and that they make us smile or help us get through tough times.  I’m going to keep my little cards somewhere I can see them, and remind myself that, even on my worse days, I am doing ok and that people appreciate my work and like me for just being me.  Sometimes it is hard to remember that, especially when someone makes you feel less than wonderful.

I think words are so powerful and a kind word can make a person’s day, just as a harsh one can stay with them forever.  
Choose your words wisely and always be kind if you can.  

 

Happy New Year, New Beginnings and a Fresh Slate

Happy New Year, New Beginnings and a Fresh Slate

Hello there!  Happy Happy Happy New Year to you all!  May 2014 be a year filled with love, laughter, creativity and all the good stuff (y’know, bunnies, sunshine, ice-cream, dew-drops on roses – that sort of thing…).  I truly wish you every happiness and hope that you can find and follow your bliss 🙂

As I sit on my own tonight (not sad and sorry, just on my own…reflecting, not moping…) I am thinking about the things I want to accomplish this new year.  Many of the things are somewhat selfish ones, but I hope that they will make me a better person and help me to live a little more and be myself, in whatever way makes me happy.  I’m going to put myself first a little bit more…which is hard because that doesn’t come naturally to me and I say that in the most humble way I can.  I am not a super unselfish person – I just to tend to put everyone else’s needs before my own and, while I think that is a good trait, it can sometimes mean I am left out in the cold (literally – I would give you my overcoat in a blizzard if you asked for it) and in not standing up for myself or making my needs known, I make it hard for other people to really know and respect me.  I am one of those annoying people who reply, when asked what I’d like to do, “Um…I don’t mind really – what would you like to do?”  Yes, I am one of THOSE. And it’s time to stop being that way.  At least some of the time.  Basically, get your own coat next time there’s a blizzard! It’s freezing out there!

I want to get better at taking compliments.  I want to be worthy of them and be gracious enough to accept them.

I want to improve my social skills.  While I will never be a party animal (unless that animal is a little mouse, hiding under a chair) and I will never be the life and soul of any social gathering, I want to be able to at least attend events without being scared and anxious and generally piking out.  I need to learn how to speak to people and not care if they think what I’m saying is rubbish.  Other people speak a load of nonsense and I don’t dislike or laugh at them, so why should I worry about it myself?  I need to be prepared and have a stock-standard list of things I can talk about so I am not a walking awkward silence.  I must not be dull any more.

I want to be more daring in my clothes.  I always dress safe.  I cover up.   I have curves and I do everything in my power to keep them hidden.  I’m not saying I should let it all hang out and frighten small children and animals, but I should try and dress like a woman.  Instead of a librarian.  Ok, I am a librarian…but librarians don’t actually dress “like librarians” – it’s a cliche and one that I am perpetuating.  I don’t like being the centre of attention so I will take baby steps with this one.  A slightly shorter skirt (must work on legs…) and an extra button undone.  That sort of thing.

I am going to stop saying “Sorry” all the time.

I’m going to get a tattoo.

I’m going to get my nose pierced again and my ears.

I’m not going to let my hair rule my life.

I’m going to exercise more.

I’m going to eat better.

I’m going to get to a healthy weight/size and stick to it.  I am not going to try to be thin, because I’m not that body type and I am not a thirteen year old boy.  I’m going to be healthy and fit. I’m going to walk more and find exercise that I enjoy.

I want to be tidier.  This is a tough one for me as I have already documented.  I will try and put things away and find a home for things.  I will not hoard.  There isn’t an apocalypse looming and if there was, how useful would empty toilet rolls and inch-long pieces of string be?

I’m going to tell people I love them.  I do this a lot anyway but I’m going to do it more.  I’m going to tell people they are important to me.

I’m going to learn how to sew.  I want to be able to hem my own pants, fix a broken zip and whip up a snazzy new skirt.  I want to be able to say “I made this” when someone compliments me on my outfit.  I want to be that embarrassing person who makes their ensemble out of curtains and gives
appliquéd reindeer sweaters as Christmas presents.

I am going to laugh more.

I am going to cry less but allow myself to cry when I need to. And then stop.

I am going to find a substitute for chocolate that is renal friendly.

I’m going to stop being a doormat.

I am going to be comfortable with myself and with being alone.  I’m not going to let someone else’s issues become mine.  I am not going to waste my time on people who don’t appreciate me for who I am, with all my faults.  I’m am not going to fall in love with people who don’t deserve me and who don’t think I am good enough. I am not going to change who I am and what I believe in to fit in with someone else’s ideals.

I’m going to be less harsh on myself.  I am going to be accepting of my failures and my shortcomings and I am going to help myself to do better, without judgement or fear.

I am going to try my best, always.

I am going to have a pretty home and surround myself with things I love and that make me happy.

I am going to entertain more and be less of a hermit.

I am going to learn new skills and have new experiences.

I am going to try hard to fix my medical and mental issues.

I am going to ask for help when I need it.

I’m going to stop being frightened of men.

I am going to read all the books I buy.

I want to find out what I am good at and do it.  I want to be successful at something and be proud of myself.

I want to dance like no one is watching.

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I want to learn how to walk in high heels.

I’m going to start my book.

I am going to stop allowing myself to be bullied into things.

I am going to stop trying to fix things for everyone.

I am going to drink tea out of pretty cups and sit at the dinner table to eat and make myself proper meals.  Toast is not a meal.  Neither are Cheerios or coleslaw.

I am going to stop being so cheap.

I am going to be braver.

I am going to master chopsticks.  The eating utensils, not the piano tune.

I am going to attempt to learn to play my ukelele.

I am going to hug and touch more.  I’m going to let people touch me.  They ain’t got cooties! (and more importantly, neither do I)

I am going to learn to like travel.

I’m going to be more spiritual and not be ashamed to be so. I am going to believe in magic again.

I am going to start dreaming of a future for myself.  If anyone wants to come along for the ride, that’s fine, but if not, that’s ok too.

I am not going to shut off my heart or stop being me.  I am going to love my family and friends and find joy in simple things.

I wish you all the best for the New Year, and every New Year.  Hold on to love and happiness.  Let go of fear.  That’s what I am going to try and do.

Thank you for reading (and not judging) 🙂

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