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Craft as Cure

It’s been a very long week.  Do you ever feel like time is speeding up but somehow there’s more stuff to deal with and fit in to every 24-hour period?  I have been trying desperately to get a grip on my worrying and anxiety and, in particular, my dermotillomania which is just driving me nutty.  Or, more likely, I am already nutty and that’s my I can’t stop destroying my fingers with the constant picking and chewing.  It’s gross.  And I hate it.  And I wish I could stop, but I can’t at the moment.  So, bandaids are my best friend – they cover things up and keep me from being able to do further damage (although, to be honest, I just move on to another finger).

The best thing is to keep busy.  And the best way to keep busy (for me) is to do something creative.  It’s hard to chew your fingers while they’re wrapped around a paintbrush or holding a pair of scissors.  I do try not to sit around doing nothing – watching TV is THE WORST.  Halfway through an episode of Masterchef and I’ve decimated several fingers on one hand and am thinking of moving on to the other.

Anyway, being creative is a good way to put those fingers to better use.  I haven’t had a lot of free time this month so my craft room has been very neglected (the painting below was done weeks ago…)  But I am determined this weekend will have a few hours set aside for me to shut myself away from the world and all the worries it contains and do some painting, collaging, drawing and making.

That’s my wish anyway – things don’t always go to plan 🙂

Thank you for reading.  Hope your weekend is wonderful and that a few special wishes come true for you x

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Book of Shadows / Journal

I am a bit obsessed with notebooks.  I have LOADS of them.  If you ever need to get me a gift and are stuck for ideas, get me a notebook and I will be happy as Larry.  Whoever Larry is…does anyone know?

I recently bought a lovely big notebook that would be just perfect for updating my *Book of Shadows, which had never been particularly well looked after or designed – it was just a bodgy little spiral-bound notepad that I had always meant to decorate / tizzy up but twenty years on had failed to do anything with – and really needed to be upgraded and given a bit more respect.  So, this new notebook, with it’s large blank pages and hardcover, screamed out “Make me over!”  I shall share my process with you now, dear readers, leaving out any details about how messy I got, and where I was finding black and copper paint, days later.

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Sorry – terrible photos…it was late and the lighting wasn’t great..

The first step is simple.  You spread PVA glue all over the cover of your notebook, so that it is completely covered, and then lay tissue paper over the top of it, smoothing and rippling the paper as you go, to create a natural-looking surface.  Be careful not to rip it as the tissue paper becomes quite fragile when wet.  Do one cover at a time – ie do the front first, let that dry and then do the spine and back cover next.  Fold any excess paper over to the inside – you will be covering that up later.

 

PVA glue takes a while to dry properly so go and do something else while you’re waiting.  You can speed the process up by gently drying with a heat gun or hairdryer.

When all the sides are done, paint with your chosen background colour.  I have used black acrylic paint, but it would look equally good with just about any dark-ish colour.  Paint each side, including the spine, and allow to dry as before.

Using a sheet of paper, cut to size, cover the inside, back and front, making sure you cover up the excess tissue paper that was folded over.  If you want to add some ribbon or binding to tie the book up with, now is the time to add it, before the paper is stuck down.  Or, if you make a mistake like I did (and forget to add the ribbon), you can glue it on after the paper and use an extra square of paper to hide the ribbon.  Hey, I am all about improvising!  When it is all stuck down, paint over with your chosen colour.  I used black again here, but you could use a contrasting colour if you like.

When everything is completely dry, you can start on the fun bit.  Squeeze out some metallic acrylic paint (I used copper, but gold or silver etc would look great too) onto a palette or spare bit of cardboard.  Don’t add water.  Dip your finger lightly into the paint, dabbing off the excess (you only want a little bit of paint) and lightly wipe it over the covers of your book.  This is like dry-brushing with a paint brush.  You don’t want thick splodges of paint – just a light, barely-there contrast.  It will highlight the textures and creases in the tissue paper and create a leathery/old look.  Keep going until you are happy with the result – don’t forget to also do the spine.

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Ooh, old and leathery…that reminds me, I have to buy moisturiser, ha ha!

Let this layer dry completely on all sides.  Add an embellishment to the front cover if you wish, to add some interest.  I used a copper, um, face-plate thingy (I have no idea what it is or where it came from) and, before sticking it down, created a little collage to fit underneath (flecked with a bit of copper paint), which was then sealed and enhanced with a layer of dimensional magic to give the effect of glass.
When the panel is slid open, the image is revealed.  It looks all magical if you squint a bit and also don’t have very high standards or expectations ha ha.

 

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Magic!

An easy technique for updating a tired old notebook, that can also be used on metal, wood and other materials.  It’s messy and fun and you basically get to finger-paint.  And there are sadly few opportunities to do that these days.

 

Thank you for stopping by 🙂

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PS I just want to say, I am not a witch, and do not mean to offend anyone who is.
I have “dabbled” in the Craft, as I think many women do at some stage in their life, but I certainly don’t claim to know all that I should know about it and would advise anyone who is thinking of casting a few random spells or hexing the neighbours to get some proper advice and guidance.  Be careful of your intent and the energy you put out into the world, even if you are just “dabbling”.

My *Book of Shadows is my own personal book of “spells” (if you want to call them that), affirmations and wishes, important things I want to record and hold dear, and does not imply that I am in any way affiliated with any particular belief system, religion, or group.
Believe in magic, or don’t.
Each to his or her own.  Blessed Be.

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When your Heart Speaks

My heart generally asks for pretty simple things – cookies and a bit of peace and quiet.  Less stress.  Cheese.  Sleep-ins.  Happiness for my loved ones.  Good friends.
Good health.  Tea.  More Tea.

 Sometimes it is hard to know exactly what your heart wants, when the noise of living gets in the way.  You think you want something, but then wonder if it’s just what you’re supposed to want.  If it’s what everyone else wants for you (or for themselves, but vicariously through you).  I still haven’t figured out what I want in life.  I am better at figuring out what I don’t want.  Which is a start I suppose.

Anyway, a simple little card here.  I could have added some more embellishment but I am trying to go for more simplicity in my cards, so they don’t take as long.  And so I don’t spend hours looking for that perfect piece of lace, or a button, or a word or ribbon.  I need to be more cost-effective and efficient with my time, and less like a crazy person who goes to bed dreaming about string and different shades of cream card.

Hope you are getting everything your heart desires today – or, at least, are on the way to discovering what those desires are.  Thank you for dropping by x

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Blogging Challenge – Day Eight : 5 Current Goals

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Ah goals…you’re supposed to have those, right?  My ex-husband told me that I didn’t have enough ambition for him and that I just “drift through life”.  Which was a bit shit to be honest.  Sure, I don’t want to climb the corporate ladder or live in a mansion or drive a Ferrari, but I do have ambitions.  Having survived a life-threatening illness, I felt for a long time that just being alive and staying that way was ambition enough for anyone, and if I achieved anything else, all well and good.

But he was probably right in a way (damn him!).  I don’t exactly strive for greatness.  I always just wanted to be a good person, rather than a great one.  Money was never a big motivator for me (although, now I have a mortgage looming, I might change that way of thinking!) and I never really cared if I had a high-powered job or was well known in my industry (or any industry!). I just wanted to do ok and get by and not hurt anyone along the way.  I wanted to be content and happy with my lot.  And have people that love me.  That’s pretty much it.  And, for the most part, I have achieved that.

So, in the spirit of this blogging challenge, here are some current goals I have tucked away.  Some of them are bigger than others.  Some are teeny-tiny.  But, goals they are.  So there. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, doubters!

My Five Current Goals

  1. Reach settlement on my house, move in to it and out of my rental without having a nervous breakdown or killing someone.
  2. Lose some weight.  Again.  Sigh.
  3. Sort my mental issues out.  This year has been hard and I am not ashamed (well, maybe a little ashamed) to admit I have not been coping.  Very dark thoughts have been hovering and I have found myself spiralling quite messily into pits of anxiety-based despair and panic.  No one to blame but myself.  And my brain chemistry.  And I was never very good at chemistry, so I need to sort something else out.  Find ways to be better at life and being human.  I’m sure there’s a manual for it somewhere, right?
  4. Figure out what I want to do and get a new job that reflects that.  ‘Tis hard though…
  5. Learn to be tidy.  I have promised myself I will not be a feral filth wizard in my new house.  Without the threat of rent inspections, it is likely I will fall into very bad habits.  So I am determined not to.  I am going to have a routine, dammit!  I will do the dishes every night and make my bed and put my laundry away and make my house a haven of calm pristine-ness.  And, if that fails, I will just hide all my crap upstairs ha ha.  Why do you think I wanted a two-storey? 🙂

Whatever your goals are, I hope you are achieving them at your own pace and with no pressure from anyone else.  And if YOU want to “drift through life”, I am totally ok with that.  You have my absolute blessing 🙂

Still wishing…

Still wishing…

I wish I wasn’t scared of people.

I wish I could make decisions without second-guessing myself.

I wish I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up.

I wish I knew if there really is a heaven.  But I only want to know that there is a heaven.  Otherwise I’d wish for ignorance.

I wish I had lighter heart.

I wish I was a better person.

I wish life came with a manual.

I wish I could stand up for myself.

I wish I could start over.

I wish I could learn to be ok with saying no without having to apologise.

I wish I could just be happy with the way things are.

I wish I knew how to be a good wife.

I wish…for the wishing to stop and the doing to begin.

I wish I knew how to do that.

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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) 🙂

X

If wishes were horses (I’d be in the middle of a stampede!)

If wishes were horses (I’d be in the middle of a stampede!)

What would you wish for if you were given twenty wishes, guilt-free and with no nasty consequences? Excluding money and health for yourself and everyone you know, what would you ask for? Let’s just say curing cancer and creating world peace were off the table. What does that leave you? What, in your wildest imagination would you really want to ask for? Come on, you can be completely selfish, silly and self-absorbed here….
My wishes change on a daily basis, depending on what frustrating or annoying circumstances surround me at the time. But here’s a few things I would pretty much like at any given moment.
1. Beautiful shoes that look amazing but are super comfortable and vegan-friendly and that I can walk in without looking like a disabled duck. And I want them in every colour. And they need to be able to turn into any style of shoe at my command. Yeah, transformer shoes!

2. A live-in hairdresser. I cannot “do” hair. On any given day my hair is an uncontrollable mess. I am lucky to have thick, healthy hair that grows in record time and never seems to get split ends, but I cannot style it. So someone that just appears in a puff of smoke each morning and turns my mop of curls and knots into something gorgeous and magazine-worthy would be lovely. It’s not vanity – it would just be one less thing to worry about every day.

3. A driver. I don’t mind driving but I do get very stressed if I have to drive on the freeway or in the busy city area or anywhere I’m not familiar with, especially at night time or in the rain. A chauffeur would be pretty awesome. Or a talking car, like K.I.T.T. Back in the 80’s I would have said maybe a driver that looked like David Hasselhoff (just to complete the Knight Rider set) but I think those misguided days are well and truly over.

4. A perfect body. Well, come on! I’d settle for looking good in a pair of jeans really. A fit body, one that can run for hours and look great doing it.

5. The ability to change my eye colour. That would be excellent. Imagine changing your eyes to glowing red orbs when someone pushes in front of you in the line for a movie ticket – awesome! You could match them with any outfit – the ultimate in colour co-ordinating! I know I could get contact lenses but I don’t like the idea of having to poke about with things in my eyes.

6. A personal organiser. I don’t mean a Filo-Fax or a diary or Blackberry. I mean an actual organiser person. Someone who would file all my stuff and manage my mess. They would be invisible and not tut at me when I leave stuff lying around.

7. A substitute for chocolate. A magical foodie substance that mimics the taste and texture of chocolate but that isn’t chocolate and contains no potassium or fat or sugar or anything bad. It would actually be good for you and you could eat as much as you liked. It could be the new super food. Maybe it will be discovered in some rainforest somewhere. People with bones through their noses will survive on it and live to be 200 years old. It will be so plentiful that it will never be overfarmed and it will make millions of women happy.

8. A transportation device. I hate flying – I’m not scared of planes or air travel, I just really hate being stuck in one spot for hours on end and it’s painful and noisy and boring. So I’d like a “Beam-me-up-Scotty” kind of device. Just imagine being able to go to New York or Bhutan or London or anywhere, without having to ever set foot in an airport. No passport required!

9. On the topic of flying, I’d like to fly. Like, actually fly. Like Superman. It would be so amazing. I would probably end up deranged and unemployed because all I would ever do is disappear to go fly somewhere. Awesomeness.

10. Singing. I’d like to be able to do that. Not to be a pop star or something – just to be able to sing beautifully and confidently. Without going squeaky in the high bits or sounding like a foghorn in the deep bits. Without scaring small children and animals. I’d like to sing, that’s all. In real life I sing constantly in the car and when I’m by myself, but nobody needs to hear that. I’d like to be able to whip out a guitar and strum away and amaze people with my musical talent. I want birds to alight on trees near me just to hear me sing. I want the whole Disney princess thing – bluebirds circling around me and fawns lying contented at my feet. I once dreamt that I saved the world from Alien invasion by belting out some 80s pop tune. It was so cool.

11. Invisibility. That’s in my trifecta of awesomeness. Singing, Flying, Invisible-ing. My whole life would be so much easier if I could be invisible. I have social phobia so being able to disappear but still be there would be so ace. I’d never be frightened or self-conscious again. I could go out in my PJs ALL THE TIME. I could sneak into concerts (but knowing me I would feel guilty and end up leaving some money at the ticket stand) and sample food off people’s plates in restaurants. Actually, I wouldn’t do that. That’s kinda gross and not very hygienic.

12. I’d like to be sure-footed. I am a super-mondo klutz and I fall over very easily and without provocation. I’d like to be graceful and elegant and not clumsy.

13. Dancing – I would love to be able to dance. I don’t mean anything special or super-talented. I’d just like to be able to do it, especially in front of people. It looks fun but it is terrifying to me. I would rather stick a fork in my eye than dance in front of people. I would like to be able to go to concerts and get my groove on instead of sitting there like a limpet.

14. A channel on TV that plays music videos ALL DAY LONG. Without commercials or annoying VJs or interviews with random celebrities. It would have the best music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s up until now and it would a-mazing. And it wouldn’t repeat the same ones over and over and it would never, ever, ever play diva-esque ballads (I’m talking to you Celine Dion and Mariah Carey). I call that kind of performance “Hooting”. There will be no hooting on my watch thank you very much.

15. I’d like all the cosmetic companies in the world to suddenly stop testing their products on animals. I’d like to buy any lipstick, eyeshadow, shampoo or hairspray in the world and know that it’s cruelty-free. It takes me an absolute age to select cosmetics or body-care stuff because I have to read every bloody label. Every time I buy them. Because cosmetic companies are sneaky – they can change their policies at any time, without notice. It sucks.

Wow, I actually have more wishes than I thought. I could probably keep going for ages, which either makes me greedy and ungrateful, or creative and imaginative…I’m not sure which. All jokes aside, I would of course want a more peaceful world and a cure for all diseases and an end to famine and terror. I’d like to give the Save the Bears Foundation a bazillion dollars so they could save every single bear in the world that is suffering. I would make whales harpoon-proof and give pandas an appetite and digestive system for something other than bamboo so they would be able to survive better and in wider areas. Possibly I would make people stop destroying their habitat in the first place. I would make SIDS and meningitis and asthma and cystic fibrosis disappear. I would give every lost and lonely child a family to love and to love them. I would it make it compulsory to tell bedtime stories. I would make the working week shorter and the average wage bigger (with an economy to withstand it).
I’d abolish dementia. I’d make nursing homes into places people wanted to go to and they’d be free and staffed by happy, caring people of every sex, creed and colour and no elderly person would ever be hurt or neglected again.
I’d wish myself a picture-book pretty house complete with white picket fence. I’d live near the ocean and have plenty of land for gardens and horses and geese (I miss my geese so much). I’d have five dogs and 3 cats and a cow or two. I’d have pigs and chickens and grumpy old goat called Fergus.
I’d have an amazing craft/art/creativity studio that would be light and cheerful and would have a place for everything and everything in its place.
So, I guess you could say that the usual three wishes ain’t gonna cut the mustard with me. I’d need a few extra. Just to be on the safe side. Dream big, I say.
I wish you all happiness and love and peace and good health, today and always 🙂