It’s been a long time

I cannot believe it has been so long since my last post. Well actually I can. It has been a whirl of activities with lots of craft fairs (lots of making) and running workshops so I found it hard writing as well as doing everything else.

My little one now 5 has started big school. This was a bigger shift than I thought possible. She is growing up. She is also spending more time away during the day so naturally, I started filling time with more crafting, sewing and anything necessary to prepare stock. It is amazing how much needs to be done just to participate to an event. Endless! Lots of fun but… you can end up with an empty tank. That was me in December. The last few shows gone, I finally settled to celebrated Xmas. My husband changed jobs after a period of uncertainty and associate stress but now he is a 10 minutes walk from work instead of a two hours commuting by train(that is when they are running on time or not breaking down altogether). I am now sharing my art room as my desk has been hijacked! OK I have free run of the rest of the house. Still….

So after a longer break than planned, I stared resting after feeling burned out. Now If you knew me, you would know that I don’t do rest. I don’t do “doing nothing”!  My diary used to be filled through and cracks and gaps that would dare to show a free space.

One thing changed though. I changed. Mindfully.Photo-2016-01-11-09-29-01

First I read a book called “Calm”. Beautifully tactile, it was a gem filled with the kind of pictures you see on Pinterest a lot. I started meditation and learnt that it is not what I thought it was. Just breathing, nice long  deep breaths. Then taking the time to notice thoughts, single ones, patterns, habits… I felt refreshed but still low in being able to define “what next?”. This had nothing to do with a new year resolution but rather something within that said I was not happy.

Bullet journaling diary, the end of classic diaries

Bullet journaling diary, the end of classic diaries

I am just coming out of hibernation after a lot of reading, drawing (having re-started drawing after 25 years interruption), and maybe the key feeling happier than I have ever been.

Now this is something coming from within, not looking for acceptance from others by from myself. Creative people can be so harsh with themselves. Trust me, I am one of them and it started when I was a child, when my mind started being non-stop.

It feels quite strange to write again. I know it will become more natural as I write some more but this is a reflection on the journey I have taken as a creative mum.

Someone I know said the media around us feed us a lot of short stories of success. Social media does the same when we get highlights of our friends life. Matching any of that, getting success takes time, work, good days and bad days but sometimes we need to know what is really going on, because we can relate to that and find strength in it.

I am now part of a community on an app called YOU. Beautifully made, it is full of people that set micro-actions to change their life. Don’t know what a micro-action is? Well imagine you want to change something big. Ok break it down in tiny pieces, this is where you will find micro-actions. Change happens beautifully in tiny actions that you make every day. And it is free…

the YOU app

the YOU app

This is one of the many things I have changed since I have started adding mindfulness in my life. But this is the start of another post so keep tuned until I write the next instalment.

Be happy, be safe, be well.

 

With smiles as always

Gaelle by the sea

http://www.gaellebythesea.wordpress.com

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There was silence…

… well on this blog anyway.

So what happened since last time I wrote? As it happens a lot.

The biggest things is that I got married. I said YES!

Me and Adrian said yes, we do!

Me and Adrian said yes, we do!

It was the most beautiful day. We filled the venue with handmade things and wild flowers. I will tell you more later but for now here is one sneaky picture.

I had two weeks before the wedding to get ready after 3 exhibitions back to back, one of them over 4 hours away from home.

Oh yes I was busy creating my new website, another WordPress but this time more specifically designed to promote my work. I will keep hovering between the two because this blog is where I started. I has a special place in my heart and it allows me to write as I please. This doesn’t happen on a website!

So there is much more I want to write but to avoid delays I will stop here and post this and write some more later.

A final thing though, I have just handed a commission today and here is the story www.gaellebythesea.com/?page_id=122

 

From the heart

What a year this has been! We have just come back from France for a cosy Christmas with my family. We left this morning for a 12 hours journey with many white roads, a light covering of snow and our little one saying ” I really, really want to make a snow ball!”. Not enough down and having left late after a lazy relaxed breakfast with my mum, there was not enough time either. Now we are back, it would be nice to have a snow dusting here too. I love snow, It completes Xmas ad makes it really magical.

We were in such a rush before leaving. Making many handmade Xmas cards and some presents added to the pressure. When people still had 4 days of shopping and the like, we had to be packed and ready. Well, we were, just after recovering from a lingering cold and my voice going very raucous for a couple of days but we were ready. What is it when you make something really special that the pressure builds? It is not that I did not know what I was doing, far from it. One of them simply had to be finished in time for us to take on our journey It was just a mix of trying to impress my mum and making something she loved that may not be something I would have in my home. I had to reflect her taste and not mine but without compromising on quality and a style I would be proud to add to my portfolio as someone else may like it and ask me to do something similar.

So what did it take? Lots of cotton to sew the different trials and final lampshade. A few hours of carving lino stamps that are stored until I use them for a different version. A few heated moments struggling to get some fabric glue to work and going for a an alternative in desperation. Spreading myself literally quite a bit leaving sorting out the house to the last minute… After a lot of anticipation, my mum loved it, my brother too and I think quite a few of the people that saw it since too. It is deceptively simple but has a lot of flowing lines sewed in the background and orchids added for the final flourish. This will join mum’s collection and cover that bare bulb naked for over 3 years! Here are a few pictures.

Orchids lampshade  with close ups from both side.  This was designed for a ceiling  but has not been fitted in situ yet as I have discovered since the French fitting is different to the one we have in the UK and  needs changing. Nothing expensive but a picture of it properly fitted will hopefully soon.

Orchids lampshade with close ups from both side. This was designed for a ceiling but has not been fitted in situ yet as I have discovered since the French fitting is different to the one we have in the UK and needs changing. Nothing expensive but a picture of it properly fitted will hopefully soon.

So, after all this making, I have just had a free week which felt quite strange and the main reason is my brain has engaged into a very creative process for the last few weeks, even during the orchid lampshade. Ideas are just parked in a corner of my head waiting to come out. I have also bought new materials and tools before I left which I have not had yet the chance to “play with”. Yes, some of what I do includes paying and experimenting. What I call “happy accidents” when something turn out unexpectedly to create a bit of magic. You can’t rush it, you can plan for it. You just do it.

So now the new year is approaching, I am planning more experimenting time, a few lines of wonderfully bespoke lampshades and artwork. Oh and planning a wedding! Yes a we are back on after putting things on hold for a year. Less than 6 months (if we get the date and venue we want) to organise a handmade (you could have guessed that) and laid back wedding filled with wild flowers and unconventional moments. If you like formal, look away now as they say!

But before I do all that I wish you all a year filled with health and happiness. I also wish for more peace in a very agitated and suffering world. It should not be that way and if we can all put out two pence of peace in our patch, maybe it will have a ripple effect, you never know. Fancy trying?

Best wishes to all.

When hope takes over

4 weeks ago, my life got turned upside down. Mind you, not just mine. My whole family’s. There are many times I could have sat down and started to write… but somehow it did not feel right. How could I write about flying to see my dad because it could be the last time I saw him? How could I write about some of the dreadful things that we were told to expect? But in the midst of what I could describe as testing time at the very least, my brain carried on doing that positive thinking that I started when we came back after Easter. I had decided then that, if I could do nothing else, I would inject stories and other things into the repetitive medical conversations. I thought that I could talk about something else to make him think of something else. Call me naive but in the two weeks I was there, everyday he improved, one smile and one joke at a time.

So I started by putting my little one at the local pre-school to create a language immersion. It was also a distraction for little P. to avoid long daily commute to the hospital and having to behave for long hours, coming back late in the evening (there were also too many visitors so I had to share). She was so good though and never complained about going to the hospital. I have never mentioned on this blog that despite my first language being French, I find it hard to speak it at home. I know, I know, I agree, it is a shameful waste so I made this trip a milestone in changing that. The second week, we started a summer camp instead because it was the summer holiday. It was fascinating to see how adaptable she was and how popular she was too. From her usual half days, she started spending long full days in a new set of schools, with a new language and she loved every minute. It took the promise of feeding the Billy goats on the way back to get her home everyday!

We also designed things together and took them to my dad, watched hardly anything other than French kiddy programs at home (more immersion) and now she understand why she is learning French. She started asking for more words and understand which language is which, negotiating sometimes to revert to English! Gosh, I wonder what she will come up as a teenager!

But as all these things happened, my dad started benefiting from the brain radiotherapy to stop the bleed in his head. He also started loosing his hair but generally he was comfortable physically. I hate to think what he is going through emotionally though. As he said to me a couple of days ago, “I can’t plan anything long term anymore. ”

photo credit: canonfather via photopin cc

photo credit: canonfather via photopin cc

I left the days little P. was at school to visit the library, reminisce about my childhood and design a few concepts for my new fabric design range. See, when I was a child, I lived in places quite remote with very little company of my age. When we moved to where my parents are now, it was better but relationships did not materialise like they have later in my life. My knowledge was so little. The window onto the world was small and I started wondered what would have happened if I had had access to internet then. What if I could have explored the world from my bedroom? Would this have changed what I do now?

I know “what ifs” are immaterial. I am a different person now and the designs growing in me at the moment are the results of years of yearning, experiencing and exploring with new media. I think we underestimate how much we have at our fingertips. The downside it that we have to wade through a lot of rubbish and we take on too much. We also have to ask the right questions and, trust me on that one, it took me a long time to find the right words. So maybe this is it, now is now and talking design with my dad for the first time in a very long time  keeps bringing more positive energy because, each day that passes with him is filled with hope and everyone has moved onto “hope mode”. We can’t help it, we all have and we take each day at a time until such a time that we have to drop everything and be where it matters the most. Hope is a very powerful emotion and until recently, I had no idea. Not about this kind of hope. I am still not sure this post will be one of my best but it goes some way towards reconnecting, because writing also heals…

Letter to the Universe

This is probably the hardest blog I have ever had to write because, right now, I feel like such a mix of emotions. A real rainbow  of emotions and yet I can’t help to think that my mind has shifted. So this post stayed here for days waiting for the right words to come out.

But first things first, just before Easter, we went to visit my parents in Normandy and spent a week there. It was a very normal week apart for the fact that every day was “sprinkled” with medical exams for my dad who was poorly. Since, more exams, many phone calls later and more knowledge about the fact my dad is now about to embark in one of the biggest and hardest journey to fight off the big C. I can’t even push myself to write the word because this is one no-one ever wants to hear, ever and yet so many are hearing these news everyday.

So for the last few weeks, I have been processing this in my head. I fell behind on everything. A mess. But because of a book a friend lent me during the holiday called “Working on yourself doesn’t work” by Ariel and Shya Kane, I now feel I can handle it. What is that book? Well it is based on the fact that if you are trying too hard, then things will probably stay the same and never change but if you let go, be in the moment, good things will happens, bad ones will complete themselves and go. To be honest, I wasn’t convinced when I started it but it is the first time I have been able to shut that nagging negative voice in my head. That never happened before! So I have carefully started sharing the news and again, not with everyone. Again a first for me as I tend to be quite open. (You may think this is strange as a blog is quite public. But for me, a blog is a space where we can explore our thoughts, share inspiration and exciting things and open a window on who we are without necessarily saying that much.)

DSCF1534e

Don’t get me wrong. This is not easy and there were tears but I feel stronger than I did before. I reckon that I can help mum, dad, my brother and my sister more if I stay positive and, somehow, channel positive energy towards them. I can’t change the medical side but I can, one word at a time, bring peace and hope. So whilst I let go of trying to solve it, other things started to happen like my work selling on Etsy and getting a commission. These may seem trivial in comparison but they are great things I can talk about on the phone, creating a bit of a distraction. And believe me I know I will need plenty of these. It is not about me but it is about giving them something else to think about. Each of us has a different emotional response and yet, we all need a little miracle for everyone going through this. So here is to helping thoughts and brighter days…