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

A date with myself

Weird? No. Essential? Yes.

But first, what is a date with myself?

Well. It is time to escape and recharge the batteries, explore and be open to possibilities.

It is taking time out. No dog, friend, kids or phone. Just go and be in the moment.

Be in the moment

I came across this a few months back in a book called the artist’s way by Julia Cameron. A friend of mine told me to get a copy and it started changing my life.

The man thing is that I started looking after the artist within. It was a strange concept at first but I did not count on synchronicity! Taking time out never came easily to me. It was more long lists of things to do and feeling guilty when doing nothing, with that feeling that I should be doing something, anything. Grace Marshall would call it scanning in that clever article (http://grace-marshall.com/diving-deep/ ) and it gave me very little time to dive deep into nature, inspiration and new ideas.

There is this guilt though, almost a nagging voice that loves to remind me to do all these things at home. I wonder where it comes from. Education? The age of technology and multi-tasking that keeps adding tasks to our daily routine? But guess what? Strange and wonderful things happen when I ignore that voice.

So this morning it was my first long day with myself whilst little P. was at pre-school until 3pm. The weather was finally softer and brighter. All I needed was a destination.

The qtearroom in St Agnes

The qtearroom in St Agnes

I did not go very far, just a few miles down the road and my first stop was  cafe called the q tea rooms which also works as a tiny gallery. Just before walking in, I had a look in the studios next door and some ceramic work caught my eye. No name or cards left but… chatting with the owner of the cafe, it turned out she was the artist in question. We exchanged mental notes about laid back wedding, mine just gone and hers in a week. I felt I had made a connection.

The work of Caroline McDonald

The work of Caroline McDonald

What’ s important here is not where it takes me in the future but how an artist date helps me being in the moment. Everything else can wait. This is what makes me wonder why on earth this is not what they are teaching at school. This would be a gift everyone should be able to enjoy whether they are creative or not. Instead a lot of the teaching goes into these subjects that are to me, very remote from making well rounded individuals that will value time to stand back, enjoy unplanned encounters and recharge batteries. So one day at a time, I am learning myself so I can pass this on to my little girl. I know she is much stronger inside than I ever was when I was a child. But somehow, I can see that some of my experiences might be in her already. We can share and enjoy times together. The world can wait!

Upside down

Downtime

What is a maker/crafter/designer to do on the lead to Xmas?

Well, as shop started to sparkle I took part in some Xmas fairs or fayres as some spell them. I visited some to check venues and events out for next year. I made things and am still planning a couple of things a s presents.

This time of the year is always a bit manic, between the things I feel I have do (not all necessary but there you go) and the more earthy, chilled side of me this year. Because I have made quite a lot of things I stayed away from the high street store which all get the same generic stuff and have very little good service added to it. I always wanted to make more things but this was more a wish than a reality… until this year.

I have taken part in some regular workshop which have given me the chance to have a go at many things like wet and needle felting, soap making, mono printing… so I have taken a few pictures. These workshops have given me some well deserved time out that me and my little one both enjoyed, learnt new skills and in some case confirmed I don’t want to do something ever again!

So I hope you enjoy the following pictures and they may inspire you in making things for yourself, as a present or even just for the pleasure of discovering a new craft.

Chocolate goodies

Chocolate goodies

Handmade soap

Handmade soap

Wet felting and free motion embroidery

Wet felting and free motion embroidery

Hand painted clay decorations

Hand painted clay decorations

Fizzy bath balls

Fizzy bath balls

Foliage decorations

Foliage decorations

Merry Xmas.

Asking her to marry you with emotion

You have been thinking about it for some time. You can’t imagine being with anyone else and the next natural step seems to ask her the big question.

You have probably, (most likely?) seen or heard about proposals that simply put the pressure on.

As I researched the Net about this post,  these are two cute proposals I came across:  http://greenweddingshoes.com/a-starbucks-proposal-story/  and http://blog.theknot.com/2012/05/26/seriously-adorable-marriage-proposal/. You may think “Gosh that was good” (or voice in your head says “is that what I have to do?” or “can I ever match that?” or the very public proposal that sends chills down your spine (voice in your head now gets louder “no way I’m going through that”).

Oh the weight of expectations…

Stop! Rewind and take a deep breath. Proposing is about you and her, right? Let the world disappear and think about what makes you “being together”.

Proposing is making all these moments together, the breakfasts in bed, the long walks on the beach, whatever makes you want to have that forever…and letting her know. It is asking her with your heart. And yes, she will laugh and comment about other proposals but in the end, the one that matters is the one from you.

So what do you say or do when your heart is racing at the idea?

– Keep it simple. Less is more.

– make it personal. It will show you care and she will remember that forever.

– Think back about the very best of you together and chances are, you will be spot on.

– Be yourself. You are the one she loves, just as you are. Don’t try to be someone else.

– Get help. Ask someone to deliver flowers unexpectedly  or commission something unique she can keep and cherish. It is not about the money. Remember the saying “it is the thought that counts”? It has never been more true.

I hope this will help you towards calming your nerves and enjoying this precious moment. I wish you the very best journey together.

marry me DSCF0742 edited

© 2014 Gaelle by the sea. click here for some more inspiration

Everyone has butterflies in their stomach, the trick is to get them to fly in formation.

Filled with love

I am quite amazed, especially at a time like Xmas, how commercial things can become. Also the pressure of people to do or buy certain things just because it is the thing to do, peer pressure and so on can be crazy. In fact, it is easier to forget that some things don’t cost anything but are worth all the gold in the world.

So what do you fill your house with?

I fill mine with:

  • love
  • trust
  • friendship
  • people I love
  • space to be me
  • understanding
  • time to dream
  • time to reflect
  • & chocolate cookies!

 I guess this time is the first year when I did not feel under pressure and it feels amazing. I have enjoyed making things, plan unusual gift tags, having a chocolate and mulled wine afternoon…

 

nutty chocolate slices with hazelnuts and pistachios. yummy!

nutty chocolate slices with hazelnuts and pistachios. yummy!

generally taking time to do things and enjoy social times in between. What can be better than that?!

So if this is my last pos of the year, have all a wonderful Xmas and enjoy the little pleasures along the way. I look forward to hear about some of them.

xx

The sparkle of Xmas

I love Xmas and despite wanting to do things homemade in the past, I have to admit that I rarely had the time to make it happen. Somehow, it was very easy to be swept away by the shopping frenzy, the busyness of it all. This year though, the pull of simple things and what is in my heart is much stronger. One big thing is our new house. It is a great blank canvas I can play with at heart content. Then there are the craft evenings I started with friends over a year ago.

Today for example I went with a friend to a place called the Scrapstore. In exchange of a membership fee, you can access what some companies donate and sometimes there are little treasures. sometimes you need to have a lot of vision to see what you could do with it. Nonetheless, it is about re-using materials and giving them a second life. It is also about taking objects out of context and see what you can do with it.

So my next stage is to select a few things I really want to do and stick to it. Yep, I have a tendency of too much enthusiasm and that means starting too many things.

First I want to share with you my first attempt of a “bokeh” (sparkle) effect on a photograph for my Xmas wishes. I got some stunning little fairy lights last week which I wrapped around the ladder I renovated during the summer. Took a picture and voila. I love it. Honestly, it is so much fun so if you want to learn how to do it if you have Photoshop follow this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hO2h7L-LV9A,

Have a very lovely Xmas from Gaelle by the sea

Have a very lovely Xmas from Gaelle by the sea

Next take one version of this image and print it to make my own Xmas cards.

Finish an reference illustration book for my little one. I have gathered illustrations, printed, laminated and assembled together a great book, the kind that inspires many stories to come and maybe some of the memories of her childhood. I can’t wait to finish it and see her little face. It will have a soft caterpillar toy, very colourful!

Oh and the yummy bit. Just a few days before Xmas I will host a chocolate cooking and tasting session. The idea is to all bring one recipe based on chocolate, bring a sample done before, cook at least one or two on the day  and everyone leaves with a batch of new recipes and a selection of goodies! Oh ad mulled wine! The smell of this is so amazing. The taste too. But above all it is the sharing of it all with the people I love.

So I guess I ‘d better be off to post this and tackle some of what I have just said. What are you planning for Xmas? Share your ideas. Lots of love, x Gaelle

 

Winter wonderland

I have not thought about simple pleasures for a long time but the run up to Christmas is my favourite time so here goes for what makes this time of the year so special to me:

  • The smell of the tree in the house for the first time
  • unwrapping last years Xmas decorations
  • Seeing Xmas through the eyes of your child
  • wearing PJs and fluffy socks all day, snacking on chocolate
  • mulled wine
  • homemade truffles
  • keeping the magic of Santa alive
  • watching animations films and cartoons for days

What are yours?