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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And breathe…

I may have mentioned before that me relaxing is not built in! I have had to re-learn. Strange? Well, let’s say life has been colourful, stressful, eventful even and this has left me with some times been unable to relax when I most should. I left the job that did this to me but years later, it is still with me.

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photo credit: Keoni Cabral via photopin cc

In this busy life, we need to find these places (physical and emotional) where we take a breather. We own it to ourselves to keep sane and recharge. So, if you are in need to breathe in happy, just take a moment to see what you can do for yourself. This is not selfish and it will radiate in who you are afterwards. Drop me a line and let me know…  oh… and breathe…

Not realising my dreams is not an option

It is funny how when one chapter ends, another starts. Actually, this is very typical of the world we live in. we are bombarded by information, pictures, unsolicited marketing, multiple social platforms to only name a few. How do we ever manage to stop and, like they say, smell the roses? I am one of these people that find it hard to switch off at the best of times. It is not new but when my brain wakes me up in the middle of the night and refuses to switch off, then I have to make a stand.

See in the past, I have experienced trying to turn and turn again, trying to catch some elusive sleep. Drinking milk is always helping (nice memories of drinking extra fresh milk on the farm?). Then I have spent many wee hours catching up with work in the middle of the night until yawning got the best of me and my brain capitulated. That was a few years ago.

Now that we are in the house, I want to concentrate on making it a home and despite having to deal with the end of the renovation, I have to put in practice all that thinking about the business. I have ideas in my head that are only concepts. I have no images per se to put on a website. I have a potential domain name, sorted out where to get the site from and a list of words to describe my words but this is only the tip of the iceberg. There is still so much to do. Last night I woke up at 4am, unable to switch off and talking to the friend who is doing the business course with me, she has started to go through the same thing so that she is having an early night and I am writing this instead of working together for the evening. We have to find a way of making sure we get our sleep. It is bad enough to have very limited amounts of time to even consider tacking our respective projects. So what is going to happen if we lose sleep over it from the planning stage? So any tips out there for dealing with an overactive brain are welcome. Please add your comments. even the most funny way to relax is welcome :)

The main point here is that not making my dream of finally working in the creative industries whilst making an income is not an option. Yes, I could go back to an admin job (and I am not saying I won’t have to part-time) but I have many years of work in front of me and I want to enjoy it. I am good at the other stuff too but my heart is not in it. I think this is something quite common for creative people. We can do other things but very often we have to squash our creativity and just work within very restrictive lines, fitting neatly in what I call a box with a label on. Might have to find a better name for it but for now it will have to do.

So, I hope I will get a few tips to help us out with our over active and creative brains and I am off to research techniques that will help. Wish me luck…

12 Truths about a house renovation

Renovating our house has been major event in our life in the last 12 months (more if you add the planning of it). So I thought it would be interesting to go back and select the big things I got out of it. Some I expected, some surprised me. This is a big thing and if you are considering it, read on and maybe one of these will help you along the way.

Here goes:

  1. Choose your builder with care. If you happen to chose someone that makes this a worthwhile journey like we have with Simon, you will be even prouder of your house and suffer less stress. He was excellent on many levels including diffusing tension. He and his team have done a brilliant job. Just remember to communicate. So important.
  2. There will be stress. Yep and that is with me being at home, able to check everyday progress, questions, etc… There is no way I would have coped if I had to work as well. extended maternity leave is no walk in the park but it has it’s advantages. Last thing is things will get very tense at the end. Everyone wants to finish. Everyone is tired. Just think, not long now, not long.
  3. It will run over. Time is a fluid concept. 4 months delay in sorting out the mortgage due to a rubbish broker, delay in finalising the planning application, weather, waiting for windows… this is a long list and it will get long when you are not looking!
  4. So is money!
  5. Trust your instinct. If something does not feel right, investigate because chances are that if you don’t it will bite you in the bum later! In the same token, don’t be scared of improvising and experimenting. You might be surprised of the results and how good you can be at something you have never done.
  6. Getting involved made me connect to the house. This house was a concept for a long time and not my idea. However by creating inspiration boards and painting, staining, varnishing… the house has become mine too. I helped. I am part of it.
  7. Take pictures regularly. You will forget what it was like! It helps people you know to visualise what you are going through. It helps with blogging. It will be fun to do a scrapbook if I ever have the time.
  8. Delays will affect your life in weird ways. For me,  it delayed starting a creative business. This is taking over your life and until it is done to a certain point, it will be very hard to concentrate on anything else. You will use all your holidays to finish jobs… Lots of small (and big) things that may make you feel your life is on hold for a while. The reassuring thing is that it is only a temporary state of affairs.
  9. Take any offer of help. The amount of things to do is huge. Sharing takes away the pressure especially when you are exhausted and your motivation starts dropping. Go and eat out, laugh and only then go back to work. You need a break now and then and sharing the load, well it is not a bad thing.
  10. Once it is all finished (well the main bit anyway), enjoy and share it with your friends and family. For me, a house is for sharing. I look forward to busy crafty Xmas evenings, Invite the ones we love to our home wedding, sharing drinks and meals with same… See I am already there…
  11. Pat yourself in the back, this is not a small achievement
  12. Having the house of your dreams takes hard work, vision and the odd glass of wine to keep you going. No way round it. “Simples” as the meerkats would say!

There you are. These are the things I thought I would share. Can you relate to some of these? Can you add some more? And one I have been wondering about, would you say all teh above also apply to a self build? Let me know and drop me a line.

 

Home sweet home

So we have finally moved in. Internet use came back eventually  and I can now reconnect with my life!

So what happened?

Well it has been very stressful, no way round that. No surprise they say it is on the top 3 things that will stress you out in your life.

The main thing was that the house (where we are now) was to be ready for the 31st of July (Wednesday). With a last push on the last few days and heaving with people, it was going to be tight but it was ok. We had negotiated a couple of day  after that to clean the house before giving back the keys. The thing is that the landlord changed her mind and took that away, after we had it in writing fro the letting agency. Don’t get me started on that. I am still angry about it. So we had to bring teh move forward by 2 days. No big deal you will say?! Actually it was a big deal. On Monday morning the carpet fitters turned up to fit the carpets on the first floor (meaning we could not take anything upstairs) and when confronted with the amount of people in the house said they would come back when the house was empty! I told them they would have to work with the given situation, the team of 5 plumbers was send away for the day and we just made piles downstairs. My  parents came to help as well as my twelve year old niece and we would have not managed without them. They were stars!

I don’t really want to run you over the details. Needless to say it is still a bit raw. I also want to concentrate on the now. The now being getting settled. Hum… not quite straight forward here either. Never that simple. Normally one week in we would have made our home quite welcoming and organised quite a lot. Fat chance! This time it is simply not happening.

A few days have come and gone since I started writing this post. Interruptions, minor dramas, my little princess being poorly… All added to our stress and high levels of tiredness. I will write some of the truths about doing a renovation but for now I am happy breathing deeply, standing back if only for a few minutes and enjoy our new home. No matter how much is still left to do, It looks stunning and is going to be a great place to live. So for now I will post this and hopefully add a picture update soon.

5 coats? but it’s summer out there!

Well, actually I am talking about coats of paint. You can breathe now! Saying that, when the carpenter told me I needed 5 coats in total (1 of primer, 2 of undercoat and 2 of gloss) on all skirting boards, window seats and architraves (door surrounds) for a nice finish. In my head, panic and stress as I am desperately trying to work out how I am going to fit that in when there are still many walls to paint or repaint as things get done and they get scuffed or marked. I only get evenings so it is tricky to fit it all in and that is when Adrian does not want that time to do his bit so then I stay at home with little P.

The kitchen has arrived and the worktop is now on. Gas hob. hood and sink to be fitted yet. After days of surfing the net and going to shop to find a sink unit for the main bathroom (after the one I stained was deemed to be too high), we ended up finding a company in Dorset doing us a bespoke unit at a reasonable price from rustic oak beams. It looks great, is unique and will make the room. I was quite nervous ordering it online but I have done a few orders online recently and the customer service and the products were brilliant and what I wanted. I am getting converted to buying online! Usually I get fed up with not finding what I want for the price I can pay and finding the selection out there is poor so I am very happy! Next I have to let know that company! Good feedback should not stay untold as it lift spirits and also tells these companies that they are doing things well. I guess they are improving my confidence too on many levels.

Each box I open now makes me want to start unpacking more! I can’t though as the dust is everywhere and floors are not finished anywhere. The wood is get used to the house downstairs and I reckon I will be cleaning up dust for weeks after we move. Less than 3 weeks now and I can’t wait. My parents are arriving next Tuesday for 10 days. It will be nice to see them and get help too.

Almost forgot. As if my life was never complicated enough, I have had to book an appointment with the French Embassy to renew my passport. Yep, very different system when they sent it through the post to you! I have to be on the train for 11 hours to get it. I will save you the frustration with them in the past and recently so I don’t look forward to it. But, I don’t have the choice so I am trying to think about what I can do to make the day pleasurable. Taking my camera? Visit something there or meeting a friend for lunch there? I always get nervous about things like that. That means lack of sleep before (don’t ask!) and making the most of the day when I get there. Actually London is lovely so who knows. I might have a great time even though I will only have about 4 hours to spare there.Image

Soon I will also loose internet for 10 days… Last time we moved, this is how long it took for them to reconnect broadband. We can expect that again! I am doing a lot of things online and there is no amount of ranting or pleading to change this. Amazing to think that at a time when technology is everywhere they stop providing this service for such a long time and think it is normal. A friend of mine moved back to Canada a couple of years ago and got hers straight away… Maybe we should send staff here to train in Canada. Maybe they have a secret recipe to keep customers happy…?? Better make the most of it whilst it is still there…Image

Not another month!

As we were approaching the end of the month, things got exciting. The under-floor heating has just been fitted and the concrete screed (thin layer of very wet concrete) was poured over it yesterday. Apart from the fact we can’t go there for a few days and that applies to our building team, it was all falling into place.

DSC_0159[1] DSC_0163[1]DSC_0164[1]  Pictures of our downstairs open-plan

That was until I asked the question if we could give our notice to our landlord for the end of June… silence… and then the response ” it will have to be the end of July I’m afraid. If it was only the two of us, we may just about camp back in but with a two and a half year old, it simply isn’t safe.

Of course, my brain gets that. Yep, that’s my heart that takes over and want to move boxes, set up the craft room and get back to normality. A few other things have been put on hold for when we move back but they can’t wait. The rent money would be better used for a few things that we need. He ho, never mind, what is 4 weeks in a lifetime?

Good job I have started planning for a few projects and the latest is re-upholstering my sofa, just because I can. It will stretch it life-span a little, entertain me and almost make me feel as it is a new one… Cushions covers are now done with final wooden leaf finishes added this afternoon and a trip to IKEA next week should give me what I need to start on the rest. Did I mention that I have never done one sofa cover before? Don’t worry, that never stopped me before and I tend to go for bold and big projects rather than baby steps. More fun than way… until I pull my hair out if I get it wrong. Nothing that can’t be fixed. Let the fun begin!