Creating Our Home

What a difference a space can make to your motivation. I’ve been really struggling to do anything productive, whether that’s crafting, writing or business planning. I’ve been leaving everything in favour of doing the washing up!

Ranj and I are lucky enough to have a whole room in our flat dedicated to being creative and working. Until recently it’s been such a mess and I’ve resisted doing anything in there. We decided that getting a nice, big desk to spread out on would be a good place to start. We knew the style that we wanted and hunted through the local shops. Unfortunately, upcycling and shabby-chic has become really fashionable and lots of the pieces that caught our attention, although beautiful, blew our budget to smithereens. This is when Ranj hit upon the brainwave of making it himself.

My beauitful desk made from reclaimed scaffolding boards

My beauitful desk made from reclaimed scaffolding boards

We reused the brackets that came with the scaffolding for decoration.

We reused the brackets that came with the scaffolding for decoration.

We found a fantastic local organisation called The Hastings and Bexhill Wood Recycling Project (it does what it says on the tin). They are donated unwanted bits of wood. They can sell you the wood directly or make you a bespoke piece of furniture; many of their products can also be found in local stores. They were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable; I would thoroughly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

Hastings and Bexhill Wood Recycling Project

Hastings and Bexhill Wood Recycling Project

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We bought two ex-scaffolding boards and were generously given some metal brackets for free. The wood was cut to size for us… all that was left for us to do was to take it home, clean it up and put it together.

I’m happy to report that I am loving sitting here and writing this. I’m actually looking for reasons to work here. Knowing that we made it feels pretty special… plus it’s HUGE and I can spread out as much as I want!

Where The Wind Blows

20130616-100236.jpgI’ve been a bit absent on here recently but as the wind is changing direction in my life I thought that it might be a good time to get back to blogging.

The main news is that in exactly two months time I will have left my job as a Support Officer, finished my Level 3 Diploma in Counselling Skills and will no longer be a Northern Lass; I am moving down south to live with Ranj: First stop Hastings followed by a move to Brighton (hopefully).

This raises questions about what I really want to do with my life (work wise) that I’m not sure I’m ready to answer… I’ll see where the wind blows and hope I will find my way. I’m sure I will.

I have booked my first ever craft fair to mark the occasion and to try and take the edge off my homesickness when I move. I am ridiculously excited about this. It’s going to be at the Rye Arts and Craft Fair on the 28th September; hence the beading above. I’ve got lots of ideas for theme, products and layout, so as soon as my coursework is handed in and I leave my job it will be full steam ahead.

I have so many projects rattling around my head and a huge fear that I won’t do any of them. Luckily I have an incredibly supportive partner to keep me focused. Time will tell.

What I’ve Learnt About Being Creative

The period in-between Christmas and New Year is always an incredibly reflective one for me. I’ve found myself contemplating what I’ve achieved, learnt and loved; but also where I’d like to go. A few years ago I found myself blocked, frozen stock-still and started a journey just to get moving again.

Here are three things that I’ve learnt this year:

1)  Set Goals: It’s an oldie but a goodie. You hear it everywhere, all the time (especially working in education) – but I’ve never before practiced what I’ve preached. This year, for the first time, I gave myself a new year’s resolution; I would get my jewelry online, nothing more, nothing less – just get it up. I’m the kind of person, like many creative people, who flit. I’m a crafty, creative magpie. I want to try to do everything and as a result master none of them.
Setting a goal this year kept me focused. Many times I’ve wanted to stray and start a glitteringly attractive new project, but remembering the goal I’d set and more importantly why I’d set it in the first place, forced me to stick with it. I’ve not had over amounts of success with my etsy shop but I have sold some things and in my eyes the success is that I did what I set out to do – I put my jewelry out there.

2)  Start Before You Think You’re Ready: If you’re a bit of a perfectionist like me this one is really important. I don’t want to do anything or put anything out there before I think it is flawless. I’m scared of criticism and I’m scared of failing at stuff. This one has taught me to just go for it and learn as you go. It’s alright if things aren’t quite ready yet – I’d never be ready. I’ve learnt more about photographing jewelry and writing a blog by doing it than I have thinking about it or planning it.

3)  Read and Follow A Lot Of Blogs: This is the reason I’ve started my Online Love series. I find seeing other people doing what I aspire to do spurs me on. It gives me inspiration, ideas, focus and drive. I also find the blogging community to be as supportive as everyone says they are. People are willing to encourage, comment and share.

I’ll get working on next year’s goals to help me move another creative step forward…. suggestions welcome.

Online Love: The Merriweather Council

Christmas is great, but work in educational pastoral support is tough at this time of year. Issues upon tissues start coming out and people want everything fixing before we break up for the Christmas holidays; which naturally, isn’t humanly possible.

I’ve spent today finding a new online love to ferry my brain away to a happy crafty place, and came across The Merriweather Council.

I found Danielle Spurge, founder of  Merriweather, on etsy’s Featured Shop. I’ve fallen in love with her cute style and bright colours. Take a look:

Merriweather collage

Online Love: Katie

I’ve fallen in love… ok, love may be a bit too strong, but admiringly head-over heels? I was merrily flicking through this month’s copy of Mollie Makes, when I came across Skunkboy:

I am now newly addicted to her blog and desperately want to own one of her cute cute cute handmade animals.

… perhaps this is something for my christmas list.

 Kate, aka Skunkboy, writes about general life and blogs everyday, it is something that I’ve found myself addicted to. It’s pure escapism and really inspiring…

Kate has also introduced me to the world of A Beautiful Mess where I have found projects, how-tos, beauty and more; but perhaps that’s a whole different blog.

When Things Don’t Go My Way…

My ‘Creative Everyday’ hasn’t been so wonderful this week. I’ve been easily distracted and if I’m telling the truth – I haven’t been as diligent as I wanted to be in creating something everyday.

My reason for this is as follows: It keeps going wrong. I am one of those people who like perfection. I like to smash it first time, and if it doesn’t turn out the way it started in my head – it’s not getting finished and I’m in a sulk. Here lies one of my nastiest demons! It is a demon that I struggle to over come. My bestest weapons against my nasty little monster are chanting my mantra ‘carry on creating’, and my wonderful friend Sally who knows me so well and would never let me give up.

I tried a new crochet ring that went belly up… I can see how I could improve it next time and what I would do differently, but I am in a sulk with it and haven’t been able to pick my crochet hook back up yet. I tried to write a new story, it went down a deadend – I deleted it. Having found too many bubbles in my last batch of resin I haven’t yet cut out new shapes… oh, and my beautiful little seedlings have gone all ‘leggy’ from lack of strong enough light. I re-potted them in a stonking mood, but I’m not sure that will help them at all.

The one thing that I am not in a mood with is my Lindy Hop.

I’m still loving dancing. (This picture was taken at Hullzapoppin’ last weekend – I am the one in the gold).

I recently watched a clip of me teaching a dance workshop last year and couldn’t put my finger on what I didn’t like about my dancing. Then I realised that I wasn’t using my core at all.

In a recent dance class that I attended we worked on how EVERYTHING comes from the core. A leg movement, an arm lift. They only happen if your core moves too and then you can accentuate the natural movement. I am a naturally lazy mover and hate feeling my stomach muscles working. However, this new insight into how much better a movement looks when it comes from the very centre of you is something I am taking to heart. If you mean it, if it comes from your centre, the very core of your being other, better things are going to follow. You can accentuate your natural actions and improve them.

I am applying this to my craft and writing. I do it naturally. Wanting to create comes from inside; I just have to go with it and make sure it comes from that place and not my ego, which is like a limb, not too stylish or useful without the meaning behind it… if that tenuous link makes sense to anyone but me 🙂