Three weeks of happy…

This is the joyful part of been behind, I now get to go back over three weeks of my #100happyday posts and catch up on here.  There were days that I was not good about sharing on social media what I did, because it was hectic and I was distracted, but I did try and take a photo at least, or in some cases, think about it and decide what to shoot the next day because I had left it too late and the light was rubbish by the time I got to it!!

Day 22:

Collecting pinecones with this view in front of me. #100happydays

This was taken at my Aunt’s farm where we were collecting pinecones while others were busy with drenching calves and sheep. I used to hate the very idea of country living, gumboots and manure was not something I desired. But more and more I find peace in this existence, surrounded by the space it provides. It is idyllic, though I will be honest, that I do wonder if I love it so much because I also know that I go back home again. :)

My favourite photo could as easily have been this photo:
Collecting pinecones...

Or this one:
He is better at mass collection.  :) Though the competition to beat his sister has motivated him greatly.

I love that they get to experience this. Also I want to note that Sebastian and I bet my Aunt and Victoria in pinecone collecting.

Day 23:

Watching this ritual between them become a tradition is happy-making for me. #100happydays #hairstylesarenotmystrength

I love this. My aunt doing Victoria’s hair. It is becoming a ritual for them. When we went camping at Christmas, she did Victoria’s hair every day, when we go visit, she does Victoria’s hair. When we have family get togethers, Victoria goes with her hair brush to get her hair done. I love it. It also relieves me of hair style pressure, because she is over the messy bun which is my specialty. :)

Though this photo of them with my Grandad I am also partial to as well (cheating galore with picking my top photos clearly).

I love this photo. The children with their great grandfather.

It was nice catching up with him on our way home even if it did involve a bigger detour than I had thought it did in my head. Little wonder my Beloved looked at me sideways when I asked if we could pop in our way home.

Day 24:

Victoria getting ribbons for 3 firsts, 2 seconds and a third out of 6 events with a medal for first overall agrregate.  Sebastian getting ribbons for 4 firsts and a third out of 6 events with a medal for first overall aggregate. #100happydays #proudmama #

The children got their ribbons and medals from their St John’s competitions a couple of months or so ago. At the time there was a mistake with the addition so Sebastian thought he had missed out on the medal for first over all aggregate like his sister got for her section. But he found out that night about the mistake, and he had such pride in his accomplishments for himself. It was quite emotional for his mother!

Day 25:

2014-05-10 15.05.48_Grunge

This girl of mind reading my old books (and some of my favourites I could no longer find so bought secondhand). I am finding delight that she she finds joy in the same words I did. It is one of the highlights of right now for me. I kept my favouritest books like Charlotte’s Web, Pippi, and Anne of Green Gables and the Folk of the Faraway Tree etc, and after my failed urgings for Sebastian to try and read them, I was wondering if I should have kept them all these years. That she is loving them is a complete thrill for me.

Day 26:

2014-05-11 17.10.13_Grunge

My Kindle at the moment is a happy moment bringer. I was dubious about much I would like this, because there is nothing to me like the feel of a real book. Though I will always prefer real books there is something about having so many books immediately available to me, and also I just finished Divergent bypassing the Library’s ridiculous waiting list for this book.

Day 27:

2014-05-11 17.12.55_Anne_Grunge

My Beloved bought passionfruit home and I parked myself up and made a proper afternoon tea of them. It was a treat. :)

Day 28:

2014-05-10 15.11.36_Hagrid_Clean

The week started with a lot of grey and that cold which reminds one that Winter is coming. When it cleared one was left a little more grateful for the sun than they had been when it was a sure bet.

Day 29:

And Saturday winter sports begin! Her first game of netball ever and they lost by one. His game they won 50-0.  #100happydays

Winter sports begin. Though I am honestly in two minds about giving up my Saturday mornings if I am honest. Particularly when it is rainy and muddy and cold, but the first games of the season are exciting. It was Victoria’s first ever game of netball and it was hilarious to watch. They were all happy to just be playing.

Day 30:

I needed this to blow out some cobwebs. #100happydays

It was Mother’s Day and it was a lovely peaceful day where I was much loved, even if I was so tired and on edge I had not a whole lot left for these children I birthed. They all seemed to know I was in need of some spoiling and so my Beloved made me Eggs Benedict for breakfast and a gorgeous dinner. Victoria chose to get me a lavender plant (quickly agreed to by her brother because he had no ideas according to her :)), because it is my favourite plant. What I love most about it was the level of caring and throughtfulness of the gift, that she had really thought about it because I had not mentioned wanting one recently. I love a thoughtful gift more than any other kind.

This could also have been my happy day photo. This snippet of Victoria’s card. I have never been so horrified or laughed so much upon reading a card. Truly morbidly hilarious. And I have kept this on me and opened it up so many times since in the last week. It has been my portable happy.
A snippet of my mother's day card. My girl has a flair for the dramatic and an original take on Mother's Day sentiments. #thankgoodnessIamnotdying

Day 31:

Witnessing the sunset. #100happydays

This was a day. In so many ways. I didn’t stop really, until I noticed it was time to get dinner. I glanced outside and noticed the sun starting to go down and stepped outside to take a moment.

Looking back like this, this photo takes me right back to feeling as overwhelmed and unsure of myself as I felt that day. It was in this moment I stopped rushing and crossing things of my to-do list. I didn’t think of anyone else’s needs or everything I had to do for just a moment. And I told myself I was okay. This photo even now makes me well up with tears. Maybe because I am still in the thick of overwhelm but I am not feeling as unsure about myself anymore.

Day 32:

It is a day where my favourite soy wax melts have been much needed.  #100happydays #selfcare

It was grey outside and I was feeling grey and so I lit one of these babies. They are my treasure and I don’t have a lot left so I am stingy with them, but their scent is what I imagine heaven will smell like. It smells of paradise for me, and this morning I lit one, for no reason, for no company was coming but just because I decided I wanted the treat of luxury.

Day 33:

Finding treasure at the second hand book store. #100happydays

In between running errands and appointments and meetings I had a spare half hour and as I was on my way to treat myself to a coffee, I decided to go check out the second hand books in here instead. I found a couple of treasure books for me, and one for Sebastian, and my half hour whizzed by.

Day 34:

My Beloved brought this family treasure home. It used to belong to his grandmother and even has scribbles inside that his father did when he was a tiny tot. #100happydays

Holy Mother of Goodness. My Beloved returned home from visiting his father (and work!! :)) with this gorgeously solid kauri sideboard. It is all kinds of perfect. It is handcrafted, and used to belong to his grandmother. On the inside cupboard there are even scribblings from his father when he was a tiny tot. It truly is a treasure. The children struggle to imagine their grandfather as someone who is capable of been that little and that naughty to scribble in a cupboard. I love it. As I write this I wonder if there is a family link to wanton scribblers because Victoria went through a stage where no cupboards, carpets, walls, dressers, beds, linen, drawers, shelves were safe from her scribbles.

Day 35:

Breathing in this day that has passed in a blur and taking just a moment. #100happydays

Taking a moment at the end of another day that rushed by in a blur, though this one was not taken up with activity as much as it was rest and rest and more rest.  And then the beginnings of some reflection on the last couple of weeks.



Fortnightly reflections

Thank goodness for this practice I have started of doing weekly reflections.  This combined with my morning pages has ensured that even when I have felt off track and completely taken over by non-creative activities that in fact I have not strayed too far from the path.  And it is a whole lot easier to find my way back again.

#weeklyreflections in my #artjournal. A lot of thoughts concerning foundations and commitment this week.

The journaling this week was about how far behind I was, or felt I was. That I was forgetting everything I had just decided I was going to. Just made plans for. And how disappointed I was in myself for that.

For self-sabotaging just when I was making progress.

But when I looked at what I had done behind the scenes I had still been plodding along. I had not stalled completely. Just that other events had to take priority. As sometimes happens. And often those priority-taking events, don’t announce themselves before hand or give you time to schedule them in!! :D

Look at it now, I was quite negative with myself and my self-talk, but this page is actually a lot kinder and compassionate than I was with myself. I want to keep this page hand as a reminder to myself to trust in my foundations and be kinder to myself through the different cycles I find myself on.

Last week's #weeklyreflections.  Finally taking a photo.

I love the background for this page. When I was going through my box of scraps looking for something to use, (because I am all about using up my hoardings on these reflection pages), I found this piece of refill. It had some paint scraps from some page or maybe even just cleaning my brush, half of a knitting pattern. The scrawled paint recipe for making an alive-looking black…just disparate scraps that have found themselves layered into this page I put aside to use as for something maybe. It felt as messy and uncoordinated and lost as I felt that week. But it also worked for me.

It came after I hadn’t caught up as I planned to, and so the voices were even louder in my head. Berating me for not keeping up. Been regular and keeping to my own schedules that I set. Allowing myself to feel so behind that I didn’t know where to start to catch up again.

This page now, feels like an acknowledgment that I was at least giving it all thought. Even if most of my actions and to-do list was been dedicated to other events. Just looking at this page now makes me want to well up and cry.

An acknowledgment and awareness of my descent, a gentle abiding of the reality and my surrender to that part of my journey. Underneath it all though there is still an acknowledgment that no follow up care is required. Nothing is broken. Nothing is unfixable.

It feels like a relief looking at it now. And here I am.

Come in…

I was asked to participate in a virtual blog tour by the wildly spirit-inspiring Cynthia who I met online while doing Big with Connie Hozvicka.  I was then asked again for the same day by the multi-talented Jeanie who I met while doing Deep with the same Connie Hozvicka

So, here I am inviting you in to my little virtual tour behind the scenes in my own messy creative life.

I will admit I did get a little nervous at the questions (do I even have a genre…it seems like such a grown up question!). But here are my answers as best as I can give them right now.

The questions were:

  1. What am I working on?  
  2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
  3. Why do I write/create what I do?
  4. How does your writing/creating process work?

So without any further rambling, here are my answers :)

What am I working on?

I wish this was only one thing, how much easier this answer would be but I have so many balls in the air right now.  I have some non-creative work that I am working on and is demanding a fair bit of my time at the moment.  As well as that, I am behind on a few online courses that I am trying to catch up on.

I am trying to teach myself to paint with a palette knife. Trying been the operative word:

Palette knife wip

I have been busy with making postcards:

Mail art wip

Playing with charcoal:

Charcoal sketch

Reflecting, planning and organising in relation to how to achieve my creative goals:

Planner reflection

Using up my postcard scraps on an idea for another piece:

Art piece wip

Reading my bookclub book and trying to develop an online course on tarot cards that I have had a brainwave on.

Planning an ebook on texture making…

In fact writing all this has made me realise why I feel so scattered and all over the place right now. Because I am! There is a lot spread out over my table at the moment, literally so I am going to need to pare back and refocus.  I will put that on my to-do list. :)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Honestly…what is the genre? Creating in general??  This is the question that scared me.  What I would hope is that what makes all my stuff different is me.  I made them, and I could go through all the guff about been raw, expressive, and intuitive, and heart-centered, and self-aware, but really, to keep it all real, what makes it all different from anyone else’s stuff is that I made it, as opposed to them making their stuff.  That feels like a lazy answer though, but the more I have pondered it, the more I come back to the fact that my work is different from the work of anyone else because I did it.

Why do I create what I do?

That is how I play and practice self-care, how I process things that are going on for me and really because at the end of the day it keeps me sane and I think it makes me a better person to be around.  And I want to.  I create what I do because that is what I have been inspired to create as I have been inspired or intrigued by what I find down the rabbit hole.

How does my creative process work?

Morning pages for the organisation of thoughts and flashes of inspiration (though at the moment it is honestly more sporadic than it should be…if I am confessing to the truth though it is at least four times a week), lists and routines support the creative work to actually happen and make it a priority in amongst everything else, and then doing the work, because nothing else gets it done other than pulling out what you need and actually doing it, as opposed to thinking about doing it or writing about doing it.

I have a creative to-do list and if I am stuck (not that I can remember that happening any time lately) I could find something on there to do, or I have an ideas and planning book and sometimes I just go through my sketchbook and see something I wanted to play with a bit more.

Where the inspiration comes from is infinite, but the actual process is really just the doing.  Ideas can hit me anywhere, in the shower or out on a walk, in my morning pages or my idea and inspiration journal.  But the idea is only part of it.  The other is always the doing.

Taking action, starting, pulling out the paints or the charcoal or whatever it is I need and doing it.  In whatever time I have available, hence the organising and scheduling is a big part of my process as well, and deadlines.  I work well to deadlines even if I am the only one making them up and enforcing them.

And that is all really.

Three people will continue the tour on their blogs next Monday:

Wendy has been messing around with something ‘arty’ since childhood, has always been able to squeeze in time to explore some new creative venture, but still hasn’t managed to settle on one thing . . . she’s not unhappy at the prospect of remaining a mucker for life, living on a beach on the wildish west coast of the North Island of Aotearoa/New Zealand. You can find her at Late Start Studio.

Patricia Dattoma is on a creative journey to find & explore her own voice as an artist,  after many years of teaching art to young teens in inner NYC. She is inspired by the grittiness of NYC (her hometown)& her love of the American Southwest. She believes in the power of creating something everyday. You  can find her at Magenta Matters.

Carmen is a mixed media, colour loving, illustrative, arting, zombie loving creative in the UK who inspires me on my own creative journey.  She is busy in the thick of life but is always supportive and finds time to work on so many swaps and collaborations, I don’t know how she manages it all. You can find her at Whoopidoings.



This week’s happy

Day 15:

My beloved splitting wood to keep us toasty warm during winter is right up there in happy making for me. #hiskindofromance #100happydays

I have a strong aversion to been cold and there is something about this man of mine splitting a ginormous pile of wood to keep us warm over winter that cheers my heart. I feel like it is a gift to only me. There is security in having a giant wood pile, I feel like we are well ready for the cold. (Though it now needs to be stacked and we will all be required for that).

Day 16:

Thanks to brilliant godparents there are no children in sight and I have spent the afternoon hanging out with my Beloved. #100happydays

My son’s godparent took the children out for the day and while they were having a fantastic day of laser strike and hanging out with people they adore I got to hang out with this man I adore. We visited a couple of quirky shops, people watching and I got lost in a couple of second hand book shops. He suggested we go to an art supply sore I had mentioned earlier in the day but that had JUST closed just before we went there but he said we could come back another time and I will hold him to that. :) We had a coffee on our way home and it was very good. It was so lovely to just have a chance to talk about nothing and hang out together.

Day 17:
Here is to fantastic free holiday programmes in the local community.  #100happydays

Our local community had a free holiday programme for a couple of hours a fay in the last week and Victoria loved it. Some arting and craft activities, visits to the local pool, face-painting, bouncy castles, dance classes, and games, they did a great job and I got to read Divergence in the downtimes and do some planning and organising.

Day 18:
First fire of the year.

We had our first fire of the year and oh my gosh the excitement. Truthfully it was possibly not cold enough for a fire, and after a little bit we were all a bit too hot but there were no complaints here. It thrilled me just looking at the fire, and what is the point of having so much wood if you don’t use it I say!

Day 19:
Making feijoa and apricot jam and feijoa and fennel relish was happiness yesterday. #100happydays

One of my most favouritest things is seeing a pantry filled with homemade preserves and so making feijoa andd apricot jam and feijoa and fennel relish was right up there for me. Especially the relish because I made some last year and I didn’t like it, so I made this recipe up completely and it works and tastes just how I wanted to make it. Which actually makes me think I should note down what I put in it so I have the gist of it for next year.

Day 20:

Not that you can see it very clearly but he was carrying her through the water on his shoulder. After a morning of squabbling and bickering hearing their laughing together was a much needed tonic. #100happydays

The last week of the holidays and there had been a fear amount of squabbling between these two. In fact there were even threats brought out that they would not be going to the pool unless there was an end to the fighting, yelling and tears. So it was heart-warming to see them actually choose to play with each other and be giggling together when faced with the other children at the holiday programme as well. They went their separate ways shortly after this photo was taken but fir five minutes they loved each other. :)

Day 21:
Going away for the weekend and no longer feeling carsick. #100happydays

We went to my Aunt’s farm for the weekend and it was fantastic! But it was not an easy journey for me. I also tempted fate with this caption on the photo because just after I wrote that I began feeling ill again. But the scenery and all the space was just beautiful as we spent a few hours in the car looking forward to the arriving.

I hope you all had just as fantastic a week and a joy-filled week coming up!  :)

Tell me kingfisher

#weeklyreflections in my #artjournal this week.

This photo was taken before the journaling and reflection part and the photo looks a bit weird to me looking at it now as though half of the page is missing somewhat.

Just before I began working on this page I saw a kingfisher on our back boundary fence that backs on to the bush. I have seen quite a few birds there over the years, but never a kingfisher before so I was quite excited. It stayed for only a minute once I came upon it, but when I saw this kingfisher sticker while searching for words and pictures for the page it seemed right.

In my writing for this week I have the meaning of the kingfisher (I looked it up in my Ted Andrews books). He said the kingfisher is a sign of peace and prosperity, and the promise of abundance, (my word of the year *gasp*), about to unfold within my life. The kingfisher has an ability to stimulate new opportunities for prosperity which often requires one to dive headlong into some activity.

So relevant for some of the ideas percolating in my head at the moment and I took it as a sign to keep going! :D Though I wonder sometimes whether my signs are in fact signs or I am reading a whole lot into just seeing a kingfisher for instance, but whatever motivates or encourages I say.

I have felt really focused and organised lately. I have plans written down, and steps to get there with deadlines attached. I am doing my morning pages (most mornings), and I feel on track, which is a good feeling I have to say. Taking real action each day certainly feels like more than floundering, which I have done a fair bit of in the past and have no desire to go back there.

Reading the Austin Kleon books and now reading Jennifer Lee’s latest book are leading me to some realisations about where I am going and even more important to taking some practical real steps to get there.

Truth card #5

Truth card #5 (before)

I am not sure if I should be doing these cards when I have no clear idea about what to do with them and no clear intention.  This week I was doing this because I have committed to it, but I wonder if that is the right frame of mind to be doing them in.  But then it got done and it probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

In amongst the autumn school holidays and other planning and reading going on I was getting this done because it need to be done.  Maybe that will be one of the good things to look back on this deck when it is finished.  Creating even when I wasn’t in the mood.  Doing it anyway.  Who knows…maybe this is all navel gazing!  :)

I did start off with a general idea of painterly turquoisey teal and white because turquoise is one of my strength colours but after I got the first layer down I felt like white lines with some acrylic ink and then some darker lines for some contrast and then we were mostly done apart from a bit of red splashed about.

Truth card #5 (after)Done enough to supervise packing for our weekend away and done enough to post.  :)

I am however going to reprint that text I think and add it back it in, I got a bit lost in my line making and went over the words and I am not happy with how that looks.

We will see how I feel after a couple of days away.  It may not bother me enough when I get back!  I suspect it will, but maybe not…

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend, filled with connection and whatever else brings you joy.