Friday, March 31, 2017

Feeding Your Hunger

Are you, like me, hungry for a handmade life? Where every decision is based around you, and YOUR needs? Where your home, and your family are first in line? When every day feels like the first day of a holiday....filled with the promise of adventures? Yes?
Well, I'd like to know what's stopping you? No, honestly. What is it?
A job you simply CAN'T leave? A partner who feels differently? Fear of failing? Fear of succeeding? Kids take all your time and energy?
You know, I've been there. All of those reasons have stopped me. But....actually, not stopped...delayed is probably a more accurate word....because I never STOPPED. I just waited. Because my dream has always been stronger than any fear. It just waited, patiently, for my life to catch up with it. Job? Get so stressed and ill that it's either leave, or drop dead. Partner? He'll drop off the vine or get on board....whichever happens first. Failure? Meh. Success? Ha! Kids? They grow up eventually. And soon, its just you....and that stubborn, persistent dream. Still waiting...like a cat waiting for dinner. Calm. Implacable. Unmoving.
You really have zero choice. All the reasons (excuses) are gone. Its staring at you. Unblinking. Daring you to ignore it. Knowing you must give in at some point.
So, give in. Your days on earth are finite, and following a dream is probably the BEST way of spending them. Let's jump! Together. 3...2...1!!!!!

Creative Upcycling

This weekend I have decided to start some projects around the house on items we've been living with, but really don't like.
There is a brass mock chandelier in our living room which, in the 1980s, was the height of class. Now its just plain tacky tacky tacky! So I've decided that, despite having a gorgeous industrial style pendant ready to be installed, I just can't afford the electrician yet, so in the meantime, a coat of homemade chalk paint and some Edison bulbs might spruce it up enough to stop doing my head in.
I've got some gorgeous dove grey acrylic paint left over from some woodworking projects, and a bag of plaster of Paris in the laundry...so I'll give the brass a coat or two of this recipe, and see how it looks. Wish me, and my living room carpet, well!
Recipe:
⅔ cup acrylic paint
⅓ cup plaster of Paris
Water, to combine.
Method:
Mix well until smooth.

This cleans up in water and dries in 20 minutes.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Home: A Happiness Project

Times are changing.  They are scary times.  They are depressing times.  There seems to be a force field of negativity around every aspect of the known world. Our world leaders stand as relics of eras we thought we had left behind. They cling to old ideas and discarded viewpoints, only to hold grimly to what illusory power it temporarily gives to them.  Still living in the Land of Reichs.  It will not be stood for.
I guess that this is nothing new, and it's been scary, depressing and negative before in our shared history, but somehow, being the types of people we are....children of Baby Boomers and Gen X'ers....we have more power at our disposal than our parents had.  A power to implement genuine change. The ability to rally without leaving our homes; to network with others of the same mindsets, To lobby with nothing more than a mobile phone.  This is truly powerful.
The internet, with it's social networks - much larger and broader in scope than the ones our parents had, with instant links to the reality of what is happening in lands far away, as well as in our own cities - provides us with the full knowledge of events, as they are happening; a tool to join with others, to pass the knowledge on, to unravel the web of silence that businesses, governments and social miscreants have used for YEARS to hide behind.
There are video streaming platforms ad infinitum, so that as one is shut down, another takes its place....there is a fluid 'structure' like Anonymous, where you can ask for help from a genius and your small world is suddenly filled with allies.  This is power.  This is a wonderful safety net for the disenfranchised.  To know that, no matter where you are, or what your issue, there are everyday super heroes ready to step in, step up and kick bum for you.  The outer world WILL start changing for the better, because too many people are fighting for that for it to fail, so we all need to ensure our Personal lives are ready for it. And this is why we must set in place our own Home Happiness Project.

Its easy enough to do.  You ensure that you make your home a sanctuary.  You keep your address private.  You create places to sit outside, privately, and relax - spots for both hot and cold, or wet and dry weather.  You have gardens, or pots filled with beautiful to look at, nourishing to eat or beautiful to smell plants.  If you have the room, you do all three. You keep the inside of your home clean, neat and fresh.  You have comfy chairs rather than sexy looking chairs....you have the best mattress you can afford so you sleep well at night, and wake rested.  You watch less news, and more comedy on television.  You read more.  Or if reading isn't your thing, get books on CD and rest, whilst listening to wonderful stories.  You eat delicious food, fresh from your garden if you can, or bought from a local market. You drink water.  You change your job, or change your hours, or determine that you will alter your attitude to your job so that work is no longer a dirty word.  If it makes you unhappy, change it.  Every day must have more positive than negative, and the Happiness Project is all about getting to that point.

When I say it is easy to do, I mean the steps are easy, but the changes that these steps may induce can be difficult.  If you are a control freak, it might be hard to relax.  If you think that knowing the news of the day keeps you well informed, then you may have trouble switching it off.  If you are a style snob, a comfy chair may make you cringe.

I understand how hard it can be at first, but I also know how delightful it is to live without the genuine stress these seemingly small things add to your days. To do work that fills you, rather than depleting you.  Even if it earns you less monetarily, it gives you more in satisfaction, free time and joy.  And by making your personal environment as calm, as relaxed and as stress free as possible you will pass on good vibes, be able to strongly protest that which hurts others, and help create the world we all wish for.  A world that allows people to be who they are without persecution, a world where the wrongs of the past are owned up to, a world where no one can cause harm without being made to attone for it.  A world where creativity is encouraged, hard work is validated in more ways than with money being thrown at it, where women can do anything they want to, just as men can.  Where you can publicly engage, yet privately rejuvenate.  A world filled with strong, relaxed and happy people doesn't vote for a man like Trump.  His election is a real wake up call from The Universe.  His world, and the world we see around us now is not a world I want for my future grandchildren.

So, if you're interested in how to develop your own version of The Happy Home Project, stick with me, and I'll guide you.  It'll be like going for a hike with a young labrador....I'll stray off occasionally and sniff sticks for a while, but it will be fun.  I promise.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Taking Your Time

A creative soul can't really be rushed. Its almost cruel to do so. When your mindset is in the zone of ethereal thoughts, interpretation of random ideas and dreaming, a call to arms or a time frame is just too much like harnessing a wild horse....
Hence why creative businesses are so often seen struggling to have good business practice. These two sides  of a coin rarely live inside the one person. At least, not at the same time!

This is why I am 'taking my time' to be both. I'm allowing my creative side the freedom to create and dream, and my practical side just butts in during the rare moments I recognise the NEED to make a living.

Plus I thank the Universe every day for my gorgeous man and his good job, plus his total, never ending support of me, his flighty passionate wife. Support like this is very often the most important aspect of a creative's ability to function.

Having a creative space, I find, is also essential. I can leave the mundane world of dishes, dirty floors and doing our washing behind me, and walk over to my studio where everything is geared toward this beautiful life I've dreamed of since I was twelve. Stone walls, lush garden, old wares, jazz playing and me, styling. Writing. Photographing. Dreaming. Lucky enough to have physical distance between 'real' life and creativity, I can focus on one without the other coming between us.

I also have a Work Day. From ten in the morning until three in the afternoon, three days a week, I go to  the studio. Its Work. I dress for Work. I spray Chanel on myself. I put in my diamond studs, so I feel professional. I can still incorporate my pets into this work day, I can water our vegetables...but I ensure that I write. I develop an online presence. I style. I plan my week. I prepare photo shoots.
And when three o'clock comes, I turn off my laptop, switch off the lights and lock the door until ten o'clock the next morning.

I may have not changed the world in those five hours, but I have been fully engaged in the process of changing my own small part of it. And, really, isnt that how the bigger world changes? One creative, happy soul at a time?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Following Your Dreams.

Today I re-launched the little studio store of my dreams, after which this blog is named. Doing this with zero cash flow means I will have to take it super slowly, but that's okay.  While I am waiting for customers to stream in, I can write, and that too has been a dream of mine.
Living a life in which you are in total control of the directions that you take, is true freedom. Now I know that the only reason I have this freedom is down to having a partner who funds our life, and that if were not so blessed I would have to work at a job that paid me a living wage, and follow my dreams outside of those working hours.
Not everyone is as lucky as I am. However, I  do believe that if you are willing to work super hard at your dream, and continue to fund the dream by working elsewhere, until you can finally live without a 'job', then you SHOULD.

Too many people push their dreams down and end up never persuing them because they think that to do so is childish, selfish or unimportant.  But your life is being wasted unless you put some personal magic back into it. Yes,  contribute....yes, raise babies, run corporations, donate and help others, but not at your own cost!

Following your dreams will make more of your Self, and therefore adding that little bit better value to what you give out. At least, thats why I am doing it.

Friday, October 7, 2016

How To Live Like A Parisian - Lesson 1.

I gave myself a challenge last month. I would spend October, my birth month, living as a French woman does. Eating French, styling myself French, even following the same skincare regime of an average Parisian. I wanted to see if it made a difference to my life in any way. Why, you may ask?
Well, for a very long time (perhaps since reading [I]Madeline[/I], aged five) I have been fascinated by and very much in love with all that the French people 'are'. Their love of leisure, literature, food and all things delightful or delicious. The way they wander through parks. The scarves. The way their words look on a page, or on a sign. The way they speak.
Markets. Paris apartments. Cobbles, stairs, Art Nouveau architecture. The writers and artists, the philosophers and fashionistas. The rebels.
All of this set a flame alight in me, which still burns to this day.
Yet I have never traveled overseas. My terror of flight grounds me. At least, so far. However I have found a way to reveal the hidden French woman living within me, and I'd like to share my French journey with you. A series of 'How To' articles through which you too can infuse your life with some joi de vivre, as I have.
[B]Lesson 1.[/B]
[B]A French Start[/B]
 Breakfast - the daily ritual begins with a porcelain tea cup, a slice of lemon and very hot water. This kick starts your metabolism and flushes your system. You then start your day with a face cleanse, (I will elaborate on this further soon) before preparing your first meal.
It can be tartine*, pastry, or cereal with coffee or tea. (*Thick crusty toast and fruit jam). You MUST eat this sitting at a table, using your prettiest china, and preferably in a sunny spot. My chosen breakfast spot is puctured. No devices of any kind. Its the only way.
You are now set for Lesson Two. The lesson that, seriously, has changed my LIFE! See you there!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Beginner Brocanteur

Crafting this new life has started in much the same way I once treasure hunted for fun; trawling through dusty and crammed little places, searching for that one piece of discarded history that 'spoke' to me. Sometimes that voice was LOUD, and occassionally it was nothing more than a whisper, tickling at the edges of my mind....a tingle that told me there was treasure in here, hidden, forgotten in a corner.

This new life of mine, here in the country, is a real thing, a spark, already formed, but awaiting its body...and its tiny voice is telling me to keep going....not give up on my little brocante, my Garage store.

I struggle to write this blog because I am unsure still of my direction, but the tiny voice of my dream tells me to keep pushing. Thank goodness for dreams. Without them, nothing would ever be achieved.

I have been reading a lot of books by other people who also crafted their own lives...some from absolute rock bottom, others because their Dream Voice got too loud to ignore. And in those stories I see my own developing. Its exciting, but I am so impatient!  I know my skills are on point. I know my style is admired. I know its what I want my life to feel like, and look like. I know I have the support of a wonderful life partner. All that stops me is self doubt. So, I read another person's journey, continue to find things which will become part of my story and the quest for a life as a curator of the forgotten bumps along. I wonder when I will write my own "This Is How I Did It" story? Bring it on!