Monthly Archives: May 2013

Writing and fears

A while back I listened to a webiner about business and how to promote yourself and your art online. One person spoke about how search engines are now looking at blogs more and how it is important to have a detailed description about the piece of art or product and to tell a story of how it came about. Well as you can imagine I haven’t completed this task yet. I think I wrote a list of the paintings that I would like to write about but that was as far as I got. I have started to write more and I am almost enjoying it. I really want to change how I feel about writing, I have been making more of an effort to write on my blog. I write more comments within the Facebook groups that I am members of and I now have a few pen-pals. This is all helping me face my fears of writing. ‘The more you practise, the better you get’ however I am one of those people who thinks that I should be good before I have even tried! So over the next few weeks/months I am going to write a description/story about my artwork that is for sale in my shop.

Chelsea Physic Garden

While on my staycation back in May, I woke up one morning and decided to head off to the Chelsea Physic Garden.The weather was bright and blue skies perfect for walking around a garden. It is a place that I have wanted to visit for a while but one that I always forget about. Visiting the Garden links well to the AC. The garden was founded in 1673 by the Society of Apothecaries of London, so the apprentices could learn to grow and study plants. The gardens have a long history but has only been open to the public for the last 30 years. It is home to over 3000 plants. While I was there I spotted Black Birds, a Robin, Blue tits, Crows, a Squirrel, Seagulls and Parakeets. I saw a number of butterflies one being a little blue one. I also sat and listened to a little Blue tit singing its song. The layout of of the garden has given me some ideas for the future; I can’t wait to have a garden so we can grow herbs and vegetables. The food in the Tangerine Dream Café was delicious, I had a couscous mix with fig and pomegranate and a courgette and feta cheese salad. It was so yum.

Chelsea Physic Garden

Chelsea Physic Garden

Manifesting Abundance

My Abundance altar

The start of this month saw the start of the “Manifesting Abundance” with Laura Emily from the Apothecary Circle. It is all about getting your finances in order; so you have control of them and they don’t have control of you. I received my loan deferral pack from the student loan company on the same day, every year without fail I return the paperwork late, every year I think I could of paid it off by now, why the heck didn’t I start by paying off xxx amount each year. Every year I look at it and ask myself was going to art college really worth it, would I be in the same position now had I not gone. Each year I say I will pay it off each month. Each year I say I should be earning way more than I do…I completed my BA 13 years ago!! Just seeing that has made me realise I should have paid it back by now.

I have never struggled with money. I put myself through Art College and I also did two years to gain an MA in Contemporary Craft. To this day I have no idea how I did it, I have always had enough money to get by. When I left college I had no idea what to do next! I hadn’t thought beyond my degree show. I can remember to this day being sat on the sofa in no.4 with the yellow door with my friend talking about what to do next; when reality struck me like a slap in the face, “Shit, now I need to live in the real world, I need to get a job.” So that afternoon I popped into a gallery and asked if they needed anyone and low and behold they did! So I worked there for five years, two of those years I worked part-time while completing an MA. Every since then I have worked, apart from a couple of blips and the year we took off when we spent four month in New Zealand and then house sat for the in-laws while they travelled. I would love to earn a living from my art but as yet I have not put in enough effort in to make this happen. I have decided that any sales I make form my artwork will be going towards paying off the loan.
I think I have a good relationship with money, I am good at budgeting and never over spend. I hate to say it but I would like more, I feel a little guilty saying that. I do have enough each month but if I had more I could pay off the loan quicker, and give more to the charities that are close to my heart. I would love to pay my loan off in the next year, watch this space the universe works in wondrous ways.  

Heat Tool

At the beginning of April I purchased the most amazing tool ever. It was sold as a tool that burns wood ‘Pyrography Wood burning Tool Pyromaster Dual Heat’ I bought it from Antex.  It came with 18 different tips. It has other uses apart from making marks on wood. Some of the tips can be used for cutting and bonding synthetic fabric; this is really useful as it stops the fabric from fraying as the heat melts and bonds the fibres together. I have used it to etch photographs, this is really effective and gives the photography a completely new look. I am also going to try printing with an etched photograph as I feel the etching is deep enough to leave a mark on the gelli-plate. Watch this space…

But my all time favourite thing I can do with the heat tool is cut stencils!!! I use acetate/transparency film to make my stencils. I would normally use a craft knife to cut the design out but after a short while it would hurt my finger, using this heat heat tool it makes it so much easier and I can’t believe how much quicker it is too. I am so pleased with it. I am sure I will find other uses for it!

Creating new habits

I find it hard to start and keep new habits. It is east to break good habits but starting ‘good’ habits is difficult. I gave up chewing gum on the winter solstice, must days after lunch I would still like a piece but instead I have a mint that doesn’t contain all the yucky chemicals that are in chewing gum. At the beginning of the year in the Apothecary Circle we did a water challenge. One thing involved was doing a morning flush; drinking down a big glass of water before anything else, sometimes I take it with a slice of lemon and always slightly warm water. I have continued this habit for over four months and I can’t see a reasons to stop. 
A section of my latest painting in progress
My most recent habit is getting up at 6am and being creative for an hour. I have found it works best if I think about what I am going to do the night before and have stuff out and ready, so I can just start and not have to think about what it is I am going to do. I have joined Leo Babauta at Zen Habits Sea Change programme. The best way to start a new habit is to have a trigger. The trigger for drinking my daily flush is getting up and putting the kettle on. The trigger for being creative is making a cup of tea and sitting at my desk. I think the idea of a trigger is a really good idea to form habits. Another trigger I have is when I am waiting for someone I get out my sketchbook and have a doodle. It relaxes me and makes waiting less of a pain.    

Birthday

It was my birthday last week! I had great plans on my birthday eve to cleanse and tidy my desk, sort out various piles of stuff on our coffee table, reflect on the past year, list my achievements and take an oracle cards for the year ahead. That evening I came home from work did a bit of housework and got a head ache and felt completely exhausted…So as yet I have not done any of those things. Sometimes it can be frustrating/annoying how life snowballs around you and you still have the same important task to do that you started with at the beginning of the year/month/week. I have been on holiday for a week having a staycation I thought I would be able to cross these things off my list but other things have come along and jumped them down the list. My list always gets longer rather than shorter… However for my birthday we did cross one thing off my list and that was to go up the Shard, if you even get the chance to go, do it it is well worth it.
We went to the top!
    

Sacred Space (part 2)

The next part of sacred space involved removing unwanted chemicals from your daily routine. I have already swapped my regular surface cleaner for one that I make myself. Here is the recipe –

1 teaspoon borax

500ml of warm water

2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar

½ teaspoon natural liquid dishwashing soap

10 drops lavender EO

5 drops rosemary EO

Combine the borax and the water in a spray bottle shake well. Then add all other ingredients, shake again. Spray on the countertops and wipe clean with a cloth. This recipe I use came from the following book ‘1001 Natural Remedies’ by Laurel Vukovi  

I love the smell of the lavender, It makes it a pleasure to use. I would also really like to try these soap nuts for our washing. I have stopped using shampoo to wash my hair and now use Bicarbonate of soda. I make the Bicarb into a paste and rub it into my hair, rinse with warm water and then a rinse of ACV and one more rinse of warm water. I have found that my curls are more defined apart from my grey streak at the front that has a mind of its own! I am planning on making face cream and body lotion, I have not looked for a recipe yet but I am sure if I ask over at the AC one of the members would suggest a good recipe, there may already be something listed. There are a lot of recipes being shared from lip-balm to dishwashing soap. It is a great place to pick up tips and ideas. I am so grateful for being part of the AC.  

Sacred Space (part 1)

Opps I found this in my notebook and realised that I had not posted it! In the AC there are three sacred space projects, the first part was to clear out any unwanted stuff. I find this hard to do as I always think “that will come in handy one day”. I also buy art equipment whenever I get the chance! It wouldn’t matter so much if I was prolific at creating artworks but I’m not. I have loads of paint and now I have finally found my favourite brand the others don’t get a look in and don’t ever get used.  I have a box of paper that never gets used because it is too nice…although after realising that was why I never use it, it is now going to get used. I have a box of bits and pieces that looks as if the bin has been emptied into it but this is all my textures that I use for monoprinting. These scraps get used all the time and my all time favourite piece is the cardboard sheaf that is used to protect your hand when carrying a cup of tea, it is from ‘Prêt Mange’. I also love fruit nets!
Scraps
Books are another problem…I have some that I haven’t looked at since we moved back to London (3.5 years ago) but when I pick them up to give away I can’t. I did manage to get rid of some that I had never used or not looked at in ten years. These went off to the charity shop. I never keep any novels as I know I will never read the same one twice and the ones I normally buy were purchased from a charity shop anyway!
All in all I found this quite difficult, it was suggested that we did a foot a day. I did sort though my stuff and ended up with more than a box full to give to charity. I also think this is going to be an ongoing thing because some days it is easier than others. I also need to be mindful of what I bring into our flat, as we don’t have much room.Follow my blog with Bloglovin

April Photo A Day

Here is the round up of April, still not quite a photo a day, but oh well… I enjoyed the freedom of having no list to follow and I didn’t feel as if there was the pressure there to take a photo everyday. I just took one when I had the opportunity, something that would remind me of that day.

Yesterday was my birthday and for a special treat, my husband took me into London for the day and we went up the Shard. This is thee view! It was amazing up there and I would recommend it if you ever get the chance, I couldn’t believe just how far you could see.