Monday, 12 January 2015

Pom-Pom Blooms

I begin this post with an explanation.  I feel like writing about how my life has shifted somewhat since hearing about the tragic news of Vanessa's passing.  As if I have been hit with a brick, I am suddenley accutely aware that time is passing, that life is fragile.  And I have been seizing the day so to speak, I have been choosing to do things that I have put off, I have been immersing myself in small creative moments that are bringing huge amounts of pleasure.

Last night, I took down the big polystyrene wreath that was half adorned with colourful pom-poms  (carefully taking out all the pins) and put them on the floor.  What a beautiful sight! So jolly and bright, and such a shame for them to sit on top of the cupboard, attached to that sad, half finished wreath that wouldn't see the light of day again until at least November.  We started this project before Christmas, my daughter and I, but sadly time got the better of us, and I think we also ran out of steam a little on the pom-pom making front so it was never completed

Last week whilst out shopping, I had randomly picked up a copy of Landscape Magazine, because there was an article about Cornwall in it, and a photograph of The Driftwood Spars in St Agnes, with a view of the sea beyond which caught my eye, and made me catch my breath, and so I went and bought it.  I say 'randomly' because I have perhaps only ever bought this particular magazine once before; I tend to buy interiors magazines if I'm splurging.  Anyway, once home I poured myself a hot cuppa and settled down to have a read - and what a lovely magazine it is too!  It was here that I stumbled across a tutorial for making pom-pom blooms, and of course this idea percolated for a day or so until I found myself with a spare half hour in which to have a go at making some.

They are ridiculously easy and quick to make - I simply wound a length of wool around the centre of all my pom-poms and tied them to some old twigs I had stashed away (I think they last made an appearance as an Easter decoration in a jug).  And now, I have three glorious glass bottles, ablaze with delightful balls of woolly colour!

Here are a couple on the table, cheering me up whilst I work!

It's a rather miserable day here, with feisty winds and turbulent grey skies, so these bright blooms are just the ticket to lift the spirits!

I am also making great headway with a crochet WIP which I've had on the go for almost two years now.  I'm finally on the edging, which is an exciting moment in itself as it signifies the end is near.  This blanket is going to be for my daughter.

After this, I hope to finish my shawl and two other blankets that I've got on the go.  It is my intention to infuse life with a little creative time, to help me unwind and relax at the end of every day.  I realise many of you do this as a matter of course, but I am afraid to say I have neglected my hooks for a long while now, and it's time to make amends.

I am also getting back into the swing of painting after a long, and busy Christmas holiday.  I have a couple of commissions on the horizon, as well as some work to do for some greetings card companies, so I'm keeping very busy.

I also have a new Offers section in my gallery shop, which is where I am now selling some of my original artwork at more affordable prices.  I have decided I need to make some space in my tiny house for new work which has to be done and dearly hope these lovely paintings will eventually find lovely new homes to go to!  You are welcome to take a look at the paintings available here.

Believe it or not, I'm currently painting robins! It's a fickle thing this illustrator's calendar, as we work against the seasons, painting Christmassy things in winter and spring, and easter chicks in autumn!  Once these are done, I am hoping to start work on some new small paintings, which I will keep you posted about here.

Have a lovely week all of you, thank you for coming to see me today xxx

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Vanessa Cabban

Happy New Year friends!

This year begins with a mixture of feelings.  Firstly, I must confess I am rather glad that Christmas is out of the way.  I was relieved to take the trimmings down and return to normal.  I miss the twinkly lights, but I don't miss the clutter or the piles of chocolate and shortbread we accumulated.  I feel better eating a bit less now, and have decided to try and get 2015 off to a healthy start.  Not so much a diet, no - they really don't work for me, but just to take time to listen to what my body really wants, and to eat as seasonally as I possibly can.

The children returned to school yesterday, and that was another thing that I felt glad about.  Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed the holidays and spending lots of time with my family, but I also relish my solitary time alone, my little routines, where I create, write and dream.  I like to pootle about, I like my space and as much as I love my family, I like being by myself too.

I mentioned that the year began with a mixture of feelings.  One of these feelings was sadness, and this was upon hearing the news that artist and illustrator, Vanessa Cabban had died.  She was involved in a tragic accident aged just 43.

I had never met Vanessa in real life, but got to know a bit about her through her colourful blog 'Do You Mind If I Knit', and her wonderfully illustrated children's books which my daughter and I enjoyed reading together.  Vanessa painted a picture of a life full of crochet, knitting, art, her home in Northumberland and her dogs.  It was wonderfully inspiring and I enjoyed visiting her blog, where I would dawdle a while, absorbing her whimsical and gentle words and feeling uplifted and inspired by her works in progress.

Vanessa was two years older than me, and I felt very shocked and sad to hear that she had died.  How is it that the death of someone we have never physically met can create such powerful emotions in us? Through her blog, I (along with many others) felt as if I knew a little of her, she felt like a friend.   As she wrote her posts, so her life unfolded in colourful pictures.  Through the world of blogging we connect with others in ways we don't realise.  Today, two weeks since she died, I still find myself visiting her blog, and feeling a sense of loss that I can't comprehend.  My heart goes out to those who knew her personally, her family and her friends.  I hope in some small way, she knew how much she touched people's lives.

(pictures (c) Vanessa Cabban) 

I feel a keen sense of the fragility of everything at the moment, and I decide that I am going to make some changes.  I see how I squander time - time that is irreplaceable, but for which I have taken for granted.  I am going to do something creative every day - to be more aware of looking for things to be happy about.  I think counting our blessings is a wonderful end to anyone's day, and so I intend to think of at least three things each night before I go to sleep, and to practice being grateful for everything I can be, do or have.
I feel the need to squeeze as much joy out of this one glorious life as is possible.  Each day is a wonderful gift, and one I intend to treasure.

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