I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Monday 23 November 2020

Moving Day

Hello all!  Today, all being well, is the day the removal men will be here to load up my life, so I thought it was about time I shared a few pictures of the process I've been going through to pack up the craft room (and the rest of my life, but I'm guessing it's the craft room you're mostly interested in!).

I'm afraid it started from a very overloaded, cluttered state - every surface crammed full (including the floor).  Going round the room from the doorway, here's a little rotation through 360 degrees.  (There's a video too, but it doesn't have the midway stages, just the before and after, and in case you can't access it here are the photos - and remember you can always click on them for a closer look.)

And it didn't get any better if you looked upwards...  Bear in mind that quite a lot of those boxes contain my hoarded recycling - cardboard, acetate, jars, bottles, weird objects like shoe-lasts or cheeseboards picked up at car boot sales or flea markets for upcycling... so there were many times I was literally packing rubbish!

It was a long slow process, and felt overwhelming and chaotic at times, but eventually I had most things sorted into boxes.  The bulk of it had to be moved into the living room as each box was packed, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to manoeuvre in the craft room.

As you can see in the photo above, even though I was moving things out as I packed them, it still became pretty impossible to move.  Here's what I refer to as Box Mountain in the living room...

Those are the proper packing boxes, but I also used lots of wooden apple crates (which I have on the shelves anyway, on their sides, separating stamps by make, or holding tags and substrates) to pack up most of my own creations.   And of course the ones that had stamps in still have those stamps in, just the other way up.  So all those apple crates and the wooden Moppe drawers got packed and wrapped and stored back on the shelves so that I could continue to move around.

The plan is that that is how they will travel in the van - on the shelves, which gives the often fragile contents some extra protection, and also saves masses of room of course.  But obviously you can't have all the boxes piled on the shelves already... you need the shelves empty in order to load them into the van, so this was the final stage before loading day...

The box in front of the cabinet there is open for a reason.  The cabinet is pretty heavy just as a piece of furniture so I had to remove all the contents - those are just some very flat light things which I'm hoping can go back inside and travel there once the cabinet itself is loaded into the van.

But it's all pretty accessible - so if they want to start with the heavy boxes they can.  If they want to start by loading the shelves and putting all those small boxes in place they can.  It'll be like a huge 3D jigsaw.  

I'm praying the weather gods and goddesses are going to be kind.  And then of course there's the unloading and unpacking to come... but the unpacking has to be a more gradual process as the floors aren't quite ready for me to do everything.

You'll be glad to hear it's all going into a larger room at the other end!  I'll update you on progress when there's something fun to share, but if you're on Instagram you can see something of where I'm headed to, including the view from my back-door-to-be here

Right, I'm off to do the final bits and bobs.  By the time you're reading this, we should be loading up!  In the meantime, I hope you'll wish me luck and I'll see you on the other side (all being well).  Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again soon, when time allows.

I give you this to take with you: Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.
Judith Minty

Settling into a new country is like getting used to a new pair of shoes. At first they pinch a little, but you like the way they look, so you carry on. The longer you have them, the more comfortable they become. Until one day without realising it you reach a glorious plateau. Wearing those shoes is like wearing no shoes at all. The more scuffed they get, the more you love them and the more you can't imagine life without them.
Tahir Shah

Friday 20 November 2020

Inktober - the final few

Hello all!  If you fancy some really vibrant colour, don't miss my Love this Life tag trio, but for now I'm back with the last three Inktober line and wash paintings.  31 is an awkward number, but that's the number of days in October, so we're stuck with it!  As usual, I'm not going to hang around long at the top of the post.  I'll let the last few paintings speak for themselves... 

... but below that I'm sharing just a few process photos from the month so that you can see some of the different ways I went about conquering my fear of drawing. 

Day 29

Day 30 

Day 31

One of my reasons for taking up the Inktober challenge was that I'm still wary of the whole drawing thing.  I'm much more comfortable with painting.  But there was a time (and not so very long ago - only a couple of years) when making my own marks with paint was also scary and unsatisfactory, and I found my way to more confidence and more proficiency by ignoring the wobbles and just doing it... especially by doing it daily - you learn so much.

There were some days when I started out with the paints - doing a loose watercolour of whatever my subject for the day was, and often that made me so happy that I would be worried about adding the pen work in case I spoiled it.  

But the Inktober is really a drawing challenge so I made myself add the pen detailing, and more often than not I loved the result!

As the month drew on, I started to get more confident - exactly as I hoped - and in the last couple of weeks my method was to start with the drawing far more often.  And by late October I had got to the point where I enjoyed some of the drawings so much I was worried that I might spoil them by adding the paint... that's a pretty dramatic shift for me!  After the paint, I would often add a few more pen and paint details together to finish things off. 

There were still times I started with loose watercolour sketches, but now I was more confident that I would enjoy the pen stage too.

So the challenge I set myself - despite being in the early stages of sorting my life and starting to pack it up at the same time - really paid off.  And of course having that time set aside for creativity each day was one of the things which helped keep me sane through the packing process too.

I will definitely be making time for both drawing and painting in my new life - I know there's lots more to discover and new fears to conquer.  I hope to keep learning and growing and building confidence, because I'm always happiest on a learning curve!

If you'd like to see the whole progression, here are the links for Week 1, for Week 2, for Week 3, for Week 4.

I hope you are finding ways to keep learning and growing despite the chaotic times we are living through.  Thanks so much for your company on this journey and for your amazing comments on all my Inktober work - it's been really heartwarming and helpful to hear your feedback.

Thanks for stopping by today, and I'll see you again soon.  Happy crafting all!

It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover, to your surprise, that you have rendered something in its true character.
Camille Pissarro 

Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see - to see correctly - and that means a good deal more than merely looking with the eye.
Kimon Nikolaides

I'd like to join in the fun at Paint Party Friday with these - it's time for the Year 10, Week 38 Check In over there

Thursday 19 November 2020

Love this Life

Hello all!  I'm absolutely delighted to be featuring over at The Funkie Junkie Boutique Blog today with a trio of bright tags for their Celebrate theme.  They're looking for bright colours to celebrate with, and they don't come much brighter than Crackling Campfire and friends!

I'm celebrating building a whole new life in a new country, a new adventure, and the ongoing creative journey I'm on. (Hopefully the celebrations are not premature - moving date is Monday 23rd November, and then I fly the next day - keep your fingers crossed for me!)

So yes, there's Crackling Campfire and Rusty Hinge in that wrinkle-free distress background and there's some Speckled Egg and Stormy Sky Oxide splotching around too.

I think there's Seedless Preserves and maybe some Ripe Persimmon too (and don't tell anyone, but there are definitely some browns tucked away in there too... but you have to have the earth beneath your feet if you're going to find the traction to take off, don't you?!).  

I was really just playing with lots of bright colours, not paying attention particularly but following instinct, so I'm afraid that list might not be comprehensive.  But I do know that if I'm going to celebrate I'll be reaching for my favourite Lin Brown grass stamp by PaperArtsy.

It's stamped in brown for a shadow effect (again, if the light is bright, there are always going to be shadows) and then stamped and embossed in Bright White (there you go, back to the brights) in a slightly different position on each tag.

The Quote Chips are full of positivity and celebration, mantras for the journey ahead, and some of them I need to deploy before I even get there.  I've definitely needed bravery to make this decision, and to pack up the craft room.  

Well, it's either courage or foolhardiness!  In any case, there will hopefully be plenty to celebrate eventually, though I'd be lying if I said the path has been entirely smooth so far, or that it's looking entirely smooth immediately ahead.

But everything worthwhile in life requires some hard work, and I'm ready for the next challenges and ready to celebrate each accomplishment as I tick them off.  Packing is almost done.  Loading next.  Then travelling.  Then unloading.  Then - gradually and once the floors are down - unpacking and sorting.  Then living and creating and exploring and growing and learning... those are all the really good bits and well worth celebrating.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and thank you to Cec and the amazing team at The Funkie Junkie Boutique Blog for rewarding my fall foliage watercolours with the honour of a guest spot.  I hope you'll be inspired to create something in bright colours to celebrate whatever you need to celebrate and share it in the Celebrate challenge over the coming week.

Happy crafting all!

Whichever season you’re in, rejoice and celebrate your life as you might not experience it twice.
Joan Ambu