Wednesday, 15 July 2015

SUMMER... LISTED

My friend Eileen, over at 'In my Playroom' is looking forward to a long stretch of holiday and listed some of the things she plans to do in this time.  Now like Eileen, I love a list or two!  Writing things down can help me keep focus and to achieve the things I want to do.  And so I am taking Eileen's idea and making my own list. Some of these are already organised and others are things started or that I want to do before the summer is over.  So, here goes:

  • Visit ''That's Crafty' and 'Tiger' with my friend Jill (that's planned for tomorrow so I'm not wasting time getting started!)
  • Visit Mersea Island and have lunch at The Company Shed (Friday)
  • Go back to Mersea Island for a visit to The Packing Shed. It's only accessible by boat and open on occasional days.
  • Have an eye test (not so exciting but necessary)
  • Go to The Poetry Library at the South Bank and meet an online friend who is visiting from Denmark
  • Go on a craft retreat - 3 days of blissful creating and good company
  • Run a Hand Made Book Workshop (maybe more than one if people are not on holiday)
  • Enjoy a 4 day visit to Stonehenge in the camper. While there I am meeting Eileen, who came up with the idea of this list. Our first meeting and I'm looking forward to it!
  • Visit Bernice, another blog friend. We are booked on a four day workshop together where we will learn printing techniques and complete a art book. Looking forward to this time together!
  • Visit The Festival of Quilt Show at NEC Birmingham, also with Bernice.
  • A visit to a local Abbey for their open gardens.
  • Go camping in the forest with my daughter and three grand daughters. What fun we have planned!
  • Attend a four day 'Lost and Found' workshop with Alice Fox.  I'll be learning how to stain fabric and paper with rust and then make a book. I need to find a nearby campsite as it is too far to travel each day from home.
  • Plan workshops for the coming months....
  • Plan a trip to Edinburgh.  I have a fun weekend planned with Rachel Hazell (The Travelling Book Binder) and will be meeting other friends I have made through the Paperlove online course.
  • While in Edinburgh I hope to meet up with Helena.  The idea has already been discussed, plans will be made nearer the time.
  • Make use of my RHS season ticket
  • Finish decluttering and organising my craft space so that I can find things more easily!
  • Get ahead with Design Team projects so I do not have a rush to complete it on time each month. 
  • Arrange play dates with friends.
  • Have my youngest grand daughter over - she is eager to do some crafts and it will be nice to have some special time with her.
  • Make birthday cards. I have lots of special family celebrations coming up.
  • Read blogs more regularly! I have got out of the routine due to pressure on time and need to prioritise this as it is something I enjoy. Very much.
  • Get back to posting 'A week in Photos' as part of my Project 365.  This was interrupted when I went to the Shetland Islands and I planned to do retrospective posts but felt overwhelmed. I will simply start from where I am rather than backtrack.
  • Complete the Summer Scavenger Hunt.  Most of the photos are ticked... just a couple left on the list.
  • Clear my wardrobe. I am bored with the pile of clothes I never wear and need to make space for ones I do.
  • Read books - lots of them! I always have a reading book on the go but often dip into other books for creative ideas in between.
  • Plan a visit to Ingatestone Hall with my niece.
  • Finish creating two PhotoBox books.  I have already paid extra to extend the time.  Twice.  Now PhotoBox have made another 75% off offer.  It is too good a bargain to miss and I have other books I want to create. Urgh!!!
  • Plan online courses. I keep talking about it and not doing. I at least want some ideas on paper to start the action.
  • Organise another Junk Journal Swap. It is nearly a year ago that I did my first and it was such fun. Time to plan another!
  • Finalise plans for workshops next year, one at a museum and one at a garden that is open to the public.
  • Go for walks...
  • Continue my Tree Following project where I take photos of 2  trees each month.
  • Cook... I love baking and trying new recipes. I have invited family to dinner and need to set a date.
  • Get out into the garden.  Area's need redesigning and attention.
  • Finish painting my cabin.  I want to repaint the door and windows in a different colour.
  • Tidy.... make space....  donate to charity and sell others items I no longer want.  Make a difference rather than just move things from one place to another.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Complete Index Card A Day.  I started this in June, with a group of online friends, and plan to continue through July. I am a few days behind but will catch up tomorrow. We share on our fb page.
  • Get back into writing morning pages. I have got out of the routine and know the benefits.
  • Plan Artist Dates - and go on them!
  • Refocus on being more healthy - it's such a bind when you enjoy food and cooking, as I do!
  • Go sailing. Hopefully.  I know someone with a boat and he has invited me to go out. When he is quieter. Everyone wants to sail this time of year.
I'm going to stop there because my list is growing too long. It is realistic because lots of these things are in progress or planned but I need to keep a head of myself so that everything comes together.  So, I am looking forward to lots of exciting things and also need to do some of the dreary but necessary. I hope your own summer has good things in store and thanks to Eileen for inspiring me to write my own list. I didn't think it would be this long!!


Looking forward to blue skies, and sunny days by the river.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

CELEBRATING ONE YEAR OF 'LIFE AFTER WORK'

On this day, one year ago, I officially gave up full time employment and a professional role.  I still wake each morning counting my blessings and the year has fulfilled my dreams and more.  Yes, there are things I miss....  some of the people I worked with, the satisfaction and sense of achievement when things went well. Even the adrenalin rushes.  Because sometimes it was like being a drug addict without the drugs and the highs could be incredible. But the flip side was the pressure and intensity of the work. It could be stressful and the daily commute was a drudge. The down side is something I do not miss. Not at all.

Looking back to my post, one year ago, I could not have foreseen what lay ahead, and if I had I would have been truly excited. Probably even more than I already was!  I continue to run regular  book making workshops, which I love, and set up a fb page. And I became a member of a Design Team over at That Craft Place. There have been so many adventures and exciting happenings, too many to mention. So a huge, huge thank you to everyone who has been part of this journey.... believed in me... encouraged me.... and supported me.  Life after work has been everything I hoped it would be and so much more.


But one thing that has gone adrift is time visiting blogs... not because I have more important things to do (certainly not!) but recently I have been occupied by other things.  Things that put perspective on life, such as the sudden loss of a friend.  She was a great crafter and had a huge amount of materials.  I offered to help her family as I knew that others continuing to enjoy these things would make my friend happy as well as ease some of the worry for her family about what to do with it all. I am slowly recovering space and time and it has eased my own sense of loss, knowing that I have done the best I can in an awful situation.  And it has made me realise how much 'stuff' I have too, but I am not thinking about what will happen to mine one day.  No.  Life is for living fully and if you are thinking about big decisions and your dreams listen to your intuition and take calculated risks. I'm glad that I did. 
And I will be catching up on blog visits very soon! 
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