Neeeeearly Christmas… An Advent Calendar most wondrous to behold. Or something.

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Ermagerd, it’s Decermber – that snuck up on me :/ The conversation in our house on the evening the 30th Nov went a bit like this:
Supergirl: Oh wow, it’s the 1st of December tomorrow! Do we have Advent calendars?
Wonderboy: They’re parents, of course they’ll have Advent calendars, you’ll see. Do we?
Me, out loud: Maaaaybe *secret smile*
Me, in my head: SHITSHITSHITSHITSHIT

Anyway,

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Upcycled snuggly patchwork blanket

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In the spirit of clearing out clutter and making our house all nice for Christmas, I finally (about four years after I stashed them there) pulled out the pile of old/outgrown/accidentally felted woollen jumpers from under my desk. So snuggly, and so useless, and so bulky – ugh. I cut them into large squares, along with a couple of charity shop scarves I’d got

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Elephants at the Edge

pink elephant

It’s funny when I hear people talking about how ‘storytelling is dead’, or maybe, ‘storytelling is “the dawn of a new creative movement”, when in fact, it’s as old as humanity, and has never gone out of fashion. This summer saw the 24th storytelling Festival at the Edge, in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, and I was invited to take along my crafting skills and weave some crafty-story magic.

I know, sounds amazing right? It’s just

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A Just-Past-Midsummer Night’s Dream

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Fellow crafters and creatives, here’s a question: do you have a stash of ‘craft/art supplies’ that you swear you’ll find a use for one day? A big pile of boxes or bags or just stuff, filled with shiny things, pretty things, useful things, things to be made into other things? Do you? Will you ever use them? Will you? Really?

Yeah, I know, you don’t have to answer

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Imaginations running wild

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We did it!  We maked a shop! So, last weekend (Midsummer) was DNweekeND – Doncaster’s free festival.  There was a LOT of fun going on, all across town, in empty shops, town squares, and all over the place.  But for our part, the great Dr de Cleyre and myself – masketeer Abigail Emilia – transformed “Unit 24, Waterdale” into the “Imaginarium of Wonder, Wyrdness, and Curious Tales”, with just

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How to build an Imaginarium

Close up of two chicken figures, one wearing a bow tie, the other a lace veil. Of course.

There are great things brewing here, make no mistake. For Dr De Cleyre’s Imaginarium of Wonderment is taking shape…

Curiously pitted lump of volcanic rock
… just appeared all over the top meadow! Honestly I have NO idea…

I’m very excited to have been given the chance to work with storyteller fantastique Tim Ralphs, and bringer-together-of-things superbe Warren Draper, to fill an empty shop in Doncaster with the most amazing and gasp-inducing … stuff.  Together, this coming Midsummer weekend, we’re creating an Imaginarium of Wyrdness, Wonder and Curious Tales, in which I will show people how to make their own masks, and Tim, er sorry, Dr De Cleyre will be beguiling and entertaining all comers with tales of his travels and the mysterious objects he has collected upon the way.

Row of brightly coloured fox masks, and a piano accordion
Yeah, and you know what it’s like when *that* lot are in town…

 

Weird stuff in jars - cuttlefish beak, rat skull, bits of lung
… and this was all they ever found of him. Tragic.

It is an utter delight to work with Tim and Warren, and they are awesome people to bounce creative ideas off.  Right now I’m still making masks, putting things in jars of vinegar, and tying on labels.  There are walls to be covered, paintings to be painted, and plenty more to keep my idle hands busy before we open up on Friday.

Dr De Cleyre’s Imaginarium is part of DNweekeND – Doncaster’s free festival – and can be found (betwixt British Heart Foundation and Iceland) in the Waterdale Centre, Doncaster.  Open on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday.  Full details, and more information about the huge wealth of amazingness happening right across town, can be found on the Right Up Our Street website.  Plus I’m sure I will be tweeting about all the last minute preparations, so follow me on Twitter for pics and links as they come in. I hope you feel teased to come along and see…

And if you’re still unsure, and you’re wondering about the chickens, take five more of your earth minutes to listen to this enchanting tale told by Dr de Cleyre himself…

We’ll see you there… 😉

Welcome to my new website! This is how I got here…

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Hallo you gorgeous things, and welcome to my shiny new website! Do you like it? I’m pretty gosh darned pleased with what the fabulous team at Nobody on Fire have come up with, but now that it’s down to me to maintain it, I’m all ears if you have any suggestions for improvement.

This site is the result of over a year of working and learning and growing, myself and my business, to get to the point where I was ready to launch into the wide blue yonder and really believe in what I do. I didn’t do it alone, I couldn’t have done.  I think trying to go it alone has been what’s held me back for so long.  My first butt-kicker (in the nicest and pinkest possible way) was Gala Darling.  Her Radical Self Love e-course (Dare Dream Do) got me believing in myself and my art again.

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Radical Self Love even got me posting daft selfies on Instagram. Hmm.

So when I found out about Leonie Dawson‘s Shining Year book, I was in the right place to take up that challenge and get moving.  And wow, it’s been brilliant, I cannot recommend it enough (as you can tell, because this isn’t the first time I’ve done so!). And she led me to Jennifer Lee and her Right Brainers in Business annual video summit, which then led me to an enormous wealth of amazingness and inspiration which I’m still working through. And then I read Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking, which is Truly Most Excellent. Phew!

'Meet Amanda Palmer' sign outside Waterstones bookshop
I totally did. My book is now signed. Squeee!

 

I’m telling you all that because I want you to go and check these people out, and see if they can help or inspire you in your turn. Maybe, maybe not, but it is the human prerogative to point and show when we see something we like (no really, it is – as far as we know no other animal does it, yet human babies do it as soon as they can control their fingers), so *POINT* look at these shiny things!

Close up of two chicken figures, one wearing a bow tie, the other a lace veil. Of course.
Philomena and Count Emil. You’ll see.

So, anyway, here we all are. I have some really exciting projects lined up for the summer, and I can’t wait to share them with you – I promise there will be lots of pretty pictures 🙂  In the meantime though, off you go and check out those links 🙂  Especially Gala Darling, because she is glorious.

 

Things to do, people to see! How I’m planning to kick 2015’s butt.

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What are you going to do with yourself this year? We’re halfway through January, hands up who has a plan…

I have tried so hard, on so many occasions, to Get My Shit Together, and back in December I decided to stop trying to pull myself up by my own shoestrings (laces, bootstraps, whatever you call them) and get some help.  Not boring, corporate, pull-yourself-together ‘self help’ books, or well-meaning ‘this amazing woman manages four children, her elderly parents, her own law business, a petting zoo and a homeless charity – she’ll show you how you can too!’ websites (gods, do they make you sick? They make me sick) – no, I wanted something more… me. Check this out. I mean seriously, Check. This. Out.

2014v2-buy-table-printed-headerPretty hippy, yeah? Perfect. And let me tell you, it is uh-maze-ing. I love it!  Check out Leonie’s website for more about her, and about how this workbook works.  I spent the Christmas hols curled up with this book and a stack of coloured pens, and I worked out what had gone right, and wrong, in 2014.  What I wanted to carry forwards, and what I wanted to leave behind. I scribbled and drew and coloured in, and I now know what I need to do this year, what I want to do this year, and how I can make those things happen in Real Life. And I am planning my week in advance, which means it’s easier to stick to (I woke up in a fug this morning, but have still completed all my to-dos because I didn’t have to think about what they were, I just did as past-me told me to 🙂 )

This covers my business (woohoo!) and just life (again, woohoo!), and makes sure you stop to review how you’re doing at the end of every month. It’s like a gorgeous rainbow kick up the arse. Or something.  So far this year, having and *using* this book has meant I have regular space in my diary for fun stuff (what luxury!), I have signed up to learn Danish (having spent the last four+ years meaning to do so), I have submitted “art” to an exhibition (as opposed to leaving the browser tab open to remind me, until such time as I can close it again because I’ve missed the deadline), and hey look at me! I’m writing a blog post!

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My “100 Things To Do In 2015” is great, because I’ve never set myself such a challenge before – I usually just think ‘oh that’d be nice, one day’ and never do it. I’m only up to 58 so far, but that’s OK, I’m sure I’ll think of more. It ranges from ‘Take my daughter to Copenhagen’ to ‘Drink a White Russian’ (because Dude) to ‘Clean the damn windows’, but I’m really looking forward to having fun with it 🙂  Go on, what would you put on such a list?

Pretty pictures

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Happy 2015 everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas/festive period. Winter isn’t over yet, not by a long way, so I thought to cheer you up in these cold months I would encourage you to come and follow me on Instagram, where I promise to post lots of nice pictures of Stuff for you to look at.  Brainpower not required, just eyes to look at pretty things with.

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Sparkly messy bookshelf. I love Christmas 🙂

Not-so-happy Monday

Snow Angels!

Well I got a nasty surprise last week, when I checked my stock and found that the mildew we’ve been fighting round the house had got inside a sealed plastic box and taken up residence on my embroideries. And all my sock monsters smell damp, too 🙁  So, that knocks any Christmas fairs on the head, unless I get a run of extra hours and manage to go on a mad making binge. But, things can be washed, and reframed, so it’s not a total disaster. Sigh.

On the up side, I have a batch of Christmas decorations all ready to go up on Etsy. I’ll keep you posted 🙂