bringing a bit of crafty and colourful joy

Pattern and process; making and meditation.

My very earliest memory is fleeting and hazy like a dream…. I was stood by a front door and my big brother was turning to walk away down the hall…. but the most vivid part of the memory is as clear as day, the pattern on his little sleeveless jumper…. it was navy blue with pinkish purple vertical rectangles that kind of over lapped and blended in together (a bit like the upholstery on old-school bus seats)…. I must have been two or three and thirty odd years on I can picture it like it was here in front of me.

Over the years I can remember lots of patterns that have stuck firmly in my mind…. clothes I had as a child, my turquoise, insanely intricate childhood bedroom carpet, my therapist’s carpet,…. in fact a heck of a lot of carpets! and remembering these patterns takes me briefly into emotions that I experienced at the time…. and it seems the more complex or difficult the emotions, the more vivid and detailed the memory of the pattern.

I’ve often wondered if that’s what draws people to retro and vintage objects… that they evoke emotions experienced in times past…. sometimes comforting, sometimes painful, but all part of our personal process.

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Buddhist mandalas are used as a way of meditating and focusing the mind…. either in creating them or looking at them…. and I wonder if we use other patterns in the same way without ever realising it….. the lines and colours, the shapes and repetition give our senses something to focus on and some grounding that allows our emotions to wander contained.

Who’d have thought that a bit of Hornsea pottery on your kitchen table would help you manage your feelings whilst being told off for not eating your greens!? But I think it probably did…..

Recently I bought a job lot of old Swedish tapestries…. I know the old lady that I bought them from had a huge collection, but I don’t know if she made them all herself or for how long she had them….. her daughter was selling them for her as she was moving into a care home…. and when I look at them I wonder what the daughter’s relationship to them was…. were they like familiar old friends that had been there as she had grown up…..

and when I think about all the work that went into each one (I bought five,,, but there were many more) I wonder what processes each tapestry saw through with their maker…. what feelings were given a space a wander while each stitch came together and what comfort was drawn from the repetition of the stitch, of the pattern and in the final sigh when the piece was finished.

I hope that I can give these tapestries the home they deserve and I wonder what processes they will see me through when my eyes rest on them hanging there.

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happy new things

I don’t really celebrate New Year… not because I’m miserable… although there have been years when New Year’s Eve has been very miserable… but I came to a realisation that things can be new whenever you like.
New Year for me has just came to mean a new diary for work and a new calendar on the kitchen wall with a bigger number on them…. the rest is open to personal interpretation.
The result of this has been no great expectations, no regret and no more miserable New Year’s Eves… and a greater appreciation that every single moment is new, right now is new and that’s pretty exciting I think.

Then this year I came across this illustrated video and it got me thinking….
it’s been a while since I made any resolutions or set myself any goals… but this inspired me to make one.
One very general (therefore open to interpretation!) resolution… to take good care of myself….
and this is my first step towards that resolution….

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a breakfast smoothie every day full of good things:
1 banana (good for mood)
Quarter cup of oat bran (lowers cholesterol
1 cup almond milk (good fats, omega 3)
1tbsp honey
1tsp ground cinnamon (honey and cinnamon together are believed to be good in easing arthritis, preventing cancer and all sorts of other good things)

And just having a decent, quick breakfast and a little morning routine has to be good right?

Despite my dislike of bananas and a general aversion to breakfast, this seems pretty good so far and I’m enjoying it…. I might try and think of a few variations to keep me interested….

Onwards and upwards! And a Happy New Year to you?

Sunday. sunday

as a child I always thought that Sundays were kind of boring…… looking back I now see them as a time when we could be who we really were as a family….. a day without the pressures of the week, a day where you get to do whatever it is that you really do…

childhood Sundays were chapel in the morning with mum, roast dinner cooked by mum and dad together and in the afternoon the dreaded piano lessons (or a good hour of crying and sulking as they often turned out in my case :) I never have quite mastered the frustration that comes with learning something tricky and new!) or pottering in the garden or an afternoon out at a little old school railway in the Dales……

The sound of The Antiques Roadshow theme tune always makes me feel a nostalgic safeness of those family Sundays…. but slightly tinged with anxiety as that meant you really HAD to get that homework finally done if you were ever going to do it at all!

Today that hasn’t changed, I’m always running about last thing on a Sunday trying to get washing done, work bag packed and that hoovering that I’ve put off for the whole weekend.

Sundays are a lovely window in the week to slow down and savour what is really important, to stop and smell the roses and enjoy who you are.

Happy Sunday…. enjoy!

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Fogcutter

Thinking more about the future of my little kitchen, I came across these beauties

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and was reminded of my old friend D who has been making furniture and things out of reclaimed wood and fixtures for years…

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…. gorgeous!

He has recently started taking commissions and has even made a beautiful little timber birthday card

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I just love it!

Known as Fogcutter, you can find out more about him on his website
Maybe I can incorporate some of this beautiful reclaimed style into my little kitchen…

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or imagine a whole kitchen…. Ooooh!

Kitchen drama

Last weekend I discovered a leak and the damage caused in my little kitchen…
soaked plasterboard, tiles falling off, cabinets and work top going mouldy…. the whole thing smells nasty now… not good at all….. waaaahhh! :(
But flipping the situation into something positive, this means that I have to, finally, do something about the little kitchen…. it’s ok, it does it’s job, but I’ve never really liked it…..
Something like this however!

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Or this

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would be lovely :)
Back in the real world, I’m trying to think of what to do with the little space…

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I’m thinking soft green and cream and wood…

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and characterful, not shiny, new, off-the-peg kitchens…..
I have got one of these old farmhouse tables….

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It came from the farm cottage where Daddy B grew up, it was the old school version of a work top… a kitchen side table used for working on… I’ve been using it as a desk for years after stripping it.
I could use it as a replacement for the damaged unit… hmmm….
and I’m loving these shelves….

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a nice place to display lots of lovely bits and pieces, without looking too ‘done up.’
What do you prefer? Shiny and sleek or a bit cobbled together?

Late summer loveliness

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In the local park a little area has been turned into a wild flower meadow

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…. it’s kind of more of a patch than meadow really… but it’s just lovely, like a special little park for the bees and butterflies :)

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….what a good idea… and so pretty to stand in and imagine you’re in fields of flowers :)

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Making time for making

Gosh, I feel like I’m on constant catch up with myself recently…. time is precious and I’m definitely someone who needs a whole lot of ‘downtime’ ‘me time’… whatever you choose to call the time that you reset your levels and remember who you are…
For me that time pretty much has to be solitary and I’m increasingly realising how much I NEED to make stuff and learn stuff… Like the grown up, bill paying version of playtime :)
For weeks I’ve been wanting to make something with some antique silver Berber beads that I got…. they’ve been sitting patiently in an old bowl on the table and reminding me daily that I need to make time to buy some bead thread and fasteners….
this weekend I made time and came up with this

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unlike the hands on, hammering, sawing type jewellery making that I’m learning about at the mo; this type of jewellery making is much more sedate and living room friendly :)
I got the antique beads online and strung them with semi-precious aquamarine beads from an old bracelet and some tiny silver spacer beads that I bought along with thread and silver fasteners from YumYum Beads in Leeds.

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I think perhaps the aquamarine is a bit too washed out and tiny to do the big silver Berber beads justice… but I’ve got some left and will see what I come up with…. that’s the nice thing about playing, it’s about the doing not the final thing really… and I loved playing with these beads :)


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