Playful -Sunday Sevens

Sunday sevens playful

So my theme this week has been playful, with the intention of introducing a little more fun in my life.

It is an odd thing, some of the best projects I have been really delighted with have often come from a sense of play with no other purpose but to simply enjoy the process.

Quote of the week-2So my quote this week is based around the theme of playful.

It seems to me that to be creative requires a childlike sense of wonder and discovery.

I have a battle going on with my sensible adult that believes in outcome and having something to show for my time spent – idea that play can be put down to research is an attempt to balance the inner child and the adult!

I made a list of some fun activities to do over the week: Creative writing, a flower arrangement, colouring, calligraphy, bath bombs and creating a scrapbook or vision board.

Creative writing:

Candle of rememberance

This week saw our first creative date for the writing group. We decided to meet in Chichester Cathedral and make it a process of observation and an opportunity to try and capture the sense of the place. It was surprising, I was expecting a sense of sanctuary and holiness, instead there was as much hassle and bustle as the high street outside. A side door was open and musicians were unloading huge instruments on squeaky wheels – into an area of the cathedral.

After lighting a candle for those we lost, we took our places near one of the chapel areas to observe and imbibe the atmosphere focusing on senses as a guide. We had our notebooks if we wanted to jot something down, but it was vital to simply be in the moment.

The seat was hard and cold, I felt the chill ebbing away my body heat, there was a strange taste of chalky stone, that you only get from old books and old buildings.   I sensed movement in the rush of air, then the strange scuffing of shuffling feet announced the imminent arrival of several people on an official tour of the cathedral. The guide’s monologue was not hushed or reverent but strident – the sound reverberating round the lofty heights. He was talking about dedication – old sacred relics and sanctuary but it was delivered in a passionless monotone that became background noise.

I felt somewhat perplexed, this was not the peaceful moment I had anticipated. Just when I thought it could not get any worse, someone began speaking through a tannoy system – advising us that a service would begin then offering up prayers including the Lords Prayer. I was lost for a moment in contemplation – the familiar words bringing back childhood memories. But the loudspeaker was thunderous, the guide continued his monotone, while the click of cameras, and shuffling feet of visitors created a modern symphony.

We watched a procession of elderly people, each with wheeled walkers, take their places in the pews. The unseen this voice filled the space and bouncing off the high walls and gargoyles.  Words that stirred forgotten memories, of childhood, Sunday Services, Red Robes and choir singing.  Forgive us father for our sins…

It all seemed so bizarre and far from my expectations – but eventually, after a time – the feet shuffled away, the chapel gates closed and the tannoy was silent. Like dust caught in sunlight, I felt the sense of timeless devotion float down from the high arches and slowly settle around me, silence enveloped me like a warm cloak. The building, retained it’s holiness when everyone had gone.

bubbles and barney

Barney personifies playful – he loves running and jumping for bubbles… we did this on a fairly calm day, but the bubbles were flying everywhere! I am learning more about photography, even to the point of reading my manual! I can’t call manual reading fun exactly, but planning shots has been  a challenge. It took about thirty or so shots to get one that was mostly in focus!

Bath bombs are the grown up version of sand castles! I love making them and it is simply wonderful to feel the bubbles tickle your back as they dissolve releasing natural aromatherapy. These look like rockets – I used the inside of the lemon juicer of all things to create the shape.

Bath BombsHere’s the recipe if you want to try your own.

1 cup of cornflour

1/2 cup of citric acid

1/2 cup of bicarbonate of soda.

Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil – chamomile and lavender: good before bedtime, or lime and rosemary for a bit of a refresher. You can add food colouring if you like.

Use a spray bottle to wet the ingredients so that it just comes together (think of sandcastles) use cake tins or jelly moulds and then turn out. Leave for a day to harden off and then wrap in clingfilm. Drop one or two in a bath – the sent will fill the air! I also make foot bath ones with peppermint oil and rosemary, they are perfect to relieve tired feet and you can finish with a bit of a pedicure for the five star treatment!

Elephant plant arrangement

I know nothing about flower arranging – but I do enjoy making the most of a bunch of flowers – I love this elephant! I am not sure I would win any prizes for my display, but it was fun!

Quill

Isn’t this pen heavenly? I love calligraphy, using a quill takes practise you can end up with blotches here and there and the ink runs out quite quickly. As a novelty it is fun, but not sure I could exchange my ball point for one of these.

Coffee on the beach

Friday evening was glorious if a little chilly in the wind, we sat and enjoyed warm coffee while the waves gently lapped. We had the whole cafe and beach to ourselves, how blissful.

Sunday Morning breakfast

Of course there is nothing more delightful than spending time in bed, I love getting up slowly at the weekends don’t you?

Sunday Sevens is the wonderful creation of Nat at Threads and bobbins.

next theme….senses

 

 

 

 

Colour Me Positive Week 16 Challenge

Art Challenge 18 April

I discovered this weekly art challenge through facebook, ok I am a bit late to the party which began in January, but who cares!  It has been too long since I did any art – and like the saying goes, I lost myself completely. The process was a bit bumpy, I usually jump straight in;  this time, I played around a little with one or two ideas until eventually I came up with a design I am happy with. While I might have a general idea, I never know the outcome as it seems to grow – I just add bits here and there.

After taking about an hour to do this, I thought I would add a final line between the words US and TWO – it was disastrous! Then I put a white marker over which created a large grey splodge right in the middle! The whole thing was ruined at a stroke!

Trying not to panic I pasted a couple of pieces of paper over the bottle top – and re-did it!

So this really does live up to its name, the work was lost but now it is found!

challengepromo1

If you fancy having a go – pop over to Lulu’s art blog, there is lots of inspiration and some great journals.

Happy New Year

New year's Eve Dance 2014
New year’s Eve Dance 2014

Happy New Year to you all, may it be filled with health, wealth and happiness! I hope you had fun celebrating! this year we went to a Vintage Swing Dance just outside Brighton.

The music is mainly from the 1930’s right through to the 1950’s with all the fun of dressing up! I made this dress specifically for the evening, it is a oriental satin fabric and had a fabulous drape, so that it swirls out when I spin. (More about the making of this dress later). I had just popped out for a breather which is why my petticoat is all over the place!

We are very fortunate there are so many wonderful dance events on in West Sussex, there is a very active Vintage community with regular events including the famous Goodwood Revival in September. I love the upbeat music and the opportunity to dress up with flowers in my hair without people looking at me sideways! Its great that the guys dress up too, shirt, ties, braces and trilby’s are the order of the day! We had a brilliant time – spending it with lovely dancers. Everyone goes all out to dress up so it becomes a joy to see so many lovely clothes!

NYE swing dance poster

If you aren’t sure what swing dancing is here’s a little taste 

We had an interesting discussion on the way home, how the English mostly celebrate New Year’s Eve, versus the Scotts New Year celebrations. Here in the Uk we go out early, usually until the clock chimes! Then we are off home, even though the music went well on to 1am it had thinned out considerably!

The Scotts do it differently, staying home quiet until the midnight chimes strike and then its time to go out and celebrate. They visit friends and neighbours – with allocated times organised so that everyone can go from house to house together, with whisky and food, usually lasting well into the next day. Its why the 2nd January is also a bank holiday in Scotland! Lucky them!

Dancing just after midnight
Dancing just after midnight 

 

The Hall was bedecked with bunting and flags just as if it were the 1940’s! Here we are in the centre of the floor dancing just after the midnight chimes had rung out. (you can just about make me out in my pink dress)

May the New Year be Happy, Healthy and full of blessings  xx ttfn xx

A good start

 

A good wake up in the morning!
A good wake up in the morning!

I have been looking at several different approaches to health recently, it struck me that so many of these diet books or even worse ‘diet tricks’ appear to view the body as something to be ticked or overcome in order to lose weight.

I have over many years felt the need to cut down when my body has been rather bigger than I would like, but I don’t have the tenacity to stick rigidly to a diet or a exercise routine for long.

I have visited gyms but it feels as if you are trying to punish the body, with the emphasis on ‘no pain no gain’ and other such mantras, what I could not help but stop thinking was that I am sure our bodies have a shelf life. What if we were using them all up on a mindless running machine, where we are mesmerised by the big TV screens counting down the time.

 

4fda4-susie-1010539

 

Being the perverse person I am, I asked myself that maybe the answer lay not in ‘disconnecting’ from the body, but connecting, feeling the sensations and messages sent to me every moment of the day? What if instead of just eating chocolate because I was bored, chomping it down while I surfed the net, I stopped and firstly asked my body if it was hungry? What if I discovered my body desired something else like a nice cup of herbal tea?

Lemon and Ginger tea
Lemon and Ginger tea

 

I began this process and discovering a  preference of Green tea over black tea. I became aware that every time I drank black tea it made me hungry for something sweet. When I drank green tea I hardly felt hungry at all. Concentrating when you eat can be an amazing experience, eating chocolate becomes a whole new sensory adventure when you  focus on the sensations of the tongue, feel the hardness melt and savour the taste.

This mindfulness has created a connection not just with how I am feeling, but what I need. So much eating is done because I craved love and it can be surprisingly liberating to discover spending ten minutes gently stroking my arm gives me a greater sense of love and affection that can ever be in an square of chocolate. There is science behind this to back it up, stroking the skin produces a hormone that gives us a sense of wellbeing and love. Babies produce it when their mothers stroke them or feed them, so it is deeply ingrained in our psyche.

all is well

I believe that when the body feels safe and loved, it will not need to store up reserves, that being loved and safe is key to letting go of all that. Loving yourself is difficult at first, we English are so afraid to be bigheaded that we are resistant, but I feel it is at the very core of our being and essential to living.

It is always great when I find my theory is reflected by others and I came across Louise L Hay’s book heal your body. She talks about nutrition and nurturing the body, as well as connecting with it.

beauty
beauty

Connecting with your body is not just about food, its about listening. Sometimes I am so wrapped up in the project I am doing that I ignore the cramp across my shoulders, or the numbness of sitting for too long. I realise that my body tells me its time to do something different.

When I was a girl I loved dancing round the room to classical music and I find as a woman in her late forties its still a great thing to do. Try it yourself, next time you are in the bath or shower, as you soap your body, think tender thoughts and feel the sensations.

A few months ago I felt sluggish, exhausted and was struggling with joint pain – although my thyroid levels were borderline, I felt my metabolism was slow and I was cold all the time. I started to consider foods that warm the body and started to drink ginger / lemon and honey tea. I found grated ginger was the best, but it was a pain to peel and grate every day.

instant fresh herbal tea

One day I hit on the idea of putting all the ingredients together in an ice cube tray and hey presto, each morning I have fresh ginger and lemon tea without the hassle. I have also made mint tea this way too.

 

Instant herbal tea

 

Just pop one or two in the cup and pour over the hot water, perfect!

Someone far wiser than me told me: love your body, its the only home you have.

ttfn

Movember felting fun

Movember
Getting ready for workshops

My partner is participating in Movember – a great way to raise money for cancer research and while I cannot grow my own moustache, I thought I would create some needle felting ones to inspire him and for me to wear to support the charity.

Barvaria here I come
Barvaria here I come

It was fun coming up with various shapes – I think this one gives him a bavarian air!

Mr Wong!
Mr Wong!

This one was terrific fun to make, the long thin strands seemed to go on forever!

Now this looks very slavic to me !
Now this looks very slavic to me !

Austria’s border patrol are missing one of their guards..! oh err!

Russian spy?
Russian spy?

I think he would make a great double agent!

I’ll update you on his own moustache at the end of the month!

ttfn xx