Friday, 31 December 2010

Goodbye 2010

OK, not the most original title for an end-of-year post, but a sincere one. This year has been crazy for me. Lots of amazing things and lots of very sad things have happened - many ups, just as many downs, and so much change that my head hasn't quite stopped spinning yet.

I guess what I want to say here is thank you SO much to everyone who's read, commented on and visited this blog. I had a lot of fun writing it, and to think that even one other person might find some interest in it is flattering enough, so to think I had regular readers is mind-boggling and very moving. I too have enjoyed your blogs and reading about your own lives and creative endeavours - it's been a real pleasure, not to mention inspirational beyond measure (hey, I'm a poet too, did I mention that?).

So once my technical issues are overcome (I'll be getting broadband in my new flat somewhere around the end of January - huzzah!) I will be back with my new laptop in tow (hello, Sony Vaio of my DREAMS, I love you!), a newly designed website (with a shop! imagine!) and a new blog.

Until then, may you all have a wonderful New Year and I can't wait to see what's in store for us all in 2011.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

The Big Knit

Want to know what I'm going to make with all these lovely balls of wool? You'll have to go here to find out. If you want to join my knitting collective, feel free! Just sent me a message and I'll send you the details. It's going to be fun. And you might just* receive a homemade badge to wear whilst getting clicky. JOINNN USSSSSS...

* you definitely will, Brownie's honour

Old chair made new

Something I did today. Until now I've had a no phone, no computer day. It's nice. I'm going to try it more often. Once I've finished these posts, I'm turning it off again :)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Making and unmaking

I'm crocheting something with leftover balls of white, cream and grey 100% wool. All the balls are one-offs, none quite match perfectly, and I kind of like that. I'll show you what it is when it's finished. All this crocheting makes me think about starting a knitting project so that it's ready for winter (as I have absolutely no doubt that's how long it will take to knit something useful). But for the moment, I'm really into crocheting. I find it more soothing than knitting - maybe it's because it's only really about the flick of a wrist, or maybe it's because I can see results quickly. I know that last part is very satisfying, and necessary, at the moment.

Things are in flux for me right now. Old ways are being phased out, new things are on the horizon, but still just out of view. I'm stretching my eyes as far as I can but I know that it's only patience and time that will really reveal them to me. So in the meantime, I crochet, I draw, I paint. It helps.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Me and the sun

I've always had a complicated relationship with the sun. Until recently, it'd always meant discomfort: being too hot, too sweaty, not having the right clothes, not being able to wear my favourite clothes, which are all only suited for the other three seasons. The pressure to wear less and show more is not to my liking.

My other half is the total opposite. As soon as the sun comes out, he wants to be out there, basking in it, even if really, it's still a bit too cold. As soon as he gets home from work in the evening, if the sun is out, the first thing he does is go out onto the balcony with a drink and spend some time with his eyes closed and face towards the sun. He's not into tanning, if that's what you're thinking. I think it just nourishes him, renews him. He's always talked to me about its health benefts, its mental benefits, its association with lightness and fun. I've always listened, but always with a slightly bratty scowl - I, after all, know best.

But I'm starting to think he's onto something. I've started to hope for a bit of sunshine before I get out of bed in the morning. I've even moved around the furniture in my studio so that my desk is under the window - when I'm in there on a Monday and Tuesday, I now get sunlight all day right in front of me, and at around 4pm, the sun swings around to the west side of the flat and I get a bright, white streak of it splattered all over my desk. I'm finding this to be glorious. Who would have thought it. I'm sitting here now, with the warm sun on my face, neck, my chest, my bare arms and it feels amazing. What would happen if I actually went outside, directly under it?

It's funny how personality and proclivities towards certain weather often match. I think I am more naturally downbeat, mellow, quiet, with a strong streak of obstinance (or passion, as I like to call it) running underneath - it's probably no surprise then that my very favourite weather is a storm: the slow build up, the sudden rise in temperature, the feeling of a stillness, the first flash of lightning then the clattering thunder and torrents of rain that follow. Heavy rain is my friend. But lately I'm starting to let the sun make a little cameo here and there. Maybe soon I'll start seeing rainbows.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

On a good day

Mondays and Tuesdays are my art days. That means I'm either making something, painting or drawing something, or planning or researching something. I have the odd day off if I'm not feeling great, or if something comes up that I must do that day, but generally, I like to keep those days for what their main purpose is.

That said, I don't often go outside to research. This is slightly crazy. I live in a vibrant city filled with natural (and some wonderfully unnatural) beauty and quirkiness. There is a gorgeous beach and a rather big sea a two minute bike-ride away. There are many cafes I could sit and sketch and read in. There are fabulous places to grab a bite to eat. There are many strange and fantastic people to take inspiration from.

So today, I embraced my fears of venturing outside (usually borne of a slight agorophobia built up from spending so much time on my own on those two days; or weather-dictated, which is hugely lame, I know) and donned my comically unsexy bike helmet and went for a little ride.

I cycled to City Books, my favouritest of all favourite bookshops in Brighton. Did they have the obscure 1950s womens crime fiction novel I was looking for? Course they did. Promptly helped and served by a lovely bookseller too. (I should say something here about booksellers, having been one myself: on the whole - though I realise I am generalising and it's a bit naughty to do that, but this is my blog, so there - there is a huge difference between someone who works in a shop that also sells books, and a bookseller. A bookseller will delight in being asked questions, will be only too happy to actually engage in a conversation about their beloved wares, will helpfully not only show you to the book you are looking for, if it's in stock, but offer to order more by the author, or similar, for you at the drop of a hat - please support local bookshops whenever you can, booksellers are an increasingly rare and neglected species and need your support).

I then popped back on my new bike (I'll blog about bikes, new and old, in the week) and instead of taking the main road into town, I cycled down the one way road the wrong way (sorry, enormous Mercedes that almost knocked me off my bike) and straight onto the seafront. The weather was gorgeous - sunny, a nice little wind pushing me towards town - pretty much perfect, really.

I stopped off at Paperchase to buy some new notebooks (a journal, a little sketchbook to carry around, a new 'ideas' book), then felt my tummy rumble. Lunchtime. I thought about heading to the beach, but there's not much nice to eat down that way. I pushed my bike towards the Pavilion Gardens (I'm such a responsible cyclist - ignoring the earlier one-way road anecdote), then once back on the road, cycled to Iydea, in mine, and quite a few friends' opinions, one of the best vegetarian places to eat in the whole city. I ordered the quiche (I always order the quiche: it is a personal policy, I don't know where it came from, but it's always worked for me and why change now?) accompanied by mixed vegetables and chickpea salad, and the best raspberry lemonade I've ever tasted. Seriously, it was that good.

I then went on to meet my wonderful friend Michelle Cobbin at Cafe Nia for a coffee, then onto Michelle's exhibition at City College, where she's just finished her foundation course. I wish I had an art website to link to for Michelle (soon, I hope, soon). She is a wonderfully gifted abstract painter and creates sometimes enormous, sometimes tiny, sometimes just inbetween canvases and paper paintings that will draw you in like a hug. Her use of colour and shape and line is gorgeous, and she's only just finishing a course. I can't wait to see what her new projects outside of art school are going to be like. Needless to say, the paintings she had on display were just great (I'd had a sneak preview a few weeks before, but seeing them in situ for the exhibition was a real pleasure). I would love to be able to offer her a deservedly large sum of money to own one. Maybe one day.

After leaving Michelle, I jumped back on the bike and headed for the seafront for the ride home. It was one of those days where everything just sort of turned out great. Moreso probably because the events of the day were something I usually make excuses not to do. I heard something said last night on a show I love: that many beautiful moments do not equal a life. I disagree. I think life is only a series of beautiful moments. We just need to recognise them.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Garland update

All the garlands from the Giveaway have now been mailed - hopefully, yours will be with you soon. Thanks again for visiting my blog and for entering the competition.