Monday, 23 May 2011

A Bit Funked Up: 3 Steps to Finding Your Inner Peace

I was going to post this yesterday but I decided to take things easy; doing things to chill out and stop my brain taking me off to a place I don't want to be. I've had a bad case of the "what am I doing with my life" this last week, which has kept me in a bit of a funk

I'm not sure why I let this inner critical voice take over my thoughts as much as I do. Mostly I have it under control, but once in a while it shouts up louder than normal and catches me off guard or picks up on a topic that makes me feel vulnerable. Then begins the cycle of nasties. The self doubt, the self criticism, the you're not good enough... the list goes on, but you get the picture I'm sure

We all get this right? I know we do but, wow, sometimes I struggle to put those falsehoods and insecurities in their rightful place and carry on being ME. Sometimes I listen to them. Heck, sometimes I even believe them. It's not pretty and it makes me feel ashamed

So how do you break this cycle and how do you allay that inner nasty bitch?

1. Be Kind to Yourself
Why is it that we can say things to ourself that we would never dream of saying out loud to another person? Where does that meanness come from? Be kind to yourself - allow yourself some time to just BE without judging and criticising. Watch a favourite movie, read a book that captivates you, bake a cake, walk in the woods, nap. Whatever simple, no pressure activity you enjoy doing - allow yourself to do it GUILT FREE

2. Reach Out
A bad case of the nasties can make you feel so very alone. Isolation fuels the insecurities; it's a vicious circle. The truth is... everyone feels like this from time to time and everyone harbours some form of self criticism or insecurity. Reach out to your best friend and tell them how you feel. A true friend has the magic that is required to make you feel better about yourself - they point out the things about you that they love... the things you too easily forget about when all you have going round your head are the bad things. Friends have the ability to make the nasty bitch in your head shut up; they remind you of the fun you've had, they make you laugh and once they know you're in a funk - they keep a watchful eye on you so that you don't creep back into nastyville

3. Detox
I'm talking a mental and emotional detox here. Lighten the load of that baggage you're dragging around with you, clear some of that constant chatter in your head. It's so easy to get bogged down with negative thought patterns and overwhelmed by shame or guilt or fear. I find that spewing it all out on paper can help me identify what I'm really feeling funked up about. Seeing the words committed to paper both releases them from burdening my brain and gives them a more realistic perspective - somehow they seem less mean, less critical and less overwhelming in the harsh light of day. Sometimes writing in list form does the trick, other times it will take on a more narrative style which can release a lot of pent up emotion. I read it through and am often struck at how poetic this can be (which ironically triggers some good feelings toward myself!) and then I destroy the paper; acknowledging and then releasing an issue can have strong detox benefits

So there you have it. I am continuing the Be Kind for the rest of the week, I really feel like I need it. My mentor Christine Kane teaches that what you focus on grows and so I plan to focus on being kind to myself and remembering the positives that make me, me.

Lisa x

{You are Allowed mantra by Tara Gentile via Scoutie Girl - follow the link to download your own copy to print out & keep}

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Liberty Love

Sometimes the simplest ideas can have the most stunning results. Every time I see a new idea using the ever wonderful Liberty prints I fall in love all over again.

This idea would work for other delicious fabric collections such as those from Amy Butler (another favourite of mine), Designers Guild and of course with a wonderful range of vintage fabrics. You could create a dramatic wall piece using just black & whites or pick all shades of one colour and throw in one fabric for a contrasting pop!

I can see this as an entrance hall eye catcher or instead of artwork above the sofa in the lounge. It would also make a wonderful backdrop behind the bed, don't you think?

Lisa x

{photo via The Purl Bee - visit the site for instructions on how to make the swatch portraits}

Sunday, 8 May 2011

*Magpie* - Vintage Brooch Bouquet

My inner *Magpie* did such a happy dance when I saw this fabulous bouquet on the ever gorgeous vintage wedding inspiration blog Ruffled last week (my go to source for innovative, hand-made, vintage obsessed table dressings & flower display ideas... and plus, who doesn't like amazing photos of a good wedding??!)

I have a small collection of vintage brooches myself that I use to add a bit of sparkle to jackets & cardies, but I had never thought about collecting them on mass to create a gem of a wedding keepsake or even an everlasting floral display for the home

My Nan (that's British slang for Grandma, in case you're wondering!) has the most wonderful box full of exciting, sparkly brooches in her dressing table. I remember one of my most favourite past-times as a young girl, when I stayed over at her house, was to make a garden of glamorous flowers with her brooches when I climbed into her bed in the mornings to join her for the first cup of tea of the day. She had a teas-maid at the side of her bed which I thought was the most luxurious, exciting gadget imaginable!

This bouquet has really sparked both my fondest childhood memories as well as my imagination; I can envisage small collections of brooches in cut glass vases as table centre-pieces at any given event or even at the side of a bed. I can imagine a larger version placed with pride on a console table in a hallway or lounge - and imagine the significant memory attached if it had been your wedding bouquet. {sigh} You could colour code it to your wedding / party or your home deco; and if it included heritage pieces, what a romantic way to include the "something old" of the traditional wedding trousseau

Now, I'm not currently planning anything that even nearly warrants bouquets, but seeing as I seem to have the proverbial kiss-of-death when it comes to flowering plants I think a small arrangement of delectable, impossible-to-kill, sparkly beauties would be a welcome addition to my home - especially for summer. I'll be looking to mix a variety of brooches and earrings to play with the scale, and of course I'll be sure to post a tutorial of how I put it together so that you can try it yourself

But most exciting of all is that I now have the perfect excuse for hunting down some vintage treasures for this project! Be sure to head over to Ruffled to see the rest of the amazing photos by the talented Deidre Lynn of this vintage-tastic wedding in Illinois.... loving the mis-matched old doors as a backdrop too!

Lisa x

{photos by Deidre Lynn via Ruffled}

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Stitch in Time - The 365 Knitting Clock

I do a little less knitting since becoming hooked on crochet (sorry, pun not intended!) but more and more often there are knitting related projects that catch my eye and this is certainly one of them

The 365 Knitting Clock by Siren Elise Wilhelmsen is art in motion; not quite what you were looking for in terms of everyday functionality when searching for the perfect time-piece nor for helping the kids learn to tell the time. This clock is nothing short of genius; it makes a singular stitch each half hour, thus completing one full round per day. The result is a 2m long scarf in 365 days. The Norwegian artist explains that,
"(it) was made to measure... time in a three dimensional form... to visualize the otherwise invisible time factor that connects us all. Instead of showing time in numbers... the knitting clock aims the philosophical point of the ongoing process of time... and shows the time as something that is constantly moving, changing and developing. "
As a creative person, it is all to easy to focus on the finished item - particularly if there is a client waiting for said item or an Etsy shop waiting to be filled. Sometimes the thought of the finished item, and in turn its financial reward, takes away the enjoyment of the creation; the process. I love how this piece is all about the process and that it takes a full year to produce a scarf; what a painfully long time to wait. I can just imagine the sense of impatience that would build if you watched this clock daily in anticipation of the finished scarf. Can you?

To me it signifies a rebellion against the mass produced, the quick fix and the consumerism we see so abundantly in society these days. It embodies the notion that skilled craftspeople take their time to produce their work and that this is something to be appreciated and worth waiting for; that the process of creating is as beautiful as the finished piece. The same analogy can be applied to cooking

The 365 Knitting Clock can be loaded with a new ball of yarn for each year. As a big-time yarn aficionada, this makes me smile; I like to think it means that the future is a but a ball of wool, just waiting patiently to be created into something of great beauty...

Do you enjoy and appreciate the process when you are creating?

Lisa x

{photos by Miriam Lenhart via How to be a Retronaut}

Monday, 2 May 2011

In Stitches... Knit Your Own Royal Wedding!

I know the Royal Wedding has been all over every possible media outlet for what seems like forever already but I really couldn't let the special holiday weekend pass by with out mentioning what I consider to be the best Royal Wedding memorabilia to date

Being slightly removed from the full magnitude of the nuptials out here in France I can only speculate on the manner of available commemorative tat being thrust at the British public - although I have seen mention of Wills and Kate paper sick-bags. 'nuff said

You can keep your Royal emblazoned mugs, your plates and your tea towels my friends for who needs such practical items when they can knit their very own Royal Wedding! Yes, you heard me right.... you can actually knit all the members of the Royals to re-enact this historical, momentous occasion. I for one would make that kiss on the balcony a little longer.... all those people walking miles for a glimpse of the magical moment and you could have missed it in a blink!

I captured the moment on my camera! I took the day off in patriotic support; dressed up, dusted off the tiara and joined a group of multi-national friends to drink Champagne, eat cucumber sandwiches and scoff cake. And for the record, I thought Kate's dress was exquisite; very Grace Kelly

My lovely Mum posted me a copy of this brilliant book - sadly (or perhaps that should be luckily!) it did not arrive in time for me to knit up even a Corgi but I have to say that the attention to detail in the patterns are comically fabulous. Congratulations to designer Fiona Goble for genuinely capturing the characters of the Royals and the Archbishop of Canterbury so well; I think my fave is her interpretation of the Archbishop - although I would be very tempted to use a mohair yarn to really emphasize that wild hair!

I seriously doubt whether this book will get much use but I am delighted to have it on my bookshelf. You can grab your self a copy on Amazon here

And if you want still more Royal Wedding madness, then check out this fun video by T Mobile

Ok, Royal Wedding mentions now totally over. Promise

Lisa x

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