Walking along to the health clinic this morning on my way to have my blood test I passed several excited young school children walking to school in fancy dress – I passed a pirate, a spiderman, a Snow White, a rag doll, an Alice in Wonderland, a tiger, a princess and a Darth Vader! The smiles on their faces (well, those faces not covered in a full face mask) certainly made me smile 🙂
There’s something so satisfying about the fresh-air smell of washing dried outside on a washing line – it’s something I truly miss living as I do in London, in an upstairs flat with no garden or outside space for drying clothes. So while looking after my elderly parents in the North of Scotland recently I really enjoyed the sensation again, and it certainly made me smile.
And I was out really early in the day with this load, the winter sun is still quite low on the horizon so the hanging clothes were sillhouetted beautifully and I couldn’t resist capturing the contrast 🙂
I’ve not been feeling in the brightest of moods over the last couple of days, and life has altogether felt quite onerous, but I woke up feeling much lighter this morning and the sun is shining and somehow everything just looks and feels different, as if my whole world has suddenly lit up again.
In spite of having been a bit of a cranky misery guts lately I’ve still managed to add a few little doodles to my mini art journal, playing about with different ideas to see what works and what doesn’t really do it for me – and yes, the therapuetic value of being creative definitely kicked in, helping me a bit feel less… antagonistic towards the world, I guess, for a little while at least…
The ‘listen attentively, reassure gently, love generously’ phrase came from Sunday night’s episode of ‘Call the Midwife’ as Dr Turner was advising Sister Julienne on how best to care for Sister Monica Joan, who clearly shows signs of dementia. I think it particularly touched me because my dad is in the early stages of vascular dementia and I think it’s really helpful advice, so I wanted to be able to remember it in the future ❤
The flowers and curvy swirls felt good to do, the sharp-angled geometric boxes less so – I think I perhaps felt like I needed to soften my sharp mood, not highlight and accentuate it…
My mini colouring in pages may not be overly complicated or delicate or intricately designed, but I’m happy enough with them and doing them certainly made me smile again for a little while, even while life felt bleak for a day or two, so that has to be worth something?
Oh, and after almost two weeks the deep cut on my pinkie finger is healing well – a huge relief and a very grateful reason to smile 🙂
If we were sitting having coffee right now, I’d be animated and excited at the prospect of starting a new adventure in art…
Every now and again things in life conspire to bring you towards one particular creative decision in one place and time – like some kind of magical ‘hint, hint’ that screams at you from the rooftops… Today the combination of several different blog prompts on top of a regular post written by someone else have brought me to the realisation that it might be a good idea for me to start an art journal of some sort.
Instrumental in my decision was a blog post by Elizabeth at Tea & Paper, but much as I love what she’s doing with her art journal I worry that I simply don’t have the patience to commit to an all-bells-and-whistles big-time project with several layers of first water-colour-washing pages then sticking on collage stuff and all sorts afterwards. The kind of engrossing multi-faceted project that you leave out long-term while you complete it – fun, but not really what I need right now, particularly as our current living arrangements don’t allow for that level of otherwise unused space.
The thing is, I love the art of simple colouring-in, and have several adult-designed colouring books I dip in and out of whenever the mood takes me, and occasionally I have thought fleetingly about maybe drawing out my own outlines for colouring in but to date have done nothing about it. For some reason I just love the versatility and mobility of plain old-fashined traditional coloured pencils; no mess, no fuss, minimal space required, and instant gratification guaranteed in no time at all (nothing to tax my lack of patience too much).
So I think I might choose a small book to begin my experimental art journal, and intentionally start with simple ideas. I already have a really small Moleskine notebook given to me as a gift long ago, but sadly never used – I was never sure what to use it for, and its pristine pages lie as yet unmarked? I could stick to creating my own doodle-style outlines to colour in with my favourite coloured pencils – or perhaps use different coloured ball-point pens, or maybe even multi-coloured Sharpies? Just whatever takes my fancy at the time, unplanned – not quite a stream of consciousness creation but a time-limited tiny confection of colour, created just for me.
I have such a long history of starting relatively ambitious creative projects from time to time and inevitably giving up way too soon, which upsets me because I really don’t want to be like that but I do seem to have an issue with aiming for perfection, and knowing I won’t ever be able to reach it I somehow lose heart and give up. So hopefully by starting small and keeping things simple, I’ll manage to maintain some level of continuity for long enough for the habit (and the mindful pleasure it brings) to grow on me.
I read somewhere online that with an art journal, there are no rules – and for me, that’s the real challenge on offer. No right way or wrong way to do it, just your way, whatever that turns out to be… and as I find myself sitting here with a huge smile on my face as my untouched coffee grows cold, I take that as a sure sign that this little germ of an idea is indeed the best way for me to move forward in my latest attempt at an adventure in art 🙂
I’m back from the North of Scotland at last, and what a busy few weeks it feels like I’ve had, although I spent the entire time travelling back and fore within a distance of 10 miles and saw no-one but immediate family the entire time I was away.
Inevitably there were the usual frantic familial ups and downs that occur when four direct generations of stubborn individuals collide in the collective pressure-cooker intensity of several cumulatively stressful situations. But in spite of having to help do my bit in defusing a few near-miss explosions I’ve found far more to make me smile than grumble about over the past month, so overall the whole full-on family experience has left me counting far more beautiful blessings than ugly grudges…
I spent most of the first two weeks of my stay one-on-one looking after my youngest grandson (aged three) while his mum was stuck in hospital awaiting the birth of his baby sister – he decided I was his pretend mummy while his real mummy was away, which was really lovely for me, if a little challenging at times. And it was with great relief to all of us that my youngest granddaughter was born safe and well by Caesarian Section six weeks early, after a truly worrying few weeks of potentially serious health issues for both mother and baby.
I then spent most of the next two weeks (once my daughter was safely home from hospital, albeit without her beautiful new baby) staying nearby with my elderly parents, in particular giving my mum a bit of a break by spending quiet quality time (while I still can) with my 82-year-old dad, who after a couple of debilitating strokes and the accompanying onset of vascular dementia seems to be in a slow an unsteady decline in life. The deterioration in his health is so sad to see but I know I’m lucky, at 55 and with six grandchildren of my own, to still have both parents alive, if not exactly well.
My beanstalk eldest grandson, who has just turned 17, has amazingly overcome his awkward teenage aversion to showing any level of emotional/physical contact with adults in authority and thankfully appears to have returned to his old huggy self. In between times I also spent some much-needed time (whenever possible) catching up with my youngest daughter and her three beautiful children – always an absolute joy for me – and with their collective help I filled my depleted hug-tank, leaving me brimming over with love.
My lovely husband travelled up from London to join me for my stay with my parents, arriving on my birthday, which was a wonderful birthday present, and my son also took time out of his busy work schedule to drive up for a flying weekend visit – so for once I had all of the people I love most in the world in (near enough) the same place at the same time – a thoroughly rare occurance in our family, and appreciated all the more for that rarity.
And as the piece de resistance, although my newborn granddaughter is still in hospital (potentially until her expected birth date in early January), now that she is doing well enough to be out of her incubator and into a regular cot, last night – the last night of my visit – I was finally able to give her a precious Nanny cuddle for the first time ever, and I thought my heart would burst with joy.
So plenty for me to smile about this week, lots of wonderful memories to store away and treasure in the years to come… ❤
This week’s huge smile comes courtesy of my newest granddaughter Lily, born this morning by c-section, six weeks early and weighing in at just over four pounds.
It seems she’s going to be monitored in the Special Care Baby Unit for the next wee while, and understandably my daughter is tired and sore but thankfully her worryingly erratic blood sugar levels have quickly returned to normal since her own beautiful daughter’s speedy but premature delivery.
We’ve all had a worrying few weeks medically, but thankfully all is now well with both of them 🙂
Welcome to the world, little one! X
What made me smile this week was finding my colouring books (while looking for something else, of course) and having a look through to see what I’ve done and not done. My A4 books have several different styles and sizes of colouring in projects, some small and intricate and contained and others broader and bolder and taking up the whole page, so I tend to pick and choose accordingly depending on my mood. Some get finished straight away, and some don’t. Some I come back to eventually, and some I just leave as they are…
And then what made me smile even more was starting to colour in a new page of shapes yesterday – what fun!