I’ve been dreading Autumn this year. Usually it’s my favourite season, full of colour and cosiness and fun and family time. I love the feeling of winding down, preparing for Winter and getting ready to begin another year. This year, of course, every family occasion will be another chance to keenly feel my brother’s loss. It’s been seven months.
When he died, towards the end of Winter, I could not bear the dark days and at every chink of sunlight I braved the cold and sat outside exposing my pale skin to its healing rays. It worked. It lifted my mood enough to stop me sliding into depression. We were fortunate enough to have an early Spring and bright Summer and for once I’ve made the most of it (Summmer has always been my least favourite season). I’ve lived and worked outside as much as possible. But always at the back of my mind I’ve been waiting for the days to shorten and dull, not knowing how I was going to handle it. Well now it’s really happening, the studio lights are going on earlier and earlier of an evening and more and more trees are showing their first signs of colour-change. It’s coming.
To my complete surprise I’ve been feeling the first magical stirrings of Autumn-Awe, I’m loving the changes in the foliage, the faint undercurrent of cold in the air, the brightness of the moon and the first sight of my breath in the chilly early mornings (OK, that one wears thin pretty bloody quickly!). I’m actually looking forward to all the stupid little rituals my sisters and I keep – catching an Autumn leaf mid-flight as it blows through the air (to be kept as a memento and good luck talisman), meeting each other ridiculously early just to watch the sun rise and crunching through frosty country lanes collecting bits and bobs of interesting seed pods and twigs (did I ever tell you my family is completely mad?).
I still need to drink in all the daylight I can though, so yesterday (even though neither of us was feeling particularly well with just a tiny cold) one of my sisters and I pulled on our boots and went for an epic nature walk. Along the way we collected wind blown foliage for me to sketch and we talked and talked and talked (the very best therapy). Once home in the late evening, we had a couple of glasses of medicinal wine and made plans for the future and reminisced about our lovely bro. Good times.
***This is not at all the post I set out to write, but I guess it just needed to be said!
“Bimble” is a word my brother used to use a lot to describe someone just happily going about their business, doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that (I’ve no idea if that really is a word). But bimbling seems to sum up what I’ve been doing lately. I’ve been tying up a lot of loose ends in my life. I think that means I’m finally (FINALLY!) ready to let go of my old life and get on with a completely new one.
I’ve been trying to take my mind off the events of this year by fully immersing myself in art and I find so much solace there. I’m drawing and painting every day now (mostly from my imagination) and as my commitment has grown, so has my peace of mind. I’ve even found myself so absorbed in my work that all sense of time evaporates, just like it used to when I was a child and I created only for pleasure.
I’ve also managed to find a compromise between time spent making things for the shop and time spent on what I consider to be “my own work”. This from a woman who has never learned the art of compromise before! I decided to set myself a (pin money) target income from the shop – at the moment my efforts and resulting sales have been sporadic – and to allow for the possibility of that target income I need to have a target output. I do not ever want the shop to be a full-time venture, it is only there to help me find creative ways to use up some free materials and try out different mediums, so my idea is that i spend the first half of each month making the required amount of stock for the shop and the rest of the month making my own art. Any money made from the shop will be reinvested in the shop and my own art materials.
Well that’s the plan, lets see if I can stick to it for once in my life!
Oh FFS and other really rude swear words! I had a whole post written under this photo and some how managed to delete it when I pressed “publish”. How is that even possible? Maybe it’s my subconscious censoring another mundane post? Well you’re all off the hook – I can’t be bothered to rewrite all that so you’ve been spared. Thank my self-censoring subconscious ;)
OK so there were actually only 3 spiders, but that is definitely 3 too many. Just before bedtime the cat was farting about in the corner of the room prodding and patting something. Spider number one was a biggie. Much to the cat’s disgust, that one was rescued in a glass and taken outside to play in the garden (how come they don’t look so scary against natural surroundings?).
Getting on for 2 in the morning: Why oh why did I have to have that last cup of seriously diuretic coffee? Up to answer a call of nature, I nearly fainted at the size of the next spider sat on the wall near the bathroom. In a glass (with a bit of effort to fit all its legs in there) and out the front door to play in the front garden. This one tried to turn around and run back in the house (if I hadn’t already just “been” I could have created an involuntary puddle at this point) – no way matey…out you go!
A little after 3:30 a.m. I realised that I’d been half awake and hearing the cat scraping in the litter tray for an unusually long time. Yep, it turned out she wasn’t burying a turd, but playing with another HUGE spider in there. Eww. This one had the indignity of being lifted up on the end of the long-handled poop-scoop before being carried outside in a plastic tub and released – stinky (probably) but otherwise unharmed.
I bloody hate spider season. I know they have to mingle to create the next generation of fly-catchers but I wish they’d seek each other’s company outside where they belong, instead of frightening the life out of me of an evening.
In my last post, while describing how I was totally on schedule to get a task completed, I uttered the stupid phrase “Unless something big and unexpected happens”. Talk about bloody well tempting fate. To cut a long and painful story short, last night I got my hand slammed in a gate and completely pinned across the largest knuckles of my fingers. The only way to unpin my hand was to perform the accident in reverse. Usually I could win awards for swearing, regularly turning the air blue with colourful expletives, but the pain was so great this time that I could not utter a sound. Not even a whimper.
For 2 hours last night my hand was in and out of a bowl of iced water, but the pain, swelling and bleeding would not subside. Finally at the third hour I gave in and took pain killers. Gradually I began to feel better. By the time I went to bed, the big joint on my middle finger looked like an elbow and I began to think I may have broken it (I don’t do hospitals, so a lot of guess work goes into my ailments!). After a shit night’s “sleep” of more iced water, elevating my hand on pillows, more pain killers, waking myself up turning over on my hand, swearing, sighing and some serious bandaging, I woke to find my fingers were less swollen, more bruised and thankfully able to do the full range of movements (albeit with pain). How the hell are they not broken? I must have squashy bones or something.
So despite having painful fingers, bandaged up to look like some grotesque finger-puppet show, I’m feeling so lucky and so grateful. I don’t appreciate my hands enough and as soon as they recover I’m going to start looking after them properly. And I’m still hopeful that the felt Christmas decorations will get finished in time. Until then I’m back on the extra strength Nurofen and looking slightly clownish after trying to apply makeup with my left hand (it was definitely me who was the weirdo on the bus this morning!).
In the same week as I made it through the first 6 months without my brother (horrible endings) the universe tried to balance it out by helping me reach my first milestone of 100 sales in my etsy shop (nice beginnings). OK so the sales milestone in no way makes up for losing my brother (of course not!!!!!) but it does remind me that life can still go on and still give me pleasure. Just as I always knew that if I could make it through 6 months without my lovely bro I could keep going, I also knew that if I could just make it to my first 100 sales then I would keep going with the shop. So yay for my latest lovely customer who helped me cross that line.
Yesterday I finally got my finger out and listed the felt fish in the shop and it feels good to get that crossed off my list. I ordered some more business cards as I now have every intention of keeping the shop open and the Christmas decorations are coming along nicely. Unless something big and unexpected happens (God I hope not) I’m on track to get them launched mid August as planned. The project after that is much more troublesome but I’m up for the challenge now.
Half-finished felt thingies
Gradually I want to steer the shop away from the cute & colourful and bring in what I’m more comfortable with – dark & brooding! The changeover will be a very slow process as I’ve still got a mountain of felt & fabric to get through and it’s just asking to be made into something fluffy & light-hearted. I’m taking such tiny, tiny steps with my work, but at least this time they are all going in the same direction!