I’m under my special blanket, by the stove, wrapped in 117 woollen squares knitted by my Great Grandma for my parent’s wedding in 1962 (which turned out to be a famously cold winter so I’m sure it was welcomed). I’ve been watching the snow covered mountain tops, behind the house, turn all shades of rosy, sugared almond pink, against a sky of ice blue, as the sun set; wishing I’d timed my short walk up the valley better and knew more about camera settings. Never mind, I did that thing we should all do more of and just looked and said “ooooh” and was “present in the moment”. Now night has fallen, the cat is snoring and my fingers have just about thawed out enough to type…but I feel a bit stuck if I’m honest. The pressure to maintain an upbeat public persona and maintain a stiff upper lip in times of adversity can be stifling (and dishonest in my opinion). Nobody wants even more gloom in the gloomiest month of the year but, for the record, 2018 so far has been … difficult. I’m fully prepared to be optimistic , it would just be nice to have a little balance for a change, a “good news, bad news” situation instead of a general trend towards worry, jumping when the phone rings and eating way too much rice pudding as comfort food. Anyway, here is a seasonal antidote, something really fun and absorbing that I found yesterday on the Makelight website. Emily Quinton and her husband Stef have developed an app. called #YearOfColour which extracts the colours from your Instagram pictures and creates really interesting palettes of colour, grouped according to popularity, time of year and so on. I found it fascinating and surprising to see the results for Witchmountain (where did all that sandy beige come from?!) and it’s a really useful design tool.
I’ve been tempted to do one of Emily’s online photography courses so that next time I won’t miss catching the mountain glow.In the meantime I tried to take advantage of some beautiful winter sunlight today to take a few pictures of prints which have recently come back from an exhibition in Keswick and need to be listed on my website. I noticed an ancient, painted over nail on the porch of the cottage next door so I made a little outdoor gallery and wrestled with reflections. What a beautiful afternoon though; the kind of air that feels like a cool drink and signs of spring everywhere.
The exhibition had been in Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake and it was encouraging to receive a few website sales this month, from people who had seen work there.
The bumpy start to the year and my decision not to do British Craft Trade Fair has left me feeling as though I’m drifting a bit but that’s not always a bad thing… who knows what opportunities and inspirations will be found wherever that current takes me.
I mentioned the Dream, Plan, Do journal in my last post and last week I made a start on the first sections of the book which aim “to help you focus on your vision, future and values.” So here’s a confession… I couldn’t do it. I felt intimidated by my apparent lack of focus and clear direction after nearly 10 years of being “Witchmountain” but most of all I was unable to contemplate the question ” How old will you be in 2030, how about your parents, children, partner?”. As I say, it’s been difficult lately (the stuff that makes us human – love, loss, ageing …you don’t need to know the details) and I still have’t got used to being 50 let alone been able to imagine being 62! To cut a long story short I closed the book, retreated into another good story (The Night Circus) and decided to peek warily at the Facebook group that runs along side the planner instead. And here is why it’s sometimes ok to admit when things are crappy and your life isn’t looking like a styled Instagram shot; because it turned out I wasn’t alone. Loads of other people were saying the same things or asking similar questions, dealing with all sorts of bad stuff and supporting each other. Encouragement and understanding and practical solutions abound in groups like that, and yes, you can end up spending too much time Dreaming and not enough time Doing if you’re not careful, but I picked the planner up again and didn’t feel quite so alone (so thanks Patricia and the Dream,Plan,Do team). I got a similar feeling to the one I got last summer, packing up after Art in the Pen, which was that I was slightly awestruck by the resilience and determination of so many creative people who are usually juggling all sorts of plates, some with jagged edges, and without those people the world really would be eternally January.
In other news I gave away a lovely original hare print last month as part of my Newsletter Subscribers Draw and this month there will be another (nice) surprise for somebody so do subscribe if you haven’t already (and tell all your friends). I’m also going to be doing lots of other random giveaways throughout the year as part of my celebration of 10 years of writing this blog.
The little paper houses in the picture above are a FREE pdf download on my website in the Cards section of the shop where, should you be in the market for one, you could also find some perfect cards for Valentines Day 😉
Enough sales talk, I’m off to stitch tiny cross stitches into paper whilst watching whodunnits on Netflix.One final thing about that planner…I haven’t reached the page yet but I’ve gathered that people have to choose a keyword for the year. I have come up with two (because I fancy being self indulgent) they are RESILIENCE and CONNECTION, I don’t think you can have the first without the second so this is the year I want to spend more time with the people I care about, keep in touch with old friends and building connections with new ones. If you’re reading this then that includes you. Thank you x
Reading: “The Mitford Murders” Jessica Fellowes. Listening To : “How to Stop Time” Matt Haig ( on Audible) and “Charlotte Anne” Julian Cope