Thursday, 4 October 2018

painting, gluing, wall papering, sewing, choosing, repeat

It all started with the corner kitchen cupboard, the quarter circle shaped one. I blame it on our eldest son. You see whenever he comes home, he starts unloading his stuff on the kitchen table, his laptop being the most important item, apart from his mobile, of course.

Anyway, the situation in our household is thus: we’re strapped for space (I know everybody says that, but we really are, house-floorspace amounts to appr. 85m²/915sqft, which obviously does not include the studio, or garden or garden shed etc, kind of small living avant la lettre) and in the kitchen the corner cupboard houses a socket, so when our eldest sits at aforementioned kitchen table, he needs juice for his laptop and the cupboard doors open, to a Black Hole. I had at an earlier time repainted the outside, a high gloss white, contrasting even more now with the interior look. I was so fed up with this dark corner sucking up all the light and looking so uninviting and gloomy……..So I bravely decide to paint the inside a pale chalk blue; I say decide as if I had chosen the colour, which I hadn’t beforehand. I can only choose when in the store with the actual pots of paint there before my very eyes…..and after a lot of deliberating, doubting, walking back and forth, I all of a sudden make up my mind and pick the colour! Of course once back home, I’m second guessing my choice, but having lost my receipt, ignore these feelings and carry on boldly: first removing everything from the cupboard, yikes, cleaning, painting everything a glossy white – only because I still had some -  as I am pretty sure the pale blue will not cover the blackness, finally, after two layers of blue life in the kitchen has improved, not least because all the plates, cups, bowls et al can go back in! The men in my household are very patient.
Now that I have the paints out and am in painting mode, I am also painting door frames and windowsills, kind of at random, but hey, lightening up the house…..lightening up my mood to boot.
The loo-door gets a different treatment: wall-paper-gluing newspaper articles of interest plus a couple of photo’s I like. All of this is leading up to where I am today: in the midst of redecorating and restyling The Dwelling!
Sweet Otter just carries on sleeping where ever!

Some of the stuff is neatly stored in these containers

a reminder of what OBK's room looked like.....

some (I'm not naming names) try to carry on as of nothing is happening and they don't offer to help

maybe I won't repaint every room, 

then again, I think I have

more and more, the beings drift all over the studio; things start to get messy, disorganized, unruly......duh, this is just a phase I say to self

aha, a hole in OBK's wall; Julie got me thinking about their need for privacy, so I am making a bedroom for him behind this wall! 

a small terrace, at last a small space has achieved some sort of peace 

the state of the studio this afternoon, me in near panic mode: will it ever get done? if so, when?

yes, a proper doorway has been made for OBK

a wall hanging for his bedroom, recognize this Jude?

here He is, lying on his new bed, allowing us a sneak preview

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

eco printing

what a surprise: a forgotten bundle in pan that needed scouring this morning, for the fresh walnut husk dye

yesterday: a very organised self placed 6 bundles in these glass jars for solar dyeing; I have written what's in each pot, tada fool proof testing.....the cotton strips of fabric used for the bundles have been pre-mordanted in oak apple solution.

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend an eco print workshop last Thursday with Marijke Bongers, at her Eco Textile Studio, who herself learned a great deal on the subject from India Flint

below are the eco print results, some made after class from scratch at home, others were made in the class, or further evolved at home

how the paper prints might be framed, both sides are rather nice

I did end up washing all the fabric testers in olive oil soap, once thoroughly rinsed and dry, they they were ironed as well, as this makes for easier sewing; also, even if I'm not going to wear them (or anybody else for that matter) once they become Small Pillows, they will be fondled and touched so I don't to risk them being dirty in any way 

Yorkshire Dale Tale gradually coming together, both sides are basted and it is almost done!

the pink is madder, Marijke grows her own


maple & orange from black ink that emanated from the old paper that sat between the fabric; we made 'sandwiches': paper, leaves, fabric, leaves, paper, etc
folded between 2 metal plates, wrapped in a cloth, tied with string, into the dye pot, which sat simmering on the ring, for an hour at least 

ginko leaf resist and some kind of conifer


 lace and maple combined made for a wonderful result, above on wool, below on paper

sweet chestnut from our front garden


bundle back home, folded around a copper pipe, spritzed with vinegar, re-used all the leaves from the workshop, I think I added copper/vinegar water and some iron water as well, oh one cannot be too sure about these things.....if I don't write it down immediately I forget

finally blossoming, Morning Glory raised from seed

am really enjoying this eco printing! health is improving, appointment with my specialist this Friday afternoon, will try & keep you posted

Monday, 13 August 2018


 warning: long story about my suffering

howling frog, or maybe a toad, found on walk this morning, he expresses so much of what I have felt and been through these past couple of weeks

It's been a weird couple of weeks since we returned from the UK.
Pain in the mouth, most intense near to where the implant/tooth crown is, however it wandered here there and everywhere in the mouth; continuous pain - especially I think in the head where you just can't get away from it - is debilitating, crippling, just plain awful.
So for three weeks I was in pain, almost all of the time, I went to the dentist, got a second opinion from an implant-specialist, their conclusion: there's nothing wrong physically and after what I told them about the disastrous reorganisation of the service department at Miele, my former-former job as coach and front office employee (the one before the 3month reception stint) all of which happened to coincide with the very slow implant business, my body just couldn't deal with healing and work related stress all at the same time....and so, I didn't know this was possible, the stress chose the weakest spot, i.e. my mouth, decided to settle there and now I am in pain!
So on the one hand relief, the implant doesn't have to be removed (the entire procedure lasted one and a half years, so I'm not keen on losing it) but what to do?
Fysiotherapy was recommended and I have had 2 sessions and kind of know what to check, from time to time during the day; have an appointment with a dentist specialised in gnawing and how to deal with it, at the end of August.
I consulted my GP, maybe I should have started there 'cos he prescribed medication (gabapentine, used for epilepsy in larger doses) I take 2 capsules a day and what it does it sort of resets your brain, so the communication between the overactive nerve and brain stops signalling 'alarm' all the time; there was once a reason for the pain, but that is no longer the case; it enables me to kind of remove my thoughts from the pain, so for a week now life has improved dramatically; more good days than bad days, like last Friday: pain increasing all day and me becoming hopeless, desperate in the extreme 'oh no not again, will it never end?, why me?', and I ended up driving into town with our eldest son to buy weed and back home he rolled me a joint and after a few tentative puffs, I could at last inhale..... I became very relaxed, stoned enough to go to bed and sleep! last time I did this was 30 years ago I'm guessing; so I now have my stash in this basket, haha

Of course the physical part is just the half of it, the mindset towards this specific pain must change, but more importantly, I have come to realise I fear pain and I have to deal with this fear, if I want to improve the quality of my life and grow up, which I do. Time to face my demons.
One of them being the need to please, which I suppose is another way of saying I fear being rejected....
I am now in therapy, for the first time in my life, with a hypnotherapist (about time you had therapy at 55 my dear friend M. commented) 
Accepting who and where I am now.....looking back and perhaps I might uncover how it all came about, it's a very practical therapy, which I like.
I sense it helps

To top it all off my left eyelid got infected and I decided to remove my eyelash-extensions and now look at my face in a whole new way;if I do look tired now, so be it, that's who I am (our youngest said he prefers me without)

see left eye is still a bit smaller (on the right in photo)

Physical activity also helps: tai chi every morning with the husband, we don't practice the so-called set, we start with stretching exercises and stand in 5 poses 5 minutes each plus two song movements for the legs and the arms, I just follow his example if I'm honest, he has practised tai chi for 25 years now and has had lots of classes from various teachers and has also read a lot about it all, I am very lazy in that respect; yoga a couple of days a week, daily walks with Django and as the weather has been deliciously hot, swimming together with him in the river nearby, and oh yes the medication means I can't drink alcohol anymore, which is a good thing too......
a couple of days ago, eyelashes with extensions! Django and me after a swim

Life in the studio and garden with all that entails: reading, making, staring, meditating etc is healing
small clay objects I made at a friend's house, she has an oven!!
start of a new piece: Yorkshire Dale Tale

painted these with my eyes shut, starting from the top 
several insights so far:
- if you I want help all you I have to do is ask for it
- I have actually been making the Small Pillows for myself: as soft comforters for Me in a harsh world, hoping they could become something similar to others
- self acceptance starts now
- I truly enjoy exercise
- I must stop trying to please 'everybody' and start paying proper attention to those who matter most to me (this is the only 'must' I can handle)
- paying attention to what matters most to me is also better for my soul, see quote from Kurt Vonnegut found on Wicked Waif's Instagram

- creating is healing
- as is dancing to Patti Smith
- being honest and vulnerable saves a lot of time&energy, as in when friends drop by you cut to the chase, leaving out the bull shit
- from which follows, keeping up a facade costs loads of energy, what a waste!
- holding back the tears (for years) was probably not a good idea, so I have done a lot of catching up there

on a lighter note, two book covers I especially like, see stack below:

books bought in the UK plus 2 mugs, one with a dog just like our Django and the other with book titles on it, most of which I have read or another one by the same author, so I had to buy it you understand, as drinking tea/coffee whilst reading is essential; I've already finished the Cazalet chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard, all 5 volumes! and am now reading  Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse (bought last year at Monk's House)

from which a most beautiful quote, and as I am in the habit of writing those on the walls, as I was writing it on the south facing window frame in my studio I suddenly noticed my 'useless matchbox collection with spent matches' on top of it: how completely appropriate
'there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark'

Making a new cover for my meditation pillow, with a tie dye sheet I made for the nursery all those years ago and insects along the side, blue skies and beetles scuttling seems apt for such a pillow

This is not a depression, I enjoy life too much for that, but if I hadn't been able to deal with the pain - 'cos it hasn't disappeared completely - like I have, with the help of many, both professionals and close friends, not forgetting my husband and our two sons, who have been wonderful and supportive beyond what my words can express, who knows it might have led to one; it feels like I have crashed and hit rock bottom, now the journey upwards has begun.....

I feel I am on the road to salvation!