Monday, 2 March 2015

The here and now and a photography course....

looking out over the blue yonder
So here I am today. So many things to say. Which way shall I go? What to say. Shall I talk about the little glimmers of spring or the cold, cold north wind blowing up here on the common. Shall I talk about recent inspirations, shop news, making and creating. Yesterday was a day I spent thinking about my shop, catching ideas. My work space is looking like 'post-it-note central'. Choices to make. Ideas to bring into reality. I'm feeling a beautiful wave of energy right now of inspiration, and the exciting feeling that I really am following my creative process. My work room, feels like my sweet blissful space to be in right now, warm and sunny, if the weathers right, and I'm trying to work my life out so that I can spend more time in there.

is it spring yet! 
Of course this wonderful feeling of inspiration and magic co-exists with other things. I could talk about my inner or my outer world. Or I could scratch below the surface and talk about what's happening there? The deeper aspects, the deeper grit. Because we all know that grit will be there. We don't all talk about this. I probably share a bit more than others and a lot less than some. Sometimes it not ours to share, and we can only try and work out what our relational part in the story is. I do really love to look around the web at all the beautiful creativity and inspiration I find there. I am a visual junkie. But sooner or later I will have to go and look for more. More depth, more meaning, more story, find that connection.

a speedy lunch enjoying the sunshine.
A couple of days ago I listened to an audio class with Susannah Conway, talking about the value of 'sharing our story'. She talked about the pure alchelmy that can occur when we do this and the value of each of our stories. Whether we do that in journals, or with another person or out in the world. Or maybe we don't want to share that messy, dirty story with anyone. And that's okay too. But the story is transforming, because it's our story, and there will be value in it. Remember that piece of grit that begins the pearl. We are all part of a beautiful shining string of pearls. So we can let our story work it's magic whatever it is.

If you would like to listen to her podcast you would need to subscribe to her newsletter here and then you can enter her inspiration library.

tea pot daffs!
And so another thing, while I'm talking about this here. Intuition, information, you ever get it. Or should I say how do you receive it, because I'm sure we all do, in some form or other.
How does life prompt you, push you in the right direction. Show you the way.....For me it's always as I wake. I just become aware of strange and random things, just momentarily. Images, words, briefly. Sometimes they make no sense at all.....and yes I'm taking a deep breath at sharing this here.

So the other day when I awoke I saw the words 'ink on pink'....strange. No idea about that. Later that day I felt suddenly tired and just had to catch an unusual 40 winks. As I awoke I saw the image of a little black and white tudor house, with a red front door and a thatched roof. I thought okay, am I going to live here or is this house in my future somewhere. Where is this house? My next though was.....Paddington, I was thinking okay Paddington station, Paddington bear, idea. Is this a bit bizarre. It is isn't it. Well in for a penny.

all ears! - just because.
So later that day I received Susannah's newsletter talking about her new photography course, beginning today, Photo meditations. A five week course. Hmmm. I could do with this I thought. It sounded good. Then somehow I found myself having a quick look at her instagram, for the first time. Now I am very new to instagram. I'm even reluctant to leave a link because I have no photos there yet. There are some people who I follow along with, but I've not been able to join in. Anyway there in the middle of the screen, was that little house. A black and white tudor thatched house, with a red door. A place she had walked past. Now Susannah has moved back to London more recently. Probably not Paddington....but for me that is the gateway to London coming in on the train. Oh and her first blog was called 'ink on my fingers'!.......and then I knew, I had to do this course. An on-line course. The first for me.

So I have splurged, it's a treat. I'm a little scared, but her december reflections was such a good thing for me to do. I'm a little worried I will be out of my depth and have to pull something out of myself which I might not be able to find or maybe isn't there. But I know that I need to tell my doubt some things of value about myself and it will be okay. I have already had some nice re-assuring emails about the course, and the first lesson has arrived today! It might not be too late if anyone else wants to join in. It begins today. You might get sent a discount voucher if you do subscribe.

So I don't know, things may go quiet here. I may go into photographer mode, or I may not! Last night I dream't I was mugged while wearing my camera, and when I looked down they had taken my lense off. I think it was an anxiety dream about instagram! and learning to use my smartphone for photography. Good job the course covers that. Phew! Catch you along the way. x


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Pancake day

pancake day
Here in the U.K. yesterday it was Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake day. On my pancakes I have always been a sugar and lemon girl! This year we also had some Maple syrup because I have been stocking up on ingredients for making receipes from my Deliciously Ella book. And wow, Maple syrup is like liquid gold currency isn't it!

I used:-

150g plain wholmeal flour
150ml milk
30g sugar
1 egg

ta daa!
 And here it pancake made on my Mum's little crepe pan. Cooked in a little butter, it's really so easy using one of these. I just need to get one of those little wooden pushing things, which I'm sure has a name!

It was really rather lovely, but I couldn't help thinking about Nutella!

So what did you have? did you remember?

ps. not a sponsored post!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

mother's day love hearts

mother's day love hearts by my little red suitcase on etsy
Okay well I have been going a bit heart mad here making hearts, I'm enjoying myself, and that's a good thing. I don't have my lovely Mum anymore, not in body anyway. She is and will always be most sorely missed. The daily phone call of sharing what's happening in our world, and our devoted follower of life's ups and downs. Someone to call and say 'I'm back' after a long journey. Someone to drink tea and eat cake with in favourite cafe's. My listener, supporter and all round ground holder.

I would always find a little something heart shaped to give her on her birthday or christmas or for celebrations. I would look out for red hearts, because red was her favourite colour, whether it was chocolate or a glass bauble or a card. I actually think she started the tradition, by giving me a red velvet heart cushion, which I still have today.

Anyway I will dedicate these love hearts to her and the spirit of her mothering. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I have made these hearts bigger than before, as they should be of course! Each heart comes attached to a blank white square card, with an envelope for sending. The heart can then be taken off and dangled wherever feels a good place to see it!

I can send the cards by first class post, which for the U.K keeps the postage quite low. Because of the depth of the crochet, it doesn't quite fit the guidelines for letter depth for international post, so I would need to send as a small parcel. This costs a bit more. I'm going to think about what else I can do to keep the postage down.

Oh yes, in the middle is a lovely chunky cotton reel I brought at the vintage flea market in Ludlow on Sunday. I thought it might make a nice prop! I have to take the teen here now again to meet his Dad. It's the half way point, seems as he has now moved to North Wales.  I am gathering photo's, it's a lovely town and I will do a post about it sometime.

Have a good week, if you would like a card they are in my sHoP.


Saturday, 14 February 2015

sweet Valentine

'sweet Valentine' by my little red suitcase
Good morning all you lovely people, a Happy Valentine's day to you! Whether you are with loved ones or just loving yourself up something nice today. ♥ ♥ ♥

I have landed down to earth with a gentle bumpity bump this week. On my last post I was flying high, in a slightly blissed out state, due to feeling so much better. Well a few things here and there and from around the web, reached in and brought me, I have to say, just gently back down to earth.

Serendipity by the lake
There were a few walks by the water and a few gentle tears and there I was with my feet back down on the ground and feeling focused again, and you know what, that ground feels pretty good.

in the heart of the tree!
Now where's that little dog?.... Oh there she is, can you see the heart?.....

♥ ♥ ♥

At home I have been making more hearts, and trying to work out the settings on my camera. I left things too late to make Valentine hearts, again!.....Mothers day is looking optimistic, I'm just waiting for some card and envelopes to arrive, but I might also have to think that through again.

'special Mum' by my little red suitcase
I will be popping some like this into my shop if anyone's interested.

Lastly, I thought I would show you today's revelation......

Yep, you guessed it.

vintage pillowcases

They will all be going in the washing machine and freshened up. Should I put them my shop, do really need this many?!...oh the joys of thrift.

Have a lovely day.

♥ x ♥ x ♥

Saturday, 7 February 2015

life lessons and inspiration...

sunlight and daffodils
Thank you for all your kind words on my last post about my poncho!

The above photo is really the sunniest I could find this week. The daffodils were given to me by one of my hardy cabin folks on the day of her three year anniversary of living here. Which is really rather sweet considering right now she wakes up to this in the morning.

a cold and frosty morning
It looks freezing doesn't it, but she seems to like it and be able to cope! I think it toughens you up. I feel quite spoilt living in the house sometimes.

It's been a strange old week here. A week of the most intense sensitivity and soul searching. Which has just suddenly lifted and moved on, leaving me wondering what happened, where it went.

I talked about sensitivity in my finding my way through January post. I wanted to know what it wanted? well I had a light bulb moment after that. It's really quite simple, it wants me to make a boundary. Well of course you might think. But it's just never been that obvious to me. So when I feel like that, I need to make a boundary. It could be with someone, or within my environment, or even with nice people. The point is, it needs to be heard and not ignored.

Sensitivity has been there all week. I saw my mentor and then felt so overwhelmed all I could do was go home and curl up on the floor next to the radiator in a kind of den with my dog. But you know that's what I needed to do, and I felt better for it than if I had tried to carry on. Sometimes things speak really loudly so that they can be heard. Sometimes I'm not so good at listening. For me it's a kind of struggle with processing, which can easily lead to overwhelm. I think my son struggles with the same thing but copes with it in a different way.

It's been the lesson of this winter for me. So I will learn to make boundaries when I need to. Stop and change things if sensitivity starts to make itself heard. This is a huge life lesson for me. Which is why I'm sharing this here.

sunlight and tiny glass bottles ♥
I need to make friends with sensitivity because it has much wisdom and insight to impart, and that's a good thing.

And so I'm listening, and something seems to have suddenly shifted. I'm looking around at the things that inspire me again, the things that uplift me. I want to connect. I've spent a bit of time bringing facebook to life again. My personal and mylittleredsuitcase page. Made some old connections, remembered a part of who I used to be. In a good way. In a boundaried way, that I feel comfortable with, and with folks who make me feel comfortable.

My most inspiring and uplifting thing this week has been discoveringthis track by the singer Laleh a Swedish singer.

I love the dancing. Something about it touches me deeply. The tears flowed in a good way. I just keep watching it. The body is a vehicle of expression. I want to be a dancer. Still! My soul is dancing with them. Please watch!

PS. Also I have popped some new things in my SHOP!


Monday, 2 February 2015

coffee and crochet and a loopy lou!

I think February is looking like being a coffee and crochet month! Since I started last months 30 day craftathon, finished items are just flying off my hook. My shop is starting to fill up again. I am wading through what needs to be finished and just looking out for some brighter days to photograph things. There is one thing that has been waiting so patiently for me to show you.

It actually all began in here, all the way back in May last year, on a day out in Bristol. I had travelled up on the train with my son and he had gone to meet friends for the day. I was wondering around the quite new to me city, looking for a pit stop and somewhere to sit and cast on my new project. This sign in the city center called me in,  I liked the sound of the 'lush coffee' the 'banging salads' and the comfy sofas!

The vintage decoration inside ticked all the right boxes, it was vibey, full of students, vintage clothes were for sale. I was served by a guy wearing baggy jeans, a jumper from the eighties and the kind of curly hair do which left me thinking he might have been my boyfriend from 1986!.... I love the way vintage now includes the 1980's as well.


I sunk down into one of the eighties black leather sofas and tried to look inconspicuous amongst the students. With the Blackcurrent Frangipani cake and the 'lush coffee' for company I cast on for my Loopy Lou. I figured crochet was kind of vintage looking anyway.....!  This was the first time I had ever followed a longer pattern. Initially I cast on with the wrong colour, and then had to begin again. I tried to rush through without reading it properly, lessons were learned! I used a too small cochet hook as well, and then had crochet really loosely from that point on. Also if the pattern is a repeat you need to make sure you have read it correctly otherwise you will have to keep repeating the mistake you have made! So yes slow down, take your time and you can make this,

I choose the dark green because I had quite a large amount of green merino wool to use up, and then I added in the softer colours. I decided to make the poncho longer so I kept on going, and going.

It's just right with jeans and boots, which is just as well because that's all I wear! I decided to finish with a simple edge rather than the 'loops', which makes it rather less loopy.

It was a hugely satisfying longer project, which spanned over about 6 months. The merino wool is soft and warm, and I think hung in such a way that it doesn't need blocking.

I also added a little label in the back so I know which is the reverse. So thank you Sandra@Cherryheart for your pattern!

And this was a little dog I saw that day, as I peeped in the doorway of At-Bristol.

beacause I had to leave mine at home!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

finding my way through january

I have been feeling a bit cold and quite a lot sensitive. My head really feels strange. I've been wearing my very warm insulated Peruvian hat, like my head needs protecting! I'm not ready to emerge yet. I'm still in my retreated January space. I keep thinking I might be getting a cold, but haven't. I even felt a bit adverse to being on-line, like I needed to draw back into myself some more. I've made a little boundary between me and the world. I can wave, but I can't connect just now.

I am finding a new strength in that quiet place. Inside that boundary the new impulse for growth and life is quietly being nurtured. Just slowly. Sensitivity may be my middle name. Sometimes I wonder why it's there so much. Well I know where it came from. But what does it want from me now? What's it trying to say? I think it wants me to listen. I often try and barge on ahead anyway. Sensitivity squashed back down. Ignored. I think it has quite a lot of important things to tell me, and if I could just listen more, I probably would find myself creating easier situations that don't need to shout quite so loudly to be heard....!

So yes a sensitive January it seems. Perhaps it's a good time of year to notice this. Some things can make it worse I think. Noise, intensity of different kinds. I'm ready to blame the wi-fi quite indiscriminately. Who knows about that really? I am reading Brene Brown's The gift of imperfection. I am quietly opening up to her ideas about owning our own story and being 'good enough'. If you haven't watched her TEDx talk on The power of vulnerability it's definitely worth watching.

I am still stretching and doing crafy/shop things. I've fallen into a rythym where there is more emphasis on one than the other each day, a kind of taking in turns. But they are both still there. Today I need to stretch, I can feel that. Yesterday was a day of photos and editing. It's been so hard with the light.

'winter white' by my little red suitcase
This is my new 'winter white' cushion. I love it here with the light from the window, but the light casts a shadow. So I can't use the photo in my shop. I need to experiment with holding a white board and reflecting the light back. It's all a learning process, and I am actually enjoying it. Thank goodness for the new camera!

So near the end of January and we need little glimmers of warmth now. Small hopeful jollies of sunshine and friendly faces and yes that will include human interaction too. Here's looking forward to that.