Breaking the rules

All my life, I have taken pride in the fact that I am good. I do what I think is expected of me. I fear taking risks in case they fail and I leave myself open to judgement and criticism.

As I have grown, I guess these actions have served me well but it’s also stopped me growing as a person. I’m finding now that as I delve further into my creativity, it is becoming an enemy rather than a friend. What helped me get through life in a way I found acceptable is now hindering my work. I find that I am torn between continuing the way I have always done, of doing what is expected of me and wanting to walk towards my dream life – by stepping over that line and being a rebel.

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The more I accept the daredevil inside me, the more the fear builds and ultimately, the louder that voice gets. You know the one; the one that is quick to criticise, to tell you what is going to go wrong, to let you know just how you will let others down – how others will judge you.

So the other morning I sat and thought. In a rare moment without my girls and husband around, I turned off the TV. I refrained from listening to music, made a cup of tea and sat outside. Listening to the birds, I just sat and closed my eyes. As seconds passed and I thought about where I was and where I want to be, I suddenly started distinguishing between what my heart was screaming and what my head was telling me. For the first time, I realised that my head was always a fraction behind my heart. Everything my heart was saying made me feel good to my core. Whenever my head spoke, I felt fear.
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That moment defined my future. It has helped me to make the first steps towards the life I want and the life I need. I want to rediscover the joy in life and teach my kids that money is not what counts; its how happy you are that matters. I don’t know what will happen in the long term after I make this change and that scares the life out of me, but I already feel as though a weight has been lifted. If I listen closely, there’s another voice inside that’s whispering that it’s ok; that I need to have faith, that I should trust that everything thing will be good and when those bumps in the road come along, as they inevitably do, I will cope. Everything I’ve done and learned has led to this and it’s time to move forward….one step at a time.

Until next time,

Toni x

I haven’t written for a while now, maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t. 2015 is moving pretty fast and I hope it is all you wished for and more.

The truth about my silence is that I honestly didn’t feel I had anything to say. Every thought I had, I felt like it had already been said, already been heard. Everything has being feeling a bit routine and flat.

In response to these feelings, I decided to do something different – I booked myself, my sister in law and her mum onto a one day patchwork course. We all have skills we wish we could learn if we had time but often they stay on our to do list. I had been on one of Danielle’s courses before at and loved it so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.

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It was nothing short of intensive and at this moment in time I never want to see another piece of bias binding in my life! There were times I loved the process and many more times I wanted to throw the blanket and the sewing machine through the window. Like many of you, I struggle as a learner especially when things don’t turn out perfect first time around. (No surprises that they often don’t!)

Looking back, maybe that was the problem. I had started putting limits on my life for exactly that reason – so I didn’t fail. The problem was that while I didn’t have to experience and face the feelings that come hand in hand with failure, I also didn’t feel challenged. I didn’t feel excitement and I felt low.

  
Alongside this creative day out, I also received an offer to work on an exciting new project for the fantastic Sheffield based company Folk It. This company has a fantastic product – their gorgeous painting kits give everyone (regardless of how artistic you believe you are) the confidence to learn to paint.

I could have declined the invite. It crossed my mind because I knew there may be elements that would push me beyond my comfort zone. After a moment though, I knew it was my head talking. When I spent a moment listening to that other quiet voice that I too often silence, I knew this change had sought me out for a reason. I may not know the path the project will take but for once, I’m ok with that. (Haha how I’ve grown!)

In such a short space of time, my mind has burst into life. I am carrying around a notebook to record ideas, quotes, sketches. I am walking back into my craft room feeling enthused and I realise I’m living a creative life again.

  
People often make new years resolutions that die out before January has even ended but I wonder whether I might be more successful if I make smaller goals throughout the year and I’m looking forward to thinking up a few for the year to come. Either way, I feel as though I can certainly tick off ‘Learning a new skill’ from my list. It may have tried my patience at times but I like to think of my labour of love as the most beautifully imperfect blanket my girls will wrap their dolls in 🙂

What goals have you achieved this year? What dreams have you yet to fulfill? Id love to hear about your progress so far 🙂

Until next time,

Toni x

Do we need to say goodbye?

I cannot believe that today we are welcoming in December. A day when we look forward to all the festivities the month will bring. It is also, for me, almost a month since we moved home.

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Since we moved, my body made it clear that I needed to slow down in the guise of different illnesses. Looking back now, all the stress, worrying, endless to do lists and mountains of packing just feels like a blur in my head. I did not have time to take stock, to look around and notice what was happening. Maybe it was because I couldn’t…or wouldn’t allow myself.

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Before we moved, I thought we would say an emotional goodbye to a house that’s been a feature in my life, for all my life. I visited my Aunty and Uncle there when I was young. When my grandparents bought it I remember my Grandad standing at the window, pretending to cheer as I left. It was the place to meet for family get togethers. It was the go to place when my parents separated and it was the house we stayed in when my dad died.

I do wonder, because of all that, whether the house ever felt 100% mine because of all the memories it held. Regardless, it was the house that saw our lives change. It welcomed new family – my youngest was even born there.

I felt that I needed to have time to say goodbye, to put closure on that chapter of our lives but it didn’t work that way. The universe had other plans.

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After time to think it over, to deal with the enormity of moving our lives elsewhere, I realise that it unfolded the way it had to. I didn’t have chance to think of what was happening – maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have cherished what we were going to…our new adventure.

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The new house doesn’t feel like ours just yet. We are taking time to settle, unpack (slowly) and find out what works and what doesn’t. I’m itching to buy paint, new furniture and furnishings but I am taking my time so I get it right. This house comes with very few memories and I want to grow into it.

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I am relaxing into each room and enjoying the space. I love, love, love having a craft space I can lock away from prying eyes and tiny fingers to create whenever I can.

Recent festive makes…. 🙂

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One thing I’m sure of is that I’m looking forward to making many new memories in this house….that and that it’s very, very unlikely I’ll move again 😉

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Until next time,

T xx

(All images sourced from Pinterest)

Creativity amongst chaos

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I seem to have been a little quiet on the writing front of late and that is because we have finally got the house sorted and put it on the market. It’s felt like a huge uphill climb but now we are at the top we just have to sit and wait, praying the right person will come along and love our little house.

Throughout all this, I have been trying to carve out some me time – time when I can complete orders, sketch and sew. I have promised myself that if I can only take half an hour out a day (or less!) it’s better than nothing….and it would be a huge waste of my super tidy craft table 😉

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I have also closed my order book for now. I never thought I would be busy enough to do that when I began creating again. I have to say it snuck up on me but all of a sudden I was faced with that choice and for my own sanity and ongoing creativity I had to press pause. The difference in me was amazing – my head felt clearer, I felt calmer, I took stock and thanked my lucky stars.

So here I am, concentrating on orders and looking for houses. We missed out on the fun of looking for houses last time as we bought our house from a relative. This time, in addition to experiencing the fun of keeping everything super tidy, (not easy when my natural tendency is to make a mess!) we get to look round other places and decide where our dream home will be.

Exciting times ahead,

until next time,

Toni x

All change

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In the last few weeks, I have been working hard. There have been orders to complete, ideas to get down on paper, events to attend and decisions to make.

One of those decisions has been to bite the bullet and move house. Honestly? We grew out of our first home years ago but made the decision to stay where we were because it seemed easier. We didn’t have to worry about sprucing up the place, packing stuff away and chucking things out.

Saying that, now we have made that decision, whilst it is challenging with two children under 6, it is liberating. It feels like a supercharged spring clean! Jobs we have put of for longer than I care to admit to are suddenly done – and they’re a lot less hassle than I’d imagined.

The process is stressful and while we are moving ahead, I couldn’t do it all without the help of my family who have been fab – not just at helping out but at bolstering me when I’m having the odd wobble and feeling overwhelmed.

It is a time of change but despite the odd freak out (after all moving house is one of the top ten most stressful things you can do) I am feeling hopeful. It is a time of new beginnings, of possibility and excitement.

Who knows where our dream house may be! 🙂

Until next time,

Toni xx

Back to ‘normality’

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Last Thursday was the first day I had experienced without any dizziness. Over a week on the dreaded Labyrinthitis is becoming just a painful memory 🙂

Since then I have thoroughly enjoyed throwing myself back into sewing.

I’ve been preparing some new work templates….

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I’ve been working on a development of my popular Safari wreath…

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I’ve also been developing a new pirate themed wreath and doing some cross stitch I’ve got on the go as a gift, (can’t wait to show you that!)

I’ve also been making a few more pom pom flowers 🙂

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This has all been amazing. For want of a better phrase – it felt like coming home. At the same time, I have also gone back to work. I cannot describe the difference I feel between the two roles. Once again, my heart is telling me where it wants to be but at the moment my head will not let go of the idea of ‘normal’ – to have a career with the fall back of a regular monthly wage (and I also appreciate the purpose of sick pay after these long two months).

I read someone’s blog page this week who had taken the admirable step to walk away from the ‘norm’ and followed his heart. How amazing would it be to feel so free?!

So….I will keep moving forward. I will read these inspiring accounts of people who have been true to themselves. I will keep working on the multitude of ideas I have building in my sketchbook and wait to see what tomorrow brings….after all tomorrow’s another day 🙂

Have you ever made a big leap into the unknown? Are you still looking for the right time to make a change? What inspired you to follow your heart?

Until next time,

Toni x

Dreaming my dream

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Sat in a cafe a few years ago, a friend and I, in conversation, realised we were both reading ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne and enjoying the possibilities this book was introducing us to. I am the first to admit that I can be prone to focusing on the negative as I have mentioned before. The concept of thinking more positively, focusing more on what I want instead of what I don’t want really struck a chord.

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I did feel however, on completing the book was that I didn’t gel with everything in the book. I felt that while it was a good thing to be positive, it was unrealistic to be positive 100% of the time. I don’t know how it came about that I bought Mike Dooley’s book but I bought ‘Manifesting change’ and signed up to receive his ‘Notes from the Universe’ each day.

One of the things Mile maintains (like The Secret) is that what we think about, what we focus on and what we spend time visualising will become reality. I always try to do this with little things – like car parking spaces and find that it almost always works. Some may say its coincidence – maybe it is but I like to think it’s more than that.

So… Has it worked with bigger things? To date I can’t say it has but that doesn’t stop me trying. Plus it’s so fun to imagine what I would have if I could.

Lately, I’ve been imagining my perfect craft room. At this present moment my craft space consists of a corner of my dining room but if I were able to have the perfect room it would:

1. Be light and airy with white walls.
2. Have light coloured varnished floorboards
3. Contain some kind of comfy seating like an old leather settee or an oversized chair similar to this….

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4. It would have a desk down one side of the room with an island in the middle tall enough to allow me to work/cut fabric standing up. (Hey if you’re going to dream, you might as well do it right!)

In fact something like this would be perfect….

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5. It would contain accessories from my favourite colour palette – the peacock 🙂

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6. My organisation would go beyond storing my buttons by colour and everything would have its place.

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Most of all though it would be a space for me. A place I can escape to to create – a room that is just mine. It will be a place I can plan, relax and dream. It can be a place I can leave for a while and come back to it – and it will be exactly as I left it.

You may not think much of the philosophies of Rhonda Byrne and Mile Dooley. You may think they’re a nice idea but not realistic….or you might hope that there’s a grain of truth in them and want to give it a go. All I know is that thinking positive and visualising the life I want is no bad thing and if it does bring about wonderful changes – even better. Thinking about the things I would like allows me to dream, strive and hope but in a strange way it also allows me to appreciate what I’ve already got.

For now I have my craft corner in my own little house with a great family. Anything else is a fantastic bonus. 🙂

Until next time,

Toni xx