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.
listen in the silence and hear the voice of your heart
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

Learning to learn…and relaxΒ 

I don’t know about you but I’ve never been very good at learning. I don’t mean I find it difficult to take on new knowledge and information but I find it difficult to put myself in the position of ‘learner’ and all that comes with it. 

You see the thing is, when I sit down to do something, I expect perfection. I expect to get it right first time and as a result I put a great deal of pressure on myself. I do wonder why we do this to ourselves? Surely life would be so much better if I learned to accept the joy of practicing, of making mistakes and letting go. 

So here’s what I decided to do… 

1. Spend time in my craft space just doing something. Not working on a new item for Dollies Daydream,  not with an end product in mind but just attempting something and see where it takes me. 

   
       My ‘just doing’ activity for this week. Using my Folk It Starter kit I made a sign for our bathroom.  I loved it – so simple and effective this was the perfect project to start my resolution as I really couldn’t go wrong!  

2. I will talk to myself supportively as a friend instead of being my worst critic. I will aim to congratulate myself for something at least once a day. 

3.  I will plan out my projects. I’m sure it is my subconscious trying to sabotage me but I tend to leave things to the last minute and then I end up stressing and inevitably make more mistakes.

4. I will quit while I’m ahead – three things are plenty to work with. After all I need to chill out a bit and rediscover the fun in living a creative life! 

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.

 My completed project  

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 πŸ™‚

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

Until next time,

Toni x

Bah humbug

My last post was all about Christmas cheer and the joys of the festive season. Today, however my mood couldn’t be further from the excited, hopeful individual that wrote that piece.

As I write today, I feel as though I have regressed to a sulky teenager, someone who wants to hit out at the world and hibernate.

What’s changed? No one particular thing, maybe a culmination of many events, many interactions with others and many feelings and emotions I am struggling to deal with.

The house move is filling my life with uncertainty and while people are doing their jobs, it is exactly that – their job. It is not their life that’s on hold, their life that’s turned upside down and boxed up ready to go.

I feel as though my life is not my own. I am at the mercy of others for many different things and I am not in control; my usual default mode.

I am a homebody. I am the first to admit that my favourite place on earth is my bed and I am never happier than when I am at home with my family. I enjoy socialising but there’s nothing better than that feeling when you walk in to the warmth of your home, your sanctuary. That for me, is not there at the moment and it’s so difficult. My life is boxed up. My home is not my own.

I want to lock the door, keep everyone out. I want to take control and do things my way. I want to sulk like a petulant child and scream at anyone who wants to talk to me. I want to act out to try and find some way of exorcising these feelings. I want others to understand what it’s like.

But they won’t. As with any situation, there are those that feel they know best. There are those who want to fix you. There are those who will tell you they’ve been through it and understand. The thing is, no matter how similar our experiences, no two situations are exactly the same. We will all have different experiences, different reactions. We are all individuals.

So for today, I want to lock the door, shut out the world and hide under the duvet, metaphorically speaking. I know I will find that positivity again soon but just for today I need to hide, to lick my wounds and deal with all these changes. There is no quick fix out of these feelings and I don’t know where they’ll lead but just for today this is how I feel.

Until next time,

Toni xx

100 happy days revisited

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Yesterday, my 100 days challenge came to an end. I can honestly say, I cannot believe how fast they went. When I posted my last happy day, it felt slightly anti-climactic. I don’t know what I was hoping for; a fan fare? A round of applause? A pat on the back? There was none of that if course but there was a change.

Yes, there was a few days when I completely forgot to post as I got swept away with life but at no point did I not post because I wasn’t happy. Every day I enjoyed moments of happiness. Some days were filled with it, some days, happy moments interspersed the tears, the stress, the tiredness but the important thing was they were there and I got to share it with others.

It made me look at life and wonder whether our default as a society was to look at the doom and gloom around us. When did that happen? Why should that be the way of the world? Looking back, I remember a pivotal moment in my life when I consciously thought to myself ‘well, if I don’t get my hopes up, if I don’t feel excitement or anticipation, if I don’t pray for the best, I won’t be disappointed if it never happens’

Now I look back and I want to hug that person I was. I want to sit her down and tell her how much she will miss, how much she will hurt herself if she walks down that path. In these past months, I hoped. I prayed. I got excited. I got excited and felt happy for other people and it was great. I dealt with any disappointments. They were worth it.

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My 100 happy days have technically come to an end but I will still keep it going in one form or another. I don’t want to go back to being automatically gloomy. I don’t want to be Eeyore. I want to enjoy life and teach my girls to enjoy happiness and deal with disappointment. Whatever happens, if you want to look for it, you realise the good in life far outweighs the bad you just have to stay focused on the positive.

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! πŸ™‚

Until next time,

Toni xx

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 πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚

Until next time,

Toni xx