Saturday, 4 July 2015

Charity Shop Gold: The Chair

Today saw the completion of a long quest: To find The Chair. Mr CB has been seeking The Chair in charity shops for several years to no avail, but it appeared in the charity shop at the bottom of our road last weekend. It nearly ended tragically as it had been sold a minute before we got there (literally a minute - so close!) but the lady who bought it changed her mind the next day and we got a call telling us it was ours if we wanted it. Joy! My CB is delighted and is finding hard to leave the chair now he's sat in it. He may age and die there, best keep an eye on him.

The living room is in diasaray at the moment as I'm painting it so everything's all moved about and in the way. It's coming together one wall at a time, and is slowly being transformed from dull brown and cluttered to fresh green and clear. I'm looking forward to finishing and posting before and show off-y after pics.

After a day of shopping and painting I've been enjoying some crochet time in the garden with an audio book and cats for company (can you spot the cat hiding in the top photo?). Crochet + Garden + Sun = Blissful, although I think I need some practice at sitting still as I keep jumping up to do something. Which is exactly what I'm going to do now; we're having a bbq for two so I'm going to go make halloumi and mushroom skewers and Mr CB's making burgers. It's hot but windy out there so this could be a very British bbq! 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Back to the beginning

My lapse in blogging has been playing on my mind lately. I questioned myself on why I stopped and, in the process, came to a better understanding of why I started in the first place. I started Crafty Blueberry at a time when I was beginning to explore what makes me happy. Finding what makes you happy sounds so simple, but...! I wanted to use my blog to record the happy-making things in my daily life, especially at a time of financial and emotional turmoil. I wrote for myself and enjoyed meeting other bloggers, reading blogs for inspiration and sharing what I’d made and done.

So what changed?

Well, when I started the blog all I really wanted to do was knit, crochet and bake. Truly excellent things, but as time’s passed I’ve found myself interested in a wider variety of things that don’t fall under the ‘crafty’ umbrella. For some reason I’ve had it in my head that because my blog’s called Crafty Blueberry it has to be about crafting. Where on earth did I get that idea from? Talk about self-limiting! The less stuff I made, the less I believed I had to write about. Silly Laura.

But that’s not the only reason I stopped writing. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I had a spot of **blushes** blog envy. I follow some excellent blogs, with stunning photos and wise, funny, interesting words. I did something I avoid fairly successfully elsewhere in my life: I compared my writing to other peoples. The big no no! Of course I came off worse as that’s what happens when you compare anything you’re insecure about with anyone else, so that was another thing that eroded my will to blog a little bit more.

That’s why I started then stopped; why am I back? I’ve been using Pinterest a lot lately and, through it, finding lots of blogs that are new to me. Reading all those great blogs has reminded me that when I wasn’t worrying about it I really enjoyed blogging. This time around I’m questioning my hesitation and making myself face the fears and not hide from them by avoiding writing. Crafty Blueberry has always drawn my focus back to what I enjoy when I’ve been taking life - and myself! - too seriously.

For me, coming back to Blogland makes the beginning of a personal mission to face my fears and do more of what I enjoy.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Catch Up

Here'a a lightening round up of some of the things I've been doing whilst away from Blogland.

I've been letting sleeping eggs lie...

...found a broken sewing machine table by the side of the road and gave it a new life with a clean down and some home-made chalk paint...

...finished Celestarium (at last!)...

...and started a happy, wavey, rainbow cushion cover...

...I became a Reiki Master! And have set up a blog about it...

...I've learnt to make orgonite...

...and cards...

...started studying again...

...I visited Mablethorpe in March, which was very cold...

...and Budapest in June, which was very hot.

I've had a lot to blog about and wish now that I had, and I'm looking forward to writing again. I've missed having a record to look back on, a blog is a fine way to track your own ups and downs and capture the things you've enjoyed.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Looking Forward: July

I was looking at The Frugal Cottage today and really like how Nicola takes the time at the start of the month to look at her aims for the month ahead. I am shamelessly copying her because I think it's a great idea, and I'm also including things I'm looking forward to. This is to help me to stay focussed on the good things in my life as well as keeping me accountable for the things I'm working on/towards.

July aims:

1) Get back into my online hypnotherapy course: I was studying regularly before my holiday last week and making good progress, so now I need to pick up where I left off and get back into the habit.

2) Step up my blog design: I'm not happy with the layout and colours, in fact the design in general so it's time for a total refresh. I'll also add an 'About Me' because I have shied away from it for so long!

3) Keep tracking my spending in detail: I've been tracking every single penny on a spreadsheet for the past month and I intend to stick to it as it's giving me a big insight into what I spend, when and where. I'm a frugal girl but I know I'm leaking away money on little things and I want to fix that leak and direct the flow towards the big things I'm saving for.

Here are 3 things I’m looking forward to this month:

1) Getting back into my hypnotherapy course after my holiday, as above: Both an aim and something I'm really looking forward to.

2) My birthday and a night away by the sea to celebrate: Birthday + sea = Good times ahead.

3) An old friend visiting for a weekend: We used to spend so much time together when we were young 'uns living in Stoke On Trent together but now I'm in Leeds we see each other very rarely, so when we do meet up I look forward to it very much indeed.

What are you looking forward to in July? Have you got any aims, big or small, serious or fun?

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Self overload

I've always been the kind of person who bites off more than she can chew. I love the start of new projects, whether it's a thing I'm making, something I'm learning or a piece of writing. I get stuck into it and love love love it, and it's the best thing ever, and...hey, what's that thing over there? That interesting topic over there? Hmm, I think I'll just glance over it. This is really pretty interesting. It's fascinating in fact. I'm sure I can fit it in somewhere...

Then of course the inevitable happens: I overload myself with things to do and drop most of them before I've had time to really enjoy them because I just feel totally overwhelmed. I'm talking purely about things I've chosen to do because they appeal to me, so it's pretty daft to keep on overloading myself with things, right? 

In that case, why do I do it?

The answer struck me today when - gasp! - I turned away from a New Thing To Do. Mr Crafty Blueberry has been looking into getting back into a martial arts again and found a Jujitsu class in the evening very close to where we live. He asked if I'd like to come along to watch a class and see if I'd be interested in joining. After some consideration I said yes, and was going to go until the day came around. I thought about how I'd really like to get back into my online hypnotherapy course after going on holiday last week, and as I thought that I remembered all the other things I was planning to do with my evenings after work this week. It struck me that I actually havn't got the time OR the head space to devote to another New Thing To Do. Maybe this isn't a big deal to you but, my word, it was a revelation to me over here.

The more I thought about it the more I realised I have a tendency to spread myself far too thin, not because I am super productive or a multi-tasking clever cloggs, but because I'm scarred of missing out. I believe that acting from a place of fear is a weakening, disempowering way to make decisions, yet here I am overloading myself because I'm scared of missing out on all the great things there are to learn about and do. It's a variation on hoarding mentality; fearing that there will be no more of something so I must stock up, only in my case I fear I won't have the time to learn all I want to learn so I cram too much in and have no mental space or time left in which to actually enjoy the process.

There's the key: Enjoying the process. I've been treating it like a race in which I'm at a disadvantage, I've been focussing on what I don't have ie. infinite time and capacity. How can I expect to enjoy the process of learning, making and doing if I treat it all as boxes to be ticked, a To Do list of fulfilment? 

I don't want to limit myself; my interests are too varied for that, and there's such joy in knowing that I can at least attempt to learn any new skill I choose (though success is far from guaranteed!). At the same time I know that I'm getting nowhere with my current overloaded buffet plate situation, so something's got to give. I don't know what the change needs to be yet, nor how to make it, I just know that it'd time for me to focus on quality over quantity, learn how to how enjoy learning and enjoy the process instead of always looking to the next thing.

How about you? Anyone else tend to overload their mental buffet plate? 

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Making a merrier world

I'm generally big on setting goals and making lists.  I like having an aim, plotting my course and tracking my progress.  The trouble is now that I stop to think about it that approach hasn't always served me well.  Sometimes it works; it's great for big projects at work and for things like planning holidays or big things like that.  But so often it's sucked the joy out of things for me, dried them out and made them unpalatable.  This year I have no plans to make and stick to new years resolutions.  There are things I want to do, sure, but I don't want to sacrifice the present moment to them.

What I'm getting at is that whilst goal setting is valuable and sometimes the only way through, when over-used it can mean pushing aside the good stuff in your life right now to the back of your mind, in favour of focussing on something that's yet to come.  So what I've pledged to myself for 2015 is to re-learn how to enjoy what I have in my life now.  That could mean simply dwelling in the moment and enjoying it to the full, or making the best use of the things I have instead of rushing out to buy something newer or just different.  I do love the simple things in life but I think, like most people, my thoughts drift ahead too much and I end up either wishing my life away as I look forward to something, or else I worry myself sick over things that may not ever happen.

I love the quote at the start of this post because I really believe it's true; focussing on the simple joys each of us is lucky enough to possess brings such happiness, even in the midst of hard times.  I know this from experience and it's a lesson that's deeply enriched my life, and always will.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Celestarium revisited

In April 2013 I took on quite an ambitious knitting project, the Celestarium shawl.  I made an earnest start then put it down in favor of easier projects, occasionally picking it up again before getting fed up and abandoning it again.

Such is the way of knitting.

A couple of days ago I picked it up again as I was bored of all the fun but mindless knitting and crochet I'd been doing.  I longed for something more in depth and the part done shawl came to the rescue.  Since then I've spent hours at a time pouring over the chart, knitting, hooking beads into place and watching it grow.  I have been totally absorbed in the process, I've been in the "Just one more round" mentality where I havn't wanted to put it down, and when I have I've been eager to get back to it.  In short, I'm in The Zone.

If you're a maker or a doer of any kind you'll know what I mean:  It's that project where everything comes together, your mood matches the task perfectly and your skills and attention are just what the project requires.  It. Is. Bliss.

I've fallen in love with this shawl all over again and once again find myself wondering how anyone was insane/clever enough to create a chart for knitting the stars of the Northern Hemisphere as a circular shawl.

Now, I wonder if my next post about Celestarium will be me finishing the shawl or me picking it up again in two years time?