Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Vanessa Cabban

Happy New Year friends!

This year begins with a mixture of feelings.  Firstly, I must confess I am rather glad that Christmas is out of the way.  I was relieved to take the trimmings down and return to normal.  I miss the twinkly lights, but I don't miss the clutter or the piles of chocolate and shortbread we accumulated.  I feel better eating a bit less now, and have decided to try and get 2015 off to a healthy start.  Not so much a diet, no - they really don't work for me, but just to take time to listen to what my body really wants, and to eat as seasonally as I possibly can.

The children returned to school yesterday, and that was another thing that I felt glad about.  Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed the holidays and spending lots of time with my family, but I also relish my solitary time alone, my little routines, where I create, write and dream.  I like to pootle about, I like my space and as much as I love my family, I like being by myself too.

I mentioned that the year began with a mixture of feelings.  One of these feelings was sadness, and this was upon hearing the news that artist and illustrator, Vanessa Cabban had died.  She was involved in a tragic accident aged just 43.

I had never met Vanessa in real life, but got to know a bit about her through her colourful blog 'Do You Mind If I Knit', and her wonderfully illustrated children's books which my daughter and I enjoyed reading together.  Vanessa painted a picture of a life full of crochet, knitting, art, her home in Northumberland and her dogs.  It was wonderfully inspiring and I enjoyed visiting her blog, where I would dawdle a while, absorbing her whimsical and gentle words and feeling uplifted and inspired by her works in progress.

Vanessa was two years older than me, and I felt very shocked and sad to hear that she had died.  How is it that the death of someone we have never physically met can create such powerful emotions in us? Through her blog, I (along with many others) felt as if I knew a little of her, she felt like a friend.   As she wrote her posts, so her life unfolded in colourful pictures.  Through the world of blogging we connect with others in ways we don't realise.  Today, two weeks since she died, I still find myself visiting her blog, and feeling a sense of loss that I can't comprehend.  My heart goes out to those who knew her personally, her family and her friends.  I hope in some small way, she knew how much she touched people's lives.

(pictures (c) Vanessa Cabban) 

I feel a keen sense of the fragility of everything at the moment, and I decide that I am going to make some changes.  I see how I squander time - time that is irreplaceable, but for which I have taken for granted.  I am going to do something creative every day - to be more aware of looking for things to be happy about.  I think counting our blessings is a wonderful end to anyone's day, and so I intend to think of at least three things each night before I go to sleep, and to practice being grateful for everything I can be, do or have.
I feel the need to squeeze as much joy out of this one glorious life as is possible.  Each day is a wonderful gift, and one I intend to treasure.


  1. I read about Vanessa's tragedy just yesterday and it left an awful shadow of gloom over me as though I knew her in real life too. It's so very sad and a huge loss. It goes to show how connected we do actually feel in Blogland. Like many others I've been neglecting my blog over the past few months and putting more effort into Facebook but now they've moved the goalposts (again!) I'm going to spend more time here again amongst old friends. :)
    Jess xx

  2. Hello Lovely,

    You are right......how can such a loss be felt for someone you've never met? I still can't quite believe it. My heart was so very sad over Christmas. She touched so many lives, influenced so many, and I know that she played a big part in this creative path I have found myself upon. I too, have felt the need to make sure that I seize each day, and not squander time. Trying to get fit (being on the computer is my down time from a big power walk up and down a steep hill, so I feel justified!), and eating healthily.....although a big dilemma......do I eat all the leftover cheese and chocolates first to get them out of the way before I concentrate on fitness?!!!!!! Tee hee! Well, a new year, and a fresh new look at things. That must be a good start hey?! xxxx

  3. Dear Julia
    I agree with you that procrastination is such a waste of time - and like you I have promised myself to be more creative - may you have good health and happiness in equal measure throughout 2015

  4. I felt the loss too and I don't even have my own blog, but I read and enjoyed Vanessa's. She was a most creative person and lots of people will miss her.

    Your image at the top of the page is gorgeous, do keep making new paintings won't you?

    Happy New Year.

  5. Dear Julia, thanks for these words about Vanessa. I never knew her personally, only read her blog, but still I feel so sad as if I lost somebody close. I still can't think of her without tears. Such a tragic loss. I am re-reading her blog and I marvel at her ability to appreciate life.

  6. Thank you for remembering Vanessa. She was lovely wasn't she? I am reading through her blog everyday too, a very bitter sweet experience. What a funny, warm-hearted and lovely person she was. A gifted writer as well as an artist. What a lot she shared, I remember loving to see there was a new post. I have emails from her too, which I know a lot of people did, as she would respond to comments. I found out that she had gone on Christmas Eve and I felt tremendous sadness and began to cry. I think we did feel we knew her, and I missed her very much when she stopped blogging. Who can forget her in her lovely fair isle dress? She was very inspiring. She worked so hard. She really has left a void in the world.

  7. A sad death but certainly no "accident"....suicide by train....what a horrific way to go and awful for everyone around. I have heard of train conductors who have had to go into counseling and who were unable to return to their jobs because of things like this. If a person is this desperate and has to commit suicide, why can't they choose a less public forum in which to do so? It is the ultimate in selfishness. I'm sure all the onlookers were traumatized as well, and there may have been children in the area. To gloss over her suicide and call it an "accident" is a travesty.

    1. At the time of writing this post about Vanessa, I did not know that she had taken her own life, so therefore I wasn't knowingly 'glossing' over this by referring to the incident as an accident.
      If my blog post has offended you, I apologise, but it was simply written in memory of a woman who very often delighted and inspired me with her colourful work and life.


Hello, and thank you for visiting my Blog today. If you would like to leave a comment, I'd be delighted to hear from you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...