Sunday 28 December 2008

The path through Christmas

So Christmas is over, and Im feeling quietly relieved. From October there has been an onslaught of in-your-face marketing and advertising for all things Christmas, and it feels like time is fast approaching to put the fairy lights and baubles back into their boxes for another year - to refresh the house, take a big deep breath and welcome the approching new year.
Christmas here was spent with my family, and was as usual over laden with the usual expectations that accompany this season. Christmas is never perfect, its messy, there are quiet difficult parts, there are frustrations and this year we spent the day looking after our little girl who became ill, eventually driving into the city to see the oncall doctor at the hospital.
Shes getting better now, but this year Ive opened my eyes wide in more ways than one. Ive allowed myself to just let this day come and go without pinning too much on it, to just let it do its own thing, to gather with family if it feels right, to eat good food and celebrate being together. Its about giving and receiving, but I also know its important not to get caught up in the commerciality of it all, to make time for myself - to sleep, read in bed, drink lots of water, take long deep baths and relax, to keep the true meaning in mind.

And so, it feels like time to open up to new opportunities, test a few boundaries by trying something different...Its time for sitting quietly with new ideas, mulling on them until they feel ready to make real...but its also a time to take a few tiny risks, to promise to do something if not wildly, then mildly radical this year. Its time to grab this life by the hand and vow to dance heartily with it - to look at it with new eyes and embrace all it has to offer us.

Right now in this moment, Im everything I need to be, but with every minute that passes, as more seconds of my life unfurl I am aware that time is passing and that I need to start taking more chances. It would be so easy to hold onto the habits that feel comfortable to me, to carry on living in a way that is familiar but to achieve our dreams we have to be prepared to take a leap of faith into new territory.

This year, Im going for it.

How about you?

Im promising myself new art and sacred creativity time each week, and biggest of all, Im gifting myself with courage to send much more of my art out into the world.

What do you hope to achieve this new year? What are your goals, dreams and desires?

We are everything we wish to be, right now...are you happy with that? If not, what can you do to change that, to be what you truly want to be?

Make a promise to take tiny steps towards achieving what you desire in this life - anything is possible.

Sending huge arm-fulls of inspiration, love and joy to you

J x

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Loving the Season

Sending you love, joy and peace this Christmas time!

Its time to rest and relax with family and friends for the next week or so as Christmas and the New Year celebrations fast approach. For me I find this time of year very regenerative, I like to retreat a little to incubate new ideas, and plan for the new year ahead. In some ways I divert from the conventional and use the 21st December, the winter solstice, as my day of resolutions (rather than the 1st of January). I find this to be a much more fulfilling time as the season is changing from Autumn to Winter, and on this day where the hours of darkness far outweigh the hours of light I write a list of intentions, hopes and desires for the following year.

Already, my calendar looks like its going to be full of exciting things - a craft fair with the Craft Candy group is taking place at the end of March in the city, so Im going to be very busy creating work for that, as well as designing and making more lovely hand made cards to sell. I have other projects in the pipeline too - Im hoping Santa got my letter in which I asked for a sewing machine - I also asked him to deliver a few extra hours so I might have time to cram in all these new delicious things Im planning to make and paint!

Im no good at being completely idle, so when we go to my parents house for Christmas time, you can rest assured I'll have an art journal tucked away somewhere just in case (for those moments of spontaneous inspiration), and a bag of yarn and crochet hooks...when you're born with creative juice flowing through your veins its hard to switch off completely isnt it! :)

So all that is left for me to say is a very Happy Christmas to each of you, may your holiday burst at the seams with adventure, discovery, R&R, love and joy. Thank you for reading my blog this year, I look forward to seeing all of you in 2009!

Love to you

Julia x

Wednesday 10 December 2008


Just the YUMMIEST... the most DIVINE tasting cupcakes...

Soft vanilla sponge topped with vanilla buttercream, dusted with Green & Blacks cocoa and topped with a dark chocolate coated espresso bean...

Just had to share

J x

Monday 8 December 2008

Our Biggest Project

So...going back a few months, and Im talking mid August here, we decided our next project in our little riverside house to be tackled was the kitchen. By September I had packed precious things into boxes and moved everything else into our dining room so the work could begin. As you can see, the kitchen is covered in a horrendous lemon meringue style artex - I guess at some point someone thought it looked fabulous!!
The plasterers came in and worked their magic (oh the joy of smooooooth walls!!) and we started to take apart the damaged and old units. Our idea was to reuse the original solid oak doors and update them with fresh paint and new handles and make the units solid and secure...thrifty eh?!

Jumping forward a few weeks to early December and after alot of hard work our kitchen is complete! Mellow sage cupboards and chalk white walls make the room look much more spacious, and the wall tiles which were a bit of a splurge (and from Italy) and the slate floor tiles bring the look together.

A new shelf with wrought iron brackets is a great place for my favourite cook books and shabby chic decor!

Little hearts find their way into all sorts of places!

I would really like to thank my folks and my dear partner for all the help they gave in creating this beautiful little room - anyone who knows me knows how much I enjoy cooking and baking delicious things and now I have a gorgeous place to do it in!!

Our little house has been a work in progress since we bought it 3 years ago, its over 125 years old and there has been a heap of decorating disasters to overcome! Our next major project is our lounge/dining room which we will begin next year...its time to kick back now and enjoy the Christmas season with family and friends now the hard work is over!

This isn't an art related post as such, but I wanted to share what we did with you here. I feel that this blog is evolving quite organically to encompass other areas of my life where creativity spills over - be it kitchen makeovers or fresh batches of deliciously decorated cupcakes, inspired inspiration doesn't just belong to paint and canvas, it appears marvellously in the ordinary areas of our lives and I think its wonderful to be able to put that stuff out there.

Sending you spiced, heart warming mugs of mulled wine and fresh mince pies...come on, its Christmas time and you know you want to!

J x

Monday 1 December 2008

My first hat and a big decision

Modelled by 'moi'

So what do you think?

I recently finished a lovely cashmerino scarf (which was made as a gift) and felt that my idle hands and mind needed something to occupy I devoured a few crochet hat patterns and came up with this little beauty - its my very first attempt at a hat and Im rather proud of it!

I used Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran for my hat in two shades of pink; a lovely raspberry and a dusky candy pink - the flower and leaves were made in contrasting colours and a pearlised shell button gives a nice finish to the centre of the corsage (which can be worn on the hat or anywhere else for that matter as its fixed with its own pin).

Anyway, back to more arty related stuff. Ive recently been seriously considering the ways in which Im taking my art. I felt a certain randomness was becoming apparent in my work which I believe to be unavoidable when there is only one art day per week. I sometimes am inspired by so many different things that I leap in to new work that one week may be a figurative piece, and the following week, depending on what has seduced me could be a painting of a contemporary landscape or wildly illustrative piece.

So! (deep breath) big decisions have been made - (although not in an awful regimented way as I think ive written before about art styles and following themes in our work etc and how an artist - me especially - can sometimes feel trapped by just one subject)...anyway, I digress - Ive decided to try and be a little more structured with what Im doing. I want this to reflect in the work that is in my gallery - I want to be able to have the freedom to work on illustrative pieces when I feel moved to, but mainly focus on large-ish landscape work, which I intend to create by going back to my interior design course routes and by re-adopting a more architectural way of drawing - simplifying whats in front of me to give a structured, contemporary look to the work which will be enhanced by a simple pallette of colours.

Im very, very excited by the prospect of this new work. It is going to be challenging - something that is essential to an artist who wants to push themselves out of their comfort zone - its going to be a love hate relationship with what evolves...Ive worked like this before, some days Ive hated a painting so much Ive turned it to face the wall and ignored it for several days until I had calmed down enough to return to it and put right what was going wrong. I think some artists call this passion and I think to make a great painting we need to invoke some passion!! Ive also found myself in the total opposite mindset, in that I cant bear to be parted from the same piece of work and go to bed thinking about it, miss meals when working on it and forget what time it is.

So, with Christmas on the way, and lots of family commitments (not to mention finishing the kitchen which 'hooray' is almost in its final stages) I am looking to make a start on this work in January.

I look forward to sharing the journey with you.

Joy to you this cold December day!

J x

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