Thursday 29 December 2011

Being Creative Gallery Check In ~ December (and what happens next)


I'm bringing you the Gallery Check In for December a couple of days early this month, with it being New Year and us still very much in Holiday Mood!

I hope you've all enjoyed your Christmas, wherever you are in the world - this Gallery Check In is the last one of the year, and this post will also explain what will be happening to the Being Creative Project Group in 2012.

The theme for December was WINTER.

I decided to include my recently re-found painting, Yorkshire Snow to the Flickr Group Pool, as this conveys Winter to me just perfectly...dark dry stone walls, a white patchwork of snowy fields, tiny farm cottages and swirling snow storms...

I hope you've enjoyed the theme this month, and I look forward to seeing your contributions in the Flickr Group and in the Gallery - you can add your link to the widget at the bottom of this post to link back to relevant work on your blog, website or photo hosting account.  PLease do not link back to any online market place such as Folksy or Etsy please, many thanks!

I've really enjoyed hosting the Being Creative Project this year, it's allowed me to discover some amazing souls the world over, and it's been a pleasure to connect with these people and make new online friendships.

So, you may be wondering where the group is headed in 2012...?

I've given this a fair bit of thought.  I knew that I wanted to continue to host a facility for people to come and be inspired, to be creative amongst a group of like minded souls and to be able to share images of their work.  I wanted the Project to be flexible yet supportive, and I knew I wanted it to be informal and friendly and accessible.

In 2012, the Project will operate in a slightly different way - it will still be up and running and there will still be themes for you to work from.  What I'm going to do is launch a Theme Pool (which you can access on the Being Creative page of this blog above from early January).  The idea is that there will be a whole heap of themes for you to choose from, so you get to choose something that really lights your creative fire rather than be stuck with one that perhaps doesn't.

You can also choose how long you want to work on your theme; you might pick one a month like before, or pick one to turn into a year long might also want to work with a different one each week - the choice is yours.  I hope this flexible approach makes the group more appealing and accessible for you all.

Another change is that I'm not going be hosting the monthly gallery pages any longer.  You will be able to share images of your work in the Flickr Gallery Group which is already hosting some amazing works of art and craft and is a really inspiring place to visit.  You can add your images there whenever you like, and there is also a discussions forum if you have any questions or require some support.

I will also continue to send out the Being Creative Project newsletter - this will be sent to you on a happily random basis and will be bulging with inspiration, guidance, advice and tools for you.  If you haven't signed up already, you are most welcome to do so and can find the sign up form on the Being Creative page (click tab above).

So for the last time, I give you the gallery to host your Winter themed work.  I'm looking forward to seeing your contributions this month!  The gallery will be open for one month so you have plenty of time to add your links.

I hope you are happy with the changes, and that the group still provides a friendly and supportive space for you to get creative.  If you have any questions, i'd be more than happy to hear from you.

Sending you love for your creative journey, and wishing you all a sparkly and marvellous 2012 ~ thank you so much for taking part, hope to see you all next year!

Julia x x x

Friday 9 December 2011

My Guide to a Stress~Free Christmas

'A Letter to Santa' ~ watercolour on paper

Hello dearest!

Winter has landed early in my little corner of the world; the temperature is barely above zero and there are snow flurries and gusty winds which have left the trees bare and grey.  However I do like this time of year; I like to see the white snowy fields criss-crossed by the dark dry stone walls and a brooding Pennine sky looming above, I like bracing wintery walks followed by drinks of hot chocolate, curled up on the sofa wrapped in homemade hooky blankets and a good film on TV... stark contrast I Do Not Like overheated shops, big queues, hustle and bustle and the rush to get to Christmas.  Nor do I enjoy catching bugs from being in germ ridden, overcrowded places or the stress that can come from Christmas shopping.  I also dislike arguments with family and friends brought on by stress and a car crash of everybodys' mixed expectations of how things should be.

So, I'm going to share some simple secrets on how to get to the big day, serenely, on time, feeling relaxed and in tip top health.  I promise you won't be disappointed - it's so simple and it all works.

'Snowflake Angels' by Carys

Here goes:

1:  The Fend Off Colds and Sore Throat Miracle Remedy (aka: instant Pep Up Tonic)

I make this myself, a lot.  I like to drink this as a soothing, warming herbal tea.  It's wonderful if you're feeling under par, at the onset of a cold, or feeling the razor sharp swallowing that comes with a nasty sore throat.  It's my instant pep up and bacteria fighting winter tea:

You need:  fresh ginger, fresh thyme, fresh organic lemon and a manuka honey (or good antibacterial one, such as Troway Hall's).  A little loose tea leaf infuser is useful too, to hold the herbs and spices (otherwise you can just put everything in a beaker and strain through a sieve into your mug).

Best made fresh, Makes 1 mug: 

Grate or chop a thumb sized, peeled piece of fresh ginger.
Snip up a generous palm full of fresh thyme.  Add both of these to your infuser.
In a mug, add a teaspoon of good honey and a couple of teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Pour boiled water over all the ingredients and leave to steep for 5 -10 minutes.  Drink up and enjoy.

'Snowflakes' ~ Crochet pattern by Attic24

2:  Do Easy Christmas Shopping - or Don't.

There's a couple of really easy ways to avoid the nightmare of Christmas Shopping...those bustling, busy, hot shops full of queues and crying children.

Don't do it.

Solution 1:  The obvious one, shop online.  Do it all online.  The amount of stress you'll save yourself is un-bel-ieeeeeveable.  There's nothing you can't order online these days, so save yourself the hassle and stay home.

Solution 2: Choose Handmade.  In these days of feverish mass consumerism, I'm finding the gentle art of homemade more and more appealing.  Handmade is the way forward and there are oodles of books and magazines to whet your appetite and inspire you.  My favourites are Mollie Makes and Handmade Living.

Hand Embroidered Lavender Pillow gift 'Cornishware Jug & Daisies'

3:  Let go of Expectation.

I'm one of those people who roll with the flow on a lot of things although I do have a perfectionist streak which comes from a Virgo moon bobbing about in my birth chart somewhere, so I do have to battle with that part of me sometimes!

On the whole though I think I'm pretty easy going about how stuff turns out these days.  Take my Christmas tree for example, it's not perfect.  It's covered in a myriad of different rainbow coloured decorations and lights and is ever so slightly tipsy, with the fairy on the top listing drunkenly to one side - but that's ok, we don't mind things like that.  It makes me smile to see it :)

However, Christmas can bring out our inner perfectionist.  We can want the whole day to go a certain way, to look a certain way.  We can want the people we're with to be a certain way and we mentally prepare for it down to the tiniest detail and feel crushingly devastated when something goes 'wrong'.  Some folks prepare for this one day for months.  Can I just say...and I know some of you reading this will already have elaborate table layouts planned and a time table written out - please, for your sanity, just try and release your hold on any expectations you might have about it all.  Let the day come, and let it go.  And in between, relax and enjoy it.  Things will go wrong, things won't always go as planned.  Relaxing our level of expectation will release a whole truck load of stress, which is a good thing - I mean, Christmas is meant to be enjoyed, right?

All decked up!  My daughter chose those funky pink lights!

4:  Congratulate Yourself

Yes.  Do this often.  In the middle of everything you're doing, stop right where you are and hug yourself (I mean it, this releases endorphins like you won't believe).  I also encourage you to say something like 'You're so GREAT!!!!!! You are doing such a WONDERFUL JOB!!!'  This is a good thing to do - it makes you instantly feel better and a little self love goes a long way in helping you be nicer to others.  Don't wait for someone to pat you on the back for your efforts (you can get grizzly waiting for, or expecting a compliment), do it yourself.

5:  Nurture Yourself

Probably obvious, yet as essential as breathing in and out.  Nurture yourself.  Be kind to your body and mind.  Do relaxing things for yourself; go outdoors for walks and breathe in good wintery air, do some gentle exercise like yoga or pilates or take yourself off to Zumba and dance your butt off!  Take deep relaxing baths laced with essential oils to lift the spirits (i heartily recommend grapefruit and eucalyptus for this time of year), drink plenty of water - at least 6 to 8 glasses a day, and sleep.  Switch off your computers at least half an hour before you turn in, and do a bit of reading to gently unwind and prepare your body for rest.

Looking after yourself first isn't a selfish thing to do, you're actually going to be in a better, healthier and more naturally giving place to look after your families when you do this stuff for you.  

All of this works, I swear.  And I know this because I do it myself.

And I hope, in a small way, these little stress busting tricks and treats will help you too.

Sending bunches of mistetoe and a glass of mulled wine your way...
Love Julia x x x

Thursday 1 December 2011

Being Creative Gallery ~ November


Welcome to the Being Creative Gallery Check In for November.  The theme for November was....


Before I launch the gallery link I just want to apologise for not getting an inspiring email support letter out to you this month.  November has been Bursting-at-the-Seams-Busy and before I knew where I was, it was almost Gallery day again.  Somehow I bypassed the part in my To Do Book which said 'Being Creative Email' and sailed forth.  This has taught me that sometimes with even the best intentions, we sometimes cock up and forget stuff, and that's OK, it shows how spendidly human we are I think!

I hope you have managed to find some inspiration for the theme, and I look forward to seeing what you've been up to!  

If you have a piece of work you would like to post in the Gallery this month, then you are welcome to add your link using the widget at the bottom of this post.  The link must lead back to a picture of relevant work, either on your blog or on your Flickr or photo hosting account (I do ask that you please don't link back to any online market place, such as Etsy or Folksy, thank you).

The Flickr Group is also open to post your images on a daily basis, while this gallery will be open from 1 - 31st December.  You can easily access any of the gallery pages from the link in the right hand side bar.

Don't forget, you can still sign up to receive the Being Creative Newsletter, which I send out once a month.  You will receive a free mini Being Creative e-book with this, along with links to some blog entries that you may find inspiring, and which may help you get started on your creative journey.  Although there's only one more theme this year, you are still welcome to sign up and join if you haven't already by clicking the tab at the top of the page.

The theme for December is...


Thank you so much for taking part, I look forward to seeing your Vintage inspired work!

Julia x x x

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