Farewell and Welcome

I say farewell to 2014 a tad reluctantly – it has been such a lovely year, with so many wonderful events and meetings and good changes and opportunities to learn more about myself, about the world and about other friends.  But it just flew by in a flash – was it the same for you?

My friend Alys over at Gardening Nirvana chooses a word for herself every year.  Her latest post reviews the word for 2014 and reveals her new word for 2015.  This all made me aware that, without knowing it I had a word for 2014……….

‘Settle’ it turned out, was my word of the year.

2014 was the year I decided to settle where I was.  This was quite a momentous internal shift for me to make and it was certainly a new and quite liberating experience.  It was also something that grew and deepened as the year progressed until I find myself now, on the last day of the year quite astounded by the changes it has wrought both within me and around me.

For starters it meant giving up on my dream of a cottage by the sea and of owning my own home again. It meant giving up on being dissatisfied with the way things are and existing in a camping situation.  It meant I freed myself of waiting for a mythical future to arrive and allowed me to begin living in the present moment.   It also meant I stopped all blaming, hurting, wanting and regretting.  I gave up on the lot.  And in a flash of blessed intuition decided [that is a very important word!] decided to become truly contented.

This all happened very early in the year and I pretty much spent the rest of it turning my very small home into a place that not only worked for me as a house, but one that also felt like the one I would create by the sea.  If the sea-side cottage wouldn’t come to me, I would live as if it had anyway.

Literally and figuratively I gave away everything that I was holding on to. I was happy to think that the miscellaneous items that had been stuffed into boxes, bags and cupboards would find new homes with others who needed it now, would love it now and use it now.   It’s a win-win situation!  I discovered that by ridding myself of unused stuff my home grew bigger.  I kid you not – my home has turned from a small, over filled packed nest into a cute, airy space that makes people smile.  As my home grew bigger, I grew lighter.  Not physically so much [alas!] but certainly within myself – a new lightness of being slowly unfurled and a new level of contentment deep within myself was born.

The last two months were dedicated to making my art space really work for me – I was tired of trying to work in a space that often ended up being about 30 sq centimetres surrounded by piles of supplies.  I was constantly losing bits I had made, bits I needed for something I was making and tools.  Now I have three work benches, most of which is space available to work on.  Fabulousness!!

Bench space

The alert viewer may even have a glimpse of something finally being created here and bound eventually for Tasmania ….But folks – lookit all the creative space and the pretty tiny garden gets to peek in too.

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Everything in my home is current.  It is here because it is beautiful and useful.  There are a few ‘just because’ items that have been gifted, mostly from my dear blogging friends.  But they too are beautiful and bring me much happiness.

In May I adopted a puppy and in September I retired.  Both events are memories that make me smile and laugh!  Siddy is the happiest pup in the entire world – you can’t help but smile when you see him.  He goes about constantly with his big puppy smile on, looking up at you, dancing in time with your steps, keen and eager to be there, to do the good thing and if possible a treat or two would be absolutely wonderful………. maybe, just maybe, might you agree?

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Retirement is something old folks do.  My pal Robin just wrote about Rod Stewart and Tom Selleck turning 70.  I don’t see age when I look at these two men.  I see wit and humour mixed with maturity which makes them really appealing.  I think we Boomers are playing a huge trick on the world – we don’t know how to become ‘old’.  I think we know how to wisen up a bit, slow down a tad and we are learning to enjoy every day.

It’s true that age is just a state of mind.

Orlando and I ‘settled’.  We made a home, we opened it up to a new friend and we all [learned to] live together happily ever after….. We even made a very small garden.

I companion planted and my tomatoes and peas have zero bugs.  My broccoli alas did not make it, but an abundance of herbs and salad greens have been happily eaten on a daily basis.  I am picking sweet scented sweet peas every day.

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The work of settling is now done.  So maybe, it now occurs to me, maybe it is the exact right time to say goodbye to 2014.  Funny how things work out 🙂

2015 will be the year of ‘Create’ and ‘Breathe’.

‘Create’ because back in August I decided to sign up for ‘Life Book 2015‘ and dedicate the year to learning more about my chosen path of mixed media.  It starts tomorrow!

‘Breathe’ because that is my word when I feel myself wanting to control situations.  I want to go with the flow – see what happens, be okay with whatever happens.  Live in the moment and strive always to see the bigger picture.

And, as always my New Year Blessing remains

May the road rise up to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

The rains fall soft upon your fields

And until we meet again

May God hold you in the palm of his hand

                                                                          ~From an Ancient Celtic Blessing

Thanks for coming by today and throughout the past year.  I hope you will continue to visit and chat next year.  I love that you do!

A Very Blue Room and a Very Small Garden

Season’s Greetings to all my dear readers and friends – I’ve been tardy again with posts.  Way too busy making stuff and creating a gorgeous and extremely well organised art space and watching my garden grow to actually take any photos.  Today our official photographer called round and was coerced invited to take some shots – so here is a small update to record progress on the various projects in action.

The up-graded Arty-Crafty Room is almost complete – there are just a few doo-dads to be completed and hung across the window……

Back in 2011 the room looked like this –

Work Room 1 Oct 11

 WARNING, WARNING, BEWARE!!  BEWARE!!

Go no further if you are not a lover of BLUE!

In this first shot you of the keen eye may notice the Dangler has found its home.  It also now has some very tinkly bells and a pretty stitched candle applique sent over to us from Marlene Herself just in time for the reveal.  “Thank you Marlene! xoxo”

I painted the old ‘Create’ letters and re-hung them and made a new frock for my trusty old office chair.  The only purchases were the gorgeous blue butterfly fabric – I splurged and bought two metres and then spent hours making it go as far as four metres would have – and the plain blue which was a dress fabric on sale.  The rest is from my stash of fabrics, or old stuff made over.  This is once again a makeover / revamp done on a minimal budget.  Which is incredibly satisfying!  Art Rm 6a

The full view of the back wall where I hung an A3 copy of all the current completed work with the expectation of filling up that entire wall by the end of next year with examples of completed pieces – hopefully not just faces!

Art Rm 7

Totally inspired by the lovely Alys over at Gardening Nirvana who did this to her dressmakers model in honour of Christmas, I swept up some bits and bobs, beads and ribbon and did this to my mannikin who previously had spent all its days naked, standing atop  this same shelf.  Everything was hand sewn as I went along, as I had no idea what I was doing until I was doing it.

Mannikin1

My Indoor Sid made the move from the living room to the art room, just for a change of scenery.

ArtRm 2

I’m currently crocheting a long vine of leaves to wind around those blue flowers I made for the front of the shelves.  I made many more flowers too, they will hang in the window along with Claire’s stars when all is ready.

The garden has been busy too.  I promised some photos ages ago – but the weather was just poo until a week ago.  Here you can see that while I wasn’t paying attention, the peas wove themselves through the garden chair

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Lettuce, arugula, silver beet [chard] various herbs and tomatoes

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Out-door Sid and his companion Cat are being swamped by the rampant Jasmine and Boston Ivy [Note to self – for goodness sake, cut it back again!]

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And in case you missed it – yes apparently you can grow peas in a 2 x 4 metre container garden

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Orlando and Siddy are both in good health.  [I know you were wondering!]  Siddy is in desperate need of yet another hair cut and may go under the scissors tomorrow.  The boys have been receiving Christmas parcels from their blogging friends.  There is a pretty aqua package from Boomdeeadda   Orlando’s Mini-Me got a dinky Christmas Cap from Gentle Stitches and of course there is Siddy’s tinkly Christmas flower from Mollie and Claire.

And just this morning the postie brought us all some bunting from Teddy and Tottie. [Sorry, that package arrived just a little too late to be included in the photo].Xmas display 1

Top this all off with an unbelievably wonderful invite from three of our American friends which I’ll share later – and this is one highly blessed Contented Crafter and furry family!

Whatever your beliefs, religion, or inclination – this is the season for shining our lights.  Don’t forget to tell the people you love that you love them.  Don’t forget to thank the people who taught you the hard lessons and don’t forget to love that you learned from them.  Shine your light for yourself, for your loved ones, for those who are alone and in pain and who cannot, at the moment, see the light.  Remember, it’s not about the stuff.  It’s about the love.  Wherever you are, whatever you are doing – Be Blessed xoxo

Siddy Gets Happy Mail

This was hand delivered by our smiling Postie this morning HM1

‘Ooooh!  Look Siddy,” I cooed, pulling him off the happy Postie whom he was trying to lick to death, ‘you’ve got mail!”

I knew what was in it as our friend Claire had said she was sending something to Siddy especially for Christmas.  Orlando waited patiently for the opening, not at all miffed that the gift was not for him.

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Once opened the package revealed this rather cute wee Christmas doggie bag

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and inside, rather more than I was expecting 🙂  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the pretty pink star bunting before somewhere in Claire’s blog, I liked it very much and had no clue it was destined for me.  I am a very happy Contented Crafter, this gorgeous star bunting made from the most deliciously soft yarn will end up in the revamped art room eventually – you will see it again! HM4

Siddy and his gift

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Oooooh!  Siddy’s Christmas flower, made from some magical thing that makes petals – and packed full of colourful, tiny bells for stamens [apologies for the blurry shot- sigh!] HMFlower

And Siddy wearing his Christmas flower which, alas, due to his extreme hirsuteness is difficult to see, but can be heard – he tinkles like Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and is quite pleased with himself!

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Siddy and I send a big hug to our friend Claire of MollieandClaire who made this lovely package and sent it off whilst coping with an awful water event in her house.  If you like crochet and knitting and such like pop over – have a look at the waistcoat she is making her dad for Christmas – it is pretty fabulous!!

Thank you Claire – this is the most lovely and thoughtful gift and has begun our Christmas season most happily!

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The same happy postie also bought another package with her – it contains this huge ‘Tree of Life’ wall hanging.  I thought it might go in my new, revamped art room – but it is too fabulous and is going into my living room on my ‘faux wall’ – I shall find something else for the art room!

Tree of Life Decor

The art room is coming along extremely slowly due to a million interruptions, all of the most welcome kind – like assisting YD in her move to a new and exciting chapter of her life and old friends coming to stay and all the other stuff that takes up time at this wonderful season of the year.  Tomorrow is curtain making day!!

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!  🙂