GOODBYE 2o2o & 2021
Happy New Year, thank goodness 2020 is behind us all!
To brighten your screens with colours of hope and blooms of joy, as we patiently wait for spring and better days, I have adapted my bright and beautiful floral rainbow
into this month's free desktop wallpaper.
If you would like to get this FREE desktop wallpaper,
then here's a link to where to join my mailing list:
JOIN MY MAILING LIST HERE
What is there to say about 2020 other than good bye at last!
I am under no illusion that 2021 is going to be much different for a while, but I am hopeful that as the year pans out, things will improve greatly.
The world of science and medicine has given me great hope. Thank goodness for all those who have worked tirelessly this year to take care of everyone and search for a safe, effective vaccine. It's with huge thanks that I dedicate my rainbow blooms to all the NHS, scientists and key workers who have got us all through 2020.
I'd also like to say a notable thank you to everyone at Royal Mail. Without their hard work and commitment to providing a regular service, my business would not have survived 2020. I am certain that I am not alone, I know of many other small businesses that have relied on click and drop services to get through this year. Watching projects get shelved, stockists shops close their doors for months has been tough, but I have been one of the lucky ones, all your online purchases kept me going and I am forever grateful for each and every order this year.
My heart goes out to all those who have fallen through the cracks. It's also been hard to watch local businesses that have been at the heart of our community suffer so much this year - especially in hospitality and the arts.
Adapting to working from home has been easy for me, because I've been doing it for years. What always made that work was the ability to escape to the coffee shops, restaurants and bars nearby to meet with friends, eat, drink and listen to live music (oh how I have missed live music). To stand shoulder to shoulder, singing at the tops of our voices, dancing, laughing, seeing each others smiles and being able to hug - feeling truly connected to those I hold dear, not just through a little screen on a gadget.
These are all the things I will relish when we are able to do them all again, never to be taken for granted ever again....
While it's hard to do the usual New Year resolution, goal setting and planning that tends to go with this time of year - these are not normal times.
This year my focus is to keep going with hope and gratitude
and to try to support others as I go.
I certainly have plans to support some of my favourite British print companies in January as I restock my Etsy shop and prepare it for the coming spring (more about that in next month's blog post)...
I also have plans to pay my annual donation to Secret World Wildlife Rescue from the donations raised from sales of my 2021 calendar. Thank you so much for all those orders and enabling me to do this. Each year your calendar purchases help protect some of our local, endangered wildlife, which in turn helps preserve our beautiful Somerset countryside which greatly inspires my work. This year charities have struggled, with charity shops closed during lockdowns and donations cut. To be able to significantly increase my donation from last year is simply wonderful - thank you so, so much!
If you ever need a dose of goodness and wild animal cuteness to escape this harsh world,
I highly recommend following their Facebook page:
Sending you all love, hope and thanks
for all your continued support and custom.
Wishing you all a very safe, healthy, peaceful and happy 2021!
As we begin a new month with a new 'normal', I wanted my May desktop wallpaper
to be about the power of patience, along with a growing sense of hope...
Good things bloom for the patient gardener,
and so my message on the wallpaper this month is
'Be patient, better days are coming'
If you would like to get the FREE desktop wallpaper,
then here's a link to where to join my mailing list:
JOIN MY MAILING LIST HERE
Like last month, as we all find ourselves still in a locked down UK, I am also
giving a free downloadable colour-in sheet of this greenhouse illustration.
Talking of colour-in sheets and free resources, my free, colour-in weekly planners are now also available from 'The Gift of Creativity' from Make it In Design.
'The Gift of Creativity' is a great free homeschooling art resource.
Make it in Design is the home for courses and resources to make it in a career in surface pattern design. They have pooled together lots of varied, free, creative resources from their world wide community of designers and artists.
Here's the link to check it out, definitely worth a look:
Looking back at April, it has been an April unlike any other!
I want to document a little of it here as something to be able to look back on
in years to come...
April is the month when we see two birthdays (one of them mine)
and an anniversary in our house. This year all those celebrations, along with Easter
had to be safe and sound at home - and with no going out, there was plenty of
cake baking and Tiger King watching going on.
I am very grateful to my wonderful friends for the little deliveries of birthday wine, chocolate and flowers and our online chats. It really made it feel very special. Also, the lovely weather throughout most of the month, having our garden and having some farmer's fields with public footpaths near us to walk in each day - all in all, it has been quite a pleasant month in spite of the situation!
We are very aware that this past month could have been a lot worse.
Especially when I think back to times in my life when I lived in flats in cities, with no garden and didn't know my neighbours. I know how very different it would have been in those circumstances and my thoughts have been with those struggling throughout this time.
The positive things I have noticed and enjoyed this month have been the abundance of nature, hearing birdsong loud and clear, and feeling a strong sense of community spirit.
Our neighbourhood have been wonderful. Every Thursday at 8pm - making lots of noise clapping and banging saucepans to show thanks to the NHS and Keyworkers. Also, organising Easter trails and bear hunts, using front windows and gardens, for the young and young at heart to spot on their daily walks.
I am so grateful for the community I live in.
To mark this very strange time,
I've made a little collage of images from my April life in lockdown...
A little postcard if you like, to you all from the edge of a Somerset market town,
where the town meets the Quantock Hills....
The weirdest thing about April for me was aside from our two girls being home and home-schooling, I have been able to continue working and my husband has continued to go to work throughout - so it felt a little bit like a normal routine for us.
It's just the homeschooling bit that takes a bit of getting used to. I am grateful that both girls are at secondary school, so can work independently for good chunks of time. Which means I can get some work done too.
Having worked from home for the past 10 years, I found it a great way to fill the days and take my mind off the bigger picture that, when I stop and think about it all,
makes my mind anxious and disrupts my sleep.
Some of the projects I have thrown myself at these past weeks, to stop me from over thinking, have included creating some new images to add to my occasion cards and wall art collections. Such as this King Fisher one below (that was very soothing to work on).
Being creative is a truly wonderful thing and I believe anyone can do it - because being creative means making absolutely anything. That feeling of losing yourself into time spent making something...so much so, that you don't even know how much time has passed by.
That is a very precious thing and makes a big difference
to how you feel at times like these...
Another project I have been grateful to get stuck into has been a book I am illustrating for Master Reiki Practitioner & Hypnotherapist, Michelle Pattenden D.Hyp, SSoH,
It's a project we have been collaborating on since the beginning of the year and were hoping to launch soon. However, the book had to go on hold at the announcement of the UK lockdown, so we've lost a little time on it. It is back on the table again now and we are powering through it because we are very excited about being able to share it with you all soon.
Michelle has written a great, easily accessible guide to Anxiety and Stress Management
To Promote Emotional & Physical Wellbeing. The book will be packed with practical exercises and advice, along with lots of my illustrations that can be used for mindful,
adult colouring-in, for those moments when reading a book is just too much.
This is the perfect project for me to being working on at this particular time and it's definitely proving to be my therapy. Hopefully, it will be helpful to many others for years to come once it's finished - that's what keeps us focussed on this book project.
Meanwhile, Michelle has been regularly providing some free guided meditations and exercises over on her Facebook page, to help anyone who needs them at this time.
Here is a link:
Throughout April, my Etsy shop has been carrying on sending lots
of greetings cards out. There are a few delays to deliveries, as to be expected, but on the whole, I have been amazed at the speed of service Royal Mail have continued to deliver - absolute heroes, all of them!....
On the subject of my Etsy, one little project I did manage to do to stop me
from getting lost in the social media scroll down, is I put together a little film for the 'about' section of my shop.
I had a bit of a 'piece to camera' from my desk that I did for Create & Craft TV to help launch my 'Summer In Bloom' collection last summer. So I decided a more useful way to spend my time, rather than reading nonsense conspiracy theories on twitter, would be to have a go at editing that little film together with some stills and music, to make an introduction piece for my Etsy shop. Well, it's done. It's a bit rough and ready, but it was a far more productive thing to do than read some z-list celebrity's tweets! ha ha!
If you want to see it, when you visit my Etsy shop, it sits in the carousel of images in the about section - you will need to scroll down to get to it...It's buried deep in my shop!...
That's all for my round up of April
Thank you for bearing with my long blog this month.
I hope that you all have a lovely May,
stay creative, stay home a little while longer,
because we all need to stay safe