The start of summer...
A summer like no other!
To put something bright and cheery into the world
and to try and keep us all uplifted in spite of everything,
my June desktop wallpaper features a very bright and beautiful
kingfisher perched near the wildflowers.
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
How have you all been this past month?
Let's talk a bit about May, if only to document it a little for future reference.
This is my experience of the May lockdown...
Like most home based freelancers, daily life has a weird sense of normal for me.
My husband has been working throughout this whole lockdown. It has been business as usual with homeschooling the only change to our daily routine. I'm used to working with our two girls home, the annual six week summer holiday has taught me how to do it, so even to some extent that feels normal too. However, I have found it much harder than before to focus on things, my mind wanders with all the things going on in the world and all the worry, especially with a household member going out to work in this pandemic. Like so many others, we try to carry on as best we can, but we are very 'alert' to the risks and we all have to carry that worry daily.
Now it is June 1st and the schools are taking in many more children. I refuse to say they are re-opening as many of my close friends are teachers and work in schools, I know they have been working all the way through, including the Easter and May half term holidays.
This also makes me very 'alert' to the risks my friends and their families are facing.
I am sure I am not alone, but I have to be honest and say I have 'staying alert' fatigue right now, I can see why people are wanting everything to relax and be over. However, that won't stop me from being careful as the risks are very real, the virus has not gone away. Here in the South West of England, the rate of infection has gone up recently and at the end of May we've had a nearby general hospital (Weston General) close to new patients to cope with the COVID-19 cases. So as we try ease out of our national lockdown, it's important that we carry on being very careful, alert and mindful of others while remembering that we are not all in the same boat.
So, to stay positive and keep going from the safety of home, I have been dipping in and out of lots of creative projects. Things are slowly getting done or edging forward, but I am aware it's not as productively as before. That's OK though, things are making progress and that feels good. By focusing on small chunks of time and working on the project that feels right at that moment is helping me get through. An hour here and an hour and half there, it all tots up and helps me escape from my worries for a bit....
Some of those projects have been inspired by garden flowers and garden life.
If in doubt, I find it helps to seek inspiration from your surroundings, especially nature.
I also found a warm, fresh colour palette I wanted to try out that had neutral ivory, ochre, burn orange, coral pink and sage green hues in it. Sometimes just playing with a new set of colours can take you to different places creatively and feel great . These are great ways to start a new creative project when your mind feels a bit fuzzy and lost for inspiration -
pick an easy to access theme and/or colour scheme and simply begin.
The result has been some new patterns to add to my Society 6 and Redbubble shops...
I also added lots of new illustration wall art prints to my Etsy shop, including this
'Go Get 'Em Tiger' print. There's a lot of tiger love going around at the moment, so I thought this would be a bright and sunny image to sign off this month's blog post with...
I hope that you all have a great June - we are half way through 2020 already!
Stay creative, take inspiration from the beauty of the nature that surrounds us,
but most of all stay safe and take care!
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
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