Saturday 12th January
A lovely gentle day with most of it spent in the studio. The thing with working from home is that you have to learn to ignore the housework otherwise you wouldn't actually do any work. So housework ignored I set about designing the first pieces in the collection of trees silk project. Mimi was very excited to see lots of jars of paint appearing and quite fancied helping. It was a problem until she spotted three big dogs out of the window that she hasn't seen before! From the safety of the inside of the window she watched them for ages and left me alone. I just had enough time to apply the selected colours as swatches to the design before she spotted the moving paintbrush....
It is so lovely when I get a run at a design without interuptions, but it rarely happens. I would love my studio to be away from the house where I could get real peace and quiet to work. A small ambition of mine shared. I set my day up well today by managing an hour long meditation this morning. I try to meditate every day but it is usually only for a few snatched minutes. This morning the house was all quiet so I took my opportunity. When I first started meditation I was completely rubbish. Thoughts darted across my mind all the time and I had no control. But, over the past few years I have got better and better and gained so much from it. It seems to centre me and everything makes sense. I would be lost without it now.
A case of lots out and little in today with a visit to the one and only charity shop on the island. Lots of 'stuff' donated and only one piece of fabric bought so a good trade. I am slowly getting rid of 'stuff' and doing my absolute best not to replace it. Much of our stuff comes from the fact that we homeschool. We have gathered a huge amount of resources over the years and now that the boys are all through those stages it is time to get rid. The piece of fabric was a real vintage find and will do nicely for my spring crafts for the local shops.
Today was a special day as I reached 500 page views of my blog and I was completely thrilled. After 12 days I have got into a good routine and I have lots of ideas to share. Sometimes I think my life is one long experiment. Nothing ever stays the same of stands still. I am always trying new things and the first bit of January has seen me join forces with my husband in a quest to remove certain things from our diet. We are avoiding processed food as much as possible and Pete is reducing dairy and I am reducing gluten. The consequences of this meant that we wondered round and round the supermarket with no sense of what we could actually buy! It is time to hit the recipe books and re-plan our menus. It is all so much effort so I do hope we start to feel the benefits.
There are two important birthdays coming up soon and I have commissioned two local craftworkers to make gifts for them. Where possible I buy local but this is a real area of debate for the islanders. The problem is our proximity to the mainland. We are only an hour by ferry and I think this damages the island economy. It is too easy to go to the mainland to spend money and we need to find more ways to trap that money on the island. I am all for following the example of Totnes and Bristol by introducing our own Arran pound. A local currency that can only be spent here. Local businesses would gain so much for such a move but I fear it might be a long time coming. The islanders have a lot of their plate campaigning for all sorts of things and I think my Arran pound may be too far down the agenda. In 2014 the island will benefit from a new reduced fee regime for ferry passage and that will hopefully bring more people to visit the island. However, it will also make it cheaper for islanders to travel to the mainland. You see the problem! Front page in the island newspaper was a report on the re-opening of a craft centre on the other side of the island. I think this is a welcome move but I do think it is a difficult time to find new tenants. I have had two shops in the past but I wouldn't dream of risking that in the current climate. Pete and I have down sized our businesses considerably in the past few years as a way of protecting ourselves from the worst of the recession. I think it will be a few years yet before we see any significant economic growth and that is a worry. That doesn't stop us moving forward as followers of this blog will know all about. The planting of 200 willows will take place over the next few weeks but this is a cautious beginning.
I did just want to mention vertical gardening. Regular readers will know that we only grow organically and that last summer saw day after day feasting for the slugs and less and less on our plates. This year I am fighting back with a range of slug busting strategies; one of them being vertical gardening. I want to do more cultivation which is suspended from a height and off the ground so, unless those slippery little suckers can jump, I should yield a better crop. If any of you have had any success at this this is the time to share!
If it snows on Arran you will be the first to hear....xx Pics show some of todays work in the studio. Trial and error at this stage.