I’m not a big business and my customer base is still tiny as it’s early days but I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. If you have purchased one of my items, helped to spread the word on social media or even just viewed items in my shop (it helps with search engine ranking) then I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To show my appreciation I am offering 10% off everything in my Etsy shop until the 21st December. You can either enter WINTER17 manually at checkout or if you follow the link the code will automatically be applied.
I might not find the time to post again between now and the midwinter festivities so may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very blessed Yule!
I’m never organised enough to churn out masses of stock for Christmas and Yule but I usually manage to make a couple of cards to put up for sale. This year I’ve made a few Yule cards. I’ve popped them up for sale in my Etsy shop if anyone is interested and I may be adding one or two more seasonal items over the next few weeks.
I have started to feel mildy festive even though it is still mid November and I’ve started planning our Solstice celebrations. Some years it passes almost unmarked but this year I feel compelled to make an effort and am getting quite excited! I need to hunt down a good winter punch recipe, plan food and decide how to decorate the garden for our little fire ceremony.
How about you? Will you be celebrating through the longest night? I’m hoping for a hard frost or maybe a light snowfall to make it feel really special.
My other half had a big birthday a few days before Samhain. We wanted to do something special, something a bit different, but nothing was speaking to us and we were running out of time. We looked for Samhain events but they were either too far away or taking place midweek. Then, about two days before the big day a friend of ours drew our attention to a Folk Horror Revival event in Wakefield. It sounded right up our street and unbeknownst to my dear husband I already had a Folk Horror Revival t-shirt wrapped up for his birthday so there seemed to be a an element of fate involved too. We immediately bought tickets and our friend picked us up early on Saturday morning because he was MC’ing the event and we had a bit of a drive to do.
And so we found ourselves at Awakening the Fields! It was the first Folk Horror Revival event we’d been to so I was a little unsure what to expect but we were introduced to Andy Paciorek and Darren Charles when we arrived and suddenly we felt like part of the furniture. Clearly it was the sort of event that only attracts people who are genuinely interested in all things Folk Horror and this I think made it feel very much like everyone was a part of a big like minded family.
It was a fascinating event with some really interesting talks and I came away with new knowledge (I’m now an expert on Gef the Talking Mongoose!) and a shopping list of books and films as long as my arm. I kicked myself hard in the shin for not reading Alan Garner’s Thursbitch before we went as there was a whole talk based on it. We only bought a copy from Alan himself in September. I really had no excuse! Next on our to do list (once I’ve read the book) is to seek out and walk the landscape where it was set. According to the talk by Andy Roberts, locals warn folk about being out after dark and generally believe the valley to be haunted so it’s not a trip we’ll take lightly and definitely not in the dark!
All in all it was an inspiring and very informative day but I have to say the highlight for me was the hauntingly beautiful music performed by Sharron Kraus. I’d only recently heard one of her songs played on the radio so her music is still very new to me but I think it’s safe to say I am now a massive fan. So big a fan in fact that I accidentally stole the download code for one of her albums, something I will never live down owing to the fact I was driven by the weight of my guilt to confess to Sharron herself over dinner! Thankfully she is a lovely person and let me off. We promised to buy a CD from her and ended up buying eleven! Yes, her work is that amazing, and we probably would have bought more had they been available. I just hope she doesn’t think we purchased out of guilt and that it is genuine appreciation!
I haven’t mentioned anything Mabinogion related on my blog before but I have to point out that recently there have been a number of serendipitous happenings drawing me to it and the fact that Sharron Kraus has written a song titled Blodeuwedd is just another pull towards it. I will post more about this in the future but for now it’s goodbye so I can go and listen to another CD!
As with many who are of a creative nature, I have peaks and troughs of productivity. Lately I have been stuck in that horrible inbetween place of wanting to but not being able to. Any artist will know exactly what I mean. It’s a sort of creative constipation. You go through months of feeling completely uninspired and uninterested in doing anything but then you start to feel an inate need to create gnawing away at you. The first few attempts often end in a frustrated flurry of screwed up sketches hitting the waste paper basket and much pulling at one’s hair. Then one day, something clicks and you simply settle into something new or pick up and carry on with an unfinished project with renewed enthusiasm and a great deal of positive energy.
This week brought with it that magic moment of renewed clarity and an incredible sense of purpose for me! I cleared off my desk, finished a few cards and started some new ones. Suddenly my head is spinning with new ideas for stitching and painting, the latter of which is out of my comfort zone but has me the most excited.
In other news, we’ve been pretty busy with hospital appointments and visits to the GP for various reasons. My youngest has just had an operation from which she is recovering nicely and her sister narrowly escaped having to have one too for a different reason. We don’t know why we’ve been plagued with so many infections and medical issues as a family recently but on the whole we’ve been able to take it all on the chin and not let it cast too great a shadow. Too many people have much worse to deal with and we are grateful and thankful for our overall good health as we head into the darkness of winter.
It’s been a while since I was last here. We’ve been presented with a continuous stream of challenges over past months and while some of those challenges continue, others are thankfully behind us. I have been working through some things on a personal level too, re-evaluating relationships and connections to things, people and situations. Some of it has involved facing up to some ugly truths about aspects of both myself and others, some of it has been more positive. The shifting and changing had become a necessity. Every once in a while we need a mental and spiritual de-cluttering, removing from our lives the things that are holding us back and dragging us down, rather like our own personal Autumn. Just as the trees let go of the dead leaves to take in a long breath before they push forth new life in the Spring, I am letting go of dead relationships, dying values and withered interests. I am letting go of all the things that no longer nourish my soul, the people who seek to snuff out my flame and the life choices that rob me of a full existence. As the year darkens I find comfort in the folds of the old Crone’s cloak. A place to rest, sleep and restore balance before I can embrace new things and move forward into more harmonious and rewarding times.
Midsummer, Summer Solstice, Litha. Whatever you call it and whether you believe Fairies come a frolicking as portals open between worlds or just honour the longest day of the year as it marks a time of great abundance and beauty in nature, I wish you all a happy and sunny Summer Solstice! )O(
Once again the great British summer lives up to it’s grey, wet reputation! It never ceases to amaze me the disappointment that we Brits still show despite the fact that we see the same pattern pretty much every year. Flaming June is a myth, a Leighton painting and the only orangey hot glow is coming from our camping stoves as we sit cradling hot tea in our sodden cagoules at various beauty spots all over the UK.
So far, this June is proving to be particularly depressing, partly due to the political upheaval resulting from last week’s general election but also because of the usual strains of supporting a teenager through exam season. Add in to the mix Prom suit shopping and you can see that for a lot of folk with teenagers, June has the potential to be quite grim. This is my fifth consecutive year as an ‘exam’ parent and I’m more than ready for the summer break! I have visions of us driving across the moors in the sunshine with a picnic and walking boots in the boot but the reality will be endless shopping trips for budget home wares to ensure that my University bound second child is ready to start her new life at the other end of the country in September. I’m in two minds about all this. I’m going to miss her terribly and no doubt worry myself senseless over stupid little things like whether she will be able to figure out the Launderette facilities okay or work out how to use a Microwave because she’s not used to one here at home but I’m also looking forward to there being just one less person in the house and being able to set up a work space in her room while she’s away. I’ve struggled for space for the last few years ever since we made the decision to convert the dining room into a bedroom for her and I massively underestimated how it would impact on my own creativity! I inadvertently sacrificed my own creative needs so she had the space she needed to first complete her A-level and then Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. I’m glad we were able to provide that space for her but I am definitely looking forward to getting even just a corner of the room back soon! For now I will make do with the coffee table among half finished cups of tea and last night’s wine glasses.