Category: mel

Thoughts about One Little Word® 2020 and Setting Goals

2020 marks the sixth year I have chosen a word. I just went back to look at what I shared here about my word for 2019. I only wrote about it once and that was right at the start of the year! I actually had lots of success in terms of keeping up with Ali’s prompts last year but for whatever reason I didn’t share them on the blog.

Heart was a good word and I still love it but I didn’t fulfil my hopes with it. This year I have chosen the word BREATHE. I haven’t signed up to the workshop this time around.

I got a series of newsletters via email from Elise a few weeks ago talking about reflecting on 2019, asking questions about 2020 and setting goals for the upcoming year.

She asked how you wanted to feel in 2020. A simple concept that cut all wheat from the chaff. I aimed high!

  • A supportive and loving human
  • Healthier
  • Content/satisfied that I tried my best/not feeling like I failed.

These were pretty much the first thoughts that came into my head. From those ideas I pinned down ten ‘goals’.

  1. Support Gav in his change of job
  2. Do more Yoga
  3. Visit and help family who need the help
  4. Less laptop/Instagram more reading, much more reading!
  5. Stick to a skincare routine and look after my teeth
  6. Be healthier
  7. Walk 10k steps a day
  8. Consider my green/eco goals
  9. Keep making and creating (sell something?)
  10. Clean my house more!

Many of these items have come up in past years as things to work on. But that is ok. I have come to the conclusion that taking on a word for the year or making a list of goals such as above is not about a quick fix. I have realised that it is a commitment to learn about yourself and keep on learning as life changes around you. I really liked the way Elise set up this idea.

Rather than trying to work out how I could achieve these things I worked it the other way. I wrote down all the barriers to achieving these goals.

For example number 4. Less laptop, more reading. It sounds easy to achieve right? Just don’t open the laptop….. But somehow I can’t seem to do it. So how can I actually do it? My intial thoughts are to a) have books on my to be read pile that I really want to read. b) bring my book downstairs every day so it is there when I’m tempted to scroll Instagram I can pick the book up instead.

And number 7. I know that if I don’t take Buddy on a 5o minute walk in the morning I will not get to 10k steps that day. The main reason I fail to get the 50 minute walk done is because I sleep in past 7am. I like to be out early before the school kids and rush hour. Therefore the key to 10k steps? Get up at 7am!

Writing down the barriers was so liberating. Seeing them in black and white helped so much. Sounds like common sense right but sometimes our heads get in the way of common sense and writing it down helps you see what the real problem is.

Something else that came out of this process was that in many cases I found I was writing down ‘lazyness’ or ‘no motivation’. Even admitting these things to myself felt positive. I may not be able to change that part of my personality (I am basically a lazy person!) and I know for certain that part of these feelings are due to the menopause. But understanding that the obstacle is me is valuable knowledge. I can see that at the start, accept I don’t really want to do something and then think about why I began this process in the first place. I can revisit that list of how I want to feel in 2020 and maybe that will drive me on.

I am so happy with my list, that I have approached this year slightly differently and have got all these things down on paper.

In relation to One Little Word® I have worked through the January prompts from last years class using my list of how I want to feel as a jumping off point. I shall work through the monthly prompts from some of the previous years to keep my word and my goals visible this year and add them to my One Little Word® album.

Let’s do it!

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One Little Word® is a project developed by Ali Edwards. Read all about it over https://aliedwards.com/one-little-word

A Review of 2019

Back in January I shared a list of things I was going to do (or try to do) in 2019. I am in the mood for reflection so here goes……

One Little Word® – I followed along with the prompts of this project for almost every month. Although I loved my word and still know the power of it I felt it didn’t fully meet my hopes. Or I didn’t fully realise my hopes with it. I will be choosing a word for 2020 but I have made the decision not to join in with the project via Ali’s site. I am going to go back over the content of the past 5 years and try to do the project on my own. We will see how that works out!

Yoga and the 30 day challenge with Adriene. I did indeed do yoga throughout the month of January and joined her on youtube. I kept up a good practice until about May when I spend more time off the mat than on. I’m still going to a yoga class but not doing it at home. For 2020 I’ll be taking up this practice again.

I did indeed finish December Daily 2018 even though it was in November!

I crossed seven things off the click tick list. Not a very successful year on that front even though seven is a decent number. Most of the things crossed off were planned trips etc. I didn’t make any special efforts to achieve anything and that is annoying! But maybe 2020 is the year for that?

I did finish 2018 Project Life and I did have fun adventures with my family in Portugal.

I also finished the 2017 scrapbook of our USA trip and grew lots of flowers and veg.

The books thing was not a total success. I did whittle down my pile by deciding I just wasn’t going to read some of the books on it. I also read three new books that I loved. This needs more attention in 2020 as I think I only read about ten all year!

Gav, Han and I had a fabulous trip to London and I arranged lots of flowers and took many photographs too. I also did the hobbies thing as well.

Disney was amazing and I spent many hours laughing!

All in all it was a great year. Ups and downs like all years.

Anyone who has been here a while knows I like a list. I liked looking back at that list I made in January. Not everything was crossed off but having a list focusses my mind. I have already been pondering the up coming year. How to get things done, how to tweak my habits and routines to achieve the things that matter right now.

Many things that were on that list in January are ongoing things of my life. I can’t imagine, for example, not flower arranging or not creating all manner of things with my other hobbies. I will always read even if some years are lighter in volume that others. What I want to focus on are some things that I should be doing and some things that I need to be doing.

I’ll come back and share more on this in 2020 but for now I’ll sign off and wish you all a Happy New Year!

The Click Tick List – Go Disneybounding

First of all for anyone who does not know what Disneybounding is I better explain. You use everyday, normal clothes to create outfits inspired by a particular Disney character. Usually you’d pick a colour, style of top, dress, skirt etc. It’s a creative way to join in the Disney fun without looking like you’ve gone all fancy-dress. Of course you could do it every single day. Or like me focus on that trip to Disney to try it out.

Above is my nod to Nemo. Orange, black and white. You can’t really see it clearly from the photo but that top has a fine black stripe running through it. I found it in a charity shop and knew that it would work for this character and then as a great warm winter top!

I must admit that since I learned about Disneybounding I have thought about it a lot. Maybe too much for an alleged sane person………. How I could use clothes I already owned to play along during our trip. What could I find in charity shops. Which characters to pick? I think I drove Gav crazy. I even had a Pinterest board going with ideas. I was throwing myself wholeheartedly into this idea.

Anyway for all my thinking about it all the ‘bound’ above was a complete accident. Here I am at 1900 Park Fare, Grand Floridian resort during a character breakfast. And who comes along but Mary Poppins all dressed up in her ‘Jolly Holiday’ outfit. When I looked at the photo afterwards I couldn’t believe how I matched! Even down to the lacy-ness of my t-shirt. Win!

This orange skirt was always going to be Tigger. Add a black t-shirt and there you have it.

One film that I watched and loved from my childhood was The Rescuers.  Evinrude, the dragonfly and Orville, the albatross. So cute. I even had a mirror in my room with a transfer of Orville on it. And then of course Bernard.  Above is my take on his cute jumper, the grey skirt forming his lower body and my sun hat his cap. Such fun!

Alice.

And Moana. It was sheer luck that I’m stood in front of a sea like background and that my hand mirrors hers.

Chip!

Chip and Dale were perhaps my most favourite characters when I was little.

And last was Minnie. She isn’t in her traditional costume here as this was at Chef Mickeys breakfast buffet. Where she dresses as a chef of course!

I found that red and white polka dot material in the sale and thought a simple tube style skirt would be easy to make. It was my first time sewing stretchy material possibly my last! But it worked and was so comfortable.

Something I realised during this adventure was that I have rather boring clothes! I mentioned that I found a top in the charity shop which made up an outfit and obviously I did come up with several of these fun ‘bounds’ but I’d have loved to try out some of the princess’s outfits I just don’t own items in those colours. I will definitely look out for pastel colours in my charity shop trips and who knows I could be headed for a whole disneybound wardrobe…… Not really but it was so much fun doing this and anything that brings a smile to your face is worth it!

The Click Tick List – Have my Hand Painted in Henna

This one sounded easy but after a little research it turned out to be more of a challenge.

Although I had found places that did the ‘tattoo’ they were not using traditional henna. A genuine henna tattoo is orange-brown but all the ones I was seeing were black. Apart from the fact that the black ones do not, in my opinion, look as good as the real ones, the added ingredient to make it black can cause irritation to the skin and in some cases leave scars. I didn’t want that so I put this one on the back burner.

I’m not sure why it popped back into my head before we left for Disney but I’m glad it did becasue a quick search online informed me that the Morocco Pavillion in Epcot’s World Showcase offered genuine henna tattoos! Hooray.

In the photo above it looks very dark but you can see a little of the lighter colour where the paste has dried and fallen off. Basically the henna paste is applied it then dried after about 20 minutes and over the course of the next day the paste falls off revealing the pattern that the dye has left behind.

It does look a bit odd and you have to be careful of the paste that has fallen off because if it gets wet it will still stain clothes, towels etc. I was also advised not to pick off the paste but let it fall off on its own. That was hard but I did as I was told!

And I simply loved it. It felt like something slightly crazy to do and so unlike me. Well, maybe unlike me. Lol. I mean I did it right?

It began to fade after about eight days, that’s the photo above. And today, two weeks later, only the faintest trace remains.

So glad I did this. I’d definitely do it again, maybe my whole hand next time.

Been Adventuring

The weeks slipped away and all of a sudden we’re back from our holidays and I didn’t write a single blog post! It was a full on fun packed couple of weeks in Disney World and a quick road trip to South and North Carolina. I’ll be back soon with stories of crossing things off the click tick list and our adventures!

The Click Tick List – Watch 50 New to Me Films between June 2018 and December 2019

Loved, loved, loved this one. I gave some early thoughts on this film adventure over here.

All of that remains true. I continued watching, documenting and finding it hard to rate them all. But here we are at 50 and well ahead of schedule.

I’ve gone back through my comments about each film and made some stats of what I watched. Where there is more than one genre I’ve gone with the one I felt outweighed the others although sometimes the balance was 50/50.

The rating system I used changed part way through the process. Like I say I was struggling with this and Gav suggested that I use Halliwells rating system. Here is an abridged description of that system.

  • 4 stars – outstanding in many ways, a milestone in cinema history
  • 3 stars – high standard of professional excellence
  • 2 stars – generally entertaining
  • 1 star – not satisfactory as a whole
  • 0 stars – totally routine production or worse

Of course the Halliwell system had more than one critic. Content and quality of movies is very subjective so bear that in mind…. Ha!

Here is a list of all 50 –

  1. The Age of Adaline
  2. Admission
  3. Home Again
  4. Love, Rosie
  5. Queen of Katwe
  6. Elizabethtown
  7. Oblivion
  8. American Assassin
  9. Mama Mia – Here we go Again
  10. The Hit Mans Bodyguard
  11. Destry Rides Again
  12. I’ll See You in My Dreams
  13. The Nice Guys
  14. The Spy Game
  15. Now You See Me
  16. Crazy, Stupid Love
  17. Black Panther
  18. Before We Go
  19. Jack Ryan – Shadow Recruit
  20. Nights in Rodanthe
  21. Leap Year
  22. First Man
  23. The Notebook
  24. Belle
  25. Pygmalion
  26. Our Brand is Crisis
  27. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  28. One Day
  29. Love and Friendship
  30. Magic Mike
  31. The Secret Life of Pets
  32. The Limehouse Golem
  33. Summertime
  34. A Christmas Prince
  35. Holiday Calendar
  36. Bohemian Rhapsody
  37. Tomb Raider
  38. Larry Crowne
  39. The Big Short
  40. Mary Poppins Returns
  41. Hampstead
  42. Aloha
  43. The Bookshop
  44. Ready Player One
  45. Wind River
  46. Mission Impossible – Fallout
  47. Crazy Rich Asians
  48. Sweet Home Alabama
  49. Puzzle
  50. The Narrow Margin (1952 version)

Genres

  • Drama – 9
  • Romance – 12
  • Musicals – 3
  • Romantic Comedy – 6
  • Drama/Comedy – 8
  • Sci-fi – 2
  • Action – 7
  • Crime – 3

Within those something I noticed was that 4 were also biographies.

Where/how watched 

  • Netflix – 33
  • Cinema – 4
  • T.V – 4
  • Other – 9 (this included my sisters Sky)

Rating

  • 0 – 16
  • 1 – 19
  • 2 – 12
  • 3 – 3
  • 4 – 0

All that said I think my favourites for sheer entertainment value are Mama Mia, Home Again, The Nice Guys (violent but very, very funny) and Crazy, Stupid Love.

If you know me at all then you know I like happy endings so it is a miracle that lots of these did not have happy endings! It’s good to have learned that I can accept this even though my comfort zone will always be happy endings……

I’m pleased that there are some oldies in the mix too like The Narrow Margin and Summertime. Both worth a watch to see film making like it used to be done.

I also found a holiday destination while watching Nights in Rodanthe. The Outer banks in North Carolina were simply captivating in the film, a character in itself. I fell in love with the place so much that we are going to go see if it lives up the the depiction in the film when we head stateside in October!

All in all I am really glad I challenged myself to this adventure. And am pretty sure that I will do it again.

Here’s to the film watching.

Sock Darning and the Bigger Picture

What?! I hear you cry. You are darning socks? As in mending something?

Yes. I have started to darn some of my socks. But read on because I decided it wasn’t simply about darning…..

Way back in my memory I remember seeing a little wooden mushroom, just like the one in the photo, at my Grandmas house. It was what they did. They mended things.

We don’t do that anymore do we? Well the majority of the UK does not I can guarantee that! I had accumulated a pile of beloved socks, not very old that all had holes in the soles or heels and I could not bring myself to throw them away. I did three things. I vowed never to buy these socks again as clearly they are not meant to last, I watched a you tube tutorial on darning and I bought the mushroom. It’s a work in progress but I am rather pleased with myself. And if I get another winter out of them then so much the better.

It is a small thing to undertake, but the idea of cherishing our clothes enough to mend them? Well if only we all did that it could be the gateway to realising how damaging consumerism is.

We try to do our bit in this house. We grow our own veg and flowers. We have a hybrid car. We compost. We walk places. We buy veg from an organic box scheme. We recycle. We have a Sodastream! (the most fun thing ever!) to cut down on plastic bottles. We have water bottles. I don’t buy clothes much at all and I do go to charity shops.

We are not perfect and I know all our holidays have an impact. But as I keep seeing on instagram ‘We don’t need a few people do it perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly’.

And with that in mind I’m going to download the Refill app that tells you where you can refill your water bottle for free when you’re out and about. And then take Buddy for a walk.

And when I get back I might just darn another sock!

The 100 Day Project 2019 – 100 Experiments in Art

Here we are again. My third year embarking on this project and I am just as excited to get going as in previous years, although I’ll say it right here, right now I don’t think I can ever top last years 100 hearts on fabric for sheer joy and fun every day. (And yes, one day I will finish the quilt).

But onward.

For 2019 I’m going to make 100 pieces of artwork. Here are three reasons I felt pulled towards this idea.

  • I follow lots of artists and makers over on Instagram and feel inspired by them.
  • I have tried my hand at many different arty crafts over the years but flit on to something else.
  • I constantly find myself uttering the words I could do that!

I know I already have a challenge of making going on (my plan to open an etsy shop for macrame and weaving!) but this is different. This is going to be paint, pens, pencils, collage on paper.

My overall aim is to focus my arty voice. I want to experiment with different techniques and I’ve been pinning ideas over here for reference.

I hope that by giving myself 100 days to play I will be able to hone in on what I most like to make. You can see from the Pinterest board that it’s mainly abstract with some graphic line art thrown in.

After pondering how to approach this I eventually decided that I’m going to start with a pile of 100 pieces of mixed media paper cut to A5 size. I may go smaller depending on the idea that day. When I was discussing this idea with Gav he asked me how I intend finish a piece of art every day. It is a concern but I’ve made a deal with myself.  I’m going to be okay not completing every piece. My intention is to finish each day but if I don’t as long as I have something to share over on Instagram that will be fine. I can go back and finish off later, or not!

I know that the idea of a stack of blank paper may scare some but I’m looking forward to seeing that pile of potential, what will I try today? Oh yes I’m ready to go!

Not Another Hobby……

Actually it’s two more! Eeek.

Macrame.

And weaving.

Here is the story…….

First the Macrame. Last summer I watched a video through Creative Bug showing how to make a macrame wall hanging. I’d see them pop up on Instagram and was intrigued. So much so that I convinced H we should make one as part of her summer list. That plan didn’t work out but it did get me hooked on this craft.

The photo above shows my first attempts at knot tying. The rope is 5mm, 4 strand twisted cotton. See I even talk the macrame talk now!

Same piece as that first shot but I changed the pattern. It ended up looking like this –

Square and half hitch knots. I absolutely loved making this. There was something therapeutic in repeating the same thing over and over and seeing it grow.

I also saw that weaving was being incorporated into macrame so I had a go at the too….

Same square and half hitch knots but this time I added black wool and some roving to the piece.

That one is much smaller and actually used up some of the left over rope from the bigger one. I hung it on a piece of driftwood found when we were at the cottage in November. Loved the chunkier wood for a chunkier wall hanging.

And now the weaving. I have actually weaved before. I made a couple of wall hangings and a little necklace in 2015. I remember enjoying making them but moved on to other things…… Such is my crafty life!

Enter Instagram again. Added to a request from my sister for gift ideas last Christmas. She fulfilled my wish and bought me a loom.

I raided my box of wool, my Mums supply of wool and bought a few balls too.

I’m keen to use recycled/upcycled materials and after I made the blue and mustard weaving I began to experiment and made one that had our old denim jeans in it. I can’t bear to throw jeams away when only the knees or hems are worn so I have been collecting cut off legs for many years knowing that one day I’ll find a use for them.

The fringe and the two strips were once jeans. I cut narrow lengths from the legs, frayed the edges and wove them in.

I also found a great shop on Etsy that sold organic roving and another that sold recycled cotton cord that is perfect for macrame.

And very bizarrely I saved that horrid nylon netting they wrap Christmas Trees in and I plan to weave that into a large macrame too. I’m quite excited about this as you can tell. I just hope my momentum carries on for a while as I made a very rash claim to H and Gav the other day.

I said that when I’d made ten wall hanging I was going to open an Etsy shop! Oh bother what did I have to say that for?? I have no idea how to open an Etsy shop…….. Anyway we will see where this new creative adventure takes me!

One Little Word® 2019 – Heart

I mentioned the other day that I was joining in on this year long project again. This will be my sixth year.

Previous words were –

  • Practice
  • Light
  • Whole
  • Align
  • Listen

This I wanted to write down that ‘success’ doesn’t come into my journey. In my head I always consider that I have failed with this concept because 1) I don’t complete all the prompts from the class and 2) I don’t really change. I’m sure I written about this before but wanted to state is here again.

It is not a case of success or failure. I shall try to do every prompt this year but want to give myself some grace and not put too many ‘things’ into the equation.

Ali had the same thoughts. Her word is habit and she wants to cultivate a yoga practice more days than not this year. She wrote that if she did that ‘it would be enough’.

My word is Heart. It popped into my head last October and hung around. It came from thoughts about looking after my heart in a literal sense. Living well to keep a healthy heart. All too often in my journey with words I have listed so many things I want to work on. This year while I know other things will come up I want to primarily focus on my health.

I want to get back to walking 10k steps a day (except Wednesday when I’m at work for 10 hours….). I want to practice yoga three or four times a week. I want to loose a little weight. This is such a huge ‘thing’ in my life and I don’t often discuss it here. It’s a battle I’ve had all my adult life. Part of me feels that I should accept what I am and get on with it but that is a very hard thing to do. So this year I’ll try to get to a certain weight which will help my health and stay at that weight. When I began walking 10k steps a couple of years ago I held a steady weight for months. So a little cutting back and more steps should help this plan.

And that is all I’m thinking about right now. Steps, Yoga, less unhealthy food.

What’s your word this year?

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One Little Word® is a project developed by Ali Edwards. Read all about it over https://aliedwards.com/one-little-word