Saturday, 24 January 2015

Mercury in Retrograde

Mercury is currently in retrograde. It's bad. It's mean. It mucks everything up. So how do we survive it? 
We don't. It's a planet people. A planet doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing and what it has always been doing since the dawn of it's creation. Get a grip.
Stop seeing it as the cause of every bad thing that happens! I mean it, crappy things happen to us ALL the time, not just during planetary blips. 

You might think from reading the above that I don't buy in to the the whole Mercury in Retrograde thing. You'd be wrong. Mostly. I just think that the idea of this particular astrological wotsit has become completely skewed. It's become laughable. 

Until a few years ago, most people wouldn't even know what you meant by the term. Now there are articles telling people to avoid doing certain things because Mercury is in bloody Retrograde. I even read one this morning telling people to be aware of their body language in case they came across negatively to other people. There are many things that concern me in a day. How my body language appears to other people is not one of them. 
And it doesn't end there! Don't sign contracts, back up your computer (shouldn't you be doing this anyway?) don't travel, be careful how you speak to people, blah, blah, blah. When did it get like this??

When I was younger, a friend of my Dad's was heavily in to astrology. Although I don't believe in it to the extent she did, much of what she said stayed with me as being good life lessons in general. 
I remember her telling me about Mercury in Retrograde and not once did it sound like a bad thing. 
What actually happens (apparently) is that this period will force you to look at areas of your life that aren't working so well. Things you normally turn your back on and try to ignore. At these times Mercury will just spin you around again to face whatever you have been avoiding. That's why it may feel that things are not going quite right. It's a sneaky trick. Consider it as some tough love from the Universe and not a case of it working against you.

It's supposed to be a time to take a step back and take stock. Or at least that's how it was explained to me. Others may disagree, such is their right. Nevertheless this is how I prefer to view these times of the year. If at all. Sometimes they don't even register on my radar. But this is my point, lately it seems that you can't escape them. Everyone will be talking about it and blaming the fact that there's a 'y' in the day on Mercury being in sodding retrograde.

This happens three of four times a year. If we spend each and every single time hiding under a blanket saying "I can't go out, Mercury's in retrograde and the sky might fall down", well we'll be spending an awful lot of our lives hiding from a huge, planet shaped boogie man. 

Instead, why not see it as a time to take stock, re-examine anything in your life that isn't working and just get your house in order. Metaphorically speaking of course, the hoovering can wait. 
Look at Mercury in Retrograde as a mother figure. One that's had enough and is trying the tough love approach. 

She's tough, but she means well. 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

My project 'not much of an update' # 1

Do you remember back in November of last year, I optimistically set myself not one, not two, but three different side projects? Right before one of my busiest times of the year no less? Yeah, that was smart. Well unsurprisingly I've made little progress on any of them. 

1. The bedside cabinet revamp - These are now in our living room to allow ventilation to get to our cold, mould trap of a wall. I've sanded the units down, but otherwise they remain untouched.
2. My winter coat - I have the fabric I need. I've draped it over the dress form. I've even paired it with my gorgeous faux fur stole in the hope it would ignite some motivation, but other than that I've done little else other than look at it.
3. Our ugly dining table - I attempted sanding it, but had underestimated what a bastard sanding away all that lacquer would be. Then when I did get down to the wood beneath, I found that it wasn't worth the hassle. It's tough, but not very pretty. So I made the decision to paint it, trawled Pinterest and came across this.

SOURCE: Pinterest
I won't be doing this as such. Instead I will paint it blue and make a tablecloth to add the rest of the colour and floral detail. Given the current rate of progress with these projects though, the tablecloth will have to wait.

I'm aiming to write another project update in a few weeks and by then I'm hoping to have finished the bedside/livingroom cabinets, cut out my coat pieces and at least bought the paint for the table. 

There. I've said it so I must do it. 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Slow Living

Has anyone else noticed a real resurgence of interest in the slow living concept lately? I have, most notably (and perhaps ironically,) online.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it basically refers to living in a more mindful and meaningful way and encourages you to live life at a slower pace.

A conversation with a friend made me realise that this is pretty much the change that I’ve been chasing over the past year. The philosophy does not demand an all or nothing approach. This appeals to me as to do so would be unattainable. We each have responsibilities and sometimes we can't help being busy. But it flies in the face of living life at break neck speed all of the time. So ok. Slow living = slow down. Easy I thought.

Except that it’s not.

Or perhaps it is for some, but I’m struggling. While the message at the core of the slow living movement is a simple one, I’m finding that actually putting it into practice is not.
For example I divide my working week between looking after Alessi, working at an office job and running the business from home. There’s a level of busy there that simply doesn’t translate to slow! But I recognise that a change is needed as I've developed some really bad habits lately. I don’t eat properly unless I’m in the office, I’ve started to rely more and more on Cbeebies to keep Alessi amused whilst I do admin and I often end the day aching and feeling burnt out. It’s not healthy. For me or my family.

So here I am, jumping on the slow living bandwagon and offering no apologies for doing so. What comes next will be looking at ways that I can improve and simplify the problem areas I’ve already identified above. Essentially it will just be forming new habits and being smarter with my time I think. Without even realising what I was doing, I've already been taking steps towards this slow moving lark with the house de-clutter. Which is still ongoing. Freegle I’m finding can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be a source of extreme frustration at times.
But that’s a post for another day!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Taking comfort in the season that endures

Maybe it's because I was a winter baby or maybe because I'm a bit of a home bod at heart, but I'm one of the few people that genuinely loves the winter season, specifically, this latter part. The part that comes after the Christmas chaos and sees most of us feeling a little glum and well, over it. 
Perhaps it's the unsocial part of my personality that loves it. It's an unsociable season, or at least this part is. After Christmas there's little money to throw around, the weather is gloomy and we return to our day to day routines. 
So I shouldn't love it as much as I do, but there is something deep in my psyche that simply loves winter. As long as the weather doesn't take a turn for the dangerous, I'm happy. Let the rain pour down and the howling wind blow. I'll pull my scarf tighter around my neck and pour another coffee. 

As I write this, the wind is blowing hard around the house and the rooms are dim without lights. I'm sat next to a window so I'm getting all the light I need. When Dan returns from getting the food shop, I'll head down and will have to turn on lights to see what we're doing. 

Am I mad?

Perhaps it's because I know it won't last. It's just another season doing exactly what it's supposed to. Perhaps I've simply managed to do what I struggled with last year and I've finally connected with the seasons to the point of truly feeling part of them? 
Yes, I know that last sentence sounded self indulgent, but it would be lovely if it were true.

I know there's not much going on outside. Nature can look barren and depressing at this time of year. The weather can be harsh and the days dark, but it's important to recognise the good that's around us too. And there is good.
The days are getting slowly longer, the sun a little higher in the sky. We'll be in for some worse weather before the warmth of spring returns, but it is coming. 
In the meantime, pick up a book, a blanket and a cup of something hot and hunker down. Winter is for hibernating and taking stock whenever you can. And when you can't, wrap up in warm, comforting clothes, put on an extra pair of socks and throw yourself into it.

Summer will be here soon enough and no doubt people will then complain that it's too hot and start yearning for the colder months again. Like the fickle humans we are. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

January sale and future plans

As the subject title states, I'm holding a sale over in the shop to celebrate the start of a new year.

These necklaces are the last in stock and once they've gone they won't be relisted so for this month only you can buy them at 40% off the original price.
And there's more. A further 20% off everything else when you use the code: TDTJANSALE2015.

A few weeks ago I wrote this post about some lessons I'd learned over the year. One of them was my desire to run the business a little differently, in a way that felt more authentic to me.
As a result I've decided that this sale will be the only one I hold this year. It kind of goes against the classic business model, but it feels right to me.

In other news there are other changes on the horizon that are filling me with butterflies of excitement right now.
I'm currently sewing up another dress with the aim of making it practical for breastfeeding mums. I made a similar dress for a friend last year and she planted the idea by asking if I'd thought of selling breastfeeding friendly dresses in the shop. Up until that point, I hadn't, but as I said, she planted the seed and since then I've thought about it a lot. So if you're reading this, and you know who you are, thank you.
Another lovely lady I speak to regularly on Twitter has agreed to test the sample dress for me so we shall see if the grading and the various tweaks I've made actually translate in to a wearable dress.
Fingers crossed!

And last, but not least there will be experiments with embroidered dresses. I'm a big fan of bold colours and I've fallen in love with the idea of sewing colourful dresses with embroidered designs in contrasting colours.

So in all there's a lot to be getting on with over here and I hope to have new stock in the shop very soon. All these changes are a little scary, but it feels like I'm moving in the right direction so it's also very exciting.

One thing I'm aware of is that I could easily miss out on what's going on around me if I don't remember to take a step back every now and again. I've given myself quite a lot to do (I know, I know, don't start), but as long as I make a point of stepping away from the internet and sewing machine occasionally I should be fine.

That's it for now, have a good Monday folks!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015 Goals

I only set myself three simple goals for 2014; to try and find more time to sew (check), live a little more healthily (*ahem*) and treat myself occasionally (nailed it).

The lesson here is that I don't respond well to health related resolutions. Well consider it a lesson learned. I hereby give myself permission to eat what I want, drink what I want and only run if I lose my mind. Or take it up again at some point if I feel the urge. Whatever. It's cool. 

Anyway, here are my resolutions for 2015;

Talk less, make more.

Continue to take time out to relax. Switch off from work occasionally!

 Try and be in the present more. Put. The. Phone. Down...she says tapping away on her laptop.

 Find a storage solution for all the bloody dress patterns lying around in the sewing room. Note to self: rolling them up with elastic bands and tossing them up on the top shelf is NOT working out Kim.

Fashion something for the dresses while I'm at it. There is no more room in the closet. I repeat, NO. MORE. ROOM.

However you're spending the first day of this shiny new year, I hope it treats you well my friends. 
Here's to a great year - and remember, imperfect is just fine. ;)

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