Inspiring Art – Franz Marc

I first came across the art of Franz Marc in my university art history classes. I immediately feel in love with his colourful depictions of animals. To my eyes and heart, he really captured the nature of the animals he painted. Unfortunately, he was killed during World War I, leaving behind a beautiful and colourful legacy.

Here a couple of my favourites out of all his paintings (it was very hard to narrow it down to just two):

Two Cats, Blue and Yellow - Franz Marc

What I’ve been making (May 2015 edition)

I thought I’d let you take a peak at the crafty things I’ve been working on lately.

I’ve been having  a bit of a sewing binge (aided and abetted by my re-sorted stash) and I’ve got my yarn mojo back… There’s tonnes of new things my fingers are itching to start, but I’m determined to finish a few things first.

First up, those tassels I made a while back have now been beltified (which really should be a word) and are all set to dance:

Tassel belt has, um, tassels...

Last year, I did a course to develop a trouser pattern to fit your own body. So lately, I’ve been working up my first-ever-pair of trousers from my-very-own-pattern. It’s taken a bit of tweaking, and I will tweak a little more before the next pair, but I am really pleased with how well they’ve turned out.

In between my focused trouser tweaking, I also ran up a quick skirt out of stash fabric I adore. I’m not sure why it’s taken me several years to get round to doing this, but at least it’s done now!

Mori flower skirt - with apologies for the crap lighting

My pending pile includes a mostly cut-out wool coat for the rapidly approaching winter, then a few more coats (because coat fabric takes up so much storage space!). So, by Summer I should be super cosy! The to-do pile also includes this impressively cheerful (because ‘gaudy’ is too harsh a word) fabric for some dance pantaloons. I promise to hide the finished garment under a skirt…

Even brighter in real life!

On the yarn front, I’m plugging away at finishing some long-standing projects (why do adult-sized cardigan bands have to be so flaming long?!) and working on a couple of newer inspirations. There is a real risk I might actually finish some things! Although weaving-in-ends inevitably slows me done… (BTW I recently discovered ‘evitable’ is a real word. For some reason, this fills me with joy.)

I’m halfway through crocheting squares for a chunky granny square blanket (so about a third of the way through the whole project), which will be jolly useful shortly – sudden frosts are certainly an incentive to keep on hooking…

Half a box of crochet squares

And I’m almost up to the second sleeve of a bolero, following Mel Clark’s everyday cardigan pattern. That will then leave another long band to make to complete it… sigh! But it will be worth it…

This is a sleeve, not a caterpillar. I swear!

And I’m also pleased to have finally found the perfect colour yarn to finish off a Malabrigo yarn shrug. (The original plan came out looking tragically ’80s :/ ) I just need to finish the first cardigan band to free up the needles… I’m getting close…

Once these are done, there’s a few more *cough* half-finished projects to get done before I go too wild casting on new things (okay, I might allow myself one or three along the way…).

So that’s what’s keeping me out of mischief. What have you been up to?

Phases of living

One thing I have needed to learn over the past year is that…

it’s okay to do things for awhile, then move on

In the past, I’ve judged myself harshly for this. I’ve told myself I’m a ‘flutterby’ who can’t focus or commit and who ‘wastes money’ trying too many different things. All the while ignoring (of course) the other things I have done, and will continue to do, for years and years and years.

At long last, I’ve finally realised that it IS okay to enjoy doing something for a time and then put it aside.

It is okay to start something new without committing to doing it forever.

It is okay to TRY things and experiment and play, without expectation of a lifelong pursuit…

Life has its phases and cycles.

We grow and change with the seasons and years.

It is okay if the things we do change along with us.

It is okay to enjoy things for awhile and then let them go.

Some may return in future, and we can enjoy them all over again. But we don’t need to grasp them tightly in the meantime. That will only kill our joy and our creativity. Far better to relax our grasp, and enjoy those things we love right now.

And if you do find something that sings to your soul year after year after year, through all the seasons and changes, then that something, my friend, is a wonderful treasure. Enjoy it to the full.

(But don’t regret the fun you’ve had playing with other things along the way.)

It is all good.

It is okay :)

P.S. A tip: when you let a thing go, do also let go of the supplies and resources for doing it with! If you do come back to it later, you’ll deserve new beads and yarns and non-dried up paints… and in the meantime, you deserve the space for playing with something else AND the lack of guilt for not using those supplies ;)

Five reasons to ‘de’ your clutter

(in no particular order)

Freshen energy flows

  • Cleaning and clearing forgotten corners does seem to bring new light and freshness to a space. I think feng shui has a lot to say about this. I’ve certainly found it to be true in my own space.

Rediscover forgotten treasures

  • It is amazing what precious and wonderful things can be found hiding behind piles of no-longer-useful-ness. My last big clean out uncovered some wonderful oddments from my childhood that are now waiting to be turned into a belly dance belt (do watch this space… but don’t hold your breath!) My recent stash sort-out has also re-acquainted me with some lovely fabric friends who are keen to be sewn…

 Clear stagnation

  • This kind of goes with ‘freshen energy flows’, but I do think it deserves its own point. Ruts are very easy things to fall into, but they can quickly turn into festering psychic puddles of mosquito larvae. Cleaning and clearing discourages those larvae from growing, which leads to the next reason…

 Release the past

  • Treasure your memories and special things, but don’t cling to unnecessary or unhelpful relics from the past. The past has happened. Nothing we can do will change it or bring it back. It’s okay to move on, and to live here and now. That won’t change your memories, but it may set you free.

 Make your world more beautiful and useful

William Morris Quote Magnet  or Pocket Mirror(no.211)

Now I feel inspired to tidy up some more :)

From my sketchbook – imagine bay

2014-12 bay

This is nowhere in particular – from memory it grew from some random squiggles (which may explain the slightly odd details in the sky). I think my wildflowers are getting better, but rocks and ships may take some more practice… It still amazes me how a flat piece of paper with black lines on it can have a sense of depth and distance…