Friday, 1 January 2016

A Fresh Start

My first post of 2016, and I have a real sense of the beginning of this year being a fresh start, the beginning of my new life as a cancer survivor. After a few weeks of feeling very untethered and unsettled after hearing the all-clear, I am now feeling very much more myself, and full of positivity for the year ahead.

As those of you who read my blog will know, I have not been able to make any art for some time. For the second time last year, Mr. Mojo and Mrs. Muse went off on an unscheduled naughty holiday, leaving me in the lurch. Today I suddenly got fed up with them both treating me like this, so I put out an APB on them and discovered they’d bunked off abroad, so I immediately initiated extradition proceedings, and they caved in and returned! They are both feeling rather sheepish about their going AWOL, so it’s baby steps for now, but at least they are back in action at last.

This afternoon, while watching some TV and catching up with stuff I’d recorded over the past week or so, I got my Florabunda print-outs and Perfect Pearls out again, and painted four more of the mandalas!

4 Florabunda Mandalas 1-1-16

Of all the ones I have done to date, no two are identical. Each colour scheme gives a different effect as the light and dark give a different emphasis on the shape – something I didn’t expect. In due course, these will be matted and layered and made up into cards. I need to get my Card Factory up and running again if I am going to take some in to the Ricky Grant Unit (chemo unit) for them to sell to raise funds.

Having done this small amount today, I feel that something in me has been released, and that it will not be long before a lot more is to come! I feel sooo much better, as if I have finally set my feet on solid ground after treading water out of my depth for so long. A few weeks ago, I got back in the driving seat in the kitchen and have been cooking, washing up and doing the laundry once more, and this has been instrumental in making me feel more myself again too, but to get my art back is something special!

Remember this picture of my main work zone in my studio, taken at the beginning of December but going back two or three weeks before that:

WOYWW 339 4 2-12

This picture sums up the state of my art at the end of last year – collapsed, neglected, sad. On the desk underneath was a heap of dried leaves – dessicated, decayed, a sorry mess. The leaves have now been swept away (I really wasn’t going to do anything with them!) and at long last, today, I replaced the broken dowel with the nice strong metal rod that my hubby provided for me all those weeks ago. This is what it looks like now:

New Rail for Stamps

Quite an improvement, wouldn’t you say? I still need to sort the stamps a bit, so they are better organised and easier to find the ones I want. The rest of the room, however, is still a complete tip, having been a dumping ground since I last used it properly, and it’s going to take a while to get it tidied up again. Now that’s a project for the New Year!

It’s a funny thing about New Year’s Day. If you think about it, it’s just another day when the sun rises and sets (or not, if you live in rainy Great Britain lol!!), and anything special about it is a man-made device, so it really shouldn’t have that much significance, but it does! It’s like turning the page and starting a brand new chapter, and the whole of the previous year, cutting off on 31st December, is a closed book, a mere memory, a thing of the past. For me this year, it has huge significance – I can now say, “LAST YEAR I had cancer”!

New Year resolutions – do you make them? In recent years I haven’t bothered, because I had got so cynical about not keeping them for more than a few days… This year, though, I have decided to make some again, to coincide with getting my life back. Here they are, not in any particular order of importance (apart perhaps from the first one):

1. To read my Bible more.

2. To do my filing on a regular basis, instead of leaving it until my filing tray is bursting all over the place, and I can’t find relevant documents because they haven’t been filed in their proper place!

3. Tying in with 2. above – to try to be a lot tidier. My office, like my studio, is a tip. I’ve got too much junk lying around in the sitting room. Perhaps this year I’ll finally get around to unpacking the final 2 banana boxes in the sitting room, and the one in the bedroom, remaining from when we moved house 2 years ago!!

4. To finish the odd bits of touching up left over from when the builders were here when we first moved. These unfinished bits have been bugging me for ages.

5. To go to bed earlier. With my M.E. my internal clock wants to be all over the place and in its natural state, keeps me up till 3.00 a.m. or later (the latest I ever stayed up was 5.00 a.m. and it was starting to get light and the birds were starting to sing!!!) – and then I can’t get up in the mornings, and all our meals “slip” as my hubby describes it. While I was ill last year and my hubby was bringing me breakfast in bed, I had breakfast at a sensible time and the whole day was sensible as a result, and when I started to get up and get my own breakfast, I was able to maintain that pattern, but just lately, it’s been slipping again, so from now on I’m going to make myself go up at midnight, and set my alarm for 7.30 so that I can still have my cup of tea in bed and then get up at a reasonable time.

6. To try and do some art every day, even if it’s only something very small – not necessarily in my studio but on the recliner if I’m not feeling up to much. I can do my Zentangle and Florabuna drawing, colouring and small paintings, knitting, embroidery etc. from the comfort of the recliner, so I needn’t deprive myself!

7. Not to give in to the temptation to procrastinate! My M.E. motto has been “Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow” lol! – but as long as I keep my intentions realistic, there is no reason why I can’t meet them.

8. To keep up with my diet and make good progress with my weight loss throughout the year. I had to take almost a year out last year because of needing to keep my strength up to cope with everything that happened, but now I am better, I can get back on track again.

9. To continue to count my blessings every day.

10. Last but not least – to spend less money hahaha!! The trouble is, my art materials addiction has never been addressed. Maybe this is the year when I go into rehab!!!

I think that’s enough to be going on with for now! I don’t want to impose too many resolutions on myself or I won’t keep them!!

(Go on, share yours with me…)

Wishing you all a very happy New Year.


  1. Happy New Year to both of you! Here's to a creative year! And a healthy one!

  2. The two photos of your desk are so symbolic! Your mandalas are divine - you're right about the effect the colouring and shading had on the shape - it's hard to believe it's the exact same shape until you look closer. I remember that feeling of "release" when I first started making art again after my 6 months absence. I did a stamped feather, which has become a very significant piece for me, still hanging above my computer desk as a reminder. You're on the right track! I didn't make any resolutions this year - like you in previous years, I have become somewhat cynical about them - rather than putting it into writing, I have a mental list of what I would like to achieve this year - but it's fluid and not carved in stone, so I don't feel obligated. The feeling of obligation is the killer of my good intentions - or maybe not writing them down is just an easy way out for me? Of the ones you wrote, procrastination is my biggest enemy. The trouble is, I like procrastinating and while I do it, I enjoy those activities a lot more than I otherwise would, knowing darn well that I should be doing something else. But it's definitely getting in the way of achieving my full potential. I applaud you for all your intentions this year - a very impressive list! Up and onwards, Shoshi!

  3. So glad you are getting back on track - what a lovely positive post. I don't really do resolutions, and if I was going to then I think one would be enough for me - I'm not surprised you have a list of 10! and I won't be surprised to hear you've managed to remember them all and stick to them this year! I hope the year ahead is a happy, healthy and peaceful one for you and your husband - you both deserve it.
    Diana x

  4. Hi Shoshi, Happy New Year and thanks for the visit to mine. Pleased to see you are getting in the mood for a little crafting again. Take care, Angela x

  5. I wish you the best of luck with your resolutions! Happy New Year!!

  6. Good luck to your husband for the 19th, Shoshi - I hope it all goes well and as you say you can't be too careful.


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