My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Another Small Step in Resparking my Making Mojo

One of the first things I did in my 'resparking my making mojo' journey was to sit down with a paper and pen for five minutes and brainstorm. I wanted to see if there was anything holding me back that was an easy fix.  There were plenty of 'headspace' things, like finding time and inclination, but sure enough, there was one easy thing that I could tackle without needing to rearrange my head.

I had been holding off getting the rest of my studio moved into the apartment because I wanted to clean the carpets.  That's it, that's all I had to do.  Because not having all my gear in one place made it easy to make excuses not to make art.  And that's a pretty easy fix - I just checked that the weather forecast for the next day (conveniently a Saturday) was good and made a plan to hire a carpet cleaning machine.  I also let everyone know on Instagram that I'd be doing that so I had some accountability. Thanks to Colleen in particular for keeping me honest!

Saturday came around, four hard hours of labour later and we were done.  That spurt of industry got me rolling and over the next two days I (we!) shifted all the remaining studio gear and got it all cleaned and beautiful, ready to advertise for a new tenant. Phew!

Anyone want to rent a flat?

Now I'm busy sorting my studio gear into some semblance of order and use ability in the new place, but it's amazing how that one simple brainstorm got me motivated. Because I found one thing holding me back that I knew how to fix and could fix relatively easily.  

But what next in my creativity jumpstart program? Viv had commented on my blog how her  'go-to' is her sketchbooks when in need of inspiration, and that comment made me think of my own sketchbooks.  

Sketchbooks are a wonderful tool. You can record those brilliant ideas you have in the middle of a project that you don't have time to work on right then and there, then come back to them later to see if they are as brilliant as you first thought. Just picking up my sketchbook and flicking through can inspire me.  

One of my !00 Days of Faces pages

So I sought out my sketchbooks and my sketchbook supplies while I was unpacking and I scheduled in a creative appointment with myself.  To avoid getting 'blank page fright', I used a sketchbook that was themed - the one I had used for my 100 days of faces work - so I already knew my topic.  I even went so far as to photocopy one of the previous faces I had drawn and use it as a basis for colouring and collage.  I wanted success, because success breeds success. I wanted to achieve a small goal (put together a pleasing sketchbook page) so that I would gain confidence, feel good, and want to do more.

I'm taking baby steps in this remotivation journey. And it feels good so far, it feels like I'll get there.  How about you?  What small goal could you set today to take a step in your creative journey?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

You'll have noticed that it's been a bit quiet around here lately.  In New Zealand, Christmas and New Year's coincide with summer and the summer school break, so the country sort of shuts down, or maybe slows down is a better description.  But in my case, it was definitely a full on shut down!

A week before Christmas saw me camping in a paddock with our extended family.  This is a bit of a tradition - it's been eight years now - and usually we hang out there for a couple of weeks, then head back home and back to work.  But this year, on New Year's Day, we left the paddock dwellers to their tents and my little family of four jumped in our 'Hippo' and embarked on a month long South Island trip.

The Hippo is a 4WD that we bought a few months before Christmas and spent some time decking out with a rooftop tent, awnings, storage and a camp kitchen. We intended to get off the beaten track so needed something a little more robust than a traditional campervan!

After a month of off road adventures we made it back home, but life didn't slow down. It was straight back into school for the kids and work for the grown ups.  For me, my work schedule increased dramatically when my husband's business required some extra admin help.  I found myself working there and doing my midwifery work without time to take a breath in between!

You'd think that was enough to keep us busy, but then we added another twist to the plot - we decided to move dwellings.  We have been contemplating moving off the boat for a little while for several reasons.  The kids are growing bigger and bigger and wanting friends over and needing room for projects and just generally needing more space; I was ready for a change - the tiny galley was always doing my head in; and we were all just ready to have the boat as a holiday vessel rather than our home.  But we hadn't found the right place until now.  

The building attached to the wharf where our boat is tied up has an apartment upstairs.  It became vacant a little while ago and was then offered to us to rent.  As soon as we had a look around we knew it was perfect; three bedrooms, lots more room and still in the same area that we love to live in.  We began moving our belongings in the very next day!

The view from my new place at sunset.  There's our boat, bottom left.

It was quite good timing really, because a week later we slipped the boat (took her out of the water) and it's really inconvenient to try and live on a boat that's on the hard. Boats need regular maintenance and it was time Cerego had her bottom cleaned and repainted.  We also needed to check her for damage after a recent close brush with a beach during a storm while we were away.  We were very relieved to see that she only had very minor damage along her worm shoe (a sacrificial bit of wood along the bottom of her keel and very easily replaced) phew!  

Hiring the slip is an expensive exercise and you pay by the day so we've been working like stink to get her back into the water as quickly as possible.  She went in yesterday and is sitting pretty again.

So now that Cerego is back in the water, I can carry on shifting stuff, because that's the other thing we are doing - shifting my studio back into the house now that we have room again.

Holidaying, working full time, shifting house, shifting studio, slipping the that enough of an excuse as to why there's been a dearth of creativity round here?

And now we are to the nitty gritty of why I'm writing this post.  I haven't touched my art in about two months.  I guess that's not entirely true.  I did a little hand stitching while we were travelling in The Hippo, and I took lots and lots of inspiration photographs, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that I haven't invested myself in my art for far too long.

Which is why I'm writing this down, putting it out there, gathering my thoughts and planning for a return.  The thing is, I feel a little apprehensive.  Scared is too strong a word, but uncertain isn't.  I'm not sure where to start. I've forgotten what I was working on, what I was excited about when I put down my needle, and now I feel I don't quite know how to start again.

So I'm going to share with you, my wonderful, ever supportive readers, the process I go through to get myself going again.  Because to share is to lighten the load and I'm also going to shamelessly use you for a bit of accountability!  But also because I know I can't be the only one who has been here, in a bit of a creative slump, and if I can help or encourage just one other person by sharing, well, it'll be worth it.

This is my first step in getting going again - writing about what's happening in my head.  I'm not entirely sure what the next steps will be, but probably some fun little creativity tasks mixed up with the daunting task of getting my studio moved, unpacked and in some kind of order.  

So come back regularly and travel with me on this journey to respark my making mojo, and I'd love to know the things that have helped you if you've ever been in this position.  

Thank you for sticking around and listening!