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!

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!


  1. What a great new change in direction. many happy hours of creating in the new apartment!

  2. Once you finish moving in and have a bit of time to just breath I'm sure that your creative mojo will return. I read that random improv piecing helps get the juices flowing.

  3. I enjoyed watching your South Island adventures, with a touch of wishing I hope to do something similar one day.
    Mojo.......I hear many artists struggle with this from time to time,(myself included) it does seem to creative wishes!

  4. My go to cure is the sketch book. And doing mindless things that allow thinking time - only time my house is spotless!!


  5. Wow you are much more adventurous than me - I only camp if I have full power and a heated bathroom, with piped music I might add - we camp at the Top Ten in Te Anau. And this year we camped with walls - we'd bought a caravan during the year, so much easier to set up than our two-room tent, and the walls don't flap in the wind. Sigh, I am such a softie. What a great trip you and your family will have had - and such a good summer for the weather in the Sth Island too. Enjoy your new digs on dry land!

  6. I like it when you get your mojo back! Your journey through the South Island must have been breathtaking, especially seeing it off-road. Little stitches add up to bigger ones and before you know it you'll be back in the saddle again.


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