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So I thought I’d introduce you to my shed this week. And yes, I should probably post more frequently, but this is pretty speedy for me so far. It took me two years to post a gift to my dear friend that I promised her millions of moons ago, so you know, time / relativity and that.

My glorious shed: my wonderful, custom-built superspace; built almost entirely out of scrap materials by my clever husband in which is housed La Corbeille and my art yearnings. I have been spending increasing amounts of time in this, my very own and quite luxurious bolthole not, I have to admit, always working on the shop, but sometimes just gazing at a rusty (foot-long!) hook…. today I heard the blissful sound of Jude outside my door saying to The Menace: “come on, leave Mummy alone, she’s working”. Of course, I kept quiet about the fact that I was knee deep in my button collection at the time  – I find old glass buttons as mesmerising as rust (and by that I do mean a lot!)

Another wonderful encourager who I’ve been talking to recently has suggested that I spend thirty minutes a day exploring my art, so I’m taking steps towards making that an actual thing, rather than a thought of a thing I’d like to do. I just finished reading the altogether too-short “Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art” based on someone’s recommendation and it is exactly where I want to be right now. After years of fighting to be “normal”, to be like everyone else appears to be; to do what was expected of me rather than try to find out what it is that my heart wants to do, I am for the very first time feeling free of those constraints and able to see a path magically opening up ahead of me. I have never been someone who has ‘fitted in’: I have never seen the 9-5 existence as anything other than a set of chains and a crushing of my soul. Which is why I have never had money or new clothes, or all those surface accoutrements than make one more able to fit in and be like everyone else. But I don’t want to be that person – I’m happy to stand out. I’m happy to be poor if that’s the price I pay for a deeper and more substantial sense of fulfilment. Life is very short to explore all that there is to do. Stitching is definitely high up on my list of priorities, buoyed as I am by the sweet encouragement of art minded souls like the ever-lovely Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, in whose hands that little stack of twin-cross blocks will soon be nestling – this is where you can find out all about why a small army of us are creating these for The 70273 Project. Most are stitched, but I have been experimenting with gestural fabric marking for a change of rhythm.

Next to the curtain are my lovely assistants, Maude and ‘Enri the ‘Atstand as they are affectionately known in my head and behind the curtain is the most amazing wrought iron and glass door salvaged from the scrapyard which I neglected to photograph…. My shelves (all freshly re-arranged and cleared during my recent hunt for a t-square) are stuffed with leftover packaging ready for crafting emergencies and all the bits and pieces I can’t keep at Lellie-height. The children have been quite wild lately, enjoying the break from outdoor neatness we’ve been subjected to since the ride-on lawnmower was quickly followed to mechanical heaven by the strimmer. We may have to find a cow. Or perhaps a small flock of sheep. Somewhere on the endlessly unending list of chores is for Jude to dig a hole in the ground for the girls’ trampoline which was rolled around during the storms last winter, despite being harnessed to the ground at the time.

Jessie has taken to sleeping in our pretty little caravan which we refurbished with gusto last year. We had high hopes of travelling around exploring France in it before finally taking it down south and realising how extremely unpopular and unwelcome they are at rest stops. Whopping great squillion-Euro funbus with satellite dish & aircon? No problem. Tiny little caravan custom designed to house a family of six holidaying on a minimal budget? Moved on by unsmiling Gendarmes.  And Jess? She takes after her mother: she’s in heaven to have a space of her own.

*Misty Clara (Miss T Clara, or just Misty if you like) has settled in very well indeed: she eats three times her own body weight in catfood every day as well as thinning the local shrew population with glee: she has also been spotted actually playing, which she didn’t seem to have any understanding of at all when she first arrived. The Grices are enriched by her sweet and pretty presence and of course our own Mr Tibs is thrilled beyond measure with his arranged marriage.

Next week: The 70273 Project in more detail.

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