2013 Blueprint – how to make your dreams real in an instant

woman on sands

Happy 2013 to you.

As a new year dawns and unfolds, it’s a time when people start making resolutions.  A new year is a natural new beginning, and a time to turn inward to look at our deepest dreams, hopes and desires.  And as we begin to feel excited about the future, we begin to make goals.  We begin to dream about what life will be like as we journey through our new year; how things that we have long yearned for will suddenly become a reality…except….except…

…except it very often doesn’t.

The trouble that I’ve had with goals in the past is that they’ve always been so damn far away in that just out of reach future of mine.  And to be perfectly truthful, most of my goals were things that floated around in my head, I never put the energy into making them happen because they felt too huge, too far away and too impossible.

Hmmmm….does this resonate with any of you?

I had a wake up call recently, I realised that although I did what I loved for a living, had a nice home and a smashing family, I was mostly plodding on through my life without making conscious choices to improve it.  One year would meld itself into the next and nothing would change.  I started to feel stuck, bored, slightly depressed and experienced feelings of IS THIS IT???

Disillusioned with far off goals that never seemed to materialise I decided that I had to start working with the small stuff first, the day to day stuff.  I knew I could start to improve all areas of my life and make changes to things that didn’t feel so good anymore.  We’re forever growing and expanding as people, so it stands to reason that at some point we’re going to outgrow certain habits, ways of doing things, ways of being.

I needed a way to get the ball rolling so that I could see instant results (for that feel good factor) and that meant working with smaller goals that I could make actionable immediately.  I decided that each day would be a blueprint of happy inducing things, and that instead of living with one foot in the past and one foot in the future I would try and remain poised in my present and enjoy the 24 hours that I’d been gifted with in the best ways possible.

I can apply my blueprint to all areas of my life ~ family, work, leisure, self study, diet and exercise; and I can choose the best of every option available to me, the options that make me feel good, that will make my day happy and fulfilled and become a blueprint for the future.  By choosing things that feel like the Best Choice for me, I am setting a pattern for the future – and if at any time my blueprint feels out of kilter with what makes me feel good, then I can just tweak it to suit.  My new habits will become a natural way of living in time and as I come to expect the best from each day, life seemingly gets bigger and better.  When we raise our expectations of what we want from life, life will deliver.

Creating a new blueprint for your life need not cost much money – you might decide that you want to just feel happier each day and start keeping a gratitude journal to write about all the stuff that lights you up.  A commitment to eating healthier one day at a time doesn’t have to cost much more than what you spend on your groceries now and the pressure of a diet disappears when you’re living consciously one day at a time.  You won’t need to spend a fortune on a  fancy gym membership that costs the earth to commit to a bit of daily exercise – start walking, get yourself a workout DVD to do at home or find a local class that you can attend, and family time will become much more enriching when you become present and focus upon the time spent together, one day at a time.

Commit to it, and create your blueprint for 2013, one day at a time.

However, a word about Big Goals That Live in the Future…


I still have plenty of long term goals, they’re sitting on my radar and they give me something to positively aim for alongside being happier and more fulfilled on a daily basis.  I’m going to be having my first solo exhibition this year, at the Studio 61 Gallery in Derbyshire this May.  This is a BIG dream of mine that I’ve had for eons and suddenly the opportunity was presented to me to make it come true.  However, to achieve this dream (because it ain’t gonna manifest on it’s own), I have to invest both energy and action – this comes from integrating the painting time into my daily blueprint, and then taking action to make it happen.

And I think that’s the magic word – action.  Goals and dreams are wonderful things to have and to aim for, but we need to take action to make them real – they very rarely happen as if by magic, there’s generally some input needed from us.  For some, these actions feel insurmountable or nigh on impossible, but by breaking it all down into small and achievable chunks, you can get there.

One day at a time.

Take your dream or your goal, and break it down into chunks.  Ask yourself what you need to do to achieve your goal and then write down how you best can do it.  And while you journey towards your big goal, start creating your daily blueprint and see how things instantly change for the better.

I hope your 2013 shines for you, and becomes your best yet.


The business of being creative


Have you been wondering where I’d got to? I have to say, the days have flown by in a whirl of late, I’ve had my sister and her boys visiting and my feet have hardly touched the ground…visiting parks, steam train rides, football and frisbee games, movie nights, shopping…apart from the rather cool and dreary weather we had a lovely few days together.

In the evenings, to sort of re-couperate from all this activity, and keep the creative side of my brain happy, I have been doing some Business Homework. Yes, that sounds very grand and very grown up and very formal. But no. Thanks to this amazing little book I found on Amazon, I am re-educating myself in an enormously fun and down to earth way, and actually LEARNING things as I go on (instead of yawning with boredom and shoving the book into the darkest corner of the bookshelf to gather dust).
It’s called The Handmade Marketplace, and I can highly recommend it to any of you out there who is even remotely involved with the Etsy/Folksy/Online selling caper. There are so many simple tips and helpful chunks of advice I’m actually beside myself with excitement…I like learning about business all of a sudden, it’s my new favourite thing to be doing!! Wheeeeeeeee!

So, I’m kind of plotting to be a bit more active with my little online emporiums. Once the Little Person has departed for her pre-school sessions, I know I am going to be needing something to fill my hours rather than just hoovering the carpets and staring bleakly at the walls ’til its time for her to come home. Being a home crafter/artist fits the bill perfectly, and all being well these empty mornings will soon be perfect opportunities to make and create lots of lovely stock for my sadly neglected little shops.

I have also solved a bit of a problem during my Business Study evenings too. And this is it:

What do you do when you enjoy lots of different creative pursuits, do you stick to one or do them all?

I’d welcome your thoughts on this, especially if you are like me and enjoy not just one creative pursuit, but several. For instance, my first loves are painting and crochet, I love them equally with a passion but did you know I also love printmaking and sewing things? I do, I just don’t get much chance to do them and because I’ve always thought I had to travel in one direction so to speak making painting my priority, I put them on the backburner. So, I was delighted to find a kind of permission slip in my new book that says its ok to have variety, to create different things to sell if you so wish! Hurrah!! For some reason, the fact it was in black and white in a real book, made it believable enough for me to allow it.

So my little shops may be stocked with all sorts of different things…the excitement is driving me demented, I cannot wait to begin and Im having to write my ideas down in my art journal before they evaporate forever. It would seem, for once, I am on a roll of inspiration.

Talking of rolls…

…here’s my Rainbow Ripple, all rolled up and nearly finished but for 14 rows…oh I cannot wait to complete it and snuggle up in it! I’m hoping to get it done in time for autumn, me thinks it would be a good blanket for early evenings in the garden sat by the firepit toasting marshmallows and drinking warm cider….

…but not wanting to talk about Autumn yet, it is of course just August, just look at these pretty little asters I found at my local shop the other morning!

I love their cheerful cherry red blooms in that jam jar! I do like brightening up my home with simple things like flowers and pretty pictures, which leads me to another thing to share with you all today.

For some time now, I’ve had several enquiries from several lovely people about a Certain Little Painting of mine and whether it will ever be a print or not. Now these lovely people have been so very patient with me, probably to the point where they were starting to wonder whether I had even listened to their request.

But I have. Of course I have, I always listen to what you have to say, it is mightily important!

And so, I’m happy to share that Daffodils & Bunting is now finally available to buy in my online gallery as a print. It comes titled and signed, presented in a nice mount and has free delivery to anybody living in the UK.

Want a peep?

There it is!

And here it is, blown up in size a bit, to give you a proper look:

And you can see it in my gallery here.

I feel very excited to be able to put new work out there for you lovely souls, and do get in touch with me if there is any other work you feel you would like to see in print, that isn’t already!
I know things might be slow to appear at times, but being a Mum is my No.1 job, and that is how it should be – I am just so very grateful that I get a chance to keep bobbing along gently with my creative work, and to hear that so many of you enjoy it – I know as my Little One grows older, I will be able to reclaim more time as my own again, but for now, I think I’m happy bobbing. Yes I am. Very.

Thank you so much for stopping by, for all your kind and supportive comments – you really do keep me going some days and make it all worthwhile.

Sending you each warm sunshine, blue skies and love.

Julia x

Hibernating and Creative Business

Hello friends 🙂

Well, what a week it has been in the UK for weather!! I look out of the window and what do I see? Snow. I turn on my TV and what do I see? A special program entitled the BIG FREEZE dedicated to this icy cold spell!! People are a bit obsessed aren’t they, so today, instead of giving you heaps of snowy photographs to look at, Im going to show you what we made when it snowed hard for 14 hours here the other day.

And it involves the Queen of strawberry jams, Little Scarlet.

Me and the Little One got busy making scones, because I had a yearning for Cream Teas and summer, I was totally brassed off with all things white and cold.

And we decided to use different cutters to make our plain scones, ending up with hearts and rabbits…and a couple of unidentifiable ones that a Small Person was tremendously proud of!

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to get a jar of Little Scarlet jam, you will know where Im coming from with my rapturous description of it. Once the lid is off, tiny wild strawberries of the most sweetest kind practically burst out of the jar – indeed this is not jam, it is a jar packed with strawberries for there is hardly any room for the jammy bit.

Its not cheap, but sometimes its good to indulge isn’t it, and on that snowy day we buttered fresh warm scones, and piled oodles of tiny strawberries on top and watched the whirling white snow fall out of a heavy grey sky, although our thoughts were perhaps far away right then, in a tea garden far south of this Yorkshire border.

Anyway, I lied – I said I wasn’t going to show you any snow pictures but I couldn’t resist a few – its so very, very pretty when the sun is shining on a fresh downpour of the stuff!

This is across the road from our house, the tremendous trees are weighed down. Its bitterly cold standing on the doorstep so I hurry indoors….

…but not for long – the Little One wants to go and make a snowman, so we navigate the back garden and are both rather surprised how deep it is, she in particular as its well over her knees and she’s never seen anything quite like it!
The sunlight glows through the snow that has fallen between the boughs of our little flowering cherry tree…hard to imagine that in only a matter of weeks this will be frothing over with pink blossom.
The river looks very pretty, peaty black and icy cold against the bright white snow. To add to the theme of black and white was a little dipper who was out braving the weather, he was standing on a stone watching us before he took off under the bridge, his little white bib a blurry flash as he flew by.

Well, following my last post there have been a couple of my readers interested in the books I mentioned, and silly me, I should really have put the titles in that post for you! Never the less, here they are now for those of you who are interested in following the creative business dream:

The Creative Entrepreneur
by Lisa Sonora Bea

Creating a Life Worth Living
Carol Lloyd

Make Your Creative Dreams Real

The Small Business Start Up Workbook
Cheryl D Rickman.

If you click the links it will take you to the amazon page so you can read up on them a bit more and see if they are what you are after.

The top three books are written with a real focus on creativity, and include some great tools and exercises which teach you how to become a businesswoman (or man), and make your business real, one which makes money and brings customers…sound good?? It is.

These books also suggest keeping a journal/art journal to encourage your creativity. If you can, take the time to really work through the exercises. The good thing is that you can do this in your own time, and when you do sit down and answer the questions and think about what you’re reading, you begin to learn things (which sounds obvious, but Im the best in the world for skipping the practical exercise bit, I always want to be at the finish post first, but Im realising that these people can teach me things I don’t know and through making an effort Ive learnt more in the last week than I did in a whole year of going round doing the same stuff yet expecting different results!!)

The last book I mentioned is more practical nuts and bolts, crammed full of information about marketing and promoting yourself and starting a biz from scratch. Very good.

So there we are. Id love to hear from any of you who decide to work through one of the books Ive mentioned here. It can be quite a challenge starting off in business, but its not impossible and perhaps the ones of you who have decided to grow a business properly this year might like to share experiences here? Sometimes its nice to have someplace to chat about our journeys and what we’ve learned, and it can also be really helpful for others who are doing the same thing!

Let me know what you think – you know where to find me!! 😀

So here’s to the creative journey, wherever it may take you (be it kitchen to bake cake, or reaching for the stars and becoming the next Deborah Meaden 🙂

Big love to you,
Keep warm,
Eat nice stuff 🙂

Julia xxx

A New Year

Happy New Year dear friends

I hope you have all enjoyed a lovely Christmas time, and I wanted to take this time to thank you all for the last year in Blogland, for your friendship and support. Ive really enjoyed getting to know you all, and I look forward to following your journeys in 2010!

The picture above is a cherished view near to our home looking over the Loxley Valley, it looked beautiful on Christmas day following the huge snowfall we had awoken to on Christmas Eve. My sister and her family had travelled north the day before that, so we braved the icy roads to join them at my Mums cottage and had the best fun building snowmen with the children, having snowball fights and sledging races down the hill next to the house. It was one of the nicest Christmases Ive had in a while. I think the snow made it feel all the more so as well as the fact that we were all together (which doesn’t happen every year).

So, as quick as Christmas arrived and departed, so a New Year came creeping in. Did any of you see the lunar eclipse last night? It was also a very special moon in that it was a Blue Moon. That means that there were two full moons within the calendar month which is not that common (hence the phrase, ‘once in a blue moon’), but for a Blue Moon on a New Years Eve it was even more amazing as its only once in every 20 years that it happens.

For those of you who are interested in moon energy and cycles, its a very prolific time to set intentions and goals for the coming year.

Which got me thinking about what I would like to achieve this year.

I would seriously like to start growing my little art business. 2009 saw me supporting my other half in his business venture, climbing the peaks and navigating the troughs. Everyone we spoke to agreed it had been a hell of a year for anyone in business, especially a small business as this one is at the moment. To have survived it and come out the other side feels nothing short of a miracle and I admit to feeling worn yet more learned from the experience. Life sends us these lessons to test us, to see if we are ready and willing to grow, and I think we have grown. We have lived on the breadline and we have also experienced moments of wonderful abundance. We have travelled through very testing times. Despite the difficult bits, we are beginning 2010 with a renewed sense of possibility and optimism and I have made the promise to myself to devote more time to my own business too.

I am in the midst of planning some regular work time with my Small Person being in the house at the same time. I know from a bit of reading that its quite possible to do this. It just needs some forward thinking, such as lots of exciting activities to keep her occupied and regular mini breaks where we will spend time playing together, or having a snack or a sing-song…
Im also discovering how to help her understand that Mummy will be having Work Time, because at first she won’t realise whats going on. We are going to ease ourselves into it gently, just a couple of hours here and there, nothing too much. It will, I hope, create a happy balance for all of us and help my little art business grow into something a bit bigger that will eventually help towards supporting our little family.

Im reading a couple of really good business books that are created for creative people too – none of this technical mind boggling nonsense for me, hardcore business manuals just dont resonate and after a bit of inspiration from a friend, Ive been overjoyed to discover some excellent reading material that will hopefully serve to expand upon what I already know.

So that is what Im aiming for this year. 😀

What are your goals and ambitions for this new year?
What do you hope to achieve in this new month?

I send you sparkling scoops of goodwill and comfort for the journey, and look forward to catching up with all of you again soon.

Much love
Julia x