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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Christmas - love it or hate it?

It's THAT time of year again, as we edge towards the holiday season, and people slowly seem to work themselves up into a frenzy.  Familiar patterns, old habits, 'shoulds' and 'should nots' - sending cards to people you feel you should send to, the dilemma of whether you should buy a friend or acquaintance a present (what if they buy you one?), aspiring to our socialised ideas of perfection - the perfect gift/wrapping, the perfect party, the perfect Christmas day - who can live up to all these expectations and come out of this with any kind of sanity?  I dislike the tacky commercialism, the must have it, want, want, buy, buy part of a consumer driven Christmas.  So much pressure on people for one day that has been put on this enormous media hyped pedestal.   TV adverts and magazine articles promoting the 'ideal' Christmas have a lot to answer for.

Before you say 'Bah humbug' I love Christmas! There, I've said it. I really do. It can be a magical time, especially if you have children in the family and I love giving and receiving presents and singing along to Christmas carols.  I love decorating my home (even though few see it except me!) - lots of sparkly lights really lift the spirits in the cold, dark days of winter.   

For me though, the best part of Christmas is a celebration of winter. I am grateful for the changing seasons (we are so lucky in the UK to have such defined seasons), birds migrate and winter visitors appear, brightly coloured berries on winter shrubs, seeing the naked skeletons of deciduous trees and waiting for the first signs of new growth heralding new beginnings, long dark nights cosying up with candlelight and warm woolly blankets,  wild winter storms and snow covered fields.  

I love to celebrate the Winter solstice - a time for stillness, quiet and rejuvenation - a time to pause, reflect, give thanks and to dream, set intentions and make plans for the next year.    Why don't you take some time out during this busy season and think about what you would like to experience in 2016?

Shirley



Friday, 13 November 2015

Over over-thinking :-)

Today I've got to lunchtime and I'm feeling a bit bleugh. And the sole reason I'm feeling like this is because of me! Yes, I take full responsibility for this. I'm feeling annoyed at myself because I'm a serial overthinker! Funnily enough I don't tend to worry about what others think but spend far too much time planning things and I guess trying to make things perfect. Always getting ahead. As you can imagine I'm a nightmare at this time of year - there's always plenty to plan for Christmas with a family of 5!

When I look at myself I have this 1 side where I fully believe in the law of attraction; that the things we think about are the things we attract. And then another side that just wants to be proactive and try to sort everything out when things aren't going to plan. The second kind of contradicts the first ;-) I am focusing on what isn't happening rather than what I'd like to! You're seeing how my thought processes go, right?! :-D

So on days like today I need to stop what I'm doing, re - focus and be gentle with myself. I can either get annoyed or I can get back to where I want to be - feeling the best I can. What helps me is opening one of my books - something that will uplift me and remind me that everything is ok. When I was younger I used to wallow in my negative thoughts but as I got older I learnt I could help myself to feel better. We are the only ones who can make ourselves happy, it has to come from within us and our thoughts. As much as I love cake and shopping they really are only quick fixes!

So today I've opened The Secret: Daily teachings by Rhonda Byrne. 


The page that opened says:
"Today is the best day of your life."

Yes! Talk about appropriate. How uplifting is this? It totally gives you the power to choose how your day goes. I don't want to feel bad; I want to feel great! So it's up to me to change those thoughts and to look at situations in a different light.

Let's do this!

Gemma xx

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Friday, 23 October 2015

Autumn leaves are falling......

......and the days are getting shorter. Where is the time going? :-) 

We haven't blogged for a while as there has been such a lot happening. Mum has been busily holding the fort whilst I gave birth to our 3rd child mid - September! 


He is now 6 weeks old and life is slowly returning to 'normal' as we adjust to life as a family of 5!



It's been really lovely watching the other 2, who are 5 & 2, bond with him. Things can be somewhat chaotic with a trio of differing needs but I think we're managing pretty well so far; taking it day by day; not descending in to a mass panic, etc!

It's a really lovely time of year too isn't it? We celebrated our wedding anniversary recently which makes Autumn extra memorable. Plus the colours are just stunning at the moment. There's an air of change around and of course that impending excitement of Christmas not a million miles away!

I'm gradually easing my way back in to working, just in the evenings at the moment. Lots of sketching out ideas and the odd bit of making. Mum has been working on new designs and producing stock for Christmas. 


We've introduced a few of the designs for 2015 on our website and the full orderable range will be available from early November.

We'll also be holding 2 events on our Facebook page which will be the perfect opportunity to buy one-off, readymade items. The first event is Wednesday 4th November & the second is tbc.

Busy, exciting times all around :-) Check out all the action behind the scenes over on out Instagram page, plus pop over to our website to browse all our latest products :-)

Gemma xx

Monday, 7 September 2015

'Comparison is the thief of joy'

I was having a bit of a moment last night...you know...39 weeks pregnant...hormonal...our eldest starting back at school today! 😢 I've been fairly organised but by the time last night arrived the uniform wasn't ironed (no names in either!)...no bag packed...I realised we hadn't actually done the home learning over the holiday even though I did mean to! I started to overthink everything......'I've let him down'; 'His shoes don't fit properly'; 'I'm always so unorganised compared to other Mums'. I was really taking so much responsibility for everything and being way too hard on myself. And then after a couple of little pep - talks it occurred to me......
                        
Don't you think there is so much pressure on Mums (parents) to be 'perfect'? The world wants us to rush around...be organised...feed our children the best stuff...get them to behave in a certain way...whilst managing to keep on top of everything!  I'm not one for following the norm most of the time but sometimes my confidence in myself falters slightly! I love this phrase I found recently;

'Comparison is the thief of joy' 💛 (Theodore Roosevelt)

And isn't that so true?! So today lovely people, hold your head up high and congratulate yourself on doing your best! Focus on everything you do achieve, be yourself & have confidence in who you are 😊👏

Gemma xx

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Oh what to do at 2 am when you're wide awake!

This is my 3rd pregnancy and I'm nearing the end (39+2 to be precise!). I knew when we went to bed tonight that I didn't feel *that* tired but it was 'bedtime' & we are going out tomorrow and I knew I needed to rest. And yet here I am, laying wide awake (yet yawning!) feeling like this might be one of the longest nights ever! I feel so restless and headachy and heartburny......the body can be so clever yet feel so cruel at the time when I surely need my sleep the most!

Still I must focus on what is important......it won't be long now until we meet the new little person in our lives and whilst with this comes anxieties about what our other 2 will think and how they will cope, it's all very exciting too! And I really haven't faired bad overall this pregnancy for heartburn and some of those other yucky symptoms. I am lucky that I can mostly look back at all 3 pregnancies and remember them fondly (or with rose tinted specs on the tough days!).

So what to do now it is 2.05am? Well I've tried Facebook...I'm not a huge fan of social media on a personal level...it doesn't always make me feel very good and I often feel it's a bit of a waste of my time. Even in the middle of the night with nothing to do! Endless hours of nosing really! I do love Instagram but everyone is asleep...! At least all the UK accounts I follow. It's a friendly place is Instagram and so inspiring. I think I have discovered at least 5 new accounts to follow today and almost ordered several prints for the baby's room! (Hmm......shopping has to be high up on the pregnancy insomnia to - do list!)

So that just leaves blogging (doing it!!) & Pinterest. Ohhh...I had sort of forgotten Pinterest in my busyness of late! How could I?! It's a giant pinboard of fantasy wants, wishes and dreams! If I can't dream for real (in my insomniac state!) then I may as well satisfy my dreams elsewhere.

(I also love the fact that as I lay here typing this rather random little note, now and then after I write a word a smilie pops up in the predictive text! I must use a lot of them and therefore smile a lot [in my head at least!] which makes me smile again!)

Sweet dreams xx

Gemma

P.s. Please please please can I go back to sleep, I'm going to look like death tomorrow, I can tell!

P.p.s. Oh gosh I've just realised I had a load of chocolate before bed! I wonder if tonight it could be that?? Oh bum! It was yummy too!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

A rainy August day & a baby shower!

Yesterday was full of surprises! I wasn't expecting the rainy day for starters! I'm not sure why I was surprised when I opened the blinds as it's been so unsettled lately - a typical British Bank Holiday perhaps :-) To be honest it's the perfect fresh weather for pregnant ladies! I feel so thankful I have mostly escaped struggling in the heat! Although come on September, you can bring us an Indian Summer after the 11th ;-)

Rain or no rain I had a baby shower to go to!


My first ever as I didn't have one for my other 2 pregnancies. I was left well and truly stuffed from all the cake and other food! Below you'll see them playing guess the bump size! Most had gone way too big - thanks girls! :-D

 


For any of you that might not know I'm vegan (& so is Mum) so I was totally overwhelmed when one of my very dear and talented friends created this masterpiece for me! 


She already runs a small part - time business making cakes (I will make sure I share details with you as soon as her Facebook page is back up and running), but I now intend to badger her with lots of ideas and advice!

They also surprised me with a really unusual hamper from Flowbox


There are so many vegan treats in it! Things I've never heard of! I'm trying my best not to indulge yet......I'm pretty sure I'll be needing all of it after the birth! Mum actually spruced it up in her usual creative way finding the basket at our local antiques place. Even better - another basket to add to my collection! You can truly never have too many baskets in a home :-)

So here we are now...first day of September...10days to go...big eeeeek!


Gemma xx

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Business, children & nesting!

We're having a bit of a lazy Saturday before going to see some friends later. It's been a bit of a mad few weeks...... I'm now over 38 weeks pregnant and I think at last almost organised! Well, as prepared as you can ever be when you're about to welcome a new little person in to your family :-)

It can be quite a juggling act...managing a home...the children...running a small business...but I really do love and actually need the variety of it all. It mostly works (or I'm learning to make it work) by keeping things very organised and very simple! I love being at home to look after the children and am fortunate I've been able to start this business with Mum instead of having to go back to my job as a PA in London. But it's really important for my own well-being to have something for myself. It really has so many benefits for me and means everything doesn't revolve around the housework and children!

I mostly try not to work around the kids. It just doesn't really work......I find although they don't need me so much as they're getting older and playing by themselves lots (they are 5 & 2.5), they notice immediately if I'm not available! Sometimes I can do something quickly... today I was able to finish sewing a boat and took some product shots! Woohoo! :-D

It's just as well I could get a little bit done as we are busily preparing for another of our readymade events which is taking place tomorrow night. We love holding the events on our Facebook page and they're a great opportunity to test the waters with some new designs. Plus a chance for our customers to grab some discounted end of line creations too. If you fancy popping along you'll find all the details at facebook.com/theseashackdesigns.

Lots to look forward to this week after our event - starting with my baby shower on Monday! It's the last week of the holidays which means precious family time :-) And then I'll be awaiting delivery of the final baby purchase I've made - a Bednest (co-sleeping cot) which is coming on Friday! (I've hyperlinked it in case you want any more info.)

Exciting times!

Gemma xx

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Putting a price on our work


We love creating but the tricky part is placing a value on what we create.  (Yes I know we are not alone in this - we probably have most artists for company as well as anyone else who needs to set a price for their work or services!)

When you spend time doing what you love it's hard to justify charging for your time - we tend not to equate having fun with work! (Hmmm..... I can feel a whole other blog coming on - one of my passions is a belief that we can all choose to have a work life doing what we love!).   Most of us are happy to charge for the materials we use but how do you put a price on the creative process?    Realistically if we all charged for the hours we actually spend designing and creating - we'd price ourselves out of the market!  Setting prices has certainly led Gemma and I to many hours of discussions and angst!  There's a whole lot of other emotional stuff at stake here too.

The value we place on our work is intrinsically bound up with how we feel about ourselves   What do we feel we are worth?  What is the value we place on something we've spent time lovingly creating?  What does it say about us as as people? 

If our self worth is low we can be easily knocked off balance and left feeling vulnerable and uncertain - not the best state of mind when trying to put a value on your work. We may feel what we put out into the world isn't good enough (or as good as that created by our peers) and constantly strive to do better - which can lead to procrastination and perfectionism.  How can we possibly put an objective value on what we create when we are influenced these negative belief patterns?  Ironically, creative people often have a precarious sense of self worth.

Tricky isn't it?! Fellow artists and crafters will know exactly what I'm talking about.  We are indeed our toughest critics.

So here at Seashack we are aware of the role that emotions and thoughts about ourselves play and how they sometimes trip us up when we are trying to put a value on our work.  Our ethos is to look at the world with loving eyes - and that includes the way we look at ourselves as well.  So we do our best to focus on being kind to ourselves and valuing who we are, knowing that emotions come and go and eventually we will feel more balanced and be able to value our work more objectively.

Shirley xx


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Finding inspiration

Where do you find your inspiration? Or perhaps I could say how do you find it? An interesting question.... Sometimes it feels as though it has all but disappeared. You can see it manifesting all around you but for you it seems to be elusive.

I find inspiration strikes when I least expect it, when I'm not trying to find it. Instead I open to the possibility that there is an infinite and abundant supply of inspiration, that it's all around each and every one of us and all we have to do is relax and let go, holding the intention to allow inspiration to flow within you. Might sound a bit woo woo but that's the way it works. It's already there, you don't have to go looking for it. It's yours for the taking.

So how do I open up? I believe for everyone it's a case of spending time doing what you love to do, what you feel called to you, what your heart is guiding you to do. When you're taking action, inspiration will find you.

For example, sometimes I instinctively 'know' I need to get out of my home work space. I might go off to a quiet tea shop in the countryside and tap into the stream of writing and creative ideas inside me. Cup of green tea by my side, notebook and pens, laptop at hand - and just start doing whatever I feel called to do.

For me, it's almost always about immersing myself in nature. This, for me, is a place where I feel open, happy and energised. Right now I'm sitting in a deserted bird hide, the sound of a multitude of bird sounds filling the air, my heart wide open and tapping into that ever present source of inspiration. I could equally find a quiet spot on the beach or sitting under a tree with a beautiful vista in view. That's what makes my heart sing and enables me to be closer to that creative source. This is where my best creative ideas are born and birthed. Like magic.

Over to you. What do you do to feel inspired? Shirley x

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Life's little learning opportunities :-)

Today I realised 2 things:

1) It's much more challenging being pregnant during the school holidays than I thought it might be!

2) Children need just as much time to rest during the holidays as adults do!

Quite a lot of things have gone wrong today (actually, this whole week if I'm honest!).  I've crammed in too much......I'm really quite exhausted and I'm missing feeling my usual calm and relaxed self.  It's been hard to find that balance this week between providing the kids with things to do and giving them time to rest as well.  I had a notion that I'd fill our time together and make it 'fun' - off to a different place or meeting different people each day.

It has been lovely, but I've realised we've barely been at home......just relaxed or doing simple, fun things together.  I think I might have made a few wrong choices and most days we've had an extremely tired 4-year-old who is grumpy and sad by the end of the day :-(  You can just end up feeling so full of responsibility as a Mum!  I could blame myself all day for everything that happens here......but my intentions were well placed at least :-)

I could sit and list all the things that have been a disaster this week......and really to anyone else the things really aren't that bad but of course we are always so hard on ourselves!  It would end up quite a long, self-critical list!  But really, what would be the point in this?  Would it change anything or actually do any good whatsoever?  Overall the kids have had a nice time and, to be honest, I'm glad these hiccups have happened.  I'm glad for the chance to have a just-okay-ish week.  Because now I have something to learn from.  Something to do differently next time.  And isn't this a much better way to look at life's little challenges?  I like to call them 'learning opportunities' :-) And now I know that I should always keep extra baby-wipes and nappies on me when we're out......I should always have change......I should never cram in too much and neglect rest time and housey things.  And perhaps the swimming lessons each morning before meeting friends might have been a little much too!  Although 4-year-old has had a great time :-)  I am learning my limitations - and better now than during the long Summer hols!

(This post is actually rather ironic given my tips for self-care in our last blog!  Hmm......just off the re-read that one ;-)  Got to love a learning opportunity, right?)

Gemma xx


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Monday, 25 May 2015

My top tips for self-care ♥

Lately I've been thinking a lot about self care and how important it is to make yourself a priority sometimes.  I've got 2 young children and 1 on the way and I've always felt that when I'm happy and at my best they thrive even more.


 

We're all human and I certainly have my bad days but I know that when I look after myself, whether it's eating and drinking well or getting a bit of head space to do something I love, these bad days are few and far between.

So here's what I try to commit to:
  • First and foremost, I try to keep life as simple as possible. This often means doing less, seeing less people, having less and saying no more often!  It is the one central thing that I've realised has a knock-on effect and in turn benefits us all as a family!  I got to a point where we were out everyday...I was packing too many things in; avoiding being at home; finding it a rush to get from here to there.  I'd come home to try to make dinner...which would end up late...with children at my feet upset and tired.  Stressful for everyone!  The washing was always behind because I just wasn't at home enough to do it.  Now I slow things down and make time for things that will make my life easier - such as making dinner earlier or taking the time to involve the children in preparing dinner.  I'm far from being as organised as I could be with things like washing but I'm certainly a lot less stressed than I was :-) Try slowing down; cramming less in; being a little more realistic with how much time you have in one day.  
  • Making time to look after myself.  Oh this is so important!  We all know that we should look after ourselves so that we can look after others but oh so often we get forgotten in amongst busy lives, every day stresses and looking after other people.  I truly believe that when you are at optimum health or even optimum emotional health, others around you will benefit and your life becomes easier.  I am guilty of forgetting myself every single day.  Today I've not made time to drink enough water or take my vitamins or paint my toenails!  But notice I say haven't made time? This is totally my challenge......a prioritising fail! I always believe you can make time for yourself, it's just about priorities.  It's something I'm still working on but at least the intention is there!  Have a little think about your priorities today - where are you putting yourself amongst other things in your life?  Do you think that other areas would improve if you could work on your emotional or physical health first?
  • Being available for our children - whilst also having boundaries. I have a bit of a bugbear about listening and I hate the thought that my children aren't getting what they need from me.  Again it comes back to self-care and is a fine balance between their needs and your needs.  I find that quite often I can try so hard to be a responsive, positive parent that actually our lives start to suffer.  This is because I don't find it easy to say no to the children! Not in the sense of spoiling them with toys or chocolate but just general everyday requests.  I'm sure you're familiar with how it goes; 'I need a drink'; 'Can I have X and then Y and then Z but I need them all right now?'; 'Can you get me X and Y and I need a poo and then can we make something out of a cardboard box?' :-D  As our eldest has got older I've been able to say to him, 'Whoah......I can only do one thing at a time......and I might just need to finish this first but I'll come straight after.'  And at almost 5 he's actually really good at waiting and understanding that I can't do everything...he perhaps has to choose one and then wait for the others.  Mum and I have talked about this lately and she says it's important for them to see that I need time to myself too and actually, in the end they will learn to respect those boundaries and I don't think that can be bad role modelling, self-care ;-)  I don't always make the time to really sit and play but I try to and otherwise always be available.  I think sometimes as a parent, if you can attend to a need quite quickly, it will often buy you time after that to do what you want or need to do for you!  
  • Taking time to step away from social media. It's so easy to spend time procrastinating...avoiding other tasks...and social media is the perfect excuse. There is so much out there to be interested in and to learn but it's also such a distraction. Sometimes I think it does us (or me in particular) good to not have so many outside influences; things we read, things we see other people doing, opinions we might be vulnerable to. And instead really think about looking inside at what we think instead - using our instincts. When there are opinions everywhere it can be hard to be strong enough every day to see past this. 
  • And that leads me on to my last one which is recognising when something is making me uncomfortable. Now and then I start to have a pang of insecurity or a yearning for more material items or more 'success' or more of something else. I realise now that this is coming from me - rather than anything that other people are doing. At this point I need to take a little look at my own confidence levels and remind myself that everything is just perfect as it is - I'm experiencing what I need to and if there's something I want, then I need to put that intention out there and go grab it!  
So self-care really is so important.  Whatever you love to do, whether it's go for lovely walks, be in the outdoors, dance, sing, read, write......go make some time to fit it in.  There is always time for everything, it's just a matter of prioritisation and YOU are important too :-)

Gemma xx

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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Our latest event!

Tonight sees the first event we've held on our Facebook page this year. And we're in May!  



Time is just flying and we've both had so much on separately.  We want to try and make these events more regular in future; tonight is a bit of an experiment to see if this is popular with our likers :-)

As much as we try to be organised usually there is some last minute panic and I'm still photographing items until just hours before it begins! But not today. Today I'm sitting on the sun lounger in the garden! And it's about time too. I have felt so chilly lately like the weather would never pick up. This is such a lovely time of year :-) 

Tonight's event is a great chance to pick up a unique handmade gift or home accessory for yourself. Most of the items won't be reproduced although we're thinking of adding a few of them to our range. 

'Dream' original oil/acrylic painting on wood
9cm x 10cm
'Start your day with a grateful heart' freestanding wooden block
10cm x 15.5cm 
'Live lightly' rustic freestanding block
12cm x 10cm
If you're familiar with our work already then you might recognise a few old favourites in the mix tonight. Mum has been working away on some new mini huts and we only have 3 tonight but we may consider making some more.  They are incredibly time consuming and fiddly but fun to design and make!

I love the new flower prop - it's so bright and fun and was actually on its way to my Daughter's bedroom when I borrowed it for half an hour ;-)
You'll also find a few amazing pieces of art - this large one is by Mum and it really truly is just so beautiful in the flesh :-)  

And finally we've recently had some stock return from a shop in Devon that we supplied so we have just 1 set of the very first style bunting we ever made!  It's a vintage style and actually used vintage floral fabric for the appliqu√©.  The wording is 'Let's go to the beach, drink lemonade and eat ice cream'.  Ah, bliss......I wouldn't mind doing that today in this lovely sunshine :-)


I think there were only ever 3 sets of this made so it really is very unique!

I feel like we're going through a really positive time of change at the moment for The Seashack. 

'Aim high sky high'
12cm x 10cm freestanding wooden block
I think we have our style and our intentions really understood and we're on the verge of being able to sell through our own website at last! Events like the one on Facebook tonight are a fantastic way of reconnecting with our current customers and also promoting a really good selection of what we do to anyone new to our business. 

Either way I really feel the energy is buzzing at the moment and we're producing some designs that we're both so proud of :-) 

If you'd like to join us tonight you'll find our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/theseashackdesigns. For any other enquires please email us at theseashack@hotmail.co.uk or you'll find our shop at www.etsy.com/shop/theseashackdesigns 

Much love,

Gemma xx

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A little of what we've been up to :-)

We've been feeling really productive lately and have been working on all sorts of new ideas.  I'm so enjoying the lighter evenings and being able to get outdoors in warmer weather.  I love all seasons and try to see the beauty in each of them but there's something really lovely about Spring and everything it promises :-)  We are so lucky in the UK; we get to experience such vastly different weather - and temperatures!  And you have to love the way the good old British public flock to the beach or dig out the flip-flops the moment we get an inkling of warmth!  Even we couldn't help ourselves ;-)

Ok...it was a bit chilly...but lovely to feet the sand between our toes :-)
Little feet at the beach :-)
Our priority recently has been trying to find a supplier to get some of our paintings produced as prints.  This has not been an easy task and has taken so much longer than we were expecting!  We've had many, many samples on all sorts of paper, from various printers.  We even tried printing our own but we weren't 100% happy and we can't send anything out we wouldn't love for ourselves :-)

But then these arrived:

Our first glimpse of the prints on unwrapping them!
And we were so pleased!  We chose to have the paintings replicated using gicle√© printing, which is a really high quality method on thick artist paper. The feedback we've had so far from customers has been wonderful and in particular the comments have mentioned the detail and how close to the original it looks.


This is one of Mum's creations and just look at the detail!  You can see every piece of fabric, just lovely :-)


I can't wait to get cracking on some more mixed media pieces that we can add to our collection :-)

We've also been working hard on blocks.  We've been making the blocks for a while now - we sourced a very particular type of wood that we felt fitted perfectly with our rustic style.  We cut every piece ourselves before sanding and then starting each design.  Sometimes we have some words in mind and the design just comes to us or sometimes things are half started until we know what we want to do.  I loved working on this one which is currently available to order in our Etsy shop.


I had in mind a child's bedroom.....I love the phrase for children......encouraging them to open their minds; expand their horizons; dream a little :-)  


The blocks are always fun to photograph and we like to try to capture as many different angles as possible to give a sense of the character of the wood and the depth of each piece.  


We found a gorgeous new light blue floral fabric which we've not yet found time to do much with but I did manage to use it for the sea here.  And we do love our bunting :-)  It's just so much fun and why not put it on a boat too?!


Here's a few other recent blocks which you'll also find available to purchase in our shop:



So much inspiration all around us at the moment.  I'm wanting to do everything and having to remember that every small step is an achievement......there's no rush......and time for everything :-)

Gemma xx

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Finding balance ♡

Wow I am so happy to welcome Spring! It's such a lovely, prospective time of year with so much loveliness happening around us, especially in nature. I'm so enjoying the slightly warmer weather and being able to put those gloves and hat away :-)
It's been such a funny 2015 so far...the start brought so many dreams and aspirations and of course, as such is life, they've not quite played out exactly as they were supposed to ;-)
If you follow The Seashack on Facebook you'll know we've been very infrequent in our posting and just generally quieter than usual. This is partly down to me being 15+ weeks pregnant with our 3rd child! Whilst I'm feeling fine now I'm definitely feeling the pinch of having 2 other children, a house to manage, school runs, trying to fit in creativity which is hugely important to me......it's a case of generally finding BALANCE... :-) Which brought me to writing this!
It can be really frustrating at times......so many ideas for the business and creativity is really very healthy for my wellbeing. I love being at home to look after the children and manage our everyday needs but when my focus becomes solely on these things I start to slowly feel a little down. A creative outlet solves this for me and my only issue there is making time! It's something I'm hoping to work on in the next few weeks so we can develop the ideas we have and take baby steps forward.
I've also been working this year, in my tired, nauseous state, to generally simplify our lives. It's meant doing a lot less, no dashing here and there...no over-promising what I can deliver and no taking on too much. It takes practice! At times I feel a bit lonely spending so much time at home with my 2yr old, between school runs, but it seems to be the only way I can keep on top of the little things that otherwise seem to make me feel stressed; the washing (I mean actually managing to hang it up - she says, with yesterday's load still in the machine!)...the dishwasher...general housework/making the beds. But I do intend to try to balance this a bit more and get us out, especially with the weather changing. Although we seem to have a girl at the moment who won't even go in the garden, quite content within these 4 walls it seems :-)
It's been nice to write this down and spend half an hour doing something creatively productive while the kids play. I can feel already I've done too much today...too much on my feet...not enough resting...I'll learn to look after me soon hopefully...!
Gemma xx
P.s. I found the lovely words and photo on Pinterest from The Maven Circle

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The chaos that is creativity!

Creativity is a funny thing because sometimes it's all there and you're having a wail of a time and sometimes you feel like you've nothing. Kind of the whole 'artist's block' thing. And the problem with having a creative mind (or at least my creative mind!) is that it's hard to quieten. But without that quiet space creativity doesn't flow so well. You know, just how it likes to hit you just as you're trying to drop off to sleep!

Lately there's a lot of self doubt, self criticism and comparison going on in my usually fairly confident head. My mind is not nice to me sometimes! I've been feeling a lot like this. Like I could be more organised and I could improve on this and that. And yes, it would massively help if I was more organised, let's be honest! But what isn't really helpful is the self-attacking because all it does is drag me down, not change anything. And it's funny how quickly you go off track and before you know it you're way from the path you were on before!

I've been thinking a lot about this self criticism and I've realised I've spent so much time in the past unconsciously worrying what I create isn't as good as others. But actually it seems that how other people see you is very different to how you see yourself! I want to see myself a bit more like this I think :-)

I love having a creative, crazy, jam-packed head but I just need to learn to channel it to be most productive. To trust & hone in on that instinctive vibe that tells me it feels right; It's ok to be different; things are unfolding perfectly, just as they're supposed to; everything is going to be okay. And most importantly, I am perfect as I am :-) Oh, and it's ok if during your beach painting you suddenly decide you'd rather paint trees and possibly a washing line and bunting instead! Instinct said so ;-)

There's lots and lots to learn along the way - pretty exciting, huh?

Gemma xx

Monday, 9 February 2015

Choosing gratitude ♡

'Gratitude'

Defined by Oxford Dictionaries as 'The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness'.

It was a few years ago now that I realised that the best way to pull myself out of a dark place was to practice gratitude; to spend time noticing all the positives in my life, however few there seemed. As many as I could possibly list. Until the good thoughts overcame the less-good ones. And at that point I had succeeded because my energy would always shift and I'd feel happy again :-)

So last night I felt a bit like this. I've been so tired lately and not eating as well as I could (which hugely links to mood drops for me). But I couldn't shift this grey cloud...a general feeling of bleugh. I feel very fortunate that these days I seem to have quite a good balance to my life and there are very few dark days or even dark moments. I do believe over time your mind becomes accustomed to new ways of thinking and I think perhaps there are lots of factors why I'm on the whole mostly a happy go lucky sort of person.

So when I began to feel rather lacklustre I knew I needed to help myself to get out of this moment. Especially as I have an old and ingrained habit of wanting to wallow and not help myself! Kind of self-destruct mode where I definitely in that mood don't want to feel better for some bizarre reason.

So I took the initiative. I forced myself to do the only thing I know how to do (which of course in my negative state I was convinced wouldn't work!). And sometimes you really do have to talk yourself in to these things! I began to list things I was grateful for in that moment. I looked around me for every little thing until I filled up that paper. I find the more you can list, the more powerful and fast the result. It's yet to fail me and this is why at The Seashack Mum and I are so passionate about gratitude and why it can help so many of us every day. My energy changed and the real me was back!

I challenge you to try this when you're in that low place - to look for the most littlest things to be grateful for. To choose to shift your focus and energy on to better things. For it's the littlest things that can change the world <3

Gemma xx