Wednesday, June 30

the studio cometh

i can't explain how excitied, or impatient, i am to be so close to having my studio. the room is the very last to get decorated. in fact, not just last in the rooms list but in the'general things we have to get done around the house' list.

but i can't keep working at the dinner table. once i started with larger canvases, and with the variety of materials i'm working with, well it's become crazy.

you can see i started to take over the kitchen work surface. at least 6 jars of brushes and pencils on the window sill. and you can't see the boxes and piles on the floor either!

the room has been used as Husband's workshop... here are a couple of before pics...

so the excruciatingly slow (or so it feels) process of getting it done out has begun. husband has cleared everything out, repaired the leak damaged walls, staining of the floor followed, now varnishing, the door is in. he's doing it all between working. which is a good thing of course, that he found some work.

and of course, my 2 million books will keep me company in there. although, i've enjoyed letting many of them set up nests around the house.

soon, so soon!

and that large canvas up there completely changed and became this...

Gathering the Winds
acrylic & ink on canvas

Saturday, June 26

through the keyhole #6 - front door

real people, real homes

we don't care how 'unpolished' it is, we're just nosy!

our front door was made locally. a really simple rustic design that matches the stone house. it's stained in a lovely natural green, but the weather has made it brownish. i chose the colour partly from feng shui recommendations. it faces south. we hope to get a black wrought-iron knocker at some point. stone from our land make up the steps.

although it's right at the front of the property and therefore the quickest access into the house, we often find ourselves coming in through the side doors instead. i think it's because they lead into the heart of the home.

i took this pic at 6:30am. i don't normally view our door in the shade. most of the day it's in bright glaring sunlight.

those plant pots were simply thrust there by husband. one has a pepper plant, the other is empty. and there's debris on the side... now that's not good feng shui, better move it.... sooooo many jobs.....

i was just thinking how glad i am that i'm doing this series. in years to come it'll be great to look back and view intimate peeks of our home. i tend to photograph general views.

so, what leads you into your home?

link below to your direct post. you have till tuesday morn. make sure to comment or i'll miss it. and do visit each other.

next week: a window sill   and what sits there (or stuff next to a window if you have no sill)

Wednesday, June 23

the gift of tantrums

i've been wanting to write about tantrums for the longest time, but now is the perfect time.

the wildflower had some sort of illness that produced a mild to moderate fever. her only other symptom was a slightly blocked nose when breathing deeply, whilst she slept. during her 3/4-day fever, she was lethargic. on the night her fever broke, she woke every 30 minutes because she couldn't breathe with her blocked nose. and she was angry each time. i sensed a deeper anger within her.

that day, she was whiney and irritable, alternating with periods of happiness. she had a tantrum later that evening. the following day, she had 5 tantrums. on the third day she had 1, and it was short-lived.

i refer to these as tantrums for convenience. but i tend to call them rages. because she is so furious and it is a rage. also, the term tantrum has very misunderstood connotations attached to it. for older children, the term i've heard is meltdown.

the average person thinks of tantrums as the result of a spoilt child. at the more compassionate end of the scale, we think of tantrums as the result of a tired or ill child. yet generally there is a belief that we ought to prevent and stop tantrums.

to me, tantrums are the natural extension of crying in newborns. that is, they are an innate mechanism of stress release.

we all get stressed, and we all need to release that stress.

stress can come from undesirable or desirable places. a surprise party, a first date, making a speech, receiving an award, getting married, can all cause a lot of stress despite them being otherwise enjoyable to us.

if we don't release stress consciously and effectively, it will disperse one way or another.

we get ill, have tight shoulders, aching back, athritis, headaches, insomnia, stomach ulcers, heartburn, and more. we are irritable, short-tempered, irrational, impulsive, short-sighted, paranoid, weepy, nervous, afraid, and more.

our minds and bodies do fine on short bursts of stress that is released. like adrenaline inducing sports.

prolonged stress and unreleased stress is a detriment to our minds, bodies, and spirits.

more so with children. children are particularly sensitive and are constantly bombarded by new experiences and new information from their environment. older children, toddlers, are attempting to define an identity and work out bounderies.

every child is different of course. some have more of a temper, or are especially sensitive, and thereby might cry or tantrum more readily. but likewise, some children are more prone to please, and might be less likely to show strong emotions, especially if they quickly learn those emotions are not approved.

so, children are basically, regularly stressed.

we can release stress in many ways - vigorous activity (exercise, sex, hard physical work), relaxation experiences (massage, walks in nature, meditation), or through pure emotional/physical outlets (screaming, crying, intense laughing).

out of all of these, crying is one that is very special. because the act of crying has, in my view, four things going for it.
  1. it is emotionally satisfying - we understand the act to be a psychological release.
  2. it is physically demanding. (therefore like vigorous activity)
  3. it's free and readily accessible.
  4. it releases stress hormones through the tears.
isn't that fourth one amazing?

for newborns, this ability to release stress hormones through crying is unbeatable. there is literally nothing else they can do. older babies begin to be capable of using their bodies more. toddlers can add screaming, shouting specific words, using their entire body, affecting their environment (by hitting, throwing objects, breaking things).

as we get older, we're taught to control our bodies and our emotions. and that's how we get socially acceptable adults with stomach ulcers.

to gain yourself a well-behaved toddler, repress these natural urges even earlier.

the repression of children's voices has been going on for decades. so we can't be too angry with ourselves for following the ways of our parents, and most of society.

if you find that you're the parent that is proud of your child for being well-behaved (not complaining, not whining, not crying, not tantruming) during a flight, long car ride, social event, at a restaurant..... rather than simply being grateful that the child was content, then you might be repressing their natural methods at stress release. you might be repressing their emotional voice for the sake of convenience, peace, or social acceptance.

i was a perfectly behaved young child. when we went out as a family, if i was told to sit, i sat. quietly. outward appearances were very important to my mother. she was not going to have the child that misbehaved.

when i started school, i was a total pain in the butt to my teachers. not because i was a 'bad' kid, but because i discovered i had a voice, and i wasn't going to be stopped here, away from my parents.

when we were cared for by others when both my parents had to work, it took my brother getting hurt for me to speak up. despite being forced to sit and be quiet for hours by one carer, it hadn't occured to me that i ought to complain.

by the time puberty hit, i was ripe for rebellion.

in my first romantic relationships, i didn't know how to express unhappiness.

okay, there were plenty of other problems i had with my parents. but repressing my voice went a long way to instill resentment in me and cause issues with self-expression.

a tantrum is the eruption of pent up frustrations. sometimes frustrations are small, and the child may show no indication that he or she is frustrated at all at that moment. but every 'no', every thwarted attempt at self-assertion, every time a toy won't cooperate, tiredness, bumps, the wrong food, having to wait, boredom, being forced to do anything.... all these little frustrations and stresses add up. and we can include in there all the good stuff too - fun trips out, parties, a new toy, a new person visiting, a playdate.

suddenly you put socks on their feet and they lose the plot. it's the worse thing you could have done. it's horrendous. they're furious. they tense their bodies, kick, hit, scream, cry, throw something. your 'sweet' child that has been so happy all day, is suddenly a crazed banshee.

it's a common baffled complaint from parents - but we had such a lovely morning, then he just lost it.

we can repress our children's voices in many ways. by stern looks, by requesting their 'nice' voice but never validating their emotions, by telling them to be quiet, by not ever showing emotions ourselves, by disapproving of crying or tantrums. too many tantrum guides focus on teaching the child control.

i used to have a terrible attitude towards tantrums. i viewed them as the result of a badly behaved child. i forgive myself such ignorance and lack of compassion, and am thankful i have learnt otherwise.

it was learning that crying was so essential, that led me to view tantrums as the natural extension.

when she tantrumed the other day, i was grateful that she could release the stress of her illness. i sat beside her, ocassionally looking lovingly into her eyes but otherwise not stimulating her more. moving my body enough to get out of the way of kicks or hits. when my intuition told me that she was ready for contact i extended my hand into hers. she continued screaming or crying as she held my hand. when she was done, she crawled up into my arms and we lay together quietly.

she released, she was validated, she was accepted and loved with all her emotions.

and for the parent, viewing tantrums as necessary and fulfilling a purpose means we feel much less stress ourselves. and we open up the channels of love.

and don't get the impression that i'm a perfect mama. during her 5-tantrum day, while she was whining for the upteenth time, i shouted at her, that she was driving me crazy. i'm human.

on that third day, the one tantrum she had was less furious. and on the fourth day she was back to her normal self - willful, demanding, full of energy, huge smiles and giggles, lots of hugging and kissing.

before this the wildflower hadn't tantrumed in a long time. i believe that's because i allow her her voice. she's allowed to be angry and express that anger.

your child could be 'well-behaved' and build up emotional and psychological issues, or they can shout, cry, or tantrum in your loving presence as they need to.

tantrums are a gift, really.

check out Solter's books: The Aware Baby, ( and Tears and Tantrums (I haven't read this one) (amazon uk).

Saturday, June 19

fever broken

if you have a velcro-child, who is highly demanding and energetic, and who doesn't sleep well at the best of times (waking every 2hrs at the age of 2), and then this child becomes ill... you'll have an idea of the exhaustion i feel this morning.

after three days in bed with her, her mild fever broke last night. she's still not well, with something, but otherwise so much better.

i'm a wreck. i have nothing much left to give.

i had 20 minutes this morning while she still slept. i chose to do a little art, and that filled me some. but through the keyhole is postponed till next weekend, 'kay?

have a weekend full of love and fun.

Tuesday, June 15

housey things + dog + waste

so some guys came and earthed our mains connection, telling us that it should have been done earlier. i have a sense of lessened anxiety about this so i trust that our situation is sorted out.

unfortunately we had to pay for the water pump's electrical component that had blown up. we still don't know about the underfloor heating upstairs. overall, in replacements and blown up equipment (microwave, toaster, chargers) and labour it's cost us about 500euros.

i have issues with money, with asking for abundance.... one day soon i'll talk to you guys about it. because it's something that i feel needs to be worked through now.

on the bright side, Husband has been taking it all very well. he is the pessimist so my concern is always the situation and his reaction. but perhaps we're in such a bad state right now that even he has to shrug and carry on. chuckle

we've had builders here all week. nice bunch of lads - although wait for the bottom of this post for a cry - they've created a path and patio around the house. all from the stone on our land.

side/back door in background

today they're shuttering for stairs. they're not on our property, but as our land is higher up, we need to climb a little steep bit to get to it. so the stairs will be wonderful to have. we've been using a makeshift wooden ramp since we moved in.

you might have noticed a dog in the corner of some recent photos. well that's Missus (as in Mrs). she's a stray who has adopted us. i didn't really take to her. i fed her as i do every stray that comes into my life. but you know how some animals you have a soft spot for, and others you don't? she's a very dominant female. and dogs who aren't submissive are a bit of a concern, especially around a small child. she seems very undomesticated, almost taking my hand off when i offered her some food. my guess is that she was kept chained up and was simply a guard dog (happens a lot around here).

she hurt her paw very badly and we called the local shelter to take her. they have a vet there and would de-flea her, etc. and how do we afford to feed such a large dog anyways?

but 2 weeks on and no one has come for her. she isn't aggressive and has even become affectionate towards me. and her skinniness breaks my heart. she's grown on me. Husband has taken to her as well.

waiting for me to throw a stone for her

so we've decided to keep her. or, to allow her to keep us. Husband is buying some antiflea/tick/lice stuff from the vets. and spirits almighty she needs a bath. no idea how to attempt that, other than get a muzzle and leash. but i think she'll make an amazing watch dog once we have a closed perimeter around the property.

after losing both our little boys (Jack Russells) i didn't want to know about another pet. i can never say no to a stray though and have looked after several dogs and cats already.

the good thing about Missus is that she is woods wise, and we can let her out when we go out. and if we travel far and long, she's fine roaming around the village and the neighbour will feed her.

our last pets tied us down because we spoilt them. and one hated all other animals. Missus gets on with the local dogs (i swear they have a midnight posse going on) and in a tiny end-of-road village road safety isn't an issue. so an animal that is a fellow wild nomad fits us well.

as i was writing this post, with a view out my window, i caught one of the builders throwing out my beautifully tended compost. i had recently given it a good turn and added lots of lovely egg shells and veg. he thought it was rubbish - well... yes! and wanted to use the water butt. even worse, he didn't dump it on ground, but on building rubble. so completely wasted. i could cry!

other than that, doing art, more art, and more art.... reading proust still.

Saturday, June 12

through the keyhole #5 - coffee table

real people, real homes

we don't care how 'unpolished' it is, we're just nosy!

our coffee table was made in India and has travelled with us from our very first home in England, through various homes there, and now all the way to Montenegro.

our style has always remained rustic and ethinic. although a couple of homes were decorated differently because we planned to sell them on. but now it sits comfortably in a home decorated just for us.

do coffee tables become the property of toddlers in every home? it's just their perfect height isn't it? it now sports some little girl scratches and marks. ours usually has books i'm perusing (one is on feng shui) and the wildflower's toys - drawing board mostly, and there's her chalkboard underneath. last night's coffee mug too, sitting on each peach, pear plum.

where do you rest your stuff?

link below to your direct post. you have till tuesday. and do visit each other.

next week: front door (thanks to LisaC)

Thursday, June 10

shocking house

i cannot begin to tell you the ordeal we've had with our electrics. completely dull to recount but anything but dull to live through.

for those who don't know, we've built our house from scratch. this means the electricity had to be connected to the mains. we had a decent guy, who trained in Germany, to fit everything. that's a big deal because here there's no such thing as regulations for tradespeople - anyone can fit your electrics or plumbing, and many do it themselves. on the plus side, no paperwork and cheap labour. on the minus... well, that's obvious. so we were chuffed to know of this guy who had some actual training.

yet we've had problem after problem. a couple of weeks back after a storm, the electrics cut off at the switchboard, and when Husband flicked it all back on, the entire house buzzed! a lightbulb sizzled and rained down sparks where the Wildlfower was standing. scared the crap out of me. a girly yelp may have escaped my lips. and later Husband almost electrocuted himself testing a socket.

long story short, we had thought that we'd found the cause of the problem. the way it is here it's who you know, our builder introduced Husband to local Electrics Big Shot, and it turns out that the problem is serious and not in the least sorted out.

so he told us to turn off anything unnecessary, and he'll be here tomorrow. of course, time here runs differently to where you are. so tomorrow is a flexible concept.

in the mean time, we're waiting on a pump guy because our water pump blew up with a power surge, and looks like the underfloor heating in the bathroom did as well. costly? likely, but we're crossing everything that the pump is under warranty. we're just about broke, so the word replacements, and the phrase, have to take up the tiles, don't fill us with joy.

you're crossing stuff for us, right?

Tuesday, June 8

a load of rubbish - composting for dummies

i know, why the heck am i dumping this post on you? i know, bit of a yawner. but it's one of those things that when you actually get around to doing it, it's surprisingly satisfying.

composting is something i've wanted to do for the longest time. i had a bit of a block about it. so much info online and yet i couldn't locate a dummies version - put this in then put that in.

with the help of some good folk online, i took the plunge. my main objective is to reduce waste. mostly kitchen waste and paper. so that's what i started with, as well as cardboard.

so on the chance there is one other person out there looking for a composting for dummies, here is mine.

a simple water butt
a large lid makes it easy to get things in and out, and to aerate with occassional turnings
a hole on the bottom lets any liquids out and worms in (worms are good)

a little soil on the bottom to help it all along

shredded paper (by hand, have no shredder)

kitchen waste, 
the smalller the pieces the quicker it'll break down, but i'm lazy, so, whatever.
dog supervisor optional

a little more soil

ratio: more paper, cardboard, and woody stemmed plants, than kitchen waste.
add a little water, or pee, yes, pee, to keep it ever so slightly moist.

we have too many seedy weeds in our garden waste to add that, so i'm hand collecting old nettles, leaving them to brown and then adding that.
i also need to drill some holes on the top to let in air.

there, easy... no excuses not to have one.

Saturday, June 5

through the keyhole #4 - shower/bath

real people, real homes

okay, ya see that byline up there? so many readers have said they would join in if they had a nicer whatever. it's not about showing off nice stuff, it's about opening up our homes to our bloggy friends.

sooo, this week... where we bathe.

showers don't photograph very well.... Lisa C will likely prove me wrong... chuckle... but here's ours.

i am totally anti-sliding-doors. detest them. you just cannot get right in there to tackle mould. we had to search hard to get a swinging door over here. it took months of waiting. we finally found one and in our price range. the tiles have a look of cream-coloured stone, well, they are stone technically. a larger shower head would be nice, but it's fine.

the bath is basically tiny and there for the Wildflower. neither Husband or i take baths. the amount of water seems so wasteful, especially for us with a limited supply now. and i get bored of continually adding hot water. friends who are into their baths were horrified at the size.

i don't like the look of the bath at all, but it was in our price range. i do like the taps (faucets). we still need to finish the paneling around it.

so where do you bathe?

add your direct post link below. you've got till tuesday. and visit each other!

next week: coffee table

Thursday, June 3

the value of what we do

We're so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, 
the rapture that is associated with being alive, 
is what it's all about.
Joseph Campbell

i seem to be bumping into several blogs talking about the value of a creative life. about the anxiety, embarassment, even out right fear, of owning labels such as writer, artist, photographer..... surely someone will catch me as a fraud...

it seems safer to say, i like to write, i write a few poems, i take photographs, i paint.....

because somehow we've equated these labels as Jobs, and jobs are about producing something where other people benefit.
those words aren't job titles, they're labels for something a person does.

we believe that we need to be legitimised by a sale perhaps, or will a review in a respected magazine do?
we look for external validation. as women, we do that so much already.

we've lost respect for the softness of process. and in losing that, i believe that we've lost respect for the feminine. giving it up for the, supposedly, superiority of masculine achievement. hard results.

i've been shocked when anyone has referred to me as an artist. the first time it happened it came from a reader at my other blog. from someone who didn't know any better - having no idea that this was all new for me, that i was re-learning creativity, the right to creativity. they said it with surety, a statement that suggested obviously you're an artist.

what a shock to be shown a mirror so early in the morning!

and what value does creativity have anyway? how can i write when the partner works to pay the bills?

we forget it's all a choice, for everyone.

i'm still wobbly in my artistic shoes. it feels fragile. impossibly high stilettos.
but i say it now... because almost every day i paint or make art in some way..... i dream of colours and forms and brush marks.... i daydream of composition and subjects.

i do art... i think art... therefore i am an artist.

and... there is value in being the most raw me.

see Mon, you said it, and you didn't fall.

p.s, amy is doing a lovely giveaway at cypress sun.

Tuesday, June 1

may in review

Your reader's may have missed out on some content this month, you have new or occassional readers, or you didn't post much. Consider a Month in Review post. I know I can't keep up with all the wonderful blogs out there. Just copy & paste the headings below and add your responses.
Here's a tip, set a post up in draft form and add to it throughout the month.

A thought...
inner peace comes from eliminating and inviting in with discernment. people, things, thoughts...

A sound...
strimmer - we share a village strimmer and everyone is taking turns cutting back the wildness. our garden looks reasonably habitable now.

A taste...
chorizo en vino, one of my faves to make

An image...

first time on the beach for this season

A scent...
getting incense into all the crevices of the house

A word...
home - creating a home, organising, sorting, putting up shelves, adding only what we love...

numbers - the Wildflower visually recognises the numbers from 1-8.... ummm, i discovered this by accident (we've never taught her)

A touch...
brusied coccyx - don't ask, 'cause i'm not sure what i did, but haven't sat on my butt for 4 days.

A gift for me...
putting energy into real friends

A post you may have missed...
unlearnt hitting in pre-toddlers, with interesting comments too.

Did you do a review? Let me know. a link back would be nice.

Pixie Mama
A Green Spell
My World Edenwild
Mommy Mystic