Saturday, 9 September 2017

Experimenting with Hand Dyed & Hand Spun Wool

At Quiet Space Studio, I have been experimenting this week with handspun, naturally dyed wool. 

My friend Caroline Lane from Hembra Crafting kindly gave me a drop spinning lesson and left me with some examples of her hand dyed wool. 


The pictures above and below of my Circle of Friendship Bracelets are hand spun on drop spindle and then woven. The wool has been dyed with Advocado Skins. Interesting dusky colour & not the green you might expect.

I have woven the Circle of Friendship Bracelet below  with 2 pieces of wool, one is dyed by Caroline with banana fibres, the other with indigo and gors, which are little yellow flowers from the hillside in New Quay.

I have also been experimenting this week with the original 1970's Retro wool that Caroline also kindly gifted me. This Circle of Friendship Bracelet is made with retro acorn beads. 

And this Circle of Friendship Bracelet, I have woven with merino silk wool that was kindly handspun as a gift from my dear friend Susan Berry on her spinning wheel. I have started experimenting with making my own charms for my bracelets, like this little wooden love heart.

I infused all the wool with essential oils by hand whilst weaving using Neal's Yard. I love Neal's Yard because it is a UK based company that doesn't test on animals, is pure and organic. 

All the oils are 100% pure and are literally, nature in a bottle. I LOVE them. Click the photo to have a browse of all the lovely oils. 

All my Circle of Friendship Bracelets are available at Quiet Space Studio or my new Facebook Shop. Here's a link if you'd like to pop over and have a gander.

Or you can read all about my 
Quiet Space Studio here ... 

Stepping into My Power & The Laws of Attraction

As you may have read in my earlier blogs, to create a nurturing work environment for my hearing conditions, I have taken an old shop in the small rural town of Llandysul near my weaver's cottage in West Wales and am in the process of converting it into my studio. 

I've been there 2 months now. When I took the shop I didn't really know what I would be doing there, I just knew that I had to find a new way of working that nurtured my hearing needs. I have let the space and the community within which I am based and off course, the Universe in her infinite wisdom, inform me as to how Quiet Space will 'be'. 

By doing this I have found myself getting up to all sorts of capers that I might never have thought of had I worked in my usual way, before my hearing loss, which was to have a great BIG plan.

Having no plan, other than to create a nurturing environment, has worked a treat as 2 months on I feel ready to step into my power. In short, I now know the seed of what I am and what Quiet Space is, and am ready to grow it like a beautiful rambling rose, that twists and turns as time ticks by.

By creating a nurturing environment for myself that is easily accessible and on the main street, by offering the things that are nurturing me, I am attracting the people that would like the same nuturing &/or advice and guidance with regard to Holisitic Arts, that is the combination of Creativity and it's therapeutic benefits with the Holisitic Therapies, such as Essential oils, Reiki, Guided Meditation and Mantra.

Through this process, I have learnt two of the most valuable lessons of my entire life: the first is a lesson in trust. I think perhaps I previously made big plans in an attempt to have some sort of perceived control over my life but waking up without my hearing, replaced by constant tinnitus and hyperacusis has really shown me that I can plan all I like, but control is a figment of the human imagination.

I have spent the last 10 months focusing totally on creating a nurturing and healing environment that made me feel as though life was a joyous place to be, rather than a prison. And now, I can step into my full power and offer these learnings to others through my Holistic Arts Consultancy at Quiet Space Studio because people who want this, are walking through my door. 

And here in lie the 2nd lesson: Attraction. Simply by being, I am attracting folk who also want, need, wish to 'be' in the same way as me. I hope that makes sense. I didn't really understand the laws of attraction before, but I can see it clearly now. I haven't even got a sign above my door and yet folk are attracted to come and talk to me about alternative ways to live with their health needs because they can see through the shop window, that's what I am doing.

Here is another small example of Attraction. I put a unit in my Studio window with small boxes to rent out to other crafters and artists on a peppercorn rent to help with my bills. I didn't advertise it. The empty boxes themselves attracted people who came and asked me if they could have a box. Now, the old me, would have made a poster and put a whole advertising campaign together to attract folk to rent the boxes but the empty boxes themselves did all the work. That's a real insight, isn't it. It's made me think about where else in my life I put things in place that do not need to be there.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have designed a new poster today that I have shared at the top of this post. I feel it represents me fully stepping into being an Holisitic Arts Consultant at Quiet Space Studio. In my next post I will tell you all about the painting I have used in the poster. I'm not much of a painter, but this angel came to me in a very special way indeed ...

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Emergency Community Care for Older People: A Personal Story that might help you, too.

Today, we are all exhausted after what has been the most amazing whirlwind of support from the Social Care & Health Services. 

I am writing this post as it may help you put into place the loving support that the Elders of your family deserve if you, like us, live a long way from them. At the very least, even if you have no older people in your family, perhaps this post will fill you with a glow, knowing that you live in a country with an amazing safety net of care for those that have loved and looked after us all our lives: -

Our Dad is unwell. He has been for most of this year. The Doctors can not work out what is wrong with him. We have been back and for to the hospital many times. Meanwhile, he losing weight, is unable to breathe, or eat or talk properly or walk steady. Things came to head this week.

We made an emergency dash to stay with him. The Senior Partner at the GP Surgery called out and galvanised a remarkable team who have showered care upon us. I am so glad we were able to be there because I'm not sure Dad would have coped with it on his own, but by putting in place this incredible care program, we now feel that he is safe and being looked after in his own home.

Here's who called to Dad's. This gives you an idea of the help that is available once you contact the Health & Social Care team :-

9.30 am The District Nurse came to give Dad an enema

10.30 am The Sister of the Community Team called for an extensive 3 hour assessment of care to devise a package around his needs. 

She measured him for a zimmer frame which she she had in her car and adjusted it to fit his height, there and then. Straight away he was more able to get about.

2.00 pm A District Nurse called to take blood.

2.30 pm 2 members of the tele team called to fit a temporary key safe for the carers to let themselves in and out and have arranged for a permanent one to come later in the week along with a key fob that links Dad directly into the emergency services.

3.00 pm a District Nurse called to take samples, leaving a 24 hour helpline telephone number of the call out team.

3.30 pm The Community Sister re-called to drop off a commode and a pressure sore pillow. She gave us an update about his bloods.

4.00 pm The Senior Practitioner phoned and wrote a follow on prescription for antibiotics which we picked up so he had tablets over the weekend.

4.30 pm  A District Nurse called to see how the enema had worked. It hadn't so she booked him in for an evening visit and another try, also leaving a box of laxative drink sachets.

5.00 pm the Cleaner called in to see how he was doing and schedule.

6.00 pm A carer came to introduce herself before tomorrow's visits started & explain what would happen.

7.00 pm The District nurse returned to give an enema and a 2nd nurse with her to take extensive notes.

The long and the short of it is that our lovely Dad has 2 carers going in morning and evening over the weekend, the Community Sister is going back Monday to re-do his bloods and look at his ongoing care package. He has emergency numbers to the District Team. All of these people have our telephone number and will call immediately if there is any change.

We phoned Dad this morning and he told us about his visit from the carers. They had helped him wash, emptied the commode, made his breakfast and even made him a spot of lunch to put in the fridge and will be back to do the same at teatime.

We are sharing this with you because we had no idea that this level of support was even available. We have been beside ourselves with worry because we live so far away but now in our hearts, even though we can't be there all the time, at least we know that Dad is being cared for.

I hope you find the support you need in your family to take care of your loved ones, too.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Eyes to the Soul of a Welsh Woollen History

This is the 3rd blog about my trip to the National Wool Museum of Wales, last week. I was totally inspired by it in so many ways. I want to show you these wonderful window panes from the old part of the mill, upstairs. They are completely shot through but there is something about them that really touches me. 

If we take that windows are the eyes to the soul of a building, what do these windows tell us about the soul of the mill and those that worked within her in during times gone by?

Interestingly in this window above, someone has replaced a broken pane with clear glass and we see the welsh green grass calling. Perhaps this is why the old mill glass is textured, to stop workers from gazing at grazing sheep? It really made me think about the Industrial Revolution, how it focused on speed and standardisation almost stripping the human joy from it.

To my mind, these fractured panes are pieces of art in their own right. Stressed and broken but still holding together creating a landscape of what has been.


And this is the window that lit the room where the bobbin carriers, the cardroomers, the doublers, the draw boys, the fettlers  the heck makers & so many more, will have spent their lives as they set about weaving our history.

Forgotten Corners : National Wool Museum of Wales

When I visit museums, it gives me great joy to see what we expect to see. At the National Wool Museum of Wales, we would expect to see a plethora of fabulous blankets and off course a water wheel.

But what really makes my heart sing in a museum, is a glimpse of how life was; the simple beauty in the seemingly ordinary. The nooks and crannies that have stayed untouched.

There is a romance in the way that the sun dances with yarn on the fading window sills ...

A humanness about the wooden joints so carefully crafted into benches ...

A joy in rows of spun wool ...

A thrill in the knots of old wood ...

against woollen remnants ...

a magic that today's perfection driven culture tidies up or clears away. A reminder, a truth, an authenticity that touches me.

Because it evokes the past ...

inviting me tell part of the story for myself. 

And that's what I loved the most about my visit to the museum, the stories that were intimated in the forgotten corners.

Natural Dye Garden at The National Wool Museum of Wales

When my speech therapist told me about the natural dye garden she had been part of creating at the National Wool Museum of Wales, I couldn't wait to visit. 

Based in Drefach, it took me only 20 minutes to get there in my car. It was such a lovely visit and I felt totally inspired.

So, I thought I would do a series of blogs about my time there, this being the first. 

These pictures are of all the flowers in the Natural Dye Garden that is sited just outside the Museum building itself.

The funny thing is that although some plants look one colour, when prepared for natural dying, they come out a completely different one.

Sometimes it is the leaves that are used and other times it is the flower heads.

I love that these recipes are ancient. Take Woad for instance, the Celts used to use the indigo dye from the leaves to paint onto their faces.

Flowers are so beautiful to look at. They lift the soul. They give us wonderful aromas and their essential oils can help to give us a sense of healing. I am already deeply living the healing aroma of flowers with my essential oils, infusing my wool with them throughout the process of washing to weaving my fleeces but now I feel totally inspired to make my own natural dyes.

Except I would like to experiment using the flowers of my garden, of the woods across the road from my little weaver's cottage. What colours are in the flora and fauna of my village?

Living with a chronic illness is at times traumatic. At first, I drowned in how small my world had become. So, I made the decision that although my world is small, I would dig deeper into it and the joy of this is beyond words. If you had told me that I would be visiting flower beds at the National Wool Museum to become inspired to make natural dyes from the flowers in my village, undoubtedly I would have laughed because although I would have thought that it sounded like a perfectly beautiful thing to do, I wouldn't have had the time.

Make the time, my friends, make the time to ground yourself in the magic of small. It is humans that have placed a value judgement on size, not nature.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Essential Healing

One of the most amazing holistic therapies that has made a tremendous difference to my tinnitus is essential oils. I can not do without them. I have a cold air diffuser on all the time. I love them so much that I decided to stock them at Quiet Space Studio so that I can help others with their healing.

It has proved so popular that I am now a Senior Consultant with Neal's Yard Remedies and one of the things that gives me great joy, is blending essential oils with the Create Your Own range to match the individual needs of folk that come to Quiet Space.

Today for instance, a local farmer dropped in to ask me to make up a tincture for him that would help him to release stress and tension. When he arrived I was carding my wool and he asked me what I was making. I told him all about From Flock to Friendship ... and that I had set an intention with the Universe to keep sheep.

'And where will you keep them?' he asked.

'Mmm ... I don't know,' I replied, ' I am just trusting that the Universe will sort something out for me or else I would not have the desire.'

'I have 5 fields that could do with sheep eating the grass ... ' and with that he gave me directions to his fields which are literally at the bottom of the hill to my little weaver's cottage. He's coming back Friday for his Frankincense hand blended ointment. 

Now, there are a few things to consider here. First what is the likelihood of a farmer coming to Quiet Space Studio to ask me for a hand blended ointment and the second being the likelihood of that same farmer offering me a field for the sheep I don't even have yet. Affirmation indeed, that being a shepherd is meant to be.