Do what you love

Phew, what a week! The blog’s been a little quieter than normal as I’ve been otherwise occupied soothing toddlers, solo parenting, thinkin’ reeel deep about what makes me happy and drawing my own hand. Yup.

Drawing of a hand
It looks oddly masculine, doesn’t it?

The sprog was taken down with a bug last week, which he’s yet to recover from, poor little pickle. And if there’s one thing in the world worse to nurse than man flu, it’s toddler illnesses. Goodness that boy has firm ideas of what he wants and what he doesn’t want when he’s under the weather. (What he doesn’t want can generally be summed up as: anything that involves Mummy not paying attention solely to him for a single second…)

Anyway, the poor little thing is back in nursery today, hopefully almost fully recovered and I have a teeny bit of headspace back again.

The illness coincided with a work trip to Portugal for the hubby (not jealous, no, definitely not jealous, no, would definitely not like three whole nights sleeping in a hotel bed the whole night through…) though my lovely Mum came up to help out too, so that was great.

On a more exciting note, I also began a few new courses. I’ve been back at Capel Manor College (where I took my horticulture course last year) to start a short six-week course in Graphics and drawing, the first step to a garden design qualification I’m hoping to do later on.

Drawing of secateurs
Secateurs. Drawn my me. (Copying another drawing, I have to say…)

It’s been rather eye-opening so far. I had expected that we would just be learning about how to draw garden designs (straight lines for the paving, scale plans of patios, nice big swirly circles for bushes and so on), but in fact we spend every afternoon just drawing. Anything! Like chairs, or our hand or a sphere… Our teacher follows the methods in the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, which, in brief, posits that everyone can draw, but that we need to let go of our logical parts of the brain (that tells us, for example, that a table is a rectangle) to allow our more creative parts of the brain to actually just look at what’s in front of us and draw it.

Cross hatching
This is just me trying out cross hatching, but I kind of love it the most…

As I’ve always thought that I “can’t do art” (to my endless disappointment, I have to say), I find it really interesting. Each week we break drawing down into small elements, in order to try and help us access this creative, right side of the brain. I drew my hand (above) in the first week, and though I’m certainly still no great artist, I’m quite impressed with the results!

NB, I realise that illustrating this post with my drawings from the course makes me look a bit like a 14-year-old doing a GCSE in art (or perhaps I am being too kind to myself? Maybe art GCSE is a little more progressed than this. I never did one…) And it’s not that I am so proud of my work I just had to show it to you, it’s just that the drawings were to hand and, like I said, time has been tight, so photos of drawings were easily achievable in a short space of time…

Shading spheres
Trying out different ways of shading. Bottom right is in charcoal, wot wot. That’s like the stuff that proper artists use, y’know…

On Monday I also started a month-long online course called Do what you love for life. I’ve mentioned here before that I sometimes struggle trying to hit on one specific focus for this blog, so perhaps it won’t be a surprise to regular readers to hear that the same is true for my life as well…

Though I’m still very happy being a stay at home Mum right now, the finances are starting to pinch very tight, and I’m thinking about what I can do as my next step.

It’s not that I’m short of ideas. Quite the opposite. I have about a million gazillion different ideas of all sorts of things I love doing, and I’m hoping this course will help me focus in a little bit and settle on a specific direction for where to go next with my life.

(Failing that, if anyone has a great idea how I could combine garden design, writing, blogging, making stuff, having a smallholding, owning alpacas and the ever nebulous fabric empire into a well-paid job in which I choose my own hours and always manage to do nursery / school pick ups, then please let me know in the comments, ha ha ha…)

I’ve not actually had time to do more on the course so far than the first few days’ assignments, so I’ll have to do a bit of catching up this weekend, but so far I’m really liking the clarity it’s brought to my many and generally very varied thoughts about what’s important to me.

Finally, if you’ve come here this week looking for my latest Grow, forage, cook post, then my apologies. (What? You haven’t recorded my posting schedule in your calendar?!) My next post will be up, a week late, next week; it’s all about planning a kitchen garden…

In the meantime, if you’ve not seen it already, do head over to Laura’s blog to check out her interview with Rachel from Fore/Adventure to hear all about foraging and the good life in Dorset. I tell you, my friends, at Fore/Adventure they’re already doing what they love for life…


9 thoughts on “Do what you love

  1. Love your shading practice. They all look like good spheres to me!
    I don’t envy your indecision. Hopefully your online course will help you with that. My brain is always whirring with worries and ifs and buts. When I’m tired it’s easy to become overcome with the stuff in my head even though I’m seen as a pretty much organised person on the outside.
    I don’t suppose current finances will stretch to a few sessions with a life coach?

    1. Yes! My head is in a constant whir too! Oddly, my Mum worked as a life coach for a while, but I’m hoping this course will do the trick, ha ha. I think I spend so long weighing up the pros and cons of everything and thinking that there is a perfect answer somewhere out there, whereas if I just made a decision and acted on it, that would probably make life a lot easier! But then again, I won’t fib, I love all the planning and thinking as well…

  2. Good luck with the career focussing. Sounds like the same sort of place I (and many others are in). Going down to one wage felt pretty fine when we had our first child but now we have two and prices are going up, while my husbands salary doesn’t, only the hours and stress that go with it, so I’m really trying to work out how to bring in the cash. The RHS and so on are always going on about the great skills shortage in horticulture and how more people training and working in this area are needed, but I’m not too sure where these shortages are.

    There don’t seem to be quite so many gardening bloggers trying to turn their writing into a living compared with crafting ones where you can’t move for bloggers wanting to hawk you a badly conceived dress pattern or their etsy shop full of fimo owls, so I do feel there are possibilities in this area. I quite like how Higgledy Garden uses his site’s blog to make buying seeds a fun thing to do and to add personality, but in a professional way. (The GOMI craft forums are very entertaining on some of the less professional sewing blog businesses.)

    Maybe you could set up your own Montessori/Steiner-ish school where you can harness the boundless energy of small children to do the tedious digging and mucking out on your smallholding while providing childcare for your own kids and leaving you time to run a small shop selling choice fabric and crafts to the well-heeled and arty parents of the other children.

    1. Ha ha ha, Liz you have absolutely cracked it! I need a small army of children ready and willing to take on all the hard work in exchange for alpaca petting, while I basically swan about photographing everything and perhaps make a fabric design every once in a while… I reckon I could get the same children working on some macrame pot holders too and flog them in the shop as well (I mean, seriously, how hard can a few knots be?) I love it!

      But yes, actually, I hear what you’re saying on the gardening blogging, though I wonder if there is a reason for that? Is it because people simply aren’t as interested in reading about what to do in the garden as they are about craft tutorials (or at least pinning them, if not reading them?)

      And I also agree completely about the RHS too — they seem to spend loads of time saying that no young people are training in gardening, but on my hort course there were loads of young, middle-aged and older people taking the qualification and then not much work to go around afterwards — and certainly not much well-paid work.

      Well, I’ve got another seven months til the baby hits the age of one, anyway, which is the deadline I’ve given myself for figuring something out or returning to the old day job of writing. (Ha ha, and I am sure that there are loads of people who are writing blogs specifically to get *into* writing and I’m deciding I don’t much fancy doing it really, thanks very much…)

      Anyway, thanks so much for your brilliant comment! xxx

  3. Wonderful drawings. I sympathise with the need to find something flexible to do, it’s much the same here. Let us hope we sort it out in the end. CJ xx

  4. Your drawings are looking great Sabrina. I have a copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – I keep meaning to sit down and work through it but never get round to it. That course sounds interesting, I could do with a little help with that at the moment 🙂

  5. Hi Sabrina, I’m sorry to hear your little one was unwell. I am in this situation now, but it’s only been a couple of days. I hope you find what you are looking for in the Do what you love course. It’s true that there are a gazillion things that you could do, it can be overwhelming to decide. My advice would be this, rather than thinking about doing what you love, think about what your priorities are in life and do something you enjoy around that and just start, it might lead you to somewhere unexpected. Your drawings are wonderful. xD

  6. Ooh, I remember reading that book when I was a kid! (Arty mum and all that) I’ve changed the focus of my blog quite a bit differently as I need to justify the amount of time I put into it and err, could do with some more money too. Sadly no room for a small holding here so still need to go to Tescos 😉 I agree about the RHS stuff too, my step-brother has some big clients for his floristry but the gardening does seem harder (and he’s done Chelsea!) it seems to be a job that is either at a very high level or council pay which I can’t imagine is great 😦

    1. Sorry, crazy slow reply here. Yes, we had the book when I was a kid too — ditto on the Mum, ha ha.

      I know the feeling about the blog, I have been wondering the same myself — lots of time put in when there’s not too much time to go round and a serious lack of money as well, ha ha.

      And, erm, how about an intro to your step-brother?! Hee hee, just joking. xxx

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