Author Archives: alisonleggatt

About alisonleggatt

I'm a freelance artist and craft maker, full time single mother, and self confessed workaholic.

Addictions!

Ok, who here knows, without a shadow of a doubt (with or without the need for a test or assessment to tell you) that you have an addictive personality?!

I confess. I do.     I recall not so very long ago a guy using his addictive personality trait as a way attract women.  I am not too sure he quite understood the implications of being a potential addict, and I am sure he was thinking it meant that women would be drawn to his amazing personality and never want to leave him.  The reality is more likely that he would turn into a raving stalker nut who some poor woman would never get rid of…wait…what am I admitting to here…

Yes, it’s true that you can get so attached to a person/object/ideal that it becomes an obsession.   This is also why I gave up my 20-40 a day habit 21 years ago, rarely drink (apart from socially when I am not designated driver, and it’s not a school night), don’t do drugs or hold a battery of credit cards.  Addiction makes you stupid, self-obsessed and greedy.  Avoiding addiction is a conscious effort that gives you very little satisfaction.  I don’t ever get that feeling of ‘oh yesssss’ when I have avoided a cigarette that I used to get when I lit up the first one of the day.

However! I always seem to be overly attached to something.  I am pretty sure since I gave up smoking I have formed over-the-top connections to many other activities that might not be part of the usual ‘damaging’ addictive list, but the results are, for the duration of that action, I dream it, think it, create opportunities to satisfy my habit – all those things that addicts do.   I know this is the case as I have to make a very conscious decision to withdraw or I know I won’t be able to give my full attention to whatever needs it.    In recent years it’s been those games on facebook.

Farmtown was the first one that I had to give up just before starting university, or I knew I wouldn’t be able to devote the proper thinking time I needed to perform well.  Each summer I would start a new game of whatever the top developer was offering as it’s best time-waster. I would play it avidly till the start of the new academic year, then I would sadly say goodbye to it.   Now it’s Hay Day and I am at that stage of waking up in the middle of the night and checking if my boat has arrived or making sure Tom has an errand….seriously, do not play this game if addiction is your bag.     So, it is coming to the time I must say good-bye to it, but not till I have bought the jam maker…ok?

My name is Alison and I am addicted to Hay Day.

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Arty Bits

I have been a little quiet for the last week as I’ve needed to get some serious written work done, and as I am pretty much almost very very nearly finished, I thought I would take a little time out to do a bit of blogging.

Still, I have managed to keep up with the art and crafts  (critical for my line of work!) I have had a couple of pieces of artwork to get on with, including a lovely little terrier portrait in colour pencil.   Animals seem to be a running theme at the moment, and I’m loving it!

Other than masses of written work (in the form of a business plan) and number crunching (cash flow), I have really enjoyed working with my beloved colour pencil.  There was a time I wouldn’t touch one as it was too ‘babyish’ a tool for real art.  I couldn’t possible create anything masterful with what is essentially, a child’s pencil case basic.  Rather begrudgingly, I picked a packet of my children’s pencils up, and started rendering blocks of colour, then started blending and shading, and it didn’t take too long for me to realise I was able to create something quite pretty with them.   My first colour pencil drawing was a little squirrel (I still have it somewhere) and my next was a highly polished still-life that still fools people to this day that it isn’t a photograph.    The colour pencil had gone from something dismissive and far too amateurish a tool, to something I now revere.   So much so I now have a huge collection of them!!   All hail the colour pencil 😀


This Country Is A Mess

There, I have finally said it.   Those who know me will know that isn’t an unusual statement from me, but I tend to keep those sorts of comments to private conversations.  Now and then I’ll share a link on facebook that will hint at my frustration for this country (UK) but more often than not, I keep silent.    But my silence is starting to weigh on my conscience.  I do believe that you are guilty if knowingly say nothing when things are obviously not right, and I have had enough of saying nothing.   Perhaps the biggest reason for saying nothing is that I do not have a solution to the problems we face.  At least, I know I can’t change anything over night.

What I can do is make small changes and improvements to our lives as citizens of the United Kingdom (soon to not be so united if Scotland get their independence.)  What I can do is calmly (cough) and systematically work through all the issues and wrongs that are connected to us as a family unit.  What I can do is improve our status, while being mindful of those around us.  What I can do, when the time comes, is be a good employer who pays an honest wage and provides decent working conditions.   What I can do is encourage my children to work hard and well at whatever they choose to do.  What I can do is ensure I pay the right taxes for my income.  Will any of these steps make a difference? Well, they will and do to my immediate circle.  And it can only be through these small steps that we make a difference and generate a positive impact.    If I were to throw my hands up and give up trying to make life better then I would have to accept unconditionally all that is thrown at me.  No complaints. And I just can’t do that.


Craft Catch Up

Paper Syrian Hamster

I have kept my promise! I have turned into a bit of a paper critter addict…adding to this Syrian hamster are the four below, and a lovely French Bulldog that has already found a new home.

Four Cute Critters

 

French Bulldog

 

Addicted….ooooh yeah. 😀


Oh The Peace…

It has just turned from Monday morning to Monday afternoon and it is a beautiful day.   I am lucky that I have a picture window to my left with a view to the garden beyond.   The garden is looking a little weather ravaged, but the blue sky and winter sun is making up for the randomly wind placed small branches and twigs, as well as the blown-over swing seat.

My original plan for this morning had to be postponed in order for me to sort out the piles of sh*t left for me by various agencies over the weekend.   Now I’ve done as much as I can there it has left my afternoon rather blissfully task free.  That isn’t to say I don’t have things I need to be doing, but I can afford a few minutes to just enjoy the peace and quiet of my office area.   I can hear a drill somewhere, and various bangs from the workshop next door.  A dog is barking and a rather delicate and musical sneeze just echoed through wall.   It is definitely a good time to be counting blessings and feeling grateful.  To just enjoy the moment.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the hassle and hustle of every day living that we forget to just sit still.

There’s a saying I like to use when I think I am too busy to stop.  “Meditate for half an hour a day, and if you are busy, meditate for an hour”.  I personally like to meditate, but I know many don’t.  For those that don’t I definitely recommend spending time to just sit.  I prefer to sit near a window if I can’t be outside, but anywhere will do (not when you’re driving though, please).  Switch off any noise and distractions you can, TV, radio, music, phone (or put them on silent for a while) close your eyes and open your ears.  Breathe in deeply through your nose, hold that breathe for a second, then exhale through your mouth.  Then breathe normally while you take in the sounds around you.   In your mind’s eye, see where you are, the building you are in, the structures around you.  See the landscape beyond.  Feel how comfortable and safe you are, right now, this minute.   Allow yourself this time off and away from your busy day.   Now take a deep breath again, release and open your eyes.   You’ve just given yourself some time out – and it didn’t take too long out of your busy day 🙂


A Craft A Day.

I realised the other day that I have become bogged down with day to day stuff and have sort of forgotten the joy of creating art and craft for the sake of it.   Over the Christmas holidays I had the constant company of my youngest who is also very creative, and watching her flip from writing to textile craft to drawing to beading and then restarting the cycle, reminded me of what I am missing.  Just the joy of doing something that doesn’t have a defined goal and objective at the end of it.   So she and I had a craft afternoon together when the others were out and/or at work and it was such a good soul-food experience that I have decided to make sure I do something creative every day, and on days when I don’t have time I will definitely do something creative!    Like my little one (who turned 11 yesterday so isn’t so little), my loves are textiles, drawing, paper craft and writing.

Actually she and I are very similar in lots of ways but as her exposure to some really quite challenging crafts has been a lot earlier than mine, so I am expecting she will be far more accomplished than I was, should she want to be.   She is an accomplished seamstress and is a complete whiz on her little sewing machine.  And watching her wield scissors and fine needles is something to behold.    Just lately she has developed a passion for creative writing, which is helping her no end in her quest to overcome the ravages of Dyslexia (spelling, word formation, reading, etc).   Also I have just noticed her craft and sewing box is bigger than mine…hmm, looks like I have competition 😀

So, anyway, as I was saying, a craft a day is my aim, for now at least, until I can get my head back into how much I enjoy it mode again.   I started with textile crafts in the holidays but have moved onto my more recently favoured (thanks to university) paper craft.

Fits neatly into the palm of your hand.

Fits neatly into the palm of your hand.

Above is the little paper dog I made last night.   And below is my lil’un on her sewing machine.

My daughter making a little felt pocket.

My daughter making a little felt pocket.

 


I am Late!

Possibly one of the most irritating (but conversely, soothing) things about learning differences is how much of a stickler you need to be to get through your day.  For me, it’s time keeping.  I cannot function without some sort of timepiece.   I was able to tell the time well, before I could read.  I plan journeys to the minute.  And as for being late…no, just NO!

This morning I woke up to the sound of my phone informing me of an incoming text at 6:40am, and on seeing the time I groaned at the prospect of losing almost an hour of my morning.   Not only do I like to keep time, I also like to get up early and start my day in the blissful morning peace, with the darkness beyond the window as my companion, and if possible, before the birds wake up.

So, I didn’t quite manage to get everything I wanted to do before the kids and birds were up this morning, and I am still trying to catch up!    Tidying up my office space isn’t on the cards, so this is pretty much my space as of 4 minutes ago.   I am very blessed to have such a great space to write and work in.  And, this is one of two great spaces I have!   My studio space is just as wonderful.

Studio space photo really does need updating!  This photo was taken just before I gave the presentation I had to give to join the art group.  It is a lovely place to work…although this space looks rather bare! Doesn’t look like that now.   Maybe a studio tour post will be worth doing at some point in the future?

However! I digress!  Another thing that is good at eating up my time is getting side-tracked and distracted – I am a bit of a magpie for that, which is probably why time is so important as it serves to remind me to get back on the ‘right’ path!

And today I am writing my business plan…yeah, right 😉