Monthly Archives: January 2017

What I’ve Learned…

Having just completed 30 Days of Gratitude, which involved self-examination, looking inwards, identifying my own strengths and weaknesses and being courageous enough to tell them to the world, here are some things I’ve learned: 

(Image curated from Pinterest):

What you allow will continue. I’ve allowed various people, over the years, to dictate how I should behave, how I should live my life, what my beliefs should be, who my circle of friends should be. Well, no more. 

From now on I intend to live Life My way, for My Highest Good. The only person I have to please is myself. The only person who holds the key to my Happiness is myself. 

The Universe is on my side, The Universe has my back. I just have to focus on Appreciating with Gratitude all the Abundance that I already have, and I expect to attract More and More Abundance. My Life will be a Success on my own terms. 

I refuse to be dragged down anymore by anyone’s negativity, their pessimism, their efforts to drag me down to their level. Not my monkeys, not my circus. 

I will appreciate any positive aspects of a person’s character, and encourage them to be the best they can be. If they cannot be positive, or if they are spirit sappers, I will remove myself from their lives with grace. 

I will no longer entertain anymore negative talk, either by others or from myself. I intend to be the Best that I can be, and I will be the only judge of my success. 

30 Days of Gratitude: #30

#30: What talent or skills do you have that you are grateful for?

As an autodidact and a naturally curious person, I’ve always believed in learning new skills or gaining knowledge by way of total immersion. Meaning I will research, read up, test out and put into practice whatever subject I’m currently into. Formal educational qualifications are not necessary when studying Life. But if it’s formal qualifications you need, rest assured I have enough of them under my belt. 

Learning never stops. If you stop learning, your brain calcifies.

It goes without saying then that I DO have quite a few skills and talents. Not blowing my own trumpet, of course 😄. Naturally, one can’t be excellent in every single thing, so I’m better at some than others…for example, my cheesemaking experiments were nothing to shout about, being as I lacked vital ingredients and tools. My dream of buying and renovating an old Asturian (North of Spain) barn came to nothing, as I did the math and found my finances somewhat lacking. My dressmaking skills are adequate enough, but not enough for me to become the next Coco Chanel. My aspirations to own a herd of Angora goats for their mohair got tangled in logistics and abandoned.

Other skills fared better over the years. I’m good at designing and handsewing teddy bears and other plush toys. I’m a licensed photography artist. I’m a Classically trained musician plus I can also handle digital technology. I can make music on my Yamaha Tenori-On the way no one else on Earth can (seriously). I know animal husbandry. I’m a qualified Canine Behaviourist. I have skills in writing articles and have been published in craft magazines. I can design and make furniture out of MDF panels. 

But I guess the thing I’m most grateful for is the fact that I know that if I really put my mind to it, I can do anything. The only obstacles in my path are those I have placed there myself, whether knowingly or unknowingly. 

I’m grateful for this “30 Days of Gratitude” exercise, which finishes today, as it has given me ample opportunity to find out more about myself, and my own capabilities. Thank you for bearing with my ramblings, and I hope I didn’t bore you all too much 😄.

(Image source: Pinterest. @northern.lightz)

30 Days of Gratitude : #29

#29: What friend/family member are you grateful for today?

I’d like to be able to name someone from my own family/relatives that I’m grateful for…but unfortunately I can’t, because I’ve been let down, frowned upon, rejected, neglected, ignored, looked down upon, denigrated, and generally treated as worthless by them. I’m too much of a renegade, rebel, non-conformist, bohemian, weirdo, square peg in a round hole, for their conservative tastes. They can’t understand why I can’t just conform to Society, work a 9-5 job like them, do the same things they do, and just live a “normal” life like them.

What they don’t understand is that what’s “normal” to them is anything but to me. I truly believe that one must do what one is passionate about, in order to be happy. Working for the sake of paying the bills or paying off loans, is NOT going to make anyone happy. Living a life designed by someone else, or ignoring what you’re passionate about, is NOT going to make you happy. And isn’t Happiness ultimately the aim of everyone on Earth?

The only person I know that truly “gets” me is my dear neighbour and friend, Diane. She’s a sprightly 76, a real social butterfly, has a wicked sense of humour, and loves shopping at thrift stores just like me. We get on like a house on fire. I drive her up the wall with my whacky ideas, and she likes to say “For F&*@’s sake, Annabelle!” But it’s all in fun. 

I dearly love Diane. She’s the Mother I never had, and she’s also my best friend and confidante. I drive her to the Library, we have coffee, sometimes we go to the shops and have lunch together, I drive her to the doctor’s or dentist’s, or to one of her social meetings or mah-jongg games. She has me over for coffee and cake and a good natter sometimes. I look after her house when she goes away. We look out for each other.

Diane is possibly my Guardian Angel, and I’m extremely grateful to have her. Thank you, Universe, for finding me the best friend a girl could ever have!

(Image source: Pinterest)

30 Days of Gratitude : #28

#28: What small thing that happened today are you grateful for?

Today was going to be an easy, lazy day at home. I was enjoying my long 4-day weekend, a stretch from Australia Day on Thursday the 26th through to Sunday. 

Then I got a text message on my mobile phone from my boss, Wendy, asking if she could have my key to River’s house, as she was petsitting River over the weekend. (River is my regular dogwalking client). 

Right after that, I received a text message from my local library saying a book I’d reserved had become available, and could I come and collect it, please.

What’s a girl to do? I know, go to the library, return some books, borrow some more and pick up the one waiting for me. Then drive along the coastal road to Wendy’s, and drop off River’s key. And since we’re in the area, we might as well visit the thrift stores in the area.

And that’s exactly what my son Jack and I did. I’m grateful for Wendy’s and the Library’s texts this morning, as they culminated in a very productive thrift store haul. These are the treasures we scored today:

– A pair of board shorts for Jack, for swimming. Jack is growing so fast he’s outgrown most of his clothes from last year.

– a large 2 x 4 foot fabric art frame, with circles and stripes, that I intend to sew Kantha-style (running stitch) in varying colours, and either keep or sell. 

– a variety of orphan pillowcases with interesting designs and patterns, that I can halve or quarter and sew together into a patchwork, and add to a thrifted duvet cover and again sew with running stitches to make a Kantha quilt/comforter.

– an arty wooden ornamental ball and 2 smaller wire balls, to add to what surely is the start of an arty ball collection.

– a denim tab-top curtain, that I intend to add Kantha patchwork to, and either sell or use on the door dividing our living room from the hallway.

– a pretty modern floral duvet cover that can be used as is, or repurposes into another Kantha quilt/comforter.

I also managed to make a new friend at the Library today. 😊 Her name is Sue, and she’s Korean, but we exchanged “Happy Chinese New Year” greetings anyway, as no one else seemed to have remembered. We’re going to have a cuppa tea someday soon.

So yes, I’m grateful today for Wendy and the Library instigating a trip out to Safety Bay and Port Kennedy. A very productive day, indeed. 

And Thank You, Universe! 

(Images sourced from Pinterest)

30 Days of Gratitude : #27

#27: What small thing that you use daily are you most grateful for?

This has got to be my mobile phone. It’s a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. It’s my connection to the world at large, my encyclopedia or font of all knowledge, my means of communication, my oracle, my games machine, the tool of my photographic art trade, my multi-tasking tool that I refer to and utilise from time to time throughout the day. 

I’d be lost without my mobile phone. And I’m grateful to even have such a wonderful tool in my possession. It makes it possible for me to create my mobile photography art, which then gets licensed and produced on household items by my Licensing Agent, Kess InHouse Designs. 

It’s the first thing I consult in the morning when I wake up, and the last thing at night before bed.

Thank you, Samsung and Thank you, Universe! 

(Image source: GSM Arena) 

30 Days of Gratitude : #26

#26: What form of expression are you most grateful for?

I’m most grateful for having stumbled across the art of Indian “Kantha”, and more specifically the use of the humble yet powerful Running Stitch, or Straight Stitch.

Kantha is a traditional Indian technique used for layering old sari cloth together and quilting them together using a simple running stitch. The stitching causes the characteristic wrinkling across the surface of the piece, which to me is extremely charming. The actual act of sewing the running stitches itself is meditative and mindful, which I find soothing.

Boro, which means “Rags” is a Japanese tradition of repurposing old clothes, turning them into dishcloths, rags, floor mats, etc, using predominantly the simple running stitch. The spirit of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, or “Mottainai” in Japanese is very much in evidence in Boro items, which today are very prized amongst collectors for their provenance and history. 

As you might have guessed already, the common thread (hehe, did you see what I did there 😉) joining both Kantha and Boro, across oceans and continents, is the humble running stitch.

I’m so enamoured of this stitchery witchery that I’m seriously considering starting a small business creating useful household items from recycled fabrics. The thrift stores around here are always full of unique and interesting fabrics and bedlinen (mysteriously called “manchester” here in Australia), that I can utilise and give a new lease of life. 

I’m toying with some names for my business: “Running Stitch”, “Kantha +Boro”, “ReLoved” are a few of them. 

Items that I’ve put on my list as possible sellers are:

Comforters/Quilts

Cushion covers

Coasters and Table Mats

Origami bags

Wallets and small pouches

Journal/Book Covers

iPad/tablet Cases

Lanyards

Bracelets/Cuffs

Necklaces

Kantha fabric “beads”

Key fobs

Ribbons

Wall hangings

Scarves

Table runners

Dreamcatchers

Room dividers

For those unfamiliar with the beautiful world of Kantha+Boro, here are some of my favourites, curated from Pinterest. Yes, I have an entire board dedicated to Kantha, Boro and their sister, Sashiko.

30 Days of Gratitude: #25

#25: What moment this week are you most grateful for?

Meep, my little Kia Cerato car, had a minor scrape this week. A couple of mishaps, actually.

The first was when I was reversing Meep out of the driveway, to go to a dogwalking assignment. It had been quite windy, and a sudden rogue gust of wind blew the gate halfway shut right as I was reversing the car. 

CRUNCH. Ouch!

Meep won the bout, though, coming away with just a couple of scrapes on her back bumper, and a slightly popped out bumper. 

But the gate, oh the gate. I found out as I was closing it that Meep’s bump had been harder than initially thought. The metal had bent inwards and now the latch was a good 1 inch lower than before. Which meant it wouldn’t go into the hole in the brick pillar, which meant we couldn’t lock the gate, which meant anyone could get into our yard anf steal the hens, Japanese quail, Budgies, Weiros, 2 bicycles and whatever else was in a number of crumbling boxes under the back patio.

Oh, not good.

But anyway I was running late already, so fixing the gate would have to wait. Off I went and did my errands, and then when I got back, my son Jack and I hatched an ingenious plan to repair the gate.

Jack’s idea was to hammer the bent gate back into alignment. But I believed the iron would be too hard for a mallet. And so it was.

My idea was to use the mallet and a screwdriver (we couldn’t find any other tools) to make a new hole in the brick pillar, so the displaced latch could go in. And so we did.

And now it’s fixed, yay! So grateful for my ingenuity 😄😄😄.

That day I swear a total of 9 Mazda cars in Soul Red (the car I’ve been manifesting the last 3 weeks) literally threw themselves in Meep’s path. I take that as a sign that perhaps it’s time to upgrade Meep to a Mazda in Soul Red? 

Please, Universe, make it so!

The very next day, as Meep was reversing out the driveway, my son Jack said there was a floppity noise from the back tyre. So I stopped the car and got out to look.

Poor Meep. Somewhere along the way she’d managed to pick up a screw in her right back tyre. I knew that if I tried to pull the screw out, we’d end up with a definite flat tyre. So instead, we drove to the nearest mechanic and had them repair the tyre. 

I was expecting to have to pay at least $200 for a new tyre and service charge. There goes this week’s dogwalking wages, I was thinking. 

But luckily the tyre itself proved to be salvageable. And I only had to pay $30 for the extraction of the offending screw and some kind of filler.

Hurray for small mercies! So grateful, Universe, thank you! 

Please, Universe, can I have less drama with the car. And more Abundance and Wealth instead?And I’d love to own and drive a Mazda in Soul Red, Please and Thank you. No offence to Meep, she’s served me well. 😄 

30 Days of Gratitude : #24

#24: What challenge are you grateful for?

I’m grateful for this challenge called Life. Some people appear to have all the luck – being born into rich, affluent or influential families, having the right connections, moving in the right circles, going to the best private schools, money is no objection, etc etc. Their entire lives are mapped out for them, from cradle to grave. They grow up, go to work, get married, buy a house, have kids, pay their bills, retire and die.

How boring. 

My life is nothing like that described above. There is no road mapped out for me to just follow til the end. In fact, there is No road to speak of. Well, if there was, it’s covered over by desert sand and has tumbleweeds rolling across it. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one wandering around, there must be a few million others in the same position as me, only we each have our own journeys and destinations, and no two are identical. Chances of me meeting anyone on this path are miniscule indeed. 

But, no matter. In fact, remember the saying, “Not all who wander are lost?” We just appear to be lost, because our private journeys are so vastly different from Society’s preconceptions, so strange and quixotic and erratic. But in actual fact, we have aims and intentions just like other people, only our trajectory is more Brownian than predestined by Society or our parents. We do not conform, we are the bohemians, the dreamers, the artists, the Life Changers.

Either that, or we’re aliens 😄.

(Google Images. Poem is “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy)

30 Days of Gratitude : #23

#23: What tradition are you grateful for?

For those of you who know me, I have 2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 hens, 26 Japanese Quail (at last count), 2 weiros (cockatiels), 7 budgies (parakeets), 3 Japanese Koi. Every morning it’s quite a ritual feeding the troops. Ìt takes about 30 minutes to make sure everyone in my mini zoo has enough food and water to last the day.

I have a little mantra or saying that goes with the feeding of my many birds. It goes like this:

“Guys have water, guys have food, Guys are happy, guys are good!”

Angus, my male weiro (cockatiel) has been hearing me whistle a traditional American minstrel song by Stephen Foster, “Camptown Races”, also known as “Camptown Ladies”. I’ve been whistling it to him and Julia, my female weiro, every morning for the last 4 years, and now Angus will sometimes sing to me his own unique version of the song. He can just about get the first verse right, and he adds his own tune to it, complete with chirps.

Up until fairly recently, it hadn’t occurred to me that the ditty I said to my birds every morning, and the song “Campbell Races” were a good fit. All I had to do was add the “Doodahs” and it was perfect:

“Guys have water, guys have food, Doodah, doodah, Guys are happy, guys are good, oh, doodah day!”

I love this tradition I’ve created, it always brings a smile to my face. And the birds seem to appreciate my good mood too! 😄

(Google Images)



30 Days of Gratitude : #22

#22: What story are you grateful for?

The story I’m grateful for, that also stands as motivation for me to get myself out of this rut I’m currently in, is that of author J.K Rowling.

Joanne Rowling was born in the UK on 31st July 1965. In 1990, she moved to Portugal to teach English. She married a Portuguese national there, and had a daughter, Jessica in 1993. When the marriage ended in divorce, Joanne moved back to the UK. She and her young daughter lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, so they could be close to Joanne’s younger sister, Di. They survived on social welfare.

Joanne’s idea about young wizard Harry Potter came about during one of her train journeys from London to Manchester. She was so poor, living on benefits, that she could not afford to heat her flat, so she would bring Jessica in her buggy with her to cafés, where she could type her story on her laptop.

After being turned down by several publishers, one finally said Yes to Joanne. The rest, as they say, is Harry Potter history.

J.K Rowling’s personal story resonates with me, as I can empathise with the lot of a single parent relying on the State. I can also relate to how devastating divorce or the breakdown of a relationship can be. 

And I very much want to rise up from out of the ashes, just like the Phoenix in the Harry Potter books. I will not let my current circumstances be my final destination. No, this car still has quite a lot of mileage left in it. Where I am now is not where I will be in 6 months’ time. I will make sure of that.

It doesn’t matter if your family has deserted you. It doesn’t matter if you only have fair weather friends. It doesn’t matter if you have no permanent job that pays the bills or that makes you a desirable candidate for a home loan in the eyes of the bank. It doesn’t matter if you have no savings, or any assets or collateral to fall back on. It doesn’t matter if you stand all alone.

What matters is that you believe that you Can, and you Will. You Can do anything you put your mind to, and if you believe in it enough, you Will achieve your Intention. 

My name is Annabelle. I’ve just been informed that the name of a new client’s dog is Annabelle. I was just watching an episode of The Mentalist on TV (S5, Ep.12 “Little Red Corvette”), where one of the characters, a witness, is named Annabelle.

That can’t be just a coincidence, right? I take it as a sign from The Universe that things are going to move along swiftly from hereon out. Maybe someday someone will be inspired by My story. 

(Image source: Pinterest)