Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Own Worst Critic!

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has entered my Blogoversary giveaway so far...you have until Friday to leave a comment. I'll keep things fair by using a random number generator to find the winner, to give all who enter an equal chance :) Good Luck!

I am very grateful for your visits to my blog - those who come by regularly will know that I am not generally a negative person, in fact I would prefer not to post on a 'down-day'. I suspect you also realise that I'm not particularly good at, or including, anything too personal on my blog too; but today I thought I'd wear my heart on my sleeve...just for a change...to see how it goes...
Hubby and I have been working very hard recently on various projects in our back garden. Our garden isn't a 'pottering' sort of garden, but more of the 'hack and slay' kind! Constant taming of mature shrubs and trees and regular repairs to the old stone walls and general maintenance of the borders are what's required. This has meant that we haven't been out on one of our little local jaunts for a couple of months now...and I missing them. I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm suffering. Cabin-fever is a little way off yet ;-)) But I guess I could do with a break really...

I am a 'doer', rarely procrastinate and like to see a job through to the end...But just recently I've been feeling like I'm getting nowhere fast...sorry, I'm getting a bit heavy here - not like me at all to give too much away...and I certainly don't want sympathy, as my life is very good, thank you! In fact, I was reading my recently delivered copy of Somerset Life in bed last night and inside was an article written by Tiffany Kirchner-Dixon, who was saying that she lives by the quote 'If life doesn't get any better than this, I am happy'. She went on to say that 'if life doesn't get any better than it is right now, it is great; I choose to be happy. I want to be happy. When I am happy, people around me are happy.'
Such wise words Tiffany, I couldn't agree with you more and I think that even if this positive attitude isn't one that has been instilled at childhood, it is one that can be learnt and will be discovered with age...'older and wiser', as the saying goes...

In the past I have been extremely self-critical, consequently I lacked confidence. I would become cross with myself when I didn't achieve all that I set out to, and would not allow myself time-out to relax, which obviously led to some bad days...Friends were sympathetic, for which I will always be grateful, but taking time to find the happy-place first time round is a better way of existing, I think.
Working from home means I lead a fairly solitary lifestyle, so being in a happy frame of mind will reflect in my work. I used to think that I should be creating 24/7, but now know that its OK to take a tea break, or take a bit longer making one of my dolls, for instance, if the end result is going to echo the effort involved. The pressure I put on myself to constantly have my web-shop refreshed and restocked was unhealthy. Yes, I need to earn a regular wage, but reaching a balance is important too.
Part of the reason for my setting up the secondary blog was to serve as a reminder to me as to how hard I have worked over the years, and to see the proof of all my hours of sewing.
The listing of each item for my on-line shop is what takes a large proportion of my time, along with answering emails, packing parcels and dispatching them - after a large update, it can be a week before I have a moment to start sewing again, and then when goods are created, there's the listing...yes, that is the nature of selling on-line and I guess you'd say I've made that choice and, of course, am very lucky to be making some sales.
However, I did enjoy making for the V&H fair recently. The fact that I could take my time to make each piece and then carefully pack it away for the future fair was refreshing. Of course less was added to my on-line shop during this time, but I was able to tell myself that something has to give now and then! Something friends have been trying to tell me for years - Thankfully, I've got it now guys! ;-))

Right, I'm not about to become a lazy-lass and skive at every opportunity! But I have booked the next V&H fair in November and although that sounds a long way off just now, stock doesn't make itself. I would like to have a good range of items to take to the fair , as well as to work on some special Christmas pieces. Please forgive if I don't restock my on-line shop quite so regularly. I do receive quite a few emails asking when I shall be adding new dolls to my shop - I am thrilled by your interest and will endeavour to do so as often as I can...juggling it with the gardening and running the home! (School hols coming up soon too! ;-))
So, if you're still with me and haven't left because I've bored you rigid! - to continue with the rosey pictures... I shall share with you what I achieved over the weekend.
Now I'm sure you all recognise this wallpaper design below, and don't need me to tell you where you can buy something similar! In my opinion, this lovely lady receives too much free advertising on Blogger as it is! ;-))
Don't get me wrong, I admire all that she has achieved, its just that I will always prefer to buy authentic vintage goods whenever possible, rather than repro. In fact, I did try wallpapering a bedroom wall once with vintage paper, but it was so brittle, it kept cracking and breaking....it was a pretty hideous job and I had to have a rethink!
So I think this pretty repro paper was a wise choice! Having said that, it is at least 5 years old(?) already...this cream version was discontinued some time ago and I was able to snap up several rolls for £5 each! They've languished in the attic all that time, as when I suggested to my daughters that they have a pretty feature wall in their bedrooms, they turned up their noses!
Well, our back hallway has been looking in a very sorry state for a couple of years, if I'm being honest, so the weekend was the time for action. I rootled around in the cellar and found half a tin of white emulsion paint which was perfect for the ceiling. Then I found the cream satin that I had used to paint two of our kitchen chairs a few weeks ago...

Just enough for the skirting boards and architraves. There are 5 doors in this tiny space, which is a lot of architraves! Once all the painting was complete, I could tackle the wallpapering. It took me all day, but I'm very pleased with the final result and all for a bargain price.

Looks pretty from the kitchen too, echoing the red and cream scheme in here.

The pine pantry door has always had this funny little hole in it. When we first moved in, it had a fine mesh stretched over to stop flies getting in, but that meant you could see into the pantry. Not good when it wasn't tidy! So I replaced it with a section of chicken wire, which I have now backed in a piece of vintage fabric.

A pretty rose fabric, naturally ;-))
Thankfully the old lampshade looked fine once re-hung again, so that saved me another job.
The final task that does need doing though, is to sand and re-varnish the old back door.

Having such a busy pattered space does mean that additional accessories aren't required - I think a floral framed print, for example, would be lost. So it will be nice to keep this area clutter-free.
And when I stand in the corner of our back living room and look first left, and then right...
...where we have the white version of the rose wallpaper, the effect is cohesive and calming.
Of course a weekend spent wallpapering on the spur of the moment, did mean that one on-going project at the end of the garden has been a little neglected...and there I was saying about seeing a job through to the end?...I'll get right on it!
Hope you're having a lovely week,
Niki x


  1. Congratulations on your decision to slow down a bit! We women all try to fit so much in to each day. I usually work 5 minutes from home and as soon as I get through the door I am starting the tea. On Monday I was seconded to another office for a while and it takes me about 2o minutes to get there. Waht a difference being able to wind down after work with a bit of music and the radio just a little bit of me time and then I start the tea when I get in!!

  2. Wise words Niki, although sometimes no matter how hard we try it can be very difficult to be happy where we are - sometimes taking stock of things and slowing down somewhat does help. Not that it looks like you've slowed down - what a wonderful job you have done with your hallway. It is lovely.

  3. Very nice the way your hallway paper job turned out. I do understand what you are reflecting about, I too stay so awfully busy, and have to stop and remind myself to slow down. Take a breather, your work is always a joy to see, best of luck with the garden.
    Hugs, Diane

  4. Slowing down is a good idea - we work too hard us women to achieve things. I sometimes just stop, I do nothing, sometimes I do nothing for one hour, sometimes its half a day, sometimes I take a few days till my batteries are recharged and I can start again.
    I must say your hall looks wonderful. We too have the "hack and slay" sort of garden, Sometimes I wish I had a magic wand.

  5. First of all Niki, I love the wallpaering the room looks wonderful, so clean and homely, I also love the words of wisdom I must copy them down...I know just what you mean Niki, I feel battered I am so exhausted and I still have so many things to do till the end of term there seems no light at the end of the tunnel...I feel that I am now getting older and I havent the energy that I used to have twenty years of energy filled drama teaching have taken their toll on me...I dont want to maon or try and compare...I just wanted you to know that I understand...thinking of you...every blessing H

  6. The hallway looks beautiful Niki! It's good that you're slowing down a bit...you won't have the time to really appreciate all you've created if you don't. I think women generally tend to feel more guilty if they take a break, heaven knows why..we certainly deserve it!!;)have a good week.
    Clare x

  7. your wallpaper job is brilliant, it all looks fabulous, and wallpapering is not easy. I love the roses too!

    best wishes Ginny x

  8. Hi Niki

    Doesn't the hall look good! A total transformation in next to no time! At last ... you're slowing down a little ... notalot, but it's a start. Maybe I'll follow suit?!!!!

    Sue x

  9. What a fantastic post! A great reminder to many of us.
    The hall looks beautiful. What a clever girl to achieve that in a weekend.

  10. Niki your hall way looks beautiful, and all in one day! I admire your honesty in this post.
    Sophie xxx

  11. Your candor is wonderful Niki. Wise words. I can relate completely. Your hallway looks wonderful. I love the wallpaper and your home is so homey (American word, I think the same as homely. (: XO Vicki

  12. We all probably need to give ourselves a break. It is funny how the whole world is still ok if we slack off once in a while! Love your hall! And enjoy what you do!!
    Hugs, Lisa

  13. Roses as well as grass can bloom more brightly over the fence. We can ALWAYS find other people who have it tougher than us but if you're feeling a bit flat sometimes - you're allowed!! ..... because you're important too. You are a very gorgeous 'doer' - and yet again, thank you so much for sharing. It's so lovely to visit you as it makes a big difference to another work from home girl. Thanks, Niki. Suzy x

  14. Anonymous7:03 am

    I so admire your creativity and your industry. If only I could achieve a small proportion of what you do I would be proud of myself. The range of items you made for the fair and sell through your website is awesome! Please do slow down and enjoy the summer. Thank you so much for sharing through your blog. Tania

  15. Dear Niki
    Firstly may I applaud your honesty..
    I read this blog post with my heading nodding furiously..
    I have always seen you as a perfectionist and this reflects in all you do and achieve Niki...You are driven, which is a quality to be admired, but it comes with a price...
    I do understand your work, home, family dilemma.. it is so hard to juggle it all and sometimes something's got to give.. which is not easy to accept.
    I think you are doing a grand job and don't beat yourself up about it..
    Though I am a fine one to talk!!!

    With love
    Michele x

  16. Phew Niki! So many jobs, so little time... I know the feeling, being an online seller myself with a large 'hack & slash'garden that demands my constant attention. The Summer is when unruly gardens really can take over your life, I have neglected mine this year due to too much online work, and it will cost a fortune to get it sorted out as it is now beyond the point that I can manage, so I can totally relate to what you are saying!! I think that easing up a bit on some things and focusing on others that seem less 'stressy' is the best way forward, flexibility is the key! Good luck with the balancing act, I am sure you are close to perfecting it! Take care, Lois xx
    PS love the rosey hallway. Now relax a bit, its far too hot to garden at the moment!!

  17. The hallway looks wonderful, I think it's in your nature to work hard but it's always good to step back and enjoy all the efforts of your hard work. You are so fortunate to love what you do and you do it so well!

  18. Great post Niki, very thought provoking.

    Your hallway looks lovely.

  19. What a refreshing read this post was, we should all realise our limitations and only strive as hard as we wish to exceed them!!

    I absolutely love what you have done to your hallway it looks timelessly pretty, and as you say refreshingly simple without any additions.

    Your back door looks gorgeously weatherbeaten! It's a shame to do anything to it, but I suppose the practicalities say it should be weatherproof!!

    Sue xx

  20. Hi Niki! I was such a joy to read your post today. I am not sure that I was born with my outlook, or had to learn it along the way, but I too have been where you are coming from and that is why the decision to be happy and sticking with it is so important. That doesn't mean life won't still try to throw you curve balls, it is all in your reaction to that throw whether or not you buckle under pressure or are happy. I think you are an amazing woman and can obviously achieve what you set your mind too. You home and businesses are lovely, and I know that you can find a balnce in your life. You were actually one of the first blogs I found, and you have been happy inspiration for me since the day I found you. I am glad today I could be a little happy inspiration for you!!!
    love and hugs,

  21. I loved your post today!!! Very meaningful and got me thinking about things in my life...Thank you for such a pretty post...
    I just love the wallpaper on your walls.. The colors and the roses are just amazing...Hope all is well..

  22. Great post Niki, it certainly made me think.
    I love the wallpaper, you are very brave I can paint but wouldn't even attempt wallpapering, I would need triple the amount of rolls to make up for my mistakes:0)

    Beautiful roses by the way.

    Take care and make sure you make time to relax.


  23. Congratulations Niki for 3 years of blogging.
    This is the first time for me to your gorgeous blog.
    Love all your roses and the wallpaper is so pretty.

    Have a lovely day

  24. hi niki,

    i'd love to be entered in your drawing =)

    thanks bunches!

  25. Hi Niki,
    Thank you so very much for this post...
    It's the first time I read a blog with tears in my eyes...
    Reading your blog, watching all the wonders you share with us is a real great moment I offer to my self.
    Thank YOU!

    P.S.: Your hallway looks really beautiful.


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx