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I actually celebrate the Midwinter Festival of Abundance, but as that appears only on my calendar (!) I stretch it from Solstice to New Year. I don’t normally spend much on presents, but I look to where my abundance is overflowing, and share from it to bring back balance… So often I share from my materials to other makers and if I have spare money to some of the excellent micro-charities out there. Last year I started seriously giving a lot to the local Foodbanks, as the situation is so dire for people on low income, whether working on zero hour contracts or sanctioned by the Department of Woe and Persecution. This year I had bought for the bank but then they have closed, refusing to collude with the Government, who is saying people are ‘choosing’ to use the banks…

So friends have got things I knew or hoped they might like, plus a distribution of bargains from Approved Foods – I know lots of people who love to drink organic herbal teas or green teas, but can’t always afford them, so laid in a few dozen when they were 50p a box [they’re now 33p, dang it!] and then vegan or gluten free goodies and/or craft items. I still have a bag to donate to Tasty Tuesdays Free Cafe or the other Foodbank, but can actually see my shelves again 😉

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Meanwhile I am using the quiet time to focus on creativity and any new goals… I had a lot of success with a couple of craft stalls for Refuges for Pets [where people in refuges get their pets fostered till they are rehoused] and my share has gone into my exhibition fund. Making decorations to sell on the stalls has renewed my enjoyment of making scented sachets, creative stitching and embellishments. Some friends gave me lovely fabrics and sari embellishments for my 50th birthday recently, which were really good fun to play with 😉

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So I have taken the chance to get all the fabric boxes I can reach and re-sort them with new projects in mind, and to buy a few colours/patterns to bridge gaps. I try to always buy remnants, not just because they’re cheaper, but to stop fabric ending up in landfill, such a waste… Just handling fabrics makes the ideas come flooding, so I’m trying to sketch and list ideas as my memory is so rubbish now. I’m not sure if that’s fibro fog or medication, but it’s very odd after a life of hyper vigilance and flashbacks and reliable recall of a lot of research to find things fading like snow in sunshine. It has its upside, but adjusting to writing everything down has taken a while.

As so many people are away and all the routines are put aside, I have come to really enjoy this time where I can follow ideas through with fewer distractions or pacing needs interrupting the flow…

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It was New Year 2012 when I started making handmade books again, and I can feel that impulse again. I’ve also lucked into some yarn that makes me want to pick up Cradle For Stones again, an installation about PTSD triggers I put down to work on Diversity is Our Strength…

So I’m only a couple of days in and I already feel the benefit of my retreat and refresh/ recharge/ re evaluate time… I hope whatever kind of festive times you are are having, you are enjoying them and finding time to enjoy all the colour and lights against the darkness in the North, or for the Aussies, barbecue on the beach I guess 😉

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