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…growing my journal skills…

…growing my journal skills…

Kid free time is a bit of a rarity around here. Kid free days with the mister are even rarer. While we are lucky to have my folks in town, and the children have regular sleepovers, they don’t happen much on weekends. Between their work and my husbands, weekday sleepovers tend to work out better, so over the years that’s what we’ve gravitated towards. I’ve managed to score some completely free weekends, where my commitments in town clash with my husband organising a trip to see his mum. But just the two of us? On a weekend? What a novelty!

With the majority of my kid free time also being solo time, my mental plan for the weekend included a massive pile of crafting and not moving from the couch except to refill my cup of tea. Then, the husband lured me to the nursery on the promise of a coffee & cupcake on the way. We wandered around, starting to plan the cottage garden that will fill the space on the cooler southern side of our house. Someone got distracted by the fruit trees. I suddenly understood how he felt trailing me around spotlight. Quite possibly he felt the same. “Do we need one of those?” “We already have one”. A conversation that works equally well whether we’re talking about fruit trees or Cricut blades!

Not content with just fruit trees, I also had to undertake basket carrying duty in the veggie section at Bunnings. We went out for dinner and did the rounds on the tractor and went for a walk to check the waterfalls after the rain. He ignored the honey-do list, and I stared longingly at my want-to-craft list.

Eventually, he bored of my company and wandered off to stare at the weeds in his garden, hoping is he glowered at them long enough they might remove themselves. I flicked the boom on and turned the music up loud enough I couldn’t hear him call me if he had another grand idea of some yard work I could help him with. His idea of ways to spend kid free time and my idea of how to spend kid free time are two very different beasts!

If you’ve been around here for a hot minute, you’ll know I’m an obsessive list maker. Lists for school lessons, lists for my daily jobs, lists for projects, lists for podcast ideas…when it comes to kid free time, I’m all about lists and timers. I’ve long ago learnt that my brain will explode with all the things, and then I’ll get stuck in one rut, and do nothing else. By the end of my free time, I’ll feel like I’ve achieved nothing, because I’ve missed whole swathes of my want-to-do list. I could finish a whole quilt, but if I didn’t get the house spotless, edit three photo sessions, and prep two blog posts, my crazy brain things it’s a failure. Such a fun place, my brain. So I started lists and timers. I write down all the things I want to do, and then set a timer. 20 minutes creative, 20 minutes work, 20 minutes house. Depending on what’s going on, I tweak these times, but the theory remains the same. Timer on, head down, get stuff done.

This weekend wasn’t one where timers would work. Wandering around the nursery, going out for a drink…can’t put a time on those. I didn’t have a lot to get through in the way of chores or work, so I simply used my down time at home as craft time…until we went for a walk. Or jumped on the tractor to check the creeks. Even without my lists though, I managed to get through a decent amount of my list. I embroidered and joined some little hexies. The project they are for didn’t get much progress, but the hexies were the most labour intensive part of the process. I knitted a bit, and got out supplies for my cross-stitch I planned to pick up during the week.

I also got around to starting the Grid Journal class from Kelly Wynne. I first did one of her classes back at the beginning of the pandemic, when she kindly made The Layered Page available for limited time access. Me being me, I never finished the class (I was too busy doomscrolling!), but I enjoyed the bits I did do. So much so, that when I signed up for the free grid journal class, I couldn’t resist taking up the add on offer to buy The Layered Page. The more I played with the one class, the keener I am to get stuck into the other again, to build up my collage fodder stash

The video I watched didn’t include paint layers, but the gelli prints I had on hand were only on printer paper, not giving that nice semi-transparent effect to see the under layers the thinner, recommended paper did. To fill out the squares, I added some of my favourite Golden Fluid acrylics. As well as my Goldens and printer paper gelli prints, I used my favourite black inktense pencil, a green graphitint pencil, a vintage copy of Persuasion that’s my go-to for bookish accents, a white sharpie pen, and Mr14’s posca pens. The end result is a grid I love, and has me super inspired to keep on with the next episodes.

First though, I want to pull a heap of gelli prints in preparation. I’m off to Sydney next week, and I haven’t started packing yet, or cooking the meals I want to freeze to take with us, but I’ve checked where the closest Daiso to my hotel is. Failing that, I also have found an option on Amazon. I’ve also gathered a list of some awesome shops to check out while the children are occupied in workshops all day. Bonus point – the husband is staying home to wrangle the dogs/cat/pigs/chooks/dust bunnies, so I’m completely unsupervised. How much mischief can I get up to, with four full days to go my hardest in the big smoke, do we think?

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