The children rarely hop up and down with excitement when it’s time to take the Christmas decorations down. There is a hesitation to say goodbye and fewer volunteers for this job than the excited unwrapping of the lights and re-discovery of favourite ornaments earlier in December! To me, the house always feels combination of fresh – and a little bit empty. While it’s good to clear and find space, it also feels a little bare and sad for a few days.

This year I’ve kept a set of decorative lights around a favourite painting by Craig Shuttlewood. These are no longer Christmas decorations you understand – I have decided they fall in to the category of mood lighting. Essential!

Candles are the same. We still have a good few weeks of winter to come and anything which keeps spirits high and lets us enjoy the darker evenings is a good thing.

Walking the dog yesterday I saw all the trees stacked up in the park, waiting to be collected and disposed of. The irony is that this is the exact same location they were sold from just weeks ago. How quickly some things can go from being carefully compared, chosen and carried home and then lovingly decorated…. to wasted rubbish.

Thankfully now the children are older there is less temptation for wasteful tat for presents – we were away for Christmas so no one has actually had presents yet! My husband chose himself a new weekend bag – a quality leather one he had had his eye on for a while.

Far better to choose well and pick something you know will appreciate for a good while to come.

I love this time of year for taking stock. I have a list of decorating and maintenance jobs in the house. Some are bigger projects, but making changes to just small items is enjoyable when suddenly the house is clean and clear again.

Moving pieces of furniture, making sure you get photos in frames, a new blanket bringing colour to the arm of the sofa. I’ve moved a few pictures around and have a collection of small art works I’ve purchased which are now ready to be framed and grouped together. ( Simon M Smith, a Mark Charlton collage, an original print by Kathy Hutton and some tiny stiched pieces by Gill Boulton)  Little jobs which are satisfying and make a difference. Things taken care of.

click image to see details of this painting

I’ve also been planning the year ahead… some paintings are currently on show in Laveli bakery in Chiswick ready for anyone looking to fill a bare space on their own wall and the next big event is Surrey Contemporary Art Fair 23-25th February. If you are on the mailing list you will receive links to tickets closer the time.

My wishes for this year?

• a bigger working space
• creating a group or programme to support other creatives
• exploring ways to incorporate photography and more graphic elements back in to my work

I’m not entirely sure yet how any of this will evolve. Maybe you are the same with your plans? If you don’t already, I encourage you to write them down somewhere. Somewhere you can review them in a year’s time – perhaps a journal or the page at the start of your diary.

I’ve been doing this for a few years now and it’s quite incredible how things you write have a way of coming true. Including: unexpected travel (an unplanned trip to Japan), to be featured in a magazine (twice!), in January 2017 I wrote “explore making videos” and there are now more than 26 videos on my Facebook page (click here to view them) which have had 26,000 views!

That’s pretty fun results for an experiment and I’ve had some wonderful conversations as a result of them. So if that’s you, thank you for being part of my year and let’s welcome in new experiments and explorations for 2018.

Do let me know your intentions for the year. In fact a better question may be to complete the sentence and write in the comments below:

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if….”

 

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