Turning the page on 2023
Middle of Nowhere
by Gretel
1M ago
  Dropping in to brush the dust off my blog and wish everyone (if you’re still there) a happy and improved 2024. I had to make some changes to my lifestyle to try to manage my ADHD, jiggling things  (such as my diet and eating times) around a bit, in order that I can use my energies to prioritise work.  That meant resting my blog for a while, and concentrating on my Patreon page and Instagram. Hopefully now that I’m in a better routine, I can blog more regularly.   My mental health has been very bad this year, with the constant stress and the financial struggle ..read more
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Field painting adventure and overcoming blocks
Middle of Nowhere
by Gretel
9M ago
I have started to reserve Saturdays as a day off, otherwise I'm working every day without a break, which isn't particularly good for my fragile mental health. The weather at the moment is perfectly 'May' - not too hot, with a pleasant breeze and everywhere around is bursting with greenery, blossom and bird song. I have been yearning to do some landscape sketching for ages and decided to stay close to home, because I have a certain amount of anxiety about going out. So I packed a rucksack with a stupid amount of art stuff, made up a little picnic of a cheese sandwich and a bottle of water and ..read more
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A Wild and Sacred Beauty
Middle of Nowhere
by Gretel
10M ago
I realised today that I was in danger of missing my favourite month of the year; May for me is like Christmas - I cannot wait for it to arrive, spend weeks in anticipation of it and miss it dreadfully when it is (all too quickly) over. However, I have to earn my mortgage every month and that means working (making and selling) pretty much all day and every day, with no guaranteed results. The only sure result is that I am constantly tired and anxious. So this morning, with my inner batteries feeling totally flat and my creativity at a low, I pumped dear old Marjorie's tyres up for the first t ..read more
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Shropshire snow
Middle of Nowhere
by Gretel
1y ago
I ventured out for a short walk this morning, as although the snow was falling it is due to rain later and as I write, there is a steady, wet spattering as it slowly melts and drips from the cottage roof. So off up the hill I went, with my camera.  It isn't unheard of to get snow in March but it is odd to see the cheery yellow daffodil heads bent under the weight of their new white bonnets and the surrounding farmland resembling a Christmas scene. I only noticed the other day that the trees and hedgerows were just - barely - starting to acquire the warmer flush of colour that ..read more
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Little cottage room made good
Middle of Nowhere
by Gretel
1y ago
  For the first time since moving in over ten years ago, I have a functioning front room. There are many reasons why it stayed as a 'zombie' room, mostly due to  my being overwhelmed by the sheer muddle of it all (one of the many symptoms of my ADHD) and needing to get the wood burner swept, which is an extra cost to consider. However, with a very small electric budget and the ongoing issue of rising bills, I decided to leave my upstairs studio storage heater off this winter, with the result that I've been unable to work in there without catching a chill (even with several layer ..read more
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New Year Return
Middle of Nowhere
by Gretel
1y ago
The first day of a shiny New Year seems as good a time as any to crank this old blog back to some kind of wheezing life. The Old Year was a difficult one, particularly in the autumn, when I sank into one of the worst bouts of depression I’ve endured for years, largely down to the looming prospect of having to sell the cottage and face an uncertain future. However, I managed to drag myself out of it and am starting 2023 feeling remarkably positive, despite everything.  After a creative slump, when I felt as if I’d never create anything original and pleasing again, I began making a n ..read more
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Cuttings from a garden in Wales
Middle of Nowhere
by Gretel
1y ago
Last month Jean-and-Brian-next-door invited me out for an afternoon of sight seeing, namely Glansevern Hall and Gardens, over the Shropshire/Wales border near Welshpool. As long term readers know, I can’t get out and about, due to the complete lack of public transport here, so I have barely explored the area I’ve been living in for over ten years; the offer for a trip to somewhere new was very welcome. On the day we went there was a voluntary payment system rather than a ‘pay on the gate’ entrance fee.   It’s a rambling, overgrown wild beauty of a garden, bursting out over grassy ..read more
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Decorative Needle Felting
Middle of Nowhere
by Gretel
1y ago
  It’s been a while and in that time my book ‘Decorative Needle Felting Projects’ has not only been published in the U.K. but is now available in the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Europe, Japan…I’ve popped some live links on my website here, but you can easily find it in your country of choice by pasting the ISBN number 9781399000307 into a search engine and seeing what comes up. And it’s always great if you can support a local independent bookshop, rather than the usual Big Place. If you don’t follow me on Instagram where I’ve been posting images for a while, then here are a fe ..read more
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Rainy evening in Shropshire
Middle of Nowhere
by Gretel
1y ago
  My dear little bedroom, where I spend so much time working and resting, has been Spring cleaned and tidied. This is my sanctuary, my safe place, where I am surrounded by everything I love and everything that interests me.  At the bottom of the bed, I have added an old tool box, placed on its side, so that I can have a changing display of flowers or dried cuttings, to enjoy and study for future painting. This evening the rain has been steadily moving across from Wales. The field was cut for silage two days ago and birds of all kinds have been gleaning titbits from it, including a ..read more
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Painting the hedgerows
Middle of Nowhere
by Gretel
1y ago
Mid-may and the verges are spattered with Queen Anne’s Lace and sundry other wild pretties, overlooked by copious clouds of foaming hawthorn, which we must not pick and never, ever bring into the house, for fear of bad luck. Even the ancient, warty Wrekin is softened with the flush of new green growth. I have aways loved the sight of a narrow country road cutting through the landscape and forging onwards to an invisible end, softly edged by tumbling greenery, blurring the hard edges so that the road, for all its visual dominance, never entirely wins. And here is my own tumbledown cottage ..read more
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