The Studio is closed for holidays - the next dispatch date is 25th September

Journal

Create your magical life a little bit at a time

My friend Deb recently told me that she had given up on doing anything for herself. She pointed to a bag of craft supplies on the kitchen sideboard.

About a year before, enthusiastic for a new craft project, she had bought all the things she needed to make a felt dog decoration for her Christmas tree. She had put them on her sideboard, waiting for an opportunity to get started. Here we were a year later and that opportunity had not arrived, the bag was still on the sideboard waiting. She begged me to take it away and find someone with more time.

A year. My friend had not found the hour to herself she needed to make the little dog decoration in a year.

Now I appreciate she is a busy woman, she has two teenage sons, she has a part time job, she has a dog and a husband and parents. But an hour to herself? In a year?

This obviously wasn't anything to do with lack of time - it was to do with priorities and always waiting for time to be left for herself at the end of the week.

Nobody ever has time left at the end of the week. Nobody has ever had time left at the end of the week. Do not wait for the time at the end of the week.

For it is these small things - things that we do just for us, or with our families and friends - that bring joy to our lives. The time to make something, to play the piano, to go for a run, to eat ice cream - to sit on a window seat and simply read and read and read. The things that are especially important when life gets busy. They are the things that make us human.

It is these small things that get forgotten because we are always waiting for time to just appear, because they are at the bottom of our mental list.

A while ago, realising that I was doing exactly this, I came up with a new way of planning my time.

It is a simple way of planning my weeks that has brought many more joyful things into daily life. I shared it in the A Seasonal Way magazine earlier this year. In the article I showed how it was possible to plan a summer where you get to do more fun things, all those things that you always intend to but never quite get around to.

Of all the articles in the magazine this was the one that I got most feedback about, most messages, most emails - with people telling me about the things that they had been doing, things that they had been intending to do for years but somehow never got around to. It seemed that I was onto something, that this was a simple technique that could help people plan with themselves in mind.

And what was even more interesting is that lots of people told me that once they had begun to add things into their lives, other opportunities came along as if by magic.

One woman who really wanted a garden began with planting pea shoots in a pot by her door, a month later - just as she began to harvest the shoots - a neighbour offered her part of his garden to grow in as it was getting to be a chore for him.

Another, who loves the sea but lives a couple of hours drive away, began to schedule in a weekend day trip once a month. Recently she was asked by a friend of a friend if she would house sit with her family over half term - a beautiful seafront home for a week.

It seemed that something was going on. Could it be The Law of Abundance, a magical thinking where the Universe brings you more of what you focus on? Could it be (more likely to my scientific brain) that people bring their own luck by beginning something? The tending of the pea shoots made the neighbour realise that there was a potential solution to their own overgrown garden, the photos on Facebook of the day trips to the beach reminded the friend of someone looking for a house sitter . . .

Whatever the means, whether it happens by creating your own luck or by signalling to the Universe, intentionally doing more small things appeared to be changing something for people.

I have expanded the original planning diagram into 4 part PDF which you can get when you sign up for my Newsletter. (if you are already on the email list then the PDF is in the Newsletter Library at the bottom of every email I send).

Tags: life

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Snapdragon social

Seraphina's eleven babies have grown so fast.⁠⠀
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Now when she tries to gather them under her - usually if she hears the buzzard overhead - they all head under her feathers but their heads and tails stick out the side.⁠⠀
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She seems unperturbed and a little like an overstuffed tea cosy.
I think that the last time I had this wooden clothes horse out was when we needed to dry cloth nappies c. 2001.⁠⠀
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The plant dyed alpaca house socks have all cured now, the dye is well sunk into the fibres, so over the past couple of days I've been washing and pressing and packaging them.⁠⠀
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The link to the shop page for them will go out in Friday's newsletter first - the actual newsletter is all about the dye deck and if you want to get it straight into your inbox you can sign up on the website www.snapdragonlife.com or through my profile.⁠⠀
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These were all dyed with tansy - the very yellow ones from the plant at the top of the Studio meadow, the slightly more orange ones from the plant down by the Studio door.
Last year, in the spring,  I got a tiny amount of seed of a grey Shirley poppy. ⁠⠀
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I sowed half and gave half to @gracealexanderflowers .⁠⠀
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None came up, in my garden at least.⁠⠀
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This year two plants have appeared - a little fey and wan as Shirley poppies go, but with definitely grey flowers. ⁠⠀
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Well kind of a purply grey . . . and if I'm honest I prefer the rich plums of Pandora . . . but It is eminently instagrammable.
Yesterday Seth Godin wrote that instead of getting our ideas spread like wildfire (uncontrolled, destructive, leaving nothing) we should get them to spread like wildflowers instead.⁠⠀
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I loved this idea.  Ideas that self seed and spread in groups, ideas that place themselves where they are happiest, where they can thrive.⁠⠀
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Ideas that take root in unpromising places and bring joy.

These daisies moved into the top of the Studio Meadow last year- spreading from the garden rather than the fields- but wilding themselves none the less.
A bright new morning starting a bright new week. ⁠⠀
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A row of dog daisies and love in a mist, fresh and light and optimistic.⁠⠀
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I feel like I'm hovering on the edge of planning things outside my studio this week. It is tentative.⁠⠀
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Today I have a meeting about something that will involve me leaving the premises. I'm part excited, part terrified - I think they are probably the same things in many ways.⁠⠀
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I'm building up to going on holiday in a few weeks. It feels vertiginous.  I definitely need to build my social muscles back up.⁠⠀
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The globe thistles shouldn't be there. ⁠⠀
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It was meant to be a temporary nursery bed.⁠⠀
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They were a root cutting from my parents' garden - memories of pulling off the heads as missiles.⁠⠀
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It is the perfect place for them.⁠⠀
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Low sun barrels along the path as the gloaming comes. ⁠⠀
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They glow in the golden hour.⁠⠀
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I leave the heads alone.
Of all the half hardy annuals that are beginning to flower here, I think that cosmos purity is my favourite. ⁠⠀
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Happy and light and generous with its flowers.⁠⠀
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As you pick it, the foliage smells that dense herby/incense way that is perfect for the late summer/early autumn time.
Yesterday I was chatting to Eileen, who volunteers in the garden on Wednesday mornings, about how the Studio meadow changes in the light.  In particular how the warmer light in August - especially the soft evening light - makes everything glow.⁠⠀
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Walking back from checking things at work I snapped these big daisies with a speckle of purple loosestrife behind them.  Softly glowing.⁠⠀
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Through my communities, both free and paid for, through my writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted activity kits, and through my online and in-person workshops I aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

Learn more about why here

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