I’ve not written a “what I learned this Autumn/fall” post before, but I’m joining in with Emily P Freeman’s what I learned blog post link up. If you’ve read around here awhile you’ll know that I talk about Marking your creative journey as an important part of staying creative. This post is a good way for me to look back over Autumn and mark important steps in my own season and hope it helps you to think over your season and what you have learnt.

What I learnt in autumn

1. I can do hard things through my anxiety

The beginning of November I flew to the states on my own, hired a car and drove on unfamiliar roads, and met a bunch of semi strangers all by myself! I was most anxious about the driving and I did have a mini melt down the first day when I got lost and had to call home for help – God bless the Internet and Google! But on the second day I started to really enjoy it and it was a big confidence boost! I was feeling anxious, and I have struggled with paralysing anxiety before, this was lower level anxious but still, constant lump in the throat type of anxiety, but I pushed through it and did it whilst feeling anxious. I know I prayed a lot through this and was grateful for others who I knew were praying specifically about this and for the trip. It felt good and the anxiety ebbed.

The car I hired was called a soul, which I thought was strangely apt.
The car I hired was called a soul, which I thought was strangely apt.

2. The white barn is a real place and it’s as good in real life as in the pictures!

If you follow The nester on the Internet at all you’ll see her gorgeous barn where she decorates so cleverly and beautifully. And it’s just as beautiful in real life. I totally had a fan girl moment when I met her, she is one of the writers that runs the writing community I’m a member of and I’ve been reading her online for a while. She holds events on her property and there was an event for the writers attending the workshop in November where we got treated to music and beauty and bonfire.

The White barn
Of course it being night time and me being all silly excited, I didn’t get many great photos of the barn!

3. Being 40 is ok.

Confession- I turned forty in October. Last year I made a promise to celebrate my birthdays going forward after kind of ignoring them a little for a couple of years. It was hard to celebrate especially as work has been a little slow lately, but I had a lovely evening with some close friends who I am immensely grateful for.

4. I can make floral arrangements

I love having flowers around the home, but it rarely gets more complicated than jug, or vase, cutting stems at different heights and voila. For my birthday dinner I wanted to make an arrangement that worked from all sides, so I did. I got inspiration from Pinterest, of course, but I had a play and it worked out ok. Loved it. Will do it again too.

Autumn floral arrangement

5. Encouraging learning might cost you something.

So it’s a small thing but I’ve had a couple of my favourite mugs get broken because I’m enabling my children to learn the household skill of unloading the dishwasher! Why is it always your favourite, most expensive mug that gets broken and not the horrible old ones that you’ve had for years? So if anyone wants to get me an Emma Bridgewater mug for Christmas, there’s a space on my mug hook.

6. Google maps is the best sat nav ever.

I may have overstated that as I haven’t actually tried out all the sat navs out there, but as I mentioned earlier, did you see? Up there point number 1! I drove in the states, an automatic car, on roads I didn’t know, on the other side of the road and everything! (Blows on fingernails and rubs them on jumper) I don’t really use a sat nav at home, and we do have a tomtom that gets used occasionally and previously I had a sat nav app on my phone, but it wasn’t great. So after the initial confusion over sorting out my internet access over phone provider in the US, I used google maps to find my way everywhere – it talks to you and everything! Also, funny thing, it talks to me in a British accent, but my new friend Jill who I got a ride with who’s American, hers talks to her in an American accent! Of course – clever Google. I love the Internet!

7. When you really have to do something and really want to, you make a way.

In September I took part in a challenge. I was determined and committed but I got snarled up because my laptop started to die, my creative suite wouldn’t work and now my Mac is well and truly dead. 🙁 But in order to complete the challenge I determined to design a magazine, so I had to find a solution. I used an online design tool which worked out quite well in the end. I could have given up but I wanted to complete the challenge so I had to find a work around. Still now I am running this site with a combination of iPad, iPhone and husbands laptop in the evenings, which has its frustrations and is not a long term solution, but it does prove that if you really want to do something you can find a work around.

8. Hope*writers are as lovely in real life as online

Meeting people you’ve only met online is daunting and some of them are not always like they project. But I met some people in real life at the hope*writers workshop who were lovely, I wish the workshop had been longer because there were people I wanted to spend more time with. It took going to Charlotte to meet a friend I met through hopewriters who lives in Liverpool! Also this is not an exclusive community, if you are a writer you should totally join, they are friendly and helpful and encouraging. ( And I’m not just saying that because that is an affiliate link, I wouldn’t recommend something I don’t believe in)


9. Paper-piecing

I did a workshop with my friend Harriet and learnt the patchwork technique of paper piecing and made a lavender heart. I’m not sure whether it’s something that I will do all the time but I would like to make a quilt one day, so I’m glad to have learnt the technique.

Paper piecing patchwork heart

What did you learn this Autumn?

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What I learned this Autumn/Fall

6 thoughts on “What I learned this Autumn/Fall

  • 1st December 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I understand having anxiety while doing something anyways. I have been feeling that I should get out of my comfort zone.

    • 1st December 2016 at 9:37 pm

      Thanks for reading! It can be hard to get out of your comfort zone can’t it?

  • 13th December 2016 at 5:03 pm

    How amazing and huge kudos to you for travelling to America alone and driving when there too. I come out in a cold sweat just thinking of doing that. You must have felt so empowered and I imagine you have met friends for life as a result.

    I too turned 40 this year, way back in January, so I’m almost 41 now. I’m terrible for celebrating my own birthday but love to celebrate everyone elses. I just have these deep-rooted memories of not-so-great birthdays when I was younger, plus January has always seemed such a miserable and dull month for a birthday. I’m much happier about this coming birthday; not because I hated turning 40 but because people won’t feel they have to make much of a fuss. I actually like getting older.
    I hope you had a lovely time celebrating with your friends and your family too.

    I adore your patchwork heart. Quilt making has been on my to-do list for quite some time, embarrassingly. I have a friend who is phenomenal at making them but I am so drawn to cross-stitch that apart from felt creations and bunting, I don’t seem to be able to get started with any other project.

    I feel your pain at the loss of your favourite mug. I have a number of Wrendale favourites and the kids know better than to handle them. They play it safe and make me cups of tea or coffee in my other mugs. Bless them, they’re very self-sufficient in the home, but know it’s not worth the wrath of mum to risk one of her favourite mugs. Sometimes I think how silly to feel so connected to an inanimate object but then when I make a lovely cup of tea and sit down to do something or even just gaze out the window whilst drinking from it, my mugs can give me such a feeling of contentment.
    I hope you get a lovely Emma Bridgewater replacement for Christmas.

    This is such a powerful post. Go you! x

    • 13th December 2016 at 8:23 pm

      Thanks for commenting Emma, I would love to make a quilt but I also like projects where I can see results more quickly! I think sometimes we have to stick with the projects that resonate most with us, not everything will be our ‘thing’. It’s funny how we get drawn to the same things over and over.

  • 31st December 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Love connecting, Abi! Thanks for reaching out, and the ’96/7 Oxford connection is so fun. Enjoy your blog!


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