Hello Leek! Plus a Little Reflection // Dear Diary #5

Dear diary,

I’ve moved…! It’s been one week since we packed up our things, said goodbye to Bristol and hello to Leek. And it’s just starting to sink in. Just starting to feel normal. I’m just starting to find a balance.

I haven’t taken many pictures this week, but I’ve had lots of thoughts buzzing around my brain, and lots of feelings beating through my heart. So I thought I would attempt to empty them out here, in my diary.

I have so many notebooks, sketchbooks, journals, planners, diaries; big, small, thick, thin, handmade, empty, well-loved… I’ve been trying to organise them, trying to organise my ideas: which do I need? How can they serve me? One book for planning and tracking, one book for observing and thinking, one book for reflecting and experimenting. One mind to hold it all together. But what do they contain?

I have so many interests, so many skills half-learnt, so many skills still to add to the list. So much potential. So many opportunities. So much to know, places to see, people I haven’t met… so much I’m still afraid of. I’ve been reading, researching, watching, observing, exploring.

I’ve been asking myself questions. Thinking about options: this or that. What do I like? What don’t I agree with? Where do I fit in? What’s right? What’s wrong? Where does the time go?

I want to create. But still this same question: what to create? And what for?

Recently I’ve been interested in mixed media art, journals, drawing, letters, cards, paper, cutting, sticking, layers… mess vs. arrangement, wild nature vs. clean manmade… How to create without destroying at the same time? How to get past my conscience to avoid destroying my own sanity. After all, how much weight can one pair of shoulders take?

If you train hard enough, you could lift more than people might expect. Yesterday we saw a strong-woman street-performer lift two grown men off the floor. Maybe I could train myself to take the weight of the world on my shoulders. Or maybe I could train myself to take the weight of the world off my conscience.

Creativity is here for you first. What you create and what brings you joy, is for you first. And for others second. What do I enjoy? What process do I enjoy? Forget about the problems and the consequences; the packaging, the waste, the plastic, the manmade… all we can do is try. Sometimes trying becomes too trying, and tears tear us apart. Let the creativity through and open up to inspiration.

We can work out the problems along the way, and find that balance. Think of my yoga practice; the breath, the strength from within; grounding down, whilst lifting up; connecting mind and body.

Balance can only be achieved in calm, not in anger. Balance can only be found with knowledge, not with ignorance. So keep learning, keep creating, and keep breathing in inspiration. We will find clarity, and we will see that the universe is unfolding as it should, and we are already where we are meant to be.

Until next time, stay creative; stay true to you.

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

p.s. The wonderful flag is a handmade leaving gift from one of our Bristol friends, which was accompanied by a ‘Bye Bye Bristol’ flag. I love receiving handmade gifts!

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Time to Retreat // Digital Detox

Hello!

As promised, today I will be explaining my upcoming digital detox. From this Sunday evening I will be going (almost) offline for two whole weeks!

I have given myself the following guidelines:

  • No browsing on social media
  • No posting or engaging with content on social media, including WordPress and YouTube
  • Social media accounts I usually use are:
  • Also try not to browse any other websites
  • Check only emails – this is how I get my work rota

Steps I will take to make sure I savour my time offline:

  • Delete all social apps on my phone
  • Logout of all social media on computer
  • Spend the time focusing on what Sunray Sister is, what I want it to be, what kind of work I want to be creating and sharing, what product I want to sell to people, what message I want to put across… etc.!
  • Report back on Sunday 21st May in a blog post.

Coming up… nothing for a while! I think this time off is really going to help me, and I already feel positive about coming back refreshed and refocused for the next chapter of Sunray Sister’s journey.

See you in a little while; I hope your days are filled with sunshine and glitter!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Retreat, Reflect, Refocus // How To Not Give-up

Hello!

Before we get into today’s extremely introspective post, let’s first have a little re-cap of this month’s content, in case you missed anything:

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So that was then. Now things are changing….. 

I am an ever evolving creature. I go through many seasons. And as these seasons come around again, I recognise patterns. Then gradually, very gradually, I can begin to see what I need and what I want. At times like this, when the season is changing, I often miss the signs, and start giving up. That’s how I feel now. Distracted, discouraged, depressed. Ready to give up.

Or maybe just ready to change.

I think, in these bright and beautiful Spring blossoms lies something good. I want to draw again. I want to explore paint, and digital art, stories, new universes and strange and complex characters and their adventures. Maybe in six more months when the heat has become too much, I will long for the autumn when I can shed my leaves and I’ll sing songs again. I just don’t know.

I want to help others. Yet maybe all my tutorials, and ‘here’s how to do this’, and ‘you should really be doing this’, is too much ‘tell’, and not enough ‘show’. I often feel like I’ve missed out and I’m not as good as I could be in one area, because I’ve spent so much time going back and forth. And all this time, here I am.

I need to express myself, and often don’t know how, and then I just don’t at all, and everything gets blocked up. Maybe this blog could be more of a diary. Less of a telling you to do this and that, and more of a here’s how I’m feeling, and here’s something creative that I’ve been working on.

The people who know me have seen me as a musician. And to them I have now given up on music. They want me to be a musician. And I am sure they want me to be happy. I want them to be happy; happy on their own. I don’t want to have to be a musician to make people happy. Besides, I am still and always will be a musician, and I am extremely proud of the skills and passion I have, but at this present time, I do not feel a need to share it.

I’m just in a new season now. I don’t think things can truly be given up. Music has such an irreversible grip on my soul that I don’t think it could ever disconnect from me. It is also such an emotional experience for me; every time I hear or perform music, it is often overwhelming. So as a new season came last September those leaves fell, but they are rotting back into my roots, and continue to feed me every day. Some of them have blown away, but that’s fine.

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So, enough of all the metaphors. Here’s the deal. Things are going to be changing in the next few months, and I don’t know what that will look like. It’s hard to enjoy the present when the future is so hazy, but I am trying.

I think I may stop the ‘regular feature’ type posts, and get a bit more honest and real with you all. I don’t get that many views on my blog yet, so I feel at liberty to be a little inconsistent, and not meet all my promises.

I constantly set up these things that I need to follow through on, such as my Love Lessons, Creative Alternatives, Happy Highlights, Random Round-up, Playtime, Idol Eyes, Artist Dates… and that’s just on my blog. I’ve had songwriting projects, drawing projects, and most recently my doll project which is what sparked ‘Sunray Sister’. I have endless little ‘project’ ideas that I variously stick to and then abandon. Once something is created, that is not enough to me. It needs to connect to something, to lead to something, to continue without end. I often don’t know when to stop; I run over deadlines and arrive late, maybe because I don’t like leaving or finishing… I’m always analysing and perfecting and finding faults.

And here I am typing all this, as Fraz tells me about how the universe was created from one single-molecule element; that I’ve seen more of the surface of the moon than I have the surface of the earth; that we live closer to t-rex, than the t-rex lived to the stegosaurs; and we never truly touch anything due to the distance between atoms.

None of this makes me sad. It actually makes me feel enlightened, because all of my overwhelming worries don’t matter anymore. That’s why I want to help others, to get out of my own troubles. But then all these global troubles – plastic pollution, homelessness, deluded politicians, murdering innocent beings – sit on my shoulders and weigh me down. So even if I am just a minute speck in this universal existence, I could at least be the brightest spark of a speck.

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So that’s now, but where next?

The plan of action for Sunray Sister:

  • Retreat = Step back from all my Sunray Sister online accounts, go offline for a bit.
  • Reflect = Look at everything I’ve done, and ask what I truly want.
  • Refocus = Come back to Sunray Sister online with a new, clearer view.

The goals for this blog:

  • Less tell, more show.
  • Honest, true and personal.
  • Be organised and have posts ready in advance.
  • Fewer ‘series’ posts, but more real projects to share progress and behind-the-scenes on: characters, stories, paintings, dolls, drawings. Real work to build up a proper art portfolio.

Well, as you might expect in a long, rambling post like this, I send you thanks and congratulations for reading this far! What are your thoughts? Have you had similar struggles in your creative career? I’d love to hear how you are working through it! Let me know in the comments or on social media.

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Coming this week…

  • A new YouTube video on Wednesday, find my latest one below.
  • The last week of my Etsy sale!!!
  • A post on Friday to let you know about my digital detox, and how long I’ll be offline for!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

My Reading List: Non-fiction Edition // Sunray Sister

Hello lovely sisters! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Today I have a short, sweet and simple post to share with you: all the books on my current reading list! They are all non-fiction, as I’m so obsessed with learning new things about myself, other people, nature and the universe, that I don’t have much time left for fiction. I prefer to get that from films and cartoons (which I may share in another list-post soon)!

Currently I’ve almost finished ’21 rituals to change your life’ by Theresa Cheung…

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…and below are all the books I will be reading next, along with links to further information. There are quite a few so I split them into three categories: business/creative, personal and spiritual. The books are mostly on my Kindle, a few are on my shelf, and others I will loan from the lovely library! Have you read any of these? Are any of them on your reading list too?

…and that’s it!

I’d love to know what you’re currently reading, and what books are on your reading list! Comment down below or find me on social media.


Coming up this Wednesday I will have a new YouTube video! In the meantime please subscribe to my channel and watch my latest video below. Your support and feedback means the world to me, especially during these first baby steps of my creative career!

Right now I also have a sale on in my Etsy shop! Get 30% off everything from now until the 8th of May!

Spring sale now on

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

 

Celebrate Spring Instead of Easter // Sunray Sister

Happy Sunday sisters! It is super sunny and lovely here, what’s the weather like where you are? I’ve been shedding my layers and rising from my winter hibernation, discovering new places to explore outside.

Now, time for a short but serious discussion…

Next Sunday is the religious Christian celebration called Easter. It is also the commercial chocolate event called Easter. Today I want to talk about why I will be celebrating neither, and prefer to celebrate nature and the cycles of life instead.

I will not be celebrating Easter for two reasons, the first is that I am not Christian. For a while I was agnostic, but recently I have been researching Buddhism and spirituality, and I feel a connection to them. So it makes absolutely no sense to me to celebrate Easter. The only reason that I have recognised it in the past is because supermarkets sell chocolate eggs and we all give them to each other, because…chocolate? This holds no meaning for me, so I see no logic in taking part in it.

The second motive for not celebrating Easter is a recent change in my diet. At the end of 2016, I made the sudden decision to become Vegetarian. In January 2017 I discovered Veganuary, and tried out being Vegan. Throughout February I swung back and forth between being Vegan, and then eating pizza with cheese, and various things which contained milk or eggs. By mid-March I had finally made up my mind that I wanted to become a vegan, and right now, bar a few trace ingredients, I can happily say I am vegan!

On my vegan journey I have found a few things very easy to stop eating, including dairy chocolate. To me a Vegan diet is more than saying no to animal products, and discovering all the ethical, environmental and health benefits. It is a sudden realisation that food already exists for us to eat, and is ready in its pure and raw form, without the need for processing and sugar and flavourings and any other unnatural elements. Chocolate is supposed to be enjoyed as pure dark chocolate, without any dairy. So that’s how I like it, and I don’t need it shaped in an egg. Just pure and simple, how things are meant to be.

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Next Sunday I will not be thinking of a man rising from the dead, and I will not be eating dairy chocolate eggs, (although I may coincidentally be eating pure dark chocolate, which I do a lot anyway). I will however, be thinking of Spring, and rebirth, and death, and life. I will especially be marvelling at the incredible blossoms which I have been watching emerge over the last few weeks. They are so stunning! The wonderful cycles of the universes!!! That is something worth celebrating, and I encourage you to do the same.


Coming up…

This week is filling up fast, since I now have two day-jobs, plus the sun is out so I want to get out and explore! I’m not sure if I will be able to fit in a YouTube video, so it looks like once a fortnight will work better for me from now on.

I have, however, had a chance to add a few new things to my Etsy shop, go check it out and get yourself or a loved one a cute Spring gift!

 

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Bring Smiles

Have a joyful week!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

 

 

Decluttering my Clothes: Minimalism Journey // Sunray Sister Gets Personal

Welcome back sisters! It’s Wednesday, so that means I have another YouTube video for you. This is my sixth video, and I’m really enjoying this new vehicle for spreading my message of positivity and creativity. What do you think so far? I’d love to read your feedback in the comments or on social media.

Today’s video is the start of a new category on my channel called ‘Sunray Sister Gets Personal’, where I will be covering some issues/topics close to my heart. These will include becoming vegan, trying to be zero-waste, my daily routines and, for this week’s video, minimalism. Marie Kondo of ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’, suggests starting with your clothes. So I did just that.

Begin by emptying everything out of your wardrobe, drawers and anywhere else you store clothes. Then ask yourself the following:

  • Do I wear it?
  • Does it fit?
  • Is it comfortable?
  • Do I feel good in it?
  • Does it need mending?
  • Does it bring me joy?

Hold each item and ask these questions. Disconnect from sentimental associations. You don’t have to keep an item because it was a gift, a souvenir or an outfit you wore to a special occasion; those times have passed, and the clothes have served their purpose. If you want to, take a photo of the item, then say thank you and let it go. If you are still unsure, put those clothes in a box or bag and leave it for a month or two, then come back to it.

The final step is to find a home for the things you do want to keep. Treasure these items, treat them with love, repair them, use them and wear them out!

More than anything I hope this video inspires you to join this incredible movement; to realise how much stuff we have, and choose to take responsibility for it. Clear space to allow your creativity, learning, relationships and experiences to flow and grow into beautiful blossoms! 


I hope you can come back this Friday for part one of Love Lessons, a new series sharing interesting mini-lessons complete with illustrations and homework, to celebrate a love of learning. What subject would you like to see on my syllabus?! Let me know!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Creative Mother’s Day Ideas! // Sunray Sister

Good evening sisters! How has your weekend been? I have been busy at my part-time job, but I’ve also had fun, and now I’ve got a few days off to focus on some Sunray Sister goals and personal projects too. What are your plans?

Next Sunday it is Mother’s Day! In my opinion celebrations like these are much more important than Easter and Christmas, as they encourage gratitude for special people in our lives.

So next week how will you show your mum you love her? A box of chocolates? A bunch of flowers? Come on, get creative! Here are my ideas…

  1. Cook a healthy meal for your mum, and do the dishes too!
  2. Go for a long countryside walk, and take some nice photos to remember the little moments.
  3. Give your mum a potted plant that will keep on growing.
  4. Write a poem listing all the lovely things about your mum!
  5. Draw or paint a picture of her. Or ask your favourite artist to do it for you, most artists love taking portrait commissions.
  6. Book a spa date! Self-love, care and relaxation are so important for our well-being.
  7. Buy some pretty beads and make a simple necklace, bracelet or pair of earrings.
  8. Take your mum to watch a film or performance.
  9. Bake some cute cupcakes or other tasty treats.
  10. Print some old photos and put them in a little handmade photo album to remember the good ol’ days!

 

What is the best thing about your mum? How will you be spending mother’s day? Share your stories and ideas in the comments or find me on social media!

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Coming up this week will be another YouTube video, followed by the very first edition of Love Lessons. This new post series will be starting with the subject of tea! In the meantime, remember to watch my latest YouTube video (below!) and subscribe to my channel.

I hope your week is filled with joy, love and success! I believe in you!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Exhibition Reflection and Moving Forward // Sunray Sister

Good evening sisters! How are you? Have you had a beautiful weekend?

Today was the final day of my first exhibition! The work has been taken down, holes filled and marks painted over. And lots of hugs have been given and friends made!

As I wheeled my suitcase of creations home, I was treated to these beautiful skies and the St Mary Redcliffe bells were ringing out…

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If you weren’t able to see the exhibition in person, please check out my video tour below, which shows the work of all eight artists involved in the show; all the links are in the video description (just press the little YouTube button in bottom right of video). And of course, big, big thanks to Spin of The Spiralling for bringing us all together.

 

It has been a lovely experience. I have met some wonderful, creative people. I also discovered that I can achieve what I set out to do. And I don’t have to give up and quit at the last-minute.

So that’s all in the past now. Where do I go from here?

  • I will re-open my Etsy shop in the next couple of weeks with some new and updated listings.
  • I will continue to upload YouTube videos every Wednesday.
  • I will also continue to publish posts here on Fridays, Sundays and Wednesdays. I have a HUGE plan of the content I want to share with you all, including specific posts planned out until May! So I’m feeling pretty organised.
  • And in the real world… well I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my personal values, and what I believe in, and I’ve started making a few changes which I will probably talk about here at some point.
  • I’ve also been thinking about how my personal values can help inform Sunray Sister: these include focusing on natural products and methods (such as fabric dyed with plants); creating little or no waste from my making process and the packaging I offer my products in; promoting less waste by making useful items like tote bags; simplifying our lives and slowing down; generally helping and informing people about how they can love themselves, all creatures and the planet even more than ever before! 
  • I would love to run workshops helping people in this way; sharing practical ideas for a more earth-friendly lifestyle, as well as getting outside in nature, being creative and having fun. I would love to get involved with forest schools too, and maybe something to do with art therapy.
  • I will finally be writing my business plan, and hopefully discussing my ideas with a mentor.
  • Even though I promised to stick to textile products in my 2017 business goals, I have realised this isn’t true to myself. I love to pick up whatever I feel drawn to, as long as I am being creative. I will be doing a full evaluation of my goals at the end of March, and plan to do the same at the end of every month; goals should evolve as you grow, not be rigid like a prison cell.

Altogether, I’m feeling positive, inspired and energised, but also calm, balanced and clearer than ever before! I am happy in the moment. I am not waiting for things to be perfect. I do not want things to be perfect. I am making small changes every day, and taking small steps. I am forgiving myself.

I feel that I have finally realised my whole aim in life: to help others achieve a simple, natural, creative life, (this TED talk actually helped me come to this conclusion, and might help you too!) Who cares if I’m sewing, drawing, singing, walking, collaging, writing, speaking… these are all vehicles for my message of joy!

I hope you are onboard and receiving me loud and clear!

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What have you achieved recently? How will you learn from it as you move forward? I’d love to hear about your experiences; leave a comment below or find me on social media.

Coming up:

  • Wednesday: my fifth YouTube video! This week there will be a tutorial with a twist.
  • Friday: an introduction to another new post series, (did you read about my other new series on Friday? It’s called Love Lessons, and is going to be all about sharing my love of learning with you all!)
  • Sunday: ideas for celebrating Mother’s Day. Because mothers are worth celebrating!

See you soon sisters! Enjoy the start to a fresh new week, and remember to love yourself and look out for others.

 

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Day 9: Top Love and Learning Resources // Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love

Hello sisters, and welcome to day 9 of Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love!

Today I have brought together all of the resources that are guiding me on my journey of self-love and learning. From meditation to zero waste, the people I have been following have various beliefs and messages. They have books, blogs, images, social media, podcasts, videos, speeches and magazines. They use many different methods to get their points across, but they all do so with skill and real-life experience, and what they have to say is seriously important. So read on!

Gala Darling

This lady is powerful! She focuses on self-love, spirituality, positivity, laws of attraction and exercise. Gala has been writing her blog for 10 years (yes 10 years!), and last year she published her own book which was later re-released by Hay House.

Elizabeth Gilbert

Better known for her novel ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, Elizabeth has most recently written a non-fiction book called ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’. She also gave a TED talk on creativity, fear and genius, and has a brilliant podcast series called ‘Magic Lessons’ where she helps individuals break through their fears to live a magic life.

Kris Carr

Coming from the perspective of diet and health, Kris has a lot to share. A cancer survivor and a true warrior, she is endlessly positive and calming. I purchased her ‘Crazy Sexy Love Notes’ to give me some perspective and encouragement each day. Plus the artwork by Lori Portka is stunning.

Holistic Habits

Sarah is a recent discovery, but someone who has already been on a long journey of self-discovery and healing. She has so much to share, and she does it so beautifully in her YouTube videos (my favourite is above). Sarah’s voice alone is enough to put me in a calm and happy place, but her advice is so useful and interesting, and has opened up so many new areas that I had no idea about.

Meghan Livingstone

Another YouTuber, Meghan is all about nutrition, reducing stress and listening to your body. Above is an example of one of her videos all about simplifying your life. I love her pure and natural take on life.

TED Talks

Of course, how could I write a post about my top resources without mentioning TED talks. There are too many great videos to link here. Above is one of my favourites, by Andy Puddicome of Headspace (a brilliant meditation app), all about making time for yourself and finding peace.

Flow Magazine

I have always had a bit of a thing for magazines. Recently I found Flow magazine and instantly knew it was special. Flow magazine was founded in the Netherlands and is also available in English. “A magazine that takes its time”; every issue of Flow seeks to celebrate creativity and imperfection, and encourage self-development and slowing down.

James Clear

On his blog, James (image above) seeks to answer the question: ‘how can we live better?’. He has hundreds of articles, and is a great example of self-discipline. Additionally he has links to lots of recommended books, organised into useful categories. Needless to say, my reading list is now much longer than before.

Zen Habits

Similar to James Clear, this blog by Leo Babauta is essential reading for serious self-development and building new, healthy habits for a more balanced life. On top of the amazing content, I just love the total visual simplicity of this website. It feels so pure and authentic.

Be More With Less

Courtney Carver writes about minimalism and simplifying your life (image above). My favourite subject she has written about is ‘I don’t know what’s best for you’; read all of the books and blogs, listen to the podcasts and talks, but ultimately, take what you need from them, and build your own path to where you need to go.

Be Zero 

Last, but not least, is Andrea Sanders’ organisation ‘Be Zero’, all about living a zero waste lifestyle. The first thing to clarify when finding out about ‘zero waste’ is that the ‘zero’ does not necessarily mean ‘none’. The zero signifies a circle, which in turn represents the aim of a circular economy, instead of the standard linear economy. Through her website and Instagram account Andrea spreads this message with honest images and real life lessons. Right now she is wearing the same dress for the whole of February; go check it out! I will be writing about this subject more in the future as I feel it is so important, and not enough people know about it.

 

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Who inspires you to be and do better? What books would you recommend for personal development and self-love? I would love to know and I hope my suggestions have been useful to you.

Tomorrow is day 10 of Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love. After a few slightly heavy posts, it’s time for a little fun! In the past I’ve brought you lists of my favourite tunes, but for day 10 I have put together a list of my favourite films (about love of course). See you soon!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Day 5: Happy Birthday Fraz! // Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love

It’s day 5 of Sunray Sister’s 14 days of love! I have a short and sweet post for you today to say Happy Birthday to the most caring and silly man I have ever met!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRAZ!!!

These photos are a few years apart; he is still just as awesome and silly, just a little more hairy! I love birthdays as they are a chance to reflect on how far you’ve come in a year, or two years, or five or ten years. Plus they are a great excuse to make someone feel extra special and spoilt, and have even more fun than usual!!!


If you like, come back tomorrow for day 6 of Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love, where we will be celebrating handmade and the beauty of snail-mail!

Peace and love,

Rachel x