Travel sketching

I want to get more into sketching and watercolour painting, but I only really get aronund to it on holidays – not a regular practice schedule so it’s no wonder I still can’t make it look like I want…

For my long weekend in Warsaw at the end of January I made my first mini themed palette inspired by various posts and pictures I’ve seen online. I put together 6 half-pan watercolours in colours that fit the destination in a mints tin. I did a lot of research on places to go and got a feel for the colours of the city.

View of the market square. Bit gloomy due to the snowcloud but shows the city colours.

I think I chose OK but trying to paint a tree with no green was an interesting challenge!

It was a bit cold for sketching in Poland in January so I only did a couple of drawings outside, and did a bit of painting back at the hotel in the evenings. I bought myself an instant camera to add photos to the sketch book at the same time which was useful (of course as soon as I bought one I saw another I’d prefer but oh well…).

The cookie wasn’t actually burnt, I just got carried away with the colours 😄

Now I want to plan my next adventure and a new palette but there’s these things called exams and bills I need to think about too…


On the push and pull of stability and travel

I see so many amazing blog posts from people who have made travel their lives, seeing amazing places and so much of the world. I love travelling, seeing new places, getting away from my everyday life to bigger cities and taller mountains and bluer oceans. When I’m not planning a trip I’m daydreaming of destinations and routes across continents. There’s a bit of me that would love to drop everything, pack a bag and just keep going. I’d like to take the train across continents and the ferry across unknown seas.

And then the practical side of me kicks in… How would I afford it? How would I carry everything I’d need? I’m an introvert, shy, hesitant, I take a long time to connect to people, I’d get very lonely. I’d miss my family. I like my stuff. Where would I put my souveniers if I didn’t have a permanent home? How would I do my hobbies on the move? What about the future?

The reality of me is I need roots, I need stability, I’m unsettled by change and the unknown. Maybe there’s a reason I like hermit crabs so much – I love to travel, but after a while I just want to retreat into my home. I need a safe space to return to where I can rest, unpack, hang up my holiday photos and display the magnets, unusual bottles and ceramic boats I acquire on the way. To have a centre to my own universe.

I believe that where I am in life is the result of all of the choices that I have made along the way. If each decision I made was what I thought was best for me at the time, then my ‘what ifs’ are merely paths I didn’t take because they weren’t right for me. Maybe I lacked the courage to leave my comfort zone, or the vision to do something unusual with life, or maybe I just lacked money. I do wonder what life would be like if I had made different choices and I sometimes want more from life. Yes, I’d like to live in a place where more happens, where I can more easily escape to somewhere for a weekend. I’d like a travel buddy to drag around the world and share the views and make me feel braver and less alone. But I am a quiet person who needs a retreat from the world that is mine and won’t change. So I’m putting my roots down where I am because this is who I am and what I need, and this is where my choices have led me.

My hermit crab shell, the centre of my universe from where I can venture outwards, is a terraced house in central England, because that’s what’s right for me.

All photos are from my trip to Croatia last September 🙂

Outgoing postcards

It’s been a while since I’ve sent many postcards… I had a real block on letter writing recently, I’ve got a stack of replies to write and I just can’t get the words down. But here’s a few postcards that will go out tomorrow. I decided if I want to come home to nice post I’ll have to send more!

The cards on the left are off to China via Postcard United – to someone who likes flags, and someone who likes local views. That’s a card from my hometown of Shrewsbury 🙂

The cards on the right are going out to Russia via Postcrossing. The Jane Austen quote is to someone who likes anything which always makes a hard choice of what to send. The Postcrosser who likes yoga was easier to pick a card for!

The card on the left I’m sending to my Dad, my big nut brown hare (for anyone who knows ‘Guess how much i love you’ 😊).

The ‘once upon a time’ card is for a swap-bot swap for the first and last lines of a current book. I’m currently re-reading one of my favourite books – ‘Saving CeeCee Honeycutt’ by Beth Hoffman. It’s a story about a young girl who loses her mother and goes to live with an Aunt in Georgia where she rediscovers how to be happy.

And the carved stones are off to a postcard pal in Taiwan 👋😀

I actually got the addresses at least a week ago so I’m still struggling with getting post ready to send, but it feels good to be sending them out to start their journeys.

On the way…

If I owe you a letter, chances are good it’s now on its way!

8 letters and a birthday present on the way to all around the world. With moving house and the resulting chaos, as well as everyday life and low level depression it’s taken me a long time to reply to most of these. I’m going to try very hard to get better at replying within a decent time now. It’ll be nice to start receiving letters again, I’ve had such a backlog of replies to write I haven’t received much nice post recently!

Lettermo – day… whatever

I had such good intentions starting out, and then my depression took over a bit and I did very little at all with my time. I’ve written a couple of letters in the last few weeks, and got a swap ready to send out, but realistically if I couldn’t manage one letter a day I’m highly unlikely to now write several a day to catch up. So I’ll just keep drifting along doing my best and writing my replies when the words are willing to flow. That’s the method that’s I’ve used for many years of letter writing so it must work out somehow…
I have had some energy to invest in making letters interesting. The Royal Mail created a downloadable tutorial based on an antique origami love letter, but I don’t have to write about love to send cleverly folded paper post! Unfortunately even using 12″x12″ scrapbooking paper the letter is still smaller than the Royal Mail international postage size so it needs an envelope too – I’d love to try it with enormous paper but that would be a huge letter!

It’s admittedly not the best of folding, large glittery cardboard isn’t the easiest to work with, but it should just squeeze through as a normal sized letter 🙂 Now I just have to sit down and write it…

Lettermo days 6 & 7

I’m just about keeping up… some days I just have more energy for concentrating on things like words, even ‘wild and whirling words’ like this card I wrote today.

The postcard is yesterday’s post, it’s off to China via Postcard United. The recipient had a completely blank profile so I went for a fairly generic card I could wrote something about.

The note card is a reply to someone who friended me on the Lettermo website, and is heading to southern England.

Just need to get them to a post box now…

Lettermo days 4 & 5

I definitely wouldn’t have got any post done today if it wasn’t for the challenge! And I’ve even done tomorrow in advance because I’m out at my sewing group tomorrow evening and probably won’t have time for letters.

Today’s letter is off to my penfriend Jennifer in Germany. A long overdue reply from around Christmas.

Tomorrow’s post is 2 Swap-bot travelling postcards heading to the USA. They’ve still got some travelling to do before they get sent home 🙂