My Gift

December 7, 2015


The Season: December is the month that gift giving is high on our things to do list. Finding the right gift that will bring a smile to our loved ones face but is within our budget.

Being part of a large family has its downside this time of year, then on top of that when you rely on the generosity of others, those friends who have become family to you has you searching under the sofa for the hidden fortune you hope you had.

The Problem: I was doing my list yesterday and working out what I wanted to buy versus what I can and get getting disheartened then I was reminded that I was missing the point. That’s not what Christmas is about!

The Solution: So I found a cardboard box and started to fill it with a few bits that I know will be of benefit for someone on a low wage or at a homeless shelter and when that box is full I’m going to find one of my wonderful friends to take it to a shelter who will make use of my surplus.

Revelation: Whilst doing this I was reminded how blessed I am and although I am not rich, pennies wise, I have all I need. I may not be able to give the presents I want to but God has blessed me with a gift the ability to make beautiful craft pieces and whilst secretly I wish there was only women in my family who love jewellery as I have yet to master men’s jewellery (that’s on my to do list for 2016) what I give will be enough because I am enough!

Who knew Christmas shopping could bring such revelations maybe I should do it more often. 😂

My Gift: This is a season of blessings don’t look to your bank balance to find them they will be etched in the hearts you touch this Christmas so if you can give some money, some time or just a smile know it will make a huge difference.

2013

January 5, 2013


2013time

The rollercoaster that was 2012 is finally behind me.

Like lots of people I know I’m hopeful that this year is going to be a good one.

There are many difficulties on the horizon as well some interesting opportunities.

I am in a very reflective mood. This is partly due to dealing with the loss of my Grandad. He was a very talented crafts man but didn’t get the recognition his talents deserved.

As well as realising I need to revise my plan, write it down. Hopefully that will help me to be more focused and successful.

Goals

It really is hard to set goals or implement a plan when you live with a debilitating illness. Right now  I should be fast asleep. Instead now at 5.38am I’m writing. My body craves and needs sleep yet  it woke me up 3.55am, it decided that I needed to be reminded who’s in control.

The nausea, vomiting, back pain, stomach cramps, weak and  heavy legs, as well as the night sweats are things I’m used to. It’s the insomnia that’s hard to contend with. That, and the fact I am on my own. For me, the reassuring comfort that comes from someone who cares for you has to come from within.

I know I could give up my beading and writing and curl up in my bed and give in to this illness. The allure of that option is usually only a temporary temptation for me, though.

It’s never really a choice, as it’s not who I am!

Goals – Part 2!

So back to my goals: Last year I did my first bead workshop and I loved it. It was very demanding on my body but it was so rewarding. This year I hope to do more workshops as I hope to build on the confidence I gained last year before I start writing my first beading book…..watch this space!

Writing

My life has no price by is the first book review I have had published, this was another highlight of 2012. I hope t to do more book reviews this year too. Seeing my words in print is indescribable.

In the last 16 years, there have been days that just sitting up in my living room for a short time has been a major achievement. I realise now that those bad days keep me focused on making the good  and memorable.

Performing

I also did my first open mic event. It wasn’t the gorgeous new top I bought with the third prize money that has me wanting to do more, but in the3 minutes of performing my monologue I felt so connected to the person I used to be and it was truly amazing.

Runway Collection

Lastly I’d like to see my latest jewellery collection on a runway again.

mbfs2

I’m hoping to showcase at the Leeds Fashion show later in this year.

Health

Of course all of my goals require energy and certain level of good-ish health. So it’s up to me on a daily basis to help my body the best I can. From the foods I eat, the energy I spend and to the pressure I put myself under.

Stress makes my symptoms worse so I will be finding new ways to relax and doing more of the good old remedies like aromatherapy, meditation, spending time with God and immersing myself in his word.

2012 Lesson

Last year taught me that if I want to be successful I CAN be, it’s that simple! If I want to make a difference in people’s lives, looking after my physical and mental health has to be my number one priority.

So on that note at 6.27 am I’m going to try to get some sleep.

A Beady Break!

November 5, 2012


Recently Beads Direct put out the call for bloggers to take part in their ‘Take a make break’

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A week later a big cardbox was delivered with beady goodies for me to play with plus a mug with everything I need to make a drink of my choice.

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Sweet tooth Leanna chose the Hot chocolate and then made quick fabulous makes.

Swarovski Rings

For a while now I have wanted to make rings but haven’t found an easy way to do so until now. Beads Direct Swarovski ring sets are brilliant. The only tricky bit for me was the gluing.

Tip 1

My advice is to have some cotton wool sticks handy to quickly take away any excess glue.

ImageDivine Creations now sells these fantastic rings and if the tubing is too big it’s very easy to cut to size, so you will have a ring that fits. I am sure these will make great gifts, I know some not so little rascals who are hoping they will appear in their Christmas stockings.

Skulls

The other make was the three elastic skulls crystal bracelet. Now I have to confess I don’t particularly like skulls and all though I have followed the easy instructions I plan to add different charms. That’s the great thing about this make as its very versatile, having the centre hanger bead means it’s easy to hide the knot making the finished bracelets look even more professional.

Tip 2

I used a big eye needle threaded on to the elastic making it even quicker to thread on the crystals.

With some of the left over magic elastic I have been making a chip bracelet using the Right angle weave, and as the holes are that bit smaller I have to pull on the elastic quite a bit but there has been no breakages as I have found with previous elastics.

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After just over 20 minutes, cup of hot chocolate, 2 delicious chocolates, I made four items…not bad for a (virtually) one handed beader!!!

Just for Men!

As well as adding rings to our range I have also launched Divine Creations Men’s Collection

So far I have made ‘Regaliz’ Leather Bracelets.

I will adding personalised sterling silver cufflinks, pendants and bracelets to this range so look out for our next blog and finally……

After months of beading, gluing and planning I got to see my ‘Beaded Fantasy’ Bird box at the Pudsey park as part of the I Love West Leeds Festival

It’s been an absolute joy to do so much even whilst been quite poorly, as suppose its not the obstacle/situation that makes you who you are but how you deal with it that counts!!!!

For me BEASD makes the best medicine!!!!

Check out Beads Direct for all our your beading needs!!!!


The ‘Beading for the Soul’ was my first official workshop and it was a very special experience that I will no doubt treasure forever.

My soul is wiser, happier and sparkling thanks to six fantastic women and the Love arts Leeds team.

During the last 6 weeks I have been doing all I can to advertise the workshop, sending out emails, promoting on Face book, Twitter and YouTube. Having friends and family distributing a 1000 flyers and of course blogging.

Any Bookings?

Initially I had hoped for at least 10 people (yes I know ambitious) but with less than a week to the workshop I had only 3 people booked and 3 maybes, so was trying not to worry that I may not have my minimum of 6 places filled.

My Body Strikes Back!

24hrs before the workshop and my body decides to protest big time! I was being sick, having lots of muscle spasms, feeling very weak, sleepy and in a lot of pain.

I had just over 2 hrs sleep so I was exhausted and feared I might have to cancel. Thankfully determination and elephant strength medication.

Oh, and make up. Had me feeling and looking good!

How many Bookings?

5 minutes prior to the workshop starting I had 2 people cancel on me and a very last minute ‘booking.’

I took a deep breath and started my first workshop!

Challenge Leanna!

Teaching the right angle weave stitch and answering questions about my health and the therapeutic benefits of jewellery making was a little more challenging than I expected, yet more rewarding.

Making a difference

In the last 24hrs I have been reflecting on the workshop and I am really pleased with myself. I haven’t just taught 5 women a new skill but I’ve also given a bit of an insight into living with a debilitating illness and how beading helps me to cope with my limitations.

Where there is a will…

Plus I have shown them that there is always an alternative way of doing things. My right hand is very weak and as I was right handed before its taking a lot to learn how to bead as a left handed person. I worried a lot about the fact I’m slower than most beaders and I have my own unique way of beading.

I chose to teach my way of beading rather than teach people the ‘correct’ way, which was something else I worried about, but I am relieved to report the beaders seemed to grasp my approach.

4 out of 5 people said the workshop was excellent and have asked for me to do more workshops.

Beading = Hope!

Beading doesn’t only create beautiful jewellery, but it can also create a glimmer of hope in a sometimes dark and painful existence!

Love Arts Leeds Festival Nourished my Soul

If it wasn’t for the Love Arts Leeds Festival I wouldn’t have attempted to do this workshop. I have learnt so much on how to deliver a workshop and most importantly I have learnt a lot about myself.

I can combat my fears, I can share my skills and that my ‘obstacles’ don’t make it difficult for people to learn from or interact with me.

A Bed day!

So, despite being:

  • stuck in bed,
  • in a dark room
  • with my well worn out best friend (aka my hot water bottle)
  • feeling really lousy in my body…

In my soul I am thrilled at my achievement!

Love Arts Leeds Festival Nourished my Soul

If it wasn’t for the Love Arts Leeds Festival I wouldn’t have attempted to do this workshop. I have learnt so much on how to deliver a workshop and most importantly I have learnt a lot about myself.

I can combat my fears, I can share my skills and that my ‘obstacles’ don’t make it difficult for people to learn from or interact with me.

For more  details of future workshops go to Divine Creations website  or email us: dcjewellery@live.co.uk

Why beading? Part2

September 26, 2012


Back in the Day

From the age of 3, I started dancing then singing and later I took up acting. I really enjoyed showing off and entertaining my friends and family, I got lost in my performances and loved how it made me feel.

Showing off

When I was on stage nerves never bothered me even when things went wrong. My parents love telling the story of when I was about 7yrs old; I was competing in tap dancing competition which we think was in Hinckley.

Strike a Pose!

When it was my turn I struck the pose and waited for my music to come on….but nothing. I kept waiting and then it became clear there was a problem. A voice from the back of the room said “I can’t find her music.”

Still with a big beaming smile at the judge’s, my fingers and toes still holding that starting position, in a clear polite voice I said, “My mummy knows where my music is!” My mum and dance teacher rushed to the back of the room…

Yet I just stayed there still holding my position, still smiling.

Then they found it there was no cue, as soon as the music started little Leanna sprang to life and delivered the rehearsed routine. It never occurred to me that I should leave the stage and wait or get upset. I knew it be fine and I guess that’s because I was on stage…off stage I’m sure I would have reacted differently.

Useless

When it became clear that I could only do the personal daily tasks most people take for granted, with support and getting about required assistance, I think it was then I started to wonder if I would ever do something that would make me proud of myself.

Blue Tack

Card making helped me to feel a little better about myself and now jewellery making has given me so much to be proud of. My right hand doesn’t work very well so I have taught myself to do my beading virtually one handed.

I like finding new ways to overcome my limitations. I have to say my life would be harder without my best friend…..Blue tack!

Amazing

Designing your own jewellery can be a long process but at the end of the struggle of getting it how you want it you have a finished piece that you’ve done. It feels amazing! It might have taken me days or weeks to complete as I often have to take regular breaks due to sickness and or pain.

Bed Days

There are days I can’t get out of bed but do manage to do some beading…. Yes my carers love those days…not!!!

Not Useless

Jewellery making has helped me to realise that I’m not useless and that I can achieve a lot from the confines of a bed or chair.

Beading for the Soul

It’s not the same as my active days which of course I still miss but now I have something that keeps me going and I am looking forward to sharing my skills at the ‘Beading for the Soul’ Workshop on Saturday October 6th 1-4pm at the Heart Centre in Headingley.

Stepped Out

I have also stepped out of my comfort zone to take part in a project transforming a wooden birdhouse into a magical beaded place.

For more information on this please go to http://ilovewestleeds.co.uk/home_tweet_home

Here’s a sneak preview of what will be in the bird house

Why Beading?

September 13, 2012


Gosh there are so many reasons, so I will answer this blog over several blogs.

Well Marilyn Monroe, said it best, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend!” Well I can’t afford Diamonds (yet!) but I can still enjoy some wonderful sparkle from Swarovski crystals and glass beads.

I started jewellery making when my love affair with card making was coming to an end. I was tired of not being able to give gifts that had the wow factor. In stepped, ‘beads’ and the wow factor has been present at every special occasion since!

I love making people smile and being told, “how did you know I have a dress/top that will go with that?” Or “I have a special occasion and can’t afford a new outfit but now have something that will make it look brand new!”

Recently I have discovered that beading isn’t just a hobby it can actually help during difficult times. I needed to raise £1350 for a shed for my mobility scooter. My online bead ‘buddies’ donated over 30 beautiful pieces and we raised £650. They also helped me put pressure on my housing association to get the rest of the money.

We are currently raising money for the Calibre Audio books charity, in support of another fellow beader, Marian, who is suffering from poor eyesight. So Beading can actually make a difference to peoples lives!
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Charity-auction-for-Calibre-Audio-Books/264258607008561

Lastly for this part, ‘beading’ is helping to restore my confidence in myself. Since suffering from debilitating illness for over 15 years, I will be sharing some of my beading knowledge at a workshop on the 6th October as part of the Love Art Leeds festival.

For more details see http://www.divinecreations.org.uk or
http://www.heartcentre.org.uk/whats-on/event-details?cid=all&mc_id=mc_2012-10-06_198
Or email divine creations: dcjewellery@live.co.uk

I am NOT my Chair!

September 4, 2012


I have had yet another yuky experience thanks to two taxi drivers who have very little understanding of customer service and disability rights. After feeling like I had been reduced to an object, I decided to put my emotions to good use and complain. I don’t like to complain so when I do the situation must have been very bad.

A wheelchair has four wheels, a frame that can be folded when required, on its own it’s an object but when a person is sitting in it its effectively a person’s legs. That’s it there is nothing scary or magical about it so why then do some people’s morality and common sense disappear when they encounter these mechanical legs?

I do find it surprising that in 2012 people still are wary about approaching a wheelchair user. My close friends might argue that it’s just me and if they didn’t know me very well they’d run for the hills if they met me in the street and that’s because they share my sense of humour!

Seriously though the looks I get probably would upset someone else, thank fully I have grown thicker skin. I was out shopping with my friend yesterday and I think her blood pressure must have hit levels that have never been recorded.

She finds it so hard to understand why people can’t look and move at the same time or why they can see I’m in a queue at the till in a mobility scooter or why people have to stand so close behind me and never think that I would have to reverse to move away from the till.

When you ask people to move back as politely as possible some respond in such an aggressive way, and I’m often left wondering what I did wrong whilst my friend just fumes how disgusting people can be.

I have to balance this by saying that I have also met some wonderful thoughtful and extremely lovely people. I went out with my mum to a craft centre and we decided to have lunch in their cafe.

It wasn’t a large cafe and very busy so we were just contemplating where we could sit that was accessible when a lovely man, got my mum’s attention and asked whether we would like to have the table him and his wife were sitting at.

It was the best place for us so we gratefully took him up on his offer. What made it extra special was that it was clear that the couple where in the middle of their meal. It really made our day.

I really do wish I encountered more people like this who weren’t asked for assistance, they observed that we needed some help and offered it.

So you’re probably wondering about the taxi drivers that upset and led me to take my frustration out on my laptop keys!!!

It’s kind of a long story but the highlights are this, I’d waited for a taxi I had ordered, when a taxi arrived he didn’t ask me my name or anything and my friend helped me into the taxi (as he clearly wasn’t going to) as we were about to set off he asked me where on a particular road I had never heard of was I going and I said no that’s not the address then it quickly became clear I was in the wrong taxi.

Another taxi from the same firm arrived, after a lot of discussion which I wasn’t part of, my wheel chair was taken out of the taxi and I was told that I had to get in the other car.

After the first taxi had gone with a different customer I was left on the road waiting for the taxi driver to help me, then he informs me he can’t take me. I’m on the phone to the firm who inform me another car is on its way. I’m left in the road unable to get on the pavement for 5 minutes.

A very distressing experience indeed!

Unfortunately when it comes to public transport I have loads more tales to tell.

Beading for the soul

September 2, 2012


Next month I will be doing a beading workshop as part of the Love arts Leeds festival. I have called it ‘beading for the soul’ because beading is more than a hobby for me, I suppose you could say it’s therapy and so much more!

I really love the challenge of using a handful of beads and turning them in to a wearable piece of jewellery, that I know will make the person wearing it feel extra special.

Sometimes the most challenging pieces are the ones that are most rewarding because only I know how difficult it was to come up with that particular design or use those techniques. Yet all people see is a beautiful piece and that makes it all worth while.

I love beads as they are sparkly and pretty. Gemstones are even more precious as they tell a story, no two gemstones are the same and what some may say are flaws I see as striking differences that I try to show off.

Turning what’s already beautiful into something else can be daunting and I love the fact that it hasn’t got anything to do with my health problems it’s about me tapping into my creative self. I am a bit of a perfectionist so I make pieces that are to the best of my ability.

I require help to do lots of the basic everyday things like getting washed and dressed, so beading has given me something I can do myself and something I am proud of. Plus I get to raise money for people with ME and other charities.

I hope I have intrigued you a little and I hope you want to come along to the Heart art centre, Headingley Leeds on the 6th October 1-4pm.

To find out more of the benefits of beading and most importantly tap into your own creative side and make something really special to take home for yourself or to give to a loved one.

For booking details go to http://www.divinecreations.org.uk and join us on facebook too!

January 27, 2012


Will you take a second glance?

January isn’t over yet so I think its still ok to share my goals for this year!

I don’t do new years resolutions’ but I do like to take some time to reflect onthe past year and maybe tweak my goals or add some new ones. For people shouting at the screen, telling me I am making resolutions but just calling it something else…well may be your right.

However I find that most people make N.Y.R, so they have something to tell people about, but weeks later they feel guilty about breaking them. At least with a goal it’s something you’re working towards and you embrace the slip ups that will happen because you know you’re on the journey to achieving something.

So on reflection I have realised that one of the major blessings I received in to 2011 was being invited to a beading group, who are not just …

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A New Year and a New Blog

January 27, 2012


January isn’t over yet so I think its still ok to share my goals for this year!

I don’t do new years resolutions’ but I do like to take some time to reflect onthe past year and maybe tweak my goals or add some new ones. For people shouting at the screen, telling me I am making resolutions but just calling it something else…well may be your right.

However I find that most people make N.Y.R, so they have something to tell people about, but weeks later they feel guilty about breaking them. At least with a goal it’s something you’re working towards and you embrace the slip ups that will happen because you know you’re on the journey to achieving something.

So on reflection I have realised that one of the major blessings I received in to 2011 was being invited to a beading group, who are not just  as mad about beads as I am but are all willing to support me as a person. My goal is to meet as many of them in person in this year and continue to play an active role in this great group.

I have gained a lot of confidence with my beading thanks to the support of my mum and over the holiday’s we have been discussing our plan for Divine Creations and our desire to help others see the benefits in taking up a craft.

The main obstacle for me is my health so I am re examining what I eat and seeing how I can improve my eating habits and also how to improve my mobility through exercise…..but I’m not on a DIET!

Finally I am going to put my love of beads and writing together and do some more beady blogs…so watch this space!