My first finished Amigurumi Monster

Angela Porter Amigurumi MonsterI’ve been having a go at Amigurumi over the past week or two. This is my most complex and first almost complete project. The only thing missing is his mouth/expression.

I had a lot to learn and to work out. I can crochet simple afghan squares (granny squares), or a scarf made out of one stitch.  But following crochet patterns has always been a problem for me, one I’ve failed at miserably.  Keeping tension is another issue.

I fell in love with these cute amigurumi creatures while I was looking for a cuddly cuttlefish. So, I thought I’d have a go.

It’s given me something to do other than art all the time, something that’s a bit of a challenge.

Oh, there’s a few imperfect bits on my monster.  His eyes are looking in different directions.  The way I connected the left eyeball (as we look at it, the monster’s right eyeball) to it’s stalk has been done not very well. I managed to make the feet slightly different sizes.  I think the imperfections make him a bit more of a quirky monster.

All the same it’s not bad for my first attempt at a proper amigurumi project.

I’m bound to do more … and I suspect I may have some requests to do them.

Oh, the pattern I used is in the book ‘Amigurumi Monsters) from Meteoor Books.

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Angela Porter mhaw18 17 May 2018

Today I’m feeling tickettyboo, a little tired, but definitely only a teeny tiny bit emotionally drained.  I think that some lovely icecream on a toasted waffle after my talk yesterday, in the company of a lovely friend, seriously helped, as did time with other friends in the evening and a serious dose of meditation.

Of course, my morning drawing helps me, and today it’s a mandala.

The perfect kind of relaxation to do before I head out later to do my fourth anti-stigma talk of the week, this time at Companies House.

This morning it’s time for some self-care, and for learning how to create amigurumi critters.  Crocheting is always a challenge for me, but I had an overwhelming desire to create a cuddly cuttlefish, all rainbow colours.  However, I think I bit off more than I could chew by starting on something so big without practicing and figuring out how amigurumi works and how to avoid increasing the number of stitches when they’re supposed to remain the same number, and how to know when the next ‘row’ starts when you’re essentially working in a spiral, and and and …

So, I finished the body and ears of a simple bear yesterday and started on a little mouse. I’ve still not figured out fully how it works, but I may be getting there, and smaller projects are definitely the way to go to learn and understand the techniques needed.

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Angela Porter mhaw18 16 May 2018Today sees me do my third anti-stigma talk for Time to Change Wales as part of Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) 2018.

I am tired this morning.  Each talk I do is emotionally draining. It also takes a lot of energy for me to keep up a happy, smiley and laughing mask when in public and not to get overwhelmed by my story and allowing aspects of it to re-traumatise me.

I put myself through this for some good reasons, and one of them is NOT attention seeking (which is what my narcissistic mother would say).

I really do believe it’s time for the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness comes to an end.  I know it’s not going to happen overnight, but little by little.  I tell my story to give people an insight into what it’s like to experience depression, anxiety, hyperperfectionism, hypervigilance, emotional flashbacks, being overwhelmed by choices in a supermarket, not being able to get out of my car when I go to somewhere I want to visit, being in fear of going to do a job I used to love when I was a teacher, and more, CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) is so complex.

I also want people to know that little changes in the work place can help people remain in work.

I want people to know that the social stereotypes of depression, anxiety and so many other mental illnesses are incorrect and that they lead to be people being stigmatised/prejudged and treated differently/discriminated against as a result of the urban myths that exist.

The more we can have conversations, the more people open up about what it’s like to experience mental illness, the more people will, hopefully, have a better understanding and the urban myths will lose their power.

Not only that, the self-stigmatisation that results in people not seeking help, acknowledging they are not thinking well of themselves, will result in people seeking that help and advice they need earlier.

On a more personal level, telling my story is helping me ‘own’ it, and though I still minimise the traumas I’ve experienced from a very young age, it’s helping me understand that they are not small little things that everyone goes through, as well as me understanding that it’s profound effect they’ve had on me that is the important thing as well as having counselling/therapy to help me heal from my past and have a healthier way of thinking about myself and living my life without avoiding all kinds of things for fear the same things will happen again and again.

I come home from a talk emotionally drained and tired; I either want to nap or just draw, or both, but not at the same time!

When I draw I like to just draw intuitively, drawing on my visual vocabulary of favourite shapes and patterns, and just let them flow onto the page. I can lose myself in that flow, I’m able to enjoy drawing familiar motifs and patterns and the intricacy of my work. Just letting things flow, drawing for the pleasure and contentment it brings me, the calmness that results, lets me put to oneside the anxiety I can feel when I’m creating for a particular contract, to put aside my hyperperfectionism and just go with the flow in a way that can be difficult when I’m drawing for a publisher and can add anxiety and frustration when I need to draw for peace and calm.

And that’s what this drawing helped me to do. Today, I hope I’ll be able to draw again, however after the talk today I’m taking a friend out for ice-cream and I think I have something occurring this evening too.

MHAW18

Angela Porter20180515

Today I give the second of my anti-stigma talks for Time to Change Wales.  Today, it’s just a couple of miles down the road from me.

I was tired yesterday after my talk; not physically tired, emotionally tired, and I still feel a little so this morning.

I started drawing this before I went off yesterday, did some more work on it last night and finished it this morning.

Art really helps soothe my emotions and helps me find that place of calm, contentment and balance.

That’s my #tuesdaytip.  Find something you can lose yourself in, that brings you peace and calm and contentment and a break from the stresses, worries, problems of life. It’s all about self-care. For me it’s art or making music, sometimes taking a walk, and mindfulness meditation. For others it could be gardening, baking, woodturning, swimming, cycling, or any one of a myriad activities that bring peace and contentment.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

Angela Porter mhaw18 14 May 2018

This year, in my role as a champion for Time to Change Wales, I’m giving (at the moment!) four anti-stigma talks to various organisations this week.

The aim of the Time to Change Wales campaign is to help to bring about an end to the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental health.  In my anti-stigma talk, I talk about the campaign and tell my own story of my mental health issues.

It’s not a secret, I have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (cptsd) that has resulted from constant trauma from emotional neglect, emotional and mental abuse from a very young age and that persisted throughout my life until the past two or three years.

EMDR therapy with a fabulous therapist is really helping me and my mental health is so much better than it used to be.

If I help just one person through my talks, then it’s a worthwhile exercise.

For myself, it’s helping me to ‘own’ my own story and to not minimise the effect the traumas of my life have had on me, on the way I think about myself, about how I behave to avoid triggers or more trauma, and to begin to live a healthier more rewarding life.

Art is not only how I make a living now, but it is also my therapy, my way of helping myself when I’m anxious or depressed or stressed. It helps me to find my balance again, even if temporarily.

Sunday, sunday

Angela Porter 13 May 2018Another floral wreath card, hand drawn on watercolour paper, coloured using the Spectrum Noir Sparkle pens with a water-brush.  I added some Gold Sakura Gellyroll highlights, as well as some sparkly crystals in red, amber, and two shades of green.

Not my usual kind of colour combination, and I’m not at all sure I’m happy with it.

The design would make a pretty bujo spread or month cover, just enough space in the middle for a title.

Trying to find those #weekendvibes.

A floral wreath card

Angela Porter 12 May 2018 watermarked

Saturday morning and I do my best to settle into a creative mode, and this is the result.  A pretty, floral wreath, drawn on watercolour paper with copic multiliner sp pens.

It’s been a hard couple of weeks and being creative has been difficult for me.  I’m beginning to settle after the upheavals that have occurred, but it’s taking a while. I will get there, and being able to draw this, and colour it, shows I’m starting to settle. I am doing my best to find those weekend vibes.

The watercolour paper is 5″x 5″ and has been mounted on a 6″ x 6″ square side.