I have the picture, but not the location

I’m planning to get a second tattoo in the semi-near future. It took me a while to settle on a design. I’ve wanted more ink since I got my first piece years ago, and it’s been an ongoing dance of choices and passing fancies. I don’t get tattoos without a very long decision period. I was drawing my first tattoo on myself for months before I got the permanent copy. I still love my tattoo.

There are two images that I am very fond of as tattoos. One is a picture of an owl, which I would get on the inside of my right forearm, at the widest point near my elbow. It would be a brown-dominant tattoo rather than black, as they usually are. But it’s not my immediate choice, because I’ve drawn myself another picture.

It’s a compass. As in, directional. In the centre is a tree, shaped like an aged bonsai, with leaves trailing away, changing from a vibrant, flourishing green into the beautiful yellow, orange, red of autumn. At the cardinal and intermediate directions spread the symbols of the Vegvísir, the traditional Icelandic runic compass.

I took inspiration from other images and drew the complete design by hand. It contains images of things that I have great respect for, or just resonate with me. Every time I look at the picture, I still love it. Love, love, love it. But I have a problem… I don’t know where I want it.

I don’t often have trouble deciding things like the ideal location of a tattoo if I think something would be awesome. The two notions tend to go hand in hand: “If I wanted this as a tat, I’d get it on this part of my body”. Not so with my compass. It’s definitely a larger image, so I’ve considered my thigh, or my stomach. I don’t like the idea of ink on my back, because I wouldn’t be able to see my own tattoo! It wouldn’t fit nicely on my arms, or lower on my legs. I don’t think I’m a chest, collarbone or neck tattoo kind of person unless I went straight for the manubrium, and that would still leave me with the trouble of not seeing it well. I would be in front of a mirror an awful lot!

I guess you understand my trouble.

My only reasonable solution to this problem is to buy some of that print-you-own temporary tattoo paper and trial the locations I’m interested in. My husband is doing his illustrator thing and creating a finalised design for me where everything’s meticulously measured out and uniform (rather than my rough hand drawn version). Then, we will just have to see.



It’s the Spring thing

I am currently mad about growing plants. Fresh produce from my own garden would be so nice, and keeping ferns, growing perennial flowers and generally having a garden that is rewarding.

It sounds like a simple enough process. Collect appropriate planters or prepare the garden beds, ensure the soil is good with compost, mulch, and natural seaweed fertiliser, then plant away! Seeds, seedlings, and larger plants, depending on what’s available, what I want, and what suits the season. I know what I need to for keeping a garden, but I must admit, I’m really bad at it. The knowledge and theory is all there, but something I do in practice has ended in ruin every time.

I have killed dozens of plants, maybe even hundreds. Sometimes there’s a sad couple of cherry tomatoes harvested. I once managed to grow a horribly bitter and stunted carrot, and while totally thrilling to dig it up, it was a disappointment.

It would be easy to joke that instead of having a green thumb, I have the dead and crispy thumb of a failed garden. I can get self-sowing plants to go wild, and there are plenty of flowering bushes in the yard that do fine with absolutely no input from me (except the occasional watering when it’s dry out). Once it comes down to something that I should be involved in maintaining, there’s not much success.

This isn’t too off-putting to me. As the Spring Equinox approaches, I definitely feel the subtle call of nature to celebrate Ostara by planting and growing and tending the garden. I have enthusiasm that this time will be different, and the blueberry bushes with thrive and produce berries. At least this time, I don’t have chickens, as chickens love EVERY part of a blueberry bush (I swear they developed a taste for it).

I look ahead, hopeful that what I’m planting will survive. My ferns haven’t turned crispy yet, and my European Ash bonsai tree is looking ridiculously healthy! The strawberry plants have their first tiny strawberries on them, and the new mulberry tree is suddenly covered in long green berries! This is all a great sign. Maybe my mysterious gardening inability has passed and I will be able to fulfill all my planting urges.