About Carmen

Mindful Leisure

Filling your life with joy
Creating and ticking off a bucket list
  • What are the things you love to do that make time stop?

  • What do you find yourself choosing to do if you end up with a spare hour or two or even a whole day free all to yourself?

  • Which section of books do you head to when you go to a bookshop or library?

  • What are your passions?

What happens to you when you read the questions above?  Do you instantly have an answer or are you left feeling lost and deflated believing you have no passions?

I think it is crucial to begin to create a list of 'loves' and 'passions' and 'joys'.  What makes you YOU?  What are the things that you really enjoy doing, can get totally lost and absorbed in and want to do more and more of?  

I think this question gets harder and harder for some people to answer the older they get.  Some parents become so focused on fulfilling the needs (and wants!) of others that they can find themselves not having anything that brings them joy.  Remember back to being a child and all you wanted to do was play?  When we become adults these become our leisure activities.  What are yours?

We have heard the saying "All work and no play makes Johnny a very dull boy"

We have also heard people say "When on their death bed, no one said they wished they had worked more".

I guess the above sayings assume that someone is deeply unfilled with their work! Or do not have a healthy work/life balance.


Doing a healthy activity we really enjoy, can literally create 'feel good' hormones in our body which help to combat stress, reduce anxiety and bring more enjoyment into life.  If we don't find healthy ways to reduce our stress there is a far greater temptation to look for unhealthy ways to fill our time, block out our reality and avoid facing life.  It is far healthier to prioritize time for yourself!

 When was the last time you did something for the first time?

An exercise to help you find your passions

Write a list of 100 'healthy' things you love to do.

Here are some tips to help you if you struggle:

  • Break these down into categories such as:  location based (home, in Thailand etc) or alone or with (husband, children, family, friends)  

  • Start with each of your 5 senses:  taste, touch, smell, sound, sight.

  • Ask people who know you well

  • Remember back to when you were a child, or had more free time in your life

  • Write a list of things that interest you.

  • Write a list of new experiences you'd like to try

  • Write a list of new skills or knowledge you'd like to acquire

Once you have your list then break it down into more categories

  • Things I love do on my own that don't cost me anything

  • Things I love to do that cost money

  • Things I love to do with others

  • Things I love to do in certain places and at certain times in the year.

Make a commitment to yourself to do at least 5 items on that list every day, week or month.  Prioritize honouring yourself enough to enjoy life and balance work with play.  

A focus on the passion of 'creating with wool' 
Knitting, needle felting, wet felting

One of my passions is creating with wool!  I love to knit, needle felt and wet felt.  For me creating with wool is a deeply Mindful practice. It is very calming and I adore bringing this natural fibre to life.  To me knitting feels like an ancient art.  Once it was handed down as a skill from mother to child, but today it seems to be less common.   


Today I live in a very hot country, so wool is not easily accessible, and it is also not something people are wearing.  So I went looking for new projects I could knit, that bought me and others pleasure.  I was thrilled to find the work of Arne and Carlos.  They are keeping the art of knitting well alive with their novelty books, and I am sharing them with you in the hope that you are also a knitter  (or have it on your bucket list) and were looking for a project that you just couldn't put down.  

Last year I knitted a dozen Christmas ornaments and hung them on my Christmas tree.  As each of my friends and family arrived over the season to spend time with us I asked them to choose their own hand knitted decoration from the tree, made with total love. They were a total hit. 


I have also now knitted four dolls from the Arne and Carlos book, and dressed them all in a designer wardrobe.  They made fantastic gifts and were given to my most special and favourite children, whom I know will cherish them.  It is so wonderfully fulfilling to connect with your creative side as an adult and anything homemade makes very special gifts. 

A fantastic way to learn how to craft is via You tube.  This is where I get my inspiration, and learn techniques for my needle felting and wet felting. When I am in a country famous for its wool I love to stock up.  

Recommended Books on Knitting 

Knitted Dolls: Handmade Toys with a Designer Wardrobe, Knitting Fun for the Child in All of Us 
by Arne & Carlos

With a fresh and unique quirkiness that channels the inner child, this handbook aspires to bring a little bit of fun to knitting by creating a fantastic collection of knitted dolls and charming, miniature wardrobes. Directions for easy-to-knit dolls and tips for giving them distinct features are included, and with themes such as To the Mountains, Coffee Break, and Ship Ahoy! help organize clothing patterns and ignite the imagination. From underwear to overcoats, the various garment patterns are appropriate for every ability level and offer a playful universe that any knitter will enjoy exploring.

Scandinavian knitting sensations Arne and Carlos (authors of the international bestseller 55 Christmas Balls to Knit) find great inspiration in quirkiness and whimsy, and their trademark style and sense of humor is in large part fresh and unique because of their ability to embrace their inner child.

Arne and Carlos now aspire to bring a little of the fun to you with a fantastic collection of knitted dolls, as well as instruction for creating a charming knitted wardrobe for them. Based on the dolls Arne and Carlos used during their career in the fashion design industry (they would design clothing in miniature before transforming it into “human” sizes), you’ll find easy-to-knit instructions for five doll bodies and tips for giving them features. Then, you get to dress them up! From underwear to overcoats, you'll find miniature knits to suit all seasons. With themes supplied to organize the patterns and ignite your imagination—“To the Mountains,” “Coffee Break,” “Ship Ahoy!”—you’re destined to find yourself transported into another (albeit smaller) world.

Whether knitting dolls for your own enjoyment, or to collect and give to a child or grandchild, the playful universe created by Arne and Carlos is one you’ll enjoy exploring. Designs are appropriate for knitters of every ability level, although advanced knitters can also resize the patterns to knit favorite garments for people—just like Arne and Carlos did in their “designer days.”

55 Christmas Balls to Knit: Colorful Festive Ornaments, Tree Decorations, Centerpieces, Wreaths, Window Dressings
by Arne Nerjordet , Carlos Zachrison

Since 2002, Scandinavian knitting sensations Arne and Carlos have used their unique style sense to translate traditional Scandinavian knitwear designs into individual patterns perfect for holiday décor. Here they share 55 hand-stitched knits on a super-small scale, with knitting that’s fast and fun, whatever your skill level. You’ll find step-by-step instructions, how-to tips, and full-color photos for inspiration.

Since 2002, Scandinavian knitting sensations Arne and Carlos have used their unique style sense to translate traditional Scandinavian knitwear designs into individual patterns perfect for holiday décor.

Here they share 55 hand-stitched knits on a super-small scale—projects that take little time to make and minimal effort to make well. The result? Knitting that’s fast and fun, whatever your skill level.

You’ll find bold ornament designs in red, white, green, black, blue, and multiple colors, some with a touch of silver or novelty yarn for visual texture. The array of knitted decorations feature classic holiday graphics such as snowflakes, berries, bows, angels, and animals, as well as more ornate patterns often found in Scandinavian sweaters, hats, and mittens.

Whether giving hand-made gifts or adding a touch of holiday cheer to your home or business, you’ll find the step-by-step instructions and fascinating mix of contemporary and vintage color photographs in 55 Christmas Balls to Knit the ideal learning tools—clear, descriptive, and quirky-cool.

With techniques, patterns, and sources of inspiration fondly shared by the designers, you’ll be outright charmed by Arne and Carlos. Their knitting antics are the perfect recipe for holiday décor that is colorful, festive, and delightful.

Learn More About:   Ways to Lead a more Mindful and Conscious Life
Learn More About:   Ways to Lead a more Mindful and Conscious Life

Create a Holiday Camp At Your House

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Mindfulness Exercises – Learning to be aware THAT you are thinking.

June 28, 2018

The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

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