At uni, we were told that if we wanted to find inspiration, one of the things that we should try is to go for a walk, get outside and look up, look around you, open your eyes. A lot of us would be sat at a computer screen or sat with our heads in a sketchbook trying so desperately to have an idea, to desperately get that glimpse of inspiration which would help us in the right direction and very often, sitting at a computer screen or with a head in a sketchbook all day wasn’t always the solution, in fact, it very rarely was the solution.
So, whilst the weather was nice (read: amazing) last summer in the UK I tried to get outside a bit, to get some fresh air in my lungs instead of sitting in an air conditioned office all day. I was looking back at my photos from last year longing for the warm weather to come back and realised that I hadn’t shared these on the blog due to one reason or another.
We’ve had a lot of rain and wind here and I’m definitely ready for Spring! I’m so thankful for the slightly lighter early evenings though, it’s a sure sign that spring is on it’s way. I very much look forward to wearing these shoes again and skirts and dresses instead of jeans and boots!
Whilst I was out and about, I tried to take some photos of my surroundings. And it just so happens that one of my 25 at 25 projects was to go on a photo walk and while this hasn’t quite been the photo walk I planned, (ie. one walk on one day with one theme and lots of photos) this has been a photo walk of sorts. It was different in the way that it was a collection of walks over the space of about 2 months, all about 5-10 minutes each and ranging from 1-3 photos each time. My theme was “look down” because although my tutors at uni (and any other creative for that matter) would tell me to go outside and look up to find inspiration, you can find a world of things at your feet if you just look for them. This is very cliche blogger of me but I’ve left my feet in the photos, this is so that you don’t think I’m lying when I say these are all photos of the ground, it’s not just a pretty wall or ceiling that I’m photographing, it’s definitely the ground because my feet are there. Also, I enjoy including my feet in the photos. It shows where I was standing, what I was wearing, what the weather was like (due to what shoes I’m wearing) and the bonus is: I don’t have to worrying about what expression my face is pulling or what my hair looks like because my feet in my shoes are quite photogenic, they don’t mind being photographed!
I really enjoyed this photo walk and looking at all the patterns I found by just looking down. The original photo walk idea was found on Elise Blaha Cripe’s blog and I enjoyed her series so much I wanted to play along. If you want to play along make sure you link back to her.
If I do this again, what theme do you think I should do next time? I’d also love to see your version if you’ve tried this idea.
I have loved creating a scrapbook for the last 2 years. It’s lovely to look back on and remember what I did, document the photos, write down the little thoughts and memories. It’s priceless and I’m so glad that I put so much time into documenting my memories.
The truth is, I lost interest in doing it about half way through 2013. Using the project life system is great and has made documenting my memories really simple, easy and it looks great but there were a few things that bothered me. Firstly, printing my own photos is expensive, photo paper is expensive and ink cartridges is extortionately priced! Then there are the pretty cards, paper and embellishments to punctuate the photos and write some journaling, I didn’t buy any cards that were already printed, instead used free card downloads and some that I had to pay for, then had to print those too. There is a lot of printing, then cutting out involved, which takes a lot of time. I also got a little carried away with buying really pretty papers, in the hope that I’d use them in my scrapbook or on other projects. I have been using these papers but I need to stop looking online at the new ranges that get released as they’re all so pretty and I could find a use for them but I now have more paper than I have time and space for!
I found myself doing all of this in stages and cutting out, for example, 2 months of photos in one sitting then going back to it on the next weekend to put them in the pockets and then to write the journaling. I make it sound like a really long process but in all I probably spend 2 hours to complete a month. (Which is a hugely vague estimate as I’ve never timed it at all!)
Doing all of this doesn’t bother me, when I have the time, it’s not a chore but more of a relaxing time. I love it. But when things get a little busier and I’m working longer hours or have been busy with family, sitting down for a couple of hours at the weekend just hasn’t been possible.
So, for 2014 I want to do something a bit different, my old process wasn’t working for me anymore. I’ve thought about it for a long time and to’d and fro’d a lot about it. I considered just creating a simple photo album, I considered just writing about my year (would I be able to blog about it then just put those blog posts into a book?) I considered cutting back on the amount of things I document in my scrapbook, maybe just one photo a week then writing about the week. I would hate to take loads of photos and just keep them on my laptop for ever more, I like making something out of them.
The only problem I have with my current process is the time that it takes and the cost of so much printing. So I decided to let someone else do the printing for me. I’ve decided to make a photobook of my year, one that I’ll design myself and document my year digitally, then get it printed at the end of the year by an online company like blurb.
Creating this scrapbook has helped me so much. It has helped me creatively and with some personal issues. I will definitely continue to do all the artwork and writing that I’ve started doing over the last 2 years. It just won’t be shut away in a book, some of it will be but I’m getting a lot braver with painting on canvases, creating pieces to frame, creating art journals etc. I’ve still got quite a few paper supplies that I’m sure I’ll use when I create some other projects, so I’m not saying goodbye to paper.
Do you document your life? Do you prefer to document your memories digitally or with paper? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Being twenty-five has been good. I liked that I was just past early twenties and not quite late twenties. I was no longer a newbie at work and had found my groove in what I worked on. Twenty-five feels like it should be a grown up age and I’ve been embracing the responsibilities of being a “grown up” but also loving that I’m still young. Deep down I don’t think that anyone really grows up, so I’ve definitely been embracing being silly, not taking life or myself too seriously.
Being twenty-five for me, didn’t come without it’s down points, I was put in situations which were completely out of my control and I tried to cope with them in the best way possible, I’m still not sure if it was the right way but I tried my best. I definitely learned a lot this past year and I hope that I’ve come out the other side stronger than before. I hope I remember last year mostly for the good points rather than the bad.
Whilst I was twenty-five, I visited Bath, the New Forest, Devon and Cornwall on some of the best holidays that I’ll remember for a long time. I saw Singin’ in the Rain, The Snowman and Top Hat in the West End. I saw Paloma Faith in concert. I ran 5k, drew and painted a lot and painted my first canvas. I moved house, decorated a bedroom and built a wardrobe. I also took up knitting and now write a little everyday.
I do hope that being twenty-six is a little kinder to me. The number twenty-six feels like an uncomfortable number, I much prefer multiples of five and so twenty-five felt good but that’s mostly just my silly way of looking at things and would mean that I would only feel comfortable every 5 years, which is silly!
Being twenty-six has been good so far though. My day has included; drinking far too much tea, a bit of window shopping in town, and an afternoon nap. It is so unlike me to do so little all day but it has to be done every once in a while and why not on one’s birthday? Put the kettle on, I’d like another cuppa in my birthday mug, please!
It all started about a year ago, I visited a dollshouse fair with my friend Harriet. It was so fun, although I remember being full of cold, I probably should have stayed at home that day as I remember that the cold got worse, I’m glad that I didn’t! Whilst at the dollshouse fair, I saw all the extortionately priced dollshouses, the cute little books, the tiny ornaments, it was like going shopping but in miniature! Harriet had just started decorating her castle and it all inspired me to decorate my own dollshouse one day, even if it was just one room, I haven’t done so yet but it is on my list of “one day” things, for when I have some space, money and time.
We stepped out of the dollshouse fair and Harriet had Celestine with her so took some photos of Celestine in front of Tower Bridge. If you’ve never heard of Celestine, pop over and visit Harriet’s blog and meet my favourite miniature person. Harriet created her with her own fair hands, she’s so talented!
I loved this idea so much that I wanted to create a little character for myself. I started by doodling a little penguin, and it went from there. Penguins are my favourite animal, as I’ve recently (in the last few years) realised, I think it was after watching a documentary series on BBC1 about penguins, they intrigue me! I understand that penguin is completely different to Celestine, I didn’t want to copy Harriet in any way, I just loved the idea of creating a little character.
Penguin is my little assistant, he’s the one doing all the hard work around here really! He is the one to keep me in order. His formal name is Mr Penguin (I know, so creative!) but his friends call him Penguin. He loves dancing in the rain, loves Fridays so much he does a little Friday dance and loves helping me get on with everyday things. Mostly though, he makes me smile.
After doodling away at Penguin for a while, I was searching away on Etsy (as I regularly do, I get so lost in the prettiness of it all!) and I found Melissa of Milo&Ben. Melissa creates the cutest little characters by needle felting them and when I found her little shop on Etsy, she created mostly Penguins. One of the penguins, Patrick, looked more or less exactly like the penguin I’d drawn and was just so cute that I couldn’t say no!
When he arrived, I was beyond excited and have taken countless photos of his cute little face! He’s even met Celestine and they became instant best friends over a slice of pink cake.
So, meet Penguin! (I’m sorry Melissa that I changed his name from Patrick to a less creative name) if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a lot of penguin doodles and photos. I hope to draw him more often and post them here.
And for yesterday, Penguin wanted to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day.
In 2013, I started documenting my monthly goals on the blog. I managed to keep up for most of the beginning part of the year. I’d reflect on how I did with the goals from the previous month and then list 3 goals for the current month. I’d be able to make the goals really easily and most of the time I’d complete them but I’d always want to create some sort of imagery to go with the blog post, which wasn’t always the top of my list when it came to my list of things to do. At one point last year, I’m sure one of my goals would have been to create imagery for the next month’s blog post.
It should be more about making the goals rather than documenting them. I really wanted to join in with Melyssa’s Weekly Wishes link up on Nectar Collective but I struggled to keep up with documenting my goals monthly let alone weekly! So, this year I’ve decided to do things a bit differently.
I love the idea of making small, simple weekly wishes, not goals, but wishes. “I wish to do this but no pressure if I don’t” If they’re weekly, then I’ll have a nice short deadline to aim for, rather than thinking I’ve got the whole month and procrastinating. I’ll also have 52 separate things that I would have achieved by the end of the year, hopefully! So, to combat the problem of not being able to keep up with documenting my wishes, I won’t be blogging them, but instead tweeting them weekly at the beginning of the week. I’ve already started the year with 4 different Weekly Wishes and so far it’s going well, I realised that I’m a week behind the official weeks of the year but I may do two wishes one week to make up for it.
I will then write a list on here of the 52 things that I’ve accomplished this year. On a different note, be prepared if you decide to follow me on twitter, you will experience my horrific taste in music, my rants about being a commuter into London everyday and my regular attempts at being a comedian and thinking I’m hilarious!
At some point over the next 7 days: I will watch Shawshank Redemption, I’ve never seen it before. #WeeklyWishes Week 1
I felt so happy this morning. It feels like things are settling into place. Rob and I are making steps towards a future of living together, which is so exciting. After almost 10 years of being boyfriend and girlfriend living in separate houses (and for 3 of those years in separate countries) I think it’s about time.
I’m so glad it’s Friday, not because it’s the end of the week and it’ll soon be the weekend (well, yes, that!) but also because I think it’s actually my favourite day of the week. It is in very close contention with Saturday. Friday is treat day, I spend a little bit more on lunch at work, I might buy a coke at lunch time to reward myself of the hard work during the week. Fridays are generally quieter on the trains and tube, for example this morning I had elbow room on the train, then on the tube, I didn’t have my face in someone’s underarm (it’s the little things). Everyone seems a little more relaxed on a Friday as they get ready for the weekend. Then, I try to get home from work nice and early on a Friday evening and it feels like a really long evening because there’s no pressure to go to sleep early.
I said I wouldn’t document my one little word project on the blog but if you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I like to break the rules, especially my own!
For 2014, I’ve chosen to keep the word “explore” in my mind as a word to live by for the year. It feels like an exciting word, a word of many possibilities and adventures. We’re only 19 days into the year and I don’t feel like I’ve really “explored” as much as I’d like, I’m still figuring out what it means for me. It is early days so having not explored a lot isn’t a bad thing.
verb (used with object), ex·plored, ex·plor·ing.
1. to traverse or range over (a region, area, etc.) for the purpose of discovery: to explore the island.
2. to look into closely; scrutinize; examine: Let us explore the possibilities for improvement.
3. Surgery . to investigate into, especially mechanically, as with a probe.
4. Obsolete . to search for; search out.
I have however written a list of intentions for the year.
Explore new things
Explore the process
Explore my voice
Some of these are very much related to work, or what some would consider as work. Creativity is part of my everyday and so I want to include it into my everyday. Plus, I love it, so I wanted a lot of art to be done this year and I want to give myself a chance to create freely without thinking about how it could be sold or published. I just want to explore lots of different things, figure out what I enjoy and figure out what I’m good at. Then, and only then, will I figure out what, if anything, will go in my little shop. I’m going to be exploring in different parts of life at the same time, because it all goes hand in hand. I definitely want to make sure I get to see some exhibitions in London this year, again that is art related, I don’t think I’ll ever get away from being creative.
This is where the Creative Collective comes in: I was so excited to see that Melyssa of Nectar Collective has organised this new initiative to encourage us readers to get creative in 2014. The Creative Collective is all about creating and sharing. It involves creating 23 projects throughout the year. You can join in with one of the projects or all of them, or as many as you like. I’m going to try and do as many as I can this year, but no pressure if I can’t. I think it’s going to be so much fun!
Think of a word that you want to focus on in 2014.
Find a piece of paper, cardboard, old pizza boxes, whatever, and write your word out. You can include photos, magazine clippings, paint splotches, random household items, or anything, really, that embodies this word to you. Make it colorful, if you like. Then hang it somewhere in your house or bedroom where it can inspire you and help you maintain your focus throughout the year.
And this is what I did. I found a quote that summed up my intentions for this year and got my paints out. This probably isn’t as free and colourful as I’d like it to be but I’ll get there. I really wanted to practice my hand drawn type and so used this as an excuse. I’m pleased with the results and will put it up in my bedroom to remind me of my word everyday.
Are you joining in with the Creative Collective this year? What is your word for the year?
Just over 9 years ago, I bought a notebook, it was a bright green notebook with dark pink end papers, plain white pages, a red bookmark ribbon and ribbons to tie it closed. What a combination of colours? I remember that I bought it from WH Smith in Watford. On 22 December 2004 I started writing in it. I’d decided that I wanted it to be a diary. That first day, I wrote 4 pages and the day after that I wrote 3 pages. I specifically remember worrying that if I continued to write at that rate, I’d run out of pages quite quickly, so I started to count the pages, I think my then 16 year old self must have got bored or lost count, as I never counted all those pages!
After writing in that diary a few times, I thought the front needed some decoration, it was just a plain bright green bookrum. So I brought out my latest crafting obsession: foam sheets from Hobbycraft and started snipping away at a design that I’d stick onto the front cover. I remember that I originally created the design on, it must have been, Microsoft Word on the family PC, using my favourite font at the time, I wish I remembered what it was called. I then printed it out and traced it onto the sheet of foam. I chose the colours that would go nicely with bright green …pink and purple! (What was I thinking?) Then stuck the design onto the front cover. I remember worrying that the foam wouldn’t stay stuck on the front of the diary but it did.
Then over the next 9 years, I’ve written in that diary. Sometimes it was everyday, sometimes it was once a month and sometimes I would miss out a couple of months then continue writing after. But the first date in that diary was 22 December 2004 and the last date was 1st January 2014. Each time, I would write the date and “dear diary” and then write whatever came to my mind. There are thoughts, ideas, dreams, fears, private letters to people that would be never read, rants and prayers in that diary. It has been with me during my GCSEs, A Levels, a Foundation in Art and design, my degree and 3 years of working. I’ve written about family, friends, love, hobbies, work, good times, little things, silly problems, big problems, scary things and my inner-most fears. As exciting as that all sounds though, I think most of it would be quite dull to read. I’d write about day to day regular things and whilst writing about those daily interactions, I’d be reflecting on how I felt about those things. Then I’d write about that. Then at the end I would very regularly write “Nighty Night, Siany xxx” as I was writing before I went to sleep most of the time.
It has become like a meditation, such a helpful activity at times. I don’t know what I think about a situation unless I write about it and writing has helped me through many a difficult situation. I’m sure it’s not for everyone but I highly recommend writing daily or when you have something on your mind.
When I’m writing in my diary, I don’t imagine that anyone would read it but imagine that someone might once I’m long gone from this world. I also wonder what a psychologist would have to say about all of my ramblings and the things I write about. Sometimes I imagine someone reading it thinking I must be crazy!
As I approached the end of 2013, I knew that it was time for a fresh start for me in general and I was fast approaching the last pages of my bright green diary. So, I realised it was time to say goodbye to my questionable colour combination and hello to a beautiful grown up diary. I’d seen some lovely Notebooks on Etsy and listed one on my Christmas list for Santa (or the 2013 adult equivalent, amazon wishlist). Rob’s family did a secret santa for Christmas last year and so I still don’t know who bought me this lovely diary, maybe it really was Father Christmas?
So I started writing in this new diary on January 2nd and will continue in the same way as the old diary, just in a different notebook. It is just as gorgeous, if not more, than I was expecting. It is so well made and looks amazing. It puts such a smile on my face to write in it. The only thing that I have to do is make sure I lean on a hard surface for a while, until I’ve written on quite a few pages at the front, because this diary is soft bound and the left hand page needs a bit of support. I’ll also need to find a piece of ribbon to place as a bookmark as it could get tricky, when I’ve written a bit more, to find my place.
One of my 25 things to do while I was 25 was to paint a canvas. So, back in the summer last year I bought a small 8″ x 8″ canvas and it sat by my desk unpainted for a while, whilst I decided what I wanted to paint on it. After much consideration, I decided to paint two little penguins. I’ve been drawing a lot of penguins recently in all different styles with different materials and so it made sense to try it out on a canvas.
Looking back at these photos, it feels like such a long time ago, I painted this and took photos all the way back in August, right before I went on holiday and then things started to get a bit crazy and we moved house. And mmm, that cake was yummy too, it hadn’t long left the oven and was still warm.
First, I grabbed a pencil and drew a faint outline. The pencil didn’t erase too well on this canvas but I made sure that I painted over every line.
Then, I painted the blue sky. I thought I’d paint the colour, which covered the most area first. It’s not as dark as the penguins, so if I made a mistake I could paint over it with the grey.
You can’t really see it here but I painted the bottom of the canvas white for snow and the Penguins’ tummys. I couldn’t just leave it as canvas.
I thought that black would be too harsh for this painting and so I painted the darker part of the penguins in a dark grey. I also planned on drawing in the details with black pen and so the dark grey would allow the pen to show up.
I then painted in their little feet, their beaks and a little red heart between them, how cute? These were the parts I was most nervous about, especially the heart. Red paint felt so bright and permanent, if it went wrong, I’d hate it forever. I think my hand was shaking the whole time whilst painting that heart but I was happy with it in the end. It isn’t symmetrical and I do that on purpose because if I tried to make it symmetrical, I’d be there forever adjusting each side until it was perfect.
I then used a micron pen to outline all the details. I love bold block drawings like this with all the details outlined in pen. The two little penguins are holding flippers with a little red heart between them and it is so sickly sweet, I love it!
The canvas is now hanging pride of place in my bedroom and I love it!
When I decided on my word for 2013, I had no idea what 2013 had in store for me and I can’t believe the impact choosing a word has made on my year. Things have happened that have been well out of my control and keeping my little word in my mind has helped me keep a positive outlook and has helped me question “what can I learn from this?” “Is this something that I can change?” “How can I make the best out of this situation?” (You can read all of my “grow” posts here)
I may have stopped documenting my one little word project on my blog throughout the year but I haven’t stopped doing the hard work in real life. I think choosing a word is a great way of dealing with things during the year, I’d love to be able to carry on this idea into 2014. But which word to choose? I now know that choosing a word is serious business, I never know what might happen.
I was having a think about what I wanted to achieve in 2014 and had no idea. So, I started writing a list of really vague goals and at the end of that list, without thinking about it too much, I wrote the word “explore.” It feels like a good word for 2014. After the roller coaster that was 2013, I feel like I need to explore. I’m still not sure what it means for me at the moment but we’ll see. As for New Year’s Resolutions, I haven’t really made any but will see where the year takes me. I hope to make 12 intentions with the word explore like I did in 2013 with the word grow and that should help me focus on specific things, I don’t think I’ll share my project on the blog like I did in 2013. As I felt it got a bit boring to read. I’ve considered participating in Nectar Collective’s Weekly Wishes but again, we’ll see.
I hope you have a very Happy New Year and whatever you are doing tonight, I hope you have a lot of fun and take care. *chink chink* Cheers to 2014!
Firstly, I hope you had a very Happy Christmas and hope you’re having a lovely boxing day today.
Goodness! Would you believe I’ve only be gone 2 and a half months it feels like a lot longer. As I said in my previous post, I had some really tough things to do, one of those was to move house, to move and sort out 23 years worth of stuff into a smaller space. (That wasn’t even the half of what I had to do but I won’t go into that in such a public domain). We moved in the third week of November and settling in has been a slow process.
Up until last weekend, life had been all sorts of crazy, our home was mostly filled with boxes, my bedroom furniture consisted of a bed and a bedside table, then my clothes were on a temperamental hanging rail in the living room. Only just last week, I finished decorating the bedroom and built a lovely wardrobe to put my clothes away. Decorating a bedroom whilst working full time during the week makes it a slow process too, at least it gives the paint a chance to dry I suppose, but each night I had to return the room to some kind of livable condition and find my clothes again so that I could go to work the next morning. This is all superficial though, I feel a lot happier than I have in a while, I can most definitely see a light at the end of the tunnel now.
I’m so glad that I took a break from writing on this blog, I didn’t even switch my laptop on for about 2 weeks and I was predominantly focused on getting from one day to the next, whilst being so emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. And as I write this, I’m thinking that I’m probably exaggerating but then there’s a chance that I’m looking back with rose tinted glasses. It was a really tough time.
Another good thing about having a break from the blog is that I managed to figure out what’s next for the blog. And I’ve thought about what I don’t want this blog to be, I just need to work out what I do want it to be. I’ve read quite a few articles about social media and blogging and it has made me reconsider a lot of things about my online presence.
First of all, there’s the fact that everyone carves out their online persona to show a better version from reality, and I’m possibly guilty of it too, a lot of people don’t do it on purpose but instead choose to keep out the bad stuff and by doing that, it gives an inaccurate impression to those looking on. I hate feeling the slight jealousy that comes with reading a person’s blog who appears to have everything (even when I know they don’t). I don’t want my blog to be so meticulously carved out that it’s such a long way from reality. There is then the risk of over sharing, there are some things that should remain private as mentioned at the start.
I thought about whether I actually have time to blog, is there any point to it? Would I rather just live my life rather than spend so much time documenting things? Why am I doing this? What’s the meaning of life? It was all very dramatic.
And then I thought, I don’t take my blog too seriously, I just do it for fun and as a hobby. So why am I worrying about it so much? I’ve certainly thought about it far too much. But that may be because I enjoy it so much and do, in a way, take it seriously.
The one thing I want to change about my blog is the amount of art and design work I share, I enjoy that part the most rather than writing about life. So, maybe that’s the answer. With many things, I don’t know until I’ve tried it so I’m going to see how it goes. There will still be the odd rambling post like this (and well done to you if you’ve got this far and still follow what I’m trying to say). There will be some of the old favourites. My blog might not even change at all, but my attitude has changed, I hope, for the better.
I’m so glad and excited to be back. I’m excited about the many ideas I have for the new year, I’m excited about the new design and for a fresh start. I’m also really happy that if you’re reading this, you haven’t lost interest and left me completely. Thank you so much for reading and thanks for sticking by me.