January 31, 2014

2014 bold plans

I have been trying to narrow down an easy plan for this 2014, and considering the changes and challenges that we’ll be facing in a few months’ time, I thought it would be wise to keep it minimal. I will try not to do too many to-do-lists, although I like setting some goals each month and get them crossed off.
My main (big!) goal for 2014 is to make my life, style and thinking more cohesive, focusing on my art and the way I live my life.
I have chosen a few year-long projects to achieve this and I will be planning some monthly projects to keep me motivated.

// 2014 projects
  • One Little Word (I have talked about it here). This is the biggest new project for this year for sure. Living my chosen word CREATIVE in 2014 is more like a daily task, than a yearly goal. But the plan here is to carry on completing the monthly prompts and be reminded of my word in every choice I make, every single day. I’m planning to share some updates at the beginning of each month, more to remind myself of the decisions I have been taking and the actions I have been making which reflect my little word.
  • Project 52 + Fruits of womb (here & here). I decided to combine these two projects together, as at some point in July the fruit of the womb will turn into a real tiny little person. My pictures taking skills have still a long way to go, but I will try to add some creativity into it. The plan is still to post a picture every Monday at 10:30am (GMT) here on the blog.
  • Complete any current sketchbooks before buying new ones. This has actually been deleted from this year plan! I had it in for the past two years, and it didn’t really worked. So for this year I’m making a plan to start a brand new sketchbook, with new ideas, new illustrations and new thoughts and use the other ones when I feel like it. Hopefully I will have at least one completed sketchbook by the end of the year. More about this in the following weeks.

    // Monthly projects and goals
    I can repeat this over and over, but I love a good monthly project! The beauty of it is that you don’t have to plan it in advance, if not one week or even a few days before the start of each month. So based on your mood, time or interest they can be chosen almost on the spot. And if you get bored, you can ditch it without having wasted too much time. Or this is what I did last year and worked brilliantly!
    This year I decided to focus on my artistic skills. I was planning to enrol in a botanical painting class I attended a few years back and loved, but time is really playing against me, so I decided to try some new illustrations techniques at home instead.
    The plan is to practice on a different subject each month, or more than that if I think it’s needed, using my watercolours, a new sketchbook and this book.
    Another goal I have is to produce a new item for the shop each month, easier said than done!
    Of course things will probably change over the course of the year, I might be fed up with the current goals or maybe be intrigued by other projects. For these reasons I’m not making any list or reminder of any sort, except for the things I like to accomplish some time during the year (and that I’m worried I will forget!), like a blog and shop re-do.

    Rather than crossing things off lists every month, I will be checking on my progress and draw some conclusions on how I am doing half way through the year and/or in January. This way I don’t feel the pressure of being behind my plans, it gives me time to focus more on the things that I actually enjoy doing and to catch up if I have been lazy!

    I hope I can make this work. Let’s get working!

    January 29, 2014

    Pick of the Month: January // Mother-to-be essentials: First Trimester

    1. Olio 9 mesi from Weleda / 2. Morning sickness relief from Sea-band / 3. Quando arriva un fratellino by Nicoletta Costa on Amazon / 4. Yoga for pregnancy, birth and beyond Francoise Barbira Freedman on Amazon / 5. Homeopathy Chamomilla (30c) from Helios / 6. Decaffeinated Arabica Caffe from Lavazza / 7. Classic Brogues from Benetton / 8. Flannel Check Long Sleeve Shirt Dress from Uniqlo / 9. Travel socks from M&S.

    I promise I’m not going to talk about pregnancy and babies too much this year, but this month I finally entered my second trimester and I just wanted to sum up all the things that made me feel better, physically and mentally, during these first three months.

    The Weleda body oil for pregnancy has been a favourite of mine during my first pregnancy, so I’m using it again this second time around. I love the smell and the consistency, and the fact that it gets absorbed relatively quickly. I didn’t get any stretchmarks the first time, and I like to think that it was because I applied this oil everyday, almost religiously.

    The morning sickness bands were fortunately used only for a week or so. I didn’t get any proper morning sickness, but a bad heart burn and a bit of nausea.

    I’m planning to buy a book on how to explain to my two-year old what is going to happen in July and after that, and I’m hoping this book will help to cope with a toddler and a newborn (wish me luck here!).
    This yoga book is done ever so well; I’ve used it last time too and planning to go back at it as soon as I manage to fit it in into my daily routine.

    These little pearls of chamomile were a great deal during the first trimester. Emotions were up and down, especially in the evening, and these helped loads to find some balance and restore some calm.

    The decaffeinated coffee is one of the things that I can’t get over easily! I love my morning caffeinated coffee, but for the sake of the baby (and the family!), we are all drinking decaf and so we’ll keep doing probably for the next year or so.

    I bought a new pair of flat brogues for the office. Physical balance is one thing I seem to lose during pregnancy, so before falling on the pavement, I thought it was a good idea to get some comfy shoes.

    The shirt dress was a great disguise of my growing belly during the Christmas holidays when we still hadn’t told anyone. Now is just a perfect maternity dress for the weekend…and there still room to grow into it!

    The travel socks are as ugly as they can be, but if you are stuck to a desk for more than 8 hours, they are a must for your tired legs.

    I’m hoping this list will be helpful to other as it has been to me.

    January 28, 2014


    It's week 4, and I'm making some changes to this project. I've decided to include the "fruits of the womb" project in here as well, to keep track and record the week of both my babies. Hope it works!
    "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014"
    Olivia: She's still enjoying bath time very much (and so do I!). She insists on washing herself, including her hair and loves singing while doing so; although the singing continues all day long.

    Baby-to-be: He/she is still very quiet. I can feel my belly  growing almost daily, and my weird food cravings are being accommodated.

    Linking up with Jody from Practising Simplicity.

    January 24, 2014

    My tiny creative corner

    I have always dreamed of having my own space to create. A place where I could have all my books displayed, all my supplies organised by type and colour, where my sewing machine would always be ready to use, where I could leave all my on-going projects on a desk without having to tidy up every time, a place with lots of storage units and a big desk where I could do some proper painting. Well, this is still a dream, but I’m working on it.
    In the meantime, I tried to make the best of what I have available, meaning just above 1 square meter of space stuck against our living room wall.
    The space is tiny, but is well organised with minimal furniture (thanks IKEA!): a white desk and a very useful drawer unit, a readapted and painted wall storage unit and a black swivel armchair.
    The desk area is where I do all my crafting, painting, writing (obviously!), so I try to keep it clear to avoid having to tidy it up before starting any work.
    Unfortunately it doesn’t always work and most of the time the desk is covered in clutter.

    For the past year or so, this working space has been neglected big time! It has become a place to dump stuff waiting to get sorted, making it a living mess and an unusable surface. Without mentioning the fact that my 2 year old was extremely interested in what was going on on the desk and as soon as she was able to pick above it, we had a few accidents…including inking her hands with black permanent ink!
    So, to go with my word for 2014, CREATIVE, I thought it was time to gift myself, once again, with a creative space where to explore my word and live all the mess of my living room behind.
    I cleared the desk and organised, more or less, the storage space.
    Halfway there
    Loose pens, pencils, colours, scissors and cutters are stored in three black containers, while I keep some cute cards, mails and generally any unclassified stuff (including my hand cream!) in a wired basket all hanged on a rail mounted on the wall. This turned out to be a great workspace saver.
    The white wall storage unit contains a bit of everything. My on-going pocket/small sketchbooks and all boxed paints, pencils, pastels, etc are stored in the left hand side. The middle section has two storage boxes which contain all my stamps and inks and some more colours. The right hand side houses sprays and varnishes, and a pencil holder where I keep some highlighters, pens and pencils that Mr G is allowed to use (as the rest if off limits).
    The top of the unit houses a few boxes, containing generic stationery, my sewing tools and craft supplies, refills for my printer, some jars with all sorts of buttons and some artwork.
    My sewing machine and a wicker basket with all my knitting tools and on-going knitting work are kept under the desk.Together with some imperial sheets of watercolour paper.
    The drawer unit is my favourite. It has 5 drawers and each is designated to a specific activity:
    minibooks; painting tools; cards making supplies, including lino printing, embossing and die cutting tools; fabrics; notebooks and sketchbooks. 
    Additional fabrics and painting supplies and all my books, magazines, reference materials and sketchbooks are not so neatly displayed on the bookshelf, but I'm working on that too.
    I love this space, I love sitting in my chair and feeling creative, I love that when I’m at my desk the rest of the living room is behind me and I can concentrate on what I’m doing. It feels like I’m in a completely different world.

    January 22, 2014

    We can finally let everyone know...

    ...that we are expecting another baby for mid July! We safely made it to the second trimester and we felt it was time to spread the news amongst friends and family. We kept it as a secret for three months and it was hard at times, but also felt nice to have a little something just for us. My belly is growing very quickly and it is definitely noticeable now; I wonder when my little Miss will start asking questions about it!
    I wasn't sure how to document this pregnancy. With Olivia I made a minibook to include pictures as well as important dates and facts, but with this one I wanted something simple that didn't require too much time to put together. I went for the "Fruits of the womb" concept, getting the idea from Amanda O'Rourke of Joy Ever After. Each week I've been taking a picture of me, or my belly as soon as it has been visibly protruding out there, and a fruit or vegetable to represent the growth of the baby. I get the comparison between the baby growth and a fruit or vegetable every week from baby centre, making some changes when I couldn't find the relevant fruit. Starting this week I'm planning to post a picture every week, as well as some facts, if any.

    All of the above pictures were taken using my Iphone. Selfies were done using the app Timer Cam and text was added using Phonto. Editing was done using some of the filters on Instagram.

    January 20, 2014


    This is you pretending to eat a plastic orange from your grocery shopping trolley
    It's week 3 and you are becoming funnier everyday! This week you moved to a new class at nursery, and although were a bit confused at first, you were vary brave and adapted better than expected to the new teachers and the new routine.

    January 17, 2014

    Current reads

    In relation to my One Little word for 2014 (you can read about it here), I’ve chosen a number of books that I’m hoping will help me through my creative journey. Funnily enough, all of those books were bought in November last year, way before I began this adventure and way before my word was chosen. Maybe it was by owing these books that my OLW came to me…who knows. These books spoke to me, one way or another; for some was the cover, for others the raving comments, or just the title. They all had great reviews overall, but you know, people have different opinions and needs and sometimes a great book for one could be a waste of time for another. I’m planning to give it a start to all of them and then eventually ditch the one that are not for me. I’m just hoping I will be able to find some quiet time to get lost into these books.
    Amazon book description: Cultivating Your Creative Life: How to Find Balance, Beauty, and Success as an Artist is a multifaceted book where creativity and wonder intermingle to show how to live a creative and balanced life while moving toward your goals. You’ll delve right into the creative process and find practical and inspiring suggestions on making a living as a working artist. This book holds reverence and respect for the natural world in high esteem, using a central visual metaphor of the growth and blossoming of a tree. Alena Hennessey’s illustration style combines nature, whimsey, delicacy, and a modern sensibility; vibrant pen and ink illustrations accompany relevant quotes of inspiration, tips, and creative journal exercises. Cultivating Your Creative Life is not only an interactive creativity guide; it is a work of art, in itself—a beautiful, collectible volume—to save and to savor, or to give as a gift to the special creative person in your life.
    Amazon book description: Utilize your creativity to manifest your personal intention. Work in the spirit of the laws of attraction to visualize the life of your dreams. Follow the journey of twelve artists, each who will set a personal dream or intention. Witness the process that each artist takes, as they create a mixed-media piece that sows the seeds of their intention. Step-by-step techniques for a variety of mixed-media processes accompany each piece of finished art. Read about how their lives changed as a result and learn how to set intentions of your own using the bonus tear-out "dream-prompt" cards.
    Raw Art Journaling by Quinn McDonald
    Amazon book description: In a raw-art journal, you don't need to know how to draw; you don't need to know how to write well. You don't need worry about messing up techniques you've never attempted before inside your raw-art journal. You just need to be you because raw art is you and it thrives on creative play, on experimentation and even on making mistakes.
    Raw Art Journaling will teach you how to embrace your art, confront negative self-talk (a.k.a., your gremlin) and make meaning with your words and with your art. Inside Raw Art Journaling you'll discover how to:
    ·       Write meaningful thoughts with a single sentence
    ·       Create thought-provoking poems through found poetry
    ·       Uncover images hidden in your photos
    ·       Make personal meaning with the simplest of lines
    ·       Finally feel free to make mistakes
    ·       Use clever techniques to keep your secrets secret
    Quiet your gremlin, grab your permission slip (it's on page 19) and start making meaning in your own raw-art journal today!
    All I Did Was Listen by Rachel Awes
    Amazon book description: Rachel Awes, licensed psychologist, tells a story of wholeness + healing for everyone through colorful drawings, prose-like reflections, + inspiring quotes from her clients. Show More
    Amazon book description: Tumble down the rabbit hole and find yourself in an inky black-and-white wonderland. This interactive activity book takes you on a ramble through a secret garden created in beautifully detailed pen-and-ink illustrations all waiting to be brought to life through colouring, but each also sheltering all kinds of tiny creatures just waiting to be found. And there are also bits of the garden that still need to be completed by you. Appealing to all ages, the intricately-realized world of the Secret Garden is both beautiful and inspirational.
    this book is currently sitting in my drawer at work. 
    i need some creativity when i get fed up with with numbers
    Craft-a-doodleby Jenny Doh
    (This book was actually the chosen prize of a giveaway I won from the craft institute)

    Amazon book description: Using a simple doodle as a starting point, 18 artists take you on an inspirational, crafty journey! Filled with inventive prompts designed to fuel the imagination, these 75 exercises motivate crafters to pick up a pencil, brush, or marker and explore their artistic voice. From quick 'try it' ideas using shapes and patterns to doodled portraits and contour drawings, these step-by-step projects are wild, creative fun. The featured artists include Cori Dantini, who provides a 'Recipe for a Face'; Flora Chang with innovative watercolour designs; and Teesha Moore who offers ideas for adding personality to doodled characters.
    The little light of mine by Kelly Rae Roberts and Hope Lyda
    Amazon book description: Kelly Rae Roberts' unique and compelling art inspires all women to shine in all that they do and all that they become. This delightful treasure will be received with a bright smile by women embarking on new ventures, honoring friendships, and igniting dreams. The engaging paintings of popular artist Kelly Rae Roberts illuminate this colorful celebration of hope, faith, kindness, courage, and gratitude. Inspiring quotes and reflections of possibility invite readers to explore their personal adventure of life and joy.Show More

    Happy reading!

    January 15, 2014

    Shop update // Clearance Sale 50% OFF

    One of the intentions of my One Little Word for 2014 is to focus on just a few things, in the hope that my creative spirit will have the chance to soar. On the practical side, I'm working on quite a lot of things to achieve this. Starting from my Etsy shop. In 2014 I will be focusing on selling items that reflect my creativity and hopefully will show a common style between them. I haven't set out a clear plan yet, but I know for sure the type of items currently on sale that I want to keep in the shop:
    The rest is currently on sale at 50% OFF!! the clearance section also inlcude some Christmas items that didn't sell, so if you are stocking up for the end of the year holiday, have a look.
    I'm hoping to get a new banner and to add more items soon.

    January 13, 2014


    Let's roll with week 2! My lack of photographic skills is definitely not helped by a very moving toddler. This shot is the best I got form last week, but I like it because it shows how much my little one has grown...she can now look above the safety gate, and not just pick through the bars as before.
    This is you playing pick-a-boo with me, trying to hide behind the gate.
    Linking up with Jody.

    January 10, 2014

    My One Little Word for 2014 // CREATIVE

    This year I embarked in yet another year long project called One Little WordSM by Ali Edwards (more info here).
    Yet again, as most of the things I do, it was all decided impulsively in about 3 minutes late at night. With one eye already asleep and the other halfway there, I clicked on the ‘Register Here’ and that was it!
    I had heard about this project before, but really didn’t know exactly what it was all about, so I started reading all Ali’s posts on previous years and got hooked up. The workshop is really a personal journey to embrace a meaningful word of your choice into your life, through prompts, exercises, reflections and actions. The journey can be documented through scrapbooking or in a way that suits you best. There are suggested ways of doing it, but it is really a personal choice.
    My One Little Word for 2014 is: 
    Choosing the right word was not easy and straight forward. During the past year, I tried a lot of different things and new approaches to my creative and practical life. I didn’t signed up for any art classes, as I used to do, but enrolled in online workshops and challenges, covering sketching, photography, scrapbooking. I discovered the work of some artists I now love and admire. All this experimenting led me to some discoveries about what I’m good and bad at, what I like and dislike. But my interest and commitment for any of those things was merely superficial and temporary. After trying one new thing I moved straight to the next one, following the trend of the moment.  I read somewhere on the internet (haven’t been able to find it again), that intelligent people can do anything, but clever ones only focus on what they are best at, or something like that.
    So, one of my plans for this year was to narrow down my interests and actually stick to a couple of ideas that I enjoyed playing with last year. I want put more effort into those few things, giving them a chance to evolve and become something more than a hobby of the moment. So with this in mind I started thinking about a word that would sum up this early concept. Many popped out into my head, but none would stick or felt appropriate. Also reading other people’s words made me feel a bit superficial in trying to pick a word that would have an impact on my practical side than my inner side, so I took more time to choose my one little word.
    I thought and read a lot and the word CREATIVE arrived. And the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced it is that I need this year. I still haven’t explored this word and its meaning, what are my expectations and in what ways I’m going to include this word into my daily life, and all its aspects. I have yet to decide how to document this word of mine, but I will be sharing regular posts here on the blog, towards the end of each month.

    Wish me luck in starting this new journey!

    January 08, 2014

    Thoughts on 2013 and hopes for 2014

    Every year in January I feel the urge to go through a scanning process of the past year, the good and the bad are sift through, all the finished projects are crossed of the list, all the unfinished projects make it to a new (ever growing) list, a recap of the year is made and digested. Some people prefer going through this process in December and get ready to start new things and tackle new ventures on January first. To me January is the month to think deeply and reflect on what has just been and what it will be. It’s time for dreaming about the coming year, and time to make amends for the past one.
    This year is no different. We just came back from a long winter break where there was no time, nor intention, to start this process any sooner. Over the past few days I have flicked through all the 142 posts I wrote in 2013; a big jump from the 11 posts of the previous year! Every month had its own ups and downs, but mostly every month had something new to show. And this is what I want to remember for each and every one (click on the images below to see the related post).
    January saw the start of “Project 52, a portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013”. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. So much I’m keeping up with it in 2014.
    February set the start of the “Pick of the Month” series, which is still ongoing. A collection of monthly favorites ranging from clothes to room d├ęcor.
    March was the debut month for the “30 Days of Lists” projects. The first one was an impulsive start, the other two followed easily. 
    April showed my love for notebooks.
    In May I started my own project, “walk to work”, a series of daily photos taken during my commute to work and shared on Instagram.
    In June I rediscovered my interest in bookbinding.
    July was the month of the “phone photography project” and the opening of my Etsy shop.
    August was the time of our summer holidays.
    In September I wrote an “I am…” list and enjoyed the process very much.
    October was marked by some seasonal DIY projects, including a wreath and a striped quilt for my baby girl.
    In November I kept experimenting with rubber stamps and kept feeding this new obsession of mine.
    December has been the more valuable family time of the year.
    The hope is to be able to keep up with all of the above in this new year, including new projects, more focus on a few things, better photos and lots of fun. I still don’t have a clear plan for 2014, but a few things and ideas in my head which I’ll try to finalise before the end of the month.
    It’s going to be a challenge to beat 2013, but there are some coming news which will help in making 2014 an even better and special year.
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...