Monday, 31 January 2011

Conclusions for January / Actions for February

Actions that I wanted to achieve in January were:

* Express the Themes for 2011 in my art journal.
Done and blogged!
........ DONE.
* Finish 1 craft project every week.
Hm. Well. Every action from this point onwards was affected heavily by the fact that I had to move house during this period. So please bear this in mind! I didn't finish any craft projects, however: I threw one in the bin (callous, I know, but I was being ruthless). I put two on the scrap list, two on the maybe scrap list, and I lost one. I'm not sure how that happened, but the packing became pretty frenzied after a while. By my count that's at least 4 that're gone, even if they weren't finished. So I'm counting this action as
........ DONE.
* Fulfill my exercise schedule every day this month.
I didn't do what was on my schedule, but the only reason for that was I expended all my energy in packing, hauling stuff and cleaning. I feel like I Moved more than enough for one month! Still, I'm hesitant to call this one done. It would seem like cheating.
* Go on a drawing picnic.
I didn't get time for this, for obvious reasons! But I feel that doing something relaxing is important, so I'm not going to drop it.
* Review and de-clutter my finished novels.
I think that taking over 60 books to the Op Shop during my clean-out counts!
........ DONE.
* Take previously de-cluttered items to the Op Shop.
I have to laugh at this one. Here I was, thinking that it would take all year to de-clutter my stuff, bit by bit. Yet thanks to a single piece of paper (i.e. the Notice to Vacate), I've achieved this yearly goal within the first month!! You know those large garbage bags? The really big ones about half as tall as a person and just as wide? Boy and I donated 12 of those to the Op Shop, and 19 into the rubbish. I even astound myself! I now only own things that I want to own and think that I need. So I might be forgiven for thinking that this goal/theme has been achieved. Already? Can that be possible? Sure, the physical de-cluttering is done, but what about all that unpacking? Plus I feel there's still a lot of mental and emotional de-cluttering to be done. So perhaps the emphasis just needs to change a bit. This particular action though?
........ DONE.
* Read a book on procrastination.
I read not just one, but two! I also wrote a review on them which I'll be posting soon.
........ DONE.
So there you go. I didn't achieve everything for this month, but I think I had good reason. And one action I achieved beyond my wildest dreams! Things have changed a bit, but I expected that. That's why I wanted to avoid doing something like picking a single word, or a certain set of goals for the whole year. A year is a long time after all!

Now for February's Actions:

* Unpack one box every day. (DE-CLUTTER)
* Begin Walk/Run Programme and do twice per week. (MOVE)
* Set up a portable art journalling station. (CREATE)
* Go on a drawing picnic. (CREATE / MEDITATE)

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Etsy Purchase

Perhaps it's a little late to talk about the Christmas present that I bought for myself, but I love the items I bought from Sparkle Blue Faery's Artfire shop so much that I wanted to talk about my purchase anyway.

I bought a handmade journal and a zine about recycled crafts. (The exact name escapes me now, and everything is packed, so I can't check the details.) The zine has some great ideas for re-inventing ordinary household items which I'd like to try. The journal is very high quality and was obviously made with care and love. It's the second one I've bought from Karis, and I'll enjoy using it as much as I did the first. The cover is decorated beautifully: she has a great eye for colour.

She also included some free gifts - some smaller zines, ACEOs and handmade postcards. I was thrilled with these as I love to have a bookmark for each of my special books, and these will definitely fit the bill. The whole came packaged in the most gorgeous parcel, which you can see in the photo peeking out from the edges. I can't describe how excited I was when I saw it in my letterbox!

This photo was taken a few weeks ago, in my new photography light tent!

Only two days now til we move house. Then perhaps I can get on with some good, hard crafting!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Distracted ... by Embroidery

Vintage Embroidery - Duchess Set, posted by Vintage LOVE on Flickr.

The last few days I've had a really strong urge to sew, and now to embroider. Specifically doileys! (Though maybe not quite so ... horsey as the ones above.) Sadly though, all my craft supplies are packed up in boxes and waiting to be shifted to the new apartment next Saturday.

A whole week with no craft??!! How will I survive??!!

To be honest, I'll be too busy organising things, packing other items and cleaning in the next week, anyway. I knew I had a lot of books, but ... whooeee! Perhaps it's for the best that I packed the craft supplies first. Still, it makes me sigh.

Love from,
la Casa de Boxes.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A Trip to the Libary : The Big Ass Book of Crafts

Click on image to view at Book Depository. (This is just a normal link!)

I received The Big-Ass Book of Crafts for Christmas from the Lovely Boy, and I've just finished 'reading' it. The author Mark Montano is apparently a TV personality in the U.S., presenting shows on interior decorating. Most of the projects in this book reflect this angle. I do like his style - quirky and colourful with Mexican influences. There's not much beige to be seen in this book!

The projects are arranged into chapters by either type of item (e.g. tableware, paper goods) or material used (e.g. felt). Some are made from scratch. Many take finished items such as a table or a photo frame, and jazz them up. Others take a household item and turn it into something else - wine glasses into candle-holders, for example. With this kind of craft, there is the potential for hits and misses. The mirror-encrusted table top is beautifully elegant, but the drinking straw lampshade looks like something I would have made in primary school. Which is fine if you're crafting with small children, really! The huge range of projects mean there is something for everyone.

There really are a huge number of projects in this book! In some cases I wonder if quantity was chosen over quality. Most of the instructions are written only - there is a photo of the finished product but nothing else. For the simpler projects, this is fine. Take A and glue to B. Easy! For the more complicated projects with many steps, it could be an issue. I'm less likely to start a project if I feel I have to nut out how to do it as I go along.

There are advantages to having such a huge choice of projects, though. There are some that I can't do because I don't have power tools. On the other hand, there are plenty that I can do because I have a sewing machine and an Op Shop just down the road. Don't like the tray-table project? That's okay, there are 4 in different styles that you might like. I noticed that some disparate items are made using the same technique, for example a basket and a photo frame both made from ice cream sticks. Some may call this repetitive, but I think it's a good idea as it encourages the crafter to think of new ways of applying known techniques.

Unfortunately The Big-Ass Book of Crafts suffers from a couple of annoyances. The crafter is advised to search for colour pictures online or order from certain websites to obtain some of the supplies. What if you don't have a computer with a colour printer? What if the online shop doesn't deliver to where you are? What if you're not able to drop into your local 'Staples'? (I've never even heard of Staples, I'm guessing it's like Officeworks? If so, I wouldn't poke 'em with a ten-foot pole!)

There's also an issue with the glue-non-specificity that I've complained about before. I can probably figure out a substitute for 'Elmer's Wood Glue' and 'E6000', but what the heck is 'Goop'? Or 'Krylon'? Where would I find a substitute for these in Australia? There's some consolation in knowing there is a list of suppliers' websites in the back. I'll just have to do a bit of research and hunt around in my local hardware shop.

The overall style of the book is contemporary with a dash of Mexican folk, and written in a chatty yet not over-the-top style which I like. Considering that I'm about to be handed the clean slate that moving house provides, I can see myself referring to it frequently in the near future.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Moving House

Moving House, originally uploaded by t!ge.

Here's a quick summary of what's happened to me in the last few days:

Tuesday: (please note Tuesday was the first business day of the year!) Received notice to vacate my apartment in the mail. (The owners are selling it.) Started looking for new place online.
Wednesday: Viewed an apartment. Loved it. Rushed home and applied online.
Thursday: 11am, Received phone call with offer. Did happy dance at work!
Friday: started throwing things away.
Saturday: signed leased, bought boxes. The juggernaut is on the move!

So obviously I'll be very busy in the next few weeks and won't have time to post much - or do any art/craft. I do have a few Reverb10 pieces saved up though, so the blog won't be completely blank.

See you on the other side!

P.S. That's not my cat, or my cardboard box. I just thought the image was cutely appropriate.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New Year Art Journalling

I finished my first art journal page of the year already!

This is a page that I'd already stuck an image on and applied pink paint. I painted a blue border and drew the mandalas in the centre. Then I used Sakura Gelly Rolls to add the words and decorate them. Finally I laid a base in pastel peach paint and drew freehand with a black sharpie. I'd like to try drawing more this year. The one on the left is a doodly mandala, in the style that I've been in the last couple of years. It's starting to seem a bit stale to me! So I tried something in a more art-like style on the right. It's a girl with lots and lots of hair!

I took the pictures in my new light tent which boy gave me for Christmas. The journal only just fits inside, and I couldn't position the camera far enough away to capture the whole double-page spread in one shot. So I took one of both sides and photoshopped them together. That's why it's a bit hinky in the middle! But I really like the even light the tent produces.

This is the light tent. Simple but effective!

Monday, 3 January 2011

[ Reverb10 : Day 17 : Lesson Learned ]

Yesterday, I wrote 4 Reverb10 prompts all in one sitting. Yay, me!
However, I'll release them one at a time to prevent reader boredom.

Day 17. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

Mainly I'm just going to refer to the blog posts I wrote recently, 2010 In Review and Welcome to 2011. New Year is an important occasion for me. With the lack of any other significant occasions or rituals in my year, it has come to take on a deep meaning for me. The idea of transformation and renewal is appealing. So these are the kinds of thoughts I have at the end of the year anyway. Looking at my goals and actions for the last year, I can see a tendency to want to take on more than I can handle. Then I beat myself up when it doesn't happen. Now I think some more and be more honest with myself - that list of goals could really be completed in one year by the average person. No problems. So why wasn't it? My problem is actually with procrastination. It's a killer. A drainer. It saps your self confidence until you find that you're saying to yourself: "I can't do that. There's no point in starting because I won't finish it. I'll fail." As I see it at the moment, the key to overcoming my procrastination is to build self-confidence. How? By setting and completing small actions. I hope my change of approach for 2011 will facilitate this.

Geez, I sound like a productivity counsellor. It's making me sick!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Actions for January


To make sure that I stay on track this year, I going to use my blog to make me accountable. So once a month, I'll write a post on the actions that I'm taking towards the themes, and a review of the previous month. (Obviously there's no review today as this is the first month of the year!)
Actions that I want to achieve for January are:

* Express the Themes for 2011 in my art journal. (CREATE / MEDITATE)
* Finish 1 craft project every week. (CREATE / DE-CLUTTER)
* Fulfill my exercise schedule every day this month. (MOVE)
* Go on a drawing picnic. (CREATE / MEDITATE / MOVE?)
* Review and de-clutter my finished novels. (DE-CLUTTER)
* Take previously de-cluttered items to the Op Shop. (DE-CLUTTER)
* Read a book on procrastination. (MEDITATE; probably all of them really, heh)

I was tempted to add more, but that would probably be unhelpful and de-motivating. If it's meant to be there'll be more. So I took a deep breath and hit the 'Post' button.
I promise there'll be some craft/art soon; the lack of, is making me really grumpy! I'm also determined to finish the Reverb10 project. If everything went according to plan and I'd written a piece every day in December, it should be over now, but I think it's important to finish it.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Welcome to 2011!

Happy New Year Party Pixies, originally uploaded by hagerstenguy.

Happy New Year 2011!

Last post, I took a look at the last year, my goals and activities. I've also been thinking hard about more personal things. I realised that, just perhaps, I'm slowly getting better at being alive. The way I wanted to do things a year ago wasn't really working for me. So this year I've decided to do things a little differently and see if that works. Instead of over-arching yearly goals, I've decided on 4 themes. Each month I'll choose some activities that aligns with these themes. I can really see this working for me. I'll talk about the activities for January in a few days. For now, here are my 4 themes for 2011, in no particular order:





Are you a sucker for punishment? Would you like to read all about how I came to this decision, with the help of a few dear friends? Then

Last night I had a discussion with my friend Miss E about many things, including my goals for 2010 and why I may/may not have achieved them. It was quite enlightening. In response to that, this year I want to adjust the way I do things a little. I'm going to take little steps. No more over-stretching myself. No more thinking that I always have to be doing something, no matter what it is. No more beating myself up when I don't do what I told myself I'm going to do - because I have a better idea what I'm actually capable of. And it's OK.

Ok, so less goals. 8 is really overwhelming. How about 4? One for every quarter. That sounds do-able. But there are so many things I want to do next year! It's all swimming around in my head and I'm starting to get really confused.

I decided to do a brainstorming session; I headed the page 'What I Want from 2011'. I came up with 12 items. Then re-wrote them with spaces in between, and brainstormed actions I could do to make those things happen. No matter how scary it sounded, it went on the list. Even if I wondered how I could possibly do it. I made sure that I used words that have positive associations for me. For example, instead of "sticking to" a plan, I put "fulfilling". Instead of writing "set myself tasks", I put "choose some activities". Words are important. You'd be surprised. By the end of it, I had a huge amount of tasks to do and I was even more confused than before!

I mentioned what I was doing in an email chat with B, and how confused and frustrated I was getting. What she had to say was very enlightening. It doesn't have to be hard and complicated. I was working myself up into a tizzy, trying to bite off more than I can chew again. Harmony and happiness stems from simplicity. So I had another look at my list of actions, and I realised that a few times, I'd listed the same action under different goals. Also, that some of the goals were actually quite similar, and if I worked on one, then I'd be working on the others automatically. For example, "to be confident" and "to be happy". So I grouped them together. Eventually, four main themes emerged. I pared everything back, even reducing my former 'goals' to one-word themes. Everything else can come later. I'd like to review once a month, setting new actions to work towards my goals/themes (I'm still working out the words I want to use!). Part of me wants to do Everything, NOW!! But patience is another thing I need to learn. Some things will just have to wait until next year.

I took a break from all this thinking to listen to one of my favourite songs earlier on, and this phrase popped into my head:

Trust the Universe. It will bring you what you need.

I like it.