Wednesday, 20 February 2013

[No Stress Book Club] - Week 1

It seems I'm all about jumping on board with things lately, and here's another one! As soon as I heard about Bassability's No Stress Book Club I knew I just had to do it. It's No-Stress because, instead of having to read a book and then discuss it, each week there's a question about a book you've already read. So there are no deadlines, no hassles, and if you follow the link-up, you can find out about potential new books to read. I'm in!
This week's question is:

What book turned you into a reader?

I've always been a reader, there's no question of that. I've been reading books for longer than I can remember. Literally. I suppose for the purposes of this discussion, I probably should pick one, shouldn't I?
My Mum tells me that I read my first proper novel at the age of 4, and it was Alice in Wonderland. I don't remember this, but I must have read it, because later in my childhood I came across the story again and I mysteriously knew about it already. At the time I was mystified about how I already knew the story of the Cheshire Cat, and the caterpillar and the Red Queen. When my Mum happened to mention one day that it was the first book I read, it all suddenly clicked. Knowing that made me want to read books even more!

If you want to join the No Stress Book Club too, click on the logo!

Monday, 18 February 2013

I'm art-journalling again!

Just before New Year I was thinking about How I'm Doing, as I often do at that time of year. I become open to Change and Difference. One thing that I really missed in my life was art journalling. It was like a spiral growing out of my core - I art journal when I feel good, and doing it makes me feel good, so it's like a positive feedback loop that keeps on making me feel better. I hadn't done anything artful in such a long time, it made me sad. I won't go into the reasons why I stopped today. I want to talk about how I started again.

I had all this in the back of my mind when I was reading my favourite blogs one day. I saw that Journal Girl was hosting a year-long e-course, Creative Warriors. A year-long journey to document your health and happiness. It sounded perfect! Not only would it be a gentle pathway to get back into art journalling again, but in a space with like-minded people. People who may not have time to create regularly due to illness or lack of energy. People who may not have a studio and may not be able to work with paints at every session. Me, basically! So I went ahead and spent my Christmas money on it.

One of my first pages was to write the Creative Toolbox list.
(I blurred most of them - I'm not giving it all away!)

One of the concepts that really drew me to the course was that of Couch Art. I don't have a studio, and my hobby room is filled up with other stuff. I don't have a space dedicated to making art. Couch Art says that you can make art wherever you happen to be, with whatever materials you happen to have (wet paint or not), and it's real art! This, finally, was the permission I needed to go for it! I had fun picking out some of my long-neglected supplies and putting them in a Couch Box. I thought that having just a small array of materials to choose from would feel restrictive, but it was actually freeing. Not having to make so many decisions. Plus, using the same papers, tapes and colours regularly saw themes and motifs emerge - a style I can call my own.

I tested out my old textas, and glued on a sticky note with brainstorming ideas.
Yup, that's real paint on there!

I haven't actually finished a page yet. My way has always been to work on many pages at once, inching them all towards completion together. Already though, I'm seeing elements that I'm proud of, and motifs that I used to consider part of 'my style'. I guess they still are!

Long, narrow collage pieces form a border around this page.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Glitzology Glitter Nails from Etsy

Update: Unfortunately this Etsy shop is now closed.

Before Christmas I decided to treat myself. After reading a blog pot on independent nail polish creators, I somehow got the idea into my head that I didn't have enough glitter nail polish in my life. After a lot of backing-and-forthing, I finally decided to make my purchase from Glitzology.

There's such a huge range of polishes available from Stacy's shop, that the only thing I could do was get the 6-bottle bundle. And then spend another half an hour deciding which colours to get! It was a lot of fun, though. These are the polishes I chose:

Normally I don't like cheesy names for things, but I found these variations quirky and fun. They are (left to right):
Nebula - a black jelly base with blue, purple and silver hologram pieces. Reminiscent of the night sky.
Cotton Candy - a subtle lavender base with pink, purple and silver pieces in a mixture of shiny and matte textures. A cute and girly look.
Blue Lagoon - a clear base with a mixture of different shades of blue. Like swimming through the ocean.
Sherwood Forest - a blend of green, yellow and brown pieces. This makes me think of looking up through the forest canopy on a sunny day.
Bad Things - a deep red base with silver, pink and black pieces, and red hearts. Inspired by the TV show True Blood.
The Island of Misfit Toys - red, yellow, blue and green pieces set in a clear base with silver micro glitter. It's like an explosion in a toy factory!

I love these polishes so much! The suspension of glitter is extremely generous. Making the purchase was easy, and my parcel came fast. The bottles were carefully packed, and included a page full of tips with a discount coupon for my next purchase. I've decided to showcase each glitter in a separate post. So here's the first:

Single coat; under daylight lamp.

The Island of Misfit Toys is set in a clear base and features the primary colours - red, yellow, blue and green - in various shapes including large squares, medium-size hexagons and small dots. There are also a few pastel yellow squares thrown in. The whole is set on a background of silver micro glitter. As I said before, the inclusion of glitter is much more generous than other brands I've tried - I only used a single coat for this mani!
I have presented the polish here over a neutral-ish base: Adoree Brown Gaucho. The photo was taken indoors under my daylight lamp.

I'm not sure when I can show you the other glitters in detail. My nails are pretty weak at the moment and need a rest. I hope it will be in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, look out for more haul posts and perhaps a review!