Goals for 2019 – Starting Today!

Your speed doesn’t matter,

forward is forward…

A new year, a new start. I seem to be going in circles with my goals. Last year I posted a similar post about not converting any inspiration into creative energy.  About just floating around aimlessly, bobbing left and right, always tired, always planning but not doing, like some sort of paralysis. 

Well, let me tell you: not much has changed yet. My day is still not focused enough.  And I’m still losing time left and right, especially with a whirlwind toddler going on two. I feel like all that energy she has is sucked right out of me, lol.

But my motivation is very high again. Even if it is at a snail’s pace, I am leaning and growing. I have some good techniques and plans, I should be able to put in place to make my life easier and more productive.

And to keep track of my progress, I have revised my little list of goals for the future:

  1. A clean home: I want to revive my de-cluttering habit plan. I have told myself, I don’t mind and it’s normal to have a messy house because of the little one, but I know it bugs me to see the clutter. To feel more relaxed and comfortable in my house, I believe I need to get rid of the clutter. And in reality, de-cluttering is a pretty good activity to do around a toddler. Not only is it one of the few things you won’t mind them trying to be part of (ever tried to read a book or draw next to a toddler, ugh), but it will also teach them a good lesson.  
  2. More energy: I wrote about this topic multiple times, but did I do the things I suggested to myself? No. So, it is back to the drawing board. A big part of this will have to be exercise, which (with the winter months coming) will have to be mostly indoors. I do have my eye on yoga. That is also something that can be done with a toddler, although that might end in something comical. Second part of it is getting enough sleep. That one has been hard for me. My little one stays up quite late, but I have to get up early for work AND want to do things after the kid is in bed. However, with her starting a pre-K program soon, this will likely get better. And lastly there is diet. Including more fruits, vegetables and fiber into my diet as well as losing some weight should contribute to having more energy.
  3. Be creative: I ave not been doing as much of my creative activities as I would like in the past months. I want to paint and draw more but also get some crafting in. This will really come down to being successful with the other goals
  4. Better blog: my goal is to be more consistent with blogging, take inspiration from my favorite blogs to improve my writing, and review some old posts to potentially overhaul them and bring them back to life. I have made a plan for posts and created an idea pool to draw from. I also want to improve the pictures to be more appealing visually.
I think this is a good list. I see a lot of other people post more specific goals with numbers attached to them, like how many post reads. Others want to improve their follower counts on social media. I didn’t really want to go there because I feel, if I improve on my goals above, I likely also improve in the numbers.
 
I have learned about myself that if I pressure myself too much with dates and numbers, I will just freeze or lose motivation, and achieve less in the end.
I am doing this for my and your benefit not for a review at work, lol.
But I still want to hold myself somewhat accountable and track progress.
I plan on writing more details on my goals as I tackle them and in little monthly reviews.
 
I hope you, my reader, enjoyed this post. Please feel free to give me some feedback (P.S. I also like emojis as moral support…)
 

Art I Liked This Week – Topic: Retro

Retro Backpacks

This week I was looking for a new laptop backpack and in the process discovered some fun retro themed ones. This send me down the rabbit hole of retro designs. Especially as summer is starting now, these have such a nice happy warm vibe!

Which of them do you like the most? Do you like retro designs as well?

Colorful Retro Stripes - 70s, 80s Abstract Design by PELAXY
Colorful Retro Stripes – 70s, 80s Abstract Design by PELAXY

VHS by HOLLIS BROWN THORNTON
VHS by HOLLIS BROWN THORNTON

The ocean, the sea, the wave by Picomodi
The ocean, the sea, the wave by Picomodi

TIKI On The Beach by Little Bunny Sunshine
TIKI On The Beach by Little Bunny Sunshine

Something Nostalgic - black and white by Päivi Vikström
Something Nostalgic – black and white by Päivi Vikström

Palm Leaves by Find a Gift Now
Palm Leaves by Find a Gift Now

Retro 70s Sunrays by Alisa Galitsyna
Retro 70s Sunrays by Alisa Galitsyna

Nerrivik by AlphaOmega
Nerrivik by AlphaOmega

Art I Liked This Week – Topic: Lilacs

Lilacs Art I Liked

Fitting to the current blooming of lilacs everywhere, I wanted to share some art I found and liked this week. Isn’t lilac so pretty and smells fantastic?

A Curious Jar by Autumn Linde
A Curious Jar by Autumn Linde

 

Fantasy Irises by CatyArte
Fantasy Irises by CatyArte

 

"Must Love Dogs" by Eat, Paint, Love. Pattiann Withapea
“Must Love Dogs” by Eat, Paint, Love. Pattiann Withapea

 

Bold Color Lilacs by Constance Festo Lafond
Bold Color Lilacs by Constance Festo Lafond

 

lilacs in a vase by OLHADARCHUK ART
lilacs in a vase by OLHADARCHUK ART

 

MINT & LILAC 2 by Love Design Studio
MINT & LILAC 2 by Love Design Studio

 

Ice cream with lilac by Kodamorkovkart
Ice cream with lilac by Kodamorkovkart

 

Lilac by Sara Tepes
Lilac by Sara Tepes

 

Bold Color Lilacs by Constance Festo Lafond
Bold Color Lilacs by Constance Festo Lafond

#Mermay Recap and Summer Dreams

MerMay 2018

Yes, it is June, and yes, I did participate in Mermay – if only a little  🙂

I have a few things brewing, including some crafting for the babe, gardening and reviving habit plans. But the main focus is still my art, if we are talking creative activities. Of course spending time with my family and caring for my little one always comes first – at least for me.

It is almost summer now, and sure feels like it with many warm days and even some water fun for the babe already.

This weather puts me in the mood to paint summer and travel related things. I have couple topics I want to explore:

  1. Fernweh:
    I love travel. I have done a lot of travel and will do more in the future. But I also know that I cannot go everywhere I want to. At least not right now, and maybe never. But I always love to dream and look at pictures of other people’s travels. So I want to paint all this under the Fernweh topic. Fernweh is a German word and means the longing for a far away place.
  2. Childhood Memories:
    Today I was reminded of a wonderful summer childhood memory of mine by an Instagram post of a friend. This gave me the idea to paint my own childhood memories. Little stories. I may make them as paintings or as little comic strips. I kind of envision them like illustrations to a children’s book. This topic is not strictly summer related, although I have a lot of nice summer memories that I could start with and work my way through the season.

But I know, I know, I need to find some sort of routine to make time for the art. I have been struggling with that. One of my biggest weaknesses is that I am interested in too many things, and have not been able to say no to myself. I want to simplify my life and that means I need to let go of some things I want to do, at least for the time being. And this is a big reason I am trying to get back to habit plans.

But more about that in a future post. As a closer, here my Mermay pieces:

MerMay 1 - My cup of tea
MerMay 1 – My cup of tea

MerMay 2 - Sea Cuties
MerMay 2 – Sea Cuties

MerMay 3 - The fox and the siren
MerMay 3 – The fox and the siren

MerMay 4 - Rebel Mermaid
MerMay 4 – Rebel Mermaid

MerMay 5 - Frida de Mayo
MerMay 5 – Frida de Mayo

Mermay 6 - Gala of the Ocean
Mermay 6 – Gala of the Ocean

Easter Eggs: Water Color & Coloring With Food (Mini Tutorials)

Eggs dyeing in natural color . Clockwise from the top right we have turmeric (yellow), red wine (purple-ish), onion skin (brick red), another turmeric, blue berry (dark blue), and last and kind of least: paprika powder.

This year Easter will be on April Fool’s Day, but it’s no joke how fast it came up again. So fast that I didn’t have time to color any eggs yet this year.

I just finished my Easter decorations, even. I usually have some branches with budding leaves in a vase and hang some emptied and painted Easter eggs. Then over a few days the leaves will come out because of the warmth of the room, and these tiny bright green leaves will look adorable. I am unsure if the leaves will come out by Sunday. We will see.

My Easter Decoration
My Easter Decoration

The eggs are painted with watercolor paint. I have hollowed them, so I can use them again each year. I even have 6 more blank eggs to paint, maybe next year. To hollow them you just need to take a raw egg, make a hole in each end and then blow really hard into the top hole. The raw egg white and yolk will come out the other hole. It takes a little afford to do. You will need to blow hard. Once empty, I wash them with water and dish soap, making sure to get some soapy water into the egg, swirling it around to get the inside clean, and then blowing out the water through the hole. Then I repeat just with water a couple times to get all the soap out. After having dried completely, the eggs are ready to be painted. I chose a design with butterflies on a yellow background and a bunny in the meadow design for mine. Perfectly spring and Easter themed.

Easter eggs painted with watercolor and design with butterflies on a yellow background
Easter eggs painted with watercolor and design with butterflies on a yellow background

Easter eggs painted with watercolors and a bunny in the meadow design
Easter eggs painted with watercolors and a bunny in the meadow design

To be able to hang them I used a tooth pick, tied some magic thread on it (clear jewelry thread) and made a loop. I inserted the toothpick into the top hole. It will turn sideways and not slide out of the hole again. Voila, a cute Easter ornament.

In addition, I usually decorate some hard boiled eggs just for that year. I have done just plain colors from the store, painted like a galaxy and some natural coloring with food items and spices. I love the ones colored with food items and had great success in the past. Below a little tutorial on that.  I have used 5 different “colors”.

Recipes for the Natural Colors

  1. Onion skin (brick red): 1 cup yellow onion skins per cup of water. Boil in a sauce pan for 30 min. Remove peels.
  2. Red wine (sparkly purple): Just the wine
  3. Blueberry (dark blue): Mix 1 cup frozen blueberries with 1 cup water, bring to room temperature, and remove blueberries. Squeeze out the berries.
  4. Turmeric (yellow): Mix 2 tablespoons ground turmeric per cup of water.
  5. Paprika Powder (light red):  Mix 2 tablespoons ground paprika per cup of water.

I filled the coloring water into jars, added vinegar (1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup of color), and added white hard boiled eggs.

Eggs dyeing in natural color (from left to right: Onion skin, red wine, blueberry juice, 2 x turmeric and paprika powder)
From left to right: Onion skin, red wine, blueberry juice, 2 x turmeric and paprika powder.

I let them sit in there overnight, stirring occasionally. I was really happy about the results. However, the onion skin and the paprika powder turned out surprising, I expected the opposite results.

The red wine one turned out really interesting. There were tiny sparkling crystals all over it. I wonder what caused that. Here are some pictures of the result. Aren’t they fascinating?

Eggs dyeing in natural color . Clockwise from the top right we have turmeric (yellow), red wine (purple-ish), onion skin (brick red), another turmeric, blue berry (dark blue), and last and kind of least: paprika powder.
Clockwise from the top right we have turmeric (yellow), red wine (purple-ish), onion skin (brick red), another turmeric, blue berry (dark blue), and last and kind of least: paprika powder.

Egg colored with red wine has little sparkly crystals all over.
Egg colored with red wine has little sparkly crystals all over.

What do you usually do for Easter decoration?

Easter Finger Puppets and Basket – Crochet Pattern

Easter is coming up so early this year, and reading a few posts about Easter gifts for children, it hit me: my baby is old enough for her own first Easter basket. Whaaa?

She is now 13 months, so there won’t be candy in the basket yet, but I have ordered a few cute toys to add. I found these Easter egg shaped shakers that are perfect, as she loves making noises. I also could not help myself ordering a fun bunny board book with sensory parts to feel and explore. Unfortunately, the book has not yet arrived.

Crafty me obviously had to make part of this basket myself. I made the basket with a waffle crochet stitch.

The part I enjoyed making the most, probably because I came up with the pattern myself, are little Easter themed finger puppets. There is a chicken, a lamb and a bunny. Although the lamb looks more like a dog, probably due to how I embroidered the face. Embroidery is not my strong suit 😀

Because this is for a 13 month old, I didn’t want to use Easter grass, and instead used some left over green tulle from a skirt project.

Find the pattern for the basket and finger puppets below the pictures.

Crochet Easter basket with crochet finger puppets and egg shakers
Crochet Easter basket with crochet finger puppets and egg shakers

Crochet Easter finger puppets: Bunny, Chick, and Lamb
Crochet Easter finger puppets: Bunny, Chick, and Lamb

Crochet Easter finger puppets: Lamb, Bunny, and Chick
Crochet Easter finger puppets: Lamb, Bunny, and Chick

Easter egg shaped shakers
Easter egg shaped shakers

Easter egg shaped shakers
Easter egg shaped shakers

Crochet Easter basket with tulle for grass
Crochet Easter basket with tulle for grass

Crochet Easter basket
Crochet Easter basket

Materials

  • Worsted weight yarn in brown,  yellow, and white
    You need about a skein for the basket and just a little for each puppet. For the lamb I used fluffy yarn
  • Bigger hook: crochet hook US size I – 5.5 mm for the basket
  • Smaller hook: crochet hook US size G – 4.25 mm for the puppets
  • Different colors embroidery floss for the faces of the finger puppets (I used black, brown, and orange)

Pattern

Finger Puppets

Body

In the color of whichever animal you are making this for, and with smaller hook.

Row 1: 6 sc into a magic ring. sl into the first stitch to form a circle (6 st)

Row 2: 2 sc into each st (12 st)

Row 3 – 12: sc into each st (12 st)

Fasten off and weave in end.

Ears for the bunny

In brown, and with smaller hook. Make 2.

Row 1: chain 3

Row 2: sc in 2nd ch from hook and following (2 st)

Row 3:  ch 1, turn, sc in each st (2 st)

Row 4: 2 ch 1, turn, 2 sc in first st, sc in next st (3 st)

Row 5: ch 1, turn, sc in each st (3 st)

Row 6: ch 1, turn, sc3tog (1 st)

Fasten off and weave in end.

Sew to the top of the bunny body.

Embroider a face.

Ears for the lamb

In white, and with smaller hook. Make 2.

Row 1: chain 3

Row 2: sc in 2nd ch from hook and following (2 st)

Row 3:  ch 1, turn, sc in each st (2 st)

 

Fasten off and weave in end.

Sew to the top of the lamb body.

Embroider a face.

Wings for the chick

In yellow, and with smaller hook. Make 2.

Row 1: chain 4

Row 2: sc in 2nd ch from hook and following (3 st)

Row 3 – 4:  ch 1, turn, sc in each st (3 st)

Row 5: ch 1, turn, sc2tog, sc in next st (2 st)

Row 6: ch 1, turn, sctog2 (1 st)

Fasten off and weave in end.

Sew to the sides of the chick body.

Embroider a face.

Easter Basket

Special Stitch – V shape for the waffle pattern

FPtrVstitch:

  • double crochet (dc) in the next stitch but do not pull through the last two loops (2 loops on hook)
  • front post treble crochet (FPtc) around the front post of the dc two stitches back and in row below, but so not finish the tc (3 loops on hook)
  • FPtc around the front post of the dc two stitches ahead in the row below. Finish FPtc by pulling though all remaining loops (4 loops) on the hook

Basket

In brown and with bigger hook.

Row 1: 6 sc into a magic ring. sl into the first stitch to form a circle (6 st)

Row 2:  2 sc into each st (12 st)

Row 3: *sc into one st, 2 sc into next st* repeat from * 6 times (18 st)

Row 4: *sc into 2 st, 2 sc into next st* repeat from * 6 times (24 st)

Row 5: *sc into 3 st, 2 sc into next st* repeat from * 6 times (30 st)

Row 6: *sc into 4 st, 2 sc into next st* repeat from * 6 times (36 st)

Row 7: *sc into 5 st, 2 sc into next st* repeat from * 6 times (42 st)

Row 8: *sc into 6 st, 2 sc into next st* repeat from * 6 times (48 st)

Row 9: *sc into 7 st, 2 sc into next st* repeat from * 6 times (54 st)

Row 10: *sc into 8 st, 2 sc into next st* repeat from * 6 times (60 st)

Row 11: ch 2 (counts as dc from here on), with right side facing, into the back loops only, dc into the next and each following st, sl to chain (60 st)

Row 12:  ch 2, dc in next 2 st, *FPtrVstitch in next st, dc in next 3 st* repeat 9 times from *, FPtrVstitch, sl into chain (60 st)

Row 13:  FPtrVstitch (do a ch 2 instead of the dc in the FPtrVstitch) , dc in next 3 st, *FPtrVstitch in next st, dc in next 3 st* repeat 9 times from *, sl into chain (60 st)

Row 14: repeat row 12

Row 15: repeat row 13

If you want to the basket to be taller you can continue alternating row 12 and 13.

Fasten off and weave in end.

Handle

Row 1: chain 35

Row  2: sc in 2nd ch from hook and all following ch (34 st)

Row 2 sc in each st (34 st)

Fasten off and weave in end.

Sew onto the top of the basket.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. I hope you enjoyed and I would love to hear if you made this basket or these finger puppets <3

A Wolf A Day – Update

In a recent post, I mentioned my new project to create a fan art comic about a wolf from the video game The Long Dark. To practice drawing wolves, I have started drawing a wolf a day.

I have been able to do this most days and posting them to Patreon, Instagram and Twitter, but sometimes there is just not enough time. This leads me into another post I am working on, regarding habits. I have posted about this before, but it has all gotten unorganized again due to having a baby, which changed everything 🙂

Below is my update for the first week of wolf sketches. I am thinking I will add future weeks to show progress.

Jump to:

Week 1

I was able to get a sketch in the majority of the days. I believe I am getting the hang of it, finding a consistent way of drawing these. You can see this in number 5 and 6, I think. However, I also feel that one wolf per day is not really enough practice. I may end up doing them on a bigger sketchbook, and doing multiple a day. Then I can pick the one I like most each day for my “A wolf a day” hashtag.

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 1
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 1

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 2
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 2

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 3
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 3

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 4
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 4

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 5
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 5

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 6
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 6

Week 2

I started drawing my sketches on a bigger sketch book but only managed to do 4 new sketches this week.
This week was just really crazy at work, which left me less time after.
But here they are. Next week I’m back to full body sketches, I think.

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 7
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 7

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 8
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 8

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 9
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 9

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 10
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 10

Week 3

This week I have been slacking on the sketching, because I got into some sewing and crocheting. I made a dress and some crocheted Mary Janes for my baby. I did get a few sketches done though. The next step is to get a water color intro page for the comic, but it is yet a little intimidating. Here the 3 new sketches:

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 11
A Wolf A Day – sketch # 11

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 12
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 12

A Wolf A Day - Sketch # 13
A Wolf A Day – Sketch # 13