Well, it’s been a while!!!

Over a year since I last wrote on this blog! I’ve been a busy bee!!
I’ve always loved creating but was convinced that I wasn’t really good at it. Turning 40 gave me the push to seriously explore my creativity and act on it, because I thought, 1) even if I’m not good at it, I still enjoy it so what the hell!! And 2) if I’m not good at it, I can always learn and improve.
I signed up for CD Muckosky’s two online classes, “Lettering Styles” and “In the Studio”, a year-long creative journey. I also discovered Jane Davenport’s art lessons and videos, Martha Lever’s “Drawing the Girls” workshop, Craftsy online classes, Pan Pastels, paint pens, Prismacolor pencils and art markers, and, boy, am I a long way from stick men!!!! Lol!!
I’ve also decided to create a Facebook page and a blog of creative challenges, called thecreativechallenges50, to encourage people to create at their own level, have fun with it and grow (as practice makes perfect, right?!). Not all the 50 challenges are there yet, but I’m working on it, slowly!!
Now you’re gonna say, what on earth made her write this post after over a year ignoring this blog?!!! Well, I’ve just read a post from Jennybellie (click here to read it)that blew my mind totally; it’s about creative roll, creating every day and keeping a log of it.
This blog was created originally for the Finding Your Voice Facebook workshop. And, from now on, this is exactly what I’m gonna use it for, documenting about FINDING MY CREATIVE VOICE AND GROWING.
Until next time…. Xxx

First attempt at zentangling!!!

I saw a while ago on mixedmedia website, some zentangle/zentangle-inspired designs, and that intrigued me!! Don’t need much, I know! I ordered the book One Zentangle A Day and went to collect it this morning. I flicked through the pages as I was waiting for the bus and was totally mesmerised! Some of the designs, I’m thinking, not in a zillion years I’ll be able to draw that, but quite a bit of the stuff I thought I could manage. The official format of a Zentangle seems limiting to me, but I see it as a fantastic and original way to fill in shapes and create interesting alphas with bulky letters for my art journaling and my crafting!
Here are my first attempts: one Zentangle, and one Zentangle-inspired-art letter (J for James!):

20130810-141827.jpg

20130810-141842.jpg

20130810-141852.jpg
That’s most definitely something I want to teach James, to encourage him to write and draw in his “secret diary”, but also something I’m looking forward to doing with him this summer when I go to France. Very relaxing! I like it! 😉

Find Your Voice Week 5 Part 2 Art Journal Page

For my crafting prompt task, this week I decided to explore with art journal style design. I never tried it before but always admired art journal pages. I’m not particularly good at drawing (apart from hearts, doodled flowers and smiley faces!) so that’s always been a style I sadly thought I could never do. I decided to give it a go for this week’s prompt of the workshop. I found the mixed media website daisyyellowart where I found loads of tips to get started and examples. I got my alpha stickers and stencils, sharpie marker, watercolours, acrylic paints and brushes out, grabbed a sheet of bubble wrap and started painting and stamping happily! For my face, I printed a black and white photo of myself (from my Hipstamatic app on my iphone); I edited it on Photoshop first to reduce the opacity to 40% so that it’s not to harsh, then painted over it with watercolours. Et voila!

20130730-204024.jpg
I’m real chuffed with the result I have to say! Love the whole effect of the page. It definitely gave me the confidence to do more, as this type of design has always appealed to me.

Find Your Voice Week 5 Part 1

Week 5 of the Find Your Voice workshop, already!! Time flies way too fast for my liking!!

This week’s lesson is all about design and style preferences. I went through all the questions and I just can’t manage to answer them. My answer is more of a global thing to be honest.

I love grid style layouts, with geometrical pattern.

I love fun layouts with bright fun colours or girly colours.

I love the effect of black & white photos combined with bright colours.

I LOVE DOODLES!!! When I buy digikits, I always look for different themes in doodles (even though not exclusively); I like the fact that in some kits you can get the doodles as “stamps” (no colours) so that you can colour them any way you want to (in Photoshop, or if I do paper crafting – as I am now hooked, I’m even bringing a bit of my stash when I go to see my mum this summer!! – I’ll use watercolours to give it a soft effect or felt or oil pastels for a more dramatic effect). Also, doodles are so easy to do yourself. I’m not particularly a good drawer but doodles I can always manage (simple ones that is!! LOL!). Kristin Tweedale put a link on Facebook of Brainstorm designs, 100% DOODLES! That’s it, I’m in love!!! I found their designs really inspirational and can’t wait to try.

As far as names are concerned, I don’t really single out, I like quite a range of styles, really. the above are just the ones I feel comfortable with. I’ve never tried art journal and I greatly admire the layouts from Dalis (on thelilypad gallery and sweetshoppedesigns websites, she’s done quite a few art-journal-style digi layouts and they are amazing; I also love her other layouts, they are really fun and eye catching. I love her sense of humour on her pages; even the sad ones). That’s something I would like to try to do on paper; it’s gonna be trial and error!!

overwhelmed-72ppi.jpg   IamTakingTheTrashOut-72ppi.jpg  CheaperThanTherapy-72ppi.jpg  spreadYourWingsAndFly-72ppi.jpg  howdoIloveYou-72ppi.jpg  lifeLemons-72ppi.jpg

Also I really like chocochoco layouts (at theshabbyshoppe); they are simply unbelievable! The page is full of embellishments clustered together (and when I mean full, I mean FULL) and it just works to simple, unmistakable perfection. I’ve always been really rubbish with clustering. I have tried a few times as on a couple of digi challenges I did it was a requirement, but each time I struggled like hell. I got a e-course on Big Picture Classes website, “Clustering Like a Pro” by Aaron Morris aka “Sir Scrapalot” a while ago. It is a great class, really worth it. It really helped me, as it got me to understand the simple rules of layout balance better (even though I still chuck elements randomly here and there!!). But I feel I’ll never be able to do a page like chocochoco’s. I just don’t have the design eye for it. Shame 😦

When_I_Was_2.jpg  My_Beautiful_Guardian_Angel.jpg  Big_Heart.jpg

I’m not really sure yet what style I’d like to emulate, probably Dalis’s art journal, but on paper. Any ideas, tips on how to do it, techniques, tools necessary? Any help will be greatly appreciated!! Thanks 😉 xxx

Find Your Voice Week 4 Part 1

This week, the challenge is to think about storytelling styles, what stories we want to tell and to whom.
I want to tell my story and James’s for us to remember, and who knows when I’m dead maybe he will tell his children and grandchildren about me, but with something to show them. My dad died almost 4 years ago, and even though he used to tell us stories about himself, there’s a lot I have forgotten and wish I had put on paper at the time. There’s a lot about him I don’t know because I was too scared or embarrassed to ask, and now my heart is full of regrets of things I should have said. I don’t want James to have the same feeling after I’m gone. It might sound a bit morbid but, deep inside, we all tell our stories to be remembered by the people we care about. This is the stories I want to tell, big and small, life changing and small details, but most of all REAL.
A lot of my favourite books are quite different styles of writing, but most of them are about pain, struggle, suffering and loneliness, because I can feel and identify with what the characters feel, we all do I think, as it’s through hardship you build your character, it shapes who you are. My favourite books are “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter”, “A Streetcar Named Desire”, “The Color Purple”, “The Bluest Eye”, “l’Etranger” (Albert Camus). I like dialogues, anything that feels real. I can’t stand descriptions that last for pages as my attention span gives up rapidly!!! Real is the word for me, even if it’s in a fantasy setting. I think that’s one of the reasons why I love Star Trek so much; the idea of a future where there is no poverty, where people live peacefully and everyone works not for accumulating money but to better themselves, is very hopeful and appealing to me in general. But as you watch the episodes, each character is revealed deeper and deeper and you get to understand them, cry with them, fear with them, and this makes them so real that it makes this future seem so possible you just want to hang on to it. No wonder Trekkies have been seen as weirdos by “outsiders” over the years; you have to experience it to feel it.
That’s what I want my stories to be like. I find it hard to tell about my hardships, and that is something I need to work on. It’s probably why I love reading it so much; it feels like someone else has worded it for me.
The story I have decided to tell is a conversation I had with my son a couple of weeks ago (it was very random!!!). I don’t usually use dialogue on my pages when I (digi)scrapbook so the first version is a new style for me.

20130721-164649.jpg
I will start the second version of this story tonight and will scrap it and post it as soon as. Suspense!!!
Thanks for reading! Xxx

Find Your Voice week 3 part 2

Today I got inspired by a trip to Paperchase in Cardiff. Had a look around and found other bits and bobs to add to my scrapping stash, and decided to used some of them for my pages.

20130714-161947.jpg

20130714-161955.jpg
I’ve decided to use loads of happy colours on my HAPPY pages. James’s favourite colour is orange and that clearly defines him: bright, happy, shining, energetic and always giggling. I never used to like this colour, I’ve always been more of a black/red/pink person, but as years go by, I have to admit orange is a colour that lifts my soul and invariably makes me happy, maybe because it reminds me of James and also my pregnancy while expecting him; I was always pestering my boss to leave her orange peels on the desk as the smell made me feel better, and I quickly got addicted from it – to this day, orange is one of my all time favourite smells. I need it around to feel happy and zen.
Somehow I think this is all linked for some reason; it all seems to make sense to me. It feels that it is not just our stories that tells about us, but also all those little details, like little clues on a treasure hunt and, funnily enough, they all seem to be entwined somehow to tell who we are.
For the first page, the quotation is a post from Jenny Lens Facebook page (can’t remember which day, but it struck me and I wrote it down in my notebook to remember it). It just seemed so appropriate, as in this life, there seems to be mostly obstacles, people dragging you down, bitching behind your back or betrayal, and, to me, it seems like a waste of time focusing on these as, if I did, I’d barely have the time to live my life, do the things I enjoy and make the most of the people I love and care about. Long ago it just made sense to me to just be aware of the bad and the ugly, but focus 200% on the good and the happy, because at the end of it all, that’s all that really matters. I think I feel more and more this way as I’m getting older and genuinely feel time passing me by, and I just refuse to waste a moment on all the crap (pardon my French, but oh it’s not French! Oh well never mind then!!!). That’s been my philosophy now for a few years, and that’s what made me survive this long! The way I see it, it does not change a thing behind sad and miserable, all you got to do is do something about it to make yourself and people you care about, as happy as you can possibly.

Find Your Voice week 3 part 1

Here is my first scrapbook page for week 3:

20130713-161358.jpg
Really loved doing this page. The photos are printed weirdly as my old printer was slowly dying! I’ve received my new one (at last – hooray!!!) and it prints amazing quality, but I still decided to keep this prints as I kind of liked the stripy effect and also they are the last prints I’ve made with my ancient lexmark; I see it as the end of an era!
The theme of the workshop for this week was to scrap about something that makes us happy and how it fits with our storytelling goals. Well, digiscrapping, and now paper scrapping, stitching and creating makes me happy so I included all these in my page. I’m a BIG polka dot fan, hence the girly pink dotted background paper, another thing that makes me happy. But also more importantly than all these things, my son James and the relationship we have, is most definitely the sunshine of my life. Watching him play, sleep, eat, anything, makes me happy; I feel light and somewhat worry-less (only somewhat!!!) my heart is singing and i can’t help but smile. We have a fantastic relationship: I am the mum (quite bossy most of the time, but being on my own with him, I think I kinda have to) but we have fun together (we’re as weird, mad, silly as each other!!! Birds of a feather flock together!!! Lol!) and sometimes he’s the adult (I can swear quite a bit and when I do, he tells me off proper and enjoys it as it’s his go at being a bossy pants!!!)
Now it all fits perfectly with my story telling goals. As I want to tell my story, his story, and our story together, for me and him to remember, This page made perfect sense to me.
I’ll have a go at page 2 tomorrow. I already know pretty much what I want to, but I’m not telling! That’d be cheating ;-)!!!!

Find Your Voice Week 2 Part 2

A few more pages for my scrapbook; I’m on a roll!
For the time being I’ve been trying to manage with the stash I already had, but I feel quite restricted in what I can do as I keep thinking of all the washi tapes and stamps I ordered and also my new printer (which I haven’t received yet! Grrr!), and I can picture all the possibilities ahead of me and can’t wait!!!
Here is what I’ve done for week 2:

20130707-181013.jpg

20130707-181038.jpg

20130707-181144.jpg

I also made a start on Week 1 so I can have some pages in my scrapbook as well. I chose to start with lyrics that move me and in which, in some way, I see a bit of myself, as music is an important part of my life (even if I can’t play an instrument – yet!!). Some songs have helped me heal, grow, learn about myself, express things in me I couldn’t even recognise. That’s why it seemed to me a logical choice to start my first page of week 1 with this:

20130707-181248.jpg