Starting anew in 2017: finding momentum

Hi guys, it’s been a while since I’ve updated and I finally got the energy and drive to update today. So massive massive update ahead, but also lots of photos to feast on.

My current status is that I’m officially unemployed for the past 3 months (wow how time flies). I should saw that I’ve been busy looking for a job, but that’s a lie because the time just consists of a lot of waiting. What this means for my art and creativity though is that my life currently consists of no structure, like I’m bobbing along in the great big sea. Since starting blogging, I found that my most productive creative days happen when I’m busy with other tasks, so I am now consciously aware that having momentum allows me to flourish best. Spending 3 months without any sense of structure and time though… not a good environment to be doing art.

Perhaps it’s the idea of a new year, or perhaps it represents the start of a new life as I leave my undergraduate life behind, this year, I’m finding it easier to start something new (fingers crossed I don’t jinx it). Not just something new, but starting anew, as I try for a past me that have disappeared into the wind in the past few years.

I’m taking up planning again, like those student handbooks that you are forced to buy when you are in school. I have to confess that I used to love them though, and each year my handbook get filled up with reminders and homework and crossing outs. It’s nothing fancy of course, but it didn’t matter because it’s functional. I’ve tried to use planners again during my university days, spending the time and effort to search for planners that would suit my needs AND look pretty. It’s not that much of a lost cause, but often times I find myself not using them, and when I try to pick them up again, I found that I actually didn’t like to use them. This time though, I’m heavily inspired by videos of bullet journals I seen (particularly this and this) so I decided to go simple. I had a B5 binder notebook that I used for German note taking so I decided to use that. And with some new inserts, my planner is thus born. What I loved about this (and probably why it worked so well for me), is that I can just throw papers away if I did something wrong or if I didn’t like it, which frees me from a lot of the stress and pressure I put on myself.

There are tabs that came with the notebook that I used to keep section separate, but the main tab that consist of everything to do with planning is a mishmash of things that goes by chronological order (of when I started the page, not so much what’s on it). I found that it doesn’t bother me so much, and it’s actually kind of nice to be flipping the pages back and forth, rather than just staying on one spread for the week and never needing to move away. It’s adds to the illusion of doing something too, because most days I don’t need to spend too much time writing in the planner. A few photos of how my journal looks:

These quotes used to hang on my wall, but I’ve stopped paying attention to them and one could only feature one at a time so I stuck them into my planner instead
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Daily log page where I write down the things I need to do/plans for the day. I don’t use it as often as I should, but when I do it works fabulously to keep me on my (self-designated) tasks
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This gratitude page started out from a monthly challenge prompt and I’ve kept it to see where it would take me. I’m reading a book called “The Happiness Project” which mentioned that gratitude can make one feel happier
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My Habit Tracker page, which is the page I used the most often and turn to the most

I’ve also started a page on tracking my habits and I’m enjoying it so far. I have unfortunately gained (more than) a few bad habits and lost a few good ones, so I’m trying to get back on track by making them visible, and having a chart to mark off each day allows me to track my progress, and reminds me each day of what I have to do the next day/week/month/whatever. Some habits are easier to get back into than others though, like remembering to put apply face cream in the mornings and nights, and others doesn’t seem to get done at all (the habit that read “Post on My Craft Diary once a week” has been there since January). Yet others seem to have mixed success that I can’t seem to achieve consistently, like sleeping early or bathing early. Nonetheless, keeping track of my habits works for me so it’s something I’m sticking with.

A lot of my drive in picking up new habits come from the first piece of artwork I did this year. It’s a reflective piece, in which I think about the things I want to achieve in my life, and the things I want to keep out. It’s almost like my resolutions for the year? Though I’m not sure if it can really be considered resolutions because they are just big and broad aims I have while I’ve distilled them into workable actions that are manifested in my habit tracker. The piece if now hanging on my wall though, and it makes me happy to just look at the piece on the wall, if only because of the colour. Here’s how the piece looks on the wall:

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And here’s how it looks at the background stage plus some details on the layers. As usual, you can click to view an enlarged image.

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collage, paint and drawings

paint, stenciling, drawing, paint splatters

collage, paint, stencilling with gold paint

I may not be doing a lot of art, but it has not been completely bare these past few months. I did go on a few shopping sprees, so I have quite a few additions to my supplies. They’re mostly utilitarian though (like 3 different type of glues or blade refills), though there are some new yummy supplies that I’ve bought to keep that creative spark (mostly the inexpensive stuff like new pens or ink colours). I finally finally bought the set of paper bead roller that I’ve been eyeing ever since this video came out and it makes paper bead making so much easier. I promptly broke in the new tool by making beads out of scrap pieces of paper that has been lying around for years – that’s what I call killing two birds with one stone 😉 Here’s a look at the bead making process:

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Drying the beads after glazing

I’m also trying to reacquaint myself with the Jennibellie’s Journal Workshop community, and have been chatting with the creative peeps there occasionally. I may be very much out of it but it nice to have a place where I can just drop by, some place familiar where I feel comfortable, and Journal Workshop is just the place for those moments. I participated in the last art swap too, and I think it’s been almost two years since I last did an art swap. We made some paper flowers for the swap and I really liked how these turned out, with the embellishments and all. Hopefully my swap partner would like them!

My main project now is my Japan travel journal, which I started in December and then stopped because I got busy during the holidays (Christmas & Chinese New Year). I started picking it up again a couple of days back, and then somehow fiddled with a camera and video setup. In a stroke of brilliance, I found a set up that works, and doesn’t take too much time to set up, though the setup is rather amusing.

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I use a short table as a temporary work for this project, because I bring out a lot of materials that wouldn’t fit on my usual workspace. You can’t see in this photo, but surrounding this table is an arc of supplies and things I would need for the travel journal, with just an empty space in the middle where I can sit down. Because my craft room is also my bedroom, I used my bed to help in the camera setup, and added cardboard boxes and even my pillow to prop up the selfie stick to a appropriate height. Nothing fancy, so hopefully this means that I might take more videos in the future! I also posted a video of a short flipthrough of the parts I worked on these few days on my instagram which you can view below:

A post shared by Wenyi (@nocloudypooh) on

As you can see, I usually go off on a tangent while I do things, even when I have definite plans. But it’s not a bad thing, because it usually end up being productive, like a new burst of energy to do things. While editing this post, the tangent brought me to create a stamp with the My Craft Diary logo, and it’s pretty easy to add to the images, so that’s a success. *Does happy dance* Have been wanting to do this for a while, but I was finding it a drag to learn how to do it. I did it on Photoshop before, but gimp is a little different and I’m not particularly familiar with the programme, so Google was the best way to go. I think that’s all the updates I have for this post, and hopefully, this marks the start of the habit to post on the blog once a week. Thanks for stopping by.

Currently…

A collection of small things I want to share.

Being a somewhat studious student.
My last semester of university life, and I’m both dreading it and looking forward to it at the same time. I’m somewhat proud of myself that I’m being somewhat studious this semester, compared to the past year and half, in which my interest for being studious went downhill since exchange. I can’t really tell if it’s me, or it’s what I’m studying, but I’m really feeling the hardworking vibe, though compared to most people, it’s probably still not that hardworking. But at least I’m feeling good about it, and also proud of myself. Of course it helps that my grades so far this semester have been very promising, so that probably kept my morale up for studying.

Listening to classical music again.
I’m a classically trained musician, and I play the piano and occasionally play the double bass in the orchestra. Ever since university started (that’s years ago), my piano playing generally because weaker because I had less time and incentive to practice or simply touch the piano. I got to play more double bass though, because I joined the school’s orchestra, until I reached a point that I burnt out, and didn’t want to deal with classical music in any form during my free time. I’m happy that I have moved past that, and can genuinely enjoy listen to classical music again during my free time at home. (It also helps that my family is away on holiday and I can blast music from my computer and have the music just surround me.) I think the message here is to take a break from things when you feel like you are not enjoying things as much as you used to, even if it’s something that you love. It helped me refresh myself, and stopped myself from hating the things I used to love, because it was bringing me a lot of emotional distress. Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately: Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 & 5, Schubert symphonies. This video of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 also made me stare wide mouthed at the screen, but it was so thrilling to listen to.

Playing games I used to play as a kid (or younger anyway)
I’ve been (re)playing several version of the Pokemon games that I played before – Emerald, Diamond, Y. I really love Pokemon, and the only ones I never played is Black & White and Black & White 2, but I’m hoping to convince my friend to lend me her copy of the game to play soon. I’m really trying to enjoy the game now, and really explore using Pokemon I’ve never used before, which is an interesting and refreshing experience. Right now, I’m eagerly waiting for the latest version to be released, and also baiting for time to buy my own copy of ORAS, if and when I overcome my economic sense. Of course there’s also the latest hype of Pokemon Go that I’m playing on and off. There’s also Yoshi Island, which I love but never gotten around to completing because I don’t own it (my cousin did), so it’s nice to go back to what I missed when I was younger.

Craft products that recently caught my eye
I have been trying very hard not to look at new products, because my wallet will complain. But recently saw this new frame punch board by WRMK and I’m just so awed by it, mostly because I’ve been hoping for an easier way to create frames for scrapbook and stuff.  While browsing through the Simon Says Stamp website I also saw these layering stamps by WRMK, which I felt was pretty cool, particularly the CMYK colours, even if I’m unlike to purchase them. I’m also contemplating actually investing in embossing powders, which I have been putting off because it’s not really my thing, since I don’t do that much cardmaking. But I think just the white and clear would do great for some techniques, without going all out into embossing.

Some crafty videos to share
I recently started subscribing to Shayda Campbell and Kristina Werner on YouTube. Shayda does illustrations and lettering on her channel, which is something I like to look at and hopefully learn. It’s rather different from the channels I have subscribed to so far, so it’s going to be a refreshing change. Kristina is a card making enthusiast that many people should be aware of if they are in the scene. I’ve known of Kristina and her works for a while now, but resisted subscribing to her because I didn’t want to subscribe to too many cardmaking channels. I have this uneasy feeling regarding the cardmaking industry, because they are always coming up with new products, particularly stamps. Maybe it’s my geography training kicking in, but I can’t help but feel like it’s wasteful to be always chasing the newest products, when older products also work well (in a practical sense). Anyway, I started following Kristina because of her letterings and envelope videos, which is something different from what I’m used to. There’s also this video from Jennifer McGuire on getting more out of your acrylic stamps by using the back of it, and this video that I randomly clicked on that showed new ways on using the WRMK envelope punch board, which I own. It’s always good to get new ideas and ways to use your tools and get more out of your money!

Hope you enjoy this little sharing on what’s going on in my life and the things that caught my eyes. Maybe I’ll keep a shorter interval to posting the next currently post. Until next time!

Restlessness, consumption and where’s the production?

Recently feeling in a little bit of a rut again, not least because deadlines for school don’t leave me with much time for craft. That would be a legit excuse/reason, except that never actually stopped me from creating something before. If I am to be really honest to myself, then I need to admit that I actually don’t know what I want to create and thus have not been creating. On other days, I might have just sat down, pull paints out and slap down some colours, but I’m restless so I don’t feel like doing it (or maybe my subconscious is reminding me of the troublesomeness of washing up after the paints).

Maybe saying that I haven’t been crafting is too much of a stretch, because it was only last week that posted about the digital art I created. I guess what I’m really lamenting here is how I haven’t been working on my art journal much. Art journal for me is a very therapeutic exercise, as they often come from deep inside me, rather than the random drawing/art that I have created as with my digital art. I often use my art journal to pour out my thoughts and feelings, and just write streams of unconsciousness. Sometimes, the process helps me start anew, as I leave everything behind in the journal pages. But even if that doesn’t happen, I still feel lighter before I start, and I can attempt to move on after verbalising it and having done something about it.

I will share a page that I did a couple of weeks ago, after a round of restlessness. It was something simple, and I purposely took some time with it so I can enjoy the process longer. I know most people prefer fast and quick art journal process (or at least that’s a common rhetoric I’ve seen), but I personally prefer spending a little bit more time on my art because it makes me feel more satisfied and doesn’t leave me hanging, as have happened a few times

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Pre-painted background, gesso, alcohol markers and some journaling

I tend to get a perpetual need to consume something creative when I’m in a restless rut – blogs, but most YouTube videos. It’s often a sign of restlessness when I’m watching recommended videos from YouTube when I run our of videos to watch on my subscription list. It’s not exactly healthy, because I’m constantly consuming but not actually producing anything in return. Sometimes I find some good ideas or it sparks inspiration of what I can do, but I don’t do it because I’m restless. It’s kind of a waste of time spent watching those videos, that could otherwise be more inspiring when I’m in a better state. I’m still figuring out how to go around that.

I started off this post as a pondering, but as I write, I realised I’m more rambling than anything. Sigh. Well I still need to get this out there, and maybe I can move on from my rut. Hope you aren’t in a rut too, but if you are, you have a kindred spirit in me and here’s to hoping we will get out of it soon.

More digital art

When I iPad Air 2 a year ago, I had two main goals in mind. First, was to use it to help me with school work, and the second, was to create digital art with my new tool. I’ve made tremendous progress on the first front, but I’m ashamed to admit that there is zero to no progress on the second. To be fair though, I did download some apps and played a little with them over the course of the year, but there was really not much progress, as I never moved into the comfortable stage of creating digital art on my iPad.

But! Today is the day this all changed! 🙂 Well, at least I’m hoping that it’s a sign of positive change and to making more digital art. I’ve got inspired by Amy’s latest blog post and her linked Instagram post, and since I’ve got some time today, decided to try and do something on my iPad as well. Amy uses a paid app, but the apps I’ve used can all be downloaded for free, with paid add-ons if you want to expand the function of the app. I’ve yet to buy any of these add-ons (since I’m poor) but you can still create some cool looking stuff with just the free version. Here’s a look at what I’ve created:

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These two are created using the SketchBook app for iPad. It’s the first drawing app that I downloaded because I am used to this app. If you have seen my previous posts on digital art, you know that most of them were done on the SketchBook app for my Galaxy Note device. It was a little hard to get used to, because I’m essentially using the downgraded version on my iPad but oh wells, it works. I tried to the fun colourful background that Amy did, and ended up with a bokeh like background. What I really liked about the app is that you could do layers, so I could change the background colour at will. The app also save the layered file so you can always go back to edit it, which is a function that wasn’t available on the Note device.

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This one is created on an app called Tayasui Sketches, which is available on Android and Apple devices. Comparing this with the SketchBook app, I would say that this app is more dedicated towards painting, and feels more artsy to me, as the tools available features texture like crayon and paintbrush. The free version doesn’t allow addition of layers though, which is a shame but I still like it because it offers something different from the the SketchBook app. The in-app upgrades for the app looks great, and I’m tempted to purchase them sometime in the future, but we’ll see how it goes.

These are basically the apps that I have on my iPad that I use for creating digital art. It’s all still in infancy stage but at least I’m having fun. That’s what creating art should be all about, no? 😉

The last app I want to share with you is an adult colouring app called Pigment, which you can download for free. What I like about the app is that it has many different pages for you to colour, and also allow you to colour in texture like colour pencils or air brush, in addition to the bucket fill. The app also saves all complete and incomplete work you have done, so you can always come back to it at a later time. There is premium access which grants some cool textured brushes like oil, glitter and wood, which are honestly quite gorgeous, plus access to all available colouring books and pages. Unfortunately, premium access works on a subscription basis, rather than a one-off payment, so it’s not something that I would look into buying. The free version works pretty well if you just like to enjoy colouring and would like to de-stress. Here’s one I coloured in just now just to try out the app. I didn’t spend too long thinking of the colours because they have preset colour palettes for you as well. Isn’t that nice?

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I did use a stylus for all my drawing and colouring, which is the Adonit Jot Pro. It’s a pretty good stylus, good for highlight notes on pdfs and broad usage like colouring and painting in. I find it to be a little lacking in detail work though, but it could just be me not being used to the precision disc tip. Handwriting function also works horribly on the Adobe Reader app, which I believe is an app problem rather than the stylus problem. One thing to note is that this stylus doesn’t have palm rejection, which can be a little hard to get in details in drawing as you can’t rest your palm on the screen.

Hope you enjoy this little look at the apps I used on my iPad to create digital art. It’s not something I would turn to all the time, but still an option on the days I would like to do something a little different. Plus, I can do it on the go where I might not have my physical art supplies with me.

Sorry that it took me a while to get posting again. The last two months have been pretty hectic as I was out of town for extended periods of time, and also falling sick once or twice. I have a few posts that I want to get posting so hopefully they can come in when November rolls around. Until next time!

Back to beginnings: uncomplicated journal pages

I have been playing a little more these past few days, and managed to get a page done everyday for the past three days in my Midori traveller’s notebook, an accomplishment in recent months! Well, I say I managed to get the pages done, but it’s more like the pages got done on their own, because they took little planning on my part. Take a look at them first:

journal page

These are all very quick pages that are slapped together. I mentioned that I didn’t plan for them, because I didn’t plan through the art process and did not envision how the final page would look like. They are all “in the moment” pages, representing my thought process or what I was doing at the moment I create these pages. It’s organic, and uncomplicated, and it reminds me of the early beginnings when I started out art journaling, and my pages are just a slap-down mish-mash of things. Of course I would say that my pages now are more “sophisticated”, in the sense that I relate to the content more and it holds more meaning to me (in the past, my pages are just random things created for the sake of creating).

More about each of the pages:

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You’ve seen this page in the previous ponderings post. I had the quote in mind, and that photo was lying around, an extra I accidentally printed. More than just a random photo, the photo really epitomises that quote, because it was taken during my Japan trip, and I actually didn’t like one of the dishes in the photo. It was one of the few pictures I had of that meal and by lack of choice I had to choose it to put inside my travel journal. You noticed that the lettering didn’t come out exactly centred in the last line, and I added the little heart to balance it out. I use hearts a lot to embellish or fill up empty spaces because they work really well most of the time!

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I was playing with a new Crafter’s Workshop stencils along with some Distress inks yesterday. The plan was to try around blending the various colours and using all of the colours at least once, while trying out all the images in the stencil. At the end of it I filled up a whole A4 sheet of cardstock and was very happy, until I realised that there was one colour I didn’t touch at all. So I though I would do that in the traveller’s notebook since the A4 paper is all filled up already. Unfortunately, kraft coloured paper isn’t too kind to light colours (it was peacock feathers), and the feather imprint was barely visible on the page. So I did the old school approach of tracing the stencil image with a pen, which ending up popping the image much better. I choose orange because it’s a contrasting colour to blue. The rest of the page was just random doodlings and me writing my thoughts about the supplies I’m using. Green was chosen for no other reason than I haven’t use the markers I chose in a long time.

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Today I was playing with tags. I have a whole bunch of painted ones sitting in a small drawer, mostly painted from leftover paints and what not. Among them were tags that I do not like for one reason or another, either the colour or the boldness, so they have been sitting around for the longest time as I don’t feel inclined to use them. So I decided that I will try to make them nicer and grabbed some stamps and gesso. Mostly I toned down the colours with gesso, and then did some subtle stampings. It kind of worked, since it improved from the original state, but I’m still not too thrilled with the results. In a random moment while thinking of Julie’s art journal pages, I grabbed a pigment marker and doodled on the purple tag you see at the top. I’m not the best doodler, so I kind of ran out of ideas to doodle. In a serendipitous moment when I turned the doodled tag around, I realised that it actually looked really cool, and reminded me of a namecard. So I went ahead and did two more in truly a namecard style, and I really liked how it turns out! Which is pretty amazing, because I picked the tags I liked the least to doodle on, and just a simple segment of doodles transformed them into something cool looking. I believe I have now found the solution to utilising the many tags that I have stashed in my drawer!

Another thing I would like to mention common in all three pages is my handwriting. I will confess that I don’t think my handwriting is ugly, though some days are worse than others. BUT when it comes to writing with markers, I find that I generally don’t really like how they look, because that’s when I try to do some fancy joined-lettering in an attempt to make it look nice and just ending up botching up the whole thing. In these three pages, I consciously tried not to do that, though it was simply because it’s easier to write them as I would normally (I don’t have to think much), rather than me wanting to not ruin the page. If you are like me, my advice is to just go with your own handwriting! Unless of course you have mastered some sort of fancy lettering, than please ignore me.

Hope you enjoyed this look at my recent pages. It’s nice to have something to share again. 🙂

Ponderings: On taking photos

It’s been a while since I posted. Mostly it’s a combination of not having anything to post/not feeling inclined to post either because they aren’t that nice to be posted, or they are too personal to be posted. Still trying to work my way around the personal part, but that’s another story for another day.

Today’s post will be on my thoughts on taking photos. This came about mostly because I just returned from a holiday to Japan a few weeks ago, and made me realise certain things about me taking photos. But first of all, a quasi-quote that I stumbled upon yesterday. Well maybe not yesterday, but I wrote it down in my book-of-things-I-read/heard-that-needs-to-be-written-down, and I came across it again yesterday:

“Take photos of what you love, and you’ll love the photos of what you take”

There were two ways in which this quote struck me.

Of course there is the literal meaning of the quote – that you will love the photos you take, if they are photos of things you love. In a rare moment of non-procrastination, I got started on my travel journal one week after I came back from Japan, which meant that I had to sort through my photos and look for the ones that I want to add to my travel journal. For the first time in a very long time, I could barely find any photos to include in my journal. Which is a shock, because I am usually indecisive in choosing photos, because I like so many of them (yet can’t include them all at the same time), rather than the opposite. It’s not that I didn’t like Japan, but during my travels, I was finding it difficult to really enjoy it and often I had to force myself to enjoy the things around me, rather than letting my heart wander to other places I rather be.

As I look at my photos, it occurred to me that this translated to the photos I’ve taken. I was taking photos to remember the places I’ve been to for mere documenting, not so much because I had strong emotions to the places I’ve been. It came through in the slipshod-ness in which the photos were taken too – photos taken in a rush, just snap and go, rather than focusing on getting the right composition, or checking the photos afterwards to see that you actually got a good shot. Of course it would be a exaggeration to say that I hated the all the photos I’ve taken (though there were some that came pretty darn close, made worse by the photo quality). It was just that I felt more of “oh let’s take a picture of this place just to remind myself I’ve been here” rather than “wow this place is so wonderful I have to take a picture to preserve the memory”. It was really a lesson learnt, on taking the right photos, on spending time, and to immerse in the surroundings. (Though I have to say I’m only 2 days into my travel journal, and perhaps the remaining 7 days or so might prove to be different. I hope.)

The second thing this struck has to do with my daily photo taking habits. I might have mentioned in an earlier post before (I can’t remember), but I struggle with taking daily photos. I like the idea of Project Life, the whole documenting everyday moments, but I find it hard to justify whipping out the camera daily for that purpose. In a way I find it sad that I don’t find my life interesting to be taking photos like that, compared to the people I follow who always have something to document every week, be it just a good meal or a gathering with friends. Sometimes, I even find it hard to find something to scrapbook about, because most memorable moments aren’t crystallised in photos. It’s been an ongoing problem for me so far, when I get the urges to create, but have no idea or nothing to create. Uhm what’s my point in bringing this up? I don’t think there’s a point actually, just that I wanted to bring up what I felt with regards to this. Sigh.

I’m still as passive as ever, and output is pretty much slow or non-existent. Haven’t been absorbing much too, if my backlog of YouTube videos is anything to go by. Have been doing random stuff lately too, and the photo above is just one of them, slapped together within 5 minutes or so before I need to leave for my dental appointment. Despite the short amount of time put into it, I really liked how it turned out though, likely because I really identify with the subject matter. Maybe I’ll talk more about it in a future post. I’m not sure. But it feels good to have the keyboard under my hands and hearing the clacking of keys as I type away.

Until next time.

Ponderings: Having multiple outlets of creativity

After an unintended 2 months long hiatus, I finally feel the drive to be back. There’s not much to say about the hiatus, except that I haven’t done a lot of art during this time, and I hardly wrote anything as well.

Which brings me to the topic at hand: of having multiple outlets of creativity. As you might (or might not) know, I engage in several creative activities: art, writing, music. A friend asked me about the progress in my writing the other day, and I had to embarrassingly admit that I had not made any progress since the last time he read them. It ended up with me lamenting about how I have no idea why I can’t find the energy and drive to write when everything is already vaguely in my head. But then he made an acute observation and link that I never realised: the reason that I didn’t have the creative energy to write is because I’ve been spending all my creative energy for the past 2 months on music.

And he’s quite right. I spent a lot of time thinking about music, on the bus, on the train, walking to the bus stop, any time that I don’t have to focus particularly on anything. It’s like I have this finite creative budget and I spent it all on music, leaving nothing for art or writing. Now that I am aware of my creative budget, I start to consciously spend more time thinking about art and writing, and actively trying to use up a fair portion of that budget. And it’s working, because I have since churned out more writing (if you would include this blog post as well), and I have been catching up on my backlog of YouTube subscriptions.

I still won’t say that I’m back in the full swing of “things”, whatever that might mean. I use to write and do art every single week, but that was during the period when I had little to no focus on music. Right now, I have music practices every week (though that will stop soon when concert is over next Saturday), while I write and art sparingly. I have yet to find a balance on all three of them at the moment, but I think I’m making some headway.

Is spending all my creative budget on one outlet of creativity a bad thing? I would think no. Even though I couldn’t produce anything substantial for my art and writing, I didn’t feel the sense of frustration that comes with a dry spell. It was merely a “I don’t really feel like doing this today even though I know I haven’t done it for a well.. Oh well I’m ok with not doing anything until the next time I feel like doing something.” In fact, it felt great to be buzzing with all these different outlets of creativity, because they somehow feed each other without you having to do anything. I’ll take this anytime over a creativity dry spell.

One interesting thing I noticed about my art is that most of them are done for art sake, rather then for something deeper on an emotional level. Journaling is always an important part of my art journals and scrapbooking, but it’s something I have not really done for these past 2 months. Going directly into art is something I have not experienced in a long time, so I’m embracing it as it comes, and just really enjoy the process of playing around without any specific aim or endpoint in mind.

Here’s two recent art that I did:

One was a painting I did following a step by step guide which I got for free during my last Spotlight shopping trip. I couldn’t follow it completely because I don’t have the brands/colours they suggested, but I tried to mix the colours as best as I could. Another lesson in colour mixing! It’s not a good quality photo because I didn’t have intentions to share it online then so I just haphazardly snapped it and sent it over What’sApp to a friend.

Watercolours on watercolour paper

Second is an unpolished quick sketch I did on my phone yesterday, just because I felt like it. Took me about 15 minutes to do it, barely any time taken out of my day but it turned out great anyway (at least to me). Haven done any digital sketching for a while and I was very pleased that I even did something at all.

Sketch163142024

I hope you enjoyed this little update and chat on creativity budget. Now that I learnt something about my creative process, it becomes easier to work with it rather than work against it. In case you are wondering, I’m going to post my monthly Instagram updates pretty soon, though as I’ve said, there wasn’t much arty stuff going around these past few months.

Europe Travel Journal flipthrough

I’m back again, this time with a flipthrough of my Europe Travel Journal! I filmed this last month, but took a long time deciding if I want to put it out to the internet world, and to make some edits to the video. This is the first video that I’ve film and uploaded for everyone to see, so please be forgiving if the standards/quality isn’t very high. The original video quality is actually much better, but there was a drastic lost of quality after I rotated the video, something that couldn’t be avoided due to my filming setup. Will have to think of something so that I don’t have to rotate the video in the future!

And here’s the video:

Some basic information for my travel journal: The size is 7″ x 11″, which is a size I’ve gotten comfortable with over the years (my smashbooks are the same size). The covers are made from cereal boxes, and the inside pages are cut from a combination of mostly drawing paper and some scrapbook papers. I used a hole punch to punch six holes on the side and then bound them together with office binder rings.

Just to draw out some points that I mentioned in the video that would be helpful if you want to make your own travel journals:

  • When attaching tags with ribbons, I like to cut a small sheet of craft foam to prop up the tag. This helps the tag to lay flat and neat, as the foam offsets the bulk from the tied ribbon.
  • Have an idea of which parts of the map you want to display before folding the map to the same size as the journal.
  • You can include cut outs from travel guidebooks that you obtain during your trip, especially those free ones that gives tourist useful information and overview of the city. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of ephemera collected from certain places.

This is the first dedicated travel journal I had made, and I am very happy with how it turned out. To me, it’s just such a beautiful thing, and I love it so much. Hope you enjoy taking a look at this flipthrough and I hope you will let me know what you think of the video (:

December’s Instagram 2015

Here’s a look at my craft related Instagram posts from the month of December! As mentioned in a previous post, I didn’t do much art in the month but there were still plenty of crafty things, particularly the arrival of new supplies!

Photobook
I made this Photobook a couple of months back and it arrived on my doorstep right after my finals ended! Talk about reward for hard work ^^ This is from Photobook Worldwide, and is my third photobook from the company. I have been very pleased with the quality of photobook, and is getting better at making them! I have taken to making photobooks for travel trips because I can get flexibility to size the photos, crop photos, and to add text and notations all in one application, which is a lot easier than handmaking my own travel album.
Studio Calico Ferris Wheel kit
My first kit that I ordered from Studio Calico! There were some issues with shipping so the kit didn’t arrive until months later. I always drool over the SC kits, but could never bring myself to subscribe to them because of the price (conversion rate) and shipping costs. I only bought this because past kits were on sale and I spent a long time deciding which one I want to get. I haven really started using the kit yet but I am looking forward to it!
Carved stamps: numbers
This was my first attempts at carving a number set. I have gotten a set of stamp carving tools from my friends for my birthday and decided to do a set of numbers because I am lacking in a good solid set of number stamps. It turned out to be easier than expected, and I did these five numbers in two nights, spending about 1-2 hours each night. I have since completed the whole set of numbers but I didn’t post any pictures of those.

It’s 2016! And a New Year exercise

Happy New Year to the lovely folks that read my blog! So many things happened in 2015, many of which I was glad it happened. For my crafty life, it has included new supplies (I’ll talk more on this on my December Instagram review post), a new storage shelf, lots of art and art journaling and finally taking up scrapbooking. It makes me pleased to know the great amount of art I did in the past year, even as school gets more hectic and I hope that I can continue to make this much art in the year ahead. In other news, I have been making huge progress in clearing my photos backlog: digital sorting of photos, uploading photos to Facebook, and printing them out. Of course it’s not all completed, but at least I manage to settle years of photo backlog in the last month.

I spent New Year’s Eve at home with my family and boyfriend and I had this sudden idea for a New Year exercise that my boyfriend and I embarked on. We spent about a couple of hours making each other a New Year card, and wrote out messages for each other. I felt that this was a very meaningful exercise, because at the brink of New Year, these messages tells tales of the year past and also hopes for the year beyond. New Year may be an arbitrary delimitation of beginnings and ends, but it’s still a good excuse to reflect on the past year and make wishes for the new one. Perhaps this is one exercise that I will continue to do year after year.

I have yet to make any New Year Resolutions. Still thinking about manageable ones and also nothing much comes to mind. Nevertheless, I hope that the year will bring everyone closer to their dreams and wishes for the future!