My Creative Month – August/September 2016

I know I keep saying this about my months, but August and September have been extremely stressful again, both at work and in my personal life. Especially September. August was a little more quiet at first but got stressful toward the end.

I hate how little time I have for the things I would really like to do, especially how little energy I have left after a long day of work or doing my chores.

On top of everything, I’m still busy preparing my courses. I’m teaching an introduction to psychology this semester and the research for that is really extensive. I’ll think twice next time before I take on something so research intensive as this one. I already started preparing in July, right after the previous semester finished. I still have so much left to do with only one month to go. I’m really starting to panic a little.

Still, I did get to a couple of things…

 

Back To School Pencil Cases

What I’m most proud of from those past two months are my DIY pencil cases that I spontaneously crafted out of felt. I think they turned out super cool, especially the bat…

 

August Doodle Challenge

I’ve always been fascinated with beautiful drawings and admired those who could do it. If only I had a little bit of talent. I’ve always been convinced that a lot of the techniques can be practiced, but the biggest part of drawing is talent and hand-eye coordination. Both of which I do not have.

However, lately I’ve been motivated to do something about my abysmal drawing skills. Especially since I’ve been trying to draw and hand-letter a little bit in my bullet journal. With an emphasis on TRYING. I will never become an artist, I’m pretty sure, but maybe some practice will help.

So in August I decided to take part in Jennifer’s August Doodle Challenge. While I was so motivated at the beginning of the month, I also printed her 30-Day Doodle Challenge in the hopes of getting both done.

I knew from the beginning that I wouldn’t manage to doodle every day. It was more like catching up on weekends. But that was okay, it was all about the practice. At first I did pretty well, but toward the end of the month there was too much else to do. It was probably a bit too ambitious to try two challenges at once anyway. If you counted the squares that I did finish on both challenges, though, I actually made it. I continued with the rest in September.

My conclusion of the experience:

It was fun. I really liked doing it. And I found that at times my drawing was a little bit better than expected. However, I also found it frustrating at times when there were things that I just could not draw.

Also, it’s probably pretty normal (being more or less a complete beginner where drawing is concerned), but I find that I have serious difficulties drawing without a drawing for reference. A real-life photo is no good, I need a simple drawing, preferably a clip art, to get something half decent on paper. I find it especially frustrating (and awe inspiring) to see what others have drawn (especially Jennifer herself) with the same prompts. It’s so amazing what people can do, and it makes me feel so inferior in my drawing skills, knowing that no matter how many aeons I would practice, I could never produce half as amazing drawings as that.

As I said, I’ll never be an artist. But (and this is a big BUT): The experience also showed me that with a little practice, I can produce half decent clip-artsy drawings. It will be a while, but it is worth the effort.

This is certainly not the last doodle challenge I will participate in. In fact, I liked it so much that it inspired me to create a doodle challenge of my own for the month of October. It will be coming in my next post.

 

Crime Story Bookmarks

I feel like I have a lot more talent when it comes to layouting things on a computer. I’m attending a crime story book club this semester (which I’ll say a little more about later), and found that I had no decent bookmarks for the occasion. I’ve been planning to make my own bookmarks for a while and thus seized the opportunity.

The pics are from the internet, but the layout is mine. I’m pretty proud of it, too. Especially since I made them with InDesign, a program I’ve been on the warpath with for quite a while.

I then printed them on 120 grms paper and laminated that before I cut them out. I very much like the result.

 

Bullet Journal News

Aside from the fact that I have been a little negligent with my private bullet journaling in the past few months, I still like doing it very much and would like to have some more time for it.

There have been a few changes to my layout as well:

Firstly, I gave up on the tracker for now as I hardly ever used it. I still like the idea very much, but I just don’t track every day, forgetting it for weeks at times. That way it’s pretty useless for me.

Secondly, I added a little color to my bullet journal. I bought a box of inexpensive coloring pencils for the doodle challenge and found that also quite useful for the bullet journal. It’s more work, but also a lot more fun to look at as well.

In August I started to have a color for each month, coloring every headline with the same color for one month, then switching to another color the next month. I find that helpful to separate the months. In September then I also started to add more colors to my Monthly Memories spread. I like that a lot.

And last but not least, I started a spread where I could list a) old projects that I have started a while ago but never got around to finish, b) current projects that I’m working on at the moment, and c) planned projects that I’ve been wanting to start but haven’t had the time yet. The idea is both to keep track of the things I’m working on and to try to make sure that I work on all kinds of projects each months. My problem is that new projects keep coming in and distract me from the old ones. But at some point I’d like to finish those as well before the frustrated feeling of not being able to finish any of my projects comes back.

 

Sewing

As I had expected, with my new sewing machine, I’m all excited about sewing at the moment. I think I’m not untalented where sewing is concerned, but I have little experience with it, so I’m very glad I have someone helping me who has much more experience.

We started and finished several pieces in the past two months:

Sofa cover

When we boght new sofas for our living room a couple of years ago and renovated the entire flat, I got one of the old sofas for my room. It’s a really, really comfortable sofa and I love it, and the fabric is a really good quality and looks almost new, but I just don’t like the pattern. It is so 1990s at it’s worst.

I’d bought a black coverlet in a sale a while ago to cover it up, but the sofa is a very wide three-seater and it wasn’t wide enough. So we added sides in another fabric and then continued with matching covers for the footstool and the pillows. I really like how it all turned out.

 

Gift Bags

I just started with this, but I’ve been unhappy with using gift wrapping paper for a while. It’s not just that I suck at wrapping stuff decently. But that’s probably part of it.

This is why I don’t like gift wrapping paper: I find it an awful waste of natural resources, I always feel bad about throwing it away, also because it often looks so nice, but you can’t really use the same paper twice.

Some of you might say: Then why are you still using it? Why not give presents without the wrapping?

For starters, I think it makes gifts look much nicer. No matter how much work you put into a present, it makes it look like you have made even more of an effort if it is wrapped.

Secondly, I love to see how people unwrap a present and find out what they have been given. I like unwrapping presents myself as well. I think it takes away all the excitement and joy of receiving a gift if you can take in with one sweep of the eye what you have been given.

And last but not least, I simply love the look of gift-wrapped presents under the Christmas tree or on a birthday table. It’s a pretty sight.

Thus, I’ve been in a dilemma for a while: I don’t like using paper, but on the other hand I love it when presents are wrapped. That is why I now started sewing pretty gift bags for Christmas. You can make them pretty, using beautiful, Christmasy fabrics and decoration, but they can then easily be used again the next year.

The hardest part, I find, is figuring out what sizes you are likely to need. I’m still experimenting with that.

Of course, that won’t part me from gift wrapping paper once and for all. Sewn gift bags only make sense if you are giving presents to close family or friends where you can be sure to get your bags back. But for those occasions it really has potential. I’m excited to see how that will work out.

Trousers

I started making my first pair of trousers to replace a pair that I dearly loved wearing but that is, unfortunately, now completely torn for precisely that reason. It’s not in fashion at the moment and thus not to be found anywhere in the stores anymore, but it just suits me so well. So I took the rugged pair apart and am now using it as a template for a new one. It’s a pretty simple cut without a zipper and I can even reuse the waist part.

It’s not finished yet, but it’s decidedly starting to look like trousers. I’m so excited if it will fit…

 

Fiction Writing

In my busy life, writing is what comes short the most, especially fiction writing. And it is the activity where that fact bothers me the most. I’ve said many times before why writing is so important to me.

That said, it is also the very thing I find the most difficult. I can start knitting a scarf or sew a bag or something and if I run out of time, I just put it aside and finish it later. Whenever I can find the time. Be it the next day, the next month, the next year. No problem. But once I stopped in the middle of a story, I find it so difficult to find back into it if too much time has passed between writing sessions.

To have some writing time again, I signed up for a weekend writing workshop at the beginning of September. The prospect of having one full weekend to concentrate on my writing was really alluring, especially since the course focused on my favorite genre, mystery writing.

It was awesome! I enjoyed it so much. We wrote a lot, worked on one story most of the time, expanding and improving it. The sad thing is, that was almost a month ago, and I have neither written anything since nor finished the story I started that weekend. I just can’t find the peace of mind.

The fact of the matter is: My other hobbies just fit my busy and stressful life much better right now, relatively easy to put off if there is no time and relatively easy to pick up again after an enforced hiatus. However, writing will always be my favorite and I miss it a lot, but I just cannot bring myself to write more.

 

Book Club

I sometimes feel that half of my difficulty with writing at the moment comes from the fact that I’m not reading at all anymore. Reading is also an activity I love dearly but that I just cannot bring myself to do much at the moment.

So I signed up for a book club, especially since it happened to be, again, a crime story book club. It’s only four sessions, but at least it got me reading a book again. For now.

I really hate the book, though, for several reasons that I don’t want to detail here and now. But that almost doesn’t matter. I feel so good to be reading once again.

 

Halloween Planning

It’s time to start my Halloween planning again. I didn’t get really far yet, though.

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