Sunday, 28 February 2016

Art Haul - Cass Arts

If you follow me on Instagram then you already know I spent my Wednesday gawking at paintings in Tate Britain with Kayla and a day in London isn't complete until some serious retail therapy has occurred.

If you are an art lover, regardless of what materials you use I seriously recommend visiting a Cass Arts store soon!  There are so many arts and crafts goodies all under one roof that a spending spree was imminent.  This time however I managed to keep my cool and stop the urge to buy everything in sight, choosing instead to invest in some new watercolours and test out something new...

Something New;

These stunning Windsor and Newton Pigment Markers that I have seen all over Instagram recently.
I've done a very small amount of doodling with these in my sketchbook and I'm sorry to say they don't work all that well on leuchtturm paper, (I'll get some photo's once I've found a way to make them work for me.) Alas, I'll just have to pick up some of the marker paper next time I'm there.


Watercolour Love;

My other purchase was some new watercolours.  (Read that as clean watercolours)  I am not always a fan of mixing watercolours on a palette, being more of a 'messy dunk the brush in all the paint wells and worry less kinda gal'.


I picked up this unbelievably cute stack of watercolours which my receipt describes as 'Kohl Noor watercolour pan set'.

The colours are vibrant and mix really well, theres a whole bunch of colours in the set that I haven't tried yet, but I really like the 'colour wheels' to play with.  (Yes I've mixed them up and at least 5 no longer look that clean...sorry) For £5.50 I think this is probably the best set of watercolours I've used for that price.


The Tote;

If you are a lover maybe hoarder? of bags-for-life then you need a Cass Arts Tote in your life.  I always take my current tote and exchange it for a new one, usually a brighter colour.  But this time I felt drawn to the phthalo turquoise.  


So there you have it, a relatively small haul this time round.  Which no doubt means next time I'll have a huge wish list. 

Have you been on an art materials splurge recently? What brands can't you resist, and what's on your art wish-list, I already have dip-pens and marker paper on mine.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Filofax Monthly Makeover - March

Slightly less ‘arty’ post today; I want to talk about Filofaxes!

I’ve been using a Filofax for a couple of years now.  In that time I’ve swapped out tonnes of inserts and tried (and failed) to use various layouts in a desperate attempt to stay organised, but more importantly to make filling out and actually using my Filofax less of a chore.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who goes out on a stationary shopping spree to decorate my organiser only to find a week later that sure, it looks great, but I haven’t actually used it to plan anything.  I love looking at how other people use their organisers so I’m giving a small insight into my Filofax and how I decorate and use it.


To combat the urge to spend all my time decorating my Filofax instead of planning in it.  I try to do the majority of my decorating a month ahead.  This means I can play around with stickers and colours and post-its to my hearts content, without going overboard.  
By doing this I find that by the time the first week of March rolls around there’s enough space for me to still plan and write to-do lists but it’s not a boring white page either.  Which also means I can still add more decorations as I go along. (I'm a sucker for stickers.)

PS. I have the original Filofax, personal size in Teal.
My weekly inserts and rainbow pages came from Kiddy Qualia on Etsy. 
The stickers you can see came from Cricket Paper Co.  also on Etsy.
As for pens, I mainly use pencil and the fineliner uni pin. (in the photo above) If I’m adding colour I’ll use the staedtler fineliners. 



I have a subscription to a craft magazine, Quick Cards.  In each issue theres a double spread of patterned papers that you could use for any craft project, I tend to use mine to decorate the month ahead.  This means my colour scheme is decided for me and gives each month it’s own ‘theme’ (February was very Valentine themed due to this, and March is looking very floral and spring-like.)




Hope you liked having an small insight into how I decorate my planner.  I'm hoping to make this into a series and next month I'll try and include some more step-by-step photos as well as delving further into the mess I call organisation.

Do you use a Filofax organiser, or have you swapped over the the Bullet Journal system?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Send a Card to a Friend Day

If you already follow myself or Kayla on Instagram you'll know from January that we've started using 'National Day's of..." to inspire us.  

So if you don't already follow us, here's links to Kayla's Instagram, and Mine.

But anyway, today is National Send a Card to a Friend Day (I get all the dates from http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/ if you’re interested in using them as drawing prompts too.)  

I decided with it being February to make a valentines card… Nawwww.   


Pink. Check
Hearts. Check
Cheese Factor. Check

Overall, a very successful card in my opinion.

As for materials, I used my favourite coloured paper for all craft projects.  I buy it from Hobbycraft but I’m sure I’ve seen the Dovecraft brand on various craft material websites so it’s an easy find.



The patterned paper is a hard one to tell you where to buy as I got them as a pack, again from Hobbycraft, but last year.  So I’m not sure if they still sell this exact pack, but I know they nearly always have a wide range of these packs for various holidays so finding a Valentine themed one should't be too hard.



For my heart shaped cut-outs I used a heart punch (again Hobbycraft) but I also use the Xcut brand punches which I find online.  I find the Xcut brand to be easier to hold/punch with for some shapes, but the hobbycraft ones are often on special offer, making them cheaper.

Will you be sending any cards to a friend soon? Or making any handmade crafts for your valentine this year? Let me know in the comments as I love finding crafty inspiration!

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Monday, 11 January 2016

Sketchbook Revival - A Fresh Start

2016 is looking like a productive year.  Reflecting on last year however I feel like so many of the goals I set myself were, well, unrealistic. 

This year I gave myself two key words, RECONNECT and FOCUS


I want to reconnect with my sketchbook, I tried too many times last year to force myself to use it daily (think drawlloween and sketchmas) and neither worked because I was making drawing into a chore, into 'oh my god I haven't drawn this weeks prompts' and the guilt that came with that made me want to draw even less.  
Saying that, if all goes to plan then by the time October and December roll around I may take part in drawing challenges again especially sketchmas as I had a lot of fun with Kayla creating the prompts and building excitement for our challenge and so many people joined in, that sense of community was fantasic. 

I also want to reconnect with this blog, this ties into my word focus too as I feel like consistency is key here, I want this blog to grow and I want art/creativity to come back into my daily (maybe weekly) schedule.  After leaving university I feel like all I want is to have a space to be creative and share and explore ideas but I spend so much time forcing that action and then drift away from my goals when other things come up.  This year I would like to be consistent and focus on how I spend my time (hopefully changing wasted time into be productive)

For the new year I wanted a fresh start and I felt like a new sketchbook would symbolise that nicely.


I've got a bit of a 90's vibe going on with the colour scheme.



Part of this fresh start is making these pages something I am proud of, and so far it's looking like it will take a turn towards journaling.  Guess what movie I've seen recently...


Alongside this in the theme of focus, I've given my Filofax a makeover I think this will encourage me to use it more, and probably be a lot more organised.  (Plus one real 'goal' for the year of I NEED to learn to drive)


Have you got any goals for your sketchbook this year? 
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Sunday, 3 January 2016

Emma's Lost Ocean Adventure - The Beginning

Before I get carried away in this blog post I want to introduce the latest addition to my colouring book collection.  It's the Lost Ocean book by Johanna Basford and it is as beautiful as you think it is!


To stop myself from skipping through all the pages to hunt down the jellyfish and colour those, I've decided to follow the theme of the book being an adventure.  And working through it one page at a time.  To start I decided to colour all the 'bonus' pages at the beginning, mostly to test out the new pencils I brought with the book.

The Faber-Castellated pencils deserve mentioning in this post as they are fantastic.  I have more of a love-hate relationship with colouring pencils.  I love how they look and the effects you can create, I just hate pencils that aren't as pigmented as I hoped, or that feel scratchy on paper.  But this brilliant set lived up to my expectations.  The colours are vivid and they have a great quality feel about them, I highly recommend this set to anyone and everyone.




As you can see from these first few pages those pencils are so easy to work with and blend.  I recently tried out some watercolour pencils thinking that they would blend more easily and I was oh, so wrong.  The other reason I wanted so badly to find a set of pencils I would love is due to this book have double-sided pages, so any inks/markers would bleed through and ruin the next design.  If you are an avid marker pen user then I'd recommend hunting down a copy of the 'artist edition' I think they're called.  Which is the same book just single sided (genius)

After colouring that border (picture above), I then didn't have the guts to attempt writing my name neatly.  Maybe I'll revisit it sometime.... Maybe.


One feature I wasn't expecting was a hidden object search.  I love that this is included and it reminds me of some Where's Wally books I used to own when I was younger.  Eagle-eyed followers, the search is on! 

Has anyone else got this book yet? How are you finding the tiny details? Personally I love the tiny drawn worlds and all the little shells to colour, but they do get fiddly.  
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