This months watercolour challenge theme is planes! Obviously because Lukas loves planes! This boy builds the planes out of lego, pretends to be flying like a plane and flies every possible object like a plane. You got the picture. I felt I had to make the boys room plane themed.
So this month for my watercolour challenge I decided to collaborate with my own 2 year old toddler (Eek!!). I enjoyed watching Lukas do art so much that I thought it would be very cool to create some careless abstract art inspired by his doodles and fill our kids room walls with it. Isn’t that the greatest idea you ever heard? Well, not quite! Although it did not work out exactly how I imagined (no artwork on the walls yet), working with the toddler thought me one thing or two. Before I tell you all about it, shall I explain how we did go about it first? If you agree then read on to hear my full story below. For our first arty session I set out with all material I had in stock. Although I don’t have crazy amount of art material, it was still little too much. This was my first lesson on how to make art with the toddler. Never give too much choice or you will be overwhelmed or (what happened in our case) he will be obsessed with one art media. I started by painting large rainbow on the page and Lukas joined in as soon as he noticed me painting. He picked a brush and kept dipping it where ever he could find: acrylics and water paint. The result was as I was expecting although I am not sure about the colour combo here, it did not go with our house interior at all. Because I noticed Lukas likes to spread a paint with the brush, I realised watercolour was too watery. This is why I mixed up few watercolours with white acrylic paint to get thicker paint. But that meant the colours ended up very pastel. If you like pastel colours than this is fine, but I was not a big fan of this as I LOOOOOVVEEE bold colours. But why I did not like Lukas using water colour straight? Well… a 2 year old did not quite understand the concept of using it. To use watercolour you need to constantly dip your brush into water between colour change and before to moisten the paint as well. To fix this problem I tried to dilute some watercolour pigment in little water. Here it is, I made a palette that I though would work. Except, yellow soon got mixed with green, created lime colour and other colours got mixed up as well. Did I tell you how easily watercolour mixes? You get the image: lots of grey/brown paintings. The pic below was the least overdone (lol).
I also tried placing few drops of watercolour ready on paper. You can blow on those drops to create pretty lines and patterns (this is my fave painting technique!!!). However this did not work out with 2 year old, he just did not quite get what exactly I wanted him to do with the straw I gave him (although I gave him plenty of demonstrations). Eventually I let him scribble away with crayons. I used Lukas scribbles to make my own abstract art which I much preferred. However I realised that this does not go with our house or my style. The artwork with alphabet is my fav, however it does not have so much input from Lukas. I am thinking maybe for my next watercolour challenge I should do something alphabet themed (I really really enjoyed painting letters). Will see ;-).Hope you have been inspired ;-)
To be completely honest it was very hard to come back to painting but once I started I really felt piece and joy. I felt inspired by the plants that I saw on our holiday in Dominican Republic. Tropical climate plants are so so pretty!!! I am inspired to have some of them at my home some day, but for now they can at least live on my walls.
As usual I started with the method in mind I wanted to try. This time I wanted to try watercolour combined with the wax crayons. I remember first time I fell in love with the watercolour is when my Finish art teacher showed me how crayons makes paper waterproof and when watercolour is painted on top of it, the wax of crayon blocks from colouring (mixing with) the drawing leaving the colour it was but colouring all around it instead. This technique really fascinated me back then which is why I wanted to try it out again. In the painting above I drew the core lines with the crayon and painted leafs on top of it. I was pretty pleased with the outcome. The lines kept its sharp green shade! The plant in the pic above have been my favourite so far! Although I don’t feel I depicted it well in my painting… Painting this curly leaf plant was quite fun! I love making repetitive patterns and painting these wiggly lines been real pleasure. To add some colour (not only paint in green) I tried painting this pink flower. I feel this was not my best painting so far. And look at all this mess I made in my watercolour palette! I wonder if other artist end up like that. Although I have seen other people just using water colour from the little tubes and mixing palette on separate piece of paper. I wonder if it is worth investing in fresh collection of water paint, hmm… For my next botanical painting I decided to use pencil instead (and rub it off after), that way I thought I will improve my shading technique. I divided the leaf into different segments that are “coloured in” separately and therefore shading is visible (hopefully). This painting took 2-3 hours, but it was so so worth it. I am in love! Finally this was a quick painting, I used pencil to mark the stalk of the fern and leaf in watercolour. I don’t know why, but this is my another favourite, so simple but so beautiful at the same time!Thanks for letting me share my experiences here re my new found passion :-)
As you may have already noticed I enjoy taking challenges, and for a good reason! Challenges are good for achieving goals. Not all types of goals of course, but if you want to learn something or get to start doing something then this method is the best (at least in my experience). In the past I did Pinterest challenge to get myself to try more recipes from Pinterest (still doing it sometimes), then I did a photography challenge so I could learn to take better pictures, I did a sugar free diet in the form of a challenge (sort of) and a book reading quest for three years which worked a treat. Now my aim is to get myself painting more and this is why I came up with this watercolour challenge ;-).
Few weeks ago we went to ski to Austrian Alps and I loved the snow there (as well as occasional snow at home). Falling snow brought be joy and the whole experience was quite magical so I decided to put it all on the paper. But at the first glance snow is white, so how do I paint the white? Once I look through this first obstacle I realised snow came in different shades actually. Whats more, I liked seeing some bold colours in a pretty misty landscape such as people wearing bright outfits or a lift cabin like in the pic above. I began painting the forest landscape first. I thought if I do it using the classic watercolour method I should achieve the right texture quite easily. I tried dipping paper into water and then paint vogue outline of fir trees. I thought the paint would bleed and that way would create required texture. That did not work out even when I tried getting better paper and paint brushes. The fir trees just looked too plain for my liking. Eventually after much trial and error and some research I found that salt is best in creating this so much desired texture. Yey!!! Now I am quite pleased with my winter wonderland forest painting. Hope you can pardon my spelling, but I do love this quote. It’s exactly how I feel when I see snow! This is what I mean by many shades in the white snow. It was fun painting this as shading with watercolour is very pleasant. It works quite simple: the more water you add the lighter the colour. If you want the colours to bleed less then wait for it to dry more before applying another layer. Painting trees has always been my favourite thing to paint. Here I initially tried to create the branches by blowing on the drop of paint that was sitting already on the paper. Later I added more branches and snow by lightly brushing some tinted water on it. Lastly I was amazed of fir tree needles sticking out in the snow. This took quite a lot of attention on detail but it was all worth the try. Hope I inspired you too to take a challenge or thought you something new about watercolour.
So here we are, I am starting my very first bullet journal!! As excited as I am you should really know that it took me over a year to actually try out this organisational system. Initially I noticed my friend Jacolien journaling on the Instagram (@made2celebrate) and then I read somewhere that this system lets you do more with less??? This could not fit in my head, how pretty page layouts with beautiful fonts would save me time and make me more organised? This is when my friend Jacolien explained that these layouts are completely optional and bullet journal can be whatever you make of it! So I decided to go with the original Ryder Carroll style (who by the way created this system after all) which is very simplistic indeed. May upgrade it later if my handwriting improves in any way. I will let you know how I got on, but for now here are my goals for this year that is already included in my bullet journal.
I may not set many goals last year, I am expecting quite a lot this year. My bullet journal is pretty full for the next six months which has not happen for few years. For each goal I listed tasks to help me to achieve it, some tasks have the deadline and some have been scheduled into calendar already.
1.Upgrade Friendly Nettle website goal was on my mind for four years. I think this year will be the year when I finally do it. I I will begin in February as this is when I am thinking to take a break from blogging for a month and from then on I will schedule once a week appointment with the website. Hopefully this will do.
2.Get arty, because I forgot how to paint or draw. This is why I decided this year to replace reading books to watercolour painting (the media I like the best). Like with books I will review my artwork here on the blog.
3.Reach healthy BMI as I am seriously overweight. I reached my biggest I have ever beed and I am feeling this is effecting my health too. Luckily loosing weight is not time consuming. All I need to do is reduce my meal portions, don’t stress eat and fast once a month. I think this should do the trick.
4.Make our house beautiful, because we still doing it up. Hopefully this year the cosmetics and decorations are going to be done. I am not actually thinking it’s possible to finish all the house DIY completely. I have already set up some deadlines for some tasks, although this goal I am feeling least confident about sadly.
5.Create child friendly garden has been my dream for a while. I need to be confident that kids can play safety outside as well as growing a small patch of veg on the side. I am thinking to start in March once the preps for Tomas dedication/birthday party prep is over. So how did I got on with bullet journaling so far? I think quite ok, I understood the system after reading about it on few blogs, but the video that explain it best is on bullet journal website. There are few pros and cons that I can see so far. But what does’t have pros and cons? So far I love that this system requires you to (1) handwrite (kind of con as well), you got to have a love for stationary! I even bought myself a fountain pen that I get so much pleasure out. The bullet journal itself is (2) very easy to set up, all you need is index, future log and a monthly log. From that on you just can start scribbling simple notes that are either to-do lists or ideas. As long as all those notes are attached to the right symbol you are set to go. Besides, you can (3) customise it as much as you like! I started using my BUJO (short for bullet journal) for personal stuff such as tracking my weight loss and recording my body temperature for NFP. So these are my positives.
Things that I am still trying to work out is (1) how to organise events between our family planner and my personal journal. I end up writing the same event twice, to the journal and then to our planner, this is often confusing and sometimes I wish all those notes synchronised somehow! The other issue I have so far is that (2) the bullet journaling is not for perfectionist (at least at the beginning). I already made many mistakes that can’t be erased. I guess I just have to look at it as a journey on improving my hand writing.Hope you started 2018 well!
Dear oh dear I had a busy weekend (it was fun as well), but I finished reading the “Little Paris Kitchen” cookbook (and trying almost all the recipes) which has taken me a whole year. I of course could not make all the items from the book. Some of the recipes were not very family friendly such as steak tartare, some had ingredients that were hard to get in regular supermarket (even if I tried to get a substitute) or I simply missed the season (oops!). I also must admit I did not plan the cooking of the recipes very well. I did very little at the beginning of the year and then by the end of the year I tried like 10 recipes a week. Which made things slightly stressful, but I am very glad that I made it. Yey!What I liked about it? I first fell in love with the style of the book and the pictures (am I shallow or what?), but then I really liked the recipes as well! these were classical recipes with a twist. Some were surprising and amazing and some were ok. Some recipes forced me to experiment as I did not have all the ingredients (but found some substitutes), which worked out wonderfully well. I felt some of the basic recipes could be reinvented again and again. It really woke my excitement up when it comes to cooking! I once again felt like in heaven when tasting different flavours.
What did I not liked about it? Some of the recipes were more complicated than they had to be. When making some of the basics such as caramel I had to google other recipes/videos as I just did not get it right from the book. It seemed like Rachel Khoo loves challenge herself and sometimes overcomplicate some recipes just because. I also have slight suspicion that there were some mistakes in the recipes. For example, I was trying to make this spicy sauce that had nothing spicy in the ingredients.
Is it worth buying? Absolutely! It’s a beautiful book to own with all the basic french recipes at the back (which I still use).
I have been so busy this year that I forgot when was the last time I have been creative. So no wonder when we went on holiday and walked around in the forest in Lithuania I was amazed once again how beautiful nature is! After taking detailed pictures of fern, moss, wild blueberry bushes and pine bark all I wanted is to create, create and create. So I did what I do best (I believe) is to make patters inspired by woodland of course! First I used watercolour to make these backgrounds. It was hard to begin with (It’s been sooo long since I touched any paint), but the more relaxed I got I was able to produce decent textures. I used to dislike water colour when I was a kid as it is difficult to control the colour merging with each other accidentally. But I fell in love with it when I went to art college as I realised you need to treat water colour completely differently. You need to be free with it. It is very therapeutic if you try ;-). Once the water colour dried I cut it into shapes and mix and matched with the other backgrounds I created earlier. I love how this bark pattern turned out, its not exactly like a bark, but it is very pretty to me :-). Hope this post got you inspired, you are welcome to use these patterns I created anywhere you like (I am thinking to use it for my desktop if you ask me)
I want something exciting to say. We have finally exchanged with our house purchase last week! Anybody who bought the house before know what it means: we will have this house for sure and the date is set when we could move in. Yey!
Ever since we exchanged I have been dreaming how we are going to decorate the house and what alterations we are going to make. I have done this before and it was difficult and long process. But now I am not alone so hopefully we will settle much quicker, although we have baby on the way so I am interested to see how difficult it will be to do at least some DIY.
I have started planning the colours. Why? Because I really really want everything to “flow” in the house and right now I already need to buy few things that will match (such as sofa bed for my mum to sleep in when she is visiting her grandchild). I must admit last time I was decorating the house I did not put so much effort in planning the colour… because I went an easy way and chose neutral colours (mostly white). Yes, I did get many comments that it looked like a hospital to begin with, although I accessorised it with bold colours so it was cute at the end). This time I want to be braver and try darker colours (gosh, I am sooooo scared that it may make the place look small). But I so love those eccentric rooms that I see on Pinterest, so the challenge is on!
So how did I create this colour story? I am very lucky that I have gone to Uni to do fashion. During my course one of the things I have learned is exactly that, creating a colour story for a collection. It is of course very different to creating a colour story for the house, but the goal is the same: to create a set of colours that will be used through out the project (in this case the whole house). Of course I had failed many times before. One instance I remember quite clearly when my colour story looked like a rainbow just because I liked many colours and because I arranged them in colour wheel order. Another thing I learned is to identify what colours are main and which ones are for the accents. For better visualisation arrange the accent colours in small amounts that could be displayed in a item form (such as red lamp in the pic below). The third advise I can give is to look through some pictures of the house interiors and see what colour arrangement you like (Pinterest or Houzz have been a good source to me). For instance I like the feature wall colour in the pic below combined with bold colour picture display on it.
I like red as an accent colour but I might try this and paint bigger furniture in red as well. The pic bellow comes from Apartment Therapy.
Although black is not a main colour in my colour story I would love to have a black board wall where we could scribble things! The pic bellow comes from IKEA website as an inspiration.And of course I would love to decorate the house with many plants! The pic bellow comes from My Attic.I hope you found this useful :-)
This is probably going to be the loooongest post I have ever posted, but there is so much to see! Our holidays in Iceland turned out to be breathtaking (at least for me) even if it was only for four days. I can honestly confirm that Icelandic scenery is completely out of this world. No wonder there were so many movies filmed here! I hope the pics below speak for themselves (especially the pic of never ending lupin field). Waterfalls were definitely one of the signature Icelandic features. Thyme that grows in Iceland! After seeing fields of lava, moss, lupin and greenery we were wondering where Icelandic people grow their veg? We got our answer after visiting one of the green house farms. Due to short summers, green houses are the way to go and because of cheap electricity due to volcanic nature here in Iceland the lighting and heating does not cost very much. Plus they have these very friendly bumble bees to pollinate the plants :-). Geysir springs were breathtaking, although very stinky! It definitely gave me few heart jumps when they exploded all unexpectedly. Glacier lagoon is another place that I loved, although it was a very cold experience. Turns out the icebergs are white/bluish from the outside because of the sun and all clear under. I love seasides and this one is exceptionally amazing! Black and white, who would have thought it exist?Me and Joni celebrated our 1st Wedding anniversary that day as well :-). Reykjavik from the church tower perspective…. And the last, but not least is the Blue lagoon. This was my main reason why I wanted to visit Iceland! I hope you are inspired to visit Iceland :-)
One of the ways to get inspired to be creative is to look around you (especially in nature). At least this works for me! When we were visiting Florida it was hard to find something cultural or a place in nature. All you could find in Kissimmee is a lot of Amusement parks (I might love them one day when we have kids, but I hate them now)! So I ended up visiting the one with the least rides and more nature. In Seaworld I focused on texture colour and shapes. And this is what I got!
Some patterns I have painted myself after being inspired by all those underwater colours! I hope you feel inspired today and look around you when you go outdoors! And you can find patterns everywhere, even better than the ones I found in Seaworld :-).
Just a quick reminder (in case you missed my other post), I will be at the Kings Arms Christmas Market this year (in Bedford). Would love to meet you there! It’s on 29th of November, on 245 Ampthill Road.
1. AUTUMN is a beautiful season. Look at all the colours! And it’s not only orange, brown and yellow…. I love the combinations of pink, forest green, orange and cream. And lets not forget purple! I have been so inspired by it all that I have been painting last night like mad (and that does not happen very often). I love creating new patterns. New autumn pattern bellow is here for you to nick, use it to wrap a gift or put in on the wall ;-). 2. KNITTING JUMPERS is almost my part time job. I took on three (yes, three) jumper knitting projects so far. But that’s quite enjoyable as I can do it while watching a movie or chatting with a friend! Here is my first cardigan in progress, can you guess what part it is? Yes, it’s a sleeve! Many more parts to go :-).3. DRINKING HOT DRINKS kind of goes with knitting. It’s important to keep yourself warm and all snuggled up while doing some crafty work! My favourite hot drink at the moment is spiced coffee (although I haven’t had any this year yet, but will make some soon!). It’s one of those drinks that is satisfying and not too fattening (minding my figure right now!). Click here for the recipe ;-).Happy October!!!
First things first, happy happy first day of autumn! Aren’t you loving this? If you asked me this question 5 years ago I would ask what is there to like about autumn? I really disliked the cold wether (still do). But recently somehow I have learned to love autumn. I guess I have to thank my friend Vicki here, who claims to like all the seasons :-). I finally see what she means! Autumn brings rich amber colours, reminds you that there is Christmas to look forward to, inspires you with new wardrobe to wear and makes you to snuggle in comfortable chair with some knitting project + cup of hot chocolate. Yey, about the last bit! We (me, Vicki and her mum) are even thinking to knit together some day over Skype!
Anyhow, today I have been looking for some autumn wardrobe inspiration. This time I ditched Pinterest and browsed trough my old knitting books instead. I used to laugh at these old clothes styles thinking “who would actually wear these hideous looking sweaters?”. But now I have complete different outlook on them. I think the clothes can be quite wearable if only they were styled differently. I guess dieting were not an option those days ;-).
My dream right now is to knit an autumn dress. But to be completely honest, this is one of my high sky dreams. To knit a dress in fine stitches would take forever considering I have three other jumper projects on the queue! Oh, well… I still like dreaming about it and you never know what will happen in next few months… One thing I must note about old books, they are brilliant in explaining how to knit. There are so many things I have learned from them! They all have very clear illustrations and actual written pattern with no abbreviations! This is what I call straight forward knitting!Hope you enjoyed having a glimpse at my old (Lithuanian) kitting books ;-)
Today I had a chance to pop in to The Edible Garden Show! Luckily it is just round the corner :-). Sometimes it’s so convenient to live in London. This event has really inspired me, not to mentioned that I have accidentally bumped into His Majesty Prince Charles!
So, I have been inspired to start seedings now (bought plenty of seed packs while there) or I will have to buy ready plants very soon. I also got inspired to help bees by creating this bee hotel!
I also participated in degradable pot making DIY organised by Garden Organic charity. I have posted a tutorial on how to make degradable pots using empty toilet paper rolls earlier this year. Using newspaper instead is an alternative.
Just follow there simple steps: 1. have compost, seed, newspaper and small bottle ready. 2. Fold the newspaper piece 1inch in and place the bottle on top. 3. wrap the newspaper piece around the bottle. 4. Fold in the bottom and press it against the flat surface such as table. 5. remove the bottle and your pot is ready! 6. pour the compost into the pot, then place the seed and then cover with a little bit more compost.
From now on urban herbs is my favourite herb supplier! They even had chocolate mint plant… whats not to like about that?
Feniton Foods has inspired me to grow edible flowers in my garden! Huge potential here, don’t you think?
Although marigolds are not suitable for baking (perfect for salads however), I went completely crazy about them when I was buying the seeds. The good place to go is the edible flower shop ;-).
If you would like to visit The Edible Garden Show, you are not too late as it ends by the end of this weekend. Go here for details.
If I had to name anything I would love to name a boat… just because they are most fun and often sound silly. I often go for a walk by river Lea and love spotting new boat names. “Buzzy Lizzy” and “Stardust” are my favourite right now. How would you name yours if you owned a boat?
Have an amazing week ahead!