Friday 27 January 2017

Some sketches from the week

Another busy week is almost over.  I had a few appointments this week — one of them being a full Lung Function test which was not the most pleasant of tests. I hated having a clamp on my nose for one thing.  The test went for an hour and totally drained me to the point that I no sooner got home than I zonked right out on the couch for a couple of hours. I never sleep throughout the day. It was like I had no energy left in me at all. Have any of you had one of those tests done?  I had both a Spirometry and a Plethysmography done.  I (my lungs) have been feeling out of sorts since having the test done and I don't know if this is normal.

I managed to squeeze in some time for sketching despite the busy week.

Below, was the first pass of watercolour after doing the initial sketch in pen. 

Second pass of watercolour 

Final pass with more pen detailing 
Highlights were done with a POSCA white acrylic pen

My metal water bottle

A wooden pendant that I wear a lot

I'm linking up to Paint Party Friday again. To see the work of the week's participants, click HERE.

Friday 20 January 2017

More daily sketches

No relief yet from this dreadful heat and humidity. Someone, please pack up some snow and send it my way because I sure could use some cooling down.

The daily sketching continues regardless of me melting away...

Picking up from where I left off in the previous post, this sketch is a bit of practice in sketching trees with ink/pen.

Twinings teas have a new flavour — Peppermint and Spearment — and I got some when I picked out my free teas after I won one of the Twinings' Tea Chests. Nice and refreshing!

And this is our favourite brand of peanut butter. Mayvers Peanut Butter is all natural made solely with peanuts and a little salt. No extra oil or sugars are added.

I've been wanting to sketch this ornamental Chinese Garden Lantern for a while now. It's surrounded by Snake Plants a.k.a. Mother-in-Law's Tongue. 

And lastly, a quick sketch of my Gloria Jean's coffee using LAMY pen with water-soluble ink.

I'm linking up to Paint Party Friday again this week. 
To see the work of this week's participants, click HERE.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Kitchen decluttering and some sketches

The heat has been unbearable! I always find it hard to breathe when the heat and humidity get so high. Not sure if it's due to having asthma but it sure saps my energy.

I have been doing the daily sketches - some quite simple, some more detailed. If you missed my last lot of sketches, you can check the post out HERE.

The sketches below are the last two I photographed. I still have today's sketch to finish and take a photo of. First up is a special doggy comb I use for removing mats in fur. Cody's coat was getting quite long, and I felt sorry for him in this heat, so out came the scissors and combs. It takes me two hours to trim him back with scissors but I don't own dog clippers and it had to be done.  I'm sure he is much more comfortable now.

A quick ballpoint pen sketch of the big Buddha head I have in my lounge room

I'm linking up to Sunday Sketches again. To see the work of other participants for this week, click HERE.

Despite the horrible heat and humidity, I got stuck into decluttering my kitchen today. It felt so good to get rid of stuff I no longer use or want. I was amazed at how much stuff had long passed the Best Before dates mainly because things were pushed to the back when new things were added. The cupboards look so much neater now. I also down-sized on the amount of containers, crockery, and cutlery we had. I'm loving the more minimalist approach.

I could feel my back starting to grumble after all the decluttering so I will have to rest up a bit. I still have my art studio to tackle but all in good time.  

We had a good, heavy lot of rain earlier but it hasn't really helped cool things down at all. I hope we get some relief from the heat soon. 

Happy Sunday to all! 

Friday 13 January 2017

Sketching and decluttering

We have been sweltering in high heat and humidity this past week. As we don't have the luxury of air-conditioning, it feels like we are living in a sauna. The nights have been hot and humid too so no relief there. Winter can't come soon enough for me.

I've been blending up some smoothies to help ease our discomfort from the heat. SO delicious!

Strawberry, banana with coconut milk

Berry, banana with soy milk

The daily sketching continues and these are the ones I have photographed so far. 

My tiny bag which is an ideal size for my mobile phone and keys. 
Ink and watercolour

My favourite character on Criminal Minds - Dr. Spencer Reid - played by Matthew Gray Gubler. 
Pen sketch with a wee touch of graphite for subtle shading

One of my Lamy Safari fountain pens which I had to soak and clean as it had dried up. 
Ink and watercolour

Refilled the Lamy Safari with Lamy water-soluble ink. 
Ink sketch

One of my small travel watercolour palettes. 
Ink and watercolour

It's been quite a while since I've been able to participate but I'm linking up with the Paint Party Friday group today. To see the work of other participants for this week, click HERE.

On top of sketching, I did more decluttering. I sorted through more of my books and donated quite a few. I have a lot of art magazines and instructional art books (some are pictured below) that I no longer want so I think I might put them up on Gumtree for sale. 

Tomorrow, I will be tackling my art studio/space. I organised it a while back but I have way too much stuff so I need to make some tough decisions. 

Monday 9 January 2017

A trip to the wetlands, sketching, and decluttering

Well, I'm off to great start for the year, am I not? I completely forgot to do my Sunday Sketches blog post yesterday! My content was ready to go but it just slipped my mind. I'm kicking myself for not adding it to my digital daily task list as it constantly nags me until the task is done. My day was quite busy and productive in other areas so I guess it just slipped my mind.  Better late than never, right? 

On Saturday, as part of the Moment Catchers challenge, Bradley (son) and I went to Berrinba Wetlands so I could sketch on-location. It was an over-cast, gloomy day and it threatened to rain but we didn't let that stop us. Apologies that the images may appear a little dull and grey too. There is 120 hectares of protected bushland reserve and the man-made section takes up 40 hectares.

These beautiful wetlands were actually man-made. It was created by sand and mining operations after World War 2. It is now home to much of the wildlife in the area including pelicans, one of my favourite birds.

This piece of art was created by John Coleman in 2011. It symbolises, Mibunn, the sea-eagle, squawking and flapping his wings to once again protect Scrubby Creek. It has a solar panel and an electric motor so I'm assuming it can flap its wings at some point in the day. Something I have never seen. Apparently, there is a colony of sea-eagles at the wetlands so an appropriate choice of art.
If you're curious about the 'START' signage on the walking path, it's a marker for the Park Run Event they have every Saturday. It's where people can walk, run, and bike-ride through the wetlands on the walking path while they are timed. Read more about it HERE.

Some of the fauna residing at the wetlands. 

I love walking the path and being among nature. 

I especially like stopping at this circle of stones along the way. 

Some of the stone seats are marked with rune symbols. 
This one is Ingwaz which symbolises peace and harmony. 

I quickly got to work sketching while Bradley recorded the sounds of the wetlands. The birds and insects were creating a beautiful melody for us.

The completed sketch 

As part of my commitment to living a more minimal life, I took up the 30 Day Simplify Your Life challenge and, yesterday (Sunday), I got busy decluttering my wardrobe. I had already decluttered my wardrobe about two months ago and managed to rid myself of three extra-large bags of unwanted items but I was even more ruthless this time around. I managed to fill another two extra-large bin bags. One bag contains items for Donation and the other contains clothes to be thrown out. Those now-empty hangers used to hold clothes. I love opening my wardrobe now and seeing how roomy it is.  It's amazing how we get a build up of belongings over the years, some of which we never use.

After doing my wardrobe, I moved onto Brad's wardrobe and we managed to fill another extra-large bin bag of clothes to be thrown out. He was so happy to have more room in his wardrobe too.

TODAY, I tackle my books and art magazines. As with my wardrobe, I had decluttered a lot of my books already but there is definitely more to go. I'm a woman on a mission.

To finish off this post, here are a couple more of my daily sketches.

I was going to link up to Sunday Sketches but it's not up yet. I guess it is still Sunday in the States so I will keep checking throughout the day.

The link is up - click HERE to see the work of other participants.

I hope you have all enjoyed a beautiful and peaceful weekend.

Thursday 5 January 2017

My word for 2017, plans, and some sketches

There may be some pretty big changes for me this year so I've been laying down some plans to help me stay focused personally and on my blog.

My notebooks are at the ready

My word for 2017 is — ACTION!

In order to see results, it's all about the doing, right?

My personal weekly plans are to — 
  • sketch daily 
  • meditate daily
  • show gratitude daily
  • do some form of exercise daily 
  • blog two to three times a week 
  • listen to at least one podcast daily
  • read daily
As mentioned in a previous post, I am trying the 365 daily sketch challenge again and, this time, I'm not going to be so hard on myself. I am giving myself permission to miss a day or two.  When I missed a day or two last time, I gave up altogether. I saw it as a failed project and my daily sketching fizzled right out to a once-a-week undertaking, if that. I recently watched some motivational YouTube videos which emphasised that giving up after missing a day or more is where so many people go wrong with 365 daily challenges. It dawned on me that, if I had continued with the 365 Sketch Challenge regardless of missing a couple of days, I would certainly have had a lot more sketches to show for my efforts than I do now.

I will also be participating in the Moment Catchers Project which involves a once-a-month outing to sketch on-location wherever that may be.  You can read more about it HERE in case you are interested in signing up for it too.

I will continue to contribute to the Sunday Sketches group which I love being a part of.

I have some other plans for future art projects but that will be discussed in a later post.

I have been meditating daily since January 1st and I am so happy to have this back in my daily routine. I truly believe that meditating brings calm and balance into my life.

I bought the Five Minute Journal app to keep me focused on daily gratitude. The Five Minute Journal is available in book form HERE but I love the app because I can set it to remind me to record my daily gratitude entries which is done twice a day. I love the daily quotes too.

My health has improved a lot over the last year and I want to maintain it. I will be sharing more posts on my vegan lifestyle and how it has helped me to lose weight and improve my health. I admit that I hate exercise but I am committed to doing some form of exercise on a daily basis. I actually do enjoy time on the treadmill. It's also when I usually grab the chance to watch motivational or art videos via YouTube.

Bradley, my son, introduced me to the world of podcasts in the latter part of 2016 and I have a growing list of subscriptions to listen to — mostly on minimalism, intentional living and expanding social and world knowledge. My blogger friend, Nicolas, recently shared some podcasts that he enjoys listening to. From what I can determine so far, the podcasts are done as audio dramas in a series. It makes me think along the lines of listening to a play on the radio. No doubt, you have heard at some point of how Orson Welles scared a nation back in 1938 with his realistic radio dramatisation based on the H.G. Wells novel — War of the Worlds. You can read about that HERE. I think I'm going to enjoy the audio dramas. Thanks, Nicolas. By the way, you may want to pop over and visit Nicolas' blog because he is a man of many talents and writes beautifully.

I have upped my reading goal on Goodreads to 25 for 2017. I think the goal was 10 books last year and I read 12 all up. I love to read but I find I don't get much time which I plan to remedy. OH, and I have discovered the eBook realm. I never thought I would say it but I'm loving eBooks! I can basically carry a library of books in my bag with no extra weight.  I love that I can adjust background colours, font styles and sizes too which makes it easier on my tired, old eyes. With my new minimalist approach, digital books don't take up space on the shelves either. I have donated hundreds of my books over the past couple of years and there is still lots more to go. Of course, my faves will remain. While I love eBooks, I still love the feel of a real book in my hands.

My Bullet journal will help to keep me on task daily. I have been using the bullet journal system for over two years now and I love it. It's the only planner I have managed to stay with. Prior to that, I would start a new planner with enthusiasm but would fizzle out by April. You can make a bullet journal as simple or as complex as you want. I like simple.  Here are a couple of pics of my bullet journal from last year. In September, I upgraded from the A5 size to the B5 size and I'm loving the larger format.

With the B5, I am able to use vertical columns which I find easier to work with and I can see a whole week of tasks at a glance. As I said, I keep my bullet journal quite simple. I place tasks at the top and, below that, I keep track of what I eat in a day.   Thank you, Rita, for putting me onto the perpetual calendar stamp set.

To finish off this very long post, here are more daily sketches for 2017 so far. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have already seen these.

I love this Essano Rosehip facial cleanser.
It's vegan and cruelty-free.
Ink and watercolours

I prefer this style of headphones over the ear-bud type as I feel this type gives better sound quality.
Sketched with Lamy fountain pen using water-soluble ink.

One of my fake-succulent plants. 
Ink and watercolour sketch

If you have made it to the end of this post, I humbly thank you for taking the time to read it.

Do you keep journals/planners for the weeks or year ahead? 
Do you choose a specific word for each new year?

Feel free to share your answer in the comment section. 

Sunday 1 January 2017

Happy New Year!

We had a lovely New Year's Eve celebration. I hope you did too.

My Mum is Scottish and my Dad was Irish so it's little wonder that New Year's Eve celebrations have always been a big event when we were growing up.  I remember when we were small children, and fast asleep in our beds, Dad would come into our rooms and wake us all up just before midnight so we could welcome in the New Year as a family. Naturally, we upheld the family tradition yet again this year. We used to also adhere to the Scottish tradition of first-footing but we don't do that as much any more unless we have visitors who can participate as our first-footer.   

Beau (son) and his partner, David, came over for dinner and also to welcome in the new year with us. We played cards, listened to music, danced, laughed, and chatted the night away.  We welcomed in the New Year with this beautiful song — Auld Lang Syne — which never fails to bring a tear to my eye. Interestingly, Robert Burns, the man who wrote this popular song had never intended for it to be a New Year song but it became a steadfast tradition among the Scots.  I love this particular version. If it doesn't play within this post, you can go to the direct YouTube link HERE.

Beau and David left to head home at around two in the morning but Bradley and I stayed up all night to greet the dawn, as we did last year. The sunrise wasn't too spectacular due to low-lying clouds, houses, and trees in the way but it sure felt good to greet the dawn of a new year.

First dawn of 2017

I've been trying my hand at a few vegan desserts of late. This is the one I made for New Year's Eve —  a peanut butter mousse with whipped coconut cream, nuts, shaved dark chocolate which I then drizzled with golden syrup. Quite delicious! 

On the topic of sketching/illustrating, I have decided to give the 365 day challenge another go. I tried and failed last year but, this year, I don't think I'll be as hard on myself.  You can expect a lot of very loose, simple sketches.

Here is today's sketch. Last week, I pruned my Desert Rose right back and I'm happy to report that it is already starting to show new growth. 

I'm linking up to Sunday Sketches again. To see the work of other participants for this week, click HERE.

It is now 8:30 pm on New Year's Day and I've literally had no sleep for 40 hours.  My bed is calling to me so I will say goodnight and sweet dreams.

Wishing you all the best for 2017!

Love, light and peace.