Monthly Archives

March 2016

Design & Illustration

Workspace Wednesday – Jungle illustration

One of the assignments we got at my illustration class a couple of weeks ago was to draw illustrated letters. I really liked the idea of putting an illustrated jungle into the letters of the word jungle (still working on that one), but I also really liked the idea of using white space to form the word jungle into the dark dense background of the jungle.

So I made the sketch and started colouring it in. I gave my brand new masking fluid marker a spin on the word “Jungle” (that’s why it’s blue). Sadly the sketchbook I used wasn’t handling the water-colour paint very well and the paint was pooling everywhere and making streaks. In the end I had to get my trusty coloured pencils involved to make things look decent again.

jungle illustration - almost finished illustration

And voila, this is the result of a couple of hours sketching and colouring. As always, I can only think I need to do this more often. What do you think of this jungle illustration?

jungle illustration - finished illustration

Personal, Projects

28 in 28 birthday list [update 1]

It’s been two months since I had my birthday so it’s the perfect moment to give you an update on the progress I’ve made with my 28 in 28 birthday to do list.

Follow 25 Skillshare lessons

Even though I really love Skillshare and I’ve followed a couple of classes, I haven’t actually finished the projects that are part of those classes. Most recently I’ve watched Jessica Hische’s One Drop Cap Letterform at a Time class (which was very informative), but I haven’t got to drawing my drop cap. Hopefully I’ll get to these projects in the next few weeks, because I really want to make them.

28 in 28: going on five city trips in 2016. Trip one: London!

Go on five city trips in 2016 (1/5)

I already went on my first citytrip before I posted my new 28 in 28 list. That’s why it’s specifically said “go on five city trips in 2016”. I went to London and I wrote a short blog post about our three-day citytrip in the city. We spent most our time visiting off the beaten track sites, which was pretty awesome.

At the beginning of April I’m going to Paris. We’ll only be there for the weekend, so this will be a super short stay in the city and I’m not sure how much time we’ll be able to spent on sightseeing. If you have any tips for visiting less touristy spots, please let me know!

Also in April I’m going to YALfest in Utrecht, a young adult book festival. I’ll probably feel really old surrounded by all those teens, but it sounded like so much fun when I heard about it and I’ll be following a workshop on vlogging taught by Sanne from Books and Quils. I’m really looking forward to this weekend!

If any of you have tips for things worth visiting in both Paris or Utrecht, please let me know! I’m always game for some shopping, staring at books in bookshops and weird little museums.

28 in 28: Reach my 2016 blogging goals

Reach my 2016 blog goals

I’ve already talked about my blog goals in my first 2016 Blogging Goals update post and things aren’t going very well. I posted highly irregular in February and March isn’t much different. I still have ten months to figure things out though. 🙂

Mari Kondo the shit out of everything I have

I started reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in December of last year and I finally finished it in March. I wasn’t completely sold on all the things in the book, but there were a couple of ideas I wanted to give a shot. I’m not really pulling everything out of my closets, because I have cats and not enough floor space, but I am tackling things in themes. I’ve already gone through all of my craft supplies and I’ve got a lot of things for the “giving-closet” at my art school.

Go see a play

I went to see a play preformed by a local group of players in Bruges. They preformed in a West-Flemish dialect which added some extra value to the play. I didn’t understand everything (I’m from East-Flanders), but it was fun. The play itself didn’t have a comprehensive story line, but it was funny, which is always nice.

28 in 28: make twelve projects from Pinterest. The first projects: handpainted porcelain mugs

Do twelve things from Pinterest

I made one project from Pinterest! Huzzah! Remember my little tutorial on decorated porcelain coffee mugs? Well, that project was definitely Pinterest inspired.

Finish the Verbeelding Bookchallenge

I already posted my first Verbeelding Bookchallenge update at the beginning of March. I could cross off five of the challenges by then. I’m reading a lot of non-fiction at the moment, so I’ve only checked off one other challenge since then. I not really sure why, but I don’t feel like reading fiction, which is something that will pass soon, I hope.

See 28 new (to me) movies (6/28)

With this challenge I’m completely on schedule and I’ve already seen some interesting and good movies:

  • The Fly
  • Never Let Me Go
  • Barton Fink
  • Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
  • What We Do in the Shadows
  • The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

I think The Fly was probably one of my favourites of this list (the gore!), while The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness was very interesting and inspiring  to watch (it’s a documentary about Studio Ghibli).

28 in 28: Make a project every week. I've already mad a couple of projects, one of these is this Snape fanart piece

Make a new project every week (6/52)

I thought I would be far behind on this challenge, but actually I’m not doing too shabby. I’m only two projects behind and this is definitely one of the challenges I underestimated. Starting and finishing a new project every week isn’t easy. Some weeks are just to busy and some projects take way longer than just one week. The projects I’ve done until now are:

The Skillshare projects I want to do are taking a bit longer and I still have heaps of projects I want to give a try, I only have to keep on making!

Read forty books in 2016 (8/40)

I’ve already said it a couple of times on this blog, but I’m having a reading slump. I’m not feeling like reading much, I’m not making time for it and so I’m slacking. I’m not too much behind on this challenge, so I’m not worried. The books I’ve read so far are:

  • A Darker Shade of Magic
  • The Stranger
  • We Should All be Feminists
  • De Buitenkant van Meneer Jules
  • Rat Queens vol.2
  • A Wild Swan
  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
  • Illustration Now, vol.4

If you want to see what I’m reading and if you want to find out what I think about the books I’m reading, you should definitely follow me on Goodreads.

Do 120 workouts (11/120)

I’ve started off so well with this challenge. I only need to do 10 workouts a month to reach this goal and I did so well in February, but utterly failed in March. I really need to get my shit together and start working out again.

Two months into my 28 in 28 birthday list and I’ve completed one challenge and I’m mostly on track with the other challenges. I still feel excited about the challenges I picked this year, so I should be able to finish a couple more in the following months.

Blogging, Projects

2016 Blogging Goals – Progress Report I

Today I’m going to talk about the progress I’ve made with my 2016 blogging goals. I know the title of this post sounds very formal, but since I’ve slacked with my blog goals, I thought making it formal would help me feel accountable.

I made a short list of blogging goals at the beginning of the year. I wanted to:

  1. Double my number of unique visitors
  2. Be more consistent in putting blog posts online
  3. Blog three times a week
  4. Design a new lay-out
  5. Try to reach a more international audience
  6. Find ways to be more (inter)active on social media
  7. Start making vlogs

You can find more information about each point on this list in my original blogging goals post.

You’ve probably noticed, but I’m not posting very often. I’m barely reaching two posts a week. It’s not because a lack of ideas or because I didn’t make a planning. In the beginning of March I made a planning for both March and April, with three neatly planned posts a week, but I never seem to get to actually writing those posts. I’m thinking about lowering the number of posts I want to write in a week. I might try to just write two or maybe even only one post a week and make it more consistently. Maybe a post on Wednesday every week and a Last Week post every two weeks on Sunday. Or am I putting too much weight on this and you guys don’t actually care how often I post and on which days, as long as I write a decent post? Let me know!

2016 Blogging Goals - Progress update I

So yeah, consistency and three times a week aren’t going well. Onto a more positive note! I’m working on the redesign of this blog and it’s very much-needed, because I really miss ways to lay-out my posts and make them prettier. Hopefully I’ll be done soon with the design and then I still have to overcome my dread of the coding. It’s funny that I never though a second about coding a website before I learnt basic HTML and CSS in class, while I’m really intimidated by it now.

Another point I’m really working on is the vlog! I actually filmed a lot of material already, but I haven’t got to editing it yet. It’s a learning process and I’d rather make my first stupid mistakes behind the scenes, before putting anything online. One of the stupid things I already did is filming a book haul and only realizing when I ran out of time, and I just managed to finish filming my haul in time before I had to leave, that my camera wasn’t filming. Bummer. 😛 I’m also curious what type of videos you’d like to see on this blog? I’m thinking about doing my book hauls on video (but still publish photos of the books too), maybe do drawing on location videos and sometimes use video for DIY’s (because photos aren’t always clear and I think it would be nice if I could show you on video). What do you think: good idea / bad idea?

That’s it for this first progress report. I definitely can use some kicks under my butt, so feel free to do so. 🙂

Personal

Last Week 24

Every two weeks I post an overview of the last two weeks in pictures. After a slow start the first week, I had a week with quite some good-looking photos. I hope you’ll enjoy this Last Week overview.

Last Week I made myself a monthly to do list for keeping my house clean

I made myself a Keeping Things Clean monthly to do list and I’ve used it religiously ever since I’ve printed it out. I really like this weekly overview of household chores and I love how much this list is helping me to finish them all.  So yes, becoming a real adult! Last Week I posted an update on the Verbeelding Book Challenge Last Week I gave a tour around my desk

I’ve used Instagram a lot for promoting blog posts these last weeks, but I’m trying to make it not too obvious in the photos I use. These linked to my Verbeelding Book Challenge update (a post I think fell trough the cracks of the internet :p) and my Desk Tour blog post.

Last Week I made some sewing projects Last Week I made a pillow case with an exposed zipper

Last Week I dusted off my sewing machine and made a couple of cushion covers. One went really well (see picture above), on the second one I spent way too many hours and then I had to rip out all the stitches because it looked awful. In the end I went from a pillow case with an invisible zipper to one with a very exposed zipper, like the first pillow case I made. Which is also nice.

Last Week I decorated coffee mugs with a porcelain marker

I decorated some coffee mugs this week, which was a project I was planning to do for ages! To be honest, I even had to buy a new mug because I broke one of the mugs I bought originally… After three days I hand washed the mugs in hot water and (#bummer) the marker came straight off the mug with the bubbles. The other one held up OK and I’ll use it to test it in the dish washer, which will probably ruin it. That’s one of the things that happen when DIY-ing and it’s also very frustrating, because I spent quite some money on the porcelain marker and it’s not keeping up it’s part of the bargain.

Last Week I made a most delicious pizza!

I’m normally not one to put a lot of food photos on Instagram, but when our homemade pizza came out of the oven, it looked way too good to not snap some pictures. It tasted even better than it looked! It was our first time making pizza and I think this is a recipe we’ll be trying again.

Last week I gave myself time to draw, draw, draw!

After a week of cleaning, making food, sewing,… the urge to draw, draw, draw became even stronger and I gave myself the permission to draw all day on Saturday. Normally I start to feel guilty after an hour, because I’m not doing anything more useful, but not this time. I painted and coloured until my fingers hurt and I still wanted to go on. Which is an awesome feeling! So next week, I think I’ll give myself at least an hour a day to just draw. ^-^

Read: finished The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (♥♥) and Illustration Now! vol.4 (♥♥♥)
Watched: YouTube, Adventure Time Season 5 (♥♥♥♥♥),

How has your week been?

Projects, Tutorials

How to: painted porcelain mug

Today I’ve got a super quick and easy DIY for you: a how to paint or decorate your own porcelain mugs. I think hand painted mugs are an awesome gift idea, you can basically decorate them to fit anybody’s taste and you know the recipient will use them, because nobody ever has enough mugs. I’ve wanted to try this for a while, so let’s get cracking!

How to: painted porcelain mug

Things you need before starting this project: white porcelain mugs (mina are Värdera from IKEA), a paper towel (for wiping away mistakes) and a porcelain marker. That’s it! Sometimes (it depends on the marker) you’ll need an oven for baking your mugs after decorating them, but my marker said my mugs would be safe after three days of air drying, so no need for an oven. Also make sure to wash the mugs or the dishes you want to paint beforehand. It’s important they’re grease-free.

How to: painted porcelain mugs

If you’re not sure what you want to draw on your mugs, you can always make a couple of quick sketches on paper. I had a bunch of ideas, but I didn’t want to make it too hard for my first try, so I picked some simple designs.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, what about:

  • letting kids draw on them, which will make the mugs look very modern artsy
  • draw a quote from your favourite tv show. Or just put a pattern of all the letters of the alphabet
  • Look up the chemical formulas for coffee or tea and make your inner nerd happy
  • Let Pinterest help you with a search for “painted mugs” or “decorated mugs

How to: painted porcelain mug

I really liked the idea of putting a gradient in the patterns I used. It’s a nice twist to a simple pattern. I started off with the bubbles, which wasn’t a smart move because I still needed to get the hang of drawing on a round object. Start off with your most simple pattern. Also, make sure you don’t touch the mugs too often with your fingers. I noticed the marker didn’t stick very well on places I touched.

Take your time when you’re decorating the mugs. Afterwards let them dry (or put them in the oven, if your marker’s instructions says so) and enjoy the view! I haven’t put them in the dishwasher yet, but I’ll update this post when I have. Fingers crossed for not ruining my mugs. (*update* The mug with the bubbles didn’t keep up at all. I first washed the mugs in hot water and the ceramic marker came off almost immediately. Strange enough the other mug kept up almost perfectly. It has since been in the dishwasher multiple times and still looks the same! I think the difference between the two mugs was that one was only washed by hand (the bubbles) and the other one had also been in the dishwasher before putting the marker on and was thus better de-greased).

That’s it! What would you put on a mug?

How to: painted porcelain mugs How to: painted porcelain mugHow to: painted porcelain mugsHow to: painted porcelain mug

Project costs: Glass marker, €4,5 – IKEA mug, €1,99/mug

Interior, Workspace

Desk Tour

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times already: I have a new desk set-up and I’m really loving it. And although it probably won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, let me give you a little guided tour around both of my desks.

Let’s start of with the desk that holds my computer and other electronics. It’s consists of a shiny new high gloss table top I bought at IKEA, which I combined with an old pair of table legs. It’s very black and white and it’s feels clean & calm, which is nice because I already get distracted easily enough when I’m behind my computer (oh look, a squirrel!).

DeskTour_16 DeskTour_17

On this desk you’ll find my Midori agenda, my Wacom drawing tablet (when it’s not in it’s felt cover), a computer screen, my laptop and a bunch of hard disks. My grandmother’s marble cutting board also resides here, with my Muji clear acrylic box that holds some sewing materials. Whenever I don’t need my second screen because I’m working with analogue materials I disconnect my laptop and put him on the other desk, so I can watch series/YouTube whilst working.

DeskTour_01 DeskTour_09

This is desk number two (aka this is where the magic happens 😉 ). It’s quite a bit messier (although to be honest, the other desk also gets covered in random things), but apparently, that’s how I like it. Above this desk hangs one of my least successful DIY’s: a handmade magnetic blackboard. It’s not nearly magnetic enough (even with the strongest magnets I could find things keep falling off) and it’s so rough you can’t use it as a blackboard. Big bummer, but I don’t have the money to start over again, especially since I’m not sure a second try would be more successful.

DeskTour_02DeskTour_03_text

You can always find a pile of books and magazines on my desk, because I have a hard time letting them out of my sight. 😛 Next to the books and magazines, you’ll probably find my pencil-case and a little (Midori style) notebook. I also got a bunch of work-in-progress projects lying around.

DeskTour_14DeskTour_11 DeskTour_13

I try to keep myself inspired with my messy and all over the place mood board. It’s also the place where I keep track of a couple of challenges I’m doing, like my 28 in 28 list and more recently where I keep track of my cleaning habits. Below the black board I’ve put a couple of handy boxes that contain acrylic paints, markers, post-its and lots of bits and bobs.

DeskTour_04

On top of the boxes you can find my collection of washi tapes. I love keeping them in glass jars, it’s so nice to look at. My two POP figures also reside here.

DeskTour_06DeskTour_07 DeskTour_08

The right side of my desk is where a couple of my plants reside. It’s the perfect place for my orchids and the others also don’t seem to mind sharing a desk with me. I’ve got more plants on the window sill and seeing them bloom always makes me very happy.

DeskTour_10DeskTour_15

Between my two desks there’s just enough place left to put my trolley. Here I keep all my brushes, a couple of markers, all my pastel and watercolour pencils, scissors and jam jars. I’ve also got a tiny collection of porcelain jars with animal figures on the lid. They’re a bit kitschy, but I like them.

So, that’s it for this desk tour. Did you like it?

Books

Verbeelding Bookchallenge 2016 [1]

Just like last year, I’ll be participating in the Verbeelding Bookchallenge. I even made it one of the challenges on the 28 in 28 list: complete the Verbeelding Bookchallenge. I started the year of fairly well: I’ve already ticked off 5 different books!

The 2016 Verbeelding Bookchallenge

First, lets see what’s on the list, shall we? The Verbeelding Bookchallenge is originally in Dutch, but I’ve translated it.

1. A book with more than 600 pages
2. A horror novel
3. A detective
4. A classic
5. A book with humor in it
6. An epistolary novel (a book constructed by letters or e-mails)
7. An author’s debut novel
8. A book around the theme of “family”
9. A book about mental health issue
10. A book centred around death
11. A book about faith/spirituality
12. A book about food
13. A book you don’t want other people to know you’ve read
14. A book written by an author with African roots
15. A book written by an author with Azian roots
16. A book written by an author with Latin-American roots
17. A retelling of a famous fairy tale
18. A book written by an author when he/she was older than 65.
19. A book written by an author who was younger than 25 years when he/she wrote the book
20. A book written by an author with whom you share your first name
21. A book with an LGBT main character
22. A book with a child younger than 12 as main character
23. A book with a non-human as main character
24. A book set in the future
25. A book set in a distant past (the further set in the past the better)
26. A book that jumps between different periodes of time
27. A book set in the closest Flemish city
28. 29. A book from an author you’ve already read in 2015
30. A book given to you by another participant from the Verbeelding Bookchallenge

Verbeelding Bookchallenge - update 1 (January & Fabruary)

Books I’ve read

4. A classic:  The Stranger by Albert Camus
I already started the book back in December, but as I finished it in January, it counts for this year’s bookchallenge. This book wasn’t really up my alley. Although the writing was good and I was mildly curious what would (if anything) happen in this story, I also kept wondering what the point of this book was.

10. A book centred around death: De Buitenkant van Meneer Jules by Diane Broeckhoven
This book is translated as “A Day with Mr. Jules”. It’s the story of Alice, who one day wakes up and find her husband is dead. It’s a quiet book and the way it’s written makes everything feels soft and brittle, which I really liked. That being said I didn’t really connect with the characters, I didn’t feel much of their emotions. That might just be me, as this book is definitely not something I would pick up normally, but I would read it again, just because of the way it’s written

14. A book written by an author with African roots: We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Although it’s very short, I really liked We Should All be Feminists. I was nodding the whole time I was reading this and making notes with my own examples in the margins. I did keep wondering if white people read this book, they’ll maybe think the examples are specific Nigerian problems. I can imagine people making that excuse when confronted with the content of this book.

17. A retelling of a famous fairy tale: A Wild Swan by Michael Cunningham
A Wild Swan is a bundle of short story retellings of fairy tales. There are a couple of well known fairy tales (Beauty and the Beast, Snowwhite, Rumpelstiltskin,..) in this bundle and a couple of lesser known tales, but they’re all retold with some serious dark twists. Cunningham writes in a very distinctive style, which works perfectly for creating dark and ominous settings. The cruelty and optimism in these stories made me think of the Grimm brother stories I read as a child, which I rather appreciated.

29. A book from an author you’ve already read in 2015: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
After reading Vicious last year I really wanted to read another one of  V.E. Schwab’s books. I really had fun whilst reading this book. Schwab has written a couple of outstanding kick ass characters in this book. Kell makes me swoon a bit and I absolutely adored Lila, because she’s a cutthroat and a thief and a woman that knows how the stand her ground. I almost gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads, but the too clean ending bugged me a bit. I don’t know how the second book’s story arc can take off from this closed off arc. I guess V.E. Schwab shall have to surprise me…

And that’s it for the Verbeelding Bookchallenge up to know. I really started off the year with a bang, reading wise, but then I got into a serious reading dip. I’m currently reading All the Light We Cannot See (the reason of the reading dip), I started The Name of the Wind and The Tiger and The Wolf and I even got copies of Chew vol.3 and Saga vol.5 that need reading, but I just can’t be bothered. Sad. I hope I can start reading again at top speed soon!

Are you participating in any reading challenges this year? How are things going? 

Freebies

Keeping things clean monthly to do list (+ printable)

I don’t know about you, but I think I can already smell spring in the air! We’ve had a couple of sunny days in the past week (and a couple with non-stop rain pouring down) and it starts to feel like spring. Which makes me feel all energized and itching to do some spring cleaning. What’s better than a good spring cleaning? Making a to do list with all the things that need cleaning of course!

Ok, I’ll tone down my enthusiasm about spring cleaning a bit, before people start thinking I’m possessed by Mari Kondo or something. I’m not that of a enthusiastic cleaner to be honest and some tasks almost never get done in this house (*kof* the windows *kof*). I made myself a neat little to do list so I can better keep track of all the things that need to be done on a weekly and monthly basis.

Keeping things clean with this monthly to do listKeeping things clean with this monthly to do list

I kept it nice and simple, though I contemplated writing down all the different chores, so the printed basis would be the same every month. I even researched what people deemed normal to do on a weekly and monthly basis, but those people on the house cleaning fora scare me know. Who has time to wash out their kitchen cabinets every week? And who’s bottom is that dirty their toilets need daily cleaning? Really people, too much cleaning isn’t healthy. Go eat some dirt! (please don’t, but you get my drift)

Keeping things clean with this monthly to do list

If you’re also in need of keeping your cleaning habits on track (or if you just like lists and ticking off tasks), I’ve made the to do list into a printable. Just click the image above to download the pdf. And tell me, what is the one cleaning thing you never get to?