Thursday, 24 April 2014

Getting my Art Journal On...


I feel very lucky to have a job where I get to be creative every day, it's amazing. The only trouble is that because designing is my job, I feel like I have lost my hobby. Making things has always been my way of relaxing and staying inspired, but when everything I make is work related I start to feel a bit zapped of motivation. I think it's really important to keep creating just for fun, because often that's when the most valuable skill practice comes in - when the pressure is off. 

To give myself the excuse to make things just for me, I've started Rachel Denbow's 52 Weeks of Art Journalling on A Beautiful Mess. I had a feeling I was going to love it; I've read one of their e-courses before (dream-job) and it continues to be a great source of inspiration for me. I've completed the first week and I have to say the course is exactly what I wanted it to be. There's something I find really satisfying about making pages within a style or prompt that someone else has set for you - it cuts out that "what shall I make?" feeling (which I get enough of in my day job!). 

Sometimes it's nice to do something "just because"; and that's exactly what I'll be doing more of from now on. 

Is anyone else out there doing this course? What do you think of it? 

x Rachel 

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Happy List



Easing myself back into blogging with my favourite series! I've been hiding for a while... This year my freelance work has exploded a little bit - quite unexpectedly - so finding time to blog is proving a challenge. I'm sure I'll get back into the swing of it though - just getting used to my ever changing schedule. I'm not complaining, it's quite a nice problem to have! I just want to make sure I keep this little pocket of internet alive and well. 

Hello again :) 

x Rachel 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

DIY Chunky Bead Necklace


I'm not really sure if this even counts as a DIY post - it's so easy! It's more of a show and tell. A necklace like this is a 15 minute make, all you need is some bright chunky beads, a length of chain and some fastenings. Just thread the beads on to the chain and use pliers to fix a large jump ring on one end of the chain, and a fastening on the other. 

I found these beads in Leeds (that's a fun poem) in the most amazing bead shop introduced to me by the lovely Kate. They were only 60p each! I already had the chain and fastenings, but they are easily picked up cheap from craft shops. So all together this necklace probably cost about £2.50, plus 15mins of labour - not bad at all. 


I've got jewellery making fever at the moment! I have an agate slice that is just calling out for a DIY - so keep an eye out for that soon. 

Happy Sunday :)

x Rachel 

Friday, 7 March 2014

A Habit for March: Time Blocking

My next habit in the I Think I Can series is a very much needed shift in time management skills. I had this habit planned for February, but ironically I couldn't find the time to think about it! But I quite like that, as it shows how much I really need to learn this one. 

you can buy this beautiful print here.

Blocking time is something I have been trying to master for a long time. I'm better than I used to be, but it seems that I'm only good at it when I don't actually have that much work on. As my schedule gets fuller, my time management skills go out of the window! What I would love is to be able to use the same good habits of time management, both when I'm really busy and when I'm less busy. 

The main aim of time blocking is to train your brain to focus on one thing at a time in short bursts of activity. I'm definitely guilty of trying to do everything at once and ending up achieving not very much... So time blocking is a great way to plan out the day and get more done by trying to do less. 

Here are a few time blocking tips that I'm going to try and put into practice this month:



1// Dedicate 10-20mins at the start of the day to plan. 

Consult to-do lists and be realistic about how long things are going to take and how many things you can get done. Create blocks in the day for each task/project and only work on that thing while you are in that block. 

2// Keep the blocks short and schedule lots of mini breaks.

Working solidly for 25mins at a time and then taking a 5 minute break is way more productive than procrastinating for an hour. This is called the Pomodoro Technique, you can read more about it here (there's also a cheesy but cute video). 

3// Use apps to help. 

I've just downloaded Countdone, which is a timer app that keeps you focused on your task and then tells you when to take a break. I'm using it right now for the first time! So we shall see how that goes... 

4// Find a calendar/diary that works for you. 

I have just switched over from iCal to google calendar as I prefer the interface and the syncing capabilities. But good old pen and paper is a pretty good way to visually block out the day ahead! 

5// Allow yourself the satisfaction of finishing something. 

Brendon Bruchard talks about this in an interview with Marie Forleo (a current fav of mine!) and it makes so much sense! Our internal drive for control naturally wants to see things through from beginning to end, so when we flit from task to task we are denying ourselves that satisfaction. 

So there is my habit for March! Do any of you have any time blocking tips? 

x Rachel 


Monday, 3 March 2014

DIY Painted Leather Phone Case


I got this white leatherette case free with my new phone (jammy!) and although I do love the little tortoise in the corner, it was a bit boring. I decided to try and jazz it up a bit with some acrylic paint, and I love how it came out! 

You will need: white faux leather phone case (it may work on real leather too), acrylic paint, masking tape. 

1// Tape out a pattern on the case with the masking tape. I chose a simple colour blocking pattern as sometimes I think bold is best. 

2// Start painting in the blocks. I only did one coat on mine (I'm lazy), but a couple of coats might give a more even finish. I personally like that hazy painty style. Make sure you pull the masking tape off while the paint is still wet as this will make the lines look cleaner. 

3// Cover the whole case in paint and wait for it to dry. I haven't put a protective coat on mine and it seems to be holding up well! But if you wanted to protect the pattern some PVA glue should do the trick. 


Happy March everyone! I'm going to be back in the blogging game this month now that I have settled into my work schedule a bit. I've missed this little bit of internet :) 

x Rachel 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Where Have I Been?!


I think this is the longest break I've had in this little blog's history! Hello again :) 

Work work work is the reason for my time away. 2014 so far has been incredibly busy in very exciting ways. Here's a little update: 

>>> I designed some costumes for SUN by National Art Service - a show about the end of the world, which is still running at Shoreditch Church until the end of next week. 

>>> I spent a week in Leeds building a giant ball of hair with artist Selina Thompson and a beautiful team! This was so much fun and such a gorgeous performance by Selina. Any of you northerners may have seen this on the news, we were on Look North the other day. 

>>> I'm now prop sourcing for another show that is going to Salzburg in July. The set will include a 1940s New York subway train - so the shopping is pretty fun! 

So I just thought I'd pop in to say I'm still here - just a bit swamped. I'm looking forward to my next day off so I can give poor bloggy a bit of attention. 

x Rachel 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Try It Tuesday: Geometric Candles


#TryItTuesday is back! This one has been in the drafts box for ages, and it's one of my favourites so I'm really excited to share it now. These geometric candles are a stroke of genius from Kris Degraeve and the tutorial can be found here on How Did You Make This? The method is based around making your own candle moulds from card stock. 



I absolutely loved following this tutorial! It's not as tricky as it looks, but it is quite time consuming. My main tip is to use good thick card and make sure you seal all tiny holes with PVA glue, otherwise it can get very messy. If all else fails, put a lot of newspaper down and just keep trying; the results are so worth it. Be sure to check out the brilliant original tutorial

There were also two other great Try It Tuesday posts today: 

>>>Emily from Trends With Benefits made some gorgeous little hair pins.

>>>Leanne from Knit me a Cake made a lovely felt phone case inspired by my tutorial :) 

x Rachel 

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