Twelve? Or Twenty-One?

I have a list in my notebook (obviously) of blog prompts that I’ve collected in case I ever run out of ideas.  One of those prompts is “12 things I want to do in the next 12 months.”  I thought that would be a nice blog to write at the turn of the year.  So over the last couple of weeks I’ve been compiling a list.

I had about 8 items on my list when a thought occurred to me.  The items I’d gathered were all things like the ones on my 20 Before 20 list.  Projects that I wanted to finish and things that I’d been putting off.  But should they be experiences instead?  Going for a picnic with my boyfriend?  Visiting a city I’ve never been to?

And what about the yearly challenges I set myself?  And my art resolutions?  Are they all seperate things, or should they be included?  Because I am me, I overthought this a lot.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that I would combine them all into a 21 Before 21 list.  And so here it is.

21 Things to Do Before 2021.

1) Start selling my art.  I’m planning on making prints of my work available on my Etsy store sometime soon, and perhaps stickers too.

2) Learn goauche and acrylic.  This process has already begun, as you’ll see in a week or so.

3) Hit 100 etsy sales.

4) Sell at a proper craft fair.  I’ve only really done school fairs so far.

5) Walk.  I really need to start being more active.  I am an incredibly sedentary person.

6) Be able to get the train to Tom.   This is related to the previous item, and also to my almost-crippling fear of the public.  Tom (my boyfriend) lives in the next town over, and it’s a reasonably easy process to get the train there.  Except that I currently find myself incapable of doing it.  I’ve had to rely on my mother for lifts – which is kinda pathetic for a 37 year old.

7) Get a gazebo and a trolley.  I’ve been doing more summer fairs than I have done in the past, and it can be almost unbearable to sit in the sun for 3-5 hours when you don’t like the sun.  It’s also disheartening to lose stock when the British weather decides to rain on the fair.  And at the moment I can pack everything I need into my wheelie suitcase and my backpack, but if I add a gazebo then I’m going to have trouble carrying things.

8) Finish 20 before 20.  There are still more than half the items on my 20 Before 20 list that need completing.  I could pad out this list with them, but I’m gonna stick them all as one item.  Some of them kind of overlap with others anyway.

9) Go on a picnic with Tom.

10) Visit a city I’ve never been to before.

11) Complete at least 20 other craft projects.  Since I’ve been doing art I’ve been neglecting my other craft hobbies quite a bit.

12) 20 “full” art pieces.  By this I mean pieces with actual scenic backgrounds and not just patterns.

13) 50 completely digital pieces.  Not necessarily with scenic backgrounds, or even fully coloured, but things that are started and finished digitally.

14) Bake more.  I made some gingerbread just before Christmas, and I made my usual sausage & cheese muffins on Christmas Day.  I do enjoy baking, I just don’t really do it often enough.

15) Join some blog parties.  I’d like to build up my readership, so I think joining in some things like blog parties would be pretty awesome.

16) More collaborations.  I’m enjoying doing line art swaps, and there are other collaboration ideas I have too.  Maybe a craft collab as well as art ones.

17) Finish all learning projects in my notebook.  I have a blog post about my learning process coming soon.

18) Finish more projects than I start. 

19) Take a photo of myself every day.  I did this a few years ago, but I’m going to do it with one of those apps that helps me line up my face to the same position.

20) Watch at least 100 of the films on my Films To Watch list.  There’s currently about 200 on there, with more being added every week.

21) Finish a colouring book.  This is something I’ve tried to do before.  I think I might start a new book in 2020 though, rather than finished one that I’ve already started.  Maybe.

2 For 20 Before 20

What’s this?  A blog post with no pictures?  What on earth has happened to me?  There are no pictures because they aren’t really any needed.

I completed a couple of items on my 20 Before 20 list.  The first one is the first one: get blog up to date and a bit ahead.  I currently have all time-sensitive posts written and scheduled, if not already posted.  And I have about 15 other posts written and ready to go.

The second one is the 16th one: start sewing again.

When my Mum downsized her home earlier this year I acquired a bunch of her furniture.  To fit that stuff into my little flat I had to reorganise, and practically pack up everything that I own.  Some stuff got put in different cupboards, boxes were everywhere, and it has taken me months and months to sort things out.  There is still a lot that hasn’t been sorted yet.  So when I decided to make myself a new skirt for Christmas last week I wasn’t entirely sure where all the things I needed were.

I suspected they were in one of the couple of boxes on a table in my living room, where my sewing machine was.  I moved some stuff so that I could get to them, and I looked through them.  But I couldn’t find the paraphernalia that I needed.

The only other place they could have been were in one of the many boxes in my shed.  There are lots of boxes in there, and most of them contain stuff that I intend to donate to charity.  I got a friend to help me work out which boxes were things I wanted to keep, and to move those into my living room.

I sorted those out, and put lots of things away.  But I didn’t find the sewing machine paraphernalia.  I gave up on the idea of a new skirt, and settled on just repairing one that had some issues.  So I got out my sewing machine, and a box of stuff that held the power cable and pedal.

Guess what I found in that box.  Yep, the sewing machine paraphernalia I was looking for in the first place.  I don’t know how I missed them the first time.

At this point it was too late to make a new skirt – I had a party to attend in a couple of hours.  So I repaired the skirt anyway – the hem needed lifting, the waist needed tightening and rehemming.  I listened to some Christmas music, I sewed, and I wore my skirt to the party.

I think that probably counts.  I’m sewing again.  So two more items completed.  I don’t think I’m going to complete all 20, but having the list has helped.


Art Resolutions

During last year’s Arty Advent series I made some art resolutions.  I actually did pretty well at keeping them.

The first one was to have less drawings floating in the middle of white nothingness.  I still need to work on backgrounds, but I do tend to do more now.  I do a little hint of floor, or a shape in the background.

Sometimes I do a pattern in the background.

Sometimes I do a simple-ish border.

Sometimes I do a hint of something that fits the theme of the piece.

Sometimes I’ll cut out the drawing and stick it on a piece of patterned paper, or use some washi tape.

And occasionally – but not often enough – I’ll do a full background.

I even did a completely over-the-top detailed piece for Halloween.

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My second art resolution was to practice digital drawing.  At the start of the year I got myself a Lenovo Yoga laptop that has a touch screen I can fold back – and I started drawing on that.  I did some pieces I was really pleased with.

And I did lots of pieces I wasn’t at all happy with – which I will not be showing you :-p  Near the end of the year I got a cheap tablet and have been having lots of fun working with that, making a lot of improvement.  I’ll be writing a blog post about that later.

My third resolution was to finish some of the million half-started pieces.  I do still have a bunch of pieces to finish, but I definitely don’t have the 50+ I had when I wrote that post.  I’ve finished some of them, but I’ve also culled a lot of them.  When I sketch, I have a tendency to decide it needs to be a completed sketched, inked and coloured piece.  So things pile up.  I’m trying to teach myself that just sketching is okay.

The fourth resolution was to have a go at using different mediums.  I’ve been bitten with the watercolour bug this year, and find myself reaching for them quite often.

And thanks to Scrawlr Box I’ve had a chance to try lots of new mediums including oil paints (which you can read about here), gouache (which you’ll be able to read about in a few weeks), watercolor brush pens (which you can read about here), and Chameleon colour-changing fineliners (which you can read about here).

My last art resolution was to try to do some collaborations.  In October I did a line art swap with Nina, and then in December we did another one.

So do I have some art resolutions for 2020?  Sort of.  I have lots of plans, and lots of ideas, but you’ll be able to read about them all in a couple of days.

What about you?  Did you have any art resolutions this year?  How did you do?

More Snowflakes

One of the projects I had planned for the 12 Days of Christmas series that never happened, was to make some snowflakes with my 3D pen.  The tradition it represented was the paper snowflakes I make every year and that I wrote about recently.

I collected a lot of snowflake images from the interwebs, and printed about 60 of them in various sizes.  Then I got out that very large spool of conveniently white filament that I bought.

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After a quick test to make sure the filament would come off the paper once set, I completed my first one.  I love how the melted filament looks like icing.

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I did a few more, including this one which was so delicate that peeling the paper off was terrifying.

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After I’d done a few I set to work trimming off the many many many strings from where I’d stopped extruding the filament at the end of lines.

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This was not as easy as I thought it was going to be.  And after an hour of work I decided I’d give up.  Making the snowflakes is much more fun that trying to clip off tiny strings without breaking the snowflakes.  So I had a batch of slightly hairy snowflakes.  But they’re still very pretty.

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I decided I was going to have another try, attempting to not stop and start.  I did pretty well with the first one, and the only string left at the end was easy to cut off.

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I went to add a loop, so I could hang it on my Christmas tree, and realised that drawing one with the pen would probably look better.  So I did another one of these cute little ones.  I forgot the loop.  I remembered it on the third try though.

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For the second two, I pressed the string down with my finger as soon as I stopped extruding and that helped minimise the strings.  So I figured I could try that with a more complicated one – stopping at the end of each line to make it neater, and pressing down the string before it solidifies.  It kinda worked.

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But it was a lot easier to just do a continuous stream of filament.  So I did some more.

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And then some more.  They’re kinda addictive.

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I didn’t use all 60 templates, but I think I made enough.  And they’re so pretty!  I do love snowflakes.

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Merry Christmas!

I used the December Colours of the Month

… to draw this adorable little Rudolph.  And then I turned it into a digital card to wish all of my friends a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah and whatever else you celebrate.

I appreciate and love all of you.  Happy Holidays!


Christmas Scratch Art

One of the things I showed you in my craft haul post was this neat little Christmas scratch art set.

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It was nothing fancy, but then I didn’t expect anything more for just £2.

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And it did come with things to punch out.  I always love that.

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I had a bit of fun fiddling around with the stencil and general doodling.

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And then, of course, I did monsters.

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As I said, it was nothing fancy.  But it kept me busy for half an hour.  And it was a nice bit of nostalgia.  We used to do these little kits all the time as children.  I don’t recall them making quite so much mess though.

Die Cutting Experiments

I have collected a few new bits and pieces for my adorable little die cutting machine.  You might have seen some of the them in my craft haul post, but I’ve got some more since then.

I got a nice spotty embossing folder, but unfortunately it’s too wide for my little dinky machine.

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I did know this before I bought it, but I’d read online that you could cut them to size.  So I got just the one folder to test this theory out.

I laid one of the plates over the top as a template.  Originally I was just gonna do one cut, but that would change the little hump of no dots in the centre of the pattern.  It would also leave me with one hinge.  So I moved the plate to the centre and settled on two cuts.

I put little marks to indicate the desired width, and got out a metal ruler and a craft knife.  It took a few cuts, but it wasn’t too difficult.

And it embosses just fine.  See.

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So I bought some more.

I cut these ones down too.  I discovered that after scoring with the craft knife it was relatively easy to cut with strong scissors.

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I’ve also amassed a couple of die sets.

I have a few more sets on the way too.  Including some Christmassy themed ones, which unfortunately didn’t arrive before I had to make my Christmas cards.  But I did pretty well nonetheless.

I’ve also learned that you need to be really careful when ordering cutting dies, because people also sell die cuts.  Luckily this mistake only cost me £1.80.

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How do you adhere these fiddly things?  If I was cutting them myself, I’d put double sided tape on the back of the card before I cut (another tip from the internet), but this was madness.  I made a total mess with a glue stick with the first one.  For the others, after a bit of research, I used a toothpick and some PVA glue.

More die cutting experiments to come!