Tag Archives: creativity

Draw Your Vegetables

This week’s Sketch Tuesday assignment was to sketch a vegetable. Oops, I sketched a selection:

vegetables - v

Rafe got all arty-farty and sketched his on some black paper. It looks pretty effective, I think:

vegetables - r

I feel I should apologise for my lack of blogging updates this month. My creative mojo is taking an extended winter break but I can feel the stirrings of it returning so hopefully there will be sewing and whatnot to show you soon :-). I have learned not to panic about these things and understand the ebbs and flows of the creative life. Whilst I haven’t been sewing or creating much, I have been reading a lot, as well as having lots of lovely fun times with friends and family, and both things are important to me.

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Bad Art, Buddha and the Gifts of Imperfection

I am sure you will agree that there is a lot of amazing art to be found online. There are talented drawers, painters, mixed media artists, textile artists, sculptors…and it’s easy to get into the mindset of “who do I think I am, sharing my feeble attempts at art when there is so much quality work out there?” I know I feel like this at times. I recently came across Brene Brown’s work, and in particular her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” and I feel much better about making art, and about sharing it. In her chapter on creativity, she talks about the importance of letting go of comparison in relation to our creativity. As she says this is “not a to-do list item. For most of us, it’s something that requires constant awareness. It’s easy to take our eyes off our path to check out what others are doing and if they’re ahead or behind us”. I am trying to cultivate this awareness. I am trying to approach looking at others’ work in a spirit of interest and appreciation rather than with a feeling of “I’d never be able to do something as great as that”. And to realise that it’s ok to share my work, however imperfect, in the hope that others will share theirs, however imperfect, and that we can all understand that our creativity cannot be compared.

In this spirit, I share with you my second attempt at a watercolour-only piece which is this little painting of a Buddha head statue that I did. It’s far from perfect, but I enjoyed painting it 🙂


Some might say it is “bad art” but so what! Listening to Grayson Perry’s recent Reith Lectures, I found myself nodding in agreement with his answer to an audience member’s question as to whether it is important to be a good artist or can you be a bad artist:

It’s important to make art because the people that get the most out of art are the ones that make it. It’s not … You know there’s this idea that you go to a wonderful art gallery and it’s good for you and it makes you a better person and it informs your soul, but actually the person who’s getting the most out of any artistic activity is the person who makes it because they’re sort of expressing themselves and enjoying it, and they’re in the zone and you know it’s a nice thing to do. So I don’t think it’s important to be a good artist, no, unless you really want to be one and it can be very painful if you aren’t.

So express yourself, enjoy yourself and don’t worry if it is “good” or “bad” 😉

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A good way to find time for my own creative pursuits is to rope the boys into joining in with them!

It’s been ages since we spent some time drawing together but today we did and I think we all feel better for it, despite the theme being to draw something blue 🙂

Gman drew some pliers:

blue - g

Waif went with the trusty old Ranger radio:

blue -r

And I drew this lovely blue bottle of “Revive” mixture made up by my friend Claire:

something blue

It is the colour of a poison bottle, but that makes it more appealing to me – not sure what that says about my mind!!

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Out of School?

Yep. And proud of it 🙂

do you know a child russel square

Home educating has been feeling pretty full-on just lately. Not a bad thing, but it does seem to have impacted somewhat on making time for my own creative projects – hence the lack of blogging I guess! Perhaps I need to be stricter about carving out time for myself? Or perhaps I should just accept this as being part of the ebb and flow of the home educating life, and trust that there *will* be time for purely selfish creativity to arise. I dunno.

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A Spring Burst of Creativity

I reckon spring must finally be here. Not because of any great change in the weather, but because the boys have had a sudden burst of creativity. Gman has been designing his own board game, which I am pleased to report uses a hexagonal patterned board ;-). I am sure he will be writing about it soon on his blog. Waif has been drawing more of his intricate little maps:


Waif has also written his first poem in a very long time. I am impressed with its rhythm and layout, but wonder if the subject matter reflects too much science fiction?!

Oh it's like

Does spring inspire new bursts of creativity in you or your children?

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30 Days of Get Your Art On

30 Days of Get Your Ar On

Today is the last day of Daisy Yellow’s Daily Paper Prompts…so I’m looking for a new challenge. I have decided to join in with Traci Bunker’s 30 Days of Get Your Art On Challenge. The challenge is to make art every day, the rules are up to you.

Here are my rules. I challenge myself to:

  • make art every day
  • spend a minimum of 15 minutes on art (preferably longer)
  • post about the art I make

The art I make can take any form eg doodling, art journalling, drawing, sewing, quilting. Anything creative, whether it’s with paint & paper, or fabric & thread. It doesn’t matter what I do, and I don’t need to finish what I work on the same day – the point is to just do something. Watch this space to see what it is 🙂

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Quiet Please! Introvert at Work

DPP #57 One Word Journal

I would rather go to the library than to a nightclub.
I would rather stroll through the woods than the city.
I like books better than movies.
I like home cooking better than meals out.
I prefer emails to phone calls (and letters are even better).
I work better alone than as part of a team (though I may not put this on my resume).
I value my friends and family but I need plenty of time to myself too.
My idea of hell on earth would probably look a little like Disneyland.

My name is Viv and I am an introvert.

When I read Daily Prompt #57 One Word Journal Page I knew straight away what my word would be. I am reading Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” and it is both a revelation and a comfort. It seems that there is evidence supporting what I have always thought – open plan offices are an abomination, team brainstorming doesn’t work, not all good leaders are extroverts and most creative ideas happen in solitude :-). I’m not sure the cult of the extrovert is at quite the same level in this country as it is in the United States, where Susan Cain is based (there is still some room for the traditional British reserve), but I think we are increasingly headed that way, and I’m not sure that is a good thing. So this “quiet” page is my ode to introverts. There are plenty of us about and we have lots to contribute. Just don’t shout about it!

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Creativity, Inspiration and Castle Walls

So, a little time away from blogging and away from the computer has had me thinking – about creativity, inspiration and about the fear of missing out.

I am way too prone to obsessively reading blogs, subscribing to feeds, checking websites – all in the name of “looking for inspiration”. Is it inspiration I am looking for, though, really? Or is it fear that I am missing something? Missing an amazing new technique, the perfect quilt pattern, a review of a book that will revolutionise my art, my outlook, my life?

In reality, even if I lived for a hundred years and quilted 10 hours a day, I could never make all those quilts I have looked at and thought “I’d like to make that”.

If I lived for a hundred years and read for 10 hours a day, I could never hope to get through all the books I would like to read “one day”.

If I spent 10 hours a day surfing the net for the rest of my life, I might still miss out on hearing about some inspirational project or technique that I would doubtless love to try. And I would never have time to try any of them.

I was reading Andria’s blog and she wrote about some instructions for an online course that advised her to turn off the computer, close the magazines and look to her own life for drawing inspiration. Isn’t that just the best advice? Sometimes because we are frantically looking to find those inspirational pictures, posts and tutorials, we miss the beauty of what’s right under our noses. Like, oh I don’t know, the patterns of bricks on some castle walls:

castle wall outsidecastle wall inside

I am not saying that we can’t find inspiration for art or indeed for life from reading others’ blogs, looking at pictures of other people’s work, or perusing magazines. But it needn’t be the only way to get inspired. Sometimes we find the inspiration we need by just taking a break, stopping to notice the beauty in the everyday things that surround us.

So, although like many, I struggle with the Fear of Missing Out (check out Zen Habits great post on this) I am going to make an effort to rein in my impulse to click, click, click around the internet and instead devote my time online to keeping up with those bloggers with whom I have made a genuine connection; and limiting my inspiration-trawling to a few trusted sites that I know and love. No doubt, I will miss out on the occasional amazing quilt, technique or insight, but I will have freed up headspace for nurturing my own creativity and inspiration. It’s got to be worth the risk.

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Homeschool Book Awards

We were very excited to find out about the National Homeschool Book Awards, via Julie of Homeschooling Ideas. Basically, there are four books nominated each year described as being “designed to recognize and celebrate current juvenile fiction that explores learning experiences occurring outside the traditional classroom setting and that resonates with homeschool readers” – you read them in your homeschool and vote on your favourite. The website provides book club ideas for reading along too.

We had just finished reading the rather excellent book Skellig and were ready to get started on the prequel My Name is Mina so were very excited that this was one included on the list. Today we started reading it and then the boys got stuck in making their own version of the front cover of the book. Here is Waif’s:

my name is rafe

And Gman’s:

my name is george

I think this book will be a springboard to plenty of creative and inspiring activities for the boys, with opportunity to learn about all sorts of different topics. I’m really looking forward to reading more and, I hope, so are the boys 😉

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A Burst of Creative Alchemy

Earlier this week I found myself in the very unusual position of having the house to myself for a few hours. Being a dutiful wife, I knuckled down to catch up with the household chores. Ha ha, just kidding!! Instead, I armed myself with cloth, tissue paper and glue and set to work creating some “paper cloth” – a process described in Stitch Alchemy.

I started with a piece of plain fabric (this is Osnaburg I think – couldn’t lay my hands on any muslin), brushed a mixture of diluted PVA glue all over it then began tearing bits of coloured tissue paper, dip-dyed paper towels and a page from an old annual and sticking those down. Here’s the cloth after the first round of tissue paper:

1st stage paper cloth

I fully intended to take photos of all the stages like a *proper* blogger, but erm, got a bit carried away. In any case, by the time I had stuck the first round down my fingers were covered in glue and paint, which I didn’t think my DH would appreciate me spreading over his camera buttons ;-). So here it is all covered and ready to dry out:

paper cloth

This burst of creative activity is partly prompted by Hanna’s announcement that she will be hosting another DIY Postcard Swap this year. This involves making 10 postcards and sending them off to 10 other participants, and receiving postcards in return. I loved doing this last year, and made some lovely new blog friends in the process. I wasn’t sure I would have time to do it this year, but if I can shape this paper cloth into something decent to use for backgrounds then I probably will. In any case, I recommend checking out Hanna’s blog for a lovely dose of inspiring creativity. You could also look at the Flickr group to see some of the amazing art that was swapped. Last year I made a selection of cards using different techniques:

Three using transfer dyed Vilene, embellished felt and hand embroidery:

postcard 3postcard 2postcard 2

Three using painted Vilene with machine stitching and an inspiring quotation:

postcard 6postcard 5
postcard 4

One with free pieced patchwork and hand stitching:

create play

And my personal favourites inspired by the Zen proverb “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself“:

sit quietly 1sit quietly 2sit quietly 3

The swap is a fabulous way to try out some new ideas on a small scale, as well as a way of ensuring you get something other than bills in the mail. Lovely 🙂

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