Friday, 28 February 2014

Take Flight

February Fluttering was about allowing your mind to wander, to browse the pretties and follow that imaginary colourful butterfly, wherever it might lead you. I hope you enjoyed it. I discovered that when I do that, I practice trusting my instinctive choice and intuition. It gives me confidence in my own creative ability and choices.

When you push that controlling perfectionist mind aside for a bit and just go with the flow, or flutter with the butterfly, you're able to hear that quiet inner voice again - the one that tells you what you like and what you want.

And wallah! That's it! Your own personal style and taste - that bit of magic that adds your personal flavour to whatever you create, whether you're decorating a room, or painting a masterpiece, or making a card. When you're out of fluttering practice, things become stale, stuck. Your creative tanks begin to run dry. You lose that lovely creative flow.

So remember to allow yourself that little luxury. It is important. Play amongst the pretties. Delve into doodles. Create with colour.

Then, you can let your imagination take flight!

Were you inspired to create this month? Or just to escape your daily to-do list? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Create Instinctively - Stitched Postcard Swap

I did it! First there was nothing and then there was something! Magic! Creation!
My postcard for the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap was a bit of scheduled mindless Fluttering.

1. TIME: I allowed myself to take some time for creative fun - I have an hour before fetching the girls! Quick! It's now or never! (And I said I would, so now I have to!)

2. MATERIALS: I grabbed a box of old koki pens and pencil crayons out of my kids' drawers, some pretty paper, scissors, glue and just got started! Paint? Can't find the paint, no time - just start!

3. PLANNING: I had no plan! No time for planning! I knew I wanted some paint brushes in a cup and the word create. Make it up as you go along! Cut. Paste. Draw. Patterns, Doodles... yes, more of that, less of that... ooh I could do halos... Flutter from one colour to the next, make random, instinctive choices. Pink? No, pink is blunt grab something else. Oooh I need gold! A bit too much gold? Oh well, more colour, more pattern. Ah, look at this lettering I found in a the drawer. Nice. I like it! Done.

4. STITCHING: Ok, I hauled out the sewing machine later. And it happened to be threaded with red thread (honestly!). Yay! Perfect! The thought was to stitch over the glued paper pieces to make sure they stay attached. Oops, I went skew. Irregular, handmade, not perfect,  a bit like me!

5. THE END: The best part of this exercise was that I had no idea what the final product would look like before it was finished. I had to push away Control Freak Martha and allow my hands and mind to flutter, grabbing pencils randomly - quickly recording marks that at that instant just felt right. The point of this kind of creating is that it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be enjoyable and that feeling of enjoyment will appear in the product!

And the result was a total surprise to me! Happy Creation! From nothing to something. I can't wait to post it!

When last did you just instinctively create something? Like a child, playfully drawing and colouring, just because it's fun. I think you'll surprise yourself at what will come of your Creative Flutter. You don't need much, just grab some stuff and start! Make a card, or postcard for someone you just feel you want to touch base with. Make a little picture for your kitchen, your bathroom, your office wall. Something small and simple - no pressure - and see what comes out of you...

Tell me about your creations in the comments below, or send me some. 

Most importantly, 
just create...

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Paper Flutter

I was recently told about a little paper shop, so yesterday I decided it was time to escape everything I had to do and track it down. So I left the washing, I left the admin, I left the blog which I had no idea what to write about and I stole some time for myself. Some time for my mind to wander.

And I was not disappointed. It's a beautiful little shop, (Papierwerk), with big sheets of colourful patterns and paper boxes and cards and writing paper (haven't seen writing paper in ages) and notebooks and washi tape... I spent ages just fluttering from one thing to the next, touching and letting my mind wander to all those creative things I COULD do with all these enticing pretties. Eventually I felt I had to buy something. I bought paper and it's so beautiful, that I think might simply frame it.

Anyway, a paper shop is a wonderful place to release your creative mind and see where it goes. The eye LOVES repetitive patterns. It's soothing for the mind. And the succulent colour combinations you can create surrounded by colourful paper can release zillions of creative ideas bottled inside of you. Your instinctive choices of what you are naturally drawn to, can help you rediscover your personal identity.

We're so digital these days, that it's refreshing to touch and hold beauty in our hands. On the Surface Pattern Design Course I did, one of the exercises was to print, cut out and physically arrange the motifs you'd designed. Being physically involved with a digital idea and holding the paper in your hands makes such a refreshing difference. Buy some paper, cut it out, arrange it, fold it, touch it.

I recommend a paper store for your February flutter, especially if you're feeling stuck and in the need for more creative flow.

At the same time (these things do happen to me) I got an email about Paper Courses on Paper Love (if you love paper it's worth wandering over to) and my current favourite idea: The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swop. This is an international creative link. Everyone taking part makes a handmade postcard, with some stitching on it. You register and then get an address to send it to. Someone in the world also sends you one in return. I find the idea of sending out a physical piece of my creativity to another creative person somewhere in the world, very exciting. If you'd like to take part too, have a look at the site, but I think the deadline is TUESDAY 24 February 2014, so do so quick! It's a wonderful way just to have some creative fun!

Let your mind wander, flutter away and create something.

I'd love to hear about your paper loves in the comments below...

Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine Milkshakes

You thought I was joking! It's dark, cold and grey here. Perfect weather for hot chocolate and coffee and dark moody images, which seem to be filling the Pinterest food pages. I'm a coffee and chocolate addict. (Some people smoke, I drink coffee.)  Strawberry milkshakes are not really... my thing. But when these silly distracting thoughts keep popping into your head, sometimes you just have to follow them and see where they go.

Milkshakes make a day fun! Whenever my children do well or if they get hurt, my mom sends instructions: "Take them out for a milkshake!" And off we go.

So on my youngest daughter's birthday, I made gourmet strawberry milkshakes for the girls and myself, with real frozen berries, ice-cream, milk AND a dash of real cream. They were SO good that I decided strawberry milkshake fun had to be set up and photographed! (Insider Tips) Let's just say it was a photography flutter. A good distraction that lead me to some lovely images.

And? Are you drooling yet? Scroll down...
Hey it's Valentines Day! Sounds like a good reason for milkshakes.
(TIP for the South Africans out there: Steers or Wimpy = INSTANT FIX)

INSIDER TIPS: Milkshake Photography

Photograph a milkshake? 
Well you never know what life might send your way! Here are some tips to store, in case you need to.

Preparing the milkshakes:
  1. I used a shaker rather than a hand-blender. This creates a lot more lovely frothy bubbles.
  2. Test the colour of your colourant/flavourant before the shoot. The flavouring I bought (here in Germany) was so natural that my milkshakes wouldn't turn pink and when they did it was a peachy colour. Yes, I did gently tweak the colour in Photoshop.
  3. Have plenty of clean standby glasses to fill with fresh milkshakes. Milkshake bubbles pop, leaving your milkshakes looking dry rather than smooth and frothy. Even better, get a friend to help you, you can bribe them with free milkshakes!

  1. The top of your milkshake needs to be lighter than the side of the glass, but beware that you don't over-light it. The pale froth should still show detail of the bubbles, but look light enough to be airy. Test, test, test.
  2. If lit slightly from behind, the froth looks slightly transparent, airier and bubblier, while light directly from the front can flatten your images and make your froth look more solid.
  3. Remember to place a white reflective card to the opposite side of your light source. Tilt it until you can see a soft fill in glow on the darker side of your glass. (have fun trying to balance it at the right angle)

  1. Start shooting an empty glass with maybe one prop. Make sure your lighting is working before you add the milkshake. 
  2. Props can distract or add to your shot. Remember who's the hero of your photo! I had a variety of pretty props, so naturally I was tempted to include them ALL, but I had to resist! Start with one prop, shoot. Maybe add another or swop them. Remember: LESS IS MORE. (Don't you love my heart-shaped marshmallows?) 
  3. Try different angles, from high to low. In this case I thought showing the top of the milkshake was important.
  4. Experiment with different lenses. I used 2 different lenses in this shoot. My favourite - the 50mm -and a telephoto zoom. The telephoto tends to squash elements in your shot together, creating a feeling that they belong together -they're best friends- while you actually stand miles away (see the shot directly above). A wider angle would exaggerate the space between objects and the perspective of the glass, when you photograph from above . The 50mm allowed me to do the overhead shots without precariously balancing on a ladder.

And you thought I just picked up the camera and went snap-snap! 

(I'm happy to answer questions in the comments below.) 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Parenting Pinterest Fun

Flutter flutter - here's an activity of distraction for you!

The greater challenge is creating the notes for the littlies that can't read yet.
Pretty pictures, I(heart)U, get her to ask her sister to read her message???

Do you have any other creative ideas for me?

Friday, 7 February 2014

February is for...

Have you ever stood listening intently to what somebody was telling you, concentrating hard, focussing entirely on them when... ooooh what a pretty butterfly! I wonder where it's going? Why does it like that flower? Could I follow it? - No, concentrate! What was she saying?

I've been using some of my quiet to focus on finding direction, trying to figure out where I want to go and how I'm going to get there. I've been trying to fix little things that are going wrong and ending up in a grey blur of indecisiveness. I've been staring at lists and lists of stuff I don't get done when - strawberry milkshake - What? It's Winter. No man! Get real! Focus!

When a camera doesn't want to focus properly on a spot, you lift it up, focus on something random in the distance and then when you return to your subject - sjrrr-sjrr and you're focussed!

So February is for FLUTTERING!

I am reminding you to leave your serious work, and now and then to follow that butterfly. See where it goes. I tried it, ok! Trust me. Put aside that to-do list that goes to Timbuktu (it won't go anywhere) and allow yourself to flutter, to have a break, to let your attention wander to anything pretty, anything random that grabs your attention for a split second.

Daydream, follow your thoughts and see where they go! Go window shopping and randomly gather ideas for a dream. Page through a magazine. Tear out the prettiest pictures and stick them down in book. Grab a piece of paper and doodle. Now colour it in. Give yourself a random act of kindness.

Maybe you'll find something new in the process, that triggers your creativity or awakens some long lost desire. Maybe you'll just get a breath of fresh air.

Even if it seems silly, just for little bit, let your feet leave the ground and follow your head into the clouds.

Flutter away! It's February!

Let's chat: What random stuff have you been up to? Was it worthwhile? Why? Tell me in the comments below!