Friday, July 24, 2015

Happy Friday #51 : Planner Nerds Unite! Filofax... What?

What??? A ring binder? A Filofax? Neon color? Scrapbook paraphernalia? Yes, to all my friends. I'm sure you've been seeing an occasional appearance of a certain pink binder. The Fluro pink original to be exact. I'm still ironing things out on how this will be used.

I know the bright pink was a little out of character... I usually like a more mono tone palette, but something just called to me to shake things up. So... I thought I would give the ringed binder system another chance. It was actually about a year and some change ago that I dived into the Filofax craze.

The Fluro pink was surprisingly my first choice, but due to the lack of availability I decided on a very bright Teal version from Aspinal London. Then due to a glitch in their system, they apologized and canceled my order as they were out of the particular binder I wanted. So my third choice was to try out the Kiki-K planner.

The mint color was pretty... but just did not speak to me. Nor it's hideous inserts. I know... one could purchase other ones, but by then my excitement over the whole system waned with the consistent disappointment. Also... yes the rings do drive me batty to an extent, so this will truly be an exercise of whether function over form will win over . Although I suppose it's not really a test of the eye, when I can play with so much eye candy with it ^_*.

Any who.. all that aside, when the bug hit this time I decided to just go for it and get mine from the U.K. Initially I wanted to start with some poppy colors with no dates attached. Kind of a catch all for to-do lists and brain dumps.

The inserts you see here are from KiddyQualia. I purchased her to do list, lined, plain, and grid in rainbow colors to try. Its fun... reminds me of the colorful notebooks I had in middle school. So far these are working great for me. I'm not locked in so much to a format.

Which brings me to my recent foray back into the scrapbooking world. Not that I am scrapbooking yet...again, but rather... enamored with the possibilities of all the new papers, bits, and tools around it. In particular Cocoa Daisy.

I wasn't as familiar with this small company until I began my search on planner inserts. Now of course as I opened the pandora's box, a plethora of stationary goods came rushing out at me. I ended up first trying their 3 month main kit, then jumped into the 6 month kit add-on plan. During which I decided to try a few of the A5 planner kits.

I didn't commit to a 6 month plan because I wasn't quite sure if the layout would work for me. I'm still on the fence as I am dipping in the July pages. Although to be honest I haven't fully committed to the pages yet. What is nice though is that other than the divider page, which has a title and on the back side the month view of the calendar, the rest of the pages are not dated. This means you can use the pages in different months.

So far the week on two pages makes the most sense for me, because I am used to the Midori week and notes on one spread. The Daily to do page I am still up in the air on. I mean visually it is very pretty, but not sure yet for the to do list segment. The other thing that gets in the way sometimes are the dark graphics. That being said, so far from what I've seen the graphics are what add that extra flair. So yeah I'm still debating the pros and cons of it all.

Mean while, my second planner kit came in and it is oh so beautiful. Can't wait to try this inside for sure. If you want to try a few of their inserts out, they do have downloadable ones as well as a monthly view for free.

Music of the Day:
Clara C and Kina Grannis : Bad Blood 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Current Supplies of Choice

Ok... who doesn't know I have the journal/notebook affliction? For those of you doing the 'One Book in July' challenge... my hats off to you. I did this once... many moons ago. One book that is, and it drove me up the wall. I started to fan through the pages every so often to check just how many pages I had left. Silly, but true.

Any who... thought I would share the little bits in my stash that have been inspiring me as of late. Center stage is the Mon Carnet De Poche. It's lovely vintage cover and kraft paper has been singing it's siren's song to me lately. It is smooth and thus far has taken quite a few mediums without any problems. Granted there is a bit of crinkle to it when a lot of water is used, but it is easy to flatten out with a heavy book or rolling pages back in the other direction if it truly bothers you.

The other little supply of choice is the Sakura Koi travel watercolor palette. Although technically it's little miss' set, I figured it would be ok since she dips into mommy's stash on a daily bases hehe. I have to say I quite like them so far. They seem a bit more opaque in color, but this works well with the darkness of the kraft paper.

The other supply that has been making it's round in a lot of my doodling has been the Pentel Pigment Ink brush pens. Initially when they are wet you can move them around with a little water, but once they are dry, wet media does not seem to move the ink. I love this aspect of the ink and the portability of it.

However, if you don't use them for a while it can be a bit difficult to get the ink to flow again. Sometimes it works in your favor if you like the dry brush pen affect. That being said, if it is really dry... although messy... go to your sink and wet the brush to loosen up the dried ink that has set on the brush. Have a paper towel on hand and blot it to get most of the water out and then see if the ink flows. You may have to repeat this a few times and although it may seem like you're flushing down a load of ink, don't worry you aren't. That is... as long as you aren't squeezing the barrel while holding it ^_^.

Music of the Day:
The Sabres of Paradise : Smokebelch II

Friday, July 10, 2015

Happy Friday #50 : Hobonichi Techo : The Next Half

A fresh insert for the second half of 2015... After seeing all the lovely pics. lately, I must say I do miss the fatty notebook of my A5 from 2014. That being said, it become very difficult to write or draw on the left pages. Hence, my choice to down size to the A6, as well as try out the Avec version. I am really enjoying this size and how compact it is.  

Also, I feel a renewed sense of motivation this half of 2015. So many difficult things happened in my life the first half that left me feeling over whelmed. Which in turn stalled all my creative endeavors. I decided things needed to change especially since half the year just blew by.

With that in mind, Flow Magazine  came to the rescue. Sometimes a little visual eye candy helps you shake the funk. So off to the Flow website I went. The special international issue on Mindfulness seemed very apropos, so that was the first thing that went into my basket, next were a few older issues from France and Germany, and at a few dollars I decided to throw in some original Dutch weeklies.

I am happy to say, even with my rudimentary skills in French and German, I could get the general gist of some of the content. An extra bonus was because Dutch was so similar to German,  I could make out some of the key words which was fun. But who are we kidding... its mostly the images that I was concerned with any who hehe.

The patterns, illustrations, motivational stories really did the trick for me. So with inks and water colors in hand I let the inspiration do it's magic ^_*.

Here is to the next half of 2015, to mindfulness, inspiration, and motivation!

Music of the Day:
Massive Attack : Paradise Circus

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Product Review : Art Graf Viarco Tailor Shape

Ah... the world of water-soluble products. Yes, I found yet another piece of yumminess in the form of Art Graf Viarco Tailor Shape : Earth Tones. Viraco products are created by a family owned business in Porto, northern Portugal. Its a beautiful set and I was quite surprised at how big each piece was.

The idea behind the shape is just as the title suggests. They are in the shape of a tailor's chalk, there for you can hold the graphite in your hand on edge to use the corners to draw.

The texture came out fairly smooth on my Midori Traveler's Notebook insert 003. A very smooth paper from Midori that take many types of mediums. On water color paper 'cold press', it is like that of charcoal when dry.

However, as you can see here, when you press down too hard they do tend to chip off. Which is a bit of an annoyance, but not a deal breaker. Also, yes it does get all over your fingers. If getting dirty is an issue, just use a brush with water just as you would when using water colors.

The colors of the earth palette are : Sanguine, Ochre, Sepia, Brown, Dark Brown & Black. Here is what it looks like in the Midori insert.

Once water is added on both the textured paper and smooth, the graphite blends like any typical water color. One can add as much or as little water especially on textured paper, to give it a rough or basic smooth water color effect.

What is interesting, especially for the mixed media artist is that if the graphite is completely blended out with water, once it dries, it is permanent. Adding more water will no longer dilute it. However, if there is some of the grainy dry bits of graphite is left, it will still react with water.

For this feature alone, I would highly recommend it. It is a lovely palette of colors and easy to work with. Here I decided to mix in a little of my favorite water colors and voila a little face appeared ^_^.

Music of the Day:
Dan Croll : Compliment Your Soul

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Friday #49 : What Community Does for Artists of All Ages

My daughter Amelie has always enjoyed drawing. In fact she has probably over 70 finished sketchbooks since she began at the age of 3. That being said, she began to lose her passion for it for a while and did not seem to progress. That was until the community factor was added into the mix. We began by trying out a printing workshop together, then she joined an online community for all ages manga drawing, and a one week fashion illustration camp.

This is not unlike the Facebook groups, Ning, Instagram, etc... many of us has joined and subsequently have grown leaps and bounds in our efforts to tap back into our creative selves. I my self did not seem to have enough motivation to fit art into my daily life again until I joined in communities of like minded souls. I had forgotten how important that ingredient was for me, much less a budding artist like my daughter...

So in spirit of remembering that your artistic little ones may need that little confidence boost of community be it online or in person. I thought I would share a little about her current experiences.

The online community for her at this moment is : Paigeeworld. It is an online social community for manga artists. What I find interesting is that the more you engage, such as uploading your artwork, sharing, commenting, etc., the more points you gain. This in turn allow you to unlock manga/drawing tutorials. Unfortunately I have not been able to find the age information on the website, however on their new iTunes app, which is the one my daughter is currently using, the rating of 9+ was given.

As a parent I decided to poke around the site as well, just incase... While scrolling through, I did find the occasional skimpy clothing and some hinting of nudity but, I haven't found anything extremely inappropriate as sometimes manga sites tend to be. I believe they moderate for this.

Personally I  am fine with what I saw so far as she is a mature 10yr. old and knows not to linger so to speak on that type of art, nor share any personal information. Also, in general, her personal tastes are still geared towards cute Chibi (large headed manga), cute characters, and cute manga characters, so I do not really worry to much. However, you may want to brows the site if you aren't sure it would work for your kids and remind them never to reveal personal information.

In terms of physicality, I would definitely recommend either classes or workshops at least once in a while. The creative energy from the in person social aspect is so very critical in really anything that we do.

Joining a community be it online or in person is truly a wonderful experience. Being with people who share your same passions create such a fantastic energy, incites motivation, and the general support one usually receives boosts the confidence of artists in all age groups.

Music of the Day : 
Free Tempo: Beautiful World 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Happy Friday #48: Back to My Midori Traveler's Notebooks

Happy Friday everyone!!! Did you notice my title? Yes... notebooks plural. Funny how after about a year and a half since I went down this path I've some how acquired 4 during this time. The 4th one tucked away inside my purse.

For the most part I wrote in my lovely MTNs, however the creative stuff... was usually done in other sketchbooks. Why? Well because... for us notebook addicts, something is always shinier and must be played with haha.

I had almost forgot how lovely the 001 plain Midori insert was. I just love how the stark white sheet contrasts with ink and how forgiving it is with wet media. Simply fab!


Music of the Day : An oldy but goody ^_^
Everything But the Girl : Before Today

Friday, May 29, 2015

Happy Friday #47 : Blue Edition (Pan Am) Midori Traveler's Notebook

Hello everyone and Happy Friday to you! Ah such a lovely mail month I'm having. I pre-ordered my Blue Edition (Pan Am) of my Midori Traveler's Notebook a few months ago. Was a bit worried when I saw others getting theirs right after they ordered to be honest, but alas... it finally made it's appearance from Tabiyoshop.

The Midori came in it's usual packaged glory. However, it had a funky smell to it.  I decided to air it out all night near the window. Today it is not so strong, but still there. Hopefully a few more days of airing out will do it. Honestly I wasn't quite sure how I would like the blue leather and sat on the fence for quite a bit on it. In person it is a very sophisticated blue and I'm actually quite liking it so far. Not sure how it will age, but promise to keep you posted on that.

I definitely packed this order to the max with Pan Am fun. I purchased 4 notebook inserts, 2 packages of different stickers, plastic zip folder, pen, and pen clip. (Also, a few sticker flakes offered by Tabiyo.)

Also, if you noticed, I found my favorite calendar weekly insert albeit the free form version from my local Kinokuya Book store. Back to my fav. style of keeping up to date with my tasks and a way to sum up my week with photos.

Music of the Day:
MA : I don't Wanna Feel