Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New year wishes

Well folks, we are almost at the end of January and I'm wondering if you've all been busy devising new year resolutions. Or maybe you've finished them and are well on you way to that desired flat stomach?

I myself am not. Usually by this time in January I'm full of great new intentions and have probably managed to not break all of them yet. But this year I feel different. The idea of resolutions feels like too much pressure and I just can't seem to get any down.

I had dinner with a couple of friends on the weekend and brought up my quandary. After discussing it a while very wise friend number one said "the problem is that you think resolutions are boring. It's the way you're expressing them - you're not engaging with them". He was so right. My resolutions felt like work, not fun. I mean, "have X done by X date". Who's busting to get their teeth sunk into that?

But there is also a deeper problem which stems from a phobia of commitment. I feel if I put something down I need to commit it. Rather than put pen to paper and risk being stuck with a dud resolution, I delay doing them at all. Enter friend number two. "Why don't you instead call them New Year Wishes, and just make them dreams you have for the coming year?"

I loved it, and putting the two ideas together I came up with my new year wish board. First I brainstormed on micro sticky notes my wishes making them loose and whimsical, like 'Refriend my abs". Suddenly, I was having fun with it. Next, I made a chart and arranged all my wishes, sticking it above my desk to admire and reinforce while I'm working.

I feel so much happier more engaged with my 'resolutions' than I had if they'd been the straight forward list I've made in previous years. I suppose it's an expression in what I'm wanting in my life right now: a bit of cheekiness, fun, a whole lot of colour, and to experiment loosely with my dreams.

It turned out to be such a lovely exercise I wanted to share it with you all. You can create your own wish board by downloading the 2013 wish board template, printing it out and decorating it with your hearts desire. I'd love to see your results :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I must not make a boring list

I love a good list. Who doesn't? I make them on Mondays for the week, on Friday afternoons planning for the weekend, packing checklists for holidays, weekly groceries, bucket lists for home renovations... the, ahem, list is endless.

Problem: my lists are boring. My materials seemed to end up being the backs of envelopes, standard issue striped notebooks and, dare I whisper, a biro. I really hate biros, especially the blue ones. I was well overdue for a list makeover.

For work I have a good system keep track of tasks. To-do go on post-its that get stacked on my desk and later entered into the Omnifocus, or directly into the app if my iPad or computer is handy. The only adjustment needed here was to brighten up my sticky collection and donate the biros to new owner. For portable notes I'm a Moleskine girl which works just fine.

But home is where the heart is and it's lists here that really needed an overhaul. Life's too short for backs of envelopes to rule my life. No more - I threw them in the recycling bin and bought myself a sweet little notepad from Kikki K. Each page being a different design makes for list-making love.

But this week I realised when it comes to creative list making I'm an absolute amateur, if not a fraud. I happened upon an article by Chronicle Books about the diary of Suzy Ultman, illustrator extraordinaire. I already had a girl-crush on her as a designer, but seeing her list-making journal takes it to a whole new level.

Her lists remind me of those I used to make as a child. Where did all that creative juice go to? Well dear friends, here's some wonderful inspiration. I'm determined to channel this lovely series on my current journey to revive my artistic mojo.

Here you go! Enjoy Suzy's playfulness.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Back to work stationery spree

When I was young going to school was not on my list of favourite things to do. It's not that I was bullied or found the lessons too challenging, but rather I got disenchanted being stuck with same routine day in day out for a whole year when really, all I wanted was the freedom to do as I please. Yeah! The last day of school for me was the best day of the year; I would rush home excitedly, kick off my shoes and make a big list of all the things I wanted to do in the holidays. Projects with friends, ones of my own. I still remember vividly sitting barefoot on my bed making those lists. You'd never catch me moaning about bored in those beautiful long breaks.

But as the last week of holidays approached I'd become melancholy and irritable, the old 'Sunday night blues' at the ripe age of twelve. My mother, however, was a very clever woman - she knew how to get me motivated about the return to the classroom. Each year, in that week before first term, we'd go on the hunt for a whole pack of new stationery - rulers, pens, a pencil case, textas and best of all, fresh pencils. Just the anticipation of breaking the seal on the newness of it all was motivation enough to get me on the school bus.

Here I am, a grown woman, still with a love of stationery and the freedom of holidays. So last week when my own two-week christmas break was drawing to a rapid close and I felt the melancholy kicking in, I came up with a plan to beat it - a 'back to work' stationery spree.

Now, I will confess that I have more blank Moleskine books than a hipster does fixies, so technically I don't need more stationery. But this is about a therapeutic fix, something to get me excited about getting back into work mode.

Here's what I ended up buying:

1 //  Pack of seven Moleskine notebooks - on sale and came with the free fluorescent orange pencil. Bargain!
2 //  Ultra cute Scandinavia Labels and Stickers Dictionary from 7321 Design.
3 //  Four rolls of bright washi tape, my latest obsession, from Cutetape.
4 //  Muji gel pens - gifted from my gorgeous friend and fellow stationery swoon, Janna.

Great loot, don't you think? For some great ideas on how to decorate those brown paper books with washi tape check out Miranti's cool washi projects over at Pen & Peplum.

And then there's item number five. Could you leave this cute as a button O-Check deer in the store? I mean, look at those eyes! He just had to come home and get comfortable in my new home-studio space.

So what about you? What do you do to get through the back to work blues? 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Creative space

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

For a long time I've dreamed of having a room dedicated to just being creative. I usually have a couple of projects on the go, and wherever I have lived I've tended to spread them out all over my dining table only to have to pack them up to use the table to eat or entertain.

Everyone needs a little pocket of the world that inspires them. It might be a room, it might be a table at a favourite cafe or spot in a local park. You don't need to physically own it - you just need to love being there and for it to provide you with the space to play and to dream. I'm a big fan of working in cafes, soaking up the buzz of whats going on around me. But I also wanted a dedicated space for my dreams to transpire into mess, a mess I didnt have to clear up until I was good and ready. On Friday I got just that. My 'dump room' was turned into a little studio, and I absolutely love it.

This is what the room used to look like. An old bookcase and random paraphernalia - just a place to throw things that didn't have a home. It's not really a space that inspires one to be at their creative best, now is it.

The room itself isn't very wide and houses sofa bed that is used for guests. So my studio solution had to allow for it folded out with room to move. I wanted a narrow but long desk so I could spread out my work, but also lots of shelving for all my art/design/psychology books and space for inspiring installations of my favourite things.

Here's the result. Ooh, it's just itching to be filled with precious objects don't you think? And a canvas ripe for inspirational bits and pieces on that wall. Added to the love - the whole thing was surprisingly budget friendly. I had a local timber company cut panels to size for the desk and the shelves, and bought adjustable shelving from a hardware store. A handyman came and installed the lot in just two hours. I also added an IKEA kitchen wall cabinet under the desk to store my art materials and have the filing cabinet on wheels as an extra rollaway workspace.

For now I've just plonked everything in but I'm looking forward to seeing how this space transforms in the coming months. For starters I'm going to invest in a new desk light, paint the magazine holders and make a new cushion cover for the chair. Have you got any good ideas? But really all that can take its time - I'm already loving sitting here just as it is.

Do you have a creative space of your own?

Friday, January 4, 2013

January cure

Two years! Where did it go? It's been almost that long since I moved into my apartment. Much has happened in that time, but most of it forced me to neglect putting energy into making this place my very own. I had some thoughts and I mulled over ideas, but despite some new carpets, a light fitting and a lick of paint, the canvas has been pretty much left blank.

One of the reasons if I'm really honest is down to confidence. I just don't think I'm very good at making interior design choices. I always admire the homes of friends, and imagine what lovely spaces they must be live in. And then I go home and do nothing, frozen with fear of making a wrong choice or decision. Add this to the fact that those I've lived with have taken on the job of styling so I've never really had to do it.

Ironically, my environment is really important to me - I'm an aesthetics person through and through. I need things to be orderly and clean, but also downright lovely. Yes my place is clean, but there are cupboards full of things I've move from place to place and furniture thats had many more than it's nine lives.

So I've decided now is the time. I feel ready to give this space the stamp of Karina. I will be bold and colourful. I will invest some new pieces and I will make those pieces that I love shine. I'll also constantly remind myself that if I dont like what I've done, it's not forever. I can change it. Afterall, this year is all about change.

To get things moving by taking part in the Apartment Therapy January Cure. It's a month of daily tasks to help you whip your home into shape, get it clean, organised and ready for a personality injection. You can find the full list of assignments here. I'll let you know how I get on.

What about you? Are you thinking about a new year clean?
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