Thursday, 11 January 2018

How Handy

The first goal I wrote on The List was:
001. Fill a sketchbook with artwork/studies of only one subject
In a moment of absolute madness, I decided the subject would be hands.

Because I'm rubbish at drawing hands.

I've been working on this goal since towards the end of 2014, though I didn't initially get much further than a few half-hearted scribbles, and the picture above!

Though I've posted some other hand drawings, until now I haven't shared any more, so here's my progress so far...

Wanting to avoid spending hours at the computer to draw from on-screen references, I cut hands from magazines instead. Some of the results turned out pretty good, and mostly I switched between pencil and biro.

But I got bored of that, and decided to draw from on-screen references again, using some different materials (in the above instance, oil pastels, and below, pastel pencils).

Finding reference pictures online was starting to become a little annoying, as I couldn't always think of poses to search for.

But my problem was soon solved...

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

A Dress for a Dragon

It's been a while since I posted any of my designs for goal 53. Design 50 outfits/costumes

And by 'a while', I mean almost a year.

I was still drawing some last march, but then forgot about that goal until December, when I drew some more!

Having picked up the goal again this year, here's a new batch of costume designs. Once again, they're for characters from Folk Tales of the Sea People. Sometimes I've given them a more humanoid spin, imagining these as designs for a theatrical production! Sometimes they're a little odd, such as this first one...

Kashanbo (19/50)
From: The Gentleman Traveller

+ Longline waistcoat of dark green suiting, with lining and collar the colour of wet green seaweed. Batwing-shaped collar and asymmetric hem, gold buttons shaped like turtle shells
+ Off-white lycra dress shirt with seaweed green buttons and pin tucks
+ Top hat to match waistcoat
+ Gold leather mask shaped like a beak
+ Cropped breeches to match waistcoat, cuffs have two-buttoning fastening (smaller version of waistcoat buttons)
+ Off-white stockings
+ Webbed gloves with extra long fingers--seaweed green leather with cotton 'web'
+ Webbed boots to match gloves, extended to look more frog (or kappa!) like.

Read on for triplets, draugs, dragons and more!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Top Goals, Completed Goals, & Recap of 2017

After another lazy December, a new year has begun, so here's a recap of what I got up to in 2017, the goals I completed, and my top goals for 2018!

I'm going to shake up the format of these recap posts this time, and list my completed goals first:
17. Record myself singing and share it
26. Write 1 flash fiction per day for 1 month
31. Hold breath for 1 minute
36. Eat/drink in 30 new places
52. Crochet a hat
63. Learn a song in a foreign language
65. Complete a 365 Project
68. Send Happy Post to 5 people
80. Refashion/upcycle 3 items of clothing
82. Go on a day trip
95. Throw an axe

Bolded goal is from my top goals for 2017...didn't do so well with those this time, but I did work towards 4 other top goals.

I'll add a list of my top goals for 2018 at the end of this post.

January began with the starting of a brand new goal:
65. Complete a 365 Project
I'd wanted to get back into photography, and figured this was a good way to do it. Though it was a goal that would take a year to complete, and I wasn't sure I'd manage to take a picture every day, it seemed like a good challenge.

One of my top goals for 2017 was goal 53. Design 50 outfits.
I'd already begun the goal, but it wasn't until January that I started posting my designs, and drawing more
...and after that I drew one more, which I haven't posted yet. Oops.

I also continued working on goal 10. Visit 30 museums/art galleries/exhibitions with a trip to Horsham Museum, and goal 36. Eat/drink in 30 new places with a nice cup of tea and a slice of traybake at Brighton Fishing Museum Cafe.

Alongside those goals, I took the time to complete goal 52. Crochet a hat. It's a good hat.

January wasn't the happiest of months, so I'm honestly amazed I got this much done!

February was a quieter month, though I did go on a daytrip (goal 82) to Portsmouth/Southsea (goal 39. Explore 30 towns/cities/villages) and completed goal 36 when I tried some tasty bubble tea from a new place.

I also worked towards goal 80. Refashion/upcycle 3 items of clothing with the application of glitter to a pair of canvas boots.

Keep reading for the rest of the year, including my top goals for 2018 and my favourite photo of my 365 project!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

December Roundup: Last-Minute Goals & 365

Spin (335/365)
2017 is finally over, and here's my last monthly roundup.

I actually didn't do much in December, but I did finish off a few last minute goals!
017. Record myself singing and share it
031. Hold breath for 1 minute
063. Learn to sing a song in a foreign language
These are goals I've been putting off for ages, because the 'evidence' of them would require taking a video. Making video is simple enough in theory, but really pushed me out of my comfort zone!

Despite that, you can click the links above to hear the tiniest bit of singing, my attempt at Finnish, and my 'holding my breath' face!

Of course, another goal I completed - right at the end of the year - was:
065. Complete a 365 Project

December 365 Project Photos. Click link to go to 365 Project page
I was really struggling to find things to photograph during December, but I did try out a few new things. I finally managed to do a long exposure shot to capture traffic trails, and also tried an iphone app that allows me to take 'long exposure' photos (which I used for the first photo in this post).  

Bluebird (362/365)
I also tried out some sunprints, after receiving some sun-sensitive paper for Christmas! This was a fun and simple thing to try out, and something a bit different to include in my project.

Honestly it's a relief to have finished the project. I'm pleased to have got it done, but it was kind of stressful trying to come up with something 'new' to photograph each day. I wanted to take good photos, but there were plenty of 'meh' photos along the way!

Other things I did in December:
  • Continued to learn/practise Japanese and German on Duolingo
  • Continued trying to memorise all the countries in Africa (goal #33)
It isn't much, but honestly I didn't have the energy (or desire) to do anything in December! Just call it End of Year Exhaustion, I guess!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

November Roundup & 365

Burning (308/365)
Another month has passed and we're already almost halfway through December...and I am totally slacking off, both with achieving goals and updating this blog.

November was, at least, fairly busy in comparison to the previous few months!
I started off the month with a last-minute trip to a bonfire and fireworks display in Cuckfield, Sussex, with a friend, my sister, and her boyfriend. In the few hours we were there, I took some of my best photos for November! (I also ate a hot dog. Can't have a bonfire without a hot dog).

Later on in the month, my sisters and I went to Stylist Live and had a fun 'Sister Sunday'! We had manicures, tried some cocktails, got pick 'n' mix, and a fantastic goodie bag!

Toward the end of the month, I went to Hyper Japan Christmas with some friends, and spent all my money, ate tasty food, saw neat lanterns and a cool band.

Something I never got around to blogging about was this:

Dandy Alpaca (332/365)
For a while, I'd wanted new art to go in this frame. Originally it held a band poster, but the band disbanded several years ago and I rarely listen to them anymore, so it was time for me to get something new!
Of course, all the posters and prints of the right size were way out of my price range. Then I saw some neat animals-in-vintage-clothes photomontages using recoloured vintage portraits and photos of animals.

"I can do that!" I thought to myself.
So I did, and this is the result.

This took several hours in photoshop, most of which was spent on the alpaca's head! I made it using a photo of an alpaca that I'd taken earlier this year, plus a vintage carte de visite that was in a box of pictures in the attic.

As fortune would have it, Bob Books had a Black Friday promotion at the time I'd finished this picture, so I sent it off to them to be printed as a poster. It turned up at the end of the month and fits perfectly into the frame. Now Mr Dandy Alpaca lords it over the room.
I think he needs a lordly title.

Santa's Workshop (321/365)
Alongside photoshopping alpacas and Going Out And Eating Stuff, I also spent time making props for, and putting together, a christmas window display for a charity shop. I made metres upon metres paper chains (from A4 paper), wrapped old boxes up like presents, sewed two giant candy canes, cobbled together a 'Santa's Workshop' and 'North Pole' sign using...well, paper and trash, to be honest.... and made 14 lines of 'falling snow' from cotton wool balls and sewing thread.
Making this stuff took around four days, and when putting the window together, I also recovered the chair to make it look more 'Christmassy'!

November 365 Project Photos. Click to see larger (on my 365 Project page)
November 365 Project Photos. Click to see larger (on my 365 Project page)

Anyway, here's my 365 Project photos for the month of November. I felt that most of them were a bit of a 'miss' this month. Need to get my photo mojo back. This month's pictures are a bit better, at least!

Other things I did in November:
  • Continued to learn/practise Japanese and German on Duolingo
  • Continued trying to memorise all the countries in Africa (goal #33 - nearly there!)
  • Finished my Christmas shopping (hurrah!)
Not exactly successful on the goals front, but better than nothing! 

Monday, 27 November 2017

Hyper Japan Christmas

After going to Hyper Japan's Christmas event two years ago, I was unsure about attending again when a group of friends suggested going. It had been fun last time, but the venue was cold, and the huge crowds were exhausting to my introvert brain (not to mention the stalls being exhausting to my wallet!)

But I went anyway, and I'm glad I did!

This time, we went on the Friday, which was still busy but thankfully quieter than the Saturday we went last time. I guess going at the end of the week is a good move!

As usual, Hyper Japan had a lot of things going on, including shopping, demonstrations, exhibitions and performances.

We had a good look around the 'Illuminight' exhibition--several rooms that displayed Japanese 'akari' lanterns (seen above!) With the rooms dark and gentle, traditional music playing, this exhibition was really peaceful to look at--a nice sanctuary away from the rush of the shopping area!

Of course, food is always a prominent feature in any day out, and as usual Hyper Japan did not disappoint!
I opted for the mixed set (Takoyaki, gyouza and pumpkin croquette) as I'd eaten last time from PEKO PEKO, Chicken katsu don  from Don Panko Katsu House, and a smores waffle from Miso Hungry!

Among the many demonstrations at Hyper Japan, one we stopped to watch was Taro Fukushika's demonstration of Shodo (Japanese calligraphy). As soon as I saw a guy with a bucket of ink and a huge piece of paper, I knew it was worth watching!

He worked super-fast, creating this piece in a matter of minutes! I hadn't seen anyone do calligraphy like this before, and had always been curious about how the larger characters are drawn (answer: a really big brush). It was impressive to watch!

We also watched part of a karate demonstration, but had to rush off for the next thing...

...a performance by FEMM!
Anyone who has followed this blog for a while will know I first heard FEMM during my one year music challenge. I'd missed their appearance in London earlier in the year, so it was great to have the chance to see them play at Hyper Japan. They only played a short set, but were very engaging. I enjoyed their mannequin-esque style of performance!

After that, we headed for home. I was pretty exhausted by then so was more than happy to take up my shopping bags and go!
(I'd post photos of my shopping here, but it's just nerdy stuff-- One Punch Man DVDs and various charms/pins of anime characters!)

It was a good day out; depending on what's on next year I may go again!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Swearing Therapy (and One Hell of a Goodie Bag)

After going to Stylist Live with my youngest sister last year, when I received an email about this year's event, I jumped at the chance to go.

A 'Festival of Inspiration', Stylist Live - hosted at Olympia - was chock full of health and beauty, fashion and lifestyle, with talks, food, drink and shopping!

Both of my sisters wanted to go this year, and having enjoyed the event last year, I decided to go for VIP tickets!
The VIP ticket included lots of awesome extras, such as food, drink, luxury pick 'n' mix (seen above!), glitter makeovers, a VIP lounge, beauty treatment, a talk, and a goodie bag!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Remember, Remember...

...the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.

Alright so it was the fourth of November, and that wasn't the most original of titles, but nevermind.
There was also no treason, the only gunpowder was in the fireworks, and the only plot was to get myself a hotdog from the friendly local scouts!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

October Roundup & 365

Chill and Mist (300/365)
Well, despite my intention to get my butt into gear and work on more goals from The List, this blog totally fell by the wayside again during October.
Maybe it's because the weather is getting colder, maybe I'm just tired of the same goals and lacking in motivation, but I only managed to complete one goal this month:
068. Send Happy Post to 5 people
I wrote about it a few days ago; those who received happy post know who they are (and as for what they are? Awesome is the answer). 

Of course, I also continued taking photos for 365 Project:

October 365 Project photos. Click to view larger (on 365 Project page)
October 365 Project Photos. Click to see larger (on my 365 Project page)
Once again I've struggled a little with ideas. I know I could simply make snapshots day to day, but I went into this project wanting to stretch my fingers creatively. I want to end up with a collection of 365 photos that I'm proud of (though I have a fair few 'meh photos' amongst the bunch!)

Asides from happy post and photography, during October I also:
  • Finished the Japanese course on Duolingo (I still don't remember anything, haha)
  • Picked up German on Duolingo again (I gave up a couple of years ago. Haven't forgotten as much as I thought!)
  • Drew more hands (goal #001; I mostly did this whilst waiting for things like computer scans/backups/etc)
  • Did 99% of my Christmas shopping. Yes, I know it's early. But it's almost finished and I don't have to stress over it, hurrah!
  • Made plans to go to two events in November. Yay!
Hopefully having plans in November means I'll actually update more than once this month, but only time will tell!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Happy Post

Alright, so I still suck at both Doing Things and updating this blog, but at the beginning of the month, I finally completed another goal from The List!
068. Send Happy Post to 5 people

This goal was to do with making friends happy (or at least trying to) by sending unexpected postal goodness their way. Because they deserve to have nice things show up unexpectedly (makes a change from bills, right?)

I often intend to send 'Happy Post' to people for no reason other than 'just because', and it's something I do do from time to time, but never in bulk like this.

It always takes me forever to gather things to send, because I don't like sending someone just one random thing. If I'm going to pay for a 'small packet' sized parcel, I'm going to stuff it as much as I can!

Things I sent:
A combination of socks, notebooks, zines, bookmarks, jewellery, and a postcard to say "Hi!".
Different people received different things, hand-picked just for them, mostly relating to inside jokes, a hobby or interest of theirs.

I can't post a photo because...I only thought about that after packaging everything up.

But I can post about this now, because everyone received their parcels safely! Mission Accomplished!