31 December 2011

A Creative Odyssey : Looking back, moving forward

In December last year I had the pleasure of taking part in a blog hop organised by Jess from Epheriell Designs, in which bloggers posted about their creative dreams and goals for 2011.  You can read my original post here.  Seeing as 2012 is well and truly knocking on the door it seems appropriate to have a look back and see if I actually achieved what I set out to, and to think about what 2012 might bring in the creative arena.

My first goal was to make the time - all too often I have a head full of creative ideas but don't allow myself the time to make these a reality.  At the end of 2011 I still have an idea book bursting with things I haven't quite made happen, yet I do feel that over the past 12 months I have made the time to craft.   And it's been fulfilling and calming and fun.

Next I wanted to take advantage of the fact that I don't need to turn my craft into a 'quit your day job' kind of business, and I think I have done just that.  I've taken the time to explore new techniques and mediums (although any advance in my sewing skills has been completely stalled due to my obsession with all things paper this year!).  Importantly, I've been doing more 'just for fun' crafting - making my own Xmas cards, getting involved in mail art swaps, and crafting for friends and family.  There will be much more of this next year, I hope!

I also aimed to stay involved in the crafting community, in whatever way I could.  Time is always the enemy, so it's been a bit hit and miss.  But I'm proud of the way my blog has grown; I've had fun (and learnt a lot) from being actively involved in the Etsy Greetings team; and I've thoroughly enjoyed opportunities to guest blog and to participate in group projects like 52 Weeks of Mail and the Creative Collective monthly themes.  What I haven't done is completed any of my own 'big' projects.  They are still just a jumble of ideas and scribbled notes.

I also wanted to take better photos, and I'm pretty sure I can give myself a tick on this one.  I've been reading books and blogs and magazines, and went to a six week 'get to know your DSLR' course taught by the talented Carolyn Maryan.  I've got a long way to go yet, but I'm pretty excited about what I've learnt so far and I'm hungry for more!

Lastly, there were three new skills I aimed to learn.  To make my own note books (fail), to try needle felting (fail) and to learn maedup (Korean knotting - pass!).  So, I only got around to trying one of the three, but at least it was the one I really, really wanted to learn!

So, to 2012...I have a feeling the next 12 months are going to be rather interesting.  I have a feeling 2012 will be a year of thinking and planning and big, life-changing decision making.  A year of treading water and putting things on hold, and of up-in-the-air-ness.  A year of possibilities, fear and excitement; of not much happening but a heck of a lot potentially happening.  Plus a whole lot of really, really awesome travel thrown in for good measure.  

As a result, my blog may suffer (but hopefully not too much!), and my Etsy shop will definitely suffer (but I'm okay with that).  But, whatever life throws at us, in the next 12 months I still plan to: continue to share good things here; guest blog whenever I have the opportunity; make things for others that they'll love; develop my photography, paper art and maedup skills; support you and your creative dreams in whatever way I can; and maybe, just maybe, bring at least one of my scribbled note 'big' projects to fruition!

Does this time of year put you in a reflective mood?  What are your plans for 2012?

25 December 2011

Greetings of the Season!

Sending many warm wishes to you and yours at this festive time - we hope your Xmas is wonderful and lovely and just what you were hoping for, however you might celebrate it!

Elfi, Ferdi + Emily x

22 December 2011

New Traditions #2: The Photo Book

In keeping with the rigorous standards I have established here on Good Things*, last Xmas I started a 'series' of blog posts around traditions.  This 'series' lasted all of one post, before the holiday madness really set in.  So I thought that 12 months later was a good enough time as any to continue the 'series'...

In the first post I wrote about how I love traditions, how I love that they provide both a link to the past and a promise to the future.  I wrote about creating new traditions with my husband and his step-sons and their Mum.  I wrote about the giant felt advent calender which I made in 2009, and which I add to each year (and which is currently up on our wall again this year).   

I love the advent calendar - it was a beast to make but I like that we'll be able to use it for years to come. But my favourite new tradition has to be the photo book.  

Back in 2007 while I was desperately trying to think of something ace to give my ridiculously hard to buy for husband I stumbled across Blurb, the totally ace website that lets you make a book.  I made a little book titled 'Ferdi says hi' - it was around this time that I'd stopped working, so to amuse myself I'd take photos of Ferdi looking ridiculously cute and email them to my husband with the subject line 'Ferdi says hi' - filled with photos or our adventures from the past twelve months.

I've made a book each year since then, and each year they get thicker and thicker.  The thing I really love about this new tradition is that I'm not the only one that gets a kick out of it.  Obviously the wanna-be photographer in me loves putting them together, and I know my husband loves getting the book each year, but more than that the step-sons eagerly anticipate it too - just the other day they asked me if I'd made a book this year!  Traditions shared are the best kind, aren't they?
If you'd like to read about some more holiday traditions, check out this gorgeous post from Bird's Eye View, written in 2010.  Or more recently, there's been some lovely guest bloggers writing about traditions, their own and ideas for yours, on the Creative Collective blog.  Read Charlotte's post here and Kathryn's post here.

21 December 2011

Seoul in the mist

Whilst I have been greatly enjoying the glorious crisp blue sky Winter days we've been having of late, I do quite like those days (like today) when the weather closes in and everything is half seen and half heard.  Mist makes everything seem rather mysterious and romantic, don't you think?  

In other weather-related news, we finally had a bit of snow over night.  It's pretty much all melted already but they're predicting more falls in the lead up to Xmas, so it might be a white one after all - hooray!

ps. For more misty goodness (by photographers way more accomplished than me) head on over to my Snap! board on Pinterest.  You will see that I have a bit of a thing for mist...

16 December 2011

Paper cuts for Creative Collective

Oh look!  My guest post for Creative Collective is up!  It's my first sort of how to type of post, and it's about simple paper cuts you can use to jazz up your festive season.  If you'd like to have a look, click here.  And if you think I should use the word 'jazz' more often, let me know.  I think I should.

15 December 2011

All wrapped up...

The past few days I have been locked in my office surrounded by piles of presents, paper and ribbon, with the occasional trip out to stand in long queues at the post office.  Ah yes, the life of an expat at Christmas time!  

09 December 2011

Mail art to Kimi Kobashi

Quite some time ago I sent my second ever mail art package out to the gorgeous Kimi and now I am finally blogging about it!  I had emailed Kimi beforehand to get some ideas as to what she might like, and the result was a package that combined three themes - femininity, fashion and Seoul life.

I included a fair few magazine clippings (including some from the rather whacky Cracker Your Wardrobe), some postcards and gift tags made from a gorgeous page I found in Paper magazine, and three little envelopes with various bits of Korean-ness in them (including scraps of beautiful handmade Korean paper).  But my favourite thing to make and send was the accordian book which you can see in the top photo.

ps. If you want to see Kimi's ridiculously cute rabbit checking out the package I sent, have a look here.

08 December 2011

Two blog happenings you might like to know about...

There's a few fun bloggy things going on at the moment that I thought you dear reader might be interested in (and which I've been lucky enough to be a part of).  

First up, Jess is currently hosting the Simple Pleasures Week on the Epheriell Designs blog.  Featuring a whole bunch of guest posts on life's simple pleasures - crafting, reading, bubble blowing and more.  As this is all about celebrating the little things that make our days good, I kind of had to take part...you can read my post about the joy of going for a stroll here.  And if you want to share your own simple pleasure on your own blog, please do!  

Then there's the month long bloganza hosted by the always awesome Creative Collective team.  The bloganza is not just a fun word, it's also a month of guest posts on all kinds of festive fun!  There's all kinds of recipes and tutorials and tips for managing stress.  Today's post on using fabric scraps to create gift tags is one of my favourites so far.  For this, I have contributed my first how-to (argh!), and I'll let you know when it's up (it may have something to do with paper!).  In the meantime, head over to the Creative Collective blog and soak up some holiday inspiration!

[The photo at the top has nothing to do with anything, really.  But I like it.  So there.]

04 December 2011

Put a pom pom on it!

Is it just me or can one not click a link these days without tripping over a pom pom?  They seem to be everywhere, yes?  Or perhaps it's just another example of the frequency illusion as I'm a bit pom pom crazy of late...

Anyhoo, pom poms - I've been making them.  I started off using some fancy contraption, but then I realised it was much easier just to wrap the wool around my hands like this.  

I was thinking I'd just use them as they are, as ornaments for our tree, but after seeing this wreath from Big Box Detox (which incorporates fairy lights) I'm tempted to make a bunch more and do a wreath.  I guess I'll wait and see at what point the hand cramping sets in.

Dark blue, yellow and grey - this is the colour scheme I am currently obsessed with.  So our xmas is going to be blue, yellow and grey. (Well, at least my contribution to our xmas will be, I'm pretty sure the step-sons don't follow a colour scheme.  Actually, I'm pretty sure they'd think me slightly mad for following a colour scheme.) 

Pom poms are great - they are such fun to say and oh so easy to make, especially if you make them while there's something fun on the radio in the background.  You also don't really need to have any particular skill to make a pom pom (my favourite kind of craft!).  Also, late at night, when you tweet about pom poms you may for a second see your tweet and think you've tweeted about making 'porn porns' and have a mild heart attack and then realise you didn't tweet that at all and have a little chuckle to yourself about how similar 'pom' and 'porn' look when your eyes are old and blurry.

Oh, and if you're interested in another festive craft project that doesn't involve too much actual sewing or knitting or crocheting, I quite like this twisted felt garland from the Purl Bee.

Hope your all having a happy weekend.  I'm in Hong Kong - hooray!

02 December 2011

Death by Doxie: The Dogs on the Couch (Again) Edition

The dogs on the couch, basking in the warm glow of the television.

I'm starting to think I may need an intervention.  I'm starting to think that 427 photos of the dogs on the couch is probably enough.  But only just.

In completely unrelated news, I wrote a little post for Bess Georgette's ace 'My Vintage Memory' series, you can go have a peek here.