Thursday, 31 December 2015

How To Create As Easily As You Breathe...

"Life is still" - ©Maree Clarkson

How easy do you find it to create? Does your creative energy flow like the breath of a Buddhist meditating on a mountain top? Or is it more like a heavy smoker wheezing after a brisk run on a cold morning? Here are 5 steps to being able to create as easily and as naturally as possible:

Create every day
When you create erratically or only when you have time, you never allow yourself to get into a flow. Imagine breathing only once every 30 seconds, then holding your breath for 15, then inhaling a few short breaths, then holding it again for 10 seconds. This kind of stuttered and irregular breathing would make you anxious and highly strung! So create in the same steady and regular way you breathe. Start with creating every day for a minimum of 15 minutes, then build up slowly to creating more fully and deeply.

Accept that creativity is a natural state of being
Just as we’re born knowing how to breathe, we also know how to create, imagine and invent. Look and listen to a group of children under the age of 5 and marvel at all their imaginative stories, curious questions and spontaneous playfulness. This is how we all begin, it’s the natural human state of being. It’s only as we get older we forget how to be this freely creative. But your creativity is still in there, you just first have to acknowledge that it is.

Invite your creativity to come out and create!
However talented anyone is, however creative you are, if you don’t invite that creativity out to express itself, it might has well not exist. It’s like having a championship winning basketball team one season, then the next season never telling your top players when and where the games are so they don’t even get the chance to show up and play to their abilities. Give your creativity the opportunities it needs and deserves to come and create.

Follow your creative passions
A common trap to get caught in is creating what we think others expect us to create, instead of where our passions lie. You end up creating only what you think you SHOULD be creating, to subconsciously win approval and acceptance from others. The problem is, when you do this, you’ll always have a cloud of resentment hanging over you, and never freely create what and how you want to, which means you never see your true creative potential blossoming. So follow your passions and create what you long to create!

Keep your creative ideas coming
When you have no ideas, sitting down to create feels overwhelming, and you feel so anxious about choosing somewhere to start, you end up creating nothing. If you have an ideas book full of ideas to develop this issue never arises. Get yourself a notebook, carry it around with you and jot down ideas as soon as they come to you. The more you use it, the easier it’ll become, and you’ll soon never be short of a creative idea to develop again.

In all of these tips, the important thing to remember is that you’re finding – or rather re-discovering – your natural creative state. There’s nothing radically different or new, you’re just allowing your natural creativity to come through and flow as easily as air flows to and from your lungs each moment of each day.
From Tony Moffitt free articles

Pick one of the above tips and start taking action on it today…!

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Launching your dream

Daring to do what you love. The story of your future begins now.

How does a labour of love become a rewarding business?

Listen to the inner workings of your heart and you'll find that everything from collecting handkerchiefs to baking cookies, from mixing perfumes to tending sheep, can be a profitable business.

If you have a vision, don't hold back. But start small, and don't spend on all those fancy things people think you must have, Hard work and ambition are the key elements - and you re-investing your profits.


Artists - If you're artistic, there are various avenues to investigate. Use your art and what you love doing to generate an income. Design birthday and Christmas cards, gift wrap, albums, invitations, gift bags, gift boxes and coordinating tissues and cards, using your own sketches or paintings. At first it might only be friends who might covet your creations, but by canvassing book stores and gift shops, showcasing your work on POD sites (print on demand) like RedBubble, and there are many others, it won't be long before you're inundated with orders and sales! You can also expose your wares on your own blog or website and take orders yourself.

Gardeners - If you like gardening, doing what you love by setting up a herb garden opens the door to many opportunities. Herbal wreaths, aromatic vine baskets, bunches, sachets and herbal oils for the bath and skin are but a few ideas, enjoy great popularity and are always in demand. Expect to spend hours in the garden, but it's time that you will find therapeutic, because you will have plenty of time to think of innovative ways to use your herbs. Selling fresh Lavender or dried bunches, bound with a satin ribbon or raffia, for gifts or arrangements can give your income a great boost. Also use other fragrant plants such as roses Thyme and Rosemary. The list is endless as to what you can create with herbs.

Animal lovers - Here's an inspirational story of how one woman's love for animals turned into an unexpected successful business:

"It's taken a lifetime of searching and searching, but I finally found it," says Megan, who lives in the quiet of British Columbia with ten sheep, 20 lambs, a handful of hens and Annie the rabbit. She runs The Counting Sheep Inn, but not so long ago she was a lawyer, driving a luxury car and wondering why nothing made her happy. "When I was a girl, I taped a real estate ad for acreage to my bed and imagined myself running through the pastures in a long dress," she says. "somehow I got waylaid."

Megan took a dramatic approach to rer-outing herself. She quit her job, moved to a log cabin on a family member's rural property and apprenticed herself to a shepherd. "Being out in the middle of nowhere is the best meditation," she says. As she breathed away years of stress, she began scheming to make her beloved flock "pay their own way". She decided to cash in her retirement fund and open a three-suite bed-and-breakfast with a gift shop full of sweaters, knitted (in her spare time) from homegrown Merino wool.

Gradually word has spread and city folk come to feed the lambs, collect eggs for their breakfast, or sit by the fire for a private knitting lesson.

Clever Ways with Fabrics - If you have a passion for fabrics and sewing, creating unique one-of-a-kind items will have the orders flowing in. A large fringed linen guest towel can serve double duty as dresser scarf, just hung on the door of an armoire to soften al that wood, or thrown over a chair or a daybed.

Cotton night-shirts, lightly striped with a demure trim of lace, will have family and friends, and eventually customers, in total awe and will enjoy great popularity as gifts as well as for personal use.

Lace-trimmed cotton "medici" damask on the windows can double as shower curtains, letting the curtain panels puddle in folds on the floor. That way, it doesn't matter where a customer decides to use it - they'll fit.

Unique and special bed linen is always in great demand and there is nothing more blissful than sliding in between crisp sheets and relaxing on satiny pillows. Let your fabrics swap places - curtains can become bed hangings and lacy sheets can become curtains or table covers. Looking at fabrics with a fresh eye will pay off big dividends.

The Historian - If you're passionate about history, why not design note or birthday cards on an historical theme. Libraries, flea markets and the internet are great sources for finding images from the 1800's to the 1930's, using text that tells all about bees, or birds, how to read the tracks of wild animals in the snow, historical battles or inventions.

Wűrttenberg troops attack at Wörth

Renting retail space
In the current economy, you can negotiate your way into any number of leases or purchase arrangements now that the market is flooded with vacant space. Better yet, use that extra guest room for a humble office that allows you at least to launch the concept, then gradually build it into a larger success.

Until you have some sort of steady income, don't consider employees. But currently there's an immense amount of unemployed talent out there. These individuals would be thrilled to be part of a promising start-up. You couldn't get that kind of motivation and inspiration at an affordable price in the employment market three years ago. Take advantage of it now.

Office Furniture
Be innovative as far as office furniture is concerned - scour flea markets and second-hand shops or auctions, even your own house, where you're sure to find the odd table and cabinet or desk that you can utilise. No matter what you do, you'll need some funding, but careful calculations can give you the jump-start to begin with a relatively low monetary commitment.

A unique idea is still a unique idea. The message here is that we still need to do things, buy things and go places, economy or no economy. There's no reason you can't be the best solution for the people who need it.

Don't give up on your dreams.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Season's Greetings 2015!

Wishing you the joy of family, the gift of friends and the best of everything for this festive season!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Customisable sketchbook - plain hardcover journal that you can decorate yourself!

Plain Hardcover Journal - available in a selection of ruled, graph or blank pages

I have designed some plain, customisable hardcover journals and other products which you can decorate yourself once you have bought them. Just grab a sharpie (cokey pen) and get creative! It can be a black sketch, like a selfie, or add some colour, the choice is yours! The printed covers are excellent for sketching on, ask me, been there, done that!

I have done a few sketches just to show you what can be done. Please make sure your sharpie or cokey pen is waterproof, you don't want your beautiful designs smudged all over your journal or t-shirt!

Customised front cover

View of open customised Hardcover Journal

Example of a customised journal - pencil and sharpie sketch of some bamboo, inspirational words written on the back cover and a hand-written title on the spine. Add your name and you have a once-off, unique product.

Plain uncustomised T-shirt

Many of the other products can also be customised, like the ladies and men’s T-shirts - just add a sketch or some inspirational words with a sharpie or some fabric paints and voila! your very own customised T-shirt!
Plain tote bag, lovely as it is or
customise your tote bag with a black sharpie sketch of a butterfly.

Plain Throw pillow

Here is a sketch of a wild turkey done with a black sharpie on a plain Throw pillow

Plain Graphic t-shirt

Black sharpie (Cokey pen) sketch of a dragon -  You can go as plain or as intricate as you like. Let your creative juices flow!

Plain Hardcover Journal and other products available here


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Colour of the year for 2016

Pantone has just released the Colors of the Year for 2016, 'ROSE QUARTZ' and 'SERENITY' (PANTONE 13-1520 & PANTONE 15-3919) and I think they’re absolutely fabulous! (You can see the full colour range here.)

Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.

Below are a few examples of how I have utilised these colours in some of my work, all available on my RedBubble profile.

 Daisy serenity - Queen size Duvet cover

As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colours that psychologically fulfil our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

Pantone says, "In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design. This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer's increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage."


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Back to school! (After the holidays, of course!)

The holidays are upon us, and soon it will be time to think about the kids going back to school next year! Can you believe how the past year has flown? I’ve hardly recovered from last year’s Christmas shopping and here we go again!

Making the transition from holidays to back-to-school takes some doing, but all you need is to be organised to help ease your child seamlessly back into school and to manage your own stress. Get your shopping done early, and what’s easier than shopping on-line from the comfort of your chair? You might think it's far too soon to think about back-to-school things, but when shopping on-line, keep delivery times in mind and with only 4 - 6 weeks lying ahead before the new term starts, it's not too soon at all. RedBubble has plenty to offer for school kids - from clothing to bags to stationery, you’ll find something of everything in my portfolio.

Some kids feel nervous or a little scared on the first day of school because of all the new things: new teachers, new friends, and maybe even a new school. Luckily, these "new" worries only stick around for a little while and sporting a brand new school drawstring bag or laptop sleeve goes a long way to creating some excitement on the first day.

Stand out from the crowd with a brand new Drawstring bag. These 15.5” x 19.5” bags are large enough for books, a pair of sneakers, some sandwiches and even the spare wheel of your bike! lol!

Organise your life and keep track of all the kids’ and your activities with a unique calendar of beautiful artworks, each of which can be framed separately once the year is finished. Highlight family activities and everyone's major commitments. This helps make planning easier, while pinpointing conflicts. RedBubble calendars are printed using marvellous futuristic technologies, so complex I can’t go into them here, but I can tell you they are lovingly printed on a luscious 200gsm satin art paper at the striking size of A3 (that’s 297×420mm, or 11.69×16.54″). They also have very handy wire binding so you can hang them from things like ‘hooks’ on exciting places like ‘walls’!

You can view all my calendars here.

Keep laptops safe, clean and protected with one of these lovely Laptop Sleeves. The small ones (12") are also ideal for tablets and the medium and large are excellent for papers, files and documents.

Studio pouches are ideal for pens and pencils, rulers, erasers, your cell phone (the large one comfortably takes a tablet), even a sami or two! And for the ladies they make perfect evening or day-time clutch bags.

Tote bags are perfect for toting books, tablets, phones, laptops, sandwiches and your swimming costume. These bags have the selected design printed on both sides and come in three sizes - Small 13"x13", Medium 16"x16" and Large 18"x18".

RedBubble's Spiral Notebooks and Hardcover Journals make it easy to keep track of homework assignments and other appointments, jotting down quick notes or making sketches. They're small enough to fit into studio pouches and any of the bags and are beautifully printed with a unique piece of artwork.

I also have a selection of iPad, Laptop, iPhone and Galaxy phone cases and skins available to personalise and beautify your gadget of preference, so be sure to pop over and have a look!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Trending on RedBubble - Succulents

Our quest for wellness and beauty has taken us far and wide. The journey has taught us to value the extraordinary potency of plants humans have relied on through the ages. Aloe is nature’s ultimate healer and rejuvenator. The world over, users revere aloe for it’s numerous properties. Healing, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, Anti Bacterial, Anti-Viral and Anti-Parasitic – and those are only the ways in which aloe helps in maintaining personal wellness.

Maybe it’s their chubby shapes or simply the fact that you can go a whole week without watering them, but I'm a total sucker for a succulent!

The trendy little plants started invading households everywhere as DIY terrariums became more popular. Their simple geometric shapes, wax shined skin, and bright blooms make succulents an awesome visual inspiration.

Succulents make fantastic patterns perfect for duvets and leggings, scarves and T-shirt and just about any other product. But I think the absolute best part about these succulent designs is that the upkeep for a mug or a tee is about as low maintenance as the actual plants!

Commonly called Bulbinella, which is incorrect as Bulbinella is a completely different species, bulbine is effective in preventing skin infection, healing and soothing cuts, rashes, insect bites, burns, cold sores, pimples and other skin problems. Its clear and soothing gel forms an invisible ‘seal’ over the wound, protecting against bacteria and providing ongoing relief and healing throughout the day.

It is a very attractive succulent indigenous to South Africa which needs little attention, and thrives in most soil types and in most weather conditions. The juice from the leaves is used in creams, and can also be applied to eczema, burns, rashes, fever blisters and stings etc. I often use it on cuts and scrapes I might pick up while working in the garden.

A painting of an Aloe ferox in my garden. Each winter my aloes put up the most spectacular show of orange, brightening up the dull winter landscape. I can feel the season is turning already, gets lighter much later in the mornings and soon (well, roundabouts June/July) I’ll be blessed with their beauty again.

An Echinopsis hybrid. Columnar or Torch cactus. Native to the Andes Mountains, South America. It has withstood many a winter’s frost. The other cactus is wishful thinking on my part!

Euphorbia cooperi (or Lesser Candelabra Tree, Transvaal Candelabra Tree, Bushveld candelabra euphorbia), is indigenous to South Africa. Found in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Swaziland up to Messina in the Limpopo Province, prefers well-drained soils and is mostly found in rockier places, often on granite outcrops and in rock cracks or in wooded grassland and thorny scrubland, in planes and in steep hillsides on north-facing slopes. This spiny succulent grows 4-7 m tall and produces small yellowish-green flowers in spring and summer.

Cactus - Cereus jamacaru - Hardcover Journal 

The Peruvian Apple Cactus, Cereus repandus (syn. Cereus peruvianus), is a large, erect, thorny columnar cactus found in South America as well as the nearby ABC Islands of the Dutch Caribbean. It is also known as Giant Club Cactus, Hedge Cactus, cadushi and kayush. With an often tree-like appearance, the Peruvian Apple Cactus’ cylindrical grey-green to blue stems can reach 10 meters (33 ft) in height and 10-20 cm in diameter. The nocturnal flowers remain open for only one night. Unfortunately this plant has been declared an unwanted “invader” in South Africa due to it’s fast-spreading habit. (Incorrectly referred to as Cereus peruvianus in South Africa.)

Hardcover Journal - open

Die Kaktus Cereus peruvianus (of Een-nag blom) is ’n boomagtige kaktus, partymaal tot 10m hoog, wat vir net een nag van die jaar asemrowende wit blomme voort bring. Ongelukkig is hierdie kaktus as ’n ongewensde indringerplant verklaar in Suid Afrika as gevolg van hul gewoonte om uiters vinnig te versprei. Daar is groot verwarring oor die eintlike naam van hierdie kaktus, aangesien Cereus vir heelwat kaktussoorte gebruik word. Die spesienaam, peruvianus, dui aan dat dit endemies is aan Peru, maar dit is ’n botaniese fout. Hierdie plant is eintlik endemies aan Brasilië, Uruguay en Argentinië.

Hierdie een groei langs Solly se kaia op ons plot (Tarlton, Gauteng, Suid Afrika) en hy was verskriklik ontsteld toe ek voorstel ons moet dit verwyder. Nou is hy die dood voor die oë gesweer as ek sou sien dat dit enigsins versprei!

Aloe ferox (also known as the Cape Aloe, Bitter Aloe, Red Aloe and Tap Aloe), is a species of arborescent aloe indigenous to Southern Africa. It is one of several Aloe species used to make bitter aloes, a purgative medication and also yields a non-bitter gel that can be used in cosmetics.

Die Bitteraalwyn (Aloe ferox), inheems aan Suid-Afrika, is ’n struik wat deel is van die aalwynfamilie. Die plant blom vanaf Mei tot September. Die struik is ’n stadige groeier met ’n enkelstam en dik, doringrige, vlesige blare en buisvormige, oranje-rooi blomme. Dit is ’n uitstekende struik vir die rotstuin en verkies vol son en matige water. Die sap van die blare word vir medisyne en skoonheidsprodukte gebruik.

Indigenous to South Africa, Aloe ferox is unique in the concentration of its active ingredients and the versatility of its application. Indigenous to South Africa, Aloe ferox is unique in the concentration of its active ingredients and the versatility of its application. Plants have been part of the traditional healing practices for centuries. Historical evidence taken from ancient archives show that African aloes have been used since Egyptian, Roman and Greek times in treating the likes of burns, sunburn, injuries to the skin, stomach ailments and to protect skin against the elements.

There are more succulent designs to follow so if you're a succulent-lover, please make sure that you stop by again!