Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2017 resolutions


Happy New Year! A lot of you will be reading this on our first day back at work after our festive breaks, and hey – we made it through! I hope you had a good Christmas and a relaxing break. Quite frankly I’m wishing that I had two weeks more! I’ve been meaning to pen this post for a while, and it’s a bit of a tradition here on The White Journal. I’ve said it before, but I know there’s a lot of posts around that are talking about resolutions and goals, as well as people looking back on the past year. Personally I love these types of posts – I find reading about other people’s goals and ideas really inspiring and often give me thoughts for my own. I know that some people resent the ‘New Year, new you’ mindset, and that’s fine. I don’t think New Year is solely for that purpose, but it is a good time to reset and recharge, and maybe even the only time of the year where you’ll specifically put some time aside for that purpose.

I started last year with the ‘One word’ concept. (In brief, this is simply a single word that you’d like to focus on for the year – whether it encompasses the ideas behind all your goals or is another element altogether). Last year, my word was Push. This year, it is ‘Focus’.

They follow on from each other, I think. They are similar but I think focus is the right one for me – last year was about trying new things and different things, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and pushing forward rather than staying stagnant. I’d like to continue on that thread for this year, but I feel like I am more resolved in what I want to do, and who I want to become. This year, I’d like to;

on ME

It’s time to be selfish. Sometimes, selfishness is necessary. Self care is so important, and though it seems to be a bit of a buzzword nowadays, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. Whether it’s relaxing in the evening with a book, taking a long bubble bath or even taking some counselling sessions, it’s unique to you and oh so necessary. I need to learn how to deal with my stress better, and that involves a lot more self care. I have a terrible habit of turning on myself when things go wrong and I need to look after my mind more. I need to focus on my mental state, and trying my hardest to ensure I don’t get enveloped in the dark blanket of depression again. For me, this will probably be the hardest goal I’ve ever set, but hopefully one that will be ingrained for years to come. I tend to feel guilty having to say no to things, to taking on too much freelance work, to putting others before myself and not listening to what I want. Selfishness doesn’t sound like a good goal, or a nice word. But I think we all need to step back and do it sometimes – for our health as well as others.

On my body

Basically a sub-path from the above – only I’ve put it as a separate goal. (I could do the same for ‘mind’ but I’ve briefly mentioned that above and a lot of that is private stuff I’d rather not share on the internet). I had exercise on my resolutions 2016 goals and I’m happy to say I started Pilates last year. I’d like to continue classes in 2017 and really strengthen my core and correct my posture. I’d also like to find a moderate/vigorous exercise that I enjoy. Unfortunately this one will require a bit more motivation! I’ve put on a little too many pounds for my liking, and I’d like to reduce the tummy. Not only that, but I think if I do involve myself with more exercise, it will help my mental well-being, too. Starting seems to be my first hurdle, but one I’d really like to tick off the list.
(Ironically, I came home to a gym membership leaflet being pushed through my door. I’d hate to be a typical January cliché, but you never know).

on my illustration

I’ve come to a bit of a realisation recently, that I call my illustrator and yet I don’t really share (or do) much illustration. I have some old pieces in my portfolio but I’m prolifically a graphic designer before anything else. I adore illustration and I’d really like my career focus to be on that instead. I plan on working my butt off and proving (to myself, and the world) that I am an illustrator, and I will make a living off it. I’d like to open my own online store at some point this year selling prints of my art, as well as setting up an online portfolio. For now, I’m posting arty exploits over on my Instagram if you fancy following along on this journey.

Focus is quite a broad term but I know it will be needed this year if I want to make bold strides ahead of where I am now. I don’t think it’s impossible, but it will need a lot of determination, motivation and help from others, too. I really hope 2017 will be a good year – for all of us – and we’ll look back in a year’s time and think, ‘let’s do that again’.

Friday, 30 December 2016

DIY Hanging Ornament


I’m really excited to (almost) kick off the new year sharing a collaboration with you guys. Throughout 2017 I’ll be pairing up with Cass Art and be participating in different challenges along the way. The first challenge is all about inspiration and creativity, as part of their #BeInspired campaign.

I find a lot of my inspiration comes from browsing the internet and speaking with other creatives online. It’s no secret that Pinterest is a huge source of inspiration for me and many others, and I’d definitely recommend having a look if you’re after some crafty ideas.

I know some people feel like they don’t have a creative bone in their body, but I just don’t think that’s true! If you’ve ever made a card, drawn a doodle, arranged a mantelpiece or even decorated a notebook, it all counts. I have my fingers in many pies when it comes to creativity and crafts, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Following a simple DIY is being creative and I’m sharing one with you today, using some basic tools and materials.

The materials you will need are: DAS Modelling Clay in white, DAS Idea Mix (Red or blue), Craft Knife, Rolling pin, Twine, Needle, Nail File

The main material for this post is the DAS Air drying clay. I’ve been using this clay for years and years and it is great value for money – it lasts ages and doesn’t dry out thanks to the re-sealable packet. I was really happy to see they now do it in different colours too – much easier than having to paint it afterwards as well as being able to create a marbled effect, which we’ll do in this DIY.


Step one
Mixing the Clay

Grab a chunk of white clay and a smaller piece of the coloured clay. Roll them both into sausages and wrap the thinner coloured piece around the white. Squish it all up together and use your hands to knead it into a ball.


Step two
Keep rolling (rolling, rolling)

Take your rolling pin and roll it out. The DAS rolling pin I am using has bands that slip on and off and are a great way to keep the clay even in width. For reference, I took of the larger bands and kept the smaller ones on, so the clay was about 3-4mm thick.


Step three
Making your shapes

Cut out feather shapes using a craft knife. Search ‘Feather shape’ on Google images if you need some references. With the rest of the clay, take pieces and roll them into balls to make beads. Create a mixture of medium and small sized balls, and use a large needle to poke through the middle to make them into beads. The hole has to be big enough to thread through your twine so bear this in mind!


Step four
Sand and glaze

I find cutting clay with a craft knife leaves quite a rough edge. To soften all the feather edges and to get rid of any lumps, you can simple sand these off. Because the shapes are so small and some of the edges will be delicate, instead of using sandpaper, use a nail file! It’s perfect for getting into the small angles. Using DAS Glossy Effect varnish, paint the shapes to give them a professional, glazed finish.


Step five
Piecing it together

Now for the fun part, putting it all together! Take your twine and cut 5 pieces in various lengths. Tie them all together and use a separate piece to tie around the knot and create a loop. Thread your beads on to the various pieces of twine and knot after each one – stagger these down each of the pieces so they don’t all end up at the top. Remember to leave enough loose twine at the bottom of each strand so you can attach the feather shapes. Tie the end of your strings around the quill of the feathers.

That’s all there is to it! I’ve hung mine on a door and I love the way it looks – the blue of the DAS Idea Mix clay marbled with the white gives it an almost ethereal look. It’s a definite nod back to my days of being a teenager and having a Dreamcatcher in my room – only a bit more sophisticated!

The beauty of this, and any DIY or project you ever make, is that is can always be customised to your preferences. You can make the choices and adapt things to suit – having a starting point is always handy, but you can really let your creativity go wild from there!

Do let me know if you make your own or if you’ve got any ideas to share as to what else we can make with the DAS clay. Don’t forget to have a browse of the #BeInspired hashtag on social media to have a look what other creatives have made for this Cass Art challenge and get a bit of inspiration for your next project!


Thursday, 15 December 2016

2017 Busy B Diary


Day a page Diary
Busy B

The plan for 2017 is to hustle, and to hustle hard. There’s a lot of things I’d like to achieve next year and that means a lot of extra work. Extra work on top of normal life stuff = planning, and lots of it.

I used a diary for this year and, though I often have days without any plans at all, I use the pages to simply write to-do lists and notes for things that I need to remember. I’m a hugely visual person and I find it massively helps for me to get my thoughts down on paper, rather than have them as a jumble in my head.

My new diary is a 2017 Day a Page Diary from a UK stationery brand called Busy B, and is certainly a thing of beauty. Gold foiling, navy, cream and a pastel pink? Yes please! Compared to my current, beaten up thing, this is a huge step up. It’s a lot sturdier, with a hardback cover and a nice elastic closure to keep it all together. It also has an elasticated pen loop on the side so you can carry it with you and not have to scramble in your bag for a pen!

One of my bug-bears with most diaries is that they have plenty of space in the week, but hardly any for the weekends. Considering most of my plans happen at the weekends, it seems a bit silly to sacrifice space for the week - especially as a lot of us have day jobs and any plans we do have are just little evening jaunts. This is a day a page diary, so there’s plenty of space for every day of the week. I won’t always have enough lists, notes or plans to fill an entire page but that doesn’t matter – I just love the idea of having the space to write down my scribbles and know it will all be in one place.

The diary runs through from January 2017 to the 1st of January 2018, but it also has a 2018 year planner on a double page spread, as well as pages for important birthdays, useful websites and notable dates.

I adore the look and style of this diary, and I suppose it seems silly that appearance can make such a difference for an object as useful as this, but I do think that the aesthetic will make me use it more! I’ve already started decorating the pages with stickers, and come the first of January I know I’ll be very proud to carry it with me and show it off!

Busy B have a huge range of beautiful stationery on their website, including other diary formats, calendars and notebooks. Their colour palettes are most definitely on point and I really recommend having a browse – do let me know what your favourite is down in the comments :)

I was kindly sent the diary to review but, as always, all views and opinions are unbiased.


Friday, 9 December 2016

DIY Envelope Liners

charley harper

Happy December! We're getting our tree this weekend and its high time I write my Christmas cards. I love the notion of sending things all year round, cards for birthdays, for thank yous, for little notes just to say hi - but I know the festive time is when people do it most. I love the traditional aspect of it all - it feels a lot more personal than sending a text or email sometimes. No matter what it is you’re sending, I’m sharing a really simple DIY that adds an extra special touch.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I always make my cards, and, whether they’re homemade or not, lining envelopes make them look so much more fancy, and I definitely recommend it! It’s actually really easy to do and makes it feel that little bit more unique. All you’ll need is some paper that you’d like to use for lining and the envelope the card is going in. You can use any paper you like - brown or patterned, even newspaper or wrapping paper. The thicker the paper, the easier it is to slide in, but be sure to score the fold line well or the envelope will struggle to close.

Tutorial handmade envelope liner

Step One

Take your envelope and measure the width. Minus 2cm off this figure and measure that out on your piece of paper.

Step Two

The insert doesn’t have to be the full height of the envelope, only enough so you can’t see the edge when your recipient opens up the flap. I measure approximately an inch up from the bottom, or about where the paper meets in the middle section of the envelope. Line your envelope up in between the width lines you just made.


Step Three

Trace around the shape of the top of your envelope and cut out your shape.
Before we glue it down, we’ll add folding to make it easier for the next few steps. Place your piece inside and align it to the envelope. The top edges will sit in the middle, which is the 2cm we took off earlier. Holding the pieces together firmly, fold down the top flap and both pieces of paper. Bring the envelope flap up, and press the fold of the lining to make sure the fold is nice and sharp.

art design blog england

Step Four

Glue around the edges of your paper with either a glue stick or a tape runner. A glue stick is easier for thinner paper in case you need to reposition it.

art design blog england

Step Five

Carefully open your envelope and pull the front of it up as best as you can, to make the gap in the envelope as wide as possible. Slide in your lining and align the fold lines on your two pieces. Press down so they adhere together.

That’s all there is to it! I think this is a really great thing to add on to cards and envelopes. If you do create your own cards, you can design envelope liners to match and make a pattern so they both coincide.

Let me know if you do make your own envelope liners and give me a tweetso I can see! :)

DIY envelope liner handmade

uk blogger craft art