Friday, 7 March 2014

words to live by: do more of what you love

"do more of what you love"

i don't think this is a quote that can be attributed to any one person... i've seen it pop up all over the place, but correct me if i'm wrong! anyways, this is something that i've been trying to prioritize a lot more since the beginning of this year.

i can't speak for everyone, but i've been realizing that in many cases we've been almost 'programmed' to think that doing something we enjoy is inherently not a worthwhile way to spend our time. i've also realized that is an absolutely ridiculous way of thinking. is it not the primary goal of virtually everyone to be happy? and how do we expect to be if we don't fill our lives with things that make us feel that way? i want to spend most of my time doing things that fulfill me and make me happy and inspired. i think most people do, but as time passes i have been realizing that (a) it's something you need to actively work at if you want it to happen, and (b) i haven't really been.

that being said, of course there are responsibilities everyone (well, most of us) must attend to. i'm not saying go quit your job and/or drop out of school... though i know there are people out there who have done just that, bought a plane ticket, and never looked back! i'm not quite at that level of risk-taking yet, but i am trying to snip away the bits of my life that are bringing me down, so to speak, and replace them with things that do the opposite.

it's quite the task, though it might not seem like it. i mean, just do things you enjoy... how can that be hard, right?! and maybe for some people it isn't, but for some of us breaking habits like procrastination and long-standing feelings of obligation to things you don't want - or need - in your life isn't just a snap. it's a process of gradually re-forming your life so the centre, not the outskirts, is what you're passionate about.

because, the thing is, life is going to pass by regardless of how you spend your time. and i can be honest: that thought terrifies me a bit! however, to keep this self-constructed responsibility of achieving fulfillment from filling you with anxiety (because that's a bit counter-productive), my advice would be to start with small changes. changes that will slowly re-construct any preconceived notions of your priorities, and re-affirm the fact that you are truly in control of your own life and happiness (read some more of my thoughts on that here). at least, that's what i'm trying to do... we'll see how it goes :P

overall, actions speak far louder than words... and i think that doing more of what you love is a great example of this :)

read more of my 'words to live by' posts here!

Friday, 28 February 2014

DIY ombré glitter mason jars

so, i know my last tutorial also involved glitter... but yeah, not gonna lie, i just like sparkly objects. i'm like a magpie that way :P anyways, i've seen tons of mason-jar-decorating posts on pinterest and i think they're the coolest. i was also watching a youtube video by blair fowler recently in which she shows some that she painted and added glitter to the lids. i thought it would be cool to make an ombré effect with the glitter, and this idea was born.

i personally love mason jar crafts; i think they have this unique retro feel about them, and i love to modify/decorate/personalize things. i have tons of other ideas of ways to decorate them that i want to try out - so this might turn into a bit of a series!

the supplies for this are pretty straightforward: jars, paint, glitter and/or glitter paint. i also used a matte polymer medium while painting the ombré effect. it isn't necessary, but you can mix it in with the paint to make the colours somewhat transparent (and more... spreadable) which helps with blending. finally, i recommend spraying on a clear sealant afterwards (the one caveat of glittery objects is that glitter gets everywhere... but this step helps prevent the fallout!)

STEP 1 - obtain mason jars
(okay, this isn't really a step, but i wanted to start with a picture of the unadourned jars, so just go with it...) i found these at the dollar store. i liked them because they didn't have an embossed brand name on them like the kerr & ball ones do - sometimes that can definitely add to the mason jar charm, but for this particular 'look' i preferred plain ones.

STEP 2 - the base

choose a color and get layering until it's opaque. it's up to you if you want to make the lid a completely different colour - it can make the ombré a bit more 'dramatic', or you can depend more on the glitter for that effect (i did one of each so you can see the difference).

protip: use a blowdryer to speed the drying time between layers! i'm super impatient so i use this trick alllll the time. if you try to add another coat while the paint beneath is wet, you'll find your brush will just smudge/push the lower layer over the glass since it's a slick surface. this can add bumps and ridges, so just make sure it's dry first.

STEP 3 - the ombré

wheee. i ♥ blending. this is where the medium can come in handy, by 'thinning out' the colour and making it more blendy. it also extends drying time so you have more time to make adjustments. again, though, it's not necessary. i used metallic gold & silver since i love the look of them, but you can use any colour combination, metallic or not!

you can start to see how the ombré on the navy/gold jar is more 'dramatic' with the completely gold lid since it goes from one completely opaque shade to another. i just used a thinner overlay for the periwinkle one. the more intense your ombré, the longer it will probably take - i can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to blending (and eventually just had to tell myself to STOP!).

if you don't have much painting experience, blending might be new/frustrating. it's something you kind of just have to get the feel of... but that's the worst advice ever, so here's some more: try to choose either vertical (as i did) or horizontal brushstrokes and stick with it. with my vertical strokes, i started the brush at the top by the lid and 'pulled' it down the side of the jar. the trick is not adding too much paint to the brush, so the colour naturally tapers out. for the navy one, i initially extended the gold a bit too far down and simply took the blue paint and pulled it 'up' from the bottom of the jar to let it take back more territory. usually the intermediate shades between will emerge on their own but you can also mix some outright if you find it helps!

really though, just start painting. you can always paint over it and start again if you mess up!

best part, as always! for the periwinkle one, i sprinkled loose glitter onto wet silver glitter glue around the rim to make it thicker. then i used my finger to apply silver glitter glue to the actual jar part (i didn't want to mess up my brushes by using them with glue... good times). i also sprinkled more loose glitter just under the rim.

similar process for the other, but i didn't have any loose gold glitter so i used gold glitter glue in copious qualities for the lid (it literally took all night to dry). i also had some blue/purple glitter glue i layered on top of the gold since i thought the colours worked well together. all of the glitter glue i used had chunkier glittery bits (i do like my sparkle) but the finer stuff would work too.

same idea for the ombré effect: make the glitter more opaque at the top and thin it out as you go further down. again, spraying on a clear sealant (i used krylon acrylic crystal clear gloss) at the end will help with glitter fallout!

and that's it! i'm giving the periwinkle one to my mom since that's her favourite colour (surprise, mom), and i think i'll use the other for my coloured fine-tip pens, as i'm amassing quite a collection. but they could hold tons of things: flowers, perhaps (or fake ones, like those above... a botanist i am not), pencils, paintbrushes, makeup brushes...

as always, there are tons of customizations you can make to these. the colours, obviously, but you can also even skip adding the glitter if you just like the painted jars on their own, or conversely you can skip painting the coloured ombré and only use glitter. as with most artistic endeavours, the possibilities are endless :)

see more of my DIY tutorials here :)

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

what i wore 002

derp. so, this WIW is super delayed, because for some reason this picture gave me a bunch of grief! i think i ended up redrawing the head 3 times. i'm not even sure why; it's not even a difficult pose or anything! ah well.

but, anyways... here's numero dos in my what i wore series :3 i spent some more time on this one and think i'm already getting a better hang of them. human faces are hard ;__; faces'n'hands, the bane of so many artists' existence(...s?)

i find digital art can be quite unforgiving in some ways; it seems easier to mask mistakes in a sketch! buttt getting past that is one of the things i'm trying to practice. (and not "cheating" by colouring under sketches ;) ...or making it look ~sketchier~ like i did for my last one. ha.)

(as satisfying as braids are to draw, i've made a mental note to wear my hair differently for the next one... haha.)

cardigan - bootlegger
dress - h&m
belt - ardene
boots - payless