Inspiration – grown up child

illustration of Applejack by 10 year old me

illustration of Applejack by 10 year old me

Applejack. Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful?

I drew this picture of Applejack when I was 9 or 10 years old. Applejack is a creature of My Little Pony, a real southern belle, beautiful as well as bold. She was my favorite of all the Pony’s I’ve owned. I liked her so much that I drew a picture of her.

I was so thrilled that my mum has kept all My Little Ponies for me. In my workspace – my woman cave – I’ve put them all together. Perhaps it sounds silly, a bit whimsical, but as Madeleine L’Engle, an American writer, used to say: “I am every age I have ever been. I was once a child, therefor I am always a child.” Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.

The painter Pablo Picasso also mentioned that every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. That’s why I kept so many things as I can from my childhood. Only the best childhood memories survive in my place and in my heart. I don’t consider them childish. Not anymore, at least. I want to remain the artist I once was when I was a child, as that knowledge give me the spark of vitality I seek this year. And Applejack? She’s my talisman, the reminder of the talents I once possessed and I’d like to restore.

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The blues for mondays

Timon: Hey, he looks blue.
Pumbaa: I’d say brownish-gold.
Timon: No, no, no. I mean he’s depressed.
Pumbaa: Oh.

(act from the animation movie ‘The Lion King’, Disney, 1994)

Hello World!

Is it so blurry outside or is it just Blue Monday? If you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year. And apparently, that day is today, the third monday of January. The holiday season has been gone, apart from Valentine’s day we have to wait for a long time for that joyful spirit. And our New Year’s resolutions are not quite as brilliant as they did two weeks ago.

The weather outside is greyish and blurry. And at work the word ‘work pressure’ is trending. Hmmm… is it coincidence? Apart from my cerebro-spinal (from swimming?) I feel fine. I had a turbulent, but marvelous weekend. And as far as my New Year’s theme, well, let’s just say that I’m taking one step at a time. Just a few weeks ago I wrote about my theme word for 2014, my spark of vitality. It’s the middle of January and so far I only got a list of things that bring me energy. Like painting and drawing, or writing just random stories. Friends who give me energy and friends who longer don’t. My goal to cycle to work every day (so far not so good) and do my daily morning meditation (yeah, so far so good).

So what to do about Blue Monday? At the moment, while posting on this blog, I’m watching a comedy show especially made for Blue Monday. By the way, whoever said women can do two things at a time, it’s not true. In fact, I’m multiswitching instead of multitasking. I believe that apart from the weather you can change any situation, or at least your attitude towards any situation. It’s like when Winnie the Pooh claimed that a tree can fall, but on the other hand, that it might not fall at all. Looking at the bright side of life.

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What did you do today to cure Blue Monday?

Whenever I feel depressed, I go to YouTube or turn on my dvd, and I go directly to my favorite Disney scene of all times. It’s the scene with the flamingo playing Jojo from the movie Fantasia 2000, with the energetic classic music ‘Carnaval of the Animals’, by the brilliant Camille Saint-Saëns.

Or I dance at the old school beat of ‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain. Once someone gave me a tip to ‘fake it until I make it’: if you feel sad or depressed, put on a smile and you won’t feel sad or depressed anymore. It’s true, though, try it. Smile, just like Charlie Chaplin in the movie ‘Modern Times’.

And remember what Pooh says:

‘Today is my favorite day!’

Yes, even if it’s Blue Monday.

Of geographers and explorers

“I’m not an explorer. I am a geographer  (…) A geographer doesn’t go out to describe cities, rivers, mountains, seas, oceans and deserts. A geographer is too important to go wandering about. He never leaves his study. But he receives the explorer there. He questions them, and he writes down what they remember. And if the memories of one of the explorers seem interesting to him, then the geographer conducts an inquiry into that explorer’s moral character.”

(From ‘The Little Prince’, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, chapter XV)

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A few weeks ago a friend of mine announced to have a sabbatical. She decided to take a journey to her past, finding her roots. So she quit her job and bought a ticket to Colombia. And she flew away yesterday.  I don’t know if she’s gonna stay in Colombia, or that she merely transit to another country. She doesn’t know whether she will be back in 6 months’ time, or within a year, or that she may never come back at all. All she know is that there’s nothing left for her to stay.

This complete U-turn in her life got me thinking about stuff lately. I used to have dreams of going on an adventure, like Bilbo Baggins. Climbing the lonely mountains, chasing dragons and exploring new countries. Somewhere between growing up and getting older I lost the urge of taking the plunge towards something that’s outside my comfort zone. However, just like Bilbo, I too have another side of being a homester type. Is it the comfort of a nice home and having a job to pay my mortgage that keep me? Is it the fear for not wanting to leave everything I know behind me, because something worse might happen? Or am I just lazy? I couldn’t help but wonder, what do I really want in my life? Am I truly a wanderer in my secret heart longing for a fresh clean start in another part of this world? Or am I just the traditional type of girl who love the simple life of having a house called a home and friends called a family? Is it possible to be an explorer as well as a geographer?

Photo credit from the motion picture 'The Hobbit - an unexpected journey'

Photo credit from the motion picture ‘The Hobbit – an unexpected journey’

I admire the courage of my friends decision. To leave everything behind and start anew somewhere else. Can I ever do that? Do I ever want to do that? What about you? Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever have the urge to go on an adventure? Do you wish you could just walk out on your life and start somewhere completely new? Or are you happy/satisfied with your life right now, just the way it is, wherever that may be?

Morning Journals

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Ever since I’ve read Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’, I started with morning journals. Morning journals are a diary-styled written composition that I must do every morning, before I do anything else. As soon as I wake up, I’m supposed to write 3 pages with everything that comes out of my heart and my mind. ‘Cause between sleeping and waking up is the best time to write from the heart, as Miss Julia claimed. I’m writing for several months now. At first it was hard, but soon I got the hang of it. It’s just that I’m not really a morning person, and to think that it adds up 30 more minutes in my morning rituals is not really something I like to think about. On the bright sight: it’s kinda relaxing. I feel like it’s a form of meditating. And besides, I finally have a great purpose for my notebook collection.

journaling 2_bewerkt-1As you all can see I have a soft spot for pretty stationary, especially notebooks. But I’m careful not to buy very expensive notebooks. As Geertje Couwenbergh, my writing guru from the book ‘Zin, lust in je leven door te schrijven’ (transl: sense, lust in your life by writing), warned me that if you have very expensive and too pretty notebooks, you’re saving it for ‘brilliant writing stuff’ that  probably will never come. In other words: I won’t use it, because I would consider it too valuable. So I bought mine at local drugstores, typical ‘dollarstores’ and groceries. In the Netherlands I buy notebooks at stores such as Tiger DK, Xenos, Kruidvat, Action and ofcourse Hema. But occasionally – if it’s on sale – I treat myself for stationary at Paperchase or the local warehouse such as V&D and Bijenkorf, and even online.

Behind the scenes shots: my cat Chelsea decided that he should be the center of my photography

Chelsea decided to act like a model with his modeling behaviour

Chelsea decided to act like a model with his modeling behaviour

I don’t use my notebooks for the sole purpose of morning journals. Every page is a blank canvas for me to create things that’s coming out of my mind and my heart. I do have journals for the purpose of quotes (in 2012 I wrote a quote every day), for one sentence-diaries, for writing and drawing idea’s for DIY and crafts, and inspirational journals. And if any of my writings are a possible novel material, I tag it with post-it notes. Because it is my secret wish to ever write a book, preferably a children’s book with my own illustration.

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If you’re interested to learn more about ‘The Artist’s Way’, and about Julia Cameron, you can find it here.

The book “Zin” by Geertje Couwenbergh is – as far as I know – only in Dutch available.

New Year’s theme, a way of life

new years theme1_bewerkt-1Every year is a fresh start for me to pick a theme as my New Year’s resolution. In 2011 it was “coming home”, in 2012 I chose the theme “happiness”, and  last year it was all about “financial balance”.

I find out that choosing just one simple theme to describe how I want to feel or act or focus throughout the year, I accomplish more. Rather than New Year’s resolutions that I intend to keep, but fail the first week of February. And instead of forcing myself into unrealistic resolutions, my theme is kinder to me, for it is not a goal, but a means to the life I want to live, to the person I want to be. It is OK if every now and then I go astray. My theme is more a guru, something that will guide me in the choices I make, in the goals I set and in my plans. It’s a way of life.

A vital spark initiates your life. That spark stays with you until it fades away at life’s end. Your job is to use that spark of vitality to make your life fabulous.

(Reellifewisdom.com)

This year my New Year’s theme will be “Bringing back my Spark of Vitality”. No, it’s not about losing weight, although that would be a bonus. It’s just that a few weeks ago someone mentioned to me that her first impression of me was that I was not so energetic as she thought I would be. And another person thought I was way older than my real age. Harsh? Maybe, but it’s the cold hard truth, and I thank both persons for being honest and for opening my eyes. Apparently I don’t look as energetic as I want to be. And to be honest, a lot of times I feel as old as time itself. The last few years I kept promising myself that I will make time to do the things that I love to do, but most of the time, when I came home from work, I felt so tired and quenched that all I wanted to do was mindlessly surfing on internet or watching tv, even commercials.

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The background of the poster above is something I’ve created myself. I chose words that are synonyms of Vitality and that I like, and put it in Wordle.net.

I want to get my vital spark back to life, so I’d do the things I’d like to do with energy and passion. Vitality will be my word for 2014, to become active and strong physically as well as mentally. Vitality, gaining energy and getting a vigorous appearance. A certain spark. And maybe, just maybe, I will take on the world 🙂 (and actually create something).

Happy New Year – Happy Memories

Hello world,

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Photo: Sebastian Müller – Blurred Lines via unsplash.com

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you a very happy new year. As I always say: ‘life is about creating yourself’. So let’s make some happy memories.

I know we will be faced with a lot of challenges and difficulties in life. Disappointments, setbacks, frustrations and maybe lost. Sadly, that’s life. And as a wise man once said to me:

“Success is getting what you want, but happiness is wanting what you get in life”

That’s why I count my blessings. And so I create this jar with happy memories in 2014. Every time an event, experience or a person makes me smile or truly happy, I will write it on a piece of paper and put this in a jar. Hopefully, at the end of 2014, this jar will be filled with a lot of happy memories. I’ve written the first note already: spending New Year’s eve with my PIL and friends.

HAPPY MEMORIES_bewerkt-1It is a simple jar where once coffee was stored. With a cake coaster, ribbons and other frillies I decorated the jar. I know this idea is not new. I’ve seen lots of these jars in Pinterest and bloglands everywhere, but it is now new to me, worth to try. So what kind of memories to put in?

  • goal achievements;
  • an activity of a bucket list done;
  • blessings;
  • the beauty of life;
  • the name of a person that you’ve known better this year;
  • happy tears-moments

And to end that, I want to quote Neil Gaiman, as I intend to live its words.

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art (write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can) and somewhere in the next year, I hope you surprise yourself." - Neil Gaiman

Picture is from creativeeveryday.com via Pinterest.

2 Little Dogs

2 little dogs“Do you mind if I take a picture of your 2 lovely dogs?” I asked the owner.

The owner smirked. “No, not at all. Please help yourself. Our dogs are used to it. Actually, they’re waiting for you to take that picture, so they can strike a pose.”

What a cuties, I thought, when I looked into their hopeful and curious eyes. And just when I about to take out my camera, they sat up right, with their nose in position, striking a pose. Can 2 dogs even get more adorable?

 

Step inside an illustration

comic artist turned children's books illustrator

This gallery contains 11 photos.

One of the greatest things in The Hague is the museum of children’s books. Especially until 31st of August there’s an exhibition of Thé Tjong-Khing, a famous Dutch (and Indonesian originated) illustrator, known for his wonderful children’s book illustrations. And … Continue reading

Ikea PS Collection contest

What I just read in the magazine of VTWonen (kinda like the magazine ‘Ideal Homes’) is a contest of your favourite Ikea PS Collection. The prize is that you can win a giftcard of Ikea, but if you’re one of the first 250 uploaders, you can win a special digital Ikea camera.

Ikea Knappa photocamera

Ikea Knappa photocamera

Well, I’m in. I just uploaded the only Ikea PS items I have in the house: the vases of Hella Jongerius. It’s in my hallway among my birddecoration.

I just couldn’t decide which one of the photo’s I’m going to publish.

Or this one?

Photo #2

This one?

or a detailed photo?

or a detailed photo?

Just one vase?

Just one vase?

Finally I chose this one below, because it’s the most complete image.

At this photo one of my cat just jumped into the hallway and ‘ruined’ the picture. Well, some might say he ruined the picture, but I say he gave it an extra dimension to the picture 😉

full hallway picture with cat in motion

I don’t know if I’m going to win the main prize, but that camera’s mine!

PS: you can hit ‘like’ to support beautiful pictures here.