inspire(d)

on-my-kindle-lifechanging0magic-of-tidying-up-mycreative

So I bought a Kindle and love it. I have finished two books this month which feels like more than I have read in ages. So using my new kindle and Circle of Pine’s #theyearinbooks as inspiration I thought I would share a little bit of what I am reading. It hasn’t been something I have done on here before so let me know if you find it interesting or not.


I literally finished The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo in an evening and a morning. I seriously think the author is a wee bit crazy but the principals and methodology made a whole lot of sense to me. Her advice is incredibly blunt and potentially sexist at times, such as: “if sweat pants are your everyday attire, you’ll end up looking like you belong in them” but this in fact made it quite amusing to read and I was constantly having a little giggle while reading the book. One caveat is that her fondness for tidying is just not the norm (she was cleaning her house when she was 5) and I think her cultural upbringing makes it hard (or undesirable) to wholly transplant to many “Western” homes.

Aside from the main ideas of the book, one concept that intrigued me is that as children we are not taught to tidy. We are just told to tidy our room and it is almost like we are expected to have some genetic programming on how tidying should be done. But if you think about us as individuals we probably own more things than ever before in history. As a cave person I had my hammer weapon thing and my furry shoes and I probably didn’t mind the bones piling up in the corner of the cave because I was more concerned with my survival.

Confession time here: I just never feel like I get on top of the tidying (separate to cleaning I am not gross). There are always piles of clothes that I haven’t put away after washing and craft supplies that I take out of hiding and then sit on the dining table for days/weeks because it is too much of a hassle to put them away again. But I really don’t want to spend hours a week tidying so that I can vacuum and clean the floors. There are seriously better things to do with my life and the reason this book caught my attention is because it seemed like it might have an out.

Marie Kondi’s tidying method (the KonMari Method) actually makes a huge amount of sense to me. I think more important than the actual process is the underlying philosophy:

  • You should only have things in your house which bring you joy. If it doesn’t bring you joy get rid of it.
  • Properly tidying your house will give you the space and time to properly pursue higher level goals. The author apparently now spends 5 minutes a day putting away things she has used and once a year will spend about an hour reassessing what she owns.

The process itself is pretty simple. Step 1. Discard. Step 2. Organise. The book outlines an order in which this should be done and gives some tips on how things should be organised. But in a nutshell everything has a home.

I have so far only gotten around to the Step 1 Part 1 (cleaning out my clothes). And do you know what – I actually enjoyed tidying! I was getting rid of things that haven’t fitted me in five years (why did I bring them to Italy?) and items given to me by friends that just didn’t work for me. Because I couldn’t then leave my remaining clothes in a pile until I moved onto the next section to discard I did put them away with the KoMari folding technique so that my clothes are all vertically displayed in the cupboard/drawers. Seriously if I do nothing else in this book that will have revolutionised my life!

I am actually excited to start sorting the rest and will let you know how it goes and how I keep up with it.


Also this month I finished Living to Tell the Tale Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s autobiography that I started ages ago. We bought it as part of the Ebook Pack so I have a few more GGM books to go through though no complaint as I love his writing and his biography was beautifully done too.

This month I have started reading: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. We are travelling a bit this month so I will have plenty of train, airport lounge and flight time to consume that and maybe another one even.

getting there

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I feel like it has been more of a slow shuffle into the new year and all that is promises rather than a leap. But I am getting there and starting to work out what I want 2015 to look like.

Until I allocate some time to actually sitting down and writing some posts I thought I would share these iPhone photographs of yesterday’s sunset with you. I just kept taking pictures as it changed and it was so darn pretty. I think sunsets are just about one of my most favourite things in the world. I would estimate that I have spent about 942 hours of my life appreciating the wonder of sunsets. Maybe I should make a book … Or one that is crowd sourced … A world of sunsets.

Anyway, I hope they set you up for a week where you stop to appreciate the magic of the everyday.

a print shop in ljubljana

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You know how some shops are kind of magical? Anthropologie in London, for example, is one of my happy places. I rarely buy anything there but always leave feeling inspired.

When I was in Slovenia I walked into a letterpress shop which left me with the same sort of feeling, although the store itself was completely different. I was instantly charmed by the rustic furniture, letter lights, dark grey walls and small but interesting collection of products. I spent about 10 minutes browsing around a store which is the size of a small room and then another 10 minutes messaging Tim (who had just run a race) trying to justify the purchase of a simple but lovely poster. I eventually bought it and then spent the next 20 minutes speaking to the owner and getting a mini-tour of the public and private workshop.

Marko, has titled himself the ‘foreman'; an English version of a word that has some amusing ‘soviet’ associations. A natural story teller, he told me about the store and explained the provenance of some of the pieces that filled the space.

The shop is fairly new but the workshop has been around for several years. All the cabinets which store the fonts and other pieces have been restored by Marko from old print company stock. The fonts are more a random collection then full sets. And as the workshop has become more well known in the community people have brought in various tools and memorabilia from Ljubljana’s old printing days.

And that was perhaps what I loved most about the store/workshop; its involvement in the local community through workshops and public art projects. Perhaps that is the next step in the consumer experience, not just having an awareness of the story of the product but being involved in it, much like many kickstarter products.

Shopping isn’t a necessity in life but I love how this store is working in the community, promotes creativity and produces beautiful pieces in a lovely space.

I am now pondering if I can head back to Ljubljana for a workshop at some point. Christmas cards maybe …. ?

tipoRenesansa | studio za visoki tisk, Križevniška 16, 1000 Ljubljana

colour seasons for mycreative blog

I am currently doing the Blog Boss ecourse from Decor8 and am feeling super inspired by it. We all get into creative slumps and I felt mine had stuck around to long so when I saw this course was available I jumped on it. I had heard so many good things about Holly’s previous courses so knew I was onto something good.

Several things have stood out for me so far (and it is only half way):

Colour Psychology

not the quirky thing from the 80s which told you what colours you should wear but really just a way of categorising personalities or (in this case) brands. It is totally changing the way I am looking at my blog and what I want to do with it! If you want to find out about it head over to The Brand Stylist where there are several posts on the subject.

Time management

I don’t have a very busy life but don’t seem to get stuff done so I asked Holly who blogs almost daily, has a new baby, writes books etc how she does it. Her answer was really simple and definitely something I am looking into incorporating into my blog and other aspects of my life. When a window of time presents itself just aim to get one thing done. I find that I always think “I have so much to do” panic and do nothing so I think this simple approach will help (although internal struggles might continue).

The picture above is the one project that I needed to get done before going away for the weekend (off to Ljubljana!). I had to make a mood board of my blog’s ‘season’ for my homework for the course. It was so fun doing a physical moodboard with objects I might get addicted. Admittedly I did spend the bulk of the morning handlettering my blog name which was fun. As you can see I have already made some changes around here but there is a little way to go. I am really excited about!

Do you find these helpful? Share with me what has inspired you this week. I would love to know!

a broken chair in a subway

Last week I read this piece by Karmomo on non-attachment to technology. This spoke to me on several levels. Firstly just the principle of non-attachment. I really want to ‘want’ less (irony much). Maybe I am a little bit buddhist or something but I the art of enoughness is something I mostly fail at but often consider. I had never thought about this though in terms of technology. I spend so much of my life on my computer. It is a beautiful tool in that it creates connections, allows opportunities and let’s me catch up on the latest episodes of my favourite shows. But perhaps my reliance on these tools is too strong.

So this week I am practising non-attachment with my technology. That is not to say I won’t use them but will be working on using them less and seeking other means to meet my requirements of connection, entertainment and inspiration. Also rather than saying ‘no’ I am saying yes so these are five things I will do this week:

1. Make a real life inspiration board.

2. Read a book, maybe a real in your hands with pages kind instead of a reader. Where is the line with this one?

3. Take some pictures with my film camera.

4. Talk to a friend about some of the workshops that I am doing (which are all happening online!).

5. Write a letter to a friend.

How about you. What do you think about non-attachment to technology? And what ideas do you have to practise it?

I wouldn’t say I am one of those obvious shout out loud sort of feminists but honestly being a woman and living in the world we live in I don’t know why you wouldn’t be a feminist. Also as I get older I recognise more and more the little ‘unfairnesses’ and more obvious statements of every day sexism in the West (I won’t even get onto the subject of the situation of the vast majority of the world’s women).

Anyway I saw this video the other day …

It is beautifully done but I noted that of the 90 portraits shared only two of them were by female artists.

So I thought I would highlight some female artists from history that you might not have heard about and I think could have been included in this video.

Artemisia Gentileschi

Allegory of Painting by Artemisia Gentileschi

Gentileschi has become more well known in recent years as knowledge of her sort of ‘disappeared’ after her death. However, in her lifetime she was the first female artist to become a member of the Design Academy in Florence and counted the Granduke Cosimo II de Medici and several other royalty as her patrons. Her paintings often represent strong female characters, thought to be influenced by her rape at the age of 17 by her father’s friend who she also studied under.

Sofonisba Anguissola

Sofonisba-Anguissola-self-portrait Anguissola was perhaps less dramatic than her later counterpart, Gentilesche. She excelled in portraiture at a time when women weren’t allowed to study anatomy and nudes and so were limited to portrait compositions. I saw one of her portraits in the Brera Gallery in Milan and loved her modestly sized self-portrait. She seems like she would have been interesting to know don’t you think? She lived into her 90s and this is one of her older self-portraits.

These two ladies aside I was also thinking about Frida Kahlo. And was watching a programme the other day to discover that I knew Tamara de Lempicka’s work without knowing that these famous portraits were made by a woman. I am kind of blown away by these women who must have faced such difficulties in an ‘industry’ that was incredibly male driven on top of living in a much more patriarchal society than now. Wikipedia has a whole list of other women artists through different periods who have also ‘stood out’ if you want to learn about more female artists.

Do you have any favourite female artists from the past, or present? I’d love to learn more!

Image 1: Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, 1630s, Royal Collection (possibly self-portrait)

Image 2: Self-Portrait, c1540, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan (taken by me on my iphone)