Thursday, 30 January 2014

Illustration Day: mermaid

I have been working on illustrations on which to base a new range of pendant jewellery and tote bags. I use thick cartridge and Indian ink as well as ink pens to draw with.

This collection is called Ladies of Lore, and so far I have drawn a Countess Bathory, a Medusa, and a Siren!!

Today's illustration is the Siren of Song!


Find me on TWITTER

............................................................................................................... Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy! ...Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Setting up my filofax Metropol A5

As you may have read in previous posts, I have a filofax, and i love it! Cherry red vinyl, large paper capacity, cool pockets, two pen loops..everything is great except for the filofax inserts.

So over the last few days, I have been creating my own templates, and making my own cardboard pocket inserts, and doing all sorts of things to my new filofax to make it work for me.

This is what I have so far, under the headings as i posted about in an earlier post, information; study; home; business; and ideas.

How do you personalise your organisers/filofax?

This is where I can stick sticky notes, or reminders , tickets, things i need to pay attention to, BEFORE i even get into my filofax.

there are also some sticky notes attached to the ring binder, next to my dashboard so i can locate and use them easily!

I needed a DASHBOARD for my filofax.
A dashboard is like the central control of the filofax and is the first goto place for information.

I created a 'don't forget' page on my computer, printed it on A5 paper, and then laminated it.
(items can be stuck with washi tape and easily removed when no longer needed)


As i mentioned in my initial filofax post, I am not intending to usemy filofax as a replacement for my diary, so I do not need all the diary pages. I would, however, find it handy ot have a calender for the year as reference. I may need to know what date i next get paid on, for example, which is always a good day!

 I created my own calender and printed it on A5 paper. There is one I have uploaded if you would like the page to print.


I read a lot, and I also am studying as well as working full time. I would like a place to keep a record of books i want, need, have,.. so I designed a book list for myself and printed it on A5 paper. 

The template is available to download.



I do not like the vanilla manilla dividers provided by filofax, so i bought some lovely card making printed card stock, (A4) cut it in half, punched holes in it, and have some lovely gothic type divider paper!!
 Shopping List

I want to be able to stash my basic goto grocery list somewhere handy, so I created a cutesy strawberry themed grocery list, printed it on A5 , punched holes in it, and have my very own shopping list pages!!



can't have too many pockets. I created this page by cutting two A5 pieces of card, lining and taping together with washi tape, then punching holes in it.

Makes two pockets, looks good, and is useful!

How do we support cottage industry?

One of my goals for 2014 is to be more active in promoting and supporting cottage industry, small family businesses, arts and crafts, and markets.

I have set up a page on facebook to help me with this goal, the page is called Support Cottage Industry (ironically..)  but trying to get people to help me support them seems to be rather difficult!  I ask them to share to help the page get more fans, to add their links and promotions to the page, but it is like getting blood from a stone.. or like getting chocolate out of my hands...

Many of the people i have invited to use the page to help promote their wares, are the very people who oft complain that nobody supports their handicraft endeavours..yet when i try to support them.. they do not seem motivated enough to help me to help them.

Not all businesses that deserve promotion are on facebook, so on the page i created  I also add information about bricks n mortar stores, places I have been to that are quality home grown amazing stores, to help to promote them.  

To keep cottage industry alive we all need to support them, buy from them, word of mouth promote them. Let us not be the ones five years from now who look with melancholy at a piece of handiwork we bought at a market years ago and say  ... ' of course they dont do craft markets anymore, everything is mass produced these days'.....

............................................................................................................... Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy! ...Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Vegetarian/Vegan cupcakes

I am a Vegetarian and have been for a very long time, I also do not like eggs and rarely consume milk. I do however LOVE cupcakes. So I have created my own recipe for cupcakes that is working well, the cakes are yummy and light and oh so cupcakey good.. and they are Vegetarian..Vegan even as there are no animal products in them.

If you are interested this is my recipe. (please note it has worked well for me, and we like them.. do not blame me if yours dont work out!!)

Feel free to share your own Vegan recipes in the comments too.

· 1.5 cups self-raising wholemeal flour
· 0.5 cup rice flour
· 3/4 cup coconut sugar
· 3/4 cup cooled freshly made green tea
· 125 ml of olive oil
· 1 tspn baking soda
· 1 teaspoon freshly ground vanilla bean
· Squeeze of half a lemon

Preheat oven to 180 C
sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl
make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients
in a separate bowl or jug mix the wet ingredients together
pour them slowly into the middle of the bowl , stirring lightly
spoon mixture into patty pans
bake in oven for ten to fifteen minutes
take them out to cool

then ice or decorate as desired

makes between 12-20 cupcakes depending on patty pan size

here are some iced in green , with edible glitter and fondant ladybirds...

here is a batch just out of the oven!!

A variation is to substitute orange juice for the lemon, and 1 tblsn of raw cacao to make chocolatey ones

mmmm cupcakes..........

What are your fave Vegetarian or Vegan recipes? 

please feel free to add them in the in the comments


............................................................................................................... Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy! ...Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy!

Friday, 24 January 2014

personalising my filofax my way : Dividing to conquer

The filofax Metropol A5 binder is definitely impressive, it has two pen slots, a heavy duty snap fastening clasp, one large pocket and 10 small pockets inside the front cover, and one mesh pocket inside the back cover. The vinyl is tough and looks good and the stitching around the binder is impeccable. The colour is happy but not gaudy, and the ring binding mechanism is sturdy.

Do i have any complaints about my new filofax?
Oh yes indeedy I do.

Why oh why filofax people do you make such gorgeous and useful and strong binders, only to ruin the image with your hideous and unimaginative inserts?  The paper is thin, the printed address sheets, to do lists, and personal information pages are poorly designed, and do not get me started on the dividers!!!

the inserts the filofax came with

The main reason I wanted the filofax is for the superb binder, so this is ok. I can deal with the insert issue. I am creative, I have a computer, and i have a printer, and i know what i want!

First to decide how i want to organise my filofax, as this will determine what templates i need.

I am thinking that five MAIN divisions will be the best option for me and i can make subdivisions within each main heading. I do not want my filofax to contain things about my day job, as this organiser is something for me to support my creativity, organisation, and self education.

The five main tabs dividing the filofax that work best for what i want are:

  • Information: calenders, maps, train timetables, time conversions
  • Study: information about the current course i am doing, additional and required reading, and notes
  • Business: this is about my etsy store where i sell my handcrafted goodies; craft suppliers, and customers
  • Home: grocery lists, budget, to do lists for home
  • Ideas: where i will put sketch paper to draw designs, or stick swatches of fabric , or work on blog posts
I bought a pack of five A5 dividers from Marbig, they were $2.45 from Officeworks; the prepunched holes do not match up with the filofax' but that is just a matter of punching new holes in them which was easy and doesn't look silly. 

The A5 Marbig dividers in my filofax
The Marbig dividers have colourful plastic coated tabs, and come with a sturdy index page as well.

I can then use the A-Z and the numbered tabs that came with the filofax as subdividers (after I have decorated them to make them interesting!)

While I am talking about the dividers, I want to share this little tip with you: not all your to do lists need to be kept forever as an indelible part of your organiser, sometimes they are just quick notes to be thrown away as soon as the task is complete. This is why i made myself a laminated page to stick sticky notes on to, these can then be discarded when no longer needed!

sticky notes (new or with memos on them) can be stuck on this laminated page

So there you have it, dividers ready to go, and onto creating templates for my filofax!

Feel free to comment!

............................................................................................................... Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy! ...Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

I am the proud owner of a filofax, let the creativity begin

I have wanted a genuine filofax since I first read about them in some glossy magazine my Mother was reading, way back in the 1980s. Of course as a child I did not have the money to buy myself a filofax, nor really did I have the need for one.

This however did not prevent me from finding out about them, and also making my own version with old ring binders and DIY decorated paper inserts.

Filofaxes have an interesting history dating back to the early 1920s which may surprise some who may have believed them to be a modern invention.

I use an Alice in Wonderland  non dated diary, made by 7321 Designs,for my usual timetables, meetings, and work travel information, and have done so for the last three years. I am very happy with the Alice diaries and will not be replacing them with a filofax.

However , I still want a filofax!!

The reasons I want a filofax are as follows:

  • the binders are strong and hard wearing
  • binders are available in non-leather (for us Vegetarians) as well as leather and other materials
  • the ring binder mechanisms are strong, and come in a variety of circumferences depending on your personal preference for how much paper you can stuff into the binder
  • there are so many colours and sizes of binder to choose form
  • they have pen holders
  • they have clasps or zips to hold them together
  • they are customisable
  • all sorts of information can be shoved in them and ready at one's fingertips without the need for electricity (or a mobile phone that is charged) to 'boot it up' and get the information out of it
  • you don't have to use them as diaries, their uses as anthologies and compendiums of data are only limited to your imagination
Today I bought myself a filofax.

Tonight I am working on customising it. 

I am creating my own templates on the computer and printing them out for my filofax. It is all very exciting!!  I will tell you more about my customisations of my filofax and what I will be using it for,  plus give you downloadable templates i have created, in later blog posts!.

So three cheers to my new cherry red filofax Metropol A5!!

Anyone else use a filofax or binder type organiser? Feel free to comment!

............................................................................................................... Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy! ...Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Tips for motivation and inspiration

I have been creative for as long as I can recall sentience, however there are times when I just cannot make anything, design anything, think..of anything. Considering i have a small hobby business that sells the things i create, it is a bit of a drag if i can't motivate or inspire creativity within myself!

Stay positive!

Easier said than done, however if you train your thoughts to turn things around to think of them in a more positive way, or as a healthy challenge to overcome, then this can help in a small way to bring your inspiration and motivation back. Do not take on the stress or nasty thoughts of other people, and choose happiness. Nothing kills inspiration and motivation as quickly as depressive thoughts!

Do something different

Are you making something out of clay and the clay just will not take the shape you can see in your head and you are telling yourself you are useless and why on earth did you believe you could do this? Then step away from the bench!! Go for a walk, read a book, smell the roses, and do something different. Then go back to the clay after your mind is refreshed.


Okay so the gorgeous hand knitted bags you re making are just not selling?? Refocus, have a look around market stalls, chat to people, see what is online, and find out what people want at this moment! Refocus and make something else for a while. Knit bags aren't selling, what about knitted scarves for winter instead?
Keep trying different things, find a good seller, and work with that, intersperse other items to sell, but keep your main saleable item a constant!.

What tips do you have to stay inspired and motivated?

What tips do you have to sale the things you make?

Feel free to comment!

............................................................................................................... Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy! ...Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

HANDY INFO: standard paper sizes

Paper sizes:   A3 can be used for LARGE print outs or posters, (its the huge one that doesn't fit in a lot of personal use bargain printers), there is A4 which is standard copier paper size, and B5 is a smallish diary...... but what about A0, C2, B2?

Here are some guides of the A, B, and C standard paper sizes feel free to share them and print them! If you click the image you will get a larger size of the charts. 

I keep copies in my diary and in my craft folder, so I know what page type i need when i am out and about snooping in craft stores and stationers!

............................................................................................................... Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy! ...Please visit me on etsy! handcrafted gothic goodies at bargain prices. see me on etsy!

Tales of a slack blogger

2013 leaped away from me like a horse with thorns under its saddle. My last blog post was in April 2013 , and I am feeling quite depressed about that.

However 2014 is a new year, and I have goals, and I WILL keep them!!

Blogging at least once a week is one of my goals, so please help me get some views...please...otherwise I feel like i am talking to myself..well I am aren't I?

This year I have started a new facebook page where i will put 'pocket' reviews of products I have bought from cottage industry stores, as well as promote and advertise fellow crafty people and artisans.  I will then write larger reviews in my of the products I have bought, used, and pocket reviewed on my Facebook page

My goals this year are:

  1. blog at least once a week
  2. schedule/organise my time efficiently so I can fit in designing, making, blogging, writing, housework; with my day job!
  3. keep new designs ready to sell in my Facebook store page as well as my etsy store
  4. stay positive, keep positive energy and help others to do the same

What are your goals for 2014?

Please feel free to comment !!!