Be Better: Canva

Since I plan on starting to regularly post on multiple websites, such as facebook, instagram, and flickr (with mixed success as of yet).. I knew I needed something to help streamline image processing.  I had heard of Canva and am deciding to give them a try.  I went through all of their learning tutorials, because I figured I might as well know how to properly use the program, and because I thought I might learn a thing or two about design (the first is true the second is debatable).  But, I think that for someone without an art background, you probably would learn some fundamentals of good design, such as utilizing white space, or how to pair fonts.  But I personally recommend anyone using Canva to take the hour (I’m not even sure if it took me this long to take all 30 tutorials, but I suppose you should take long enough to actually learn what they’re teaching) and do all of them.  Each one has at least one good tip, or instructions on how to use the program, including short cuts to make it even faster!

Right now, I’m trying to design my wedding invitations, and it’s actually going really well.  I’m sure I’ll share them on here when they are done.  But things that I really like so far about Canva include the variety of fonts for free, and the shapes.  Oh man, do I love those shapes they provide!  Being able to upload my own photos, and quickly and easily turn them into Pinterest worthy blog photos is super exciting.  This is by no way endorsed by Canva by the way, I’m by no way at that kind of level.  I hope to be able to utilize Canva more often for photo editing and prepping, instead of using Photoshop.  I took about 10 minutes and managed to whip this image up.  So, this is my first official image I’ve put out that I designed using Canva.  Still my original photo though.

Does anyone else use Canva?  If so, do  you think it makes processing images faster than more traditional editing software?

sweatereyes

 

Be Better: February Review

So after my first “month” of blogging, and trying to schedule and plan better, how have I done?

Obviously this is being posted on a Monday, and.. well I’m not supposed to be posting on a Monday.  This *should* have been posted last Thursday.  So, why didn’t it?  To be  honest, I think I need to work on my discipline.  It’s not that I don’t *want* to be posting, and writing.. it’s just that it is really easy not to.  So here I am, last day of the month, and lets just say I’m happy that this is a leap year.  The extra day will WILL mean that I will accomplish some of my goals this month.

GOALS:

  1. Finish Mermaid Doll – not done
  2. Complete Four Motivational Pages – two out of four
  3. Have rough copy sketched for four pages of comics – uhhh
  4. Update profile photos on various websites – okay to put off for now
  5. Create business colour scheme and start branding – yes!
  6. Donate hand-crafted items to Charity event at work – yes!
  7. Establish AND follow blog schedule – uhhh.. let’s talk about that

1: So where am I?  Well, I’m not finished the Mermaid Doll.. gah gah gah.  I still need to finish painting the box and I think that she needs a few details added too.  This is going to be my main project for tonight.

2: I’ve completed two motivational pages, and have a third sketched out.  I don’t think it’s reasonable to think I will finish this one AND complete a fourth one.  But, four was a bit ambitious (that would have made it one a week), and they are a bit more labour intensive than I had originally thought.. though drawing these I find very relaxing and when I’m not in the mood to create, but know I should, these are an easy way to get something done.  That being said, next month I may only put two on the goals list so I can make more time for other projects.

3: Comics.. ahh.  I really need to just DECIDE what comic I’m even working on.  One day it’s Thalia, the next it’s the Transit of Valari… obviously I can’t work on both at the same time.  That being said, this is probably my ONLY goal this month that I didn’t make any headway on.

4: Okay, so I haven’t updated my profile pictures yet.. but I have sorted and backed-up a tonne of photos on my computer.  I just ordered new glasses last night, so maybe I’ll wait for them to come to take some new photos.

5: Yay, something I can say I’ve actually done!  I’ve used Canva, an online tool that I will be talking about more next week (err later this week), to start creating my brand template.  I have a new colour scheme picked out, and fonts, and even some design elements.  So one thing I can proudly cross off my list for the month!

6: Where I work (Michaels Arts and Crafts), has an employee supported Charity called Michaels Cares.  The program is help associates in times of severe need, such as life threatening illness, death in the family, or your house burning down.  This year, I really wanted to support the program because I know a friend of mine had to use it last year.  While I haven’t talked much about Gaeten on my blog before, he was a true inspiration to me and his loss is something I still feel.. I’ve been seriously considering writing a post about him, so that’s all I’ll say for now…  But it’s been a big month of fundraising, and I’ve purchased a lot of cupcakes in support.  I’ve donated a few items into the silent arts and craft auction, the topic of my next What I’m Working On post.

7: The Big One.  Did I make a schedule I can actually follow?  Did I follow it?  Kind of and kind of.  I love my written schedule and it fits to nicely on a half page.  But, I also have to admit that last week I didn’t technically get two posts out (or even one), though this post is still within my week (since my schedule runs Tuesday to Monday).  What is working is picking specific things to write about in advance so I’m not racking my brain trying to remember what I’ve done recently.  Now I just need to dedicate myself to FOLLOWING the schedule to a T.  Just remember, Discipline not Motivation.

So, to keep my silly goals of posting, expect my next post later tonight.  After today, I *should* be returning to regular scheduling.

Be Better 2016: Digital Scheduling

Okay, so week two of blogging schedule.  I mentioned last week that I had already adjusted my schedule, but have to admit that this week I’m going to follow last week’s (because I uh.. didn’t write my posts in time this week.  Honesty).  I’m going to use the excuse that I had a week off of work, so I’m allowed to relax once in a while… but relaxing so early into my Be Better 2016 Plan is probably not the best idea for me either.  Regardless, I’m still pushing forward and doing my best.  Last week I shared how I’m attempting to schedule blogging, and plan blogging ahead better so I don’t have to think of what to write about, or feel forced to create so that I can post about something I did that very same day.  I’ve introduced a highlighter to my blog plan, and the colour makes me happy.  Now I just need to figure out how to carry my blog schedule with me more consistently.

But, the blog schedule isn’t the only list I’ve been trying to maintain for the huge life goals I’ve started working towards.  I want to get more consistent cleaning done at home, healthier eating, plus all the little side projects and ideas (all on top of being an artist and working a full time job).  As many of you already know, balancing all of this is really hard, and it’s become apparent to me that trying to create hand-written lists and keep them all up is damn near impossible (for me at least, and I really like lists).  So, I have finally made the step into the 21st century, and last year I got a smartphone all of my own.  I have to admit, technology has gotten pretty cool.  As soon as I got the phone I started looking into time-management and scheduling apps, I tried out a few but decided on one that was king of them all: ColorNote.  I lets you make check-able checklists and test files.  It has a calendar view, and lets you re-new lists on a regular basis (such as daily, or every Tuesday).  I also just learned from looking on their website that you can also re-name the colours so that you stay organized with what each colour is for (nifty).  ColorNote is by far the most customize-able list and schedule app I can find (that’s free too of course), it just takes a bit of time to figure out how to use it.

So my calendar view is a sea of little yellow dots which are for daily tasks.  I’m trying to keep it simple, and not over-divide work or make lists that are a mile long, so I’ve decided that for each day of the week I only have my work schedule (or my usual work schedule), laundry, dishes, cat litter, 15min tidy, plus one room focus.  I think this is a good way to start, since it doesn’t load up any one day with cleaning.  I also have two checklists that stay on the first day of the month for monthly goals, one list for art and creative business goals, and one for house and personal goals.

Over the past week, I’m also thrilled that my partner fixed our internet, so my phone can finally connect to our WIFI at home!  This means I can re-work my morning routine, and hopefully come up with something that works better for me (waking up 20 minutes before I have to leave, and spending about 10 of those minutes laying on the couch has proven to not be the best approach).  I’m going to leave you today with a reminder that it is still winter in Ontario and a sneak peak to what I’ve been working on.

 

 

Be Better 2016: Blog Schedule

Alright, so this is my first post from my new blogging schedule.  As I previously mentioned, I’ve been working on making a proper blog and online schedule, and dedicating myself to finding the best ways to implement it.  You can’t obtain your goals unless you have a good plan.  Blogging and getting myself online is only one aspect of my New Years Resolution, but I’m trying to take things one step at a time, and really iron out each step so that I can actually reach my goals.

So I’ve spent a few weeks and have made a blog schedule.  It’s a completely different approach to blogging for me.. which is why I think it might work.  While I’m definitely using more digital means of keeping track and reaching other life goals (something I plan on talking about in my next Be Better post), I decided to do something more visual and hand-done for blogging.  I picked a cute notebook (one I already had), and divided the page in half.  I have a simple legend, and plan on seeing more and more highlighter throughout the book.  It’s weird but I realized that based on my schedule, it makes way more sense to make my blog week go from Tuesday-Monday.  Once I decided that, the schedule made a lot more sense to me, and just sort of fell into place.  I’ll be sure to update on the success and alterations I make the schedule and how I’m keeping track of it.  I’ve already slightly adjusted the lay-out of the weekly checklists for the coming week, which I’ll share next week.

Did I mention that I’ve finally joined Instagram?  I have to admit, I think me and Instagram are going to be friends.

So while I’m posting this a little late for my Thursday deadline, it’s still in before midnight and therefor a success for following my blogging schedule!  Tomorrow I will be posting an update on what current art I’m working on.

In a World without an End or Beginning.

Hello World.  After a rather extended break, I have returned.  I’ve struggled with exactly how to start back up again online, and I’ve decided to keep true to one of my life mottos and just start.  But that isn’t to say I am just going to wing it, which I must admit was my previous (unsuccessful) approach with blogging.  I’ve really sat down over the last year, and started to sort out what directions I want to go in artistically, and now it’s time to start obtaining those goals.  I’ve started now by making a simple blog schedule, and weekly social media goals.  Since I work full time now, I have a more regular work schedule, which should be able to translate into a more regular online schedule (it WILL, it MUST!).  But blogging on a regular basis is only one slice of my 2016 resolution pie..

Last year, my New Years resolution was to start a more professional website for my art.  I can’t say that I failed at that endeavour.. since I did create a more professional website, however I never actually finished it, and I never updated it.  Crap.  Going back to it, I’m actually still really happy with what I’ve started with and think that I can work with it without major overhaul.  In fact, I even looked through WordPress themes expecting to update this old blog, but was surprised to see that I still love this theme the most (book lite if anyone is curious).  So I’m deciding not to update my core themes, but I do have plans to update photos, bios, and other pages.  I know where I fucked up my resolution last year, which was a lack of organization, and a lack of specific goals.

This year, my mantra is “Finish Shit”.  I have a lot of idea debt (I have to admit that I just read about this concept, I think it’s a fantastic way of looking at it and highly recommend reading Jessica Abel’s post about it here), multiple projects that I’ve literally been working on for years.  But since I’ve still invested a lot of time and money into these projects, I’m not willing to let go of them, but am instead trying to be excited at the prospect of FINISHING them.

Overall, 2015 was really.. strange.  It was a year of firsts, and exciting plans.  It was my first year working full time.  It was the first time that I’ve had my art and comics published outside of self-publishing.  I started planning our wedding, and my partner graduated from post-secondary.  But with all the hustle and bustle, depression started to consume us.  While it is great to not worry about having money to buy groceries, suddenly there was no time to shop for them.  While I have fantastic opportunities to get my work published, suddenly I have no ambition or energy to create.  It became easy to simply sleep, work and occasionally eat.  But, it’s time to be real about our depression, how it affects us, and how we can work to overcome it.

So, I know what you are thinking, this all sounds like a lot of ambitious goals, a lot of big lofty goals that are going to be really hard (I mean, who casually drops overcoming depression as a New Years Resolution along side scheduled blogging, meal planning, and basically an entire life overhaul, but I suppose my logic is that by improving certain areas of my life, I will be less affected by depression.).  But I have a plan.  Actually, I have A LOT of plans.  But I’m going to start talking about those more in my future posts.  Originally, I was planning on making this post include more about the specifics, but it was holding me back on writing this.. because to be honest, I haven’t worked out the details on some of them, and I’ve actually already realized that I need to re-work my plan for my blog.  But, this is a good thing!  I have to accept that I won’t get all my life goals sorted out perfectly into schedules and lists before starting to follow them.. I need to start small and work up, find out what works and doesn’t work for me.

All that being said, one of the biggest things that I think anyone can do for themselves if they are suffering from depression:  Get out of your house and go for a walk.  All of the pictures I’m sharing have been taken over the past few weeks while on walks in the forest with my fiance and life partner, Hrafn.  No matter the weather, it has always been worth it.

 

Another year, New energy

This yearly ritual of reflecting and resolving is.. getting boring.  Every year, I have a huge boost of creative energy right now.  With how busy the ends of years are, I always feel like January is a breath of fresh air.  That I finally get time to myself again, to think, create, and be content.

I have always been a flip flopper when it comes to “new years resolutions”.  Those who read my blog already know this, since I like to do a New Years post every year any ways.   I write these posts so that in my next year I can go back, read them and then look at if what I said actually worked out in my life, if I gave up on it, forgot about it, or really just to see where I was mentally at the time.

Frequently I’ve picked “gain weight” as one, which never really made sense because nothing I do or don’t do seems to affect my weight; ironically, last year was one of the first years that I didn’t state that as a year goal and yet I actually did gain weight last year (which was probably due to my getting older, but whatever).  So I’m happy to say that this one is definitely not on my list this year, but maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle still is.

Another resolution I seem to have made multiple times is regular posting on my blog.  Despite how many promises I give you, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to post on a regular schedule.  My life is just too jam-packed with stuff for me to post regularly.  BUT that doesn’t mean that I plan on posting once every three months.  I am going to make a goal of ONE post a week, especially since I have once again created a mountain of posts just waiting to be wrote.  But I won’t pick a specific day to post, obviously that doesn’t work for me.  Just one a week, let’s try that.  I also intend on posting my Photo Vault Tuesdays again, though I don’t expect it to be weekly, I’m going to aim for once a month (on the official Shock Stock blog).

But, last year I wrote one paragraph that re-reading it.. I don’t think I could say it better myself (hah).  So I’m going to re-post it, since it still applies and it is still how I try to live every single day.  I think that it explains a lot of how I’m feeling about writing this blog, and sharing myself.

“I think that a root of this problem lies in Identity.  I want this blog to be honest, even when it’s ugly.  I want this blog to represent me, my voice, my art, and my life.  Identity is something that I have struggled with since I was young.  I think this is also why I have always been fascinated with self portraits, and the idea of transforming myself on a regular basis.  But I’ve grown to realize that identity is not something that is static, I do not have any single identity.  Rather I am (like all living beings) always in flux.  This gives me a better sense of control, knowing that my identity is not something that I need to stamp out into a neat little square, but something that can change and develop with me.  I just need to listen to my own heart, and be honest with myself, and move forward from that.  I just need to be the best that I can be, so that I can be proud of myself when I fall asleep each night.”

In term of working girl news, I still work at Michaels.  I technically still work at Swiss Chalet, but from May to December of last year I think I worked a total of four times (which, at times were both a good and a bad thing).  I still love my job at Michaels. I do a lot more than just framing.  I work in replenishment now too, which is actually a lot more fun than I ever expected it to be.  I have a brain that loves organization and rules, so setting up planograms, moving stock around and making the store look good I think comes naturally to me.  I think I’ve really made an impact at my workplace this year, and it was actually appreciated, which feels good too.

There is no way to wrap up a year in some pretty paper and call it done.  But I feel as though the new year gives people a reason to reflect, and want to move past their failures or sadness.  I think that everyone must go through this, that must be why resolutions were created in the first place.

This year is dedicated to learning and growing once again, because if I do that then I can never say I didn’t accomplish anything.

Here’s to new energy, take a deep breath, then take advantage of it.  Thanks for reading, Rin Vanderhaeghe.

The first day of April.

The first day of April, so much to do!  Today, the weather was either sunny and wonderful, or blizzard, or raining and windy.  We ventured outside despite this, and had an adventure.  We went to a thrift store that had a 50% off sale.  I found a crochet (I think) blanket, a yellow metal teapot, and a book that I’m planning on putting all of ticket stubs and small pictures into.  We went into the forest and found mushrooms, small flowers, lots of bugs and a partial cat skeleton.  Oh, also I dyed my hair yesterday using kool aid.  Fuck yeah!  I”m also working on a lot of art.. I’m confirmed for a table at the rag bag bazaar on June 8th, so I definitely need to keep working.  Besides that, we finally have a real estate agent coming to see our condo later this week.. the first steps to selling!  Woohooo!  Changes are a coming.

dante book

couch

I knew this blanket was perfect to brighten up the back of the couch.

flower self_byhrafn skull