23 September 2013

Weekly Wishes #12

Weekly Wishes 12

I'm feeling flowery today as all of my plants are still ALIVE! So far I am succeeding in keeping my two orchids, three succulents, lucky bamboo and peace lily alive - I was sure I would have killed by them by now. One of my little succulents is now big enough that I'm thinking Peter and I may get away without a Christmas tree, we could just sling some little fairy lights on it and BOOM - Christmas sorted!

So it's Monday and that means that its Weekly Wishes time in which we all link up over at The Nectar Collective and share what our hopes and goals are for the coming week. Last week I had a little list:
  • Send off everything required for my top secret project
  • Write some postcards to three lovely ladies, Melyssa, Crystal and Erika, to express my gratitude to them
  • Tick off everything on my freelance to do list
  • Send off my giveaway goodies to the lovely Nicole 

How did I do? Well everything for the top secret project has been sent (more on that next month) and all of my giveaway prizes were posted too. As for the others, there was no way I was going to be able to tick everything off my freelance list, but I knew that. I put it there to get my ass moving!

For the postcards - sorry ladies they haven't been sent yet, but there's good reason. Instead of postcards I am making up some gratitude packs for you. I'll hopefully have them all put together at some point in the next fortnight so keep an eye out! 

This week is an exciting one. I only went and got myself a new shiny job! Yuppers I'm finally going back to a full time job but this time it's a design one and I'm so happy! My new title? Design Executive - how sweet is that?!

Although I can't wait to get started yesterday I had a bit of a freak out. How am I meant to keep the house tidy and still enjoy a full weekend?! How is that done? How do you cope? Then came the list making frenzy. Peter, being the ever supportive hero of my need to list and chart everything, has agreed to a daily routine that I have typed up, printed and now stuck on the fridge - we do a room a day leaving the weekend for nothing but relaxing/designing/gaming. Just ten minutes a day when we get in and that's it, easy enough? I hope so.

So this week's wishes are that I don't suck tomorrow on my first day, a new early morning routine kicks in and sticks quickly and that our house work chart goes well. I also plan to continue checking things off my freelance list so I can get more organised there and really start to get the freelance/work/free time balance sorted. That last one is going to be tough for the next few months, but as always, I'll keep on plugging through it and get it done.

Have you joined up with Melyssa's Weekly Wishes yet? Jump one over and share you goals with us all and get some love!

20 September 2013

Finding My Bloggy Self and Nerd Love

After a bit of bloggy soul searching, reading Belinda's Follow Your Blogging Compass series and a very inspiring comment from Erika I decided that the blog needed a bit of a rethink with regards to what I was posting about. I was thinking too broadly and trying to emulate what other blogs were doing, totally stripping myself of my uniqueness. We're all different and that should be celebrated so why should I try and copy others.
A little bit of self belief has sunk in and the encouragement of others has been incredibly inspirational and I'm so grateful for those lovely ladies.

So where am I going with this? That little word up top there in my header says nerdyness and so far I haven't been delivering on the goods. So it's time to inject some nerd juice in to the blog starting with a new series. With Nerd Love I aim to start sharing some of the nerdy things I love, why I love them and why you should give them a shot if you haven't already and if you have then you can share what you love about them too. Hopefully we can all start embracing our inner Geeks and Nerds and spread the love.

First up in the series I want to talk about where I believe my love of sci fi started. I was lucky enough to be exposed to Star Trek the original series when I was really young and got my little geek on when I watched it. But I only liked it back then, the love came later so it's fair to say my geekery didn't all start with the Trek.

No, it started in the New Mexico desert where a scientific genius stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and... all together now... vanished!

Gooshie, centre me on the best TV show ever!

Although some would argue it's not really sci fi, Quantum Leap counts to me as in essence it's about a super handsome guy travelling through time. It was my first true sci fi love.

It was a show that shaped me as a person not only as a mini nerd, but as a human with human feels. I often joke that Sam Beckett is responsible for my outlook and ideals, but in a way it's totally true! What?! I watch too much telly I know! But seriously, it was very influential on a kid of seven watching googly eyed at that blue light and her favourite hero.

The whole concept of the show is that Sam, with the help of Al, Ziggy and Gooshie travels back in time to fix things that went wrong in the past. That concept alone instilled feelings of the need to help each other out once in a while and in the immortal words of Bill & Ted "be excellent to each other" (that's another Nerd Love post for another time).

You're part of a time travel experiment that went a little ca-ca

Quantum Leap covered a whole load of topics that were pretty daring and influential in my beliefs as an adult. I'll admit some went over my head as a kid, but the info went in and was there at the back of my brain for when I started to fully understand what really being said. Some of the more serious themes in the series included racism, sexism, rape and the treatment of those with special needs. Each theme was handled with care, well written and acted superbly.

What I loved most about Quantum Leap was Scott Backula as Sam. He just hit that nerve in me every time helping me take in what was going on and how I felt about it. Making me really think, which is always a good thing!

Everything in Quantum Leap always seemed so heartfelt and genuine especially the relationship between Sam and Al. One always tried their best to look out for the other and some of my favourite leaps involved Sam looking out for Al from the past - with the exception of one heartbreaking leap where Sam refuses to tell Al's wife to wait for him, that he's alive and he will come home from war. This eventually leads you to the even more heartbreaking final leap where Sam says he has one thing he wishes he could change... 

I'm stuck in '56 with a brain like swiss-cheese and YOU'RE having technical difficulties

There is nothing bad for me to say about Quantum Leap. It's full of heart and feels and so much fun to watch. It also holds some great sentimental value to me too. My Dad used to let me stay up late and watch it with him so it's been kind of a bond that I've always held on to no matter how rough things got during later years.

For me there has never been a show like it since and to be honest, Sci Fi really played a small part in my love for it. My love was all about the heart of the show and how involved I got. I was right along with Sam and Al totally invested in what was happening. But it did open me up to more sci fi shows and I'll geek out whenever it's repeated on TV so I hold solely responsible! 

What about you guys? Can you pin point your early nerdy beginnings? Do you have any favourite sci fi shows or are you a crazy Leaper lover like me? Unleash your geek in the comments.

Now Gooshie... centre me in on dinner!


18 September 2013

How To Keep Calm and Focused

How To Keep Calm and Focused

Keeping focused and calm during a big project can prove pretty difficult sometimes, especially if things go wrong. These past three weeks have seen ups and downs, disasters and successes as well as some stress filled days.

I've been working on the biggest project I've ever been commissioned to do so I was determined to succeed and make it happen. It meant learning a lot along the way and also thinking on my feet. It also caused stress when things started to go wrong and I had the horrible feeling it might not be done in time. Finding ways to stay calm, focused and motivated were essential to keep on top of things.

With all this in mind I wanted to share some of the things I've learned or rediscovered during the project.

Write It Down

Making a to do list not only helps you keep track of what needs to be done, but also helps you prioritise your job list. You can also use it to break down bigger projects in to more manageable goals. So instead of "Carina's Logo" you can break it down in to:
  • Research
  • Initial Sketches
  • Finalise Design
  • Digitise Line Work
  • Deliver Final Design
This keeps you on track and focused on the smaller goals instead of one big intimidating one.

How To Keep Calm and Focused

  Take a Breather

Breaks are important to keep you motivated, especially if you're stuck in a rut or suffering from the dreaded creative block. Take five minutes to do some deep breathing or half an hour to chill out and get some lunch. Going for a walk is another great way to refresh your brain. Go out and get some air and you're guaranteed to come back ready to go. Take a camera and/or notepad with you too as you never know when inspiration will strike.

Whatever you choose make sure you walk away from what you're working on and don't focus on it! I personally love taking half an hour out to read a chapter or two of a book. It totally breaks my mind away from what I'm working on, allowing me to go back completely refreshed and ready to work. Remember to set an alarm though as we all know how a book can grab you and keep you!

Workin' 9 to 5

It's important to try and set regular working hours and a working schedule. This will help establish a routine and keep you organised.

Get up early and enjoy your breakie! Breakfast is a great time to prepare for the rest of your day. I've heard of folk practising mindful techniques or thinking of things they are grateful for to help them start the day on a positive. I personally like to spend my breakfast time relaxing and focusing on positive things before I start my work. It really helps me to get in the right frame of mind before getting stuck in.
I also like to take half an hour to watch some morning telly. Either Frasier or Everybody Loves Raymond are my shows of choice as a good dose of laughter can also set you up for a great day.

Sort Your Space Out

I am a notoriously messy desk keeper while working! During a project my work space ends up covered in paper, notes, pencils, pens and empty cups that once held my tea. It's definitely something I still need to work on, especially as I feel way more productive when my desk is tidy! A tidy workspace will stop you getting distracted and in turn keep you more focused.

De-clutter your workspace and try to keep it organised. Organise your notes and inspirations on a pin board and make some cool storage pots for your stuff - the perfect excuse to get your DIY on (and make more mess), just make sure you tidy up after yourself!

How To Keep Calm and Focused

And The Reward Goes To

Here's the fun part! Help yourself to achieve your goals by setting rewards. If you get all your research done or knock out ten sketches then treat yourself to a walk in the park or something sweeter. You know, that tub of ice cream that's been at the back of the freezer. Not all of it mind, just a wee bit. Go on, you;ve worked hard and deserve it! Or if you've been working solid for a few days without fail reward yourself with a day off.

Rewarding yourself this way will keep you motivated during a project, especially if you've been struggling with it. Recently I've been going for the ice cream reward, it's definitely been getting my days work done knowing the Carte D'or was waiting for me at the end of the day.


Well these are some of the ways I keep calm, focused and motivated whilst working on any project big or small and I hope you found them useful for your freelance work, art commissions or even personal projects.
Even if you're not working on something at the moment I hope there is something you can take away from the things I've learned. Best of luck with all your projects.

How do you keep calm and focused when you're working? Share your wisdom in the comments.

16 September 2013

Weekly Wishes #11

Weekly Wishes

This is my first post in three weeks! What happened? A super blogging streak broken! - no apologies though as it's been one week of bloggy reflection and two weeks of solid work. Oh and this...

Tweet from Diana Neidecker
Week one was intentional. I needed a break as I felt like I was losing my way a bit, trying too hard for killer content and trying to emulate those more successful than my little space on the web and worrying about the numbers - self inflicted pressure, you know, the usual!

Week two was totally unintentional, design work took me on a trip to stress and disaster filled lows to overwhelming yet epicosity packed highs! Writing the to do list was the first thing to set off stress alarms, there was (and is) so much to do and I let it freak me out a bit. 

It's all good though, this is what I wanted - design filled days full of posters, logos and tattoos. And then there's my top secret project, that's been a learning curve and a half! Ups, downs, blood, sweat and tears. I'll share more of the project towards mid October when it's all done and dusted so keep an eye out for it. I'm enjoying feeling busy especially as it's all involving being creative even even if I did miss out on the bloggy goodness.

It's no mistake I'm making my triumphant return to the blogging world on a Monday as it's just in time for Melyssa's Weekly Wishes. I've been out of it for three weeks so it's time I got my wishing on! 

I'm keeping it pretty simple to ease myself back in with a quick to do list.
  • Send off everything required for my top secret project
  • Write some postcards to three lovely ladies, Melyssa, Crystal and Erika, to express my gratitude to them
  • Tick off everything on my freelance to do list
  • Send off my giveaway goodies to the lovely Nicole Nemeth (check out her awesome blog here)

Wish me luck fellow wishers and all the best for your week ahead! If you haven't joined the Weekly Wishes Link Up yet then check it out over at The Nectar Collective and share your wishes and goals with us!