I’m determined to not start another one of these recaps with “my month was busy“. Because ‘busy’ feels like such a cop out; everyone is always ‘busy’. May was full but in a good, manageable and deliberate sort of way. The shorter days and colder nights as we moved towards winter seemed to lend themselves more to tea and reading than to rushing from one thing to the next, which is just the way I like it.
“A monthly capture of my feelings and doings, in the raw.”
Understanding friends and colleagues. I’ve been pulling back a little, saying no to things I don’t feel I can give my full attention to here and there, and those around me have so far been really good about it. It makes a huge difference to not feel like you’re letting someone down, even if perhaps it’s a little inconvenient for them. Better to be happy and fully present for the things that do count than stressed and hurried in things that do. I hope the quality makes up for it!
Shifting focus (slightly). You might have noticed a sneaky redesign on ChiGarden going live over the weekend. I tend to do this every year or so, usually with a slight shift in content as I look back over my old (broken) posts and think about where I want this blog to go. The main purpose of ChiGarden has always been a testing ground to grow my design, development, and photography skills more than anything else, but the content side of things has always been fragmented and not particularly well put together. I’m finding myself drawn more to blogs with fantastic writing rather than pretty pictures these days (or even better, both) and that’s what I’d like to work towards.
Moving forward this blog will remain largely personal as it has always been, but I have some ideas to weave it all together into something more coherent. Stay tuned.
Stationery for Side Project magazine. I’ve been talking about making my own notepads with my artwork forever, but on my own I’ve never managed to get anywhere. Working on stationery with the team is giving me a nice push, even if I tend to wait until a few hours before deadline to get things done. We’ll just be printing a very very small number of each design to test the waters, but I have my fingers crossed that it will be a success. It’s also a great opportunity to make exactly the kind of to do list I’ve always wanted!
Redesigning ChiGarden. Feel free to skip this paragraph if you’re not a nerd, but I’m very proud of: figuring out how to set up this crazy Sage base theme, the mobile navigation (go on, shrink your browser to see!), the mobile experience, the archive pages for tags and categories, the cool slider at the bottom of the page, and the (relatively) clean code. Also I like to think the design is pretty neat too. </nerd>
Editing, editing, editing. I am the worst at editing my own writing, but when you’re part of a three person team running a magazine you end up seeing its importance. Maybe I’ll eventually work my way up to actually editing my blog posts before posting them?
Felt pencil/brush rolls. My tutorial contribution for Issue 3 of Side Project, but also something I’ve been meaning to make forever. I’ve amassed quite a few paint brushes and a heap of pens, pencils and markers, so it’s nice to have a better home for my less frequently used ones than an old tea tin. You’ll have to buy the magazine for the instructions, but I’ll be posting a much simpler no-sew version on the Side Project blog next month.
Apple pie. Life (or rather, my veggie box) has given me a lot of apples lately so I’ve been making apple pie to keep up. For the first one I got lazy and used some cheap store-bought pastry – never again! Homemade shortcrust pastry is always worth the effort. A frangipane apple tart was a more successful variation, but my favourite is still just the pastry shell filled up with cinnamon stewed apple chunks and brown sugar.
This awesome article by Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men. He writes about how artists and writers like to gloss over what it took to get their masterpieces, which leads to people feeling disheartened if they don’t find success straight away. It took him seven years from writing Mad Men to getting it on screen, with a heap of rejection and hard work to get there.
It’s called hiding the brushstrokes, and those who do it are doing a disservice to people who admire their work and seek to emulate them. If you don’t get to see the notes, the rewrites, and the steps, it’s easy to look at a finished product and be under the illusion that it just came pouring out of someone’s head like that.
Join the fun by writing your own Head & Heart post for the month and submitting over on Helen’s blog at Lime Tree Bower.