100 Days of Teacup (Set 4)

my little filofax

This little Filofax Pocket Metropol planner has been super useful in keeping track of teacup days. I've enjoyed ripping pages out as the weeks pass - a feeling that gets only more satisfying as we get closer to 100. :)

So, set 4.

Day 61: Envelope cutout

Day 61: Envelope cutout. If you've ever made a zine, you'll be familiar with the happy feeling of finding a cute pattern inside of boring official envelopes. Ah, joy in mundane things.

Day 62: Tea with cream

Day 62: Tea with cream. Fighting winter skin with Michael's Olivara Skin Cream. This makes it look like I'm conscientious about self-care, but that's a lie. My skin is scaly and crinkly, but I remembered to moisturise that day and celebrated with a teacup.

Day 63: Family crest

Day 63: Family crest. I stuffed up the Latin and had to fix it.

Day 64: Teacups in the paper

Day 64: Teacups in the paper. I wonder if the people in this picture will ever see the tea I served them.

Day 65: Etchings in white-out on adzuki beans

Day 65: Etchings in white-out on adzuki beans.

Day 66: Wire skeleton, acrylic sinew

Day 66: Wire skeleton, acrylic sinew. The paint was still wet the next day.

Day 67: Fuzzy lines

Day 67: Fuzzy lines.

Day 68: Brush strokes

Day 68: Brush strokes. Acrylic on a very small canvas.

Day 69: Watercolour practice

Day 69: Watercolour practice. Terrible perspective and brush control, but it was fun to try painting a 'fine' pattern with watercolours. Something to try again later.

Day 70: Watercolour crap in a cup

Day 70: Watercolour crap in a cup. My fingers itch now to paint some postcards. Maybe on proper watercolour paper instead of getting them printed, so they're extra special. :)

Day 71: Triptych in colour

Day 71: Triptych in colour. Piece from day 49, coloured with acrylics.

Day 72: Painted clay egg

Day 72: Painted clay egg. After this photo was taken, one of the cats claimed it and now I don't know where it is.

Day 73: Teacup topiary

Day 73: Teacup topiary. In my new colouring book. Ahh~ such relax.

Day 74: PVA glue

Day 74: PVA glue. I thought this would turn out more like a decal, but it's just a slightly gummy piece of PVA. Maybe a viable medium for a bigger, more intricate piece?

Day 75: Whiteout on plastic

Day 75: Whiteout on plastic. I bought stationery from Char's Planner Goodies, and it arrived in recycled packaging. I don't mean new store-bought stationery made from recycled materials - I mean Char had taken packing materials from around the house and used them to package my stuff. I love that. :) Yay, recycling!

Day 76: Ink on wood

Day 76: Ink on wood. This is an off-cut of American rock maple from a woodwork project at Perth Wood School. We went to learn how to make pigeonhole shelves. It's nice being surrounded by people working on projects they're passionate about, while you're working on yours.

Day 77: Ink on a petal

Day 77: Ink on a petal. Camellias are blooming in our garden. :)

Day 78: Tealeaf teacup

Day 78: Tealeaf teacup. This is peppermint tea, so it should actually be called a 'tisane' or herbal 'infusion'.

Day 79: Teacup on a punchie

Day 79: Teacup on a punchie. I bought a flower-shaped hole punch. It's surprisingly sturdy and crisp, and works on firm paper too.

Day 80: Shortbread and teacup

Day 80: Shortbread and teacup. I used to be able to stuff my face with shortbread, but now after learning how to make it, every mouthful is guilt. Tasty, tasty guilt. Spoiler alert - you are pretty much eating butter and sugar, stiffened by white flour. Out of a batch of 16, I ate 3, so that's not too bad.

And here we are - the home stretch.

The point of quitting full-time work was to get my life in order and accomplish things I'm passionate about, but lately, I've wondered if I have the balls for it. I decided for 100 days, teacups would be the thing I hope to accomplish, but it's been 50/50 lately on teacups that slot into my life versus teacups I stop and make time for. To succeed at the things that matter to you, you have to stop and make time for them.

I see friends starting businesses, writing books, making stationery, throwing everything they have at their goals and realising success. I feel tiny by comparison. Not that I believe in comparison. More I envy their passion and focus. Or maybe I'm letting the hyperbolic lens of social media distort the view from here.

Everyone has their main quest, and I know mine isn't to run a business, write books or make stationery. I have to consciously remind myself every day not be swayed by shiny things or pressured by other people's successes and methods, however enticing they may be. Just because an opportunity is good, it doesn't mean it's good for you.

I'm also consciously rewriting my definition of success. Nothing is perfect. Nothing is excellent all the time. Sometimes done will do. So maybe I can feel okay about at least fitting a half-arsed teacup into the overstuffed days.

I'd hope this is a poignant life lesson from set 4, but it feels more like a grumble. I kept my head down and pressed on for this one. Tonight, I will make a wishlist for my life after teacups, then think long and hard about my life choices. Or put my feet up and sit in front of the heater. Whatever I'm more passionate about at the time.

Bloom in weather

pink Camellia japonica

We have what I think is a Camellia japonica in our garden. It has been budding for a few weeks, and chose the most miserable grey patch of days to flower.

Of course, when I say miserable, I mean totally awesome. Thick, woolly winds. White noise rain to sleep to. Humidity and cloud cover keeping warmth close to the ground. It's still wintery and cold, but this being Perth, it's still quite nice.

That said, I have felt a bit shithouse this past fortnight. I blame it on getting too caught up in work-work and home-work, and not getting outside enough for sun and fresh air. Friends have recommended getting a blood test done for vitamin D levels, but I've had enough blood tests for a while.

Assuming vitamin D might actually be the problem, I'm going to get out more with my arms uncovered and be conscientious with food, and see if the low moods go away. Cancer Council Australia recommends 2-3 hours of winter sunlight, spread over the week - I can manage that.

The plan for workdays now is to spend at least 15 minutes in view of the sky, sometime in the middle of the day. Even indoors by a sunny (or cloudy) window is fine.

I tried to get some sun in the garden this afternoon, but we've been overcast and stormy all day. Nevertheless, I planted some cos lettuce seedlings in the no-dig bed, squatting out in the drizzle while cold, cold rain spattered on my bare arms. Surely I soaked up a bit of good UV through the clouds. Didn't want to jinx my brave winter seedlings with a photo, but if they survive the week, I will show you them.

The other day, we did get a couple hours of bright, bright sunlight, so I stood in the yard for 8 minutes and took a picture of this watercolour. That was okay. :)

watercolour painting with

Mm, I can hear the wind howling outside. Time for some tea.

100 Days of Teacup (Set 3)

teacup sculpture with messy background

I'm never doing this again. I'll see it through this time, but boy, I really felt the weight of it here. Or is this just the swansong of laziness and malaise? Will I emerge, after 100 days, a creative genius who shits gold and teacups?

Here is set 3.

Day 41: In dust

Day 41: In dust. 20+ days ago, we were still in the old house, still packing. It feels ages away now, even though we're still in the process of moving stuff. I never realised how messy my desk was until this day.

Day 42: Scrunched up paper bag

Day 42: Scrunched up paper bag. I was in the middle of a Windward game and didn't want to leave my seat. Necessity really is the mother of invention.

Day 43: Sewing pins

Day 43: Sewing pins. It very slightly triggers my trypophobia (don't look that up).

Day 44: Theta teacups

Day 44: Theta teacups. I've been drawing teacups in my filofax to remind me to make one each day - over time, they got so sloppy, they started to look like theta symbols. So onto a postcard they went.

Day 45: Tea light

Day 45: Tea light. A desperation teacup; my art supplies were packed away. It has given me the urge to draw on everyday things.

Day 46: Rubber stamp teacup

Day 46: Rubber stamp teacup. Cut and delivered by CustomMadeStamps.com.au. If I could do this over, I'd make the cup rim bigger to prevent blotting, but this will do for now.

Day 47: Ink on felt foot

Day 47: Ink on felt foot. We moved all the big furniture that day. It was our first night in the new house. :)

Day 48: Drawing my feelings

Day 48: Drawing my feelings. On the evening after a good day.

Day 49:

Day 49: "Tea Party" triptych in pencil. To be coloured on another day.

Day 50: Air-dry clay

Day 50: Air-dry clay. To be painted on another day.

Day 51: Shadow box

Day 51: Shadow box. My boss made me a cardboard teacup in a knowledge-sharing meeting. Making a shadow box has been on my craft bucket list for ages. Now it has happened.

Day 52: Beads and craft wire

Day 52: Beads and craft wire. This was very fiddly, it hurt, and made my fingers smell. I didn't remember til the very end that there were brand new needle-nose pliers in the other room. Bloody heck.

Day 53: Masking tape sculpture

Day 53: Masking tape sculpture. With paper tablecloth from @corridorgirl.

Day 54: A Yuliia Bahniuk fan art

Day 54: A @yuliia_bahniuk fan art. Check out her drawings - they're adorable!

Day 55: Steaming cup

Day 55: Steaming cup. Our new mirror. Our new bathroom. Foggy from the best new shower with hot water that doesn't run out like a bastard.

Day 56: Teacup in the sky

Day 56: Teacup in the sky. Drawn while waiting for my Secret Garden colouring book to arrive. Maybe I will colour this another day.

Day 57: Chia seeds and pear carving

Day 57: Chia seeds and pear carving. Caught this just in time. The following day, my pears started turning brown and drippy.

Day 58: Hints, lines

Day 58: Hints, lines. I wish I had used colour.

Day 59: Tea Times

Day 59: Tea Times. Masthead for a new, very tiny zine project.

Day 60: Curry

Day 60: Curry. Out at dinner with friends.

Set dragged on a bit. Sorry to sound negative. Some pieces were fun, and it was nice having an excuse to try things, but I'm feeling antsy. I want to explore my other projects, but that means twice the teacup effort the next day, thrice the day after that.

Dealing with desperation teacups was a fun challenge. I think the lesson for this set has been in making the most of what I have on hand, even if it's a little odd. This is especially pronounced when I can't find things, or when I'm bored of the usual things, or when I have plans that don't involve sitting at home doodling.

Curry, a paper bag, an etching on a pear, pins in a pincushion - I like to think this proves you can make 'art' anywhere if you had to. Cavemen painted on their living room walls with rocks stolen from another caveman's back yard. We have so much more available to us today. Perhaps it's fair to say there's no excuse for not trying?

Though, excuses seemed significant for this set too. Teacups gave me an excuse to draw a colouring book page, draw a masthead for a zine, try making a teapot out of tape. I feel I never would have tried without undertaking this project. So maybe it's fairer to say the only excuse for not trying is not having an excuse to try.

I will see this through.

Nesting and crap

my messy desk

We're in the new house and everything is a mess. But slowly, slowly, objects are finding homes, and we are settling into new routines.

a no-dig garden bed pile of crap

This weekend, we spent some time setting up a 'no dig' bed. It's basically a compost pile you plant seeds and seedlings directly into. At the moment, it looks like a pile of crap. It is actually literally a pile of crap. Cow crap. Wet newspaper, pulled-up weeds and soggy mulch too.

It'll be a couple weeks before I can plant anything in it. Our landlords, who lived here before us, suggested herbs for the amount of sunlight in that spot. So, maybe parsley or coriander.

I've been told this is crazy, but I kept my soil from the veggie bed at our old house. About 250 litres of it in 3 large, heavy bags. After 2½ years of careful cultivation, I wasn't about to discard my loamy treasure. We're due a thunderstorm tomorrow, so I planted kale, carrots, radishes, marigolds, rocket, and a habanero chilli, to see whether any of them will grow this winter.

teacup in the sky

I ordered the Secret Garden colouring book last week, and am looking forward to sipping tea on cold nights, while making colours with various implements. It won't be here for another 3 weeks, and I'm feeling inspired to try drawing colouring book pictures. This teacup was my first go - there are a couple of wonky bits from my unsteady hands, but it was fun and relaxing. I wonder now if I needn't have bothered buying a book, but aaah, I'm still excited. :)

garden lights and a ceramic thingy no one can identify

I've been pondering the 'free' time I have now. I say 'free' because when you work part-time, people assume you put your feet up all day and just lounge. I admit, there is naturally more lounging, since you spend fewer hours tied upright to a desk, but think I actually lounged for a greater proportion of my spare time when I worked an 8/5. Simply from needing to unwind and process. Mentally, I feel more awake now that I work less. And at work, I feel focused.

A 3-day work week seems to be optimum for me, so I'm a bit nervous that this month, I'll be doing 4-day weeks to help cover a few projects. In my 12-year in-an-office career thus far, I've had burnout twice. Twice. I'm not even 35 yet. Not only is it a bad state, it makes you develop self-defeating habits that keep you there - so each time, it took a couple years of constant vigilance and re-training to recover.

But I don't want to run from offices like they always spell frazzled doom. I mean, they might (at least for me), but the prejudice does no good. It would be nice to know what this variation in the week will be like, and there are clear and manageable boundaries around this, so I guess it's safe to dip my toe back in at the shallow end. :)

Anyway, I'm feeling the urge to spend some of this 'free' time making things that are not teacups. But for the present, I'm taking it slow, since there are still 43 days left of this bloody project. That should be enough time for both scheming and lounging.

It is time for tea now. Good night, friends!

100 Days of Teacup (Set 2)

setting up a teacup photo

Teacups are still happening. Here is the second set of 20.

Day 21: Watercolour crayon

Day 21: Watercolour crayon, using old Caran d'Ache Aquarelle Neocolor II.

Day 22: Dots

Day 22: Dots, ink on paper.

Day 23: One continuous line

Day 23: One continuous line, red fineliner on paper.

Day 24: It'll do

Day 24: It'll do. Green fineliner on paper, along with my batch cooking plan.

Day 25: Packing with teacup

Day 25: Packing with teacup. Artline marker on cardboard. Packing began then, and is still going. Ironically, there are no teacups in this box.

Day 26: Felt cutout

Day 26: Felt cutout.

Day 27: One continuous wire

Day 27: One continuous wire. Used craft wire. This was meant to be a beaded teacup, but my beads were sealed up in a packing crate.

Day 28: Sketch on a paper fan

Day 28: Sketch on a paper fan. I regret using colour pencils - the surface was too bumpy. Next time, I will try felt tip markers or watercolours.

Day 29: A smallish cup

Day 29: A smallish cup. Used an Artline 231 tech drawing pen.

Day 30: Keynote shapes

Day 30: Keynote shapes. I spent 2 days designing presentations. Pretty bloody exhausted by the end of it, but day 30 needed a teacup.

Day 31: Teacup stamps

Day 31: Teacup stamps. Drawn in Acorn, printed by Australia Post's personalised stamps service. This is nice as a one-off treat, but generally terrible value. 20 custom local stamps cost $27, which works out to $1.35 a stamp. The service seems to target people having special parties or weddings, and I'm thinking for a party that special, you'd invite a lot of guests... that's a lot of over-priced stamps. Guess I won't be having a special party any time soon!

Day 32: Pastel version of stamp artwork

Day 32: Pastel version of stamp artwork.

Day 33: Drawing with the flat side of pencil

Day 33: Drawing with the flat side of pencil.

Day 34: A RimWorld teacup

Day 34: A RimWorld teacup. It's all fun and games until half your colony gets malaria, your hunter loses an arm in a snake attack, and a fat pirate decomposes in your strawberries cos no one will dig him a grave.

Day 35: My teacup-shaped todo list

Day 35: My teacup-shaped todo list.

Day 36: Washi tape and wire

Day 36: Washi tape and wire.

Day 37: Finger painting in Sketches (iPad)

Day 37: Finger painting in Sketches.

Day 38: Peas, glue and ink on canvas

Day 38: Peas, glue and ink on canvas. With most of my art supplies packed away, I'm relying on salvaging what I can from what's still lying around the house.

Day 39: Ink on tracing paper

Day 39: Ink on tracing paper. Yep, more salvaging. I found the tracing paper under a yet-to-be-KM'd pile of crap in a corner of the study.

Day 40: Photo stitch

Day 40: Photo stitch. A copycat of art @blaizey made for me. I used a lovely business card from Lovegrove Photography, which came inside a thank you card for supporting his wet plate collodion photography campaign.

So, that's the second set. I noticed an interesting psychological thing around day 32. My mind would frame the creation of a teacup like it's some huge undertaking. But in reality, even the more complicated pieces - like the washi sculpture and stamp artwork - didn't take much time. Hmm... or maybe they did, but I was in flow and did not notice.

Anyway, nothing in the last 20 days felt like it took a great deal of time or effort, and at no point did I feel unable to do recreational stuff like watching tv or playing games. When life tasks needed to take priority, I found I could compensate by figuring out how art could be integrated into those tasks. All I needed to do was remember and spare a thought - the rest seemed to follow on from there.

I wonder if expectation is the reason some people grow away from creative endeavours. Expectation that if you're gonna do something, it should be bonkers amazing. Then it's so daunting, you never even start. This, over years and years.

But just to hammer out a thing - good or bad, for the sake of experiencing its creation - there's no expectation there. You don't spend extra energy constantly checking yourself while you're doing it. You just do it, and then look upon the thing once it's done.

If the lesson from the first set was to regard perspiration ahead of inspiration, the lesson from this set is surely to jump in and try stuff while being comfortable with the idea of failure. You know, there are so many areas in life where failure is largely irrelevant. Making tiny teacups for 100 days is one of them. What else might be too?

My first soap

That I made, not that I've used. Of course I use soap GOSH.

Courtesy of Chisa, this is a photo of my first homemade soap, using the "Scrubby" soap kit. It's the equivalent of baking with a White Wings cake mix, but aaaaah~ it still feels special when you're using it. Very smell! So lather! Wow!!

The kit is a 'melt-and-pour', meaning it comes with pre-made soap, which you melt, mix with nice smells and other things, then leave in a mold to set. Let me show you...

cutting pre-made melt-and-pour soap

Cutting pre-made melt-and-pour soap.

soap chunks in a microwaveable container

Soap chunks in a microwaveable container.

partway through short-burst microwave melting

Partway through short-burst microwave melting.

melted soap with orange essential oil

Melted soap with orange essential oil. This is when you add the scrub powders too.

molten soap poured in a mold

Molten soap poured in a mold.

soaps cooling on a rack

Soaps cooling on a rack. Actually, they're already cool, but it's best to leave them for another 24 hours to get even more awesome.

wrapped homemade soap bars

Wrapped and ready to go! I thought baking paper would be a nice hipster decorative thing, but it was actually shit. Tape doesn't stick to it, and it doesn't fold nicely. Don't use baking paper.

This is 100% simple soaping for n00bs, which I am. Well, I was. I feel confident enough now to try making soap from scratch, but ah... all in good time. :)