Fulfilling

I received some lovely pictures from Australia! A few weeks back someone ordered two Christmas cards through Etsy and asked me to write and send them to two lovely boys. And they arrived! Look at the result…

That’s heart-warming… Very well done Lewis! And exactly what I hoped my cards would trigger (whether you’re 8 or 80). Happy me!

And, as if my day couldn’t have started any better already after the beautiful pictures from Australia, I also got promoted on Instagram via @AAApromotion. They featured my Christmas tree!

What a day… I’m content and I’m gonna share this feeling of contentment with you. If you still haven’t found the time to write your Nan, lover or lovely niece and nephew a Christmas card – and I know the thought is nagging! – you’re at the right address. I absolutely LOVE writing and sending the card for you. The thought that you can sit back and relax and have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, is so fulfilling to me. So, as Christmas is approaching real fast, just place your order with the address and text before December 20th and I will do the rest!

A December gift for you!

When I started this blog I didn’t think anyone would read my figments. Except my parents.
When I listed my cards on Etsy I didn’t think anyone would buy them. Except my parents.

Turns out I was wrong. You read my blog, that’s for sure. And I even sold Christmas cards to people who – for all I know – weren’t my parents!

Here they are, six different designs.

Them cards.

Now it’s December. The month of giving and loving and caring. So I decided I wanted to give something too. Well, I always want to give, but December makes it a bit easier and I specifically wanted to give something to you readers.

I calculated a bit. I thought some things through. Other things I didn’t think through.

Outcome:
1. It appears 47% of my readers are Dutch (or: based in The Netherlands). Not surprising; I am, after all, Dutch.
2. On December 5th the Dutch Santa has his birthday and gives presents. Galore.
3. Giving away cards for free is not a budget-option.
4. Free shipping costs, however, is.

An idea:
From December 1st until December 5th 2014 the shipping costs are free for all people living in and ordering from The Netherlands.

The idea grew:
Why just one country? Why not make it a Top-5? I love Top-5’s! So, the 5 countries that hold the most readers…?

It finally resulted in this little thank-you-offer:
From December 1st until December 5th 2014 shipping costs for all orders from The Netherlands, USA, UK, Brazil and Australia are free. Hurrah!

Now, if you do not live in one of the afore mentioned countries, let me make it up to you a little bit by telling you I love and appreciate you dearly for visiting my blog. Thank you! Also, during December I will write and send my Christmas cards for you! No extra costs. Just add a note to your order with the address of the receiver and text you wish me to write down. And I will take care of it. You can pay a visit to my little Corner Shop right here.

Welcome to December everyone!

 

Isn’t she an Angel…?

PS: my beloved Christmas Angels will be back, fresh from the printers, tomorrow!

November round-up, December-focus

Tomorrow it will be December. We’re really nearing the end of 2014.

Today, however, it’s still November so let’s look back on that a little bit.

What a month it has been! Compared to October and its previous months November really has been my friend. Overall it was kind to me and filled with moments of tiny happiness.
I didn’t post too much of my own drawings, I realise that. My focus has, however, really been with drawing this whole month. Quite a big drawing project occupied my mind. It was so good to focus on that, to discover old passions and give it my all… Even my yoga class made me draw – and unravel myself a bit more.
November also helped me finish the quite big project – the printing of my first ever cards. For Christmas! It certainly won’t be my last printing project either.
The Channel 4 film about Patrick touched my heart so deeply, I had to share it with you. The joy on Patrick’s face, able to finally communicate! It “poked” another passion I once had: sign language.
An important part of drawing and creating is to have inspirers. People you look up to, you know. That make you want to challenge and improve yourself even more. Which, apart from the fact that I’m just madly in love with him, was the reason for me to tell you a bit about Dick Vincent. The artist that makes me happy! What do you think of his work?
As November is (usually) followed by December, Rebecca’s project drew my attention. AirmailChristmas is about connecting, caring and remembering. Which I believe is a perfect summary of what the month of December (and all months that follow) should be all about.

Boy, I needed November. It has left me quite impressed. The realisation that there still can be good weeks, months, periods. That the tendency of a low is “to be followed by good and happy times”. As that’s life.

With December knocking on our doors, now let’s make this new month about giving and loving and how we wish the world and ourselves to be. At least, that will be my December-focus.

Make December a good month!

Make December a good month!

 

Obsessive love

Dear reader, I’m in love! Or maybe “obsessed” is more accurate. The lucky bastard: Dick Vincent. A Manchester-based illustrator – whose work you may have seen in Flow Magazine par exemple – that won my heart about a year ago with his watercolour-illustrations. And since then I follow him where ever he goes: Instagram, Etsy, facebook… *sighs*
I’m drooling all over his work and desperately heart every picture he posts to Instagram. But when he posted the new print of “The Log Lady” from Twin Peaks (the series is returning in 2016!) he really set me on fire. Whoooosh! I mean, that clearly means he and I are meant to be – if he loves Twin Peaks and its characters then I don’t need any more proof.

Twin Peaks' Log Lady by Dick Vincent

Twin Peaks’ Log Lady by Dick Vincent

But before Dick Vincent is requesting a restraining order to stop me from getting any nearer, let me be clear: I’m exaggerating of course. However, I do love his work immensely. The dry sense of humour, a certain love for pets and other animals, simple yet (mostly) colourful and detailed – I can’t stop looking at him, er…it. With his amazing fantasy Vincent – who graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2007, having studied Illustration with Animation – always manages to put a smile on my face.

The best people love cats and dogs. Another of Vincent's prints.

The best people love cats and dogs. Another of Vincent’s prints.

In the new year (currently December-broke even though it’s only November) I’m gonna treat myself to the fantastic print of the Twin Peaks‘ Log Lady. Excited already! Dick also showed us a little painting of Twin Peaks director David Lynch on his blog, so I’m hopeful this means the start of a Twin Peaks series of portraits. I would love to have Cooper, Harold the Orchid man, Andy, Lucy , Leo “New Shoes” and Nadine on my wall too. Do it for me Dickie, do it for me!
If not, I’ll expand my Vincent-collection with the pictures of Mark Twain and his marvellous friends. All is fine by me, really Dick. Just promise me to never give up on illustrating. And tell me you love me… my! Christmas cards too.

Who doesn't want this Peruvian farmer and his larma on the wall?

Who doesn’t want this Peruvian farmer and his larma on the wall?

 

 

A balance challenge involving some chakras

This is going to be a little write up about a meditation experience. If you’re a meditation-sceptic or don’t believe in chakra energy – keep reading!

Over the last 2 – 3 years my life has been as hectic as can be. Depression, burn-out, months of being ill. It’s a bit of a struggle called ME. I thought I was getting there, getting back on track. But the last 3 months have been roller coasters again, to say the least. Something’s still not right and ME is definitely not helping. Simply put, I have to accept that finding my balance is a long term project.

Anyway, I do yoga. In my own pace – read: half of the class I just lie on my back or in child’s pose. And during my favourite class, Meditate and Breathe, I learn to meditate too. At a very lovely yoga studio in Amsterdam, Yagoy.

During meditation practice this morning the teacher led us through a chakra-meditation. I had done this meditation before, with the same teacher. Basically what you do is stop at and focus on all 7 chakras.
I hear you…what on planet earth are chakras? Chakras are the energy centres in our body. We all have them. Even you, pessimistic lot! As mentioned before, we have a total of 7 chakras. Each chakra represents a certain aspect of our being. If you want to learn more, I advise you to check this article from mindbodygreen. For the time being I’m leaving the theory of the chakras behind and will tell you a bit more about the experience I had this morning.

There we are. Meditation cushions under our bums. Eyes closed. Starting at the first chakra. The colour is red and the chakra represents our foundation and the feeling of being grounded. No matter how hard I try to colour the area of my tailbone red – visualising helps to focus – and concentrate on the first chakra, I’m like a radio that can’t find the right frequency: Kkgggghkghhhggggggggggggggg-redredred-kkkkgggkkkkkgghggghgggh-foundation-kkkkgggkk-focus-please-kkkgghg. Sitting up straight, dividing the weight equally. No no. No such thing. I’m convinced I look like the Tower of Pisa, all my weight comes together in the right side of me. Next stop: chakra number 2. Colour: orange. Same story all over again. This continues and I notice that frustration is starting to boil. However, the frustration is kind and cuddly. It tells me to fire away some questions at my yoga teacher after class. That doesn’t mean I’m not doubting myself. Why is it so hard for me to connect?

Then we arrive at chakra number 6. The third eye. Right in the middle, where your eyebrows would (or maybe do) connect. This chakra represents our ability to focus on and see the bigger picture, it’s the energy of our intuition and imagination. The moment my attention moves to this indigo spot, it explodes. It feels like an enormous beam of light and warmth coming out of my forehead. Travelling faster than light. A high pressure water jet. Coming right out of that tiny little place. It flows like a fountain. My whole body, head to toe, heats up. In a nice way. I realise that’s exactly how a radiator must feel when it’s on full heating-speed. Equally warm, throughout my whole body. This explosion, this fountain continues when I focus on the seventh – or crown – chakra where our ability to connect to spirituality lies. The sensation of overflowing, of energy and warmth. It just doesn’t stop.

To help you visualise (and because in November I focus on drawing) I made a little sketch of the experience:

Me and my chakras.

Me and my chakras.

The experience beautiful, the feeling of warmth and energy so comforting! Despite the feeling of failure at the start I felt rather good after the meditation. So good even, that somehow I knew I would be able to do the bridge pose again. Which I haven’t done for at least 10 years and which physically is just a no-go at the moment. However, it does show how good I felt. Yet I knew that there was a serious disbalance. How else can you explain that chakras 1 – 5 hardly do anything whereas when we get to number six and seven all I have to do is sit back and they do their magic for me? The chat with my teacher confirmed this. The energy of all 7 chakras ideally should be the same, a balance of freely flowing energy. In my case, the foundational energy seems like it’s nowhere to be found.

Whether you believe it or not, in everyday life this blocked energy in our chakras can lead to illness, emotional distress and such. A general feeling of being unbalanced and unhappy. And truthfully, it seems to me that this could be one of the underlying factors causing the disorder in my life.

Here’s to a new challenge. Namasté!

IMG_6406

 

 

A nearly finished project

I can’t help giggling. Big smile on my face. Giggle-giggle-giggle-giggle-giggle. Yeah! On the streets people look at me as if I’m a mad woman.

What happened? The printer happened! Paper everywhere. All different colours and structures. Oh joy! As if you let a little girl on the loose in a candy shop. And they are making test prints of my work as we speak. What’s not to giggle? Let’s just say I’m mildly enthusiastic. This is the first time I have something I made professionally printed. And it is wowzers!

Viaviavia I ended up at a really lovely printer just outside of Amsterdam, Pantheon. René and René (jaja) both have the patience of a saint, take a layman like me by the hand and make it a party. So helpful! Pantheon also prints stuff (books, brochures, stationary  and such) for pretty big names, so the first time I walked in it was kind of beyond daunting. However, the second time the excitement took over. I draw the old-fashioned way. Paper, pencil, fine liner. You know. And then…they scan! All of a sudden my work appears massively on their computer screens. STOP ME! But I mean, really: STOP ME! I could dance in the streets. And I haven’t even seen the test prints yet.

Testing some paper at the printer

Testing some paper at the printer

But yes, I draw. And from there a little project developed. No way!? Yes way. I know, more projects. Surprisingly this is a project – beginning to ending, all stages – of which I can almost say it’s a wrap. Who knew!

Not keeping you in suspense longer than necessary: I’ve designed a couple of Christmas cards. And other cards. But taking it slow I’m first tackling this Christmas project. The cards are supposed to be fun, keep you busy and creative. Whether you’re 3 or 97. That’s all I’m giving away. It took a lot of drawing. And the drawing took a lot of time. And pain. After half an hour my hands and arms are finished, you see. For the rest of the day. From the idea all the way to the final drawing that is ready to be scanned and printed…it’s not really a piece of cake for me to finish. Not done and dusted in an hour or two. However, it’s worth it – I love it. I absolutely do!

A sneak peek

Now it’s onto the next stage. The actual printing. My very own designed and hand drawn cards *giggles a bit more* being printed! The moment my Christmas cards are finished you’ll be the first to know. And of course the first to buy them from me, too. Honestly, the best Christmas cards are underway. For now we’ll just have to wait. Patiently.

I’m going to love and leave you and continue being overwhelmed and excited. Frankly, scared too. Why did I do this again? What if I’m the only person in the world to like them? Only time will tell…but already this experience is mine forever.

 

Discipline and the diary

November is all about drawing. It’s my focus this month. And not only up here at Tessie’s Projects, also in my non-digital daily life drawing is taking over. A serious project! More on that will follow. ASAP.

I’m no illustrator, have no serious talent when it comes to paper and pencil. But I like drawing (or in my case more scribbling and doodling). I like the idea of being able to draw. Being able to sketch what I see, even. Giving form to the ideas that hide in my head by putting pencil on paper. For my study Interior Design it is handy to have or develop sketching skills, too. It’s ideal if you’re able to quickly sketch the ideas of your client, for instance. So I try my hand at drawing, sometimes. The best way to develop sketching skills is the simplest way: start sketching. Every day. Not for 5 hours. Just one thing a day. A simple thing to start with. A mug. Your telly. Knives, forks. Whatever. Easy peasy. Child’s play.

But not for me. As always, when I have to (no, want to) practise things such as sketching, I start doubting myself. Get scared even. And to prove myself that indeed I won’t be able to, I set the bar too high. So I can’t reach. Easy peasy! Mostly this results in not doing it at all – procrastination. My favourite hobby. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. I love you. Tomorrow.
Same with writing. The ideas are enormous and are fired at me by my brain. I can’t keep up. So I stop before I even start. Even a simple diary must be a master piece. Let me illustrate (did you see that one coming?) this: in March 2013 I started a diary, inspired by a tip I read in some book. The tip was perfect, especially written for me: Just write one sentence a day in your one-sentence-a-day-diary. No pressure at all. And so I went to a cheap shop. Bought myself a cheap notebook. And a cheap ribbon. And I started. Of course I added an accompanying sketch a day to the just-one-sentence. To practice my sketching skills. Otherwise the bar would be too low.

It’s a shoe! A day, a sentence, a sketch.

 

It didn’t even last a month.

As it’s now November and I’ve sworn to draw a lot this month, I dug up the one-sentence-a-day-diary. And I’m gonna do it again. Every day. One sentence. One sketch. I’ll report to you.

To keep up the good work I often seek inspiration on the internet. There’s a lot of illustrators to be found, all unique and independent. It’s always inspiring take a good look at their technique, their fantasy, their solutions. Also, sketching-diaries are booming at the moment. Just type “visual journal” or “visual diary” on google and you’ll get results aplenty. My favourite isn’t a contemporary, however. It’s Christiaan Andriessen, who drew in his diary daily from 1805 – 1808. Trendsetter he! The book “De wereld van Christiaan Andriessen” (in English “The world of Christiaan Andriessen”) is the publication of this 19th century Dutch artist’s diary.

Christiaan Andriessen

From the trendsetter’s diary. Christiaan Andriessen.