Inspiration, Personal

A Small Wishlist [6]

We popped up our Christmas tree this weekend, which can only mean it’s really almost Christmas! Every year I make myself a wishlist and this year is no different. Read on if you’re curious to find out what’s on my wishlist, and maybe you’ll find some inspiration for your own Christmas shopping.

I used to make wishlists quite often (just check the “wishlist” tag here on the blog). This year really was the first year I needed to think about this list. Since I started working I’ve bought a lot of the things that have been on my list for ages, so it felt a bit like starting fresh. As always there are lots of books on my list, but there’s other things too.

All things Harry Potter

After I saw the movie I immediately went and bought the hardcover version of the screenplay, so it shouldn’t surprise you there’s more Harry Potter (or rather Fantastic Beasts) to be found on my list. I loved the setting of the movie and I’m curious to find out more about this part of the Harry Potter universe.

Some of the things on my wishlist are books related to the Harry Potter universe. Pictured here are the covers of each of these books.

1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Illustrated Edition, 2. The Art of the Movie: Fantastic Beasts and where to find them, 3. The Case of Beasts, 4. Harry Potter: The Creature Vault

For the love of plants

Is it strange to put plants on a wishlist? I’m almost ashamed of buying more plants, so for the couple of lovely special ones that are on my wishlist it would be awesome to get them as a gift.

On my wishlist are three different plants, which are pictured here and two books about plants/natural history.

1. Fiddle Leaf Fig, 2. Medinilla Magnifica, 3. Wonders are Collectible, 4. Urban Jungle, 5. Calathea

Name something, it might be a hobby of mine

Sometimes I feel like I have too many hobby’s. Especially when I try to make a list of them. But I wouldn’t be able to cut some of them, in my mind they’re all part of “being creative” in whatever way I feel like. On the other hand, sometimes I feel like I’m really not creative at all. So I added some extra, creativity boosting, things on my wishlist.

The covers of "Your inner critic is a big jerk" and "1 page at a time", next to images of a GorillaPod camer stand, a light box for drawing and a lens hood

1. Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk, 2. 1 Page at a Time,  3. Lens hood for Canon 50mm/18-55mm lenses, 4. GorillaPod for Smartphone/Compact Camera, 5. Huion Lightbox

Do you make a wishlist round Christmas time? Maybe you need to make one to share with present-hunting relatives? What’s the number one thing on your wishlist?

A picture frame with feathers in it and an illustration of a bird with the text "how to make a natural history display" on top
Interior, Tutorials

How to make a natural history display

Have you ever entered an old fashioned museum and thought “this is how I want to decorate my house”? I have. Whenever I visit such a place, where time hasn’t touched the displays for years, I feel thrilled by the amount of wonder and possibility the objects on display hold. There is still so much a mystery! So when I ordered my glass and copper frame, I already knew I wanted to make a display inspired by the natural history museums I’ve visited in the past. When I finished my display, I realised this could be a cool DIY project to share.


When I finally started my own natural history display, it took me only an hour to finish (including time to draw a cute little bird). So it’s very easy to create your own (and for the pictures of this tutorial I quickly recreated another one). All you need is:

  • a cute frame
  • feathers or pressed flowers
  • tracing paper
  • tape
  • an ink drawing of a bird (or something else)
  • a pen (optional)

My frame existed of two parts, which led me to create my display on two pieces of tracing paper. Of course, depending on your frame, you can arrange everything on one piece of tracing paper. First I laid everything out on the tracing paper. Next I  teared the paper into the right size, because this gives the paper a softer edge than if you’d cut it. I took tiny pieces of tape to fix the different feathers on the tracing paper.

As finishing touch I wrote the latin names of the birds next to the feathers, in my most fancy, 19th century looking, script. I failed at the bottom, because the feather was in the way, so it’s better to do this before you add your feathers.


After placing and fixing the piece of tracing paper with feathers in on half of the frame, I started drawing my bird. After drawing and inking it, I scanned it in. I cleaned up my scan with Photoshop and then printed the bird on tracing paper.


Drawing of a bird

You can also draw directly on your tracing paper, but I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t waste too much paper on failed sketches. You could also find a sketch on Google or ask somebody to draw you something, but you can also use my bird, as it’s available as printable.


After printing or drawing the bird (or flowers, or whatever you want) and adding it to your frame you’re finished!

I love how to light falls through the tracing paper and how it outlines the feathers and the illustration. It fits the nature and natural history vibe I have in my living room perfectly.

naturalhistorydisplay01naturalhistorydisplay08 naturalhistorydisplay09

Some frame inspiration

Even though it took me a long time to finally do something with my glass frame, I absolutely adore it! I searched the web for some similar frames, so if you don’t have a frame like this and you want to try this DIY, you don’t have to look far. Most of them are fairly cheap (I paid about €14 for mine).

A collection of lists that are suited for making your own natural history display

  1. Madam Stoltz, 2.Sissy Boy, 3. Sissy Boy 4. Nordal, 5. Moebe, 6. Nordal

Footnote: if you want to use feathers in your displays, please only use feathers you find on the ground or you buy in a shop. Don’t try to take feathers from nests (or birds! obviously!). Also be aware that it is illegal to posses a lot of bird’s feathers in some countries (e.g. US, Great Britain). Look on Google to find out which feathers you can own in your country.

An image of leaves with "Sunday Scribbles" in text on top of it

Sunday Scribbles, N°2

Wew, I took my time to write this second edition of Sunday Scribbles. I wrote and rewrote a dozen versions over the last three week I think, but I finally managed to finish it! This time I wrote about life (again ;)), the American elections and my plans for the rest of November.

 Nobody told me it was going to be difficult.

(If they did, I wasn’t listening)

The past fortnight I was really conflicted about my work situation. It basically went between staying or leaving. Not an easy decision to make, especially when at the same time I had to say goodbye to two lovely colleagues who left. Having such a hard time deciding completely stressed me out, which obviously made things worse. Try making a right decision when all you want to do is rest, because you drained yourself thinking about this problem every moment you’re awake. I drove myself (and the boyfriend) almost nuts. In the end, after way too much talking and thinking, I decided to stay. I felt like I wasn’t done yet.

I gave myself some “buts” though. I’ll stay, but I have to work on making my job into something I’ll enjoy more, into something I can push myself more in. I’ll also need to be more vigilant about the frustrations I had before. And I need to start working on personal projects again. Just by making this decision, I feel re-energised, which is a good thing. And if it was the wrong decision, I’m sure I’ll look back on this and realise I’ve learnt something.


The American Clusterfuck

I can’t write this Sunday Scribbles and not mention the Great American Clusterfuck, can I? I woke up early Wednesday morning, turned on Twitter and saw that Trump had won. After turning off my phone I tried to sleep some more, which obviously didn’t happen. I felt all day that this was a sad day for the world. How could a sexist, misogynistic, racist with bad hair an an orange tan have won? Are people that desperate not to see a woman lead? (I obviously know it’s more complex than this, but still, this also played a role)

In the evening I spent some time in the bath tub (my thinking spot) and saw the disbelief and the anger in the creative community I follow on Instagram. But I also saw a lot of people willing to fight, willing to voice their opinions and willing to work on positive change. And then I saw this quote of “Still I Rise“, by Maya Angelou. And I felt the fire burning. There is still hope, we can still work on a better world, but we better start, before this fear and hate also strikes in Europe (more than it already has).

Fresh bread pudding, made in the beginning of my holiday

Plans for November

I’m taking this week off (& started well by making bread pudding in the long weekend), to figure some things out, especially considering a few personal projects I want to set up. One of those new projects is a new blog. I know, I’m barely keeping up with this one, but it’s part of a bigger plan, so I owe myself a shot. If you’re interested in graphic design, illustration, art supplies,… keep an eye on Studio Maddy, this week I’ll put my first post live.

I also want to work on my self confidence this month (which seems such a stupid thing to write down), but I’m fed up with feeling not “good enough” all the time. I bought Gala Darling’s Radical Self Love Bootcamp when she was doing a sale in September and although the mails come in every week, I haven’t done anything with it. So instead of doing a 30 day drawing challenge, I’m challenging myself to spend more time on myself in November (& December). I’m not sure I’ll blog or post on social media about this, but if I should send out a picture with #radicalselflove, then you know what’s going on.

 Thing I loved this week

  • For InkTober I started sketching in a small, A6, sketchbook and I’ve enjoyed this immensely! The book filled up so quickly (which I find very motivating) and I no problems starting to draw on the smaller sized pages. With less space to fill I seem to have less fear for the white page.
  • Another InkTober discovery is my Pentel Pocket Brush pen. The fillings seem to empty quite quickly, but other than that I love everything about this brush pen! It fits perfectly in my hand, it’s awesome to draw with and it fits my pencil case.
  • One thing that’s slightly positive about the American elections is the renewed interest in feminism and equality. Poppytalk posted an awesome list with gift ideas for feminists, which is a great start to make people aware that feminist isn’t a curse word. I really like the “the future is female” shirt and the boob planter they got on that list.
  • I also wanted to say thanks to everyone who left a nice, motivating, encouraging comment on the last two Sunday Scribble posts! Reading all those lovely comments meant a lot. Thank you!

What are your thoughts on the American elections? The ongoing debates about diversity made me very aware how privileged I am. I’d like to broaden my perspective, so if you have any tips (movies, books, articles, poetry,…) that would help (I’m already making a list of books), please leave them in the comments below (or anywhere on my social media, or e-mail me).

The InkTober logo (a dark ink blot with the word InkTober left out in white)
Design & Illustration, Projects

InkTober – 31 days of drawing & inking

In the past couple of years October has become the drawing month of the year. I think thing started with the Big Draw event, but on social media too it became the month of drawing and pushing your creative skills. On of the challenges you can find on Instagram is InkTober. I’ve tried finishing this 31 days of drawing challenge a couple of times, but it never worked out. Until this year’s edition!

I decided to start with very low expectations and just wanted to draw a pattern a day. Keeping things light and easy. One pattern a day became 8 patterns on the first day. Apparently I was really excited about my low pressure approach. After a week of drawing patterns and seeing a lot of witches pop up in people’s InkTober feeds, I tried my hand at more witchy things. And from there I was really set to make a daily sketch and ink it in.

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen a lot of these drawings already, but if you missed some (or you don’t follow me yet on Instagram), I’ve made a little GIF with all of my patterns and illustrations. (If you don’t know what InkTober is, check inventor mr Jake Parker’s page for all info)


Apart from the last week, where life handed me some lemons, things went really smooth! I had a harder time uploading all my drawings to Instagram than actually making them. The InkTober challenge also made me love using ink and brush pens a lot more than I did before. A black and white inked drawing has something to it. I’d like to do another drawing challenge soon (because now I know I can finish them 😉 ) and I think it would be awesome to learn more about using ink and ink washes and maybe even add some colour to the drawings.

Did you take part in InkTober (or one of the other challenge that were running at the same time)?