29 before 30 challenge - Plans for quarter two
Personal, Projects

29 before 30 – The Second Quarter Ploy

29 before 30 challenge - Plans for quarter two

For my 29 before 30 challenge I wanted to work on a quarterly basis. At the beginning of every quarter (going from the 24th to the 23th) I’ll post a list with goals I want to work on specifically in that quarter and at the end of every quarter I’ll give you an update. My second quarter started a couple of weeks ago, so it’s high time I shared my goals for the second part of my 29 before 30 challenge.

Ok, but before you can peek at my goals for this quarter, please take a second to appreciate the illustration I made! I spend two days in Illustrator for this baby and for once I’m fairly happy with what I created. The illustration is also the reason I’m late with these updates. #scaredtostartbecauseofexpectations #drempelvrees

29 before 30 challenge - Plans for quarter two

Now, let’s have a look at my goals for the next three months. I’ve tried being precise, using exact numbers where I could, because this makes actually reaching (or not reaching) easier. If you forgot what my complete 29 before 30 challenge looked like, you can find it here.

29 before 30 challenge - Plans for quarter two

  1. Ecological footprint: I still don’t feel like I’ve informed myself enough, but it’s also time I start taking action. So in the next three months I want to undertake at least 5 concrete steps to consume less. It might be changing all the light bulbs in my house to LED lamps or finally making the re-usable vegetable bags that have been on my to do list for ages.
  2. Lettering: I started with a #100dayalphabet challenge at the beginning of April, but after 20 days I fell of the boat. It’s time to get on again, because I need the daily practise! I also want to digitise five pieces of the 30 Day of Lettering challenge to sharpen my Illustrator skills.
  3. Illustration: In the illustration department I’m also going to be ambitious. I need to get over myself and make that damned cat family illustration. I also want to make the “29 before 30 – quarter 3” illustration before the start of the third quarter. 😉 Ah and create some more illustrations, although I’m not sure which topics I want to cover. Any ideas?
  4. Travel more: I’m going to visit Warsaw with my boyfriend and afterwards I really want to start planning another trip. It needs to be really low-budget though and I’m dreaming of Marrakesh, not sure we can do this for the real cheap.
  5. Garden: In the last year I think I went maybe twice in our garden. It’s a small, wet patch of mud surrounded by a concrete fence. At the moment, it’s completely overgrown (which I secretly like, because birds & bugs love this), but it would also be nice to be able to put, I don’t know, a hammock in there when the weather is nice. So, I’m going to make a plan, figure out which (native, bee loving) plants I need and start making it happen. Ditto for our balcony.
  6. Sewing: A couple of years ago (you can barely see it in the archives) I was really into sewing. I still have all the dresses, skirts and tops I made back then, because #quality. It’s been age though since I made something new, so I want to make a new dress from scratch
  7. Health: I’ve been doing the 5:2 diet for a while, but took a break for a few weeks. It’s time to get back at it though! I also want to do the 30 Day Shred and start doing yoga regularly. Anndd work on my self-esteem/hermit issues. Or at least start figuring out how I’m going to work on these.
  8. House: I started with a make-over of our entryway, which needs to be finished.  The hardest part is stripping the front door and painting it. Other than that it’s putting up decoration, which sometimes takes ages with us.
  9. Random: Finding a good breakfast spot in Ghent and finally making a video (of at least 3 minutes) are also on my list this quarter. Along with the usual “keeping up with reading, watching new series and seeing new movies”.
  10. Side-hustle: This is going to take a big chunk of my time, because I’m trying to set up a full time hustle. It’s scaring the shit out of me + makes me feel very lost, because this was not The Plan. So I’m going to design a collection for Studio Maddy and make a basic branding for that blog. I intend to release the first collection by the end of the quarter. This is also why I feel I need to be really ambitious with the lettering and illustration goals, because keeping the pressure on makes me more productive.

There you have it, my ambitious planning for this second quarter of my 29 before 30 challenge. I’m all good hopes and optimism at the moment, so we’ll see how this goes. Did you make some ambitious plans lately?

The 29 before 30 birthday list
Personal, Projects

29 before 30 – Looking back on quarter one

For my 29 before 30 list I wanted to work on a quarterly basis. At the beginning of every quarter (going from the 24th to the 23th) I’ll post a list with goals I want to work on specifically in that quarter and at the end of every quarter I’ll give you an update. Which makes this post ridiculously late.

If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, check my original 29 before 30 birthday list. You’ll find all my goals for this year in that blog post.

Looking back on quarter one

Those first three months of the year flew by! I can’t even, when I realise it’s already May (or worse: halfway May. Eep!). I didn’t get to all the things on my quarterly goal list, but I still made some good progress.

Ecological footprint

Shrinking my ecological footprint isn’t something I’ve been blogging about. I really wanted to a couple of times, but I always felt like I’m not doing enough yet and I’ve just been gathering knowledge on the topic. I did read De Groene Meisjes book, which didn’t really go into depth about anything, but did provide a couple of interesting sources I need to check out.

I also noticed I’m getting very conscious about the amount of waste we’re producing. Last time we went to Ikea we only picked up a couple of items, but the amount of plastic waste this created really made me cringe. So did the image of a turtle with a straw jammed up its nose when it popped into my mind the last time I wanted a straw in my drink. They’re not really reusable, so I’m never buying plastic straws again. I guess baby steps is the way to go here.

400+ pages book

I finished A Court of Thorns and Roses which is 421 pages long. Goal reached. I also started (but still need to finish, although I’m over the 400 pages point at this moment) A Court of Mist and Fury. I’m not sure about this series though. I was hooked, but then discovered this was going to be an 8 book series instead of a trilogy. I’m not sure there is enough world building for that.

Pull-ups

I did started weight lifting (got to 8kg) and then it fell flat. I always forgot about it when I’m at my desk, although actually doing a couple of lifts costs me no time at all. I’m also trying to get into the 30 Day Shred again, because all the muscle building exercises in there will surely help (and it’s something I actually need to do to keep my knees from hurting).

Illustration & hand lettering skills

I started a 100 Day Alphabet challenge for my lettering (+ did a 30 Day of Lettering Challenge in February) and made a couple of illustrations for drawing school. Not as many illustrations as I had hoped though.

Bookstagram

I started the bookstagram account, but getting into regularly publishing content is harder than I thought. I’m still buying books and I’m reading, so I’ve got content to share.

Yoga Revolution

I didn’t get into the Yoga Revolution. Yoga is one of those things I actually like doing, but never make time for. Booh.

Draw a family portrait

Didn’t draw the cat family portrait. Booh.

Radical Self Love

Didn’t start the Radical Self Love course. Also boo. I still reallllly want to do this as soon as possible though.

Make a video

I did make a video. It was quite short, but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. It’s in my 30 Days of Lettering wrap-up post.

30 posts on Plutomeisje.be // 16 posts on Studio Maddy

I just got to 30 posts on Plutomeisje (because April has been one big blogging slump, otherwise it would’ve been a breeze). I didn’t get to the 16 posts I wanted to write for Maddy. Seriously overshot myself there. I do have ideas, but actually writing them down seems to be hard for some reason.

More Instagram pictures

For a short while I did post more often on Instagram, but I’ve slumped again. Although I am taking way more pictures than before, thanks to my new(ish) point and shoot camera.  I always carry it in my bag and I love that I can make really decent pictures at any time. Only posting them online is something I find hard, especially coming up with decent captions. I did start using Instagram Stories a lot more. I find this more fun, because there’s little pressure about perfect shots and how your feed looks. You can post crappy shots, but still tell your story on the go.

More fun adventures

Yes to small adventures! I went on a blogger date with Kathleen in Brussels and asked an old school mate to go to Let’s Talk Design with me. Those are both things that are somewhat out of my comfort zone, but it was fun!

I also read one book from my unread shelves (I went to the library too many times), made my playlist for random dance parties and I finally watched Moana and Nocturnal Animals. And I just finished watching Stranger Things. Oh. Em. Gee. I can’t wait for season two to air!

I already feel this method is working better than the way I tried completing my goals last year. I only need to focus on a couple of small things at a time. And the list is right above my computer monitor. There is no escaping! Did you make a list of goals for this year? How are you faring?

Interior

Bathroom dreams

I was about to give an Ikea chest of drawers a long overdue make-over when my stomach decided this wasn’t going to happen today. Being in an “I need to overturn my house mood” I decided it might be fun to create a mood board post for my planned bathroom overhaul.

We have a tiny bathroom (raw estimation: 2m by 3m) and our house has all these fun not-ninety degree angles. Ok, maybe these frustrate me a bit, but that’s also because the last owners decided to ignore most of these weird angles and put in large, clunky furniture (which I constantly bump into). We also have a tiny budget, so we’ll have to be very creative in finding new bathroom furniture because any “normal” options are out of the question.

So, when I bumped into Dietemiet’s post about the non-traditional kitchen of a friend of her’s (and her posts about her own non-traditional kitchen and bathroom), it made me think. If I take a look at my Pinterest “I wish my house looked like this” board there is very little minimalistic, traditional, clean and clutter free design to be found. I like plants and colour and clutter and houses that feel like they’re very much alive and vibrant, just like the people that live in it.

Featured image sources: 1 / 2 / 3 – Image above: 1 / 2

Image sources: 1 / 2 / 3

Image sources: 1 / 2

Image sources: 1 / 2 / 3

I’m not sure if we’re going to retile our bathroom, but I definitely like the subway tiles. Especially if they’re used on the lower part of the wall. Other returning elements: lots of white, wood, and some antique-looking fixtures, mirrors or hardware. And also plants of course! I can’t imagine having a room in the house without plants. And I have a couple of species that love living in a damp bathroom.

For the bathroom cabinet, I’m absolutely smitten with the first picture. I think it should be fun to find a dresser and completely doable to give it a make-over like this.

What does your dream bathroom look like? A bit like the pictures above? Or completely different?

Four blogposts that didn't happen today - picture showing a misty forest at the foot of the mountains
Blogging, Personal

Four blogposts that didn’t happen today

I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for the biggest part of my evening. Since I started surfing the net I’ve had four ideas for blog posts. (“plans for decorating my balcony and garden”, “how I’m setting up my new notebook/bullet journal”, “plans for the month of April” and “favourites of March”) None of those ideas made it so far. And none of them will. (insert dramatic pause)

At least not this evening because I’m starting to feel overwhelmed and a little bit stressed because it’s 9 o’clock and I still have nothing! So before I snap shut and go sit in a corner, moping about how much of a sucky adult I am, let’s make a list about why these posts are not happening today. Because I love list making.

Four blog posts that didn’t happen

  • I really wanted to do a post about decorating my balcony and my garden. I’m just not sure a post filled with Pinterest images and Ikea product shots is going to be that interesting. I’d rather show you the work in progress and the final result. Which may take a couple of weeks or months to finish. And in the meanwhile, I still need to research how I want everything to look and stick a feasible budget to it. All things that I can’t do on one evening whilst writing a quality post about it. + the Ikea site gives me shopping stress, I want half of the outdoor collection from this year.
  • Ah, the bullet journaling thing. Still seems like a fun post, but with the lack of light and a desk that is completely covered in piles of an enormous mess (growing for a couple of weeks now) quickly filming something was no option.
  • As much as I love list making, I didn’t write a “plans for April” post this evening. I did make the list in my lovely planner. And I had the amazingly depressing idea to go take a look at the earlier “plans for” post I wrote in the not so distant past. Reading those lists made me realise I did about 0,1% (scientifically calculated by dramatic guessing) of the things on those lists. Instant bummer. Instant “I”m too ashamed to write another list with plans because I never stick to them and I suck at planning and I want to mope in a corner”. Bye, post!
  • The “favourites of March” post could’ve happened. You know, if I kept better track of the things I loved in March (spring weather,… err…. an anime series I only got 4 episodes far in!… err….). And then I had to draw and paint everything on the aforementioned dumping ground of a desk. Not going to happen.

The post that did happen

No instead, I decided to pour my frustrations and insecurities in a blog post (a much better idea than the four others, I’m sure) and it’s way faster to write. Also, this helps my mental health. I already feel more relaxed and I think I didn’t do too bad of a job. #win. Yes, I am one of those people who used the phrase “hashtag whatever” in actual conversations. Don’t hate me now.

Heads up guys, because this week will be a bumpy one. I have seas of time in the evening (always a bad thing with me, I need pressure) and I feel distraught because Things Are Changing. And I’m nervous and scared and excited and happy. No, I’m not pregnant, I know the symptoms sound similar (and I’ve been nauseous and I used the word bumpy. But no. Not ever). So there might not be that many posts this week or there might be one every day. Not sure yet. You’ll see. 🙂

Sunday Scribbles - on leaving my comfort zone and spring weather
Personal

Sunday Scribbles, N°6

Hello & welcome to a new instalment of Sunday Scribbles. In this post, I talk about what I’ve been up to this week, why my 40 Days of Blogging aren’t going really well (again :p) and how I’m spending more and more time out of my comfort zone.

This past week was very busy for me. Somehow I scheduled a social activity every single evening, which left me completely drained at the end of the week. Since I don’t schedule my blog posts, this meant this week was very quiet. That doesn’t mean I’m quitting 40 Days of Blogging, though! I’m only now getting my writing flow back and I’d love to keep it. I’ll just have to lengthen this 40 Days thing a bit, to make up for lost days.

One of these days I’m going to forget about my comfort zone

So, like Kathleen, I left my comfort zone a bit last week. I think this is the third time I talk about leaving my comfort zone in these Sunday Scribbles. (If I step outside my comfort zone this easily maybe those boundaries aren’t my true borders, but something I’ve talked myself into? Or that my zone got very small?) I send a message to someone I didn’t know well (an old classmate) and asked if she wanted to go with me to Creative Talk (Let’s Talk Design).

Let’s Talk Design is one of those events that have been on my radar for a while, but I never went, because I never knew who to ask and didn’t want to go alone. Obviously, I had a really nice evening. Since this was an industry event I learned a lot about graphic design and visual development and left feeling so inspired.

Hearing people talk about their job, their passion for their craft really works on me. I always let myself be swept away and afterwards I can feel the urge to create course through my veins. It’s really a physical sensation for me, but the feeling never stays long. I haven’t found a way to capture it or to call upon it when I need it. Maybe you have a tip for this? One thing I do know is that this feeling always helps me realise that I am in the right industry because I never feel this with anything other than design, illustration or art.

Sunday Scribbles - handwritten scribbles in my notebookl

Random Sunday Scribbles

Things that made me happy

  • Spring! Seeing all the green pop-up, the birds whistling, the cycling without a jacket,… Best time of the year!
  • Hanging out with lots of different people. So tiring, but also pretty awesome.
  • Smoked salmon + leek Quiche. Best. Thing. Ever.
  • Days without a stomach ache. Because for the last couple of weeks the stomach thing, whatever it is, has been acting up. And unless you’re in a similar position, you have no idea how happy you feel when things go back to normal for a while.

Things I enjoyed

  • Women Who Draw, a website for female illustrators. So fun to see all the different drawing styles.
  • The post Holly wrote on why blogs are still important in 2017 on Decor8. As she put it: “Blogging is NO different than having email or a website. It may not be the ONLY way that we can transfer our ideas and opinions to the world, but it’s still how we can present our work in the most personalized and creative way. And the best part is, it’s our own content and we run the show.
  • Viktorija from And Smile has an ongoing series about inspiration on her blog and she talked about the importance of play. Something I def need to take at heart (+ look at how cute her paintings look!).
  • Focus on one thing (or die trying ;))
  • Fenne’s 7 lessons from her solitude experiment. A cabin by a lake always sounded good to me, but now even more than ever.

So, that’s it for this week’s Sunday Scribbles. Did you come across anything worth sharing this week (you can be cheeky and link to something you put online)? Or did you cross the border of your comfort zone? Tell me about it in the comments.

Hope you’re having a great day!

My Week in Pictures - A burger on Saturday
Personal

My week in pictures

Hello guys, welcome to another Week in Pictures. I didn’t do much at the beginning of the week, but had a very well filled weekend. Plus I added a little cat bonus at the end. 🙂

The first pictures is from last weekend though, when I went to the gallery opening of the Musketon art show. During the weekend nothing much happened, until Friday, when I had the day off. I spent it blogging and figuring out what to do with my life. I also found my blog-planning list again, which I lost somewhere last week. >.<

My Week in Pictures My Week in PicturesMy Week in Pictures

On Saturday, I went to Brussels on a bloggerdate with Kathleen. We went to Waterstones and couldn’t stop ourselves from buying some books. Afterwards went for lunch and spent the afternoon talking about blogging, social media and life. There were a lot of laughs and I had a blast. 😀

My Week in PicturesMy Week in PicturesMy Week in Pictures

Sunday was for long walks in the park where I had to run during gym class in my teens. We also enjoyed the ridiculously nice weather we had this weekend. I think I even have a little sunburn.

My Week in PicturesMy Week in Pictures

All of the pictures in this post (except for the first one) I took with my new Sony RX100 M3, which I tried testing this week. I also took some pictures of my cats, which seems to work better with the small camera. They feel less intimidated, I think.

My Week in PicturesMy Week in PicturesMy Week in Pictures

So, that was it for this Week in Pictures. I hope you also had a nice weekend and could enjoy the weather a bit. See you tomorrow! 🙂

Personal

Sometimes a little goes a long way

I don’t think anyone reading this blog is surprised when I say I have a low self-esteem. I try to be open about this so that people at least know why I sometimes have a hard time with seemingly simple things. It’s also because, at one point in life, I got tired of pretending I didn’t have a low-self esteem.

The problem now still is, how to get rid of it? This self-esteem issue, combined with a looming case of anxiety (hello, I’m 29 and I hate driving a car because it still scares the shit out of me) do sometimes stop me from Doing Things. I miss the days when I was more devil-may-care. I also feel like because I acknowledge my self-esteem issues I also keep them alive. I’ve defined myself as someone with this problem, thus I have it.

If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.

The question is, how do I go from here? To be honest, I have no idea. I’ve already talked about doing Radical Self Love, but I never really started on it. And then, I got a pair of shoes in the mail. I spend ages shifting through the pages of the Sasha site, wondering whether I should get more feminine Chelsea boots (and jump the fashion train) or get the semi-combat boots which reminded me of my punk/goth period in high school.

Sometimes a little goes a long way, like receiving a pair of shoes that impact your self-esteem

Maybe it’s a bit embarrassing to say, but I absolutely love these shoes. They’re not that pretty to look at, but they feel 100% completely me. They even make me feel more me. And thus, a seemingly insignificant choice on a shoe-store website, made me feel a bit different.

And maybe it’s the shoes or just realising that picking out things that feel more me actually make me feel happier. Since then I started wearing more clothes in ways that feel more me and done a couple of things that are definitely not what my angsty low-self esteem me would do in a jiffy (cutting my hair short, signing up for events, reaching out to people).  And I think I still have more up my sleeve.

So here’s to picking me. Cheers. 🙂

Big thanks to Sasha Shoes for the awesome pair of boots they send me and for their endless patience in waiting for me to write this post.

A postcard saying "maybe swearing will help", because sometimes you really just need to struggle through to start creating again
Inspiration, Tips

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

Sometimes, (eg when you’re writing a blog post a day) you feel your creativity falter. You run out of ideas and before you know it, you’re stuck. I think everyone has their own methods to start creating again, but it can still me very inspiring to see what others do. So, here are 8 things I do to clear my head and start creating again.

Btw, I got inspired to write this post after reading about Hanne’s 10 self-care things she does when she feels miserable and can’t create anything.

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

1. Tea. Heaps of tea.

Preferably black tea, with some sugar, or apple-cinnamon. Just by getting some liquid in me (I’ve a bad habit of drinking too little water) I can feel completely re-energized. Also making tea (boiling a kettle, putting loose tea in a holder, having it soak for a bit) takes enough time to unwind your brain a bit.

2. A long, hot bath.

Especially with a bubble bar or a bath bomb from Lush. The tub is my thinking space and I often get so energised and full of ideas I want to get out quickly again. But most of the time I just write things down (there is a notepad next to the bath at all times) and enjoy the soak.

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

3. Put on some music.

At the moment, I listen to Disturbed when I really need to focus. Their quick metal songs bring me head banging back into ‘the zone’. When I have a little more time, I put on my “Random Dance Party” playlist and start shaking it. Fifteen minutes later you’re ready to rumble! Singing along also helps just clearing my mind.

4. Clean.

Whenever my studio space gets cluttered it means my head space is cluttered. Cleaning my physical space always is a good start to get the gears running again. I do have to be careful not to overdo it, because sometimes I use cleaning as an excuse not to start on something.

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

5. Do a brain dump.

Sometimes I feel like my head gets clogged up with ideas I’m desperately hanging on. By writing everything down I create more space for new things or give myself the chance to actually work them out one by one instead of feeling overwhelmed.

6. Get some exercise.

Start a mini-dance party (see earlier), but also: run the stairs up and down a couple of times, go for a walk, do some yoga, do some high-intensity training. Just moving my body also makes my brain move again. I also have a couple of exercises I can do on my desk chair when I really don’t have time for a work-out. And if this costs too much time, a couple of good stretches also can do wonders.

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

7. Go to a new place.

It’s not always possible, but sometimes I just need to get out of my trusty environment. Visiting a museum in a nearby city, going to the beach or to a forest are things that often help. And if those are not working, it means I need to go farther away from my comfort zone. It’s not always possible, but I think that looking for a country or a culture you haven’t met before and spending some time there might be the most rejuvenating thing you can do.

8. Sometimes nothing helps.

It’s ok; sometimes nothing helps. I try not tho fret when I get to this point. I’ll just make it an early night and pamper myself. Hot chocolate and blankets on the couch in winter (with some nicely scented candle) or spending time outside in the sun, with a book. Enjoying the weather and the sound of birds. Giving my brain some time off always helps to get back into the flow because there really are days you can’t force it.

(Alternatively, when I really need to finish something, I’ll just fake it. By going through the motions I’m used to, I can still create. It doesn’t work if you have to do this daily (it feels like you brain is walking through heavy mud), but pushing through once in a while, isn’t a bad thing)

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

Even though I have all these back-ups for getting me back into my zone, there is only one thing that absolutely 100% makes my creativity peek: doing something I absolutely hate. Whenever I had to study for exams, I was constantly jotting down ideas because my head was overflowing with them. But it’s not really possible to recreate this setting, as it calls for a specific environment.

What do you do to kick-start your creativity again? Anything foolproof you’ve discovered to start creating again?