This is my 100th post on this blog! Wow!!! Thank you for being here and letting me share my creative journey.
I have been on so many little wild adventures recently, and can’t wait to share some stories, photos and artwork here soon. For today though, since it’s a milestone post, I just want to reflect and consider my plans for the near future.
This week I’ve started working on my own website, via Squarespace which is an extremely affordable and user-friendly website-building platform. It basically has all the building blocks to create a sleek and professional website to showcase all your work, add a shop, include a blog, all the usual information pages and more! So it’s pretty brilliant.
My main reason for wanting to create a dedicated website (rather than sticking with social media and a blog), is to start building a professional art portfolio. Since moving north I have been reconnecting with my love of painting and drawing, and exploring nature. I have also been feeling a renewed confidence in myself and my ability to become a full-time artist… one day. Of course that one day won’t get any closer if I don’t start working TODAY, and keep showing up EVERYday!
From this professional portfolio I would love to eventually show more work in galleries, get private commissions and possibly even editorial jobs and work in published books! Who knows!
At the moment I’m doing a lot of sketchbook work, but next I want to get out onto loose paper and other surfaces, and create finished pieces of art, to sell as originals, prints and merchandise. I’m also interested in rediscovering linocut and hand-carved stamps (which I have briefly explored in the past), to either use as stand-alone designs, or combine with paint, pen and collage for a truly mixed-media approach. Or a bit of both.
With regards to ‘merchandise’, I’m thinking of greetings cards, postcards, gift tags & wrap, letter-writing sets, notebooks… as well as digital downloads and ‘printables’ such as colouring pages from my line drawings and computer desktop wallpapers. So many possibilities!
Of course all of this means that I will also be re-launching my Etsy shop (which is a little empty at the moment!) and researching local art markets, plus I have already contacted some local art shops. And my Squarespace website will also enable me to create my own online shop.
Alongside all of this I also have a renewed enthusiasm for my YouTube channel, which has been steadily growing all by itself over the past couple of months, despite my lack of new content! I now have more than 100 subscribers, and almost 5,000 total views across my 13 videos, coming mostly from my very popular pen-pal video. That’s already half way to the minimum views needed to become ‘monitized’. So I will keep working at creating videos, especially focusing on art related content.
So, to summarise:
I’m going to create some finished artwork to sell…
…and build a professional art portfolio
…which I will showcase on my own website
…with a view to show in galleries, get commissions, possibly editorial work!?
I would like to create merchandise and prints from my artwork…
…to sell via Etsy/local shops/markets/my own website.
I’m planning to continue working on YouTube videos.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back next week, sharing some recent adventures and art to go along with them! Until then, stay creative!
August has been a jam-packed and life-changing month for me! And today I am feeling so sleepy; perhaps you will see why when you read about all the brilliant things I got up to last month below…
What made you smile and feel alive this month?
We watched the Perseid’s meteor shower with some friends – it was the first time Fraz has seen a shooting star!!! We saw so many; it was breathtaking and so magical.
I’ve been getting creative with an Instagram art journal collaboration. Will share more soon!
I got a postcard from one of my new pen pals, Stephanie in Puerto Rico. It’s not even her turn to write, so it was extremely sweet of her to send a postcard on her holiday! I love snail mail so much!!!
My last work shift at Colston Hall was a Flaming Lips show. I got to watch almost the entire gig, and it was CRAZY AMAZZZZZIIIINNNGG!!! There were giant balloons, a huge inflatable robot, a light-up gong, a ride-on light-up unicorn, a giant bubble that the singer was inside and used to crowd-surf, glitter and colour and flashing lights everywhere… plus their songs are so cool! Highly recommend seeing The Flaming Lips live.
We got some really thoughtful leaving gifts from our @Bristol work friends, including handmade flags, cute teddies, cards and a hamper filled with vegan goodies! Plus we’ve received some lovely cards from friends and family wishing us well on this new adventure.
On our final night in Bristol we watched ‘Planet of the Apes’ on the big screen outside @Bristol (in the rain), with a good friend from BIMM who we hadn’t seen for ages. It was a bittersweet night, and it still doesn’t feel like we’ve really left Bristol!
We moved to Leek in Staffordshire; new to me, but old to everyone else, since Fraz grew up here! But I feel so lucky to have a cosy home already, and have so much beautiful countryside to explore.
We’ve had fun sharing vegan food with Fraz’s parents, with mainly positive results! I love sharing positive knowledge and actions with people.
Fraz has a car!!! It feels so weird to be able to drive anywhere, just the two of us, without needing public transport or a lift from anyone else. It’s almost as if we’re adults now…!
We went to the Big feast fest in Hanley with Fraz’s brother, his fiancée, and their two children. There were some amazing street performances/theatre shows, and we found a vegan café. Great company, great entertainment AND great food!
Then we all went to Peak Wildlife park the next day with Fraz’s parents too. It’s a really nice open-style zoo in the middle of the countryside, and I even took the opportunity to do some sketching from life. Find some examples in my latest Instagram post, and look out for more in a blog post soon!
The following day the adventures continued, as me and Fraz visited Cannock Chase, an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ (with a GoApe course which I am super keen to go on!) It was really hot and busy, but we still had a nice time wandering around the woods.
After a day off we visited Castleton in the Peak District on Wednesday. We went inside the Peak Cavern and climbed up to Peveril Castle. This little village took me back to childhood/teenage holidays in the Peak District, Lake District and Snowdonia; quiet old villages, wild rolling hills and stunning endless views.
Wednesday the 30th was also my mum’s birthday! I sent her a card and gift, and had a lovely conversation over the phone. I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful mummy!
I found some great creative books at Leek library; they are giving me lots of creative ideas, and are helping me to focus on what I really want to create. More on that soon too!
…and that was August for me. Big changes and lots of adventures. What were your best bits from August? What were all the special moments and big achievements that added up to make your happy highlights?
Share your stories in the comments below, or find me over on Instagram or Facebook! See you back here for another Dear Diary post this Sunday, and possibly a YouTube video on a Wednesday sometime this month… fingers crossed!
Check only emails – this is how I get my work rota
Steps I will take to make sure I savour my time offline:
Delete all social apps on my phone
Logout of all social media on computer
Spend the time focusing on what Sunray Sister is, what I want it to be, what kind of work I want to be creating and sharing, what product I want to sell to people, what message I want to put across… etc.!
Report back on Sunday 21st May in a blog post.
Coming up… nothing for a while! I think this time off is really going to help me, and I already feel positive about coming back refreshed and refocused for the next chapter of Sunray Sister’s journey.
See you in a little while; I hope your days are filled with sunshine and glitter!
In case you missed the first class, ‘The Wonderful World of Tea’, catch up here.
What’s this all about? Find out in detail here. Love Lessons is my new series of blog posts all about a love of learning, and learning about things to help you love yourself, or just get inspired. The first lesson was about tea, and this second lesson is about…
Slowing Down with Meditation
What is meditation?
To most people in Europe and America, meditation is the latest health trend, to those in Asia, it is a sacred practice.
As a beginner, I see meditation in two halves. The first is a daily dedicated ritual, the second is a continuous perspective and mindfulness of the present moment.
So meditation can be many things viewed from different perspectives. In the purest sense meditation is simply taking time to pause. It is stopping and saying, “I don’t need to do anything right now. All I need to do is breathe, and be aware of my present self, without changing anything or trying to solve anything.”
How can it help me?
The benefits of meditation are widely documented, from ancient tradition, to modern revelation. It’s important to remember that even though this is a global movement, mediation is personal and can be tailored to you. You can practice almost anywhere, at anytime. You do not need to sit cross-legged, burn incense and chant mantras. But you can if you want to. Don’t worry about all the accessories and stereotypes. If you prefer, you don’t even have to call it meditation. It could simply be your quiet time.
The purpose of meditation is to slow down, to find focus, to observe your mind and your surroundings and to live in the present moment.
Beyond that it can develop into other things with further benefits which you can research in the numerous books, blogs, podcasts and videos on the subject.
How can I meditate?
Personally, I have found guided meditation most helpful. This can be found in the form of an app, where I would recommend both ‘Headspace’ and ‘Stop, Breathe & Think’ (plus they both have great design!). The first is good as a starting point, with cute and useful videos, but after 10 days you need to subscribe if you want new content. ‘Stop, Breathe & Think’ is great because it asks you to ‘check in’ each day too, so you can track your moods over time. I also recommend reading this article: Meditation for Beginners: 20 Practical Tips for Understanding the Mind, from one of my favourite blogs.
Otherwise you could simply put on relaxing music, or sit in silence, set a timer for between 5-20 minutes, and try the following:
Begin by getting comfortable – on a chair or on the floor – closing your eyes, resting your hands on your knees and taking a few deep breaths.
Now notice the connection of your body to your surroundings, notice any sounds around you.
Then bring your attention inwards and begin to count your breaths up to 10, and begin again at 1, for a few minutes.
When thoughts distract you, simply step back and watch them pass, then return to counting your breaths. Don’t become frustrated or try too hard to focus.
You could then do a ‘body-scan’ where you go to each part of your body, working from head to toe, and see how you feel. Move your mind around your body.
At this point you could also meditate on a certain subject, such as gratitude, or compassion for others. Guided meditations are useful for this.
Or you could bring your attention back to your body and surroundings, stretch, open your eyes and continue your day with a refreshed perspective and sense of calm.
As an additional step you could write down your thoughts and feelings, plans and dreams in a journal.
Homework: This week sit down for just 10 minutes and try meditation, using the advice above. How do you feel now? Do some further research for bonus marks! Report back here, or on social media. I can’t wait to hear how you got on!
This Sunday: Playtime episode 10. A music mix tape from me to you!
Wednesday: Venture out into the wild Spring countryside with me in my next YouTube video! Find my most recent video below.
Friday: Is it that time already? The end of the month means April Happy Highlights.
Next Sunday: My monthly review, reflection and plans to move forward with my creative ideas, business and personal life.
Enjoy the weekend sisters, I hope it brings you love and learning!
Welcome back to the Sunray Sister blog. How has your week been? Mine has been a bit up and down, but I’m slowly working things out! That’s why I made this little business/project/creative outlet of mine that I like to call Sunray Sister; to work out what makes me happy and help others lead a positive, conscious and creative life.
Part of that includes leading a natural life with less waste, and more respect for every living being and every object. Choosing what you bring into your life, how you treat it and how you let go of it.
So today is the start of my new series of posts called ‘Creative Alternatives’, focusing on how to live with more care, more creativity and ultimately create less waste and less impact on the environment. You can also read my introduction post for this series here!
Every other week I will present a very specific issue, and my take on a solution, or a creative alternative. In other words, we will use our creativity to find a solution outside the normal ways of thinking (which is generally to accept what is given to us and not question things). Let’s start asking more questions! Our first question is, why do we use disposable plastic bottles?!
Part one: the problem
Plastic is made from oil, which is drilled from the earth. This oil is made into plastic pellets. The pellets are formed into plastic bottles. The drinks are made to go into the bottles. The packaging and advertising are created for the drinks. The bottles are shipped all over the world. The bottles wait patiently on shelves everywhere.
I am sure we can all agree that this is a huge process which requires a lot of energy! And for what? To quickly quench our thirst and swiftly dispose of the convenient container.
“But wait!”, I hear you cry, “I shall diligently reuse that poor plastic bottle for at least the next month to make proper use of all that energy that went into making it! I shall then responsibly repurpose the bottle to grow a plant for my child’s school project. And finally, I will of course recycle the bottle once it is no longer needed.”
The very act of using a plastic bottle in any context, or any reused situation, suggests that you at some point supported the continued production of plastic bottles. We vote with our money. If you buy a disposable plastic bottle, even with the best intentions to reuse, repurpose and recycle, you are telling the big corporations and people in power, “Hey it’s ok to keep drilling all this oil and using all this energy to bring us convenient drinks, I will be your loyal servant and responsibly use and dispose of this packaging you have so kindly created for me, don’t worry about it.”
Please, do worry about it. Do care about it. Do give a damn about it!
So why do we love plastic bottles so much anyway? I can see three reasons: convenience, you like sugary drinks, you are concerned about tap water.
Here’s three reasons I don’t like plastic bottles: they use up limited resources, they are not designed to last and yet they will most probably outlive us, and they get eaten by animals who cannot digest plastic (which, if you eat fish especially, you will possibly eat too). The earth and its animals do not want plastic! So why do we? What is more important: your momentary thirst, or the entire life of millions of innocent creatures?
Part two: the creative alternative (a.k.a. the solution)
So perhaps I’ve convinced you to stop buying plastic bottles? But how will you ever drink again? Fear not, for I have solutions. You must remember, however, that throughout this series the creative alternative is twofold: there is a physical replacement, but there is also a new mindset and habit to incorporate into your daily life. Here are some easy steps to get you started in the right direction:
Step one: buy a reusable bottle. I really love the metal ones! They are light-weight and long-lasting.
Step three: put it in your bag/on your desk and drink!
Together we can make a difference!!!
Could you take on some creative alternatives in your life? What alternative habits do you already practice? Let me know in the comments or on social media.
Tomorrow (Saturday) I have an exciting announcement to do with my Etsy shop! Make sure you follow my Facebook and/or Instagram to hear the news first.
This Sunday there will be a new blog post up with my current reading list! There are many books that I really want to read, which I have finally written out in one place in my journal, and thought I would share here too.
On Wednesday I will have a craft tutorial YouTube video (which was due out last week, but I have now decided I will reduce my content to fortnightly for a little while, so that I can focus more time on my Etsy shop and balancing the other elements to my business!) In the meantime check out my latest video below, and take a little browse in my Etsy shop for handmade self-love promoting one-of-a-kind creations.
Have a relaxing weekend sisters and take some time off just for you, because you should always love yourself!
Today I would like to share my brand new sparkly YouTube video with you all. I have created a tutorial with a little twist; how to make toothpaste! Yes that’s right, you can make your own safe, healthy, natural, and effective toothpaste. And all you need are three very basic ingredients, plus a bowl, a spoon and a jar. So simple.
Additionally you can reduce your waste by purchasing your ingredients in larger quantities or in bulk stores (where you can bring your own containers). I was only able to find the ingredients packaged (at the moment), but I selected those in cardboard, paper and glass, over plastic. A bamboo toothbrush is also recommended to reduce your plastic waste even further.
Now, let’s get to the tutorial!
What you need:
Small clean jar with lid
Bicarbonate of (Baking) Soda
Essential oil – I chose spearmint
What to do:
Measure 3 tbsp of coconut oil and 3 tbsp of bicarbonate of soda.
If you want to make a different quantity of toothpaste, simply use equal parts.
If this is too thick for you, just use less powder or more oil.
Mix oil and soda in bowl with spoon.
Add 10-20 drops of essential oil. Add more to suit your taste.
Mix essential oil into the paste.
Put your toothpaste into the clean jar and secure the lid.
Brush your teeth the natural way!
Let me know if you try this recipe, or if you have made something similar already! I would love to compare notes. Join the DIY and zero-waste movement to reduce your impact, simplify your life and get creative. One person CAN make a difference!
This month I am introducing not one, but two new post series here on the blog! Last week I introduced the first, which is called Love Lessons, all about my love of learning, and my aim to bring you new and interesting knowledge on unusual subjects.
This Friday I will be introducing the second new series, called Creative Alternatives. These posts will be focused on reducing our impact on the planet, by being creative and daring to go outside the box of convenience and what’s ‘normal’. Find out more on Friday! See you soon!
Good evening sisters! How are you? Have you had a beautiful weekend?
Today was the final day of my first exhibition! The work has been taken down, holes filled and marks painted over. And lots of hugs have been given and friends made!
As I wheeled my suitcase of creations home, I was treated to these beautiful skies and the St Mary Redcliffe bells were ringing out…
If you weren’t able to see the exhibition in person, please check out my video tour below, which shows the work of all eight artists involved in the show; all the links are in the video description (just press the little YouTube button in bottom right of video). And of course, big, big thanks to Spin of The Spiralling for bringing us all together.
It has been a lovely experience. I have met some wonderful, creative people. I also discovered that I can achieve what I set out to do. And I don’t have to give up and quit at the last-minute.
So that’s all in the past now. Where do I go from here?
I will re-openmy Etsy shop in the next couple of weeks with some new and updated listings.
I will continue to uploadYouTube videos every Wednesday.
I will also continue to publish posts here on Fridays, Sundays and Wednesdays. I have a HUGE plan of the content I want to share with you all, including specific posts planned out until May! So I’m feeling pretty organised.
And in the real world… well I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my personal values, and what I believe in, and I’ve started making a few changes which I will probably talk about here at some point.
I’ve also been thinking about how my personal values can help inform Sunray Sister: these include focusing on natural products and methods (such as fabric dyed with plants); creating little or no waste from my making process and the packaging I offer my products in; promoting less waste by making useful items like tote bags; simplifying our lives and slowing down; generally helping and informing people about how they can love themselves, all creatures and the planet even more than ever before!
I would love to run workshops helping people in this way; sharing practical ideas for a more earth-friendly lifestyle, as well as getting outside in nature, being creative and having fun. I would love to get involved with forest schools too, and maybe something to do with art therapy.
I will finally be writing my business plan, and hopefully discussing my ideas with a mentor.
Even though I promised to stick to textile products in my 2017 business goals, I have realised this isn’t true to myself. I love to pick up whatever I feel drawn to, as long as I am being creative. I will be doing a full evaluation of my goals at the end of March, and plan to do the same at the end of every month; goals should evolve as you grow, not be rigid like a prison cell.
Altogether, I’m feeling positive, inspired and energised, but also calm, balanced and clearer than ever before! I am happy in the moment. I am not waiting for things to be perfect. I do not want things to be perfect. I am making small changes every day, and taking small steps. I am forgiving myself.
I feel that I have finally realised my whole aim in life: to help others achieve a simple, natural, creative life, (this TED talk actually helped me come to this conclusion, and might help you too!) Who cares if I’m sewing, drawing, singing, walking, collaging, writing, speaking… these are all vehicles for my message of joy!
I hope you are onboard and receiving me loud and clear!
What have you achieved recently? How will you learn from it as you move forward? I’d love to hear about your experiences; leave a comment below or find me on social media.
Wednesday: my fifth YouTube video! This week there will be a tutorial with a twist.
Friday: an introduction to another new post series, (did you read about my other new series on Friday? It’s called Love Lessons, and is going to be all about sharing my love of learning with you all!)
Sunday: ideas for celebrating Mother’s Day. Because mothers are worth celebrating!
See you soon sisters! Enjoy the start to a fresh new week, and remember to love yourself and look out for others.
Hello lovely sisters! The weekend is almost over, which only means another week of awesome opportunities and incredible experiences are on the horizon.
Tomorrow is a very exciting day for me: the launch of the first exhibition I’ve ever taken part in as Sunray Sister. It will be taking place at The Island gallery space in the centre of Bristol, UK, from Monday the 6th of March at 6pm, and then 12-7pm until Saturday 11th of March. Find the event page over on Facebook for more details, including links to all the other amazing artists taking part. Also, it’s free entry.
The exhibition is being organised by the lovely Spin, who has her own blog called The Spiralling, where she champions creative entrepreneurs from all walks of life with various missions, all worth checking out!
So, as promised here are a few sneak previews of the work I will be showing at the exhibition. I’ve also just finished three larger pieces not shown in the photos. Big love and hugs to Fraz for helping me to hang my work!
It would mean so much to see you at the launch party tomorrow at 6pm, full details on the event page. Otherwise come along anytime between 12 and 7pm from Tuesday to Saturday; have a look around and maybe even purchase a unique piece of artwork, and support some creative souls at the same time.
If for some crazy reason you just can’t make it, don’t despair because my next YouTube video this wednesday is going to be a mini tour of the exhibition, so you can be there in spirit!