How to organise your creative ideas

Most of the time, I am an organised and neat person. I like to keep everything tidy and clean. Except, apparently, when it comes to my creative studio. No idea why, but it is always a mess. I have a visual memory, meaning that I will put an object or a piece of paper on my desk, just to remember that there is a creative project connected to it. Do you have that too? Sometimes, I even put an object on the floor next to my bed, so that I will wake up in the morning and remember to do a specific task.

This method doesn’t feel very stimulating to me when it comes to my creative space. I don’t like having to move around a ton of stuff before I can start creating. So I came up with a new plan to organise my creative space and I started by putting all of my ideas in ONE place instead of scattered all over my desk.

Ok, here are some pictures of my desk before the clean up. I’m still working on cleaning up everything, so no “After” pictures for now. However, I will share my new organisation plan that is totally awesome (so far).

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Organising creative ideas (38)

Organising creative ideas (39)

So okay, not fabulous. Books from the library, a dvd, paper that I find beautiful, a note-book, markers, scissors, air dry clay, a binder, magazines – you name it, it’s there.

SO. I bought a binder and inserts that are used for making photo albums and I started putting everything together. It is actually kind of like scrapbooking. I put all of the images and objects that I find stimulating and interesting in one album.

These are the inserts I used. I bought them here and they come in packages of ten inserts. Each package costs 4.50€ and you can insert 120 images in total.

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Organising creative ideas (6)

When I just started writing my blog, I was noting all of my creative ideas and topics for blog posts in a big notebook, but this also doesn’t seem to work for me. I write everything down in detail (including a schedule for blog posts), but then I forget to go back to my notebook and I don’t work on my ideas. As you can see, I have made little drawings and notes about jewelry designs or things to write about.

On this page, I tried my new stamps.

On this page, I tried my new stamps.

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This was the sketch for the Latte inspired necklace.

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This was the sketch for the Latte inspired necklace.

But so far, this hasn’t worked for me. I think the main reason why I don’t like this way of working, is that it doesn’t inspire me. It is just a notebook with pages.

So I decided to put all of my things together, they were lying across my desk anyway, and I cut the images to the right size and inserted them into the photo album. Next to the image, I write down what the idea is about and what creative project I could make out of it. I regrouped the images according to certain themes, for example: colour, mood, pattern, to do list of projects.

Inspiring colours

Inspiring colours

What I like about this page, are the colours. The image of the coloured meringues comes from the dutch magazine Flow, and the blue paper and pineapple sticker are from Rico Designs.

This page inspires me because of the beautiful, warm and rich colours.

To do: travel souvenirs.

To do: travel souvenirs.

On this insert, I collected a few things. First of all, I cut out an article from Flow magazine that was dedicated to making fun things with the souvenirs you collect during your travels.

The blue image on the bottom is a collage of some photos I took during a minitrip to the sea. During this day out, we collected shells on the beach and I would love to paint them like in the article from the magazine.

Basically, this reminds me of the fact that I have these shells and that I want to make them into an important memory by painting them.

 

 

Kitty will help if necessary.

Kitty will help if necessary.

Inspiring patterns.

Inspiring patterns.

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This page represents a certain mood for me: holiday vibe, travel, freedom. Can you see how some of these pictures might inspire you? It doesn’t necessarily need to be something obvious, like a to do list of creative projects. You can make a collage of beautiful things, and go back every once in a while, and you will get inspired over and over again.

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This page is something completely different. I made a piece intended to be a wall art DIY. However, I did not like how it turned out and I did not put it on my wall. That being said, I do like the concept of the free-flowing colours, so I cut the painting  into smaller pieces and arranged them in my binder. It’s super pretty. It also goes to show that some of your DIY projects might not work at first, but you can still recycle them into another DIY project.

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Below, there is another page dedicated to fun patterns.

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The fun part about these inserts, is that you can use them for much more than just paper inserts. I have many failed (or “could-be-better”) jewelry projects. Untill now, I had all of the beads or pieces of jewelry lying around my desk, because the idea is interesting, it is just that the execution could be more refined. So I inserted the beads into the little pockets as well and taped them off. I know what to do with them, but they don’t have to be collecting dust on my desk now.

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I’ve grown very fond of my binder. I’m so happy that I have found an inspiring way of keeping all of my beautiful pieces of paper, pictures, ideas and pieces of jewelry together. Mess just doesn’t work for me, and this way of organising my creative ideas feels super. I hope you’ll find an equally satisfying way of getting the best out of your creative ideas!

Happiness. Do it yourself!

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How to buy the perfect engagement ring

Shopping for an engagement ring can be very intimidating and stressful. If you are reading this article, you are probably feeling ready to take you relationship to the next step and propose to your partner, or at least you are thinking about proposing and are looking for some information on the topic. Whichever, I am super excited for you and I wish you a lifetime of happiness with your beloved!!

There is a lot of information available on the internet concerning the purchase of engagement rings. Most of those articles have good quality information, but are sterile and repetitive. Having worked in the diamond industry for quite some time, I have been “on the other side” of the process and I would like to share some insiders information that is more useful than all of the other articles out there. I will put all of my knowledge into a clear and relatable article, so the whole process will be a little bit less stressful for you! I am also working on a blog post about diamonds and how to choose them – it will be up soon!

How to pick the perfect ring for your partner?

Nobody wants to buy a ring and put an enormous effort into a good proposal, only to find out that their partner doesn’t like the ring. If you are trying to decide on an engagement ring, I believe the style of the ring should reflect two things: first, the way you feel about your significant other should be perceivable in the choice of the ring. I don’t mean you should by the biggest diamond out there, I mean that the choice should be personal and your partner will feel that the decision was made with lots of thought (and love). Second, the ring you pick should also fit with the style that your partner likes. But how will you know what she or he likes?

It is true that most girls have thought about their wedding and engagement ring from their teen years. However, it is quite an overstatement to say that every girl wants a proposal, wants a wedding, wants an enormous ring. You know your partner best; you’ll know if she wants a small, discreet proposal or if she wants the whole big thing. Here are some tips for choosing just the right ring.

  1. Check her Pinterest account

Pinterest what?

I believe many, many women have an account on Pinterest. Basically, Pinterest is a digital platform for all sorts of things (food, crafts, home decor, weddings, fashion, kids). You can make a virtual mood board on Pinterest by pinning all of your favourite images. Go and take a look on her boards and check if she has pinned any images of wedding rings. This might give you a better idea of what she’s into. Also, I’m not encouraging you to snoop on her computer (AT ALL), but if she leaves her Pinterest account open, try to check it out. Chances are that she has a secret wedding board. Pinterest allows you to hide certain boards, so you can pin whatever you like without people seeing it. I know a few girls who are guilty of having a secret wedding board :). However, if you know that she’ll be uncomfortable with you going through her Pinterest account, just don’t do it – it’s not worth it.

  1. Go through her pictures and her wardrobe

If you are planning on going to a jewelry store to buy said engagement ring, print a few pictures of her to show to the salesperson – they will get a better idea of what kind of person your partner is. Go check out her Facebook account and look for her profile pictures. The profile pictures she put op on Facebook are probably pictures where she feels confident and beautiful about herself. How is she looking in those pictures? What is she wearing? These are little clues for you to use during the decision-making process.

Have a quick peek into her wardrobe and check out her outfits. What kind of clothes does she wear? Is everything girly? Is everything minimalistic? Vintage? Unique? Be inspired by her way of dressing.

Don’t be afraid to inject some of your own preferences into the decision-making. It will be a great surprise for your partner if you put a little bit of yourself into the final design of the ring. I remember the first time my partner bought me a pair of earrings: I could sense his love for me through the design he chose (I also got an enormous sunburn that day, which left me with freckles on my left shoulder that I have been carrying around for three years now).

  1. Pick the right size for the ring

Alright guys, now that you have more of an idea of what ring to go for, don’t forget one crucial step: pick the right size! You wouldn’t believe how many rings need to be adjusted or exchanged because of careless size picking.

Granted, it is not easy to take your partner’s hand and measuring their finger without them getting suspicious. So here are a few things you could do.

Left hand or right hand?

Depending on which hand your partner uses to write, the size of the finger will be different. Typically, the fingers on the hand you use to write with are slightly bigger because the muscles are more developed. So there is a difference between the right hand and the left hand; but I should also say that this isn’t always the case – some people have the same size on both hands.

So keep this in mind: on which hand will your partner wear the ring?

Measure a ring she wears often.

Pay attention to the jewelry she often wears: is there a ring she can’t live without?(also a clue for the style she’s into 😉 ) If there is a ring she regularly has on her hand, check if it fits her well (meaning not too tight and not too loose) and take it with you to the jeweler’s store where they will be able to measure the correct size.

Little tip here also: make sure the ring is round. The jeweller will only be able to measure correctly if the ring isn’t deformed.

Find a ringsizer online or get one at a store

Ringsizers are little useful tools in paper or plastic that allow you to measure the size of a finger. Google ‘free ring sizer’ to download a paper version, or order one online at a jewelry retailer.

  1. The bigger isn’t necessarily the better

There is this myth going around that the bigger the diamond, the more you love your partner. I don’t believe this to be true. There is no point in spending half a year’s worth of salary on a ring if this leaves you with a difficult start in your actual marriage. Your partner might even feel uncomfortable or unsafe to walk around with this giant rock on his or her hand.

Of course, it is absolutely up to you. If you want to buy a big ring, go for it! You should put a lot of thought into the decision-making, and if this is what fits you best, just go for it!

The bigger isn’t necessarily the better: there are many grades in the quality of a diamond. You might buy a very big diamond with a weak colour and lots of inclusions visible with the naked eye. But for the same amount of money, you could also buy a smaller diamond with a better colour, almost no inclusions and an excellent cut. What do you think? Take this into consideration.

  1. Look into different options

You might have noticed that there are lots of possibilities when it comes to engagement rings. You could choose to buy a ring that is ready and available in the store and save yourself some time. Maybe you inherited your mother’s ring and you plan on giving it to your future wife. If you do, make sure the ring has the right size or get it adjusted by a goldsmith.

 You could buy a vintage ring and give her a unique engagement ring. A good tip for buying antique rings is to check that the diamonds or other stones are well set in their prongs and don’t move around.

You could buy a very classic, solitaire diamond ring if this is what your girl prefers. But you could also buy a designer ring with a different style to it – the possibilities are endless.

Another, lesser known option is the tailor-made ring: a ring made specifically for you, according to your desires, budget and style. This process takes more time, because you will have to sit down with the designer for a couple of times to discuss the overall look; approve of the design once it is made by the goldsmith, and finally actually waiting for the ring to be produced. This can vary from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. So definitely make sure you are well-informed about the production process and build in enough time for things to go wrong (can’t stress this enough 😉 ).

If you want to make the decision of the engagement ring very personal, you could engrave a special message into the wedding band. Most jewellers offer this service and have a few fonts you can choose from. Many people do engrave a message in their engagement ring (for example, I had my boyfriends name engraved in my diamond ring and I feel great about carrying him with me throughout the day).

  1. Don’t buy an engagement ring

If you have been shopping around, reading articles on the internet, if you have been discussing the choice of the ring with friends and family and you’re still unsure: don’t buy a ring. Go back with your partner and let them choose after the proposal. You could propose to your partner with a fake ring or with a giant candy ring and state very clearly that she gets to pick the ring herself. This is also a fun way to propose and it allows your partner to be completely free in the choice of the ring.

A final piece of advice would be not to rush the purchase. Even if you are buying an affordable ring, it will still be a considerable amount of money. Take your time to decide on a ring, go back a couple of times to the store if necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the salesperson. After all, you are only going to pick an engagement ring once 😉

I hope this article was helpful I am wishing you all the best of luck and lots of love with your partner! If you liked my article, make sure to pass the information on to your friends!

Thoughts on making glass jewelry with the Hot Pot

The fun part about the world of DIY, is that there is an endless supply of tools for you to use and to be creative with. Most of these tools are specifically designed for beginners, so you could try to work with different things at home.

One such tool is the Hot Pot for glass fusing.

The Hot Pot is a small melting pot that allows you to melt pieces of glass. In your microwave. At home.

There is a fabulous glass shop here in Antwerp, called Glaspunt. They offer several workshops, including a workshop for making jewelry with the Hotpot. Check them out, because they do all sorts of things, including antique glass restauration. The purpose of this workshop is to learn the basics of the Hot Pot, so you could use it at home for all of your creative projects. I was very interested in this device, because I was curious if I could make any jewelry at home using the melting pot. But I wanted to follow a workshop first, so I’d be sure I knew what I was doing.

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So I went to the workshop with my boyfriend’s mom and sister and we had a great girls day out. The workshop consisted of a welcome speech with a cup of coffee and a detailed explanation of what we would be doing that morning. Our teacher had set up a large table with many containers with different colours of glass (flat pieces). She showed us how to cut the glass to the right size for the melting process.

An interesting part of the melting process, is that you have to put two different layers of glass on top of each other. If you look at the earrings in the picture above and below, you will notice that one of the pairs has a metallic color. I superposed a piece of glass with metal foil in it on top of another piece of glass, and it created a special effect.

The light blue earrings were made by superimposing a piece of transparent glass over a piece of blue glass.

So it’s fair to say that you could make many combinations and create a lot of different effects. The purpose of this double layer is to give the glass some consistency.

Next came the actual melting process. It was mainly the teacher who was supervising the Hot Pots, I must say. The whole process looked kind of frightening and I’m not sure if I would try it at home – but that’s just me!

Once all of the glass was melted, we let them cool down before transforming them into jewelry.

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What it actually comes down to, is that we made some glass beads and we glued them onto a metal base (earring, brooch, ring). I made a lot of earrings because I’m an earring girl, but you can make many different things. There was also the possibility of creating special effects such as drawings by using very thin tubes of glass. It’s too bad I didn’t use those, I could have taken some pictures for this blog post.

So I wanted to follow the workshop to see if this Hot Pot would be anything for me. I must say that I really enjoyed the workshop and I liked the transformation of all our little pieces of squared, flat glass into beautiful beads. It was always a surprise to see how the beads would come out of the Hot Pot and that was very stimulating.

However, I’m not sure if I would try this at home. I liked the fact that everything was supervised, I would be too scared to do this in my kitchen and burn the place down. I do want to go back to take the next workshop, for advanced students. It was a great experience, especially because it was such a nice girls day out. If you are interested in making glass jewelry, I would recommend you try out a workshop before using the actual Hot Pot at home.

Also, I especially love the blue earrings. I wear them all the time because I think they are beautiful and because they complement my blue eyes. There is a soft texture to them and I absolutely love them.

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Vintage upcycle: pineapple dish

Last week, I saw a fabulous episode of Superscrimpers Challenge on TV. If you don’t know what Superscrimpers Challenge is: this is a british tv show with tips and tricks for saving money and DIY-ing – just my thing! There was one project in particular that caught my attention: a candle project in a large glass dish. I thought I’d make my own version and I went hunting for vintage glass dishes online. I found these fabulous vintage pineapple dishes and transformed them into candles!

Multiple pineapple

Supplies needed for this project:

  • Glass dishes (with glass that is thick enough for molten wax)
  • Tealights without the aluminium
  • Candle wax
  • Essential oil

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I’m so in love with these two!

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Start by taking the aluminium foil of the tealights and position them into your glass dish. I noted that I needed about four tealights per pineapple. As you can see on the picture below, the tealights were sitting quite low in the glass dishes. So my goal was to make a first layer of molten wax and let this layer dry. Next, I would put the tealights on top and cover them with a second layer of wax. This way there would be more volume to the candles and also… NO MESS with wicks not sticking to the bottom and falling over!

So I roughly measured how much candle wax I would need for the first layer.

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To melt the candle wax, pour it into a little pan on medium fire. Be carefull because the wax melts very very quickly (less than a minute is necessary). Add a few drops of essential oil. A great tip: if you have some chopsticks left from your last order of chinese food, use these to stir the wax in the pan. Once you are done, you can just throw them away. Easy peasy.

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Now it is time to pour the molten wax into the dishes and to let this layer dry. It took about 15 minutes for this layer to cool down and to become hard, because it was such a thin layer. For thicker candles, it would take more time.

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Once it cooled down, I positioned four tealights on top of the first layer. Repeat the first step and melt some more candle wax with essential oil. Stir with the chopsticks until all of the lumps have disappeared and pour into the dishes, over the tealights.

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Now let everything cool down for a while and then you are ready to go! I think these are fabulous for a party (inside or outside). You could even make big garden candles by using large glass bowls or dishes and put them in the grass at night. Very romantic!

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My next move was to put them onto our balcony. Cute cute cute! The essential oil I used is also pretty great, it smells like summer.

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Happy DIY-ing!

 

Happy Thursday!

Thursday is my favourite day of the week. Simply because… it is my DAY OFF! Yes!

I looooooove to be at home, to stay in bed for hours and to read my favourite books and magazines. I looove to work on my blog posts with a cup (okay, an entire pot) of coffee. I loooove to hang out with my cat who accidentally also loves Thursday because he won’t be alone at home.

* Don't look at the camera!!*

* Don’t look at the camera!!*

I spent most of my day off thinking about new blog posts and new creative projects. I am working on so many things right now, that I will need a lot of time to put everything together and to take beautiful pictures. I am currently working on two types of handmade wall art, a few pieces of jewelry; I have some cooking ideas, some tips to share about a vegetarian lifestyle (I’ve been a vegetarian for half my life)… It might seem like I have a lot to do, but I actually love to work on my blog and to write articles. Stay tuned because I have a lot of creative projects to share!

Happy Thursday!

Happy Thursday!

This is my view from the bed – I’m reading my favourite magazine and my cat Basil is hanging out in the chair. He’s especially fond of this spot in the house because it is next to the window and the balcony, where many birds fly by and he gets to feel like a predator 🙂

I’m sending you my Happy Thursday vibes!