Monday, 31 March 2014

Beautiful Find - The Featured Creature

Those who know even a little about me know that I really love animals.  They are who they are and they continue being true to themselves without a care in the world for who you are and what you look like.  Animals are just plain wonderful.  Like my Ginghaan and Looseal:



Because wonderful is a given, today's post is about animals that are also weird. I came across the blog "The Featured Creature" which showcases and describes unusual creatures of our planet. Fascinating time trap alert!!

The Featured Creature is written by Carly, an animal fanatic who curates images, videos and information on amazing creatures, which she describes informatively and entertainingly.

Here are some of Carly's featured creatures:



Trapiana Miltabrancha

Go and visit The Featured Creature and discover these and more amazing, weird and wonderful creatures!

Start Over

Good Morning!

It's Monday, which means, although it's tough, it's time to put on those positive pants and look at the bright side of everything.

Sometimes it can feel like one bad moment in a day results in a spiral of terrible events, making for a bad day and eventually into an entire bad week.

If you feel things start to go wrong, here is a bit of wisdom from Justina Blakeney:

Image from Justina Blakeney's Blog

So when things go awry, take a step back, breathe and decide to start over.  Make a good day out of bad moments.  You have the power!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Interior Inspiration #1 - Lettering Love

Happy Friday, readers!  As we prepare for the weekend, I wanted to share a cool trend in home interiors - Lettering.

Whenever I search for interior inspiration, I always come across images and objects using these.  For that reason, I've decided to share an inspiration board showing you how lettering can be used in your own home.  Lettering is a means to personalise and own a space using initials, quotes or words.

one / two / three / four* / five

- 3D cutout letters can be used individually or grouped to form a word.  Feel free to use letters of the same type or combine a variety of styles for a more unique combination.  These can be wall mounted, placed on a sill or even a floor against the wall.
- Don't be afraid of using large letters.  These form a bold feature in a space and can be complemented with other wall mounted items:
- Letters don't have to be larger than life.  There are subtle ways of introducing these to interiors as well, such as in ceramics, textiles and cushions.
- Introducing typography in the form of framed prints is an inexpensive and flexible way to bring lettering to the interior.
- There are plenty of craft DIY projects (see #3) for creating your own lettering, whether it is paper,  wood or textile.
- *Scrabble mugs can be found at Typo.

How would you use lettering in your home?  Bold or Subtle? ;-)
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Inspiring App (Sounds) - Raining.fm

In the past few weeks, I have reviewed a variety of self tested creative apps and shared my experience with them here on Winking Plum.  Click here to access all app reviews.

Today, I thought, I'd do something a bit different and share an app that inspires me.

Raining.fm is a complete nice-to-have app.  It doesn't have a direct purpose, apart from delight.  In my book, delight is completely worthwhile, so after hearing about the app from a friend last year, I downloaded it.  Raining.fm can also be accessed online at Raining.fm

Image alongside from App.

This app plays on the human need to sometimes hear the sound of rain and feel freed by nature.  It really is a treat.

The app contains a library of 3 sounds:  Rain, Thunder and Heavy Thunder.  Using the volume controls, you can play either 1, 2 or all of the sounds at a time and adjust the volume of each in relation to the other.

Image from App

You can use the raining sounds by either opening the app, setting an alarm or playing it for a certain duration.  My husband enjoys using it as a "white noise" for sleeping.  I enjoy playing the rain and thunder combination for when I need to concentrate or need a bit of a stress relief time out.

Raining.fm is the next best thing to an actual rainfall. ;-)
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

What's in your bag?

Last week, I blogged about some amazing illustrators I came across, including the insightful Emily Mc Dowell.

Today, I'd like to share one of her lighthearted illustrations:  "What's really in your bag?"

 Image from A Cup of Jo

I thought it would be a fun exercise for me to share with you what's in my bag...  
ooh.. this could get awkward...

;-) Now tell me!  What's in your bag?
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Weekly Planner - Free Printable

Hello there and welcome!

Today I thought I should share a planing tool that has helped me with timelines and schedules - the winking plum weekly planner.

I use this planner in two ways:  I write fixed goals directly onto it and flexible goals are pasted on using post it notes which I shift along from day to day based on how busy I become.


I then highlight completed items as I go along.

 
Print it out, put it up and start planning.


*Remember to make time everyday to do something you love! ;-)
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Beautiful Find - Katie Daisy Illustration

The moment I came across Katy Daisy's illustrations, I knew I had to share.  I am so taken with her combination of watercolour and typography.

Print by Katie Daisy

The thing I love most about her art is that she has taken a fluid medium like watercolour and applied structure in its execution.  I appreciate the time she must have spent planning each of these artworks so that they are perfectly composed.  The water colours are beautiful!


Prints by Katie Daisy

What a treat! ;-)
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Take a Turn

Happy Monday,
Even if it may seem longer, it's worth taking a turn off the beaten track to enjoy some beauty in life.

Print by Alli Coate

Wishing you an amazing week ahead! ;-)
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Get the Look #6 - Reading Space


Hello Readers!  

Happy long weekend!!

This is the conclusion of this season's "Get the Look" series.  From next Friday, I will be posting on interior design ideas that you can implement in your own home.  Each week's post will have a unique focus. ;-) "Get the Look" will return in June with some fresh content for the new season!

This week's "Get the Look" considers a less traditional home space - a reading space.  Reading spaces are wonderful in a bedroom, study or incorporated into a lounge space.  It is a space for a bit of quality time with a book and a cup of coffee or maybe a ponder or snooze now and again. ;-)

Image from 79 Ideas

I love this cozy suspended seat with soft pastel cushions, a little stool and a view to the garden.  The natural light and flowers contribute to the enjoyment of this space.

one / two / three / four / five

- Natural timbers and yellows contribute to a warmer look and feel.
- A stool is a great substitute for a side table and doubles up as extra seating.
- Pastel tones are currently on trend, shades of mint, light pinks, pale yellows and light blues can be used successfully alone or in combinations.
- A swinging seat is comfortable, relaxing and whimsical.
- A cow hide rug is a bold accent to a neutral space.
- Bottles and vases of different shapes and sizes form a sweet collection and can be placed on a window sill or shelf with stacked books.

All of the items in the product board are available to South Africans.  Click on the corresponding numbers to link to the product website.

If you would like me to feature a look you love with a board of South African furniture alternatives, please comment with a link to the look.  I will select a variety of entries for next season's Get the Look in June 2014!

Have a wonderful weekend!  ;-) 
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Creative App - Adobe Ideas

Good Morning Readers,

In Tuesday's post, I shared with you free printable using this bunny illustration I hand drew using my iPad and stylus:

The app that I used to draw this bunny is Adobe Ideas. I accidentally came across Adobe Ideas on Sunday when searching for sketchbook apps in the App Store.

In my eyes, Adobe Ideas has become a game changer.  Being able to instantly hand draw high quality, digitally editable lines is a revelation to me.  I have previously heard of the Wacom Bamboo tablet and its utility to illustrators but never purchased one as I couldn't justify the expense purely for the sake of drawing when my good ol' sketchbook was gathering dust.

Adobe Ideas has given me the opportunity to do as much as I need to in drawing from a hobby perspective.  The greatest thing about the app is that every line you draw is a vector.  This means that no matter how far you zoom in or out, your line appears crisp.  This also means that once you finish your sketch, you can open the pdf file in a vector programme (like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw) and edit your drawing and create high quality artwork using hand drawings!

While an actual hand drawing with pen and paper can't be paralleled for its tactility and hand made feeling, this quality advantage is of greater value to me.  The abilities to undo, erase and adjust pen sizes, colours and types offers an easy interface for drawing.  Being able to use layers and duplicate layers also allows an interesting dimension to sketching.  You can also import photos / images into a layer and all layers can be adjusted in opacity.

It's really a mind blowing app - now my favourite out of all creative apps - and has really brought back my love for illustrating.  See that drawing of me at the top of the side bar on your right - I did that using this App!  Cool - right?

Here is a sneak peek of some of the other sweet illustrations I've been working on:




Some exciting projects ahead with these beauties!
Today is international happiness day, so shine on!!

;-)
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Beneath the Surface of (Offensive) Comedy

Hello Peeps! Let me start by saying this is my opinion, like everything else on this blog.  Other comedians might feel differently, but, hey, maybe they feel the same...

Remember those movies you and your siblings watched again and again as kids? You know - the ones you had recorded on VCR so that you can watch it every morning of the holidays and re-enact it every afternoon so much so that it drove your mother mad? We had The Lion King and Mary Poppins. We watched it so much, we believed what we performed.

I once watched the office NBC seasons 1 to 5 about 5 times. I loved everything about it. The awkward mock documentary (mocumentary) style, the honest filming, the pranks, the facial expressions, the reactions, the agonizing personality clashes, etc. It's like big brother. Only better. because it's scripted, it's in an office and it had Steve Carell.

Steve Carell played Michael Scott, my favourite TV character of all time. Michael Scott is one of my biggest influences in comedy and one of the reasons I repeated watching the first five seasons 5 whole times (also, at that time, I had no friends - I know right?!!).  Give the amount of time I spent watching the show, I've really thought about why I find it so funny.

The misinformed, well meaning, unintentionally offensive Michael makes you squirm but his isolation, humanity and occasional sweetness make you empathize with him. It's kind of like seeing your own irritating behavior in another human but exaggerated. He is so obliviously offensive that you can't help but find it endearing.

Some of Michael's funny and offensive moments:



The great thing abut Michael Scott is that he is a beloved character from popular television.  Most of us have heard of him, and most of us find him funny.  Technically, he is offensive, yet we accept this and choose to laugh instead of being outraged.

What Michael Scott did for me: he gave me permission to say what I think. If anyone can love a guy for being that open, heck, why should I hide what I think?!

Yes, I've misplaced this freedom in the workplace, I've gotten in trouble over "having no boundaries" and "being disrespectful", some of the reasons I am "self employed" today. I have no regrets, though! It's made me an honest human being and helped me find my style as a comedian.

Unintentional offense is a powerful thing. It stings because we all think it, but feel ashamed to say it.  While in real life, this (sadly) won't fly, on stage, it's a different story.  Like the Michael Scotts of TV, the comic on stage is absolved from the responsibility of offensive humour because, well, it's a comedy show and that's what we do.

Some of my finer moments:



This leaves some audience members (especially the ones that had free tickets) offended and, at times, confrontational.

For those who are offended, listen up!  It's true that being mean is offensive.  On a deeper level, though, it is insightful.  Beneath the surface of insult humour, there is always a deeper message about people / places / contexts / your beloved comic.

Take Michael Scott, for example - his wild statements about homosexuality divert attention from actual homosexuality to his own outrageous attitude, so much so, that by the end of it, we are not offended by homosexuality, but rather, the prejudice and judgement associated with it.  The same is true for his statements on "retards" and mine on the poor and the fat. 

So, long story short - When it comes to comedy, Don't feel offended! Think about the joke, figure out the deeper message, feel clever for being clever, you clever thing, and tell all your friends!

Love u. ;-)

PS.  I think I should also do this...

 I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Sweet Some Bunny - Free Bunny Printables

Hello Everyone!  Hope you are all settling into the week. In yesterday's post about illustration, I promised to share some of my own illustrations with you.

I am really excited to have put together my first hand illustration printable for you as a free download.  Apart from the upcoming Easter holidays, I thought this gift tag would be a sweet addition to any gift.  For Easter, you can also suspend these tags from trees or peg them to bushes as clues for an easter egg hunt.  Or why not as tickets (whoever collected the most tickets wins a prize) for a kiddies (or adult!) treasure hunt.  How fun!

There's nothing sweeter than a fluffy white bunny.  Or a black bunny...  ;-)


I had a lot of fun drawing this little guy up!  He's completely hand drawn using my iPad and a stylus.  That makes him an original special!  On Thursday, I will share the mind blowing app I used to draw this sweet bunny. 

There's a blue and a pink option for download.  What are you waiting for?

;-)
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Beautiful find - Amazing Illustrators

Happy Monday, sweet people!

Illustration is something that has been inspiring me since I can remember.  It was my childhood dream to become an illustrator of storybooks and in full circle fate, I find myself constantly returning to a piece of paper with a pen and to my tablet with a stylus.

Thanks to technology, there is so much inspiration and amazing work to be found online that makes me wish I thought of it first ;-)

Some of the amazing illustrators I've recently come across are:

Emily Mc Dowell

I love Emily's tongue and cheek approach to her illustration. Her illustration is typographic and hand drawn and her style is conversational and informal.

Image from Emily Mc Dowell's Shop

Isn't that delightful (and true)?  Her blog is informative and insightful, especially to those wanting to start a stationery / greeting card line.  She speaks of building a brand, the underlying messaging and the need to apply this message consistently throughout your product range.   She writes honestly and amusingly.  Emily's product range includes cards, bags, temporary tattoos, scarves and towels.

Elsa Mora

Prepare yourself for unusual art, paper and illustration.  I particularly love this illustration turned pop up box.  The 3 dimensionality gives the illustration depth, interest and an almost shrine like quality that has religious undertones.


"Visionary Notebook" from Elsa Mora's Shop

Eerie and delightful, don't you think?  Elsita does amazing work with paper, she's really talented!  Go have a look!


I love Nan's illustration style.  It reminds me of books we read as children and the beautiful drawings that accompanied stories.  

Image from Nan Lawson

Image from Nan Lawson

Her character drawings are gorgeous!  I love the fluid lines and the way she draws hair.  The smaller details add so much richness and quality to her drawings, you could think up a story just looking at them.

I will be sharing some of my own illustrations soon.  
Hope you are all feeling suitably inspired for the week ahead!  

;-)

- See more at: http://www.emilymcdowell.com/#sthash.oen25Gq1.dpuf

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Seek Adventure

It's the start of a new week! A new week to continue a journey towards great goals or a new week to define new goals.  Go on, be adventurous!


A print by LizzyStewart

Happy new week, everyone! ;-)
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Get the Look #5 - Patio

Happy Friday!

The weekly "Get the Look" post, contains a popular interior look I have found on Pinterest and a product board of local (available in South Africa) alternatives I have put together so that you can source the look for your own home!

One of my favourite weekend activities is to spend time in my outdoor patio with a cup of tea enjoying the morning freshness.  Your outdoor area is as important as your interior spaces.  Consider the patio, terrace or balcony as an extension of your living space, needing to breathe the same energy and message as the rest of your home.

When I found this sweet patio seating area on Pinterest, I knew that I had to shed some knowledge on getting the look. 

Image from Trendenser

I love that this look combines rustic and comfortable elements and that greenery is incorporated in spite of this being a hard terrace.  The white washed brick wall is an inexpensive finish that has added a homely and earthy tone to this space.


one / two / three / four / five / six / seven* / eight / nine / ten

- The park bench is a classic piece that is inviting and informal
- Baskets enable ease in packing away cushions and bringing them indoors
- Padded seating and cushions provide comfort and help to prolong your time outdoors
- Outdoor lighting creates atmosphere
- Planting in a terrace, patio or balcony provides warmth 
- *Obtain olive trees, lemon trees and lavender bushes with pots at your local nursery

All of the items in the product board are available to South Africans.  Click on the corresponding numbers to link to the product website. 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Creative App - Over

Over is an Apple app that allows users to import photographs and overlay these with text and artwork from the app's library.

Here are a few images made by App users:



Images from Over

Users start off by importing a background image.  The background image can be adjusted in tint or cropped using tools in the edit section of the tool bar on the right.

Users are able to import text and adjust colour, size and font.  The handy background grid appears when resizing and moving text position allowing users to centralise and resize text using informed proportions.  The font library contains a good variety of both classic and trendy fonts.

"Artwork" includes a library of icons, line drawings and messages which can be added to the image.  Users are able to choose from a selection of free collections or pay a minimal fee for additional collections. Artwork collections include City Icons, Happy Birthday, Words of Inspiration, Lanky Elements, etc.  There is a good variety among the free collections to communicate a range of messages, all of which are beautifully designed and add dimension to photographs.

Both Text and Artwork can be adjusted in Opacity, Position and Size using the edit tool in the round tool bar to the right of the screen.

One complete, the over image can be saved to camera roll and / or shared on social networks.

Over works best in combination with a photo editing app such as Afterlight, where the background image has been manipulated prior to overlaying of artwork and text using Over.  Over is useful in creating cards, posters, visual statements and memes.

Here are a few of the images I have made using Over:




Have a Happy Day! ;-)
I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A Week of Comedy

Good Morning!

Winking Plum is a month old today!  I'd like to thank every reader for your support and hope that you are enjoying the content I have generated.  I appreciate your feedback and interaction so if you would like to see more of something or less of another, let me know - this blog is for you! ;-)
 

Here is a bit about what I got up to this past week...
Last Thursday night, I performed stand up comedy at a gig in Arcade Empire called "Kakfunny".


It was a great night and although I lost the audience now and again, I can honestly say that, even in a tougher crowd, I love performing and I know that comedy is something I am meant to do.

It was wonderful spending the evening catching up with fellow comedians Nina Hastie, Donovan Goliath and Loyiso Madinga.  It was the first time for me getting to know Trevor Gumbi and David Kibuuka, who provided me with some much appreciated feedback and tips on audience connection.  

The comedy industry is amazing.  Going from comedy fan to comedian has left me with some pretty star struck moments like this one:


I don't think I will ever recover from this awe but being one of the comics is an awesome feeling. It's a strange thing being on stage.  Your senses are sharp and every mistake you make, every sound from the audience and every face is memorable.

I also decided to go to The Box on Sunday.  The Box is an amazing gig run by Goliath and Goliath and features a line up of open spot, support and headline comedians.  No matter what, this gig, situated in the vibey Maboneng precinct in Johannesburg city, guarantees a hilarious and ab wrenching evening. Sunday's gig was amazing - David Kau was sharp and spontaneous.  It is always a pleasure seeing fellow female comics Celeste Ntuli and Monique Nortje and to end the evening listening to Deep Fried Man was a treat.

This was the lineup:

 Image from Goliath and Goliath

It was refreshing to attend a gig as a spectator.  The absence of pressure of performance allowed me to relax, enjoy and learn through observation.  If you have never been to the Box, you are missing out, so forget the Sunday Blues and start the week on a high.  The Box runs every Sunday at 19:30 at the Performing Arts Centre in the Maboneng Precinct, JHB.  If you are a visitor to South Africa, this could be your best night out, so don't miss it!

I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment.