Friday, May 6, 2016

The Altered Sewing Book - The beginning of the Fear

Many years ago now, I started an altered sewing book, a huge vintage sewing book that I turned into an art journal, little did I know back then that this journal would be one of my very favourite art journals that not only I adored but many others had come to adore.

So one sleepless night (I have so many) I laid awake thinking of new ideas for my Y
outube channel, when I decided I would teach people  (and I use this term teach SUPER loosely) how to create a sewing book altered art journal for themselves. Not realizing the absolute magnitude that this project would become I decided to set the wheels in motion and present the idea to my viewers.

Streams and streams of positive feedback hit my inbox, I was actually very overwhelmed with the amount of YES PLEASES! I got. People wanted to see this happen, and now it was my job to make it happen...and so I took the steps to begin planning this mammoth task.

In between this project we moved house (and it was a nightmare) we also got hit with a superbug as you do when all your defenses are down due to the previously mentioned move, and then the dreaded school holidays.  My poor sewing book idea was put on the back burner as I got my barrings in the new house, created my studio space and generally took a break (if you can call school holidays a break).

While doing this, the comments kept coming, are you still doing this? Is this book still happening? Did I miss a video? Almost daily I would get 1-2 of the same questions about my sewing book. A constant reminder of what I have undertaken.

This book became a force, a force I was starting to get petrified of! So many people wanted to see the book happen, am I really going to be able to give them what they want?...What if they hate it?, What if they end up hating me? My anxiety went through the roof! The thoughts of this book not living up to peoples expectations or even my own were starting to plague me day and night, maybe this idea wasn't such a good one.

People ask me all the time to do a paid class...ALL THE TIME! Why am I not teaching a course? and to be honest, I don't feel I have enough original content in me to do a paid course. I also like showing people what I do, for nothing...because I've had nothing before, I've not been able to afford to do a course due to our finances (previous marriage was struggle street) and so it means that a HUGE portion of people wouldn't get to see this book happen..if I made it a paid class, and that in my opinion is sad. One day I will get the courage to do a paid course....but today is not that day people.

Then there is the negative Nancy on my shoulder one would pay anyway so why try.... So I'm just going with what feels it over to the masses and hope that it inspires a few to create their own.

I wanted to write this blog post so you saw a little bit of my mindset when creating this series, my own perfectionism gets in the way of me doing half the ideas I have in my head. Sometimes when you think an artist can just produce ideas and art at the drop of a hat, (some artist may but I assure you I am not one of them) believe me when I say this journey has been a long one. One that has been riddled with self doubt and self questioning. I am not an expert nor do I claim to be one, I create what I enjoy and share because I enjoy sharing.

I hope this has given you a little idea of how sometimes I may make it look simple and effortless...but it truly does take all I have within me to create things for my viewers, that I not only am proud of but also love aswell.

Enjoy the series of the Altered Sewing Book Art Journal.

x Courtney

Links To Remember
The Facebook Group:
Playlist of the Videos

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Inktober is happening with LittleRavenInk

It's been a while hasn't it? and I feel like I say this every blog post! but here I am, with my studio half overhauled in the chaos of it all there is INKTOBER!  a creative adventure I've watched from the sidelines most years, but this year I'm actually going to participate! I'm nowhere near the caliber of some of the artist I've seen participate in past years but that isn't going to stop me from inking a nook dweller!

My darling friend Julia over at Julia's Bento and I were talking art and drawing as we usually do each day...and we decided that we would tackle Inktober this year! I am heading to Melbourne for 3 days so will be tough to draw while away but I'm going to make sure I draw!
So starting October 1st I will be drawing using my various inky pens and uploading my drawings to Instagram with the hashtags #inktober2015 and also #raveninktober I may also do a Youtube video but that I'm unsure of! I will do a Friday post here on the blog showing my weeks worth of inkings!

If you are going to participate in Inktober please leave a comment below with your IG name or your blog where you're going to post your drawings I would so love to see them!

Take care! Seeya next with with some drawings!
x Courtney

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Plus Size Capsule Wardrobe - Fave Outfits #1

We are currently at the halfway through month one for the capsule wardrobe, and I am loving it! I have come up against a few instances where I've done omg what am I going to wear, to putting something on in many different ways and hating each way it looked! but I haven't buckled!
I have found a way out, out of each and every lost for an outfit moment so far! So I am calling that a win in my eyes!
The urge to shop is STRONG! I've picked up a few items and gone ohhhh this would look cute with this and this and this...and then I stop, and remember its not two weeks before spring yet (the time to shop and collate for next seasons capsule) what are you going Courtney? ...and I put it back.

I thought I'd do a fortnightly/monthly post on some of my fave outfits that have been worn during each three months. Some images will be actual photos where I've made an effort to pose, and some will be in front of my wardrobe mirror before I run out the door (expect more of the later, I'm a mum with a hectic home life most days) I will also show you when an item pops up more than once in a week, and how it looks in different styles,  I have a grey oversized boyfriend cardigan that made it into two outfits this week!.

So outfit one with above mentioned cardigan was with a floral dress, tights and grey leather boots.
this outfit soared to the top of my faves very quickly, its girly and comfy, and totally wearable for winter!

The boots are from city chic currently on sale 
Dress from asos - no longer sold
belt is also Asos (came with a skirt)
Cardigan is Rivers.
Tights are from City Chic (and super comfy)

I wore a long silver chain with a amber pendant gifted from my sister years ago to tie it all together

Then a few days later I put the cardigan to work again with a more casual look

Ignore the dirty mirror and my ghastly hair! ( I do try and clean the sucker daily but apparently missed a spot)
I paired the boyfriend cardigan with a tucked in graphic tee and a navy middi skirt, tights and black boots.
Boots are from target
Skirt is from modcloth 
belt is from Asos (came with a dress)
tights are from city chic 
Graphic Tee is from Rivers 
Caridigan is from Rivers.
I'm also wearing a SUPER adorable handmade necklace for some pop which is from Hello Emily Green Store

Other outfits to make the cut this fortnight was that dress I bought, that was a new edition to my capsule
I fell head over heels for this dress when I saw it on sale, it had to be mine! I paired it with a long cardi and belted it in, tights and boots. It was perfect for a Saturday out with the family, was comfy and I got so many compliments on the dress from strangers!

Cardigan with Belt from Citychic 
Dress is from Citychic
Tights from CityChi
Boots from Target.

Lastly is another item that I bought for my capsule is the 17Sundays chambray button up, it was on sale so I snapped one up for my capsule and I am ever so glad I did! it is such beautiful top and so comfy! I have two outfits with this top, although I wore it over a babydoll dress aswell but didn't get a good photo in that outfit.
This outfit was the top buttoned and tucked into an Asos Midi skirt. I wore it with bare legs (and regretted it as I froze) I paired with with simple black pointy flats and a Ena and Albert rainbow double strand necklace which also gets heaps of compliments on.

 Chambray shirt is from 17sundays - Currently on Sale
Skirt is from Asos
Pointed Flats from Betts For her
 The Chambray shirt got worn quite a bit in the two weeks prior this is the second outfit I snapped for a simple sunday food shopping trip I wanted to be comfy but not in gym attire as I spend so much of my weekdays in gym clothes, its nice for a change!
 I wore the 17Sundays top with a long black singlet, and a pair of leggins, and pointy flats. The hello emily green necklace again, and my black raybans. 
Chambray shirt is from 17Sundays
Long Black singlet  is from Crossroads 
Black leggins are from City Chic
Pointed flats are from Betts for Her. 

 So that is where I am so far! if you have any questions about anything please leave a comment I love answering questions! or even if you have outfit ideas for me! leave them too! 
x Courtney

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Book Nook - Jane Davenport Beautiful Faces Review.

and welcome to a monthly feature here on the blog 'Book Nook' Where I'll review an art and journal related book on here and also on my Youtube channel. Once a month I'll do a written and verbal review for you guys! This month I've decided to chose a very in demand book Beautiful Faces by the lovely Jane Davenport. Not only do I adore Jane as a teacher but as a person, but she has created a book that stormed the amazon charts for mixed media taking number one spot for many weeks! Even now shes at number 6 and I only think its there currently because the colouring book craze is mammoth at the moment.

This book is filled with not just eye candy, but it is also bursting with information, techniques, ideas and inspiration. I feel personally there isn't a book like it on the market. Published by Quarry books (where I feel the best art/mixed media books are published) Jane's book is not just a book, but an experience.

I did not get sent this book in exchange for a positive review, I purchased this book with my own money, as I have done with almost all of her classes. Others were gifts, and also a scholarship. Now you all know I am a mumma on a family budget, so I make sure I am buying things I think are worth the price tag, and let me tell you this book is.

I've taken many of Jane drawing classes and they are always the ones I recommend to people first, 'Supplies Me' is still by far my very favourite of her courses on offer, for beginners and beyond! even with all the class videos, this book is fantastic reference material for when I'm on the couch or at my desk and want to just draw! instead of watching a video refresher.

Beautiful faces is slightly different to everything else out there, for while Jane was writing this book, she was also filming a sister class, so the pages were bought to life in front of your very eyes. Now I am not a member of this class YET, but it's on my classes to take, I have friends in the class and have only heard great things. Like I said this book in an experience on its own, but I can imagine how amazing it would be to watch them be created layer by layer face by face.

 I have enjoyed sitting with the technique pages,  just pouring over every single detail. This alone is so lovely to be able to do, as with the classes I've taken I spend more time rewinding to catch things than I'd like to admit! But with this book, I spend ample amount of time on each step, so that I too can get the right amount of shading, or my face symmetry right. These book literally has endless tips and beauty to behold...I'll admit more than I expected before purchasing.

The step by step images are all very close up, so the detail you can see is truly helpful when you have the book only as a reference. (I'm just a glutton and want the class as well) I don't want to show too much of the tutorial modes within the book, as that will spoil it for you, but know there is lots of step by step guides for you to fawn over not just for eye candy but for genuine help with your own artworks.

Within the pages of the book is also supply advice! giving you some of Jane's very much love supplies, which are photographed beautifully and also very tempting to buy everything she says is lovely...That is one thing with Jane she will never steer you wrong when it comes to supply buying, I have yet to hate something shes recommended to me. Including paper tips...

All in all I think Jane's book was well worth the pricetag! and I can see myself purchasing copies of this for my nieces as gifts when they are a touch older. I can already picture my niece Sophia losing her mind at all the colours and the step by step guides and shes 7 next weekend. This book is a fantastic one to have in your collection for the beauty and for the brains.

If you'd like the book and the course pop on over to Jane's Website where all the links to all the things are! its a very magical place over there!
On my review scale I give this book a 9/10, truly a must to have in your collection. If I ever manage to squirrel away enough cash for the course as well I'll review it too!

If you have any questions about the book, or have a book you'd like me to review for next month, pop it in the comments! I'd love to hear recommendations!

Tomorrow I'll be filming the youtube review which will go up on Friday the 12th of June, when its uploaded I'll add the video down here  for you to watch aswell.

Take care, Cx 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe Plus Size Version- What made the Cut?

Thank you for such a positive response on all my media platforms about the plus size capsule wardrobe  post! It really made me stand up and take notice that it is a big gap that needs filling! I am here to fill the gap just a little!

After last post I left you with the room of doom, where I sorted, and collated my wardrobe bit by bit and now its time to show you what made the cut! and also what I purchased. The total of my items and maybe and outfit or two.

Each week I will try to do a collection of outfits, I'll show you what items I wore and how I wore them. So both you and I can see what has gotten the most amount of wear, what is the most versatile and what could have been left out by the end of the three months.

I have a total of  40 items altogether broken up into, tops, bottoms, outerwear, shoes. I have considered adding scarves to my total but the jury is out on that at present moment. I am seriously considering not counting my handbags and my scarves as they come under accessories. (in the end scarves and bags were not counted although my total for both is still very low)
Moving onto the clothing items:-

For tops I have

1 x Black lace 3/4 sleeved top - Thrifted
1 x Chambray button down - 17sundays (currently on sale) this was a new addition
1 x Deer Print Top - MINK DENIM - no longer available but MINK do some amazing tshirts! I have my eyes on a few for spring. available at myer.
1 x long sleeved black top with puffer sleeves CityChic-no longer available(bought for new york trip)
1 x Color block grey long tshirt - Best and Less - no longer available 
1 x Bird print grey 3/4 sleeves Jersey Top - H&M
1 x White Grapic Tshirt - Rivers no longer avialable
1x grey quirky neckline jersey top - Katies  no longer available
1 oversized grey top with yellow details - h&m australia - can't find it online (new edition to my wardrobe)

1 x Over sized off white long sleeved top with sheer detailing - Big W no longer available
1 x Long White top with layering detail - Piper Woman no longer available
1 x Long white singlet - Rockmans currently on sale for half price
2 x Black long singlets - Rockmans currently on sale (these are staples and go under all my slightly too short tops.
Above are all my tops so 14 all together.
For outer wear I have
1 x Black trench coat - City chic no longer available but there is a similar one on their site
1 x Denim Jacket - Lee Cooper Big W no longer available but he brings out jackets to big w a lot.
1 x Biker type jacket - Autograph no longer available but have similar items on their store currently
1 x Grey long sleeve boyfriend cardigan - Rivers  no longer available (new addition to my wardrobe)
1 x Black chiffon layered zipped jacket City Chic no longer available but similar online at the moment
1 x Dark grey long sleeved flowy cardigan - Katies  no longer available
1 Long sleeve Belted Cardigan - City Chic bought in current sale but no longer in stock
1 x Grey turtleneck cable knit poncho - Rivers no longer available
1 x Mustard cardigan - Forever21 bought in new york should have bought more of them!

All together I have 9 outerwear items some get a lot more wear than others I've discovered but you will get that with any wardrobe in coming posts I'll sure what gets the most wear, and how I've used an item in many outfits to create different looks.

For Bottoms + Dresses I have.
1x Polka dot Midi Skirt -  City Chic was in current sale but sold out.  This was a new addition
1 x Floral Dress - Asos Curve no longer available but asos always update stock!
1 x White Origami print smock dress dress - Asos Curve currently out of stock
1 x Blue Middi Button Skirt - Modcloth  - link takes to you to similar one
1 x Black Midi Skirt - Asos Curve currently not available but always have similar styles
1 x Boyfriend Jeans - Target
1 x Dark Wash Jeans - City Chic currently on sale but can't find online - new edition.
1x Gold Zip flirty skirt - City Chic - no longer available.
1 x Black Dress with kite details City Chic - currently on sale but not online.

This brings my bottoms and dresses total to 9

For Shoes I have selected 5 Pairs - one not photographed (totally forgot - but you will see in outfits)

1 x Black pointed ballet flats - Betts for Her currently on sale just not online - New addition
1 x Charcoal Suede Leather ankle bots - City Chic Currently on Sale - New addition
1 x Black ankle boot - Target currently not available but have many boot styles in store similar
1 x Brown ankle boot - Rivers currently not available but again have many similar styles in store.
No photographed - 1 x camel coloured ankle boots - Rivers not currently available but have many styles
Total shoes 5 pairs.

Which brings all of the above items to 37 items I want to make my capsule number an even 40 so these are the current maybes.

Current maybes which are fence sitters.

we have
1 x black and white flowy dress - h&m  currently unavailable
1 x Hot pink and black dress - City Chic currently unavailable (this is high contender for being added just for a pop of colour and because its a heavy winter dress)
1 x black button down dress - Big W the Chrissy Swan range - currently not available
1 x Black maxi skirt - I own one, its packed is that a sign to leave it packed.... we shall see if I get it out of the boxes/bags or not.

the two handbags which I will be using (which I'm not counting as part of my total are
1 x brown leather tote - whippingpost, this is my everyday carry 99% of the time.
1 x Teal Green handbag - Michael Kors (bought from Nordstrom Rack in NYC)

I also purchased a plaid scarf to wear with my capsure wardrobe and that thing is already a workhorse! I bought the scarf from Forever21 the Sydney store and as far as I know is till currently available.

 For now this is all I have, in the coming posts I will be posting outfits and clothing combinations to show you what has worked well and what really hasnt.

Which of my 'maybe' clothes do you think should make up my 40 items? There will be a pair of  black leggins added to the 40 so only 2 items from the maybe's will make it.

I will be back once a week with a capsule post, another part of the series will be #projectwearit, where I purchase a high end item and a low end item and wear them the same amount of times to see if spending an extra few dollars will be worth it.

what items do you want to see in outfits?
x Courtney

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Let's talk about - New series coming to my blog.

I want to just pop on and introduce a new series that will come to my blog monthly called 'Let's Talk About' where I talk about subjects that are a little more on the personal side. I get a lot of emails and questions about certain things, and thought I could cover them in these blog posts, dealing with depression, weightloss, weight gain, big girl issues, how to stay motivated. A whole range of issues that I get asked a lot.

I'm no expert by any means but I do know a thing or two about the subjects above as I deal with them on a day to day basis. If there is an issue you would like my thoughts and insights into please don't hesitate to pop them in the comments section. I will take all topics from art to life, and one by one do a blog post on them.

You will also see a few changes happen to my blog in the coming weeks as I give it a little make over. I am re evaluating my word of the year, 'accountability' and grasping it again with both hands as we come to the middle of the year when big plans usally get laid to waste in the wings of life. I want to be more present on my blog, and on my yt channel, the daily filming burnt me out so after quite a long break I will be taking on 2-3 blog posts a week as well as 2 videos a week on my channel, not too many to overwhelm me!

So with that note! get your suggestions into the comments section so I can start putting together some posts! it can be anything you really want to know from my point of view.

I'll be back later on in the week with an updated one little word post.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Plus Size Capsule Wardrobe - The Beginnings

I never thought I would be talking about fashion or clothing on my little blog, its not something I see myself ever really sharing. Being a big girl, I would always shy away from fashion posts even though I do adore clothing.

The plus size girl movement is a current and amazing thing to witness, and after reading countless blogs and videos where big wonderful fashionable girls talk style, and clothes, it gave me the push to start talking about it too, not a lot, maybe once a fortnight.

I stumbled onto the idea of Capsule Wardrobes a couple of months ago now, reading on of my fave blogs mentioned it and before I know it I'm falling down the rabbit hole. researching it like a woman possessed (If you haven't noticed I have a total addictive personality)

The idea of the capsule wardrobe is that we overhaul our closets to collate a small number of clothing items that are wearable, matchable and absolutely loved. The capsule wardobe is to limit the amount of clothing shopping you do and to really think about what you want, invest in some key items and really make use of the items that are in your wardrobe.
It is a method that people are using to make getting dressed in the mornings or weekends something that is effortless as 90% of your wardrobe will make an outfit and it will match seamlessly.

I am a woman who buys way too many clothes, I usually buy from sale racks and don't really consider what will this go with, how can I wear it, will I get a good cost per wear out of this item. Which results in me having a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear. Usually my clothing barely matches, which again results in what do I wear syndrome every weekend before we leave the house to go out. It drives John crazy.

While in the rabbit hole I found  some of my fave links that talk about Capsule Wardrobes:-
Un-Fancy  this blog was so amazing to read  she also has some wardrobe planner pages you can print and use for your own capsules
LightbyCoco this is a youtube playlist from a lovely woman called Coco who takes you through her capsule wardrobe aswell as some outfits with the items she chose.
Elise Blaha A blogger I've been reading for years now and was actually how I discovered it in the first place, the link takes you to all her capsule wardrobe posts.

Now all these links are lovely! don't get me wrong, but I had a really hard time finding plus size capsule wardrobes to draw inspiration on! I found whispers of them around the youtubes and pintrest, but nothing like the above links, and that made me wonder why?

So instead of wondering I decided that I would be a plus size girl who did put up posts on capsule wardrobes, so that if any other women were looking my blog might help them with ideas or outfit inspiration! Now I am no fashion blogger, I have absolutely NO experience in plus size fashion posts! I am not in the league of Gabbifresh or the lovely Aussie SugerCoatIt or Stéphanie Zwicky. I do know what I like to wear, and I am not a bad dresser by any means! so be gentle with me, give me some time I'll get the hang of photographing myself.

So my wardrobe and drawers got completely emptied
Excuse the HORRIBLE quality shot, I didn't think I would ever blog this! this was just a picture I sent to my bestie as a OMG my room threw up kinda deal! I never expected to be showing you world war 3 bedroom status on my blog.

I bought some bags from ikea and started packing up clothes. Australia is currently about to head into Winter, so I was making a winter capsule wardrobe to wear for the next three months. So summer things went into storage. I packed HEAPS! I threw out a lot, I will put some items up for sale, I have a few items that currently dont fit but will soon so they went into the bags, if I didn't love it, it went into a donate bag. If I haven't worn it in the last 6-12 months I either sold it, or donated it. I was ruthless, I was hesitant at first then it became a overwhelming sense of joy as I saw the piles get smaller and more organized.

This process took me approximately a week to complete, my room was in a state of chaos for most of that, and it was so tough on my anxiety to have my room that crazy disorganized. I was tripping on bags and clothes and boxes but I knew it was going to be worth it in the end. Although many a swear word was mumbled, uttered and yelled when my foot connected with a bag or a box or even an item of clothing over the duration of the week.

I had a general idea of what I wanted in my wardrobe, I found a few lists floating around and customized them to fit myself.

I made notes on things, what I thought would go together, lots of planning before even selecting items to keep in my capsule. I also made a wishlist at the back of my notebook for items that I can see would be a great addition but would take time to save for like a leather jacket, and leather wide calf boots these items would have to wait till I had the money for them.  I had an idea of what items I wanted to shop for to fill the gaps that I had in my winter capsule.

I made a list, and did some online looking. I knew I wanted a dashwash pair of good fitting jeans, a new pair of black ballet flats, an all rounder scarf, a few basic long singlets and a few neutral layering items. I had a small budget of around $250 to get these items so I needed to do a lot of hunting to get good prices. I wanted good quality clothes that would last, which with that budget some may say is hard, but I did it.

In my next post, I'll be showing you what made the cut, and the items I purchased to fill the gaps.
I hope this series is welcomed to my blog, it took me a very long time to get the guts to post this! I had talked myself out of it many many times.

Now to get used to photographing myself! if you have tips for that post a comment!
x Courtney