Unboxing Video: Black Beauty Creme and Dark Brown Scout

I ordered quite a few notebooks from Chic Sparrow late December and earlier this month. I’m a little backed up on unboxings but I’m getting there. This unboxing is of the Black Beauty Creme in the B6 size and the Dark Brown Scout in the narrow size. The Creme leather is their thickest leather. It is full-grain (the best leather out there) and soft to the touch. Some Cremes are pebbly, but none of mine are. I have five Cremes and all are very smooth except for the Chocolate, which is slightly pebbly, but still soft to the touch. The Scout is what Chic Sparrow called Maverick previously. I have a Golden Maverick in the Classic style and in the standard size. Classic just means stitching is optional. I went with optional with the Golden Maverick back then because I didn’t want the pockets. Now, I love the pockets! The Scout has pockets made from the Creme leather. I also have a similar style of leather to the Maverick and Scout but by Foxy Fix. The one by Foxy Fix is called Le Voyageur. It’s a dark brown (lighter than the Scout) color in the wide size. Maverick, Scout, and Le Voyageur are all from Asian Buffalo hide. Leather thickness is very similar to Creme.

Emma B6 Traveler’s Notebook

If you haven’t seen my video, I did an unboxing of this leather. It’s an Austen Emma B6 Heritage by Chic Sparrow. I ordered this leather notebook cover during the December 2021 sale. This leather patina’s pretty quickly. I’ve had it for about a month and it’s already darker than when I received it. It will continue to patina so I’ll revisit later this year to see how it’s changed.

I’m using this one to hold my affirmations. I go through these phases where I question doing art, but I keep returning to art because it relaxes and keeps me creative. It helps me stay focus on my goals (writing/publishing) and my family. It’s strange that way how art has that much control. Here’s my first page of my affirmations. I’m going to pull a card once a month to do a layout and some journaling.

Gouache Painting of the Milky Way

This was one of the most difficult paintings I did with gouache. I nearly gave up. I think it turned out fine, but multiple times I almost tore it up. It could just mean I need more practice with gouache. You might ask why I keep using gouache and not watercolor if it’s such a pain. I wonder the same, but I think I’m drawn to gouache because it’s very smooth when laying it down, it dries matte, and it’s more opaque than watercolor so I spend less time layering paint. There are probably other reasons too but these are the main ones.

December 2021 Playlist

My backyard on January 1, 2022

Hope everyone had a great start to the new year. We got snow and that felt great! We’ll see how the year goes, but I’m hoping for a lot less sadness. I don’t say much about that side of life because it’s just depressing, but I’d really love a year free of heartbreak and pain.

Let’s move on. In December, I listened to a lot of Christmas songs, but there were moments when I wanted to just feel epic and fuel my imagination with stories of far away worlds and speculative conflicts that are not anything we are familiar with in our world right now. My husband thinks I spend too much time in my “fiction world,” but I can’t help it. I love imagination. He didn’t say it in a mean way. He said it to reaffirm that he gets me.

Anyway, here were the songs on my playlist in December 2021.

“Frozen Motion” by Bob Bradley

“Embers Glow” by Bob Bradley and Thomas Balmforth

“Enchanted” by David Michael Tardy

I wish you all happiness and good health in 2022!

Northern Lights Paintings Using Gouache

I tried my hands at using gouache and I’m liking it. I like how smooth it goes on and that it dries matte. What I’m not comfortable with (yet?) is that it takes getting used to. There were a couple times I wanted to give up because what I was trying to achieve just wasn’t happening, or so I thought. Somehow, the paintings turned out okay. Gouache tests my patience. I think one of these days I will definitely just destroy an unfinished piece.

These are the paintings I made using gouache. They were for birthday cards for family.

Here are close-ups.

I typically try to practice a smaller version before attempting on larger pieces to get the hang of things. I decided to record my process to share how I do it. Since I’m new to gouache, I wanted to also share a swatching of the gouache I used. It’s the Art Philosophy brand. I chose this brand because I heard a lot of good stuff about their gouache and it wasn’t expensive. I may one day try Holbein, Winsor & Newton, and other higher ends.

Hobonichi Techo Setup for 2022

As a writer, I need to be organized in my daily writing schedule, and because I also review books and craft (as a hobby), I need a calendar system that will not be too overwhelming, but be simple and easy to stay on top of things. I’ve been using the Hobonichi notebooks for a few years now and it’s really helped me stay productive. I basically use this notebook to track my daily to-dos and NaNoWriMo. I have other notebooks for more specific stuff, which I hope to cover more of on this blog…and YouTube.

Here is a video of my 2022 setup:

I still bujo! My bujo notebook has fallen behind, but goals are to keep up with it next year. I just ordered a B5 size and hope to share an unboxing of the A5 size I purchased a month ago. Maybe I’ll combine the two? We’ll see.

Digital Layouts & Songs

Here are my digital layouts for the rest of the 12 Days of December Challenge at Oscraps.

Day 7 was create a border challenge. I used a photo of Teddy I took on the 7th. It’s also a layout I’ll be including in my December Daily.

Credits: Winter Journal Kit by Vicki Robinson Designs

Day 8 was a game called “Kick Out.” We were to share what we weren’t going to miss in 2021.

Day 9 was a word art challenge. I first made this layout:

Credits: Home for the Holidays Oscraps Collab 2021 and Merry & Bright Oscraps 2018 Collab by Oscraps Designers

Then, realized it had to also include a celebration, so I made this one as well.

Credits: Congratulations Kit by NLD Designs

Day 10 was a re-do layout challenge. I decided to redo a layout from 2008 when I was on a creative team. Here’s that layout.

This is the re-do:

Credits: Nostalgic Dream by Emeto

Day 11 was a “This or That” game. From two choices, you choose one, then write down two choices for the next person to choose one from. That person then posts two choices for the next person to choose from.

Day 12 (last day!) was to create a layout with Christmas lyrics. It was a tie between “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Casting Crowns or “Ring Christmas Bells,” by Ray Conniff and the Ray Conniff Singers. I ended up doing the layout with the song by Casting Crowns.

Credits: Christmas Stars & Wishes Kit by NLD Designs

I went with “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day” because we could all do for a little bit of peace and love in the world.

However, “Ring Christmas Bells,” is beautiful in that haunting epic way, just like how I like my epic/trailer music.

Both songs have amazing choir and music.

Digital Layouts From a Challenge

I had contemplated doing almost a month of digital scrapbooking after seeing a challenge on the Oscraps.com website, and after NaNoWriMo, I felt I could totally do this. I also needed a break from writing. I wanted to work on my Photoshop skills, mainly digital scrapbooking. It can be hard to get motivated sometimes with not being a full-time scrapper these days. The Oscraps.com 12 Days of December Challenge was tempting even though I and wasn’t sure I’d be up to it. However, somehow, I got into it and got my digi-scrap mojo back. Let’s hope I can keep up with it until the very end.

Here’s my first layout. It’s my Oscraps Avatar. This one didn’t count and wasn’t required as part of the challenge. At the end of the challenge, there will be prizes (digital scrapbooking discounts, etc.), but I’m not doing this for the prizes. It’d be nice to win something, but the real fun is in just seeing what others create and creating myself.

Credits:
Winter Walk by Emeto; Greymouse Manor and Through the Snow We Go by Lorie Davision.

Day one was to use the following template:

This was my layout.

Credits: Template by Sandrine (aka Timounette); Home for the Holidays Oscraps Designers Collab

Day two was a scavenger hunt. We had to match clips of kits to the appropriate designer. It was pretty difficult for me since I haven’t been scrapbooking for awhile. But, I think I did all right.

Day three was a scraplift. This is my layout. The image I lifted is here.

Credits: Trick or Treat Collection by Palvinka

Day four was to include at least four lines of journaling of a Christmas memory.

Credits: Winter Walk kit by Emeto Designs

Day 5 was a game day. We had to search the gallery for layouts that the previous poster in the forums requested. Then, post a request for the next person to search for.

Day 6 was a cookie recipe.

Credits: Home for the Holidays Oscraps Designers Collab

I’ll be posting layouts as I get them done. Let’s hope I can do this and December Daily as well (which I haven’t started…but I’ve been taking photos every day!).

November 2021 Playlist and NaNoWrimo Talk

I hope everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo finished and got your certificate and all the cool discounts. I’d love to give away my 50% off code for Scrivener so if you’re interested, let me know in the comments. I have the application and use it every so often, but my go-to is Word. I believe Scrivener is $50 so you’d get it for $25. The most updated version is pretty awesome so I’m going to try my hands at it again.

Also, Scrivener and Vellum work hand-in-hand. They are not related in any way but you can convert a Scrivener file into Vellum and then open it up in Vellum. It’s really cool. As for Vellum, they are having a really good deal right now for 30% off. I believe I got Vellum at a discount but it wasn’t 30% off, and I wish I did. So, you lucky people are truly lucky.

I don’t work for either of these businesses nor do I get anything via affiliation from them. I use them both and I’m all for writers getting the opportunity to write, so that’s why I’m sharing this information.

November’s playlist was a bit bland. I listened to mostly the Christmas music because I wanted to be in the spirit, but I did get a few good songs in during NaNo. I decided to make a digital scrapbooking layout of my playlist.

For some reason “Vienna” by Gregorian was just so beautiful and poignant that I had to have it on repeat.

Can you believe it’s December? Any writing goals this month? I don’t normally write my stories. I usually take a break to work on December Daily. I will have to share a bit more about my process and some of my past layouts, and maybe even current layouts. Having said that, I may write a couple of short stories and continue on my NaNo novel so I could be ahead. I’ve got most of my Christmas shopping done so I’ll have a little bit of extra time to do these things.

Layout credits: Autumn Garden Kit by Et Designs, Hello Autumn Kit by Emeto, Alphas from Digital Scrapbook Ingredients, and number font is Forever Together Sans.