Recently I’ve been having a strong urge to work with watercolor and paper, and to create something handmade and tangible! So far I have been creating designs and illustrations digitally, using a tablet to pencil… More
For freelance creatives and even hobbyists, working from home in style is as important as coming up with creative ideas for your clients or your hobby. Workspaces are either inspiring or stifling to your creative process. My whole creative experience was transformed almost over-night when I decided to pay more attention to every aspect of my workspace. In this post, I would like to share with you all a few inspiring home offices and workspaces from one of my Pinterest boards (Decor | Workspaces).
The simple act of organizing and beautifying your workspace, can make a huge difference to your creative process. Keeping it simple is also key in keeping you interested and committed to your project.
Intentionally crafted work environments that reflect your personality and that help bring out the best in you, can be as simple as having a minimalist desk in the corner of your bedroom with a few succulent pots and plants to add a touch of greenery. Your home office does not have to be expensive or complicated, it only needs to be stylish, personal and organized in a way that makes sense to you.
Your workspace can also be tailored to accommodate all the aspects of your creative work. Let’s say you use the computer but also do a bit of screen-printing on the side. The best thing to do in this case is to create a workspace that can accommodate both activities without you having to move your stuff around every time you needed to do either.
To recap, just remember to not sacrifice form for function, to choose a great location, and to create a space that makes sense to you and that can really help you take your creativity to the next level.
My decision not to set any “physical” goals for 2016 stems from my belief that the most profound goals involve changing ourselves from the inside out. I’ve thought a lot about what gave me a sense of purpose this past year. As a self-taught designer, I have been going through a lot of changes, and my skills have been evolving in so many different ways. Knowing that I still feel I haven’t found my true voice yet as an artist (as I have been busy learning new skills and new techniques)… I realized that I needed to return to my innocence in order to hone in on my true artistic style!
I have been giving my 2016 resolutions a lot of thinking the past few weeks. I am glad that 2015 witnessed my second attempt to detour from my corporate/musical career into what I really love: Art and design.
The process started with identifying and evaluating what I have done so far and where I was headed. I started by asking myself: Why was I so fed up with my career in PR and media (that also coincided with an alternative lifestyle as a singer-songwriter), and what was I hoping to achieve?!
True, lasting, meaningful, deep, beautiful, reassuring, and sustainable happiness… is what I am looking for. I believe that this is what most of us are trying to achieve, but for some reason we are given the wrong tools and clues, and the wrong idea about how we can achieve happiness.
I have climbed the corporate ladder from a junior reporter to a chief editor, I have also started out as a communications officer in the PR world and my last job was as a director of PR. I have achieved every single one of my goals, literally. In music I have achieved a couple of world music awards, and a bit of acclaim.
But as I have worked my self to exhaustion, I realized that by continuing to do what I always did ended up keeping me in the same place: Stressed, exhausted and basically unhappy! Money bought me things, but never a sense of contentment. My definition of success was like everybody else’s: Better pay, prestigious place to work at, awards, acclaim, connections, and a flashy title. But those things never made me happy, because I was never in tune with who I really was… and that made me basically miserable.
That’s why I started to search for true happiness, the kind of happiness that “tasted” happy! And in this search I found out amazing things about life, about who I am, and about why I was doing it all wrong the past few years.
The media is ever so resourceful in giving us the wrong clues about what could make us happy. Fashion magazines are expert spin-doctors who paint a fleeting illusion about how make-up and new trends can leave us all in a true state of happiness. Social media tricks us into believing that the more followers we have and the more we engage in posting about our lives the happier we will be.
But non of these fleeting moments of being someone we’re not is ever going to give us a true sense of happiness and joy. When we are following the trends, we are not truly the masters of our own unique voice. As artists, our own unique voice is the very soul of our work. And as people, our own unique self is the source of real happiness.
I’m not the master of my own unique voice (yet), and this I know for a fact. But I am aware of it now and I am trying to change that, and that’s a huge step in the right direction.
Leaving my job early this year (2015) after becoming head of the first PR company I joined several years ago as a mid-level manager, was a crucial decision that I had to make. As I said before, achieving status was such an empty pursuit, especially that deep down inside I hated the media and I was always at odds with PR.
The decision to leave has given me the chance to do what I love to do here at Yaansoon.
In 2015, I started an Etsy shop, and then a Society6 shop, and in between I learnt a lot of things about illustration, color theory and pattern and surface design. I have been going through a lot of changes as an artist; I have learnt new skills, I face-lifted Yaansoon’s brand identity a few times as my skills and interests have evolved from hand-making crafts and hand-printed textiles, into designing printables, wall art, and home decor accents. And now I am about to embark on more than just a face lift for Yaansoon – but I’ll keep this one under the wraps until it’s time for the big reveal :)
Today, it hit me that to create art with my own unique style I had to return to innocence. I had to shed all those trends, all that learning. I had to look deep within my heart for the answers.
Returning to innocence is so much more than just honing in on my true unique style, it’s about finding that organic, beautiful, and natural self that has been maimed by years of fake meetings, fake suits, and fake goals. Returning to innocence is about washing my self from all those fashion-magazine articles, PR tactics, and pop-culture knowledge that has stopped me from growing into the person I truly am.
For this reason my 2016 resolutions involve being mindful of what I consume visually, personally, and ideologically as a person. It also involves an attempt to find that Utopian place within myself that is pure and beautiful and child-like, and that is filled with a sense of wonder and discovery and an innocent appreciation for the beautiful things in life.
I wish you all a Happy New Year, and a journey into wonder… and possibly a conscious return to innocence!
Image Credits: The home decor products in this post can be found at my Society6 shop. You can also click on the images to check each item out.
Last night, I watched Joy, a new movie by David O. Russell featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper. Although the movie, which has premiered on December 25, seems to have received mixed reviews, I believe it will prove to be a classic that will continue to inspire women the world over for a very, very long time. The fact that Jennifer Lawrence received a Golden Globe nomination for it a few days ago, is just the tip of the iceberg. I truly believe this to be one of the best movies I have ever watched.
Not everyone will love Jennifer Lawrence’s new movie, Joy – just like not everybody will love Caviar, or enjoy mango ice cream. This is a movie that will hit a soft spot if you have led a difficult life as an entrepreneur, a visionary, or an artist… or if you are someone with a passion blazing inside you, but who are surrounded by people who cannot see what you can see. It’s a movie for extra-ordinary women with difficult families, or maybe who live within a community that is used to mediocrity and that cannot appreciate or understand where they come from.
Here are some of the main messages that make “Joy” a great movie and a great inspiration for those who are seeking to change their lives:
1. It’s never too late to change! And whatever you want to achieve you have to do with you own hands
The one important message that Joy has given me is that it’s never too late to realize your dreams and to change course. It’s never too late to challenge your surroundings and forge your own unique path in the world… and to follow your heart, your calling. Joy started the process of following her calling after she has turned 30. There are a lot of stories about women (and men), who have started to change their lives at later stages in their lives, even in their 50s. Simply put, change can happen at any age!
What’s also beautiful about Joy is that for her to succeed she had to protect her idea and carry it through her self. She did not rely on others to take action, to work hard, or to achieve what she has set out to achieve. She did it all by herself. She nurtured her idea from A-Z, and knew she was the only person she could trust with realizing her dream.
2. Never surrender your fate to people around you. Stop seeking approval!
Another important message, which I have applied in my own life, is to always listen to your inner gut feeling, your inner conviction, and to never, ever surrender your fate to people around you… because, even though you may love and cherish them, they are flawed, and they do not know what you know!
There is a particular moment in the movie that really affirms this point and that is when Joy is told by her father (Robert De Niro) and his girlfriend (Isabella Rossellini) that it’s over, and that she should surrender and file for bankruptcy. If Joy were like most people, she would have just surrendered and “believed” the people around her, who spoke with such authority – as if they were the experts on life, and business.
Being a true leader of her own life and fate, Joy decided to read every contract (hundreds and hundreds of pages) to understand where she stood and why things ended up the way they did. She was no lawyer, but she was a determined person with a huge dose of faith and conviction. She realized that her biggest mistake before that moment was listening to the advice that came from the people around her.
The minute she believed in her inner knowing, she changed the course of her life and ultimately her destiny. She found a way out, and she continued on the path that took courage and faith. Most importantly, she stuck to her convictions and stopped seeking the approval of the people around her, who might be older, with more money and maybe more experience, but who do not know what she knew.
3. It’s all about choice, a great deal of faith, and taking responsibility for your own actions
You can choose to change, or to be the victim, and whatever you ‘choose’ will materialize in your life. Choice is an important message in ‘Joy.’ This extraordinary woman was presented with a challenging family and many, many challenging situations. How she chose to react to these situations made her who she is.
There are a lot of people around us who love to play the victims of their surroundings (I have a few in my own family). They spend a lifetime pointing fingers at others for their own failures. They blame everything that has happened to them on others, and they do not have the passion or the drive to change their lives… and that is a choice they have made. They are also often filled with feelings of envy and jealousy towards those who seem to be following their dreams. Such people often like to pull everyone down, and cannot see change or success even if it stared them in the eye.
And there are those who are presented with far more challenging situations than those who complain, but who emerge triumphant in every way.
I’m not talking about becoming a millionairess, which is what happened to Joy. There are endless ways to triumph over your circumstances and to change the course of your life. It can be by choosing to follow your dream and become who you are meant to be, or to fulfill your calling. Or it can be by transcending the twisted family you have been born into, or change careers, and maybe countries.
Whatever change you embark on, it all starts and ends with how you view the world, how you keep the faith no matter what, and how you know that what you know is real.
Joy is a great reminder that no one can live life for you; no one can heal you, or change you. You, and only you, can choose your life, and work hard for it. And that with faith and determination miracles can start to happen!
Hello my dear ones! It’s time for a new freebie, and this time the theme of this free desktop wallpaper is Christmas! With this free download, a cute Santa will be smiling at you every time you use your computer :)
If you fancy this desktop wallpaper then simply download it HERE, or click the download button below. Enjoy!
These cute Santa stickers fit all kinds of journals including: Erin Condren, Kikki.K, Plum Paper, The Happy Planner, Filofax, InkWell, Smash Book, and other personal journals and scrapbooks.
I am currently using them with my Smash Book and my newly refurbished A4 binder.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Stay warm and have a lovely day!
NOTE: All freebies, printables and images by Yaansoon are intended for private non-commercial use.
Christmas trees and recycling can meet under one roof! This cardboard Christmas tree is the perfect example. All you need is a corrugated cardboard box (used in packaging large appliances or furniture), a ruler, X-acto knife, and some white paint!
Whether your home is space-challenged, or if you don’t like the idea of a plastic tree standing in the corner of your Eco-friendly home, then it’s probably time to explore new and alternative Christmas tree ideas for your home.
Corrugated cardboard is a great material to work with to create this minimalist Christmas tree. I personally like it’s earthy tone, and the fact I can add an instant ginger-bread/snow-mountain effect to it by adding a layer of white paint to its top. You can also go more creative by adding white dots to the edges of the tree, and maybe some gold foil dots splashed across its center.
To decorate this kind of tree all you need is cute little clothespins and light-weight ornaments. In the picture above you can see an old light bulb that I have turned into a Christmas ornament, by adding some twine and ribbon and embellishing it with gold and white using permanent felt-tip markers.
Needless to say, the inspiration to make this tree came from Pinterest. I have a board called Celebrate | Xmas, where I gather inspiration for the perfect minimalist Christmas.
Here are a few of our favorite unconventional, DIY, minimalist, space-saving, and contemporary Christmas trees (please check end of post for image credits).
Peg dolls Winter Wonderland
Pictures 1, 2, 3, and 4 | By Yaansoon, Peg dolls Winter Wonderland | By Mr. Printables, DIY Modern Wooden Christmas Tree Set | By Curbly, Minimalist wooden Christmas Tree | By Varpunen, Mini Balsa Wood Christmas Trees | By A Cup of Thuy
I’m deeply moved by the humility and the raw, organic talent of one of the world’s top photographers, David Loftus. I have been surfing the internet for good tips on photography for beginner DSLR photographers, often stumbling across rigid and insanely suffocating tips that made you want to stop taking photos all together… until I found a series of quick camera tips by photographer David Loftus on YouTube.
Organic, natural, and indie, David Loftus is a true inspiration for those who gauge the nature of authenticity, and who approach photography, as a form of art and creativity, with genuine open-mindedness and a true passion for what they do. Before I sing Loftus more praises, let me start this post by explaining why I am totally smitten by this genius photographer’s approach to picture story-telling and photography.
For the past month or so, I have been watching video after video on YouTube and elsewhere in hopes of compiling an understanding of what makes a good photograph. Up until now I have been using a point-and-shoot camera for my blog and I want to start using a DSLR camera to shoot both still blog photos, as well as YouTube videos for my new channel.
Although I’m not a food blogger, I feel the world of culinary photography is the closest thing out there to photographing the herbs and natural ingredients that go into my Natural Beauty remedies. At the moment I am using infgraphics to illustrate my posts – while working my way towards learning new photography skills as a blogger. To be honest, my experience with point-and-shoot cameras has been a source of frustration as of lately for their inability to produce the results I am hoping for.
For weeks, I watched countless videos with tips for beginners about lighting, composition, lenses, camera types, ISO, shutter speed, and other aspects of food photography. The videos varied in their level of content and originality, often leaning towards complicating things for me!
But all of this changed when I discovered David Loftus. Although his “David Loftus Photography Masterclass” series on Youtube is short and (very) sweet, there is something about his approach to photography that frees your mind and inspires you to find your own voice, even as a beginner DSLR photographer!
I realized, while I was searching for good tutorials on beginner photography, that not everyone out there is an inspiration.
In fact, there are videos that are so rigid and narrow-minded in their approach to photography, art, design and creativity, that I ended up feeling suffocated and totally uninspired.
I didn’t realize just how annoyed and demoralized I was about all that talk re “The Golden Ratio,” and “The Rule of Thirds,” until I found this video by David Loftus about composition.
In this video, David Loftus uses his smart phone to explain his approach to picture taking. Although the clip is relatively short, I think it encapsulates the very soul of Loftus’ organic approach to photography:
“So, as far as composition is concerned… shoot it a bit differently, shoot it off-center, shoot it side-ways, there’s no rules or regulations. When we were taught at collage, they always said you had to be [taking photos] in thirds; so you’d be a third off, or a third down, but…” (And then he waves his hand to basically imply: Never mind the ‘Rule of Thirds’).
David Loftus adds,
“You know, who wants to be the same as everyone else???”
I have always had a strong reaction to rigid rules. I like things that grow organically. Art that looks organic. Cafes that have an organic feel to them. Organic music, writing, and forms of expression.
I believe, in my heart of hearts, that life is an ever-changing, ever-evolving existence whose intensity and beauty cannot be limited by boundaries or a handful of static rules.
I do, at the same time, understand that it is “inspiring” to learn “about” the rules, and to get a bit of a historic background about how they worked, and how they were applied within different contexts. This understanding can help us cross over to the next level, but it should in no way limit our evolution or expression as creative people. That’s my belief.
What I do not understand, and what really makes me feel like suffocating, is when people treat rules as absolutes. And when some try to push you to conform to their definition of what works and what doesn’t, even if it was at the expense of truncating your own voice. I honestly cannot tolerate the schools of thought, or the people, who tell you to substitute your talent and your unique outlook on the world with rigid rules that end up destroying your raw talent.
Talent is a gift from up above, it is a force beyond our own understanding. Although we are “entrusted” with harnessing and honing it, we are also entrusted with letting it go where it needs to go. We need to allow our inner “auto-pilot” to journey through life towards the destination our talent was created for. Taking us to our destiny.
Raw talent, in my opinion, is much more powerful than doing things with a closed mind and a closed heart. Judging ones self and others by some rules that are, in all honesty, only theories that have proven success in certain contexts and circumstances, is a huge mistake.
After all, if rules were static, then we wouldn’t have such amazing experiences like Jazz, Hip-hop, graffiti, and cubism in our lives.
A true master of his craft, Loftus has been working with Jamie Oliver for over 15 years; he conducted photoshoots for Oliver’s books and has often traveled with him. If you check out Oliver’s FoodTube, and Loftus’ own channel (Loftus Lens), you will find a series of very short and sweet photography tips that give us a glimpse into the character of this wonderful photographer and artist. His humility, love for natural art and organic beauty are apparent, and if I were to choose a photography mentor, I would choose him.
Here is a link to an inspiring piece I found in Jamie Magazine, dubbed, Interview with David Loftus. I love how in response to the question, “What’s your favourite type of food to photograph and why?” he says:
“Fresh fruit and veg, straight from the garden and untampered with. My least favourite is Michelin-starred food, as it’s too fiddled with. Often it’s cold by the time it reaches me. On the other hand, a lot of passion goes into Jamie’s food and we shoot within minutes of cooking there’s no fussing with it.”
Visit David Loftus website here. The 1st and 3d images in this post are screenshots from his website. “From Point-and-Shoot to DSLR” infographic by Yaansoon. The 4th image is a GIF from multiple screenshots of this video, and the last image is a screenshot of the same video.