Alive with the Scent of Spring

I love the distinct smell of every season. Sometimes I step out onto the patio just to smell the morning. Today the crisp smell of spring is in the air: melting snow, wet pavement, old soggy vegetation and a hint of the new growth beneath it. The morning air is still cold, for now. As the days get longer these smells will give way to that of morning dew and hot grass baking in the summer sun.

For now these smells fill me with excitement. Spring holds potential, and like the early morning of a new day, I am alive with thoughts of what the future may bring.

What does spring mean to you?

 

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Why You Should Copy Other Artists

Okay it’s been a while! Well only 10 days actually, but that’s the longest I’ve ever gone without writing a post! In the last 10 days I have been totally engrossed with learning a new skill: drawing mandalas. It is addicting. So I’m gonna let you all in on the secret piece of advice that helped me acquire this skill in merely three days.

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The second and third mandalas I ever drew. (1.5 hours each)

While these designs may look quite complex, they are actually really simple to draw, and the way I taught myself can be applied to any type of art really. The first thing I did was copy another artist’s work. GASP! Right? I don’t know why there is such a stigma attached to this. There is nothing wrong with copying someone else’s work, as long as you are not trying to pass it off as your own. In fact, it is impossible to learn something without copying somebody else.

Think about anything, music for example. When you learn to play guitar you don’t try to start writing your own songs before you even learn how to play a song that already exists. You learn how to play songs other artists have made and then, if you get good enough, you try to come up with your own songs. The same applies to art. Trying to draw a mandala without ever having learned how to by copying existing mandalas is like trying to write a song on the guitar when you don’t even know how to play a song.

In the picture above, the mandala on the left is a design by @flickpalmateer. I modified it a little bit because why not? But basically by copying her design, and a couple of images off google, I was able to eventually come up with my own designs. The one on the right was the first one I designed myself, and the one below was one that followed. Both of these are 100% original, but I wouldn’t have been able to produce these original pieces without first copying others.

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Now I feel like drawing mandalas is my calling. It’s like I’ve acquired a new lens through which I can view the world. I see potential patterns in everything. I’ve been thinking of ways to put my designs on pottery, and much more. So stay tuned to see where this takes me! I may be opening my own etsy shop in the future!

As a parting note I’d like to encourage you to go out there and copy things you see! There is no better way to learn. For writing, you could try writing a short story in another writer’s style. Whatever it is I am sure it will help you build the foundation you need to create your own original work. I’d love to see what you come up with! Feel free to even copy my designs!

I look forward to seeing what you come up with, best of luck!

Downsizing Chronicles 2

The question I keep asking myself as I sort through my mountain of possessions is: Why did I ever buy all this stuff in the first place? Only when we go through everything we own all at once do we realize how many things we buy that we don’t really need, even if it seemed like we needed them at the time.

Impulse Buys

I’ve noticed somewhat of a trend. A lot of the things I have that we rarely used, or rather useless, were impulse buys. I’m sure everyone has caved to impulse buys. You see a cute little figurine, or a beautiful soap holder which also happens to be inexpensive. Impulse buys can also pertain to a certain hobby, such as reading. I’m sure we’ve all walked into a bookstore and bought a book that seemed really cool at the time, only to have it collect dust on a shelf. We never really stop to ask: If I really want to read this book, couldn’t I get it from the library? Or: Do I even need a soap holder? Doesn’t my sink have a built-in dip where the soap goes anyways? The point is, impulse buys often lead up to a collection of unnecessary items. So how can we avoid them? I think it’s pretty simple. If you see something you like wait until the next day. If you still really want it enough to make the effort of going back to the store to get it then it is probably something you could actually use.

Buying Office Supplies At Thrift Stores

I have a ridiculous amount of office supplies left over from when I was in school, more than I could ever use. As I back them into boxes to be donated, I am kicking myself for never thinking of going to a thrift store to shop for school supplies. Each binder I bought was at least $5… and now I’m giving them away to be resold for probably $1 if not less. I could have saved so much money, so now I’m passing on the thought in the hopes that somebody else who still needs school/office supplies will think to look for them at a thrift store.

Reduce

There is a reason  reduce comes first in “reduce, reuse, recycle”, yet I feel like when we learned about it in school they mostly focused on recycle. As I head to donations with 5 whole boxes filled with things, and many more to come, I am planning to lead a less wasteful life in the future.

Downsizing Chronicles

I’m getting rid of all of my possessions. That sounds dramatic, but I have realized in the past few months that all of these objects are more of a burden than an enhancement to my life-even things I once considered my favourite, like my books. So piece by piece, box by box, I’m going to give these items one last time to shine before they go off to donation.

Yesterday I managed to put together two boxes. The first was filled with old gifts. A six foot stuffed toy snake that I got from my grandfather when I was a child. A bag full of scarves and mitts. A collection of unused journals (it seems that all my relatives ever got me for gifts). A large jewelry box that I got from my sister one christmas. This jewelry box was something that I wanted for a really long time. Now it is filled with old jewelry, gifts from past boyfriends. I almost kept the jewelry because I knew some of it was expensive. Part of me felt bad for giving away gifts; that’s part of why I’ve held on to them for so long. But whether they were gifts or not I don’t need these things. I am thankful for them, but they will serve a better purpose in somebody else’s hands.

The second box is full of all my books. Even my favourite ones. I’ve realized through travelling that it is much more practical to carry all my books on my kindle. I used to dream of having a library in my house one day. But what good are books sitting on the shelves of someone who has already read them? They belong in the hands of someone who hasn’t heard their story before.

It took me about two hours to put together these two boxes. I still have many, many more things to go through. But as I put these boxes into my vehicle to be taken away, I feel a small weight lifting from me. For a while I was dreading going through this process, but now I look forward to it.

Do you have any downsizing stories you would like to share? Does this story inspire you to rid yourself of the excess in your life? I’d love to know in the comments! 

Growth

As my coffee cools
it leaves behind a set of rings
that record each time I took a sip
and how big a sip it was.

Between each ring
the white space in the cup
remembers my gaze
through the frosty window.

Snowflakes
fall down—and up
but some, just float
because they cannot

decide
which way to go.