On Creating Weekly

Hello

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I have been doing a weekly project where I have been creating one watercolour piece a week for 2017. It’s week 40 this week, and so I thought I’d share a bit about my project with you.

After completing my 366 days of quotes project last year, I knew I wanted to do something this year, but just not as intensive as a daily project. I thought about skills I wanted to hone, and decided that a watercolour project would be perfect. Watercolours are easy to use, they don’t smell bad, clean up is quick and painless and the paper and paint is relatively cheap (well, as cheap as art supplies get. Emphasis on the relative part). And so I set out to paint 52 paintings by the end of the year.

There are many perks of doing a weekly project. It’s a wonderful way to force yourself to carve time out each week to create, and my weekly paint and paper sessions are highly therapeutic and rewarding. It can suck slightly when you feel as if you run out of ideas and feel as if you don’t have much time. The best advice I can give you is to push on, and not be too hard on yourself. After all, it is supposed to be enjoyable and not feel like some kind of creative torture.

So if you feel as if you could use some practice in a new skill, or you just want to create some intentional time to create, try a weekly or daily project. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll improve and how innovative it’ll make you!

Here are some of my favourite pieces from my project so far.

You can see all of my paintings on Instagram, under the tag #52weeksofwatercolour.
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Nabeela x

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Curate / Light + Detail

Minutiae / the small, precise details that makes one unique; the finer points and subtleties

As a visual person, I am very much aware of the little things. I have a deep appreciation for details, and they make my heart sing. (I know that I’m definitely not alone on this).

I especially love beautiful light and intricate detail in architecture. Here is a photo essay of some of the light and detail I’ve snapped over the last little while…

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“To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.” – Giorgio Armani 

Nabeela x

Home

After traveling around Europe for the past twelve days, I am home. It was the best way I could possibly have spent my first two weeks as a sixteen year-old.

Traveling has woken up a part of me that I knew existed, but haven’t been very familiar with. It makes me hungry for adventure, and makes me want to do and see as much as possible. My heart is full of wanderlust, my head is full of inspiration and ideas and my gallery is full of photos. Being home feels a little strange, I’ll admit. But coming home is part of the journey.

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This trip was very different for me. It was the first time that I flew without my parents, and I learnt a lot due to the fact that there were so many things I had to do for myself. Even although it was a school trip and we had two teachers with us, we checked in ourselves, managed our own money, and were responsible for ourselves. I learnt a lot about the places I visited, but I learnt even more about traveling and myself in general, and how different things are in other countries.

I certainly am hungrier than ever for adventure and travel. I think its safe to say that the travel bug has bitten!

Over the next little while, I’ll be sharing some words and photos of the places I visited over here.

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

Nabeela x

 

What’s The Origin? / Ethical Fashion

I walk into a mall. I spot a sale on at one of my favourite stores. I rush in, my heart racing at the thought of a new shiny garment in my hands. My hands frantically rush through the sale racks. Is there nothing in my size? Its only R100! I have to take something home! Ah, finally! I spot a grey tee-shirt in a size XS. That’s something I’ll wear, right? I have another three or so at home, so I know I wear things like this. I rush to the checkout point. Stick my debit card in the machine and pay for my purchase. I get a shiny new carrier to add to my collection at home. Brrt. Brrt. The verification of purchase has come through from my bank. I get home and fling the fourth grey tee-shirt in a size XS into my wardrobe that is so full that I can’t even get to the stuff at the bottom. But, it’s okay, right? I feel good. Well, I felt good. The euphoria lasted all of ten seconds. Instant gratification. It’s worth it right? 

Does any of this sound familiar to you? It certainly sounds familiar to me. However, that’s not me anymore.

Over the past year or so, I’ve been doing more and more research into fast fashion and the implications thereof. A disclaimer before I start: I certainly don’t sport a wardrobe comprised only of ethical brands. There’s more to an ethical closet than just that.

The fashion industry has grown exponentially in my lifetime alone. There are constantly new retail stores popping up with brightly-coloured signage, luring you in, trying to get you to spend your money and in return, you’ll get another piece of low-quality clothing that you don’t need or want.

But there’s more to the clothes you wear than just the shiny, polished rack they hang on in the store before you buy it. There’s a lot more. Have you ever thought about where they come from? The hands that touched the cloth you wear on your skin? The hands that slaved away to sew up the garments that hang on the rails of high-end stores? Are those hands happy? Do those people earn enough to live? Workers in sweatshops of some of the most highly coveted brands in the world are slaving away daily, with minimal breaks, if any, to produce the clothing we purchase, without giving it second thought. To give an example, since 2010, 8000 workers in an H&M sweatshop have collapsed from malnutrition, and the heat inside the factories, to name a few.* Most of these workers were earning less than minimum wage.

Due to the meteoric growth of the fashion industry, major brands can’t keep up with demand, without compromising on quality and ethics. Now, if you’re anything like me, the whole situation makes me feel terribly guilty, very helpless, and a bit stuck. What do I wear? Ethical brands can cost a small fortune (understandably so; they pay their workers decently), and being a teenager, with an unstable body shape, I’m constantly outgrowing clothes, and can’t be spending too much.

We end up having to buy fast fashion for lack of anything else. Understanding that there is a backstory to the clothes you wear is a good place to start. Educate yourself. Do research to see which brands have the most healthy factories and pay their employees above minimum wage and shop there instead. First prize would be to shop ethical brands, but that can be costly, and is unattainable for many. Be practical, and be educated.

One way I try to be more conscious is by doing a price comparison before I buy an item of clothing. I check how much it costs at a fast fashion retail store, and how much it costs at a local, ethical brand. If the latter is the same, or less (sometimes it is!), I choose to buy the ethical brand.

By educating yourself about fast fashion and the industry, you can make smarter choices, and end up with a little more peace of mind. There are some great resources that have amazing articles and resources. One of them is Fashion Revolution, an incredible organization that is changing the way we see fashion.

Its a process and a journey. It takes time, and it takes reading and learning. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re curious about the working conditions of the employees of a factory making the clothes you wear, ask! I tweet brands all the time!

“Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone somewhere, is paying.” – Lucy Siegle 

Nabeela x

{*Source: The Sun } 

Minimal Musings 

Over the past year or so, I’ve found myself delving deeper and deeper into minimalism, and the slow living movement. Being a visual person, and an ‘aesthete’, I was first drawn to minimalism because of its pleasing aesthetic. However, as I started reading up a bit more, I’ve come to learn that minimalism is much more than just an aesthetic. It’s a way to live. It’s not about living with less, but simply living with what adds value to your life. 

 I realize now that I’ve always been a minimalist. It just has a name now. Over the last year, I’ve cleared my closet out completely, brought in items I love, and gotten rid of items that I had hung onto just because I feel guilt. I donated them so that other people could find value in them. 

I cleared out all my cupboards and threw things out like a crazy person. Often, it took me a few purge sessions to throw certain things away, but in the end, the things that needed to go did. Just the other day, I finally tackled that pesky junk shelf and managed to produce an entire recycling bag full of things to be tossed and a bag of things to donate. 

Why am I so hooked on minimalism, you ask? It’s the lightness that comes with it. My room feels even bigger and I feel calm and at peace in my space. I truly feel as if I have a sanctuary that allows me to zone out of the world. I often get told that my room has a calm aura, and I strongly believe that it’s because it isn’t being filled with material clutter.

There are people out there who have radical notions about minimalism. Don’t be fooled. You don’t have to sell all your things and move to the wilderness, and you definitely don’t need to only own black and white things. 

You don’t have to call yourself a minimalist to benefit from a simpler and more intentional way of living. By introducing some more minimalistic habits into your life, it may help you to feel lighter and clearer. 

Nabeela x 

Iced Coffee Things

I don’t drink hot beverages. They make me feel yucky and after many times of thinking I’ll just try it one more time (which ended in me feeling sick. Every time), I decided once and for all that hot drinks are just not my cup of tea (no pun intended. Alright, fine. Pun intended). On school camps in primary school, I was the only kid who didn’t want hot chocolate and marshmallows. I don’t drink tea (which apparently makes me a very strange Indian), and I don’t like coffee (well, hot coffee. Why would I be writing this if I didn’t like coffee?)

After many years of drinking juice at and restaurants when our family went out for afternoon tea (read: everyone drinks tea – except me), I decided it was time to venture out of beverage-comfort zone and try something a tad more sophisticated than fruit juice. Enter iced-coffee (please, please, please not to be confused with coffee milkshake). I was pleasantly surprised when I had an iced-latte for the first time. It was the perfect thing for me – the taste of coffee, but in its icier form. (Side-note: anyone else feel their hearts sink when coffee shops and cafés don’t do iced versions of coffee? 21st century, people!)

A few years and many iced lattes later, and I still love them. I’ve had all kinds from different little cafés and restaurants around the city, and so, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite spots to grab a really good iced-coffee. (Iced coffees take many names: iced frappes, frosted lattes, iced lattes…)

  1. Vida e Caffe
  2. Yours Truly
  3. Seattle Coffee Co
  4. Lavazza Coffee Co
  5. Woolworths Café

After many attempts to make my own, I’ve also finally found a recipe that I can make at home and I LOVE it. The perfect start to any day.

So there goes my little ramble about iced coffee (which may or may not have been fueled by caffeine. Iced caffeine).

What are your favourite coffee spots?

Nabeela x

Celebrate / Little Victories

Hello

Over the past two years or so, Miss Artsy-Crafty has grown beyond what I could’ve dreamed. I’ve been so inspired by the opportunities I’ve had, the people I’ve met and the things I’ve learnt along the way. This blog has grown to be a place where I share everything I find beautiful, meaningful and interesting with the world and I’m so grateful to have to space to do this!

It’s been an exciting time, with the launch of Miss Artsy-Crafty Cards coming up, and reaching 1000 followers on Instagram, so I thought I’d celebrate by giving away a few lovely things from some of my favourite South African brands.

MEET THE MAKERS

 Apostrophe Bath and Body

Apostrophe Bath and Body is a brand created by Katherine, in Durban. She makes beautiful cold-pressed soaps that are vegan and smell heavenly and are sure to make your skin feel like new.

Studio Melissa Louise

Amongst other things, Melissa-Louise creates amazing scented soy vegan candles right here in Cape Town. She also writes blog that always has such inspiring content and does creative consultations.

Hallo Jane

Jaynie of Hallo Jane creates beautiful pieces that make life a little more interesting. Her products range from jewellery to home décor as well as other things.

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I asked each maker a few questions about hustling, creative inspiration and business. Here’s what they had to say:

1. What’s the most fulfilling part about being an entrepreneur?

Kath: “The most fulfilling part about being an entrepreneur is probably the freedom. It is so exciting to wake up each day and be able to work on my own goals for the brand and feel truly invested in something. Apostrophe feels like an extension of myself which is so fulfilling and drives me in an unbelievable way, if the brand succeeds I succeed so that is very exciting.”

Melissa: “It is incredibly fulfilling to see people enjoying a product that you conceptualized and hand crafted!”

Jaynie: “Choosing my own path and making the rules as I go. Love being creative everyday and being able to express myself and my passions on a daily basis.”

2. How do you keep hustling and stay inspired?

Kath: “The nice thing about soap making is that I have a formula and recipe that I repeat over and over, however each batch ends up unique, I also get to be creative with scents and colours. I then don’t feel too much pressure to always be churning out the next exciting thing because finding out what each batch will be like is exciting enough. I am also then able to take my time and create new bars when I am truly inspired. This usually stems from the scent that I want to use, I then think of its qualities and try and create a bar that ‘looks like it smells’ if that make sense? I do however make a huge amount of soap every day, even on weekends, and although it is something I enjoy I always have to be careful that it doesn’t become a chore, I do this by making sure I still have time to create once – off spur of the moment bars when I am feeling spontaneous and creative.”

Melissa:  “Set mini milestones for yourself, celebrating and making a fuss of the small victories keeps me motivated to reach the ‘bigger’ ones… Staying inspired is easy, we live in a beautiful city, have an online world at our finger tips and are surrounded by friends and family who are truly inspiring!”

Jaynie: “I loose focus easily. So I try to set short term goals every chance I get. New project and the challenges that comes with them inspire me the most. Lots of tea and late nights. Being your own boss is not as glamorous as everyone thinks but it sure is rewarding in many ways. Makers know, we don’t work 9 to 5 and chill as soon as we get home. We work till the work is done. And that’s never… Lol!”

3. What do you find most challenging about the online market place?

Kath: “The main challenge with the online market place for me has been my lack of technological skills,  haha, although I used Instagram and Facebook before Apostrophe, I definitely didn’t use it as much, so marketing on social media has been quite a new experience for me. I have really enjoyed it though, because I cannot believe the amount of creatives in this country, Instagram has really opened my eyes and also allowed me to meet all of these amazing creatives that are doing the most amazing things! I feel like every time I open my Instagram I am flooded with inspiration by local creatives, which is awesome. Another challenge has definitely been managing a website, with my aforementioned technological skills it has been quite a learning curve. I have however been lucky enough to be assisted by Shopstar who are always an email away when I have any issues.”

Melissa: “Generating traffic to your store, marketing and setting yourself apart, all of these things are closely linked. Marketing without a budget to do so can be tough, but social media is a great tool and it’s free, by having a good social media presence displaying your processes and what makes your product unique will set you apart from your competitors, by doing all this you will also be generating traffic to your store.”

Jaynie: “Getting everything off the ground at 1st was a challenge. But as soon as you get your target market that can relate to the brand and fall in love with your products, it becomes a beautiful place.

I (like many others) am very bad at admin and paperwork. That was always my most challenging part of the online business. Emails and admin. But luckily I have Carla now who has recently been promoted to online shop manager. And she is amazing. I get to focus on my strong points now and she one hers.

Advise for anyone doing online. I know it’s in our blood as creatives to try do everything yourself. But don’t do it. You will burn out eventually. Get assistance where you need it most. That way you can spend more time on growing your business and keeping it current and fresh.  You will see and feel the amazing difference.

We are so blessed to live in a world that allows you to run your business from an online platform. That is something that I think that changed the whole game for creative people. And the possibilities that lay in it inspire others to take the creative path rather than the once society use to tell us to take.”

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I hope these makers have inspired you to keep on hustling and to nurture your creative soul.

Watch out for the launch of the card range soon!

Nabeela x