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Inspired by | Volume 7 – 2018: A Little Bit of Everything

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

Hi there! It’s July, it’s the 10th… And I have a new instalment of Inspired by for you!

Pinning a theme to the past month is hard. Looking at my phone photos it was part clothing and style-type things, part creating, part enjoying beautiful sunny summer days and part filling the creative well.

If you discount the endless full-length mirror selfie attempts, there is less photographic evidence than I would like there to be.

In other words: this time I really did fall off The 100 Day Project wagon. So let’s start there.

The 100 Day Project

After last month’s Inspired by post, I was determined to finish my #100daysofusingacamera. So I made an effort.

For about a week.

And then I let it peter out again.

On my Marshas100DayProject Instagram feed it looks like I’m stuck at day 61, but in reality, I probably made it to day 65. I know I have at least one video and I certainly have a couple more photos that I could add.

I think I know exactly what happened this time. When I look at my calendar, I can see that there were a couple of impromptu appointments and activities around the time that I stopped posting. Work-related stuff got postponed to the following week. So I had two weeks in which my schedule got mixed up, and I chose other things to come first.

I didn’t quit photographing altogether, but I didn’t upload anything to my laptop, and I didn’t edit right away. I simply lost track. And from there it went all downhill.

The 100 Day Project is wrapping up this week. I don’t know what I’m going to do about mine yet. I can continue (or rather: restart), I can leave it for now and maybe pick it up again in September, or I can just post the photos and videos I do have, draw my conclusions about the project and pull the plug.

What do you think I should do?

Van Gogh & Japan

Now onto the things that did inspire me to create!

I visited three museums in the last month: the National Military Museum, the Van Gogh Museum and CODA Museum.

I think the visit to the Van Gogh Museum (to which my friend Birgit invited me) was the most successful one regarding inspiration, though the other ones definitely gave me food for thought about what I like and what I don’t like in a museum.

The exhibition Birgit and I went to was ‘Van Gogh & Japan’, about Vincent’s fascination with Japan and his vast collection of Japanese woodcut prints.

I have always loved Van Gogh’s studies of Japanese prints, but I had never really thought about what it was that I liked about them.

This exhibition has helped me better understand what I love about (woodcut) prints and to pin down what it is that I personally see and love when I look at Van Gogh’s paintings.

I didn’t consciously link what I did for my latest Gelli Arts® video tutorial with this recent visit to the Van Gogh Museum, but in hindsight, it may well have been of influence!

The Stencilfied Journal

Something that is still going strong and that is super fun to participate in is The Stencilfied Journal!

From June through September fellow StencilGirl® Columnist Tina Walker is posting one prompt a week (16 in total), and we’re creating a ‘Wreck this Journal’-esque journal StencilGirl® style.

If this sounds like something you’d like too, then check Tina’s Instagram or Facebook feed, grab a notebook, and follow along with the prompts!

We’ve officially arrived at week 6 now, but I’ve yet to share my take on week 5. It still needs some finishing touches, and I will post it on Instagram later this week.

The tag is still hanging outside, but it’s now a bit hidden from view:

Online classes

Speaking of The Stencilfied Journal: working in the small journal reminded me of how much I loved working in my even slightly tinier Creative JumpStart 2018 (aff. link) journal.

It made me decide to catch up on the Creative JumpStart videos I didn’t have time for in January, and I’ve created five more little journal spreads in my passport sized Traveler’s Notebook.

In June I also started with a different kind of online course: Eerste Hulp Bij Styling (Dutch). This one is all about style and clothing, and I love it!

I’m having one epiphany after another and I immensly enjoy doing the homework and exercises.


The hot summer weather we’ve been experiencing here in the Netherlands has had an impact too.

With summer on the brain, I thought about easy summer crafts, and I came up with this little video for Carabelle Studio.

And in the last week of June, we tried to BBQ all of our dinners. Which was super fun because we discovered that BBQ-ing on weekdays is perfectly doable for us!

Crayon: An artist’s colorful guide to drawing on the go! by Monika Forsberg (aff. link)

Last month I mentioned that I ordered a couple of creative books to read over the summer. One of them is Crayon: An artist’s colorful guide to drawing on the go! from the Anywhere, Anytime Art series.

Crayons… Oil pastels, wax crayons, water-soluble crayons… I have quite a selection of them, but I always feel that I’m not using them to their full potential. So when I was browsing for creative reading material, this book jumped out at me.

What I didn’t realise at the time is that the crayons that are predominantly used in this book are Caran d’Ache Neocolor II’s.

At first, that disappointed me a little because these are precisely the crayons that I do use quite often.

But then I figured that there still must be something new I could learn about using them, and I started to do the exercises in the book.

The exercises are simple and easy to follow. You can dive deep and spent hours or even weeks practising on just one of them (which is perfect for developing your own style).

Or, you can do what I do: pick one thing from the exercise and do just one sketch/drawing to get a better feel for the material.

This does mean that I’m staying reasonably close to what Monika Forsberg is showing in her examples. But that’s OK. It’s not my intention to share my results with the world. I’m just practising!

The cool thing about Neocolor II’s is that they’re perfect for taking with you in an art-on-the-go kit and Forsberg has terrific tips in the book about how to decide what colours to bring.

I keep my Neocolor II’s in jam jars, and when I want to create in the yard, I can just grab the jars, my sketchbook, a water brush, the Crayon book and I’m good to go!

That’s a wrap!
OK, that’s it for this month’s Inspired by!

Riikka, unfortunately, has been coping with a painful hand injury. She’s only slowly trying to create again at the moment. She does have a post up for us today, and I’m curious to see what she has to share! Hop on over to Paperiliitin and please send her lots of love and well wishes!!!

Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I.

On the 10th of each month, we share what inspired us that month with you and each other.

It can be anything from a person, a film, a book, a painting, to an item, something found in nature or in the city, a colour scheme or some materials we bought or discovered.

We will also share how the source of inspiration affects our work. Consider it a window into our creative minds!

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