geekery, drawing and then some

Doodling in a planner

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Today turned out pretty good. My new (2010) moleskine daily planner arrived. With around 1/3 of the year still ahead of us, I decided to purchase it (with discount, haha) to try out daily or semi-daily sketching / drawing about my day.

I drew a little cartoon me on the first page and filled august 15th -- my birthday -- with a happy drawing.

For today I grabbed both pages, as I couldn't really remember what I did yesterday (not much, I suspect). We went out and bought me a new jacket, much needed since my other jackets have magically grown to large. I also bought a teapot at IKEA where we also returned some unneeded stuff from the kitchen-rebuild. Finally have a proper tea-pot now!

I chose the stainless steel with thermos properties because I like to keep my tea hot. And I don't always drink it fast enough.

I also bought a 5 way opener. I recently found one at a cooking shop and bought it for myself, since it would replace 4 items in my drawer (yes, I did get rid of those other items). I really love it, it helps a lot with opening jars and cans and such. I got one for my mother too, because she's had some trouble opening cans and such. I hope she'll like it.

New rucksack

my new rucksack

I recently purchased a new rucksack.

Yes, another one.

Some people buy shoes, or clothes, or purses, or gadgets, or games. I buy rucksacks.

Because of my RA I can't carry regular bags easily and shoulder-bags pretty much kill me. No joke, I seriously ended up at the ER once (with Christmas) because I carried one and it gave me horrible tendinitis that left me in so much pain someone had to drive me to the hospital. I easily get tendinitis in shoulders and neck, and a rucksack seems to work best in preventing it.

This one weighs less than a kilogram on its own, has its own rain-cover and it came with a separate pouch you can either hang on that loop on the inside, or attach to the waist-belt.

Bonus-points if you guess who I have hanging on it. *[RA]: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Worms (the earth kind)


Last week my new worm-bin arrived. Even though you can easily make them yourself, I decided to go for a prepared bin because I don't have that much excess energy.

I set it up according to the instructions and held a few of the worms. They haven't grown to their full size yet, I think, measuring only 5-8cm roughly (2 to 3 inches). They wriggle a lot and I fed them some cabbage and teabags.

I've only had them for a week so I don't know how it will go. I do like them though, always wanted a worm-bin as a kid. I remember this time my mother and I got up really early to look for them and to dig them up. She let me do crazy things like that ;)

I made a page about the worms with some freehand drawings and the actual bin. The bin drawing ended up a bit wonky due to the tendinitis in my neck and me shifting position. Close enough though.

Draw what you love

img img I recently read somewhere to get good at drawing you need to draw something you love.

Well, I love marmite -- on ricecakes with cheese, in soup, in sauces -- and I love maggi sauce -- in soups, in sauces, with canned artichokes (yes, I have weird eating habbits) -- I've drawn them both.

Mmm, marmite and maggi sauce. What would I do without them!

I can't tolerate wheat completely, and they make maggi sauce from wheat. Luckily for me, I can tolerate that, woohoo!

Intimate drawing

Drawing of my scar

I've never drawn my scar before.

It feels quite intimate.

I had to draw it from a photo because I don't have a large mirror in my flat.

I did it quickly, hasted even.

And now, I celebrate.

The writing says:

Scars They show our power to heal and overcome adversities. Don't hide them or feel ashamed. Celebrate.

Watercolour tips

Watercolour tips.

I bought some new watercolour paints and have played with them these past few days.

I came up with a few handy tips that have helped me to better understand and work with these colours:

Think CYMK (not RGB) RGB works for light, not paint. Also forget about that red yellow blue colourwheel you got taught in school. It has its flaws. Try making a colourwheel with cyan, yellow and magenta. Nothing wrong with black and white Some people claim that you should make your colours lighter or darker by mixing the correct pigments or amount of water. If you can do those, great! But no shame in using a black or white paint in your palette. Also, do remember that shadows generally don't look that black. You can make shadows look more natural by using a darker version of the colour you used for the rest of the object. Paint dries up lighter Watercolour paint will dry up lighter than you mixed it, usually by 15-30% Experiment with this! Try out your paints when you get new colours or paper Make a new grid with all your colours, mix them up or just splash them around. I got into the habbit of using the last page of new sketchbook to paint little blobs of each of my paints with their name and numbers listed next to it. This gives you a good insight of how the colour will look once the paint dries. Different papers give different results. And so do different brands of paint. Have fun! You should never ever forget to have fun with this. Even if things go wrong, you can learn something from it. Experiment, have fun and enjoy yourself!

Watercolour Raah!

I made Raah! in freestyle watercolour, without first drawing the outlines.

I did use my pen to draw the eyes and mouth though, I couldn't get it to work with paint. [CYMK]: Cyan Yellow Magenta Black [RGB]: Red Green Blue

Drawing in Efteling

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Yesterday I went to the Efteling, a Dutch amusement-park that I've visited often as a child. It started out with the fairy-tale forest and grew larger, with rollercoasters and fun rides. We did go into those too, and before we went I decided I wanted to draw the dragon in the fairy-tale forest. As a child, I loved and feared it.

In the afternoon, when others went into the rollercoasters I went to the forest and drew the dragon, a musical mushroom and one of the mushroom-houses. These mushroom-houses have doors through which kids can enter and look around. Some have moving parts; the one I drew had a door that opened and a little fellow looking out to see who rang the doorbell.

The dragon has a treasure chest in front of him, and if you try to take the crown, it'll growl, move his head and flap his wings. He also has smoke coming out of his nostrils and his mouth opens while he dives at you.

It moved a lot while I sat there drawing. Some people watched me draw, an entirely new experience for me since I usually try to hide and draw.

I had a great time!

Happy little drawings

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These photos of my latest drawings don't look too great. I took them with my phone; they look a bit dark and skewed. They'll have to do though, for now, until I have the energy to scan them or make better photos.

They do all look like happy little drawings, and I feel very pleased with how they turned out. I tried out a few new things, and liked it. Now that the kitchen-stress has started to subside a bit, I feel like drawing.

I did two sessions today, about half an hour each, and came up with all of this.

After I did the balloon I wanted to keep on drawing, so I ripped out the page from my pocket Moleskine watercolor with the help of the perforated edge. Before, I couldn't do it, it felt like sacrilege. This time however, I just wanted to continue drawing and the page got in the way. I tore it out, put it aside to dry and continued drawing.

Very refreshing.

High in the sky

Drawing hot air balloons.

Having the kitchen redone eats up a lot of energy, because it requires me to sort through all my stuff and get rid of what I don't need (or want) anymore.

I say require on purpose. Putting everything back without sorting will only eat up my energy more in the long run. Having stuff in the way that I don't want, don't need or can't use gets annoying. So I slowly go through it all and put the things I want and / or need in the cabinets. It works pretty well.

Today I made two drawings of hot air balloons. I used to live somewhere where they let them up several times per year. Sometimes I'd go to the field and watch it. Nowadays I live near the airport and have lots of planes flying over.

Busy times.

imgimgI've spent a few days away from my flat while my kitchen went through a demolition and a rebuilding phase. It still needs a little work. The back-wall will get tiled with hardened glass tiles (big ones, five in total.thumbnail.jpg "img img")I've spent a few days away from my flat while my kitchen went through a demolition and a rebuilding phase. It still needs a little work. The back-wall will get tiled with hardened glass tiles (big ones, five in total.jpg) and the oven will go in the unfinished cabinet on the left.

We'll also do some rearranging of the bookcase and the table. The table will go where the bookcase now stands, and vice versa.

I've used my kitchen for a few days now and it makes me very happy. The hob cleans easily, as does the rest. The drawers also work great (never again will I tolerate cabinets there).

Compared to my previous kitchen this one looks much brighter which makes it very nice to work in.

We've also installed a one-hand-mixer tap which makes it easier on my hands. It does look a lot like a regular handle, which I like.

My hands, wrist and elbows have given me issues lately, at least partly due to my (intensive) laptop use. I used to have this really awesome keyboard at work, and despite its price I decided to buy it. I see it as an investment in my body / health and I know it relieves some of my pain. Hopefully it arrives soon.

For the curious geeks among you: I bought the Kinesis Advantage USB keyboard (black, with Dvorak layout)

Finding lost things

Drawing of my leatherman micra

Today I rummaged through my rucksack looking for a bottle of vitamins I thought I bought and didn't find it -- I still don't know if I actually bought it. When I dug into one of its pockets I felt an unfamiliar cold shape and took it out.

Surprise! My leatherman micra, lost for years. I bought it at the start at my eurotrip, thinking it would come in handy. It has a pair of scissors that did proof useful for opening food packages and such. After returning home, I misplaced it for a little while and then found it shortly after I moved.

And then I misplaced it again.

Its empty cardboard box lay on my nightstand, for years, as a reminder of it. At times I googled the type, thinking of purchasing another one, but never did.

And today, I found it.

I think I'll put it on my keyring.

Making icelollies (and drawing it)

I made ice-lollies. I quit sugar last sunday (meaning, refined sugar, not the kind found naturally in fruit, veg, honey and such). The heat wave decided to test me or something.

I used my fancy ladybug shaped vegetable peeler to peel two pears, and added a banana. I blended until somewhat smooth -- ooh chunks of fruit in ice-cream! -- and then poured the mixture in the ice-lollie-shapes I had. With one left, I added some lemonade, because that always works.

And I made drawings of it.

I stepped out of my comfort zone for this, quite literally. I stood in my kitchen drawing this and found that I prefer sitting down for my drawing. Standing cramps up my other arm, the one holding the book.

But still, here you have it. Instructions on how to make fruity ice-lollies. I did add a bit of maple-syrup though I wonder if I really needed too.

And I love my new vegetable peeler! It slips right onto my fingers and I can use my whole hand to peel.

Useful planting things

I've tried out a few new things this year with my balcony / gardening to make it easier to take care of the plants.

I installed the Gardena Micro-drip System. It did cost a bunch, and one may find cheaper alternatives (I couldn't here, so I went for this), but so far so very worth it. I have most of my containers set up, only need to do the last few pots, which means I only have to hook up the garden-hose and turn it on and the plants get watered. I took care in placing the drippers and sprinklers in the right place to not waste water -- or at least, as little as possible. I water some parts manually, because that works out better.

It creates a better controlled watering -- and less waste of water -- than me hauling the big watering can around.

For even better watering I added clay pellets to the bottom of most of my containers. This works because the holes in the containers sit above these pellets. The pellets need some time to suck up the water, so this way they sit in a layer of water for an hour or so until they absorbed it all. After that, they slowly release the water, keeping the plants happy.

The heat wave we had this week didn't kill off many of my plants, which I consider proof that the system works!

For sowing I bought some of those peat pellets I've read about. I though about using them last year, however, considering their price I didn't buy them back then. This year I bought some to try and I really like them. No messing about with trying to get the poor little seedling out of the tray. The gauze around them degrades over time, although I sometimes remove it if the roots haven't grown through them yet. I've only planted a few seedlings out using these pellets and they all do well, which may or may not mean anything.

The second photo some of my mini lettuces, tiny seedlings. I have seeds for leaf lettuce and for heads of lettuce. The leafy ones I sow in a container (last picture) and for the second batch of heads I decided to try the pellets. More control over the result, I think.

I also like how I can place these little pellets in any tray I have. For the set of lettuces I only needed a small one so I recycled a little plastic tray from the store (I think it contained mushrooms or veggies). The mini greenhouse seemed a bit overkill (hello heat wave) for this purpose.

So far, I feel very pleased with the gardening results. I've harvested plenty of lettuce / leafy greens so far and have much more of that on the way. The tomatoes have started to grow by the dozen and I see bean-pods everywhere. I've had very tasty strawberries and all my herbs do well. Even the oregano that got a big blow because of the heat has started to grow again (yay!). I also have a few plants for my mother, they also look healthy. I did lose a bunch of tomato seedlings, which makes me a little sad, but seeing how I didn't have that much place left for them and they didn't look that strong and healthy, I can live with them becoming compost.