I’m selling off excess product in my store. 50+% off many items and, for my lovely readers on social media and the blog, you can buy 5 cards for $5, which is, really $1 a card. Just contact me on Etsy and we’ll figure it all out together.

Tomorrow I’m going to be talking about why I’m putting everything on sale and explain some of the changes that are going to be happening around here.

I am excited to have signed up with Society6 to show off my designs and art. I love that I can see what they’ll look like in real life on real things. Envisioning what it’ll look like has always been one of the hardest things for me to do.

Seeing these items in the shop makes me really smile-y. Seeing people want to purchase them makes me even smiley-er (is that even a word?).

I hope that you sign up and follow my designs. I am so excited by this!

There are all kinds of reasons for blogging. I’m sure that a quick web search on why should I blog would come up with a whole heap of information.

Still, I have had to explain why I write my thoughts online to say many people. Family and friends don’t always understand the desire I have to write articles and share photographs. Sometimes, I don’t fully understand it either.

I was writing my ‘About’ section this past weekend and I realised that I just couldn’t really explain why I write this blog, or why I felt compelled to start blogging in 2005 (!) through MSN. Over the years, I have had a wide span of blogs, some public, some anonymous. I’ve dabbled in different subjects and reasons. I have learned a lot about what to put online, what not to put online and how to manage my own expectations when it comes to blogging.

So, yesterday, I sat down and wrote out my reasons for wanting to blog.

Blogging provides an outlet

There are many beneficial purposes to blogging. For me, The Lemon Hive provides a space for me to be creative, to share images, art work and design. It allows me to practice and share my skills, connect with like minded people and write. Writing used to be really important to me and I stopped doing it. Now it provides a cathartic outlet for me to type out my feelings, experiences and document my life.

Staying connected through my blog

I wanted to stay in touch with people, to share information with the people in my life. That is why I first started blogging in 2005. In 2010, things got real! I started to look toward moving to Canada, far away from all the relationships I’d built up over a lifetime. Leaving England meant that I would miss an incredible number of awesome people but that it would be increasingly difficult to keep them all updated on my doings as I acclimatised to a new culture.

When we moved to Ontario, I also wanted a way to stay in touch with my Albertan friends, to keep them informed of where I was in the world and what I was doing. It’s the little things that keep relationships strong. I love that my friends and family read this because it means that when we do talk, I get to listen to their stories, we save time and I’m not constantly repeating myself. It makes for much better and improved conversations. Streamlined, ya might say.

Blogging helps my creativity to grow

I used to love writing, drawing, painting and using computers but one day, I just stopped. In 2010, I decided to try being creative again. I started reassessing my skills with technology and started considering my photography as  a real hobby and my desire to learn web design as more than a passing fad. The progress was slow. Finally, I found my rhythm in 2013 and I needed somewhere to share it. It provided a way of documenting all the little things that I do and The Lemon Hive was born from that.

The Lemon Hive helps me to stay positive

I am a pro at hearing other peoples’ stories and seeing the positives hidden within them. I am so proud of my friends and family members who achieve goals and great dreams. However, I’m also brilliant at not applying my own advice and being unable to see the silver linings in the dark parts of my own story. I am a mastermind at looking at other peoples’ lives and seeing only to how brilliant they are in comparison to my own. Blogging has allowed me to document my life in a way that I had never done before. It holds me accountable. I have to share the positive moments, the accomplishments the battles I have fought and in doing that I create my own record of my life, which is equally vibrant and rich.

Life is so quick to become a chore, to become tired. Documenting my story allows me the opportunity to rewrite it, to see those chores and daily bores in a different light, and to reminisce about the small things that make life so bloomin’ fantastic.

Blogging allows me to document my growth

I already said that blogging allows me to grow creatively, but I failed to mention that The Lemon Hives mere existence means that I compare one year to the next. Every time I post something I am left feeling a little more confident in my ability to be creative. Confidence is key and that key is found, partly, through my ability to share and receive feedback.

It can be difficult to maintain a consistent attitude toward blogging, especially when it can seem embarrassing or awkward to have one. I mean, what’s the point of pouring yourself into it?

It can be scary pouring yourself into something because when you do that you risk failing. This is why I find it important that you pour yourself into something with reasons that encourage your growth. That way, even if it doesn’t work out you finish it off and you still win!

Why do you keep a blog? What are your reasons?

I have added some new items to my Etsy shop. There are three hand paint plant pots on the site. If you use the code ‘HPPTLH15’ you can receive 15% off any purchase in store. The code is valid until Sunday, 5th October 2014.

What do you think of these pretty little things?

A while ago, I posted a picture of a hand painted planter to my Instagram/Facebook and the feedback I received was amazing. I had been thinking about trying something new, doing new things and moving away from card making. One day, The Canadian came in from the shed declaring that he was throwing out some plant pots because they were too grungy, knowing that I am of a ‘waste not want not’ mentality, he asked if I had any ideas for them before they found their way to bin. Not one to turn down an opportunity to think outside the box, I grabbed them and got to work.

People have always commented on and ‘liked’ my work when I’ve shared it but this was different. All of a sudden, people who had previously been ambivalent about purchasing my art were now expressing interest in purchasing it.

I enjoyed the painting I had done on the large pot but it was a 10 hour investment and, at that moment, it wasn’t a viable option for selling.

I took some time, purchased little plant pots to paint, researched how to seal the paint on the pot and got to work.

I absolutely love the finished planters and I wasn’t sure about selling them because I adored them. The Canadian eventually persuaded me to sell them, so out came the camera and on came the click-click-click.

A few people have said that they’d love these plant pots but they’re not really into the idea of ‘planting’ things. These pots would be great for little succulents but they’re also good for:

  • hair slides, ties and clips
  • loose change and coins (thank you @dnam for that!)
  • nail polish, nail files, orange sticks
  • pens, crayons, colouring pencils (if, like me, you like having little pots of pens around the house)
  • little cat toys
  • jewellery
  • all manner of things!

Do you have any other ideas?

All these pots are available on sale now at The Lemon Hive Etsy Shop.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a day job, whereby I usually end up doing all kinds of fun and creative things with some really lovely people. My background is in mental health and I’ve recently found myself working in the developmental services field. It was shocking to discover that there weren’t a lot of creative and hobby building workshops on offer that catered to those with developmental diagnoses. I spoke with my supervisor about this and we decided to try and set some up for the local area. I’m hoping that it’ll be really successful and, although I am not going to use this space to talk about my job in depth or discuss what I do there, I did want to share this little something with you.

As I am incredibly passionate about what I do and the workshops I am creating, I took time out of my personal life and made this poster for one of the courses I’ve created.

I don’t often create posters or informational products, so it was definitely new. Being new to this, it was tricky to know where to start and I didn’t have a clue! So, I decided to approach it with the same methods I use to create cards and postcards; I sketched it out. And, when I say sketched, I mean I used a Sharpie marker because sketching with anything else would have had me all details and no overall concept. As The Canadian has often said “it’s not that you can’t see the forest for the trees, it’s that you can’t see the trees because of the leaves”.

In the end, I didn’t really like the sketched effect for everything but I did want to incorporate some hand drawing into the poster. I scanned in some sketches and I mixed it in with some good ole paint, some of my old photographs, and some fun text. I actually like the overall image. It took me half a day to do it up because I went in lots of different directions initially but I had fun doing it and that’s what counts.

If you click on the image below you’ll be able to see a bigger version. Let me know what you think. How would you improve this?

A few months ago, I came up with the brilliant idea that I should paint my walls in the style of Alisa Burke, the woman that is, to me, the definition of artistic bravery. Hand painted walls have always appealed to me. Ask my parents, they were rather perplexed when I used water paints to draw what was (in hindsight) a rather dreadful flower on my bright yellow bedroom wall. I loved it at the time, my dad did not when, years later, he had to do use three to four coats to cover it up.

As I’ve mentioned before, I like to do trial runs aka I am not as brave as Alisa Burke. If I’m honest, I’m not convinced I’m ever going to get around to completing this project. I hope I do! In the meantime, it was a useful motivational tool to get me to practice drawing flowers.

This one (the long picture above) was drawn on the back of a cereal box (I am nothing if not resourceful!). I used permanent marker simply because it was on hand. I also had to do it in stages because, actually, those fumes are lethal!

 This one I did with paints as I spoke to The Canadian about his day. This one is on the back of a pizza box. I didn’t enjoy how it soaked up the paint colours but I did enjoy how messy it was.

 I have been on such a recycling kick at the moment too! My friend bought be a gift in a pretty orange paper bag and now that paper bag has a painting of flowers on it. I discovered pretty quickly that I should draw more than I think I’ll need because once you fill in the background the foreground quickly becomes sparse.

 This final one was never completed. I got tired of breathing in sharpie marker fumes. It’s amusing to me how quickly I jump from one medium to another. One week it’s paint, the next it’s sharpies. Oh, my flighty mind!

After all of this I got a little brave and painted directly on the basement wall…I was really into it as well until I realised there was a grumpy spider watching me. That quickly put an end to any big aspirations I had.

Would you ever consider painting directly onto a wall? With the price of wallpapers it seems to be the only affordable option to having pretty walls.

 At the day job, a colleague of mine is going be starting a little family shortly. It’s likely that it’ll happen before this is even published.

A baby shower was thrown and donations were collected. We are, as always, a little strapped for cash, so I thought about the best way to donate in a meaningful way. In the end, I settled for designing a little congratulations card for my colleague. They don’t know the sex of the baby so I kept it as neutral as possible.

I sketched it out with my micron pens (of course!), cleaned it up on the computer, created vectors and then used photoshop to colour it in.

I love the colours and the end result.

At first, I  wasn’t sure whether it was ‘too messy’ to be considered anything other than a doodle but cleaning it up and smoothing out the lines really made a big difference. I think it looks a lot better than it initially did.

I’m still not sure about the final colour choices. Would you have chosen a different colour palette?

I did a whole degree in Psychology. I did lots of postgraduate hours discussing the ins and outs of mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression. I clocked up some clinical hours and then moved abroad and spent more time working with people who had a whole host of more intense illnesses and more varied manifestations.

Since I can remember, I have always wanted to know more about the brain, how it works and why it can help or hinder entire lives and livelihoods.

As most people are aware, mental illness has been in the news a lot recently. I didn’t want to talk about Robin Williams at all. It’s not that I have nothing to say or that I am not saddened by the news of his passing and the distressing experiences that led to him ending his life. My reluctance came from the fact that I had nothing that I wanted to share publicly.

There have been many people who have written excellent posts on depression and their experiences with the dementors of their minds.

I didn’t want to write much. After hearing so many peoples’ experiences though, I did want to illustrate how isolating and dark depression (and anxiety) can be (if you click on it you can view a close up image).

If you want to read more about depression, anxiety and stress, I recommend this website. I also recommend these leaflets and talking to your family doctor. There is nothing as good as medical guidance from a trusted professional. Fact!