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?

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?

 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!