Monday, 13 November 2017

Artline Monday - World Kindness Day

Today is World Kindness Day, how lovely is that?  It is a special day dedicated to celebrating and committing acts of kindness so I thought it would be nice to join in and spread a little love around too. 

I have a friend who is a real sweetheart, she is the nicest, kindest person and I haven't spoken to her in a little while as we have both been busy.  I thought today would be the perfect time to reconnect with her so I have made her a card to say thank you for being such a good friend.


Kraft cards, watercolour papers & Artline pens

I started by covering the kraft card with some pretty paper and taping down the edges with washi tape to give it a nice finish.

Clean edges

Then I used one of my Artline Stix brush markers for the quote, I love how these pens write!

Artline Stix brush marker

I glued my quote onto the card but then decided I wasn't happy with how the word "is" had turned out so I covered it up using some paper hearts and changed what I was going to write on the card.  I used Artline 200 fineliners for the text and now it reads "Friends make life beautiful, thank you". 

The finished card

I have already popped this card into the post so I am hoping it will arrive today *fingers crossed* and be a nice surprise!

Will you be doing something to celebrate World Kindness Day?  


Monday, 6 November 2017

Artline Monday - Rock painting

For as long as I can remember my children have collected rocks and pebbles when we have been on holiday or days out.  They bring them home and then they get left dotted around their room or on their windowsills, gathering dust and being forgotten about until I try to move them outside!  To be honest my eldest two aren't too fussed about their collection anymore but my six year old still guards it dearly from me in case I try to cast them out into the cold, wet garden so when I came across the idea of rock painting I thought it would be fun to try and would put their collection to good use.

I was only allowed to take eight stones to paint, that was the deal with my youngest and she got to pick which ones I could have.  


Supplies

If you want to give it a go yourself you will need some rocks or pebbles, paints (I used watercolours mixed thickly and some Artline poster markers) and for writing on the rocks or adding details these Artline 853 Overhead Projection Markers.  

The 853 markers have been declared the best for rock painting by a group in New Zealand according to this blog post as the ink doesn't blur when writing on paint and it doesn't fade over time.

Painted pebble and Artline 853 OHP markers

We started by painting the rocks different colours.  You need to use the lightest colours first and then the darker shades afterwards.  For the stone above I used orange, red and brown paint as I was trying to make it look like the colour of an autumn leaf.



Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile!

Once the paint is 100% dry you can write or draw on top of it using the 853 markers.  As I went with autumn colours on my rock I doodled some leaves and added an autumn quote to go with it.  It says "Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile!" which I think is really nice.


Hello sunshine and Just keep swimming

The yellow pebble was painted with an Artline low corrosion paint marker which has given it a lovely shiny finish.  The yellow was so sunny and bright I just had to write "Hello sunshine" on it!



Finished rock

My six year old is a fan of Finding Nemo and Dory so she painted her rock with sea green shades, I drew her a fish and wrote "Just keep swimming" on it.  We added some air bubbles using a silver Artline 900XF pen and coloured in the fish using blue and green 853 markers.  We wanted it to stand out a bit more though so I used my Artline 444XF paint marker in white to brighten it up.

Be kind

My eldest daughter used a blue poster marker to paint this stone and when it was dry I wrote "Be kind" on it for her and she added some polka dots and hearts to it using a 0.8mm tipped gold metallic pen. 

Love

This was our simplest design, my eldest daughter thought the pebble was shaped like a heart so she drew one on it and coloured it in using the red 853 marker.  I wrote "Love" for her underneath the heart and then it was finished!


Sweet strawberry rock

This was our first time rock painting and there was some trial and error involved in it.  I painted this little stone pink using a poster marker but I didn't wait for it to dry properly so when I tried to write on it with the 853 marker it didn't work.  I set the stone aside for an extra hour and when it was 100% dry the paint was much easier to write on!

The largest rock my six year old gave me had a kind of wave pattern running through it so I used this to paint a sea scene.  I left some of the rock showing to create a cliff and painted the sea and sky around it. Once the blues were dry I added white clouds and waves and when they dried I used my blue and brown 853 markers to add some details to the cliff face and the sea.  It's not the best seascape I've ever painted but I am new to working on rocks and might need some more practise!

Our rocks and the Artline 853 markers

The very last step you need to do when your rocks are dry is to coat them with clear varnish or nail polish.  This will seal your works of art and protect them from the elements if you want to put them outside.

I have heard of a few groups around the world who paint rocks and then leave them for people to find like a little surprise gift.  I think that is such a sweet idea!  How nice would it be to find a pebble with a picture or message on it when you are walking through a park or shopping in town?  I would love to leave these rocks somewhere for people to find but they are going back into the bedroom now to take pride of place on the windowsill.  Maybe I need to find my own stones and make some more to hide in my home town!

My girls have asked me if we can paint some more of their collect next weekend so I guess this craft was a big hit!  Will you be giving it a go?


Monday, 30 October 2017

Artline Monday - Halloween creepy candle jars

So tomorrow is Halloween and we have carved our pumpkins and got our costumes ready but there is still time to do one more quick craft!  


Creepy candle jars

These creepy candle jars are really easy to make and they are a fun way to pass some time on All Hallows' Eve Eve!  You will need some glass jars, candles or tealights and pens that will write on glass.  I used these Artline 900XF metallic pens and Supreme markers.  The decorative washi tapes are an optional extra.

Artline pens, glass jars & washi tape

I removed the labels from my jars and some of them came off easier than others.  You need a nice, dry, clean surface to work on and the smallest jar I had was covered in a sticky residue which would not wash off.  I decided the best thing to do was to wrap the whole jar in washi tape and then use a permanent marker to draw a spooky face on it.  If you find yourself in a similar situation but you don't have any washi tape then you could cover the jar with masking tape instead.  I think that could make a great mummy style jar with the masking tape looking like bandages!

Washi tape covered up the hard to remove glue

For the jars that were glue free we went a little crazy decorating the glass with Halloween themed drawings.  I drew a cute little witch's cat with stars, my eldest daughter drew a pumpkin and storm clouds with bolts of lighting and my youngest really went to town covering her jar in moons and stars and a lot of tape.  

As well as the pens I mentioned above we also found that our paint, chalk and poster markers worked well on the glass!  The only thing you need to remember is to let each colour or section dry before you do more so the inks don't smudge.

My witch's cat

I have a couple of glassboard markers that I haven't used before and luckily they happen to be orange and green which is perfect for Halloween.  These pens can write on glass but they are easy to remove with a damp cloth so I tried them out on my glass candle holder.  The colours are really vibrate and they look fab when the candle is lit behind them.

You could also use these pens to decorate your windows or mirrors for Halloween if you are feeling artistic!

Happy Halloween!

Here are our creations with the candles burning inside them, my girls loved making them!

Waiting for it to get dark

Spooky!

Happy Halloween, I hope you have a spooktacular day!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Planner Friday - October

It's Planner Friday again over on the Trendy Twine blog and this month I am talking about when the universe plots against you.  Please pop over and say hi!

Hello!  I'm Amanda from She's Eclectic and I am a self confessed planner gal.  I live for lists, I get over excited by organisers and I am persistently punctual!  I use my planner to organise my life and I fill it with to do lists, reminders, plans and ideas and this usually keeps everything ticking along nicely.... but sometimes things just go wrong!



Photo of my week

Last week is a perfect example.  I had everything in my planner, I knew what I needed to do, where I needed to be and when I needed to be there but the universe had other ideas!  First of all the dental appointment I had been worrying about was rescheduled at the last minute (I was just setting off when I got the call!) and then my internet connection disappeared for 48 hours leaving me constantly checking my mobile for updates on the repair work and crossing my fingers that my data allowance would see me through until my broadband was back.  It's not that I'm addicted to being online, no scratch that, I totally am but it also messed up my blogging schedule! So overall it wasn't a fun week but at least I could release some of my angst with a few of my APB stamp sets.





Used but not pictured: Trendy Page Dots
Title It planner stamp set
Coffee & Plan gold paper clips


I hate leaving things on my to do lists unchecked but using stamps from the Screaming InternallyNo Adulting and Not Happening sets meant I could leave myself little snarky notes about my days or why I hadn't completed things.  When I look back as these pages now I won't be annoyed that things got away from me I will probably have a giggle instead.  

You can read the rest of my post here.

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, 23 October 2017

Artline Monday - Halloween

Halloween is one of my favourite holidays!  I love all the spooky fun and games and dressing up!  It usually falls right around the half term school break too so I get to spend some extra time at home with my children.  

One tradition we do every year is carving pumpkins together.  I have so many photos of us all elbow deep in pumpkin guts and laughing or being grossed out while we make jack o'lanterns and as well as creating some brilliant looking pumpkins we've also made some really fun memories.

Last year's efforts
L-R eldest daughter's, son's, youngest daughter's

We all have our own way of making our pumpkins, my eldest daughter likes to carve a face freestyle and keeps working until she is happy with it.  My son draws his design on the pumpkin first with a marker pen and then cuts it out.  Last year he did a dinosaur and I think it turned out great!  My youngest daughter lets me draw her a design first and then I help her cut it out, we made the cat pumpkin together last year.

This year she wanted to make a scary lantern so I drew her a face and coloured in the areas she needed to cut out.  I used a yellow paint marker as it was easy for her to see but wasn't so bright that it would stand out if she missed cutting out any bits of it.  We had cut off the top and scooped out the inside before I drew the face so I just gave it a quick wipe with a cloth to dry off the skin and then the pen worked well on such an odd surface.



Pumpkin prep

Jack o'lantern in progress

Scary face

As the paint marker worked so well I thought I would try decorating some pumpkins with a few more Artline markers. 

Pumpkins and Artline pens

I tested some out on the back of one of the pumpkins and these are the pens that showed up best against the orange skin:

  • Artline 70 high performance permanent marker
  • Artline 900XF silver and gold metallic markers
  • Artline erasable chalk marker
  • Artline 444XF paint marker
  • Artline poster markers

All of these pens gave me good coverage and dried easily without smudging.  Once the inks were dry I tried rubbing my finger over them but they all stayed in place.  They also stood up against pumpkin juice so overall I think they are ideal to decorate your pumpkins with.  


We decided we wanted to make a cute pumpkin with the markers so we looked on Pinterest for inspiration and found some sweet doughnut designs.  I used a bright pink Artline poster marker to paint some icing on the top and when it was dry we added some sprinkles using chalk, paint and poster markers. 


Pumpkin spiced doughnut 

For our last pumpkin we wanted it to be another jack o'lantern but with some decoration too.   I drew a haunted house using my Artline 70 marker and added stripes to any sections that needed to be carved out.  Then I painted the house using my blue poster marker and waited for it to dry.

Haunted house

The next step was to cut out the marked sections (I had already taken the top off and scooped out the inside) and then I added some stars to the sky using my Artline 900XF metallic markers.


Finished pumpkins

All ready for Halloween!

I'm really happy with how they turned out!  We've never drawn or painted on our pumpkins before but I love how colourful they are and they look great during the day too instead of just at night when they are lit.

How do you make your lanterns?  Traditional carving or do you add a splash of colour too?


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Japan Candy Box review and giveaway

Every time Japan Candy Box offer me one of their boxes to review I always say yes!  There are two reasons for this, firstly everyone in our house likes to try new things and my son really loves Japanese food.  Secondly they always offer a second goody box for me to giveaway to one of you!  


Japan Candy Box

If you haven't seen my previous posts let me tell you a little about Japan Candy Box, they offer a monthly subscription service and you can choose from a one off box or a six or twelve month subscription.  In return you receive a box of ten fun and quirky candies and treats delivered straight to your door all the way from Japan!  A single box is $19.90 USD which is just under £15 depending on the exchange rate but the price of the box reduces as the length of your subscription increases.  Worldwide shipping is also free!  

Let's open this one up and show you what is inside!


Yummy treats

Everything looks so fun!

Star shaped choco biscuits

Tohato chocolate biscuits - I am told these biscuits are the favourite snack of the characters in a popular Japanese anime called Crayon Shin Chan.  They are supposed to be puffy and sweet choco corn biscuits but they taste more like cereal to me.  I think they'd be quite nice in a bowl of milk.

Peanuts

Kasugai mixed flavour green beans - There are a few different bags of this product in the boxes including roasted green beans with spices, roasted peas, peanuts and spiced peanuts My bag is regular peanuts which I like, they taste very slightly salted and I'm a fan.  

Choco bananas

Meiji choco bananas -  My children love these!  They are banana shaped chocolates with a banana flavour crisp candy shell on the outside and a nice chocolate filling.  The three of them have polished the box off and I only got to try one!

Soda flavour chewy sweets

Coris soda candy - These chewy round sweets have some fun flavours, pink lemonade, grape soda, cider, cola, ginger ale, apple cider and melon soda.  I'm not sure which colour is which flavour though and it was hard to guess.  I think the pink ones were pink lemonade and they were my favourites.

Lemon cream biscuits

Gilco cream lemon biscuit rolls -  Oh my gosh, these are very moreish!  They are little wafer tubes filled with a yummy, soft, creamy lemon filling. They remind me of Lemon Puff biscuits here in the UK but the Gilco rolls are much lighter.

Grape gummies

Bandai grape gummy - Doraemon is a cute robotic cat who travels back in time and these gummies are shaped as characters from the show.  When I opened the packet I was hit by the smell of grape, it was really strong and they tasted just as good.

Vanilla cookies

Fujiya country ma'am mini vanilla cookies - Fujiya has made these famous and cherished chocolate cookies in Japan for over 30 years, they are incredibly popular! Hidden inside is the vanilla biscuit is a soft, chewy chocolate filling which is nice but if you heat them up a little they are amazing!


Nissin coconut mini sable biscuits - These are very crunchy, sweet little coconut flavoured biscuits with a sugary coating on top.  They would go very well with a cup of tea!

Pineapple candy

Meigum cool pineapple soft candy - These are my favourite treat out of the whole box, they are delicious!  It starts off with a sour hard shell and inside is a sweet, soft and chewy pineapple centre.  I ate all of these by myself and I still want more!

Ramune chewy bar

Meigum Ramune bar - Ramune is a Japanese soda which I have never tried but I have eaten a few sweets that are Ramune flavoured like this chewy bar and I really like it!  I can't describe how it tastes because there's nothing I can compare it to over here in the UK but it is really nice and refreshing.  I think I would enjoy the drink if I ever got to try it!

Okay so this box was fantastic, I got to try lots of weird and wonderful Japanese snacks and they were all yummy!  If you would like to purchase a box for yourself then click here or if you are feeling lucky fill in the gadget below to enter the giveaway!


She's Eclectic Japan Candy Box Giveaway

Good luck everyone!


Monday, 16 October 2017

Artline Monday - Half term ideas and activities

The half term holiday is just around the corner here in the UK so I thought I would give you a few ideas to keep your children entertained while they are at home.  

We like to spend time outside either in the park, exploring or going on nature walks during the school breaks but in October the weather is usually against us so we end up spending a lot of time indoors.  This sometimes leads to cries of "I'm bored!" and "There's nothing to do!" so I have come up with some rainy day activities for when we are stuck inside.

Make your own board game

This is a fun way to pass some time, first of all making the game and then you can play it as often as you like. When it comes to thinking of an idea for the game remember to keep it simple for younger children but do ask them for their ideas because they tend to have the best imaginations!  If you are stuck for inspiration you could try to make your own version of a game that already exists like Snakes and Ladders.  

Supplies to make your game

You can use a large sheet of paper or stick two or four pieces of A4 together to create your base and then flip it over so the tape is on the bottom.  Get some pens and design your board.  Will it be squares like a checker board or will it have a winding path you need to travel along?  You will also need a dice or two, if you don't have any spare you can print out this template and make your own.  For counters you could use small toys, plastic milk bottle tops or pebbles.  I've used a few Artline poster and paint markers to write our initials on some pebbles we collected on holiday.  These are both water proof and fade proof and they really stand out against the grey stone, much more than a regular permanent marker would.

Artline poster & paint markers work on lots of surfaces

I haven't finished making our game yet as I will be doing it with my girls over half term but I will share it on Facebook when it's done!


Whiteboards are pretty useful when you have children.  You can buy small boards for a pound or less and they are the perfect size for playing with.  I have seen them in quite a few shops recently with the back to school supplies so they are easy to get a hold of and Artline have some great whiteboard markers that come in a range of different colours so you aren't stuck with just boring black!  If you own a laminator you could make your own board by laminating a sheet of white card.

Here are a couple of things we do with our boards: 

Traditional games 

Noughts and crosses and hangman are both fun to play whatever age you are!  Of course you can play them on paper too but using a whiteboard means there's no wasted paper and you can play as often as you like.  One quick swipe with the magnetic eraser and you can start again!

Noughts & crosses and Hangman

Quick draw

Who can draw the fastest?  Give the players their own whiteboards or pieces of paper and then tell them something to draw, e.g a cat, a ship, a monkey, a present or a train.  They have to draw the item as fast as they can and the winner is the person who finishes their picture first.

Quick draw

Designer

My eldest daughter wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up and my youngest wants to be just like her big sister!  This designer activity usually takes up quite a bit of time as they both love to draw and we tend to use paper for this so the girls can keep their pictures afterwards.  I give them both a character and they design an outfit for them.  For example Elsa from Frozen getting married or design Supergirl a new costume to fight crime in.  This week they designed their own Halloween costumes, we always start the spooky fun early in our house!  

Halloween costume designs

If your children aren't into fashion you could ask them to come up with an idea for an invention and get them to draw that or design their ideal bedroom or car instead.  


Hopefully these ideas will keep your little ones occupied during half term!  If you have any more games or activities to share with us please let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear them!



Monday, 9 October 2017

Artline Monday - Bullet Journal basics

Bullet journaling is, according to it's creator Ryder Carroll, an analog system for the digital age.  The idea behind it is to help you track the past, organise the present and plan for the future but a bullet journal is more than just a planner.  It can be anything you want it to be including a sketch book, to do list, notebook, diary and journal, that is the beauty of it!  It is also really easy to set one up, all you need is a notebook and some pens.

My notebook and Artline pens & highlighters

Ideally your notebook should have dotted or squared pages but if you have a lined or plain notebook sat on your shelf you can use that too. 


Index

The first page you need to create is your Index, this will be where you write the page numbers for each section of your bullet journal.  My favourite way to write headers in my journal is to print the word using a highlighter first and then write over the top of it in a smaller, cursive font, I think it looks really pretty.

There are three main sections in a bullet journal, these are the Future Log, the Monthly Log and the Daily Log.  These sections are bones of your bullet journal, anything you add after these are the meat, so-to-speak.

Future Log

Your Future log is an overview of the next six months.  You just need to split your two page spread into six equal size boxes and list the first six months you want to work with.  I have started mine in November as we are already in October. You can use these pages to plan ahead, add any birthdays, reminders and events to the corresponding month and this will give you an idea of what you will have going on.  You can add a little calendar for each month but I decided to pop some inspirational quotes on mine instead.

Monthly Log

The Monthly log is your month at a glance.  On the first page you write down the days of the month and then make a note of anything you need to do or remember.  Some of these things will already be on your Future Log so you can just transfer them across at the start of the month.  I have highlighted the weekends on this page as it helps me break down the month into weeks easily.

On the second page of this log you can get creative!  I have given myself space to list my goals, kids reminders, blog stuff and my tasks for the month but you can put anything on this page that you want to keep track of, accomplish or remember.  You can change this up every month too, if you find the page isn't working for you one month you can try something different the following month until you find your perfect system.

Daily Log

The third section is your Daily Log, this is usually a two page spread set up to plan and record your day.  I have a timeline on the first page, it starts at 6am when I get up and goes on until when I go to bed in the evening.  I use this to visualise my day so I can see what I need to do, where I need to be and at what time.  

I also have two more sections on this page, they are for the weather and a reminder of the goals I want to complete each day.  


Again, on the second page you can do what ever you want!  I divided up the page using a highlighter and the squares on my paper which is a quick and easy way to create a layout.  If you are using plain paper you could use a ruler to make your sections or draw them freehand, your bullet journal doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be useful!



Food tracking, memories, brain dump & more

My first section on this page is for me to record the food I have eaten and then the next two are for my best and worst moments of the day. 

Brain dump is where I write down things I need to remember and my Christmas countdown is just there because I'm childishly excited for the festive season!


I have a small section for my shopping list, I add anything on here that I either need to buy that day or things I am running out of and will need to buy when I do the weekly shop.


My last section is to record my mood that day, I am still doing my year in pixels as well but I wanted to keep everything together in the bullet journal instead of spreading them out over two books.


Ideas for your daily log could be:


  • A doodle a day
  • Exercise 
  • Meditation
  • Reminders
  • Reading log
  • Quote of the day

If you don't think you need a whole page or two for your Daily Log then you could create a weekly spread instead.  It is up to you to decide what would work best for you or try out a few different things and see how they feel.

Bullet journal symbols

On my Index page I also added a key for the symbols you use in the logs as part of this system.  They are a dot for tasks, a circle for events and a line for notes.  You can also use an asterisk to signify something as important.  Once you have completed a task you change the dot into an X.  Any tasks that you haven't completed need to be considered, is it something that still needs to be done and is it worth your time doing it?  If you no longer need to complete the task you can cross it through, if you decide to complete it at a later date you change the dot into a > to show you have moved it onto your Monthly Log.  If you think the task will be completed at a much later date, like in a month or two then you use this < to show it has been moved onto your Future Log.  This is called migration and it is an important way to help you manage your time and whittle down your to do lists.

So what do you think of Bullet Journalling?  Will you be giving it a go or are you already a seasoned user?