I was planning on retiring for a year before I actually did it. I knew that I needed some time away from people. I worked in a really crowded high school surrounded by 3000 people every single day. I was sick constantly and I never had any time or space to myself.
I wasn’t expecting that the rest of the world would be forced into isolation from everyone else. I was choosing to do it to recharge and rest. I’m a loner by nature and I’m really introverted. Although, I love to teach. Go figure.
I’ve been using my time to practice new skills that I’ve been craving time for. I’ve been reading relaxing books. I read the Broken Earth Trilogy by NK Jemisin. I absolutely loved the books. I devoured them in just a couple of weeks while sitting on my porch in the Florida sunshine. It was awesome!
I’ve reconnected with embroidery. I used to cross stitch before my kids were born. Now I’m doing embroidery in front of the TV. It is totally the perfect excuse to sit in front of the TV all day and binge watch something relaxing. Your stitching and it feels like a constructive thing to do. I’m making pillow cases so somebody is getting a nice set of love bird pillow cases for Christmas this year.
I’ve also started to crochet. I bought the block-a-month kit from Annie’s Craft Club and you learn 3 blocks each month. They have video instruction and they have LEFTY videos! I am so thrilled. So far none of the squares I’ve made have turned out the same size, but I’m enjoying it. I’ve made a few potholders. I’m pretty sure the afghan I’m supposed to be making isn’t going to work out, but I’m learning 30 different stitches.
I’ve always wanted to learn bouncy lettering. My sister gave me a Kelly Creates set of supplies a couple of years ago and I’m finally using it every single day to practice my lettering. I found LEFTY videos that really are helping! It’s on YouTube and it’s called Letter Like a Lefty. Kelly Creates has a free class on scrapbook.com as well. It is worth checking out as well.
The past couple of days, I’ve been really focused on Copic coloring. I’ve been working my way through Mindy Baxter’s classes from My Creative Scoop. I just love them. She makes short videos for each part of the image and then she teaches you how to make a fabulous background freehand. I feel so talented every time I finish a project. I have two to share today.
Sorry for the lighting on this one. I clicked the wrong button on my picture cropper. How cute is this little gnome?
I colored her twice just to practice. Isn’t that background with the stone path fabulous?
You can see that the digital image is just the gnome holding the flower. Mindy walked me through creating all the other details. I learned so much doing this project. I feel pretty comfortable with these gnomes, fairies, and cute critters. She always does a different background and I’m now very comfortable creating all kinds of backgrounds around the characters.
I’m also loving using digital images. They take up no space in my craft room! I just resize them, lighten them, and print them on my inkjet printer using card stock or Bristol paper. (Or watercolor paper if I’m watercoloring the image.)
The classes vary in price from $15 to her $64 skin and hair coloring class. You purchase the digital images separately for just a couple of dollars. This one came from Paper Nest Dolls. I love that you can select what you want to color or paint and then you download it as soon as you pay for it. Instant gratification!
I’ve been taking her classes for a while and I can see how much I have improved. It’s fun to finish a project and I am bravely working on projects of my own without video instruction. I have to say that once I look at one image, I usually end up with a couple of others in my cart! Shameless!
After I finished the little gnome, I browsed to see what was new in Mindy’s class offerings and she had this Mother’s Day class to create the flowers. The digital image comes from Kit and Clowder (who also have amazing classes).
I spent all afternoon and evening working my way through this and I love how it turned out. I ordered a frame for it and I should be able to get the frame in the mail in time to get this mailed out to my mother for Mother’s Day.
I think she’s really going to like this. I watercolored a cardinal for her for her birthday and framed it. (She loves cardinals.) I was excited by how much she liked the painting. Her father was a watercolorist and he had painted a bluejay that she has in her house. She was surprised when she put them together that we had both painted the birds on a branch. It gave her a nice set for her wall!
Plus…if your Mom doesn’t think your work is worth hanging, who will?!
I have the quilts that Mom has made all over my house! I think I have one in every room!! I used them every single day. I hope she enjoys my artwork as much as I’ve enjoyed her quilts.
If you are looking for something to do and you are interested in learning a new skill or maybe finally using those Copic markers you have on the shelf…check out Mindy’s classes. (I don’t have any affiliation with her other than I have taken several of her classes and we are both on the Totally Tiffany Blogging Troup design team. I found her through a class she taught at Altenew Academy.)
Another skill I’ve been working on is my mixed media skills. Scrapbook.com has Vicki Boutin classes for free and they are fabulous. Vicki has been doing Facebook and YouTube lives during this isolation and they are fantastic. Free classes and Vicki is fun. I just got some of her new mixed media supplies in the mail today, so you know what skills I’ll be working on tomorrow!
I’m off to try a new recipe…I’m working my way through the Simply Keto Cookbook. I don’t eat a keto diet, but the recipes in the book are quite tasty. My husband is enjoying me working on that particular skill. Although he did make breakfast for me this morning. I also went for two walks and a lovely bike ride. Nobody was around, so it was just me riding around the beautiful canals with my mask.
What skills have you been working on? I’d love to hear what you are up to so please leave a comment below.
Have a wonderful day. Thank you for stopping by!
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