Monday, 22 January 2018

Artline Moday - Valentine's Day rock painting

Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away and I thought it would be a great time to create some love themed rocks for me to hide around my home town.  I wanted to do something a little different this time so I ordered some white stones to use instead of the random ones my children have been collecting.  These have given me a nice, bright surface to work on.  

Artline calligraphy pen

I love my Artline calligraphy pens so I wanted to try and use them on the rocks, surprisingly they worked even better than I could have hoped for!

Using the Artline 853 OHP marker for details

I then added some extra decoration using the Artline 853 OHP markers and wrote my message on the back of the rock.

Message I'm adding to the back of my rocks

I hope the people who find my rocks will share a photo or two of them online with the tag #ARTLINEROCKS so I can see where they end up!

All you need is love!

All you need is love is one of my favourite Beatles songs and goes well with my Valentines theme.  The calligraphy pen I used to write the word love is water resistant and the 853 OHP pens are permanent markers so this rock can go out into the wild without a protective coat of varnish! 

Little love bug

I turned my next rock into this cute little love bug.  What's a love bug I hear you ask?  She's a ladybird with hearts instead of spots!  

With the finishing touches

I used the red calligraphy pen to colour her in and added details with some Artline supreme permanent markers and a white paint marker.  Isn't she sweet?

Love you to the moon and back

I love you to the moon and back is a popular quote but as this will probably be found by a stranger I left out the word I and just wrote "Love you to the moon and back".  Again I used an 853 OHP pen and a gold metallic marker to colour in the moon, I also used a blue permanent marker for the eye and added a white spot to the pupil with my paint marker.

Valentine's heart

This stone was almost heart shaped so I drew one in the middle and coloured it in with pink and black permanent markers.  I added some extra decoration with the white paint marker once the ink was dry.

You are my sunshine!

This is the last rock I decorated.  I drew part of the sun and coloured it in with my Artline stix drawing pens, then I coloured the sky in with a blue supreme permanent marker and wrote "You are my sunshine!" using the black 853 OHP marker.  

Finished set of rocks

Here are my finished rocks!  I am going to be hiding them round Birmingham over the next few weeks so they will be found in time for Valentines Day.  I really hope they brighten someone's day and maybe encourage other people to join in with painting and hiding rocks, it is such a fun hobby! 

Which is your favourite out of my designs?  I have to say I am tempted to keep the you are my sunshine one but I will set it free and see where it lands instead!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Artline Monday - Getting organised!

Did you set yourself a goal this year to be more organised?  Do you feel like some people have everything together and are perfectly prepared for any situation while you struggle to keep on top of things?  I thought for today's post I would share with you some ideas to help you achieve your organisational aspirations.

The first thing you need to know is that most "organised" people aren't naturally prepared with no effort.  They have developed a system which works for them and you can too.  Some people use a planner, a computer or mobile phone, a diary, a simple notebook or bullet journal to organise their lives, they could even use a combination of these things!  You might have to try a few different ways until you find what works for you but it is worth persevering.  I put everything into my planner but I also use the calendar on my iPad and phone too.  This is because they sync between the each other automatically and I can set reoccurring events and reminders without having to input them separately each week, month or year. 

Planning tools - my Filofax, Artline pen & iPad

I used to feel like I didn't have enough time to do everything I wanted to but once I started planning my days I found that I just needed to use my time more efficiently.  Time management is a skill you can learn.  If you think about your day from when you wake up through to when you go to bed you can see how much time you have to work with.  Make a list of what you need to do each day and estimate how long each activity takes you to complete.  Include things like eating, getting ready, travel time, hours at school or work, errands, studying and house work etc, how much time do you have left afterwards and what can you fit into these moments?  You might find you have a lot more time available than you previously thought. 
Planning ahead

Planning ahead is also really helpful for keeping on top of things.  I like to have an overview of the next month or two at least so I'm not surprised by anything later on.  As you can see I have notes and reminders in my planner for right up to the end of June at the moment and it is only the middle of January.  Looking this far into the future means I am prepared for these events as they crop up instead of feeling like I am trying to keep too many plates spinning at once or playing wack-a-mole with lots of things popping up and needing to be dealt with straight away.  I know what is coming and what I need to do in plenty of time which is a lot less stressful!

All this planning and organisation might feel a bit overwhelming to begin with but with some practice you will find it easier to do.  Once you have gotten into the habit it becomes second nature to make plans, follow them through and to manage your time effectively.  

If you find that paper planning is the thing that works for you then Artline has a whole range of pens, highlighters and stamps to help you stay organised throughout the year!  If you would like to read some more of my organisation hints and tips check out this previous Artline Monday post for some planning basics.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Chameleon Color Tone and Color Tops review

The lovely people from Tiger Pens contacted me recently to ask if I would like to try out some Chameleon Color Tone pens for them and, of course, I said yes!  I had seen a few videos of people using these pens before and their main feature is that you can gets lots of shades from each colour pen and you can also use them to blend two different colours together which is fantastic for colouring books and all kinds of arts and crafts!

Tiger Pens sent me a pack of Pastel Color Tone Pens, two sets of Color Tops in Cool and Floral tones and a blender pen to test.

Chameleon products and my notebook

The Color Tone pens have two ends, one is a bullet nib and the other a soft Japanese brush.  They also have a mixing chamber to dilute the ink which creates the gradations of colour.  The longer you leave the nib in the mixing chamber the lighter the shade will be when you start to use the pen.  This gives you just a hint of colour and then all the shades in between until you are back to using the full strength ink.  

When I first received the pens and tops I was worried they were going to be complicated to use, mixing chambers made me think of Harry Potter and magic spells but after reading the instructions I realised it is a pretty simple process.  You choose which nib you want to use and then remove the mixing chamber from the end of the pen and take out the barrier.  Then you hold the pen upright with the nib you want to use pointing upwards and place the mixing chamber on top of it like a pen lid.  You keep holding the pen vertically for between 5 and 35 seconds (while the magic happens) and then you remove the chamber, put the barrier back in and then use the pen as normal.

Lots of different shades and blends

The first row in my notebook is the five Color Tone Pens used on their own in the mixing chamber so you can see all the different shades you can get out of them.  The next two rows are the pens used with the Color Tops to create a blend of two colours together.  Instead of placing your pen in it's mixing chamber you put it into the Color Top you want to use.  This transfers the colour onto your nib so you can start out colouring in one shade like Violet and then it will blend back into the original colour of the pen you are using like Cool Grey.

There is one small drawback which I feel I should mention, the ink in these pens bleeds through to the other side of the page.  It happened in my notebook, which has very thick pages, and the colouring books I tried them out in.  That's not a big problem for me, I love how they blend and create so many colours so I can live with it ruining the other side of my paper but it's up to you to decide if that would be a problem?  

As I said, I absolutely loved how these pens worked, in fact I was so impressed with them I hopped onto the Tiger Pens website and brought myself four more Color Tone pens to use in Grass Green, Crimson Red, Seville Orange and Hot Cocoa!  The last two rows in my notebook are the four new colours tested with the mixing chamber and then blended with the Color Tops. 

Trying out the Japanese brush nibs

I also tried the Japanese brush nibs with the Color Tops on another page, they are quite firm to begin with but as you use them they become softer and more flexible.  I think the colour blending looks really striking when it is used to do lettering like this!

Everything on the Color Tone Pens is replaceable. The bullet nibs, the Japanese brush nibs, the mixing chamber nib and the ink so once you have brought these pens you can keep using and enjoying them without having to buy yourself another set, so although they might seem pricey to begin with they are actually worth the investment.  A pack of five will cost you £18.95 from Tiger Pens. The Color Tops are £11.95 for a set of five and the nibs and ink for these are also replaceable.  The colorless blender pen is £3.75 and is perfect for an extra bit of blending, adding texture or patterns over the Color Tones and Tops or to erase small mistakes when you are colouring in.  Like the Color Tone pens the blender has both the bullet and brush nibs.  Individual Color Tone pens are available for £3.95 each so you can slowly top up your collection or buy a colour you need without having to purchase a full pack of pens.

Perfect for colouring in

This reindeer is the first picture I coloured in with the Chameleon pens.  In the past I have used pencil crayons in my colouring books because I liked to be able to blend the colours together which you can't do with regular pens but I also liked how bright and colourful ink looked on the pages so I alternated between pencils and fineliners.  Now I can have the best of both worlds, bright, beautiful, blended colours that really stand out!

Floral tea party using Chameleon Color Tones & Tops

I spent some time over the holidays colouring in this floral tea party scene, the second page is still a work in progress but I am really enjoying doing it with the Chameleon products.  My only problem now is stopping my eldest daughter from trying to use them every time she spots me!  I think I'm raising a fellow stationery addict!  

For more information about Chameleon pens and products check out the Tiger Pens website or ask me and I will try to answer your questions.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Artline Monday - January motivation

I love the first week of January, I feel so positive and motivated... this will be the best year ever, I'm going to complete my goals, nothing will stop me etc, etc... Then the second week comes along and life starts to go back to normal, school begins again, my husband goes back to work, the Christmas decorations have all been packed away and there's no more eating shortbread or pastries for breakfast.  This is when the January blues start to kick in, the weather is cold, grey and usually wet and there are no fairy lights to brighten my day.  So I thought for today's post I would share with you some ideas to help you through this first month of the year and keep you feeling motivated!

My January motivation spread created with Artline pens

Something to look forward to

What can you do on the 31st January to celebrate making it to the end of the month?  Having something nice or fun to look forward to helps pass the time and makes me feel happy.  Could you arrange to go out with friends or have a date night?  Is there a film you want to see or a restaurant you would like to go to?  Make a reservation or book tickets now and mark it on your calendar!

Focus on the positive 

Look for the good in each day and if you can't find any then try to spread a little happiness yourself.  Smile at people, hold doors open for them, buy the person behind you a coffee or pay someone a compliment.  Happiness and good deeds spread like a ripple in water and if everyone around you is feeling joyful it creates a nicer atmosphere for you to be in.

Burn off some Christmas calories 

I'd like to believe that Christmas calories don't count but they do.  Even if you didn't overindulge over the holidays doing some kind of exercise this month will make you feel brighter.  One of the things I want to do this year is increase my daily move goal on my fitness tracker so I am going to be taking my dog for extra or longer walks each day.  I am going to brave the cold and the rain, I am going to wear my lovely new scarf and gloves I got for my birthday in November and I am going to be more active!  Once I have dragged myself out of my warm house a few times it should become a habit that I get used to doing and I will hopefully feel the benefit! 

Things that make you happy 

I heard a good idea the other day about filling a basket or box full of things that make you happy.  You pop in a selection of things you enjoy using and doing and place them next to the chair, seat or sofa where you relax each evening or by the side of your bed.  I have put a blanket and a pair of fuzzy socks in mine to keep me warm and snug, my favourite Christmas candle to light when I sit down and for activities I have chosen a book to read, my new Alice in Wonderland colouring book, a selection of Artline colouring pens and my calligraphy practice notebook and calligraphy pens.  Now when my day is finally over and I have walked the dog, fed everyone and got everything ready for the following day I can sit down, put on my blanket and socks and dip into the basket for something fun to occupy me until it's time for bed.  Actually I think I might adopt this idea all year through and not just for January!

Things that make me happy

Do you do anything special to get you through January and keep your motivation going? I'd love to know!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Artline Monday - New beginnings

Happy New Year!  It feels completely crazy that it is 2018 already and we have a whole new year stretching ahead of us, what will you do over the next 365 days, what do you want to achieve?  Today is the perfect time to sit and reflect on what you want and maybe commit that list to paper to remind you of your goals.

Starting again

The start of a new year is also a great time to start a new notebook so I grabbed this large dotted one and got to work with my black Artline brush marker and fineliner to write down my hopes and wishes.  To make things look a little more interesting I mixed different fonts together and added a few doodles too.  The brush marker is one of my favourite pens for trying out different types of lettering, I just love how it writes! 

Adding colour

I thought the black and white page was a bit plain so I added some colour using more of the Artline 200 fineliners and then it looked much more me!  Now whenever I use this notebook throughout the year the first page will remind me of everything I want to do and inspire me to act on it all!

So will you be making a plan for your year or will you just see where it takes you?  Either way I hope it is a fantastic one for you!

Friday, 22 December 2017

Artline Monday - More rock painting fun

So last month I tried my hand at rock painting for the first time, my girls and I decorated some stones and pebbles using lots of lovely Artline products and it was a lot of fun but we didn't do the second part of the task which is hiding the painted rocks outside for other people to find them!  The girls decided that they liked their rocks so much they were going to keep them and I said I would have to get some more stones to decorate and hide which I have now done.

Our rocks, paint markers, poster markers & OHP 853 pens

Like before we started off painting the rocks with watercolours and Artline poster markers.  

Starting to decorate the rocks

Once the base coats were dry we added details using OHP 853 markerspaint markers and Artline 999XF metallic pens.  As it is December we drew some Christmas designs and some New Year's ones too.  I especially like how the Christmas tree and firework stones turned out and my youngest daughter loves her bright pink present rock!      

Our painted rocks

On the back of each rock I wrote a message for the person who finds them using the OHP markers.  It says whoever finds the stone can either keep it for themselves or rehide it somewhere else.  I have also asked them to share a photo of the rock online using the tag #ArtlineRocks so hopefully I can see where they end up!

#ArtlineRocks message

After varnishing the rocks they were ready to hide!  We took our stones out with us and hid them in interesting places where they would hopefully be found and spread a little happiness!

Looking for hiding spots


Hiding a small stone

Left on a fallen tree trunk

Happy New Year!

Hiding on a bridge over the River Cole

This one is quite high up!

This rock is near a rugby ground

I confess, I brought this one back home with me!

Left out in the open so it can be found quickly in the park

Hidden in a planter outside a school

So now our rocks are out in the wild!  If you are in Birmingham you just might come across one but there are also lots and lots people painting and hiding rocks all over the UK so you could find one anywhere you go!  Just keep your eyes peeled!  I really hope our rocks are found and shared online, my girls already want to go back around and check on them all to see if they are still there!

If you would like to go rock hunting you can check on Facebook or Twitter to see if there is a group for people in your area or paint your own pebbles to hide and see if you can inspire others to join in with the fun as well!

Merry Christmas and I will see you again in 2018!

Planner Friday - December

How are we at the end of 2017 already?  My last Planner Friday post of the year is now up on the Trendy Twine blog, please stop by and say hi!

Oh my gosh!  I can't believe how quickly December has flown by!  I have been trying to squeeze every last drop of festive fun out of the month and I still feel like it has passed me by!  

Planning my week - before the ink

Products used:  Paper clips

For my last Planner Friday post of the year I want to show you how I have decorated this weeks spread.  I have a lot of things I still need to do before the big day so I thought making the pages pretty would help me keep calm and not panic too much!

I used washi tape at the top and bottom of my pages and then matched that with some lovely Christmas Trendy Page Dot reinforcements.  As well as looking nice and colourful the Trendy Page Dots protect my pages from tearing if I am leafing through them too quickly.  I think everyone who uses a ringed planner knows the pain of ripping a page so these are fantastic!

I love using APB's Christmas stamps in my planner, there are so many different quotes to choose from it is easy to find something that fits perfectly!  I have also been using them to embellish my Christmas card envelopes and gift tags this year so they are practical as well as fun. 

For my to do lists and reminders I used the Check It OffAt Home and More At Home sets and as it is the last week of school I have quite a few events to attend so the School Days set covered those for me.  Seeing so many notes and tasks in my planner usually makes me feel stressed but all the decoration just makes me smile and even more determined to get everything finished so I can enjoy the holiday!

You can read the rest of my post here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 18 December 2017

Artline Monday - Christmas activities

I don't know about you but I find Christmas Day can feel like it goes on and on forever!  My children get up super early to open their presents and after that my husband and I are in the kitchen cooking up a storm while they play with all their lovely new things.  Once we have sat down and eaten our Christmas dinner there is a natural lull in the day, the adults are stuffed and often sleepy while the children are looking for something fun to do so I thought for today's post I would list a few activities they can do to pass some time over the holidays.

I think in most families there is always someone who buys stationery for children (in mine that's me!), get the kids to break open their new pens, paints and pencils and create some thank you cards, notes or drawings!  Here are a few ideas to get you started...

Make a card

Thank you cards

You can do the prep for this activity before Christmas, either buy a pack of plain cards from a craft shop or somewhere like Poundworld (that's where I got mine) or buy some card and cut and fold it into shape.  

The children can decorate the cards however they like, they could glue scraps of wrapping paper to the front, cut out pictures they like from Christmas cards or colouring books, they could draw or paint something or use some festive stamps like the Artline xclamations star stamp I used above.  Metallic pens like the Artline 900XF add a touch of sparkle and the white paint marker is great for drawing snow!

Design your own notepaper

Make your own notepaper

Again you can prepare for this beforehand, sort out some plain notepaper or plain A4 paper and fold it in half and cut it into two pieces.

The easiest way to decorate the notepaper is to create a boarder along all the edges.  Brush markers like the Artline Stixs are brilliant for drawing patterns and the Supreme metallic markers are fun too.  Washi tape and stamps are a really quick way to decorate the paper if you need to make a lot of sheets for your thank you notes.

Draw a picture

Thank you drawing

This one is really easy!  Get them to draw pictures as a thank you for their presents and then you can pop them into your thank you cards when you write them. 

Now, I said this one is easy but when I gave my six year old some paper and supplies she presented me with this lovely piece of modern art instead of a drawing.  I'm not one to stifle her creativity though and I'm sure one of her grandparents would like to pop this on their fridge so I just wrote thank you over the top of it using a metallic pen and praised her use of colour!

I hope you like my ideas and if you have any of your own please let me know!