Getting Lost and Being Found

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I’ve cleaning and organizing our studio because that’s often what I end up doing in times when I’m stuck at home (such as the ridiculous amount of time we’ve been snowed in lately). Our house and all of her cupboards, closets and drawers have slowly been organized and sorted since I’ve moved in but never so much as lately. I can’t get enough of discarding the old, jaded and faded and replenishing with all things good and sometimes new. In this spare time I’ve also found extra moments to spend sorting through packages, boxes and files filled with photos, letters, nostalgia and clippings. Things I had forgotten about and things I had chocked up as gone — casualties in the divorce, move and hard reset of my life.

Wendy & I at Midland Antiques

Wendy & I at Midland Antiques

I’ve realized that in finding these fossils of my past life I’ve also found a part of myself that was neglected to the inner and outer war that has been going on since around age 15. Losing yourself teaches you a lot about the hardships and the long journey you have ahead of you to try to find yourself again. It teaches you about the you you always hoped and planned to be, the yous that you left behind and want to find, the yous that you’d prefer to grow apart from for the extent of your waking hours.

In realizing these things exist you find you have changed, your life has changed and quite possibly you have found the person you know you will be. I believe this happens to each of us a bit with every new year, we reflect. However, in my experience, unless a grand change is made resolutions will be forgotten and old habits will resurface.

I lost myself once and I am still looking for myself. Who I wanted to be as a young girl, the things I wanted to do and see, the life I wanted to live. I’d gotten so closed in, I magnified certain aspects of my goals and forgot about others. For instance, I wanted to get married and have a daughter but I forgot I had wanted the most grand love there ever was. I forgot that I didn’t want to just be content, that I wanted to experience pure love for a beautiful man, to experience a love like we hear about in fairytales only more real and passionate. Someone I didn’t want to change but someone whose love changed my life. I didn’t just want to have a child but I wanted to bring a child into a love-filled family of magical wonder, a magnificent home life and many adventures lined neatly with security and stability. With parents who love one another more than anything else, with siblings that give, teach, take and give some more.

by David Cunningham

by David Cunningham

I saw that I wanted to write. I found many old memoir notes and pages of manga dialogue, articles, fairytales and more. I lost the motivation in trying to do anything other than to fix things that were far too broken and then zoning out completely when they appeared impossibly broken.

I saw that my art was a major focus in my life, other than true love and family, and designing everything I do. I saw my plans for paintings, illustrations and web sketches; designs that never made it off the paper and into illustrator because I lost the ambition and self-esteem needed to go.

Now that I am finding myself in so many ways, I figured there were others that have lost important pieces along their journeys as well. Others that might need a little push to gather those pieces strewn along the ground and trudge on through their own adventure of finding their true, superior self. The self they are, were and wanted to be. What have you lost and found along the way?

Happy New Year.

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Hints for Creating Realistic Fictional Characters

Fictional characters are mysterious beings. They have no real life but to us, they can be very real. People talk about them as if they were real and the things they did actually happened. To make a character that will live in the imaginations of other people, they first need to mean a lot to you as their creator. It’s true that a great character is what keeps a story going (and keeps you reading) so if you want to tell a memorable story, you will need to think up a great character. How do you do that?

Combine things you love to make a character you care about. If you’re interested in the Victorian era, maybe your hero/heroine is from this age in history? Be prepared to do some research to make your character believable. If you’re into science fiction or fantasy, you will have more creative freedom, but you will need to do some “world building”, and create your own setting around your character.

Name your character. The name of your character is more important than you might initially think. It gives your reader the very first impression of their age, personality and where, or when, they are from. A character that goes by a nickname like “Chip” or “Bruiser” already gives you a pretty clear idea of what they’re like.

Give them physical characteristics. Not only looks like eye color or height, but individual mannerisms, how they move and how they talk. Look at real life examples that you’ve noticed in other people. Maybe they overuse certain words or phrases or maybe they walk with a shuffle?

What are their strengths? Memorable characters have a lot of inner strength, a saving grace or a talent or two. Make your characters determined in the face of opposition, sad but still strong when they feel unloved. Give them a sense of humor or a need to help others.

What are their shadows? To understand shadows, it helps to look at yourself and the not-so-lovely things about your personality. Don’t make your character a carbon copy of yourself or someone else, but it helps to build ideas from real life. What are your character’s shortcomings and include some quirks. Its important to make your characters saving grace/s outweigh their shadow… unless you’re coming up with a villain. Still they need some part of their personality, a very small one, to be sympathetic.

Give your character loved ones and foes. Most of the time, your story wouldn’t be much without at least a few other characters. Give them a best friend, a mentor, an ex that dragged them through the mud, someone that stands in the way of their goals, or a love interest. These other characters should have a great influence on your main character.

How will they evolve? No character should stay the same throughout the course of a story. Your hero or heroine needs to have learned something and changed for the better, even after you put them through hell.

20 Design & Style Blogs I’m Loving

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The wonderful thing about the blog-o-sphere is the amazing amount of creative dames that publish posts full of eye candy and insight.

Can’t Get Enough

These are in no particular order.
1. LOLITA – She displays inspirations from a style I adore so I can’t help but inhale all of the eye candy.

2. notebookdoodles – Cute and refreshing in the many blogs that reuse images from other websites. Adorable.

3. Fleur Avenue – Blog and jewelry shop ran by a very sweet and inspired girl. Her style feels reminiscent to me of a zakka magazine and I love it.

4. Oh, Hello Friend. – The sweet style of this blog makes me feel warm inside, positive people make the world go round.

5. NubbyTwiglet – A delicious design blog, old friend and favorite and was reminded to us by a sweet visitor.

6. SHRINKLE – Watch what color and creativity do when they rule your life and your business. Amy conquers everything she takes on with cuteness.

7. Creature Comforts – Soft and comfortable, this blog is full of cute decor and style.

8. The Paris Apartment – A decadent and delicious blog reminiscent of Marie Antoinette and vintage France. On top of it all she’s sweet, very inspired and a dear friend.

9. Modish – A very cute lifestyle blog.

10. Black Eiffel – A design and lifestyle blog with delicious and clean color.

11. Pimp and Pomme – My crafty friend in France’s little jewelry and style blog that is absolutely adorable.

12. Bored and Beautiful – Lots of delicious fashion and backstage art and fashion shows.

13. Hidden in France – French inspired design and frilly decor.

14. MerMag – Lifestyle and DIY blog with delicious personal photos and a peek into the life of a sweet family.

15. Print & Pattern – A really inspiring log of cute and colorful patterns and illustrations.

16. Poppytalk – Delicious, minimal, modern design and lifestyle blog.

17. Sanctuary – A sweet inspiration blog filled with decor ideas and personality.

18. Design Milk – Modern design for your home that is destined to make you drool.

19. Delish – Cute and clean inspiration blog filled with delish-iousness!

20. Design*Sponge – A very inspiring home decor and DIY interior design blog. My absolute favorite.

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