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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Junk Journals

I've been making recycled paper journals, since it's that time of year where we have to move cubicles at work, and inevitably, there are tons of paper we have to throw or recycle. I sometimes feel a bit of a heartache when I have to do this, because I'm a paper junkie and I always felt like there was more I could do with the paper. Also, there were worksheets were I didn't use both sides of the paper and the blank side always held so much... potential. Yes, paper junkie >-<!!! 

Then I had the idea to try making recycled paper journals, or junk journals. Not that I put nothing but junk inside, but to use the paper which would have been junked, to make journals. At least if I managed to get one more use of the paper, I would feel *slightly* better about the environment and also maybe I won't have to buy any more notebooks for the rest of my life! Lastly, I would also be able to exercise some creativity in decorating the notebooks and *finally* depleting my stash of craft paper materials. 

Making the junk journal was easy. I planned a daily journal for November as a trial, then I chose some junk paper and stapled them together. After that, I decorated the pages with the layouts I wanted and finally, I filled in my daily entries.

Here's the result for November: 
(Note: Where possible, I have tried to include the sources for my materials, but unfortunately, I can't remember all of them, so if anyone recognizes them, let me know and I will put the sources in!)

Cover: Flow Book for Paper Lovers

Credits: Kikki.K 3AM notepad and Paperstone.sg to-do list

Credits: Ameba stuff My really busy week memo mousepad

Credits: 3M washi tape, Flow Book for Paper Lovers paper. Calligraphy stickers I bought from a flea stall but unfortunately, lost the lady's contacts -_-!!!

Credits: Paper on left from Daiso, on right from Kikki.k. 

Overall, I am pleased with how the results turned out, but I am also aware that it's not really recycling in the truest sense. I only managed to make such nice layouts because I had the nice paper in my house all along. The next step in this challenge for me, thus, is to make one without nice paper and to start from scratch. 

Still, if you are a paper junkie like me, and you also have a sizable stash of craft paper, this is something easy you can do to use your stash for a worthy cause. If you just have to have nice paper, Daiso sells a good range and for SGD$2, you can buy enough paper for a month. For a year's worth of journal entries, that will cost you around $24, which is cheaper than a Moleskine but you might still get cute diaries cheaper than that, so weigh the costs and decide if it's worth it for you. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Reflections for November



A photo posted by Aki Tan (@khelath) on
A little art journalling for myself today, to congratulate the fact that I made it through another school year! 

I still have a kind of nagging feeling that somehow I lost 2 months of my life because of the hectic exam season, but I'm still glad that I got through it *relatively* smoothly somehow. I guess there are just some points in one's life where life events just derail you and somehow you have to find a way to get yourself back on track with your own mission in life once again.

That's how I feel, now that the holidays have started. I feel like this is the point where I'm slowly building my life back on track again. Compared to previous years, I would say it's better because at least this time I managed to recognize the signs earlier, where in previous years, everything just seemed to fly off the rails until December -_-!!! This year I managed to recognize the signs in October and I started doing some journalling and blogging to feel 'human' again. 

What I learned from this is that reflection and recognition are important. Keeping a personal journal and calendar helped, because seeing all those blank spaces where things are supposed to be done reminded me that nothing was being done! I don't know how possible this is yet with baby on the way next year, but that might lead to the next thing I learnt, which is to...

Always be kind to yourself. It's normal and natural that things in life get in the way of, well, life. We cannot always control the curveballs that come at us and it's only normal that dreams have to be put away for a period of time while we deal with them. For me, it was exam season, because I had to make sure that I revised all the work with the kids. Then it was pregnancy and the feelings of fatigue I had during the first trimester. What is important after this, then, is to...

Climb back whenever you can. I'm hoping to snatch pockets of time during my maternity where I can do a little bit of journalling and reading because these are the most convenient to climb back to, given that the materials and books are all in my possession. Other activities that take up more time, like the violin, the piano, language learning, I would have to wait till I see what baby's schedule is like, before I can plan again how to slot them in. I definitely won't be able to spend the same amount of time on them the way I did during my 2 months of leave, but I still hope to make whatever progress I can. 

I'm guessing there will still be people out there, who will either tell me this is not possible, or that this is wrong because I should be spending all my waking time on my baby. To the first, nobody will know if it's possible yet if it has not been attempted. To the second, if it works for you, fine. It doesn't work for me because I am a whole person who is not defined solely by one aspect of her life. I am not just a mother, I am a person with loves, hates, fears, joys and I want my son to grow up to the same and I know no other mother who is not the same. So let me try living life my way while I let you go your way. My successes and failures will be my own.

Here's to the holidays then! I'm glad of the life I've revived into this blog this year and hopefully there will be more to come!

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Art Journalling - Chinese Thoughts

Recently, I have been trying out a new journal I made. With me on forced sick leave (cough, cough) and no more reruns on TV to watch, I thought I'd have a stab at filling up some of the pages with some art journalling.

Why Chinese Thoughts? There was no particular reason or rhyme to this one. I started out with the image of the mask on the left, then I thought the dragon would make a nice accompanying piece and then one thing pretty much led to another. -_-!!! Maybe chalk this one up to pure inspiration, yah? I was really just too sick to think of anything more profound than "Oh, this would look interesting like this......"

I wasn't trying to string together any profound meaning from the Chinese characters used either. The only unifying factor is probably that they all have something to do with thoughts. Thoughts that come from our dreams, from fantasies, from delusions, from other thoughts. I'm too sick to really think so I also relied on pure inspiration for this one and tried with my brush pen any character and idea that came to mind. 

Any profound thoughts? Well, that maybe I'd like to improve my Chinese brushmanship, hahaha... Some of the characters look downright ugly and clunky. My old Chinese teacher would have flunked me and made me rewrite them a hundred times. 

Also, that trying this made me think how much meaning there was in Chinese characters. A whole pantheon of cultural meaning can lie behind even one character and its placement in a piece of art. Where Western words take a few letters to be expressed, one Chinese character chosen wisely can speak volumes. All this was lost on me in my school days, of course, but now being more mature (and hopefully wiser) I can start to appreciate the finer nuances of my mother tongue.