More Time, Better Art?

Rococo, a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

This artwork was inspired by rococo, 18th-century period style with curves, asymmetry, gold and ornaments. When I think of rococo, I think of time. Those elaborate women’s dresses: how long did it take to sew them? Or the porcelain table clocks, how many people, how many months did it took to get one finished and working?

The time we are living at the moment, is totally different. Not that I want to spend half of my life to embroider one chair. But I cannot help thinking: sometimes we create quantity but not quality. We get frustrated of our lacking skills, lacking vision, but often, there’s a simple solution: time. Instead of creating three pages in a week to your art journal, make one.

Creativity needs time. The first thoughts are often the least innovative. When we take time to dig deeper, we reach frustrations, but also new solutions.

Working in short periods of time

Creating of a mixed media painting by Peony and parakeet

I used to have difficult time working in phases. I wanted my work to be finished at one go. Leonardo da Vinci certainly did not have problems with that. He spent over ten years painting Mona Lisa. He did not dedicate all of that time to one painting, he did other things too. But he let his subconscious work during the breaks.  So, while waiting the watercolor to dry, I engaged myself with other activities.

Creating a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

I built the foundation for this work with several thin layers of watercolors. Then I worked with colored pencils and watercolors to add details. Thin, flat brush is my favorite when adding details with paint.

Creating a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

Some might call it finished but I wanted to add tension and interest. As this was about rococo, some shimmer seemed appropriate!

Rococo glitter!

Creating a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet. Using Inka Gold.

I have few colors of Inka Gold, beeswax based metal paint. They seemed just right for this artwork. And speaking of rococo, some gold would be appropriate too. I love Golden brand’s gold acrylic paint.

Golden acrylics gold paint. A photo by Peony and Parakeet.


I added some hand decorated papers to add variation and continued completing the tiny details.

Rococo, a detail of a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

The size of the artwork is 12 inches by 12 inches. It took about three days from start to finish.

Rococo, a mixed media painting by Peony and Parakeet

The quality of one artwork cannot be measured with the time spent by the artist. Sometimes great art is born quickly when the skills and the creativity meet. But on the other hand, if you want to improve your art and increase your creativity, why not focus on one artwork for a bit longer time.

What do you think? Can you make time work for you?

Let Unconventional Inspire You

"Leftright Wrongright", a watercolor collage using rubber stamps by Peony and Parakeet

You know I love beautiful and decorative things. But the more I create, the more I feel that creating art should be expression first, aesthetics second. This watercolor collage is called “Leftright Wrongright” and it is about how sometimes the old wrong and unconventional can be the new right.

Rubber Stamps

If you think of experimental and avant garde, would you ever consider using rubber stamps? In that context, they are the most boring thing. They are the absolutely wrong choice when you want to create unique and advanced art. But as my mission was to express how wrong can be right, I just could not resist taking the risk and using them! I painted the background with watercolors and then started stamping.

Rubber stamping over watercolored surface by Peony and Parakeet

I only stamped once with each of the stamp. That way they were seen as individuals, not as a bunch of clones. I have used this principal before too, see Can Rubber Stamping be Art and Make Samplers to Save Bits and Pieces.


Watercolors are my trusted friend. They make the best backgrounds but also, they make rubber stamps look much more interesting. After the whole background was covered with stamped images, all different from each other, I added water and brushed the water-based ink to blend with watercolors.

Diluting the color of rubber stamps by Peony and Parakeet

With the big brush I doodled this and that thinking fiercefully about destruction and bravery.

Painting with Watercolors by Peony and Parakeet.

With a smaller brush I added details and enhanced them with colored pencils.

Adding colored pencils over watercolours by Peony and Parakeet

Imitating Rubber Stamps

To make the stamped images even more individual I added hand drawing to make few of them bigger and more handmade. Thin drawing pen is great for imitating rubber stamps that has delicate details.

Doodling around rubber stamps by Peony and Parakeet


When I worked with this artwork, it became clear to me that the final touches are crucial here. I should not only do what I usually do but add something that is against the rules, disrespectful even. First, I doodled with a white gel pen and let the doodling look a bit dreadful. Then, I grabbed a piece of paper, painted red and yeallow with heavy acrylic paint. The unsophisticated color and the clumsiness of the shapes when I cut it made it look so wrong.

"Leftright Wrongright", creating a watercolor collage using rubber stamps by Peony and Parakeet

But I finished this artwork with the new attitude. As I wanted to express that sometimes we need to do things that makes us feel uncomfortable, I needed to break my ordinary rules. I added few rough elements without over-decorating them. They are the wrong that make the right spin. They represent the energy that makes me question: does right and wrong exist at all when creating art? If we think that unconventional is wrong, are we denying the true power of art and where it can take us?

"Leftright Wrongright", a watercolor collage using rubber stamps by Peony and Parakeet

Hopefully this inspires you to add something wrong to your art, and make it right!

Intarsia in Watercolor

Rolling Stones - Watercolor Intarsia Art by Peony and Parakeet

Last week I visited a fascinating exhibition. The gallery was filled with Yoshinobu Nakamura’s wood intarsia art. Yoshinobu Nakamura is a Japanese artist living in Finland. He creates masterpieces by combining tiny wooden pieces. I was deeply impressed how the characteristics of various tree species and specimens were shown in his work. I wanted to try the subtle color scheme and some kind of intarsia myself. And I did, only using watercolors and watercolor paper instead of natural wooden blocks!

Love for Tiny Pieces

Speaking of tiny pieces of paper, I have always loved them. When I was a teenager, I cut the pieces from magazines and made mosaic type of work. Some of them never got finished as they were painfully slow to create!

Paper Mosaics by Peony and Parakeet

Years later, I made a penholder for my husband using paper scraps cut from magazines. I carefully covered every surface that could be reached and finished the penholder with gel medium. It has survived at least 10 years!

Carboard Penholder Covered with Paper Pieces, by Peony and Parakeet

Watercolor Paper Intarsia

But this intarsia project was going to be different from mosaic work. I would not only cut the paper in small pieces, but adjust each piece in line with others! Before worrying too much over that, I started by painting the papers. For some of the painted areas, I also added lines resembling wood grains with a black drawing pen.

Watercolor papers by Peony and Parakeet

Next, I tried cutting the pieces. I discovered that the pieces has to be put on top of each other, right side up. The cut line will then fit perfectly.

Instructions for Paper Intarsia, by Peony and Parakeet

I used masking tape to attach the cut pieces together.

Instructions for Paper Intrasia, by Peony and Parakeet

The big piece that I made looked quite interesting. But it looked even better when the geometric shapes were cut out of it!

Instructions for Paper Intarsia, by Peony and Parakeet

I painted one watercolor paper to look like pine wood. The spotty paper was found from the stash. After hours of cutting and adjusting, the artwork was finally finished. See, all the papers are on the same level, not on top of each other! With intarsia technique, you can use thick papers for collage art!

Watercolor Paper Intarsia, imitating wood with watercolors by Peony and Parakeet

My belief in watercolors continues to stay strong. I love how easy it was to imitate wood with them!

Rolling Stones - Watercolor Intarsia Art by Peony and Parakeet

Once the artwork was put together, I attached the piece, with masking tape background and all, onto a white watercolor paper using gel medium. I think I call it “Rolling Stones”. Have fun with this technique!

Paint Your Mental Images!

Surrealistic stillife with watercolors and colored pencils by Peony and Parakeet.

This artwork is inspired by the subject that keeps on fascinating me: beautiful objects like russian handpainted plates! My admiration for them began many years ago, and only got stronger when I saw them in 2013 at St. Petersburg, Russia.


Here’s a scrapbook page which I made back then. My husband took the snapshot in The Russian Museum. Even if I look a bit worn out from the amount of walking we did during our travel, I love how my clothing and the plate match up!

We also bought one plate as a special souvenir. I placed it on the table near me while finishing the painting. Just to keep me inspired to fine-tune all the details. But let’s not go that far yet! Before that, a lot happened, in my mind at least!

Russian handpainted decorative plate, a souvenir from st. Petersburg, Russia

From Photos to Mental Images

Before starting the painting, I spent quite a lot of time thinking what to paint and how. I feel that it is easiest to think while walking, so I took the dogs out to the snowy nature. Then I took some photos, which is also a great way to observe and examine things.

Snapshots from Finland, snow, beagles, houseplants

After my beagles had fallen asleep, I browsed the photos. “There’s a difference of how I those subjects in my mind”, I thought. If I think of a russian plate, I might see one detail of it, then other images come to the mind, then the fraction of a russian plate again. The thoughts move so quickly that the images seem to get mixed up and change.

I could not help looking up what psychology says about it. Yes, there’s a concept called mental image and several theories about how mental images are formed in the mind.

What I find fascinating is, that when creating art, we tend to pick one photographic image instead of a mental image. Then we get disappointed when the artwork does not represent the realistic, photographic image. Replicating the photographic image to the mental image is extremely hard. Let’s try! Look at any of the photos above, then close your eyes and imagine every little detail of the image – impossible! Similarly, if you read a story for the first time, then try to repeat it exactly from word to word, you will certainly fail! But could we paint what we remember and see in our minds, like Edward Munch said: “I painted only memories, adding nothing, no details that I did not see.”

Using Mental Images in Art

I thought it would be both philosophically and practically interesting to use the mental image as a starting point for an artwork. So, I decided to paint my mental image of my souvenir, the decorated plate. I forcefully thought about the plate for few minutes. But at the same time (as focusing on a one thought is so dull), I was also cleaning. When I grabbed the morning newspaper to put it away, I saw an article of Paul Gaugain‘s artwork being sold in a high price. Just when I had gathered my thoughts around the russian plates, there it was, a picture of Gaugain’s art! Whoosh … my mental image changed to a mixture of a decorative plate and Gaugain’s art, not just that specific one but many others too that I have seen!

While walking towards the room where I create art,  I saw a banana on the kitchen counter, then thought about wine we are going to taste as a special treat to celebrate my coming birthday. My mind wondered towards glass objects – how I love them and how I should really paint only them … Before I began painting, my mental image had grown to a huge collage!

The complex thing in mental images is, that if you think very visually, holding the static view is difficult. Instead of trying to think of one thing only, let it go and replace it with a more general subject. I chose my love for decorative art, beautiful concrete things and how they are at their best when they represent the beautiful shapes and shades from the nature.

Instead of trying to build one controlled mental image first, accept the short-term, fractional nature of them. My artwork could be a collection of mental images appearing while I work. To emphasize that, I decided to start the painting with masking fluid. That way I could not even start building one complete image.

Starting the painting with masking fluid.

Masking fluid

… or liquid masking film as my bottle says, creates a rubber like surface which you can remove afterwards. You can add as many layers of paint as you like, then remove the masking fluid and you still have white areas to fill – or you can pick a colored area which you want to preserve and cover it with the fluid. It is a great way to obtain a layered look without too much thinking. Just remember to let the fluid dry properly before moving forward.

Using masking fluid for a watercolor painting, by Peony and Parakeet

You can remove the dried fluid easily just by pulling it off with your fingers. With the help of the fluid, I was able to create very detailed areas before focusing on bigger objects so that they still look very sharp.

Painting previously masked areas for a  watercolor painting, by Peony and Parakeet

The painting was finished with colored pencils. The process was very similar to the one I teach on the video “Watercolor 101 for Intuitive Painting“, I just added the masking fluid before starting to paint with watercolors.

Here are some details of the finished artwork:

Details of a watercolor painting by Peony and Parakeet

And here’s the painting again:

Surrealistic stillife by Peony and Parakeet

Before finishing, I realized that the banana from the kitchen counter had made it’s way to the painting. It seemed awkward at first but then, why not accept it to be the part of this surrealistic stillife, surprisingly exact copy of the collection of my mental images!

What do you think? Could increasing intuition and including mental images improve your art?

Drawing in Art Nouveau Style

Art Nouveau drawing by Peony and Parakeet, see the video with phase sketches!

If I had a time machine, I would have no doubt where to go first. I would press the buttons and whoosh … enter the beginning of 19th century. First I would want to meet one of my favorite authors, Virginia Woolf, then have an evening with Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret. Maybe another brilliant architect Frank Lloyd Wright could join us.  Then I would spend a whole day with Alphonse Mucha, another with William Morris … There are so many to talk to and so many places to go to. I would need weeks for my visit!

From Arts and Crafts movement to Art Nouveau and Art Deco – my love for art and design is mostly originated in those historical periods. I often try to hide it and be open to new ideas and various styles. But if I just need to draw something quickly or if I can choose freely, I am all for Art Nouveau.

I am passionate about drawing and styles. I believe that finding your own style, increases the joy of creating. Last week I wrote that down and then began to ponder: could I share more Art Nouveau in this blog? So, here you are, in the middle of Art Nouveau themed post and in the beginning of the video blog post where I will show you how I draw in Art Nouveau style. But more than about Art Nouveau, this video is about the importance of doodling and sketching. Promise me, never stop doodling!

Art Nouveau drawing by Peony and Parakeet, see the video showing how it is made!

 Did you notice my William Morris curtains in the beginning of the video? Tell me, what are the styles and artists from the past, that you admire?

Find Your Hidden Inspiration for Drawing

Growing towards Light by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about how to find inspiration for drawing.

This colored pencil drawing was made as an art journal page. It is called “Growing towards Light” and it’s inspired by the beauty of tiny details found in plants.

For a long time, I have wanted to write about looking at tiny treasures for drawing inspiration. It is the subject that I might have mentioned, but not put it fully in focus. Last week two things happened that made me decide to bring it up.

Nature’s Wonders

First, one of our houseplants blossomed. The plant is probably a prayer plant and it has so modest flowers that we almost missed the whole thing. But once I took few photos and examined them more closely, I was in awe of the blossom’s beauty.

Blossoming house plant

I admire the shape of the stem, how beautifully angled it is, the sharp buds, dark seads, and the delicate blossom. It all looks like perfect, well-thought, well-executed combination of aesthetics and science. I feel not only inspired by the little details but how it also makes me think of the quality of my own art: I should continuously raise the bar a little bit higher, work more carefully, become more patient and get further in my thoughts. It sounds a bit harsh as I am writing this but when watching the nature, it is very inspiring. Maybe we all should sometimes follow the prayer plant:  use the time to create a smaller work but take more care of the details!

The Perspective in Decorative Art

The second thing that is related to the subject of the post, is the email that I got from Claire, one of the readers. One of the best things in writing the blog is the interaction, and my favorite thing is when I get ideas and suggestions about what to examine next. Claire remembered that I am a big fan of Charles Rennie Macintosh and his wife (see this post when I visited Scotland to see their art). She sent me a link to the review of a newly published novel. The novel is called “Mr. Mac and Me” and it’s written by Esther Freud. It tells a story about Charles Rennie Macintosh through the lense of a 13-year-old boy who gets to know him. Very interesting! The book was immediately added to my wish list.

In the end of the review, there’s a quote from the book where the young boy talks about looking closely at Macintosh’s flower drawings: “I go closer. I look at everything for what else is hidden. There’s the head of a duck folded into a sunflower’s stem …” For me that implies how the beauty can be the end result of many little details. That challenges us to build our art from well-formed shapes, no matter how small they are, and believe that each of them will increase the beauty of the whole artwork.

Like said, the perspective in decorative art is in the details and their perfection. Instead of sketching something grand, the decorative artwork starts small and gets bigger by adding tiny details one after another.

Art journal drawings by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about how to find inspiration for drawing.

These are some of my unfinished art journal pages. I love to draw with a thin black permanent pen. The inability to erase anything makes me start small! If a blank paper feels scary for you, create a watercolor painting first and then start doodling. My video “Watercolor 101 for Intuitive Painting” presents the method how to get started without any certain pre-thought idea in the mind.

Latest News

Growing towards Light by Peony and Parakeet. Read more about how to find inspiration for drawing.

First, I have an online class in Finnish starting in February. It is about embracing drawing in art journaling. Later this year, I will be realeasing a product in English that will include inspiration for drawing. Let me know if there’s something about drawing that especially inspires or uninspires you! (Next, some info for Finnish readers:)

Lisää itse piirrettyjen elementtien määrää art journal -kirjoissasi! Tule verkkokurssille, jossa nautitaan piirtämisestä ja kehitetään samalla teknisiä taitoja. Kurssi alkaa 22.2. ja kestää neljä viikkoa. Ilmoittaudu mukaan harvinaiseen tilaisuuteen – voit osallistua sijainnista riippumatta! Ks. lisätietoja ja ohjelma

Second, there’s still an opportunity to purchase 21 Secrets art journaling workshop (including my class for embroidery inspired drawing and collage) for a reduced price 89 USD.  Once 450 participants are reached, the price goes up to 98 USD. The teachers that I especially look forward to watching at the workshop are Eric M. Scott and David R. Modler (I have reviewed their great book Journal Fodder some time ago).

Now, get your art supplies and go make something tiny!

The Essence of Your Art

Collage Art by Peony and Parakeet

I found this old collage piece when I organized my archives. It is a design that I have used as a part of the fabric called Flow. As art journaling cute little girls with lovely little animals is so popular nowadays, this made me think: what’s the essence of art is for me. And also, I would love to hear what it is for you!

For me, it’s not the play, even if I love playing. It’s not the colors even if I am totally for them. It’s not even the circles, my favorite shapes. I might aim for the certain styles, I love art nouveau and expressionism, for sure. But the essence of everything is that I want to create “everyday icons”, the images that make me stop, drop everything mundane and get in touch with my the inner thoughts.

Technically compositions, colors, shapes, styles etc. create that. But when I am happy with the end result, I do not think about those anymore. I think about what I feel and think right now and where it can take me.

The best thing is that everybody can create their own icons, sacred images, mandalas, what ever you want to call them. They do not need to be connected in any religion, they can just be connected with experiences, moments or beauty which uplift your spirit.

This is what I thought when I saw this old artwork. And now I wonder, what can I do better. How can I make this blog be the place for anyone to stop, then start creating – the essence of their art!

From Movie Posters to Art Journal Pages

The Discerning Diva - an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. See how to get ideas from movie posters!

“The Discerning Diva – She could be hired as the art director of this journal”
This page is my version of the poster for the movie “The Big Lebowski”. I have borrowed the concept of weird glasses and the composition from the poster, but it is still a separate artwork, not an exact copy.

The Discovery of Movie Posters

After learning that I like to use of alphabet stamps in the art journal pages, I had been thinking about the next step in journaling. Last week I watched the poster artist James Victore‘s course  Bold & Fearless Poster Design on Creative Live. His style has very little to do with mine, but I became fascinated by the visual concept of posters.

Last weekend I found a book about 1990’s movie posters at the local library. I became fascinated by the compositions used in the posters. Then it hit me: maybe I could replace the main elements with my own and apply the visual concept of the poster to my own stories!

How to pick ideas from movie posters?

I will show you how to make your own “Discerning Diva” (very easy) but before that, I want to show you another poster-inspired page.

An art journal page spread by Peony and Parakeet. See how to get ideas from movie posters!

The page on the left is inspired by the poster for the movie “The Matrix”. I picked few main elements and the general atmosphere from the poster. The page on the right is made a long time ago, but I like how the two pages tell the story about being inside someone’s brain.

4 tips for picking ideas from the movie posters:
1) Composition: Examine the placement of the title, the grouping of the main elements and the most noticeable color contrasts.
2) Subject: Think about how your life could be applied to the movie.
3) Process: Examine the poster carefully but when you start creating, focus on your page and make it your own.
4) Imagine: Remember that you can replace the elements of the poster with what ever you like. For example a person can be replaced with a vase of flowers.

Create your own discerning diva!

1) Paint the background of the page.
I used acrylic paints to make the background strong and heavy-looking. Leave an unpainted area for the face. Add water to the paint and gently brush around the face. This creates the impression of a thin scarf and adds dimension.

The Discerning Diva - instructions for an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

2) Color the face.
I used colored pencils to maintain the big contrast between the background and the face. Add some color for the skin. Draw a mouth and a nose.

The Discerning Diva - instructions for an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

3) Add glasses.
Go to your box of hand drawn papers. Cut two lenses. Attach with a glue or gel medium. Add frames with pens. Make the glasses as decorative as you like!

The Discerning Diva - instructions for an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet

4) Add text.
Pick a color that has a high contrast with the background and journal on the bottom of the page. I have used a correction pen for the title and a white gel pen (Uni-Ball Signo) for the text below the title.

The Discerning Diva - an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. See instructions on how to make your own diva!

5) Add finishing strokes.
With colored pencils, add some strokes below the face to represent a scarf.
Add few strokes to outline the scarf near the forehead.

Want more ideas for compositions?

Surround Yourself with Inspiration - an art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Preorder 21 Secrets Spring 2015  art journaling workshop!

Believe or not, this page is inspired of Austin Powers movie poster and hand embroidery! Join me for 21 Secrets Spring 2015 art journaling workshop to find new ways to create and group elements on your art journal pages!

We’ll not only take inspiration from artistic embroidery techniques, but also create pages that will give you general ideas that you can use many more times. Read more and preorder now!

Embrace Chaos while Creating Art

Art journal page by Peony and Parakeet. Read about how to add chaos to improve your art!

The first video blog post of the new year! This time the video a bit longer than usual as the subject is so close to my heart! The subject is the chaos and how you can use it while creating art. Hopefully you will enjoy the video!

Fast Start for Creative Painting

If you also like to paint, purchase my video: Watercolor 101 for Intuitive Painting. With the video you will learn the method where you don’t have to question your ideas before you start. You can just start and find the ideas along the process! Read more here!

How to Create More Often

Art journal pages inspired by modern quilting and embroidery, by Peony and Parakeet

For many years, I have been dreaming about constantly making quilts. I have even recorded that into my art journal. Even if I have quilted almost all my life, especially in the recent years, I have had difficulties to arrange time for it. It has always seemed to require so big block of time that I am able to arrange that only few times in a year.

I am especially fond of modern quilting. One of my favorite quilting blogs is Crazy Mom Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg. She is especially focused on quilting from fabric scraps. I also love her book Sunday Morning Quilts. There are so many days that I have browsed the book, admired my fabric stash and felt sorry for myself not to have enough time for the actual making.

Unfinished quilt project with printed rose photos, by Peony and Parakeet

I don’t like showing unfinished projects, but as a proof, here’s one of the many patchwork projects which has been untouched for months. And, my dream is to make more of these quilted boxes for the fabrics (the pattern is from the book Sunday Morning Quilts)

A quilted box, the pattern is published in the book Sunday Morning Quilts

The problem: How to create more often?

I have asked so many times:
- How to quilt more often?
and answered to myself:
- Arrange more time.
- Buy more fabrics, books, classes or subscribe to a magazine.
- Follow more blogs, have a Pinterest board for inspirational quilts.
- Organize your scraps first.
- Take more/less time for planning … etc.

None of that worked. But now have found the solution! I have developed a method derived from digital scrapbooking, another hobby of mine.

A Case Study: Scrapbooking as a regular practice

I had a similar kind of problem with digital scrapbooking, just not so bad. I wanted to do more of that but often realized that I had not done anything for a long time. Last October I decided to start scrapbooking one page a week with Project Life style: insert photos to a grid and make it simple. I only included one photo of each day or two, so it was not a big task to fill the page during the week. I decided that one page per week would be my minimum dosage. If I wanted to do more digital scrapbooking and be more creative, I could create more pages if I had any energy left.

What happened? I have not only created those weekly pages but 12 other layouts as well. That’s 33 pages total in 3 months which much more than my usual pace! Surprised by the result, I began to think about the magic behind that. And – could it be use for quilting as well?

Here’s is what I discovered.

1) Lack of time is not an issue, moving from one task to another is.
It did not require much time to take a sewing machine and start sewing. The reason I needed bigger and bigger time blocks to begin, was because I was thinking about too big tasks that seemed overwhelming. In other words, I required too much of myself. After working late in the evening, I should have started sewing a big quilt in a snap! The more I thought about starting, the less time I had to actually to do that and the less inspiring it sounded. When moving from one very different task, like writing, to another, like quilting, is not easy for the brain.

2) Lack of energy is not an issue, if the task is small and interesting enough.
It’s amazing how tired we can feel ourselves, but still spend time browsing computer or watching tv instead of going to sleep! There must be some energy left in us! I got that energy in use by telling myself that I was allowed to make only one little task. That way I did not imagine doing a lot and feeling a lack of energy for that. It also helped if I had some freedom to perform it. Then it sounded not only manageable but also interesting.

3) When the task is done, move to working with bigger projects.
The biggest thing that I learned is that I should always keep the promises for myself. If I presented a little task to get myself going, I should never ever make the task considerably bigger. Why? Because the next day I remember that one small task is actually a huge one and I don’t want to start it anymore. After I have made the small task and if I feel like doing some more, I can move to the bigger projects – to those unfinished ones that I actually want to finish!

Here’s how I adapted all that for quilting:

Sew One Block per Day

I decided to start a new quilt. But instead of planning and measuring, I just set few simple rules for each block. If I feel exhausted I can only pick one fabric, cut one 4-inch square and call it the block of the day. At the most I can make one 12 ” square with as much piecing as I feel like. But that’s it – no other blocks are allowed on the same day.

I started the quilt on the 1st January and here’s what I have made so far. This won’t most probably be my greatest quilt but more importantly, I have started to make a quilted box, a red one for the red fabrics. And – it is so much fun to sew it!

Sew 1 Block per Day, a quilting project by Peony and Parakeet

As the result of the new project, my studio has turned into the sewing room!

Peony and Parakeet's studio

The little project bags are also handsewn (two of them are made just recently!). The old cardboard box is for buttons and been inherited from my husband’s grandmother.


Now you might ask:

How to apply this to art journaling?


Why not make a page in phases from element after another! Here’s what I have made in two days: two little ornaments. I continue adding one doodled element or text each day. When the page is full, I will start coloring the elements, each at the time.

Preorder my class: Artistic Embroidery with Pens and Paper

D.H Lawrence has said: “Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law.” You can replace the word “love” with the word “creativity”! But whether love or creativity, I believe that we need to do a little push to make the blossoming really happen. Like one doodle per day!

If you love crafting, quilting and needlework and want to show it in your art journal too, preorder my class from 21 Secrets Spring 2015 art journaling workshop! Let’s add little treasures to our pages! (Here’s also a recent blog post about the class).