Cafe Inspirations: our weekend away in Paris

Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in ParisNow when we announced our big news last week, you have wondered what this cafe is going to look/feel like?! Let me share a glimpse of it through the french cafes and patisseries we visited on our weekend away in Paris. It was quite an inspiration!
Those who have been following us here for a while may know I love anything French (or specifically Parisian). Except the smell of urine in summer of course (those who visited Paris in summer will understand what I am talking about)! But seriously how good is french pastry, it is always worth visiting Paris any day! In the past I took french pastry baking classes, I read books on how to parent the french way and went through the “Little Paris Kitchen” book in a year. So yes, Parisian lifestyle is not all about the pastry, but also the culture and their relationship with food. Food is not only for nourishment and enjoyment but also for relationship building and this is what we hope to achieve here in our cafe 🙂.
Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in ParisWhile in Paris, we purposely avoided the touristy places. We stayed by Canal Saint-Martin, walked around in 3rd and 11th districts, went on bike rides, visited Musée des arts et métiers, and ate in as many cafe’s as we could.Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in ParisCafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in ParisWe also had to experience going for a picnic. We bought some coffees and pastries and took it to this Park (Square du Temple – Elie Wiesel) and watched people dancing tango on the bandstand ;-).Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris And I had to include this pic, which depicts a very realistic instagram culture in Paris. This guy have spend good 15 min taking picture of this cupcake over the Canal Saint-Martin without feeling any awkwardness or public fear (or t least he did not look bothered). This really inspired me to take my sweet time when taking pictures in public. I tend to be quite nervous otherwise and want to end my photoshoot in public as soon as I got at least one ok pic. Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in Paris Cafe inspirations: our weekend away in ParisHave a lovely weekend, we are off to the wedding. Hope you a lovely last day of summer!
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How to create your own palette using paint

Baltic sea colour palette, how to create palette using paintColour palettes are useful little things when designing, especially interior design. Colour palettes are a selection of colours kept on a board or paper as a reference, ready mixed for specific project/artwork. It helps you to keep focus on the selection of the colours that create concept consistency through the design/painting process. There are many ways you can create a colour palette. You can use different material swatches or magazine cutouts to create 3D colour palette. Computer generated swatches are quite useful too and easy to create. However today we are talking how to make a colour palette by mixing your own paint. This technique is especially useful when you need to use some colours to create wall artwork or want a specific paint colour when painting the walls or furniture (of course these swatches can be successfully scanned at the paint shop for a larger quantity paint).Baltic sea colour palette, how to create palette using paintRecently I visited the Lithuanian seaside that I get constantly inspired by. I blogged about it  many times across different seasons. This time I visited when there was still a little snow left! I used the photos I took as my inspiration.Baltic sea colour palette, how to create palette using paintSo how do I create a colour palette using paint? First step is of course to choose the paint. Any type of paint can be used for this purpose, but acrylic is probably the easiest to handle. I used a mix of acrylic paint and also some kids washable water based paint because I did not have a good selection of acrylics. It is important that you have the primary colours (yellow, green, blue and red), plus black and white. The rest of the colours can be mixed.  Baltic sea colour palette, how to create palette using paint Baltic sea colour palette, how to create palette using paint Baltic sea colour palette, how to create palette using paintTo create the colour palette you really need to have a good understanding of a colour wheel. When you understand how to achieve secondary and intermediate colours from primary colours you unlock so many other colours. Once those colours are unlocked they can be further developed by adding adding white or black to lighten or darken them. Just remember that black and white also dull the colours as well. Baltic sea colour palette, how to create palette using paint But first, before you begin creating the palette, you need to find an inspiration. You can either use photos like I did or pick an object (like a rug or patterned fabric) that has a colour combination you like. Mixing colours take practice, but it’s so fun when you get the right shade! Once I achieve the right shade I simply transfer them onto a clean piece of paper and let it dry. I particularly enjoy naming those colours, claiming ownership over them.Baltic sea colour palette, how to create palette using paint Baltic sea colour palette, how to create palette using paint Baltic sea colour palette, how to create palette using paint Baltic sea colour palette, how to create palette using paintHope you found this inspiring!
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Watercolour challenge: starry sky

Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingIt’s that time of year when the nights are long, Christmas cheer is all around us and neighbours started lighting up their fairy lights. It could not be a better time to learn how to do galaxy paintings (A must must have skill for water colour painters!). These could turn into magical magical Christmas cards, and invites, and so many other things as well as wall art.
First I began by working on my brush strokes. To achieve a deep night sky impression I moved my brush in circular movements to form cloud like patterns. It’s important to use a generous amount of water as well as layering the paint to build darker shades. To begin with I only worked with two basic colours which were black and blue.  Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingOnce the sky painting is dry, I sprinkled some “stars”. I used a heavy type of brush and using my thumb movement on it I successfully applied the micro sized stars. I then used thin paint brush to paint in bigger stars. Although majority galaxy paintings I have seen around are white, I thought it would be very cool to try gold colour acrylic paint to create some gold stars. I am totally in love with the variation!Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingOnce I mastered the galaxy painting with two colours I of course then tried including more colours. I even tried gold colour! Now, I don’t have gold watercolour paint, so I used watered down gold acrylic paint. This experiment actually worked!! The picture bellow cannot do its justice though, the painting sparkles in the real life!Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingFinally I experimented with painting into confined shape (circle). What changed are the brushstrokes. I tend to do longer brushstrokes to define the edges. The borders also meant that the painting had some sort of structure rather than ending up looking like continuous repeating pattern. Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingTip: when watercoloring with high amounts of water the paper becomes uneven and wrinkly. The best way to make the paper flat again is to iron it. Cover the painting with baking paper and iron it with steam free setting. I find this is safe even with the high temperature setting.Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingWhen the time came to make the Christmas cards I decided to experiment with foiling (I am so in love with gold right now!). Sadly this did not work out. I am sure it’s all my fault! This foil I bought meant to be used with the foiling machine, but someone suggested this could be used with iron. At the end the foil melted instead sticking onto paper. I even used PVA after unsuccessful application using toner pen. Nothing worked! I decided to leave foiling for later, I am sure I will figure this out some other time. Galaxy watercolour painting for card making I ended up using gold paint to paint the letters which was acceptable, but not ideal (hope my neighbours like it).Galaxy watercolour painting for card making White acrylic paint works fine too. If only I did not misspelled “Christmas” over here!Galaxy watercolour painting for card makingHope you found this helpful! Are you making your cards yourself this year?
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Watercolour challenge: underwater

Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in FranceLast month while exploring Carhaix-Plougue in France I was surprised to see so many creative wall murals around. These were mostly underwater creatures and seaweed that were appearing not only on the walls. There were few similar artworks displayed on the windows too. Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in France Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in France Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in FranceSo inspired by all this art I decided to paint similar art for my watercolour challenge. It has been refreshing to paint something in one colour and discover different tones in it. I chose bluish grey which was perfect for sea world paintings.Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in France Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in FranceLater I realised that the wall murals in France were actually just the paintings on white paper and then stuck onto the wall. I wonder if they were having an open-air art gallery out there in Carhaix-Plougue…. hmmWatercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in France Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in FranceWe found this jelly fish at the beach which is soo pretty and obviously made its way to my pages on my notebook. I think sometimes the best inspiration comes from nature itself ;-).Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in France Watercolour challenge: underwater paintings inspired my mural walls in FranceThanks for letting me share!
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French holiday with friends

French holiday with friends (in Brittany)Back from French holidays last week and I can honestly say these were the best holiday so far since having kids. Although I thought I learned so much already how to do relaxing with kids, I still keep learning on the job. For those who are still struggling to holiday with babies here are my post from few years ago, I can only encourage you that things gets better with kids age.
With older kids you can create play area where they can play independently. Which is why it is so important to pick a place that is child friendly and safe. Self catered houses/villas are the best! Not only that they provide more space for your children, but it also come up much cheaper than hotels. French holiday with friends (in Brittany)We loved eating in as it was so much more relaxing in the evening and that meant we could relax outside while kids are sleeping near by. I have learned (thanks to our friends that went on holidays with us) how simple is to pack lunches which saved us money and time (no need to find a restaurant and wait for a food with impatient kids). It was so much more relaxing just to picnic outside. We were so lucky to have such a good weather!French holiday with friends (in Brittany) We loved local activities such as kayaking and walks by the cannel. So my advice is to pick a location/house that comes with activities you like. That way you can exchange with baby sitting and do fun things in turns!French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany)French holiday with friends (in Brittany) We stayed in Brittany, near Carhaix-Plougue. It is a very cute and creative town with lots of wall murals around (I am so into #wallmurals right now!!!).French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany) There was this crochet doily artworks all around the town centre and library. Feeling very inspired just remembering it!French holiday with friends (in Brittany) Of course we also visited the lake and local sea side which was the highlight I think.French holiday with friends (in Brittany) Amber water is not what people tend to get excited about lol, but I did!French holiday with friends (in Brittany) French holiday with friends (in Brittany)Have you started the holiday season yet? Hope my tips help 😉
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Watercolour challenge: planes and letters

Watercolour challenge: planes and lettersSooo, we are still on the mission to fill the walls in the kids room with pictures and Lukas is involved in this project as always (even if I don’t ask him to).

This months watercolour challenge theme is planes! Obviously because Lukas loves planes! This boy builds the planes out of lego, pretends to be flying like a plane and flies every possible object like a plane. You got the picture! I felt I had to make the boys room plane themed.

I have been imagining to paint those pretty biplanes and then an alphabet to go along with it. However (as always) things did not go to my plan. Although at least I have one artwork on the wall now!! Watercolour challenge: planes and letters Watercolour challenge: planes and lettersI started this month’s watercolour challenge with painting biplanes. It needed lots of attention to detail and lots of pencil work with rulers. The watercolour part only took few minutes. I did not like the end result too much. I can’t even explain why, definitely did not look what I had in my vision.Watercolour challenge: planes and lettersNext I started on the alphabet and I guess because painting biplanes did not work that much I looked at other planes to inspire me too. It was real fun to look through Joni’s plane books to find some planes that actually start with the letter I wanted to use it for. For instance I used the Avro Arrow aircraft to represent letter “A”.Watercolour challenge: planes and letters Watercolour challenge: planes and lettersI made plenty of mistakes, the letter “Z” is the wrong way round and plenty of mess that I could not quite rub off with the eraser. However I do love this artwork and it is hanging in the boys bedroom till one day I will decide to redo it.Watercolour challenge: planes and lettersSince I had so much fun painting different aircrafts from Joni’s book, I tried drawing one with propellers. Was not too pleased with this painting so decided to end painting here.Watercolour challenge: planes and letters Watercolour challenge: planes and lettersFor now I am just so pleased with the plane inspired alphabet.

What’s your favourite painting?

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Watercolour challenge: toddler doodles

Toddler doodles turned into abstract artSo this month for my watercolour challenge I decided to collaborate with my own 2 year old toddler (Eek!!). I enjoyed watching Lukas do art so much that I thought it would be very cool to create some careless abstract art inspired by his doodles and fill our kids room walls with it. Isn’t that the greatest idea you ever heard? Well, not quite! Although it did not work out exactly how I imagined (no artwork on the walls yet), working with the toddler thought me one thing or two. Before I tell you all about it, shall I explain how we did go about it first? If you agree then read on to hear my full story below. For our first arty session I set out with all material I had in stock. Although I don’t have crazy amount of art material, it was still little too much. This was my first lesson on how to make art with the toddler. Never give too much choice or you will be overwhelmed or (what happened in our case) he will be obsessed with one art media. I started by painting large rainbow on the page and Lukas joined in as soon as he noticed me painting. He picked a brush and kept dipping it where ever he could find: acrylics and water paint. The result was as I was expecting although I am not sure about the colour combo here, it did not go with our house interior at all.  Because I noticed Lukas likes to spread a paint with the brush, I realised watercolour was too watery. This is why I mixed up few watercolours with white acrylic paint to get thicker paint. But that meant the colours ended up very pastel. If you like pastel colours than this is fine, but I was not a big fan of this as I LOOOOOVVEEE bold colours.Toddler doodles turned into abstract art Toddler doodles turned into abstract artBut why I did not like Lukas using water colour straight? Well… a 2 year old did not quite understand the concept of using it. To use watercolour you need to constantly dip your brush into water between colour change and before to moisten the paint as well. To fix this problem I tried to dilute some watercolour pigment in little water. Here it is, I made a palette that I though would work.  Toddler doodles turned into abstract artExcept, yellow soon got mixed with green, created lime colour and other colours got mixed up as well. Did I tell you how easily watercolour mixes? You get the image: lots of grey/brown paintings. The pic below was the least overdone (lol).
I also tried placing few drops of watercolour ready on paper. You can blow on those drops to create pretty lines and patterns (this is my fave painting technique!!!). However this did not work out with 2 year old, he just did not quite get what exactly I wanted him to do with the straw I gave him (although I gave him plenty of demonstrations). Toddler doodles turned into abstract art Eventually I let him scribble away with crayons. Toddler doodles turned into abstract art I used Lukas scribbles to make my own abstract art which I much preferred. However I realised that this does not go with our house or my style. Toddler doodles turned into abstract artThe artwork with alphabet is my fav, however it does not have so much input from Lukas. I am thinking maybe for my next watercolour challenge I should do something alphabet themed (I really really enjoyed painting letters). Will see ;-).Toddler doodles turned into abstract artHope you have been inspired 😉
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Watercolour challenge: jungle

Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle To be completely honest it was very hard to come back to painting but once I started I really felt piece and joy. I felt inspired by the plants that I saw on our holiday in Dominican Republic. Tropical climate plants are so so pretty!!! I am inspired to have some of them at my home some day, but for now they can at least live on my walls.
As usual I started with the method in mind I wanted to try. This time I wanted to try watercolour combined with the wax crayons. I remember first time I fell in love with the watercolour is when my Finish art teacher showed me how crayons makes paper waterproof and when watercolour is painted on top of it, the wax of crayon blocks from colouring (mixing with) the drawing leaving the colour it was but colouring all around it instead. This technique really fascinated me back then which is why I wanted to try it out again. In the painting above I drew the core lines with the crayon and painted leafs on top of it. I was pretty pleased with the outcome. The lines kept its sharp green shade!Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungleThe plant in the pic above have been my favourite so far! Although I don’t feel I depicted it well in my painting…Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Painting this curly leaf plant was quite fun! I love making repetitive patterns and painting these wiggly lines been real pleasure.Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle To add some colour (not only paint in green) I tried painting this pink flower. I feel this was not my best painting so far. And look at all this mess I made in my watercolour palette! I wonder if other artist end up like that. Although I have seen other people just using water colour from the little tubes and mixing palette on separate piece of paper. I wonder if it is worth investing in fresh collection of water paint, hmm…Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle For my next botanical painting I decided to use pencil instead (and rub it off after), that way I thought I will improve my shading technique. I divided the leaf into different segments that are “coloured in” separately and therefore shading is visible (hopefully). This painting took 2-3 hours, but it was so so worth it. I am in love!Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungle Finally this was a quick painting, I used pencil to mark the stalk of the fern and leaf in watercolour. I don’t know why, but this is my another favourite, so simple but so beautiful at the same time!Watercolour challenge: inspired by jungleThanks for letting me share my experiences here re my new found passion 🙂
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Watercolour challenge: forest in snow

Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian Alps As you may have already noticed I enjoy taking challenges, and for a good reason! Challenges are good for achieving goals. Not all types of goals of course, but if you want to learn something or get to start doing something then this method is the best (at least in my experience). In the past I did Pinterest challenge to get myself to try more recipes from Pinterest (still doing it sometimes), then I did a photography challenge so I could learn to take better pictures, I did a sugar free diet in the form of a challenge (sort of) and a book reading quest for three years which worked a treat. Now my aim is to get myself painting more and this is why I came up with this watercolour challenge ;-).
Few weeks ago we went to ski to Austrian Alps and I loved the snow there (as well as occasional snow at home). Falling snow brought be joy and the whole experience was quite magical so I decided to put it all on the paper. But at the first glance snow is white, so how do I paint the white? Once I look through this first obstacle I realised snow came in different shades actually. Whats more, I liked seeing some bold colours in a pretty misty landscape such as people wearing bright outfits or a lift cabin like in the pic above.Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian Alps I began painting the forest landscape first. I thought if I do it using the classic watercolour method I should achieve the right texture quite easily. I tried dipping paper into water and then paint vogue outline of fir trees. I thought the paint would bleed and that way would create required texture. That did not work out even when I tried getting better paper and paint brushes. The fir trees just looked too plain for my liking. Eventually after much trial and error and some research I found that salt is best in creating this so much desired texture. Yey!!! Now I am quite pleased with my winter wonderland forest painting. Hope you can pardon my spelling, but I do love this quote. It’s exactly how I feel when I see snow!Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian Alps Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian AlpsThis is what I mean by many shades in the white snow. It was fun painting this as shading with watercolour is very pleasant. It works quite simple: the more water you add the lighter the colour. If you want the colours to bleed less then wait for it to dry more before applying another layer. Watercolour challenge: snow Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian AlpsPainting trees has always been my favourite thing to paint. Here I initially tried to create the branches by blowing on the drop of paint that was sitting already on the paper. Later I added more branches and snow by lightly brushing some tinted water on it. Watercolour challenge: forest in snow Forest in snow inspiration from our recent trip to Austrian AlpsLastly I was amazed of fir tree needles sticking out in the snow. This took quite a lot of attention on detail but it was all worth the try.Watercolour challenge: forest in snow Watercolour challenge: forest in snowHope I inspired you too to take a challenge or thought you something new about watercolour.
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How I started bullet journal + my New Year goals

How I started bullet journal So here we are, I am starting my very first bullet journal!! As excited as I am you should really know that it took me over a year to actually try out this organisational system. Initially I noticed my friend Jacolien journaling on the Instagram (@made2celebrate) and then I read somewhere that this system lets you do more with less??? This could not fit in my head, how pretty page layouts with beautiful fonts would save me time and make me more organised? This is when my friend Jacolien explained that these layouts are completely optional and bullet journal can be whatever you make of it! So I decided to go with the original Ryder Carroll style (who by the way created this system after all) which is very simplistic indeed. May upgrade it later if my handwriting improves in any way. I will let you know how I got on, but for now here are my goals for this year that is already included in my bullet journal.
I may not set many goals last year, I am expecting quite a lot this year. My bullet journal is pretty full for the next six months which has not happen for few years. For each goal I listed tasks to help me to achieve it, some tasks have the deadline and some have been scheduled into calendar already.
1.Upgrade Friendly Nettle website goal was on my mind for four years. I think this year will be the year when I finally do it. I I will begin in February as this is when I am thinking to take a break from blogging for a month and from then on I will schedule once a week appointment with the website. Hopefully this will do.
2.Get arty, because I forgot how to paint or draw. This is why I decided this year to replace reading books to watercolour painting (the media I like the best). Like with books I will review my artwork here on the blog.
3.Reach healthy BMI as I am seriously overweight. I reached my biggest I have ever beed and I am feeling this is effecting my health too. Luckily loosing weight is not time consuming. All I need to do is reduce my meal portions, don’t stress eat and fast once a month. I think this should do the trick.
4.Make our house beautiful, because we still doing it up. Hopefully this year the cosmetics and decorations are going to be done. I am not actually thinking it’s possible to finish all the house DIY completely.  I have already set up some deadlines for some tasks, although this goal I am feeling least confident about sadly.
5.Create child friendly garden has been my dream for a while. I need to be confident that kids can play safety outside as well as growing a small patch of veg on the side. I am thinking to start in March once the preps for Tomas dedication/birthday party prep is over.How I started bullet journal So how did I got on with bullet journaling so far? I think quite ok, I understood the system after reading about it on few blogs, but the video that explain it best is on bullet journal website. There are few pros and cons that I can see so far. But what does’t have pros and cons? So far I love that this system requires you to (1) handwrite (kind of con as well), you got to have a love for stationary! I even bought myself a fountain pen that I get so much pleasure out. The bullet journal itself is (2) very easy to set up, all you need is index, future log and a monthly log. From that on you just can start scribbling simple notes that are either to-do lists or ideas. As long as all those notes are attached to the right symbol you are set to go. Besides, you can (3) customise it as much as you like! I started using my BUJO (short for bullet journal) for personal stuff such as tracking my weight loss and recording my body temperature for NFP. So these are my positives.
Things that I am still trying to work out is (1) how to organise events between our family planner and my personal journal. I end up writing the same event twice, to the journal and then to our planner, this is often confusing and sometimes I wish all those notes synchronised somehow! The other issue I have so far is that (2) the bullet journaling is not for perfectionist (at least at the beginning). I already made many mistakes that can’t be erased. I guess I just have to look at it as a journey on improving my hand writing.How I started bullet journalHope you started 2018 well!
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