The highs and the lows

Custom Calligraphy Order- Dec 2015 It's been a busybusy week... I'm at the level of happy exhaustion that can only come from crazy deadlines and physical labour! I had a surprising flow of custom orders at my Etsy shop most of which were to be mailed out in time for Christmas--- so of course the first and last thing I've done is panic! I have such a fear of packages getting lost in the mail or being delivered too late, so I've been very nervous when I had so many orders to be sent out of the country. Fingers and toes crossed - Canada Post please come through!!

There's a wonderful high with the strict deadline of orders which has caused me to work pretty continuously over the past few days. I haven't had time to second guess myself, and the result has been great, I'm actually feeling happier with the work I'm producing (maybe because it's not preempted with worry and anxiety). Hooray for that level of freedom!

Custom Quote Order- Dec 2015

I've also sent out a slew of greeting cards, a lot of them within various card exchanges I've participated in. It's been handy to have my screenprinted cards to send out so that I can spend more time decorating envelopes! I've worked with nibs and brush pens, a slew of different inks, and tried out different calligraphy styles. That was fun, and a great practice! I got pretty creative!

The one thing that's been plaguing me since last week is that my printmaking has once again fallen behind. It seems to be always coasting in the shadows, waiting for my schedule to free up so that I can spend time creating, carving, printing. But that never seems to happen! I did say to myself that I would, no matter what, spend an hour or two every day just creating, no matter what obligations I've got going on.....well that's proved easier said than done. I'm working through it, and hope by this week's end I have a good rhythm of balancing the immediate demands with the longer term goals and plans. High hopes? Possibly. :)

Hope you are all having a lovely week!

xo

Pri

How do you talk about yourself?

2015-12-07-09.34.34-1.jpg

I've been settling into a bit of a different routine these past few weeks. My christmas cards are printed and selling on my Etsy shop (thanks to all those who made some purchases!), and as I mentioned in my previous blog post, I've starting thinking about and preparing (read: worryingworryingworrying) for the Spring One of a Kind Show in March 2016. Most of my days have been spent planning, researching and giving myself lots of time to create and experiment.

Christmas season feels to be in full swing, and  it's the time for lots of catch up lunches, coffees and dinners. And while it's actually been a bit of a challenge to manage my social calendar (yes, insert eye roll here), it's been really nice to get some balance to my otherwise holed up creative lifestyle.

Whenever I'm in this 'creating' stage, I often feel stumped in conversations about 'how things are going' or 'what I'm working on'. It's so hard to put into words... especially when this time for me is sodamnstressful. I could say  "I'm utterly lost", "I've accomplished so much!", "I've accomplished nothing!"- they would all somehow apply!

I've addressed a similar difficulty in a previous post about getting out of my head and connecting with others. I've come to realize that my bigger struggle seems to be HOW I talk about my work. C has previously called me out on it; I have this tendency to primarily discuss all of the issues I'm facing with my new business, how much I'm working, how stressed out I am. Some of it comes from an earnest desire for advice from others, but most of the time, I think it's a weird sort of compensation..but for what?

The more I thought about it, the more I realised I've always done this, and it seems that so many others around me do it too! I can recall many conversations that hover around 'Work is so stressful, I'm working ALL the time,' and it made me think- Is everyone actually that unhappy? Or perhaps this is instead a form of social bonding, like saying "We're all in this together"? Seems like an awfully sad way to connect, and ofcourse not necessarily honest.

I read this interesting article about how modesty was embedded into this writer's life - and the way she portrayed herself was a direct result of this pressure/thinking. I wonder if something similar is embedded in my brain. Do I tend towards negativity for fear of appearing overly confident or pleased with my work? It's probably so heightened now that I'm putting my creative self out there!

How lame, to be such a rain on my own parade. If I noticed it in someone else, I know my response would be immediate, indignant and adamant. "Why are you putting yourself down?!"/  "Be proud of everything you're doing!"/ "You know, the results don't matter as much as the process"

But hey, awareness and acknowledgement is the first step to changing anything right? It's hard to talk positively about something that at times fills my mind with a plague of worry and doubt, but I'm making a honest effort to atleast be aware of it (and hopefully nip that negativity in the bud).

This week is all about getting some Christmas cards mailed out, play with my new printer (yay!), and draw, paint and carve the rest of the time :)

Happy Tuesday all!

xo

Pri

Rearranging everything

20150930_092329_20150930092814462.jpg

Sometimes this blog reminds me of a blaring alarm clock. I always seem to begin by thinking back to the last time I blogged, and...what? it's been two weeks already? Howzthat?

It's been an abnormally stressful month. The heavyweight Christmas season is fast approaching, and with it comes many late nights, much anxiety, and looonggg lists of to-dos. That coupled with the fact that my business is almost a year old (!!!) and there is so much I wish I had figured out and done before now.

I think the stress reached a peak about a week ago, when I felt paralysed with fear, worry and no clue where to start, that I ended up watching a full season of Friends on Netflix in the middle of the day- taking refuge in numbing my mind for hours on end. Guys, that's when you know something's up! It seems so much easier to work when I have deadlines set (like orders to be fulfilled)- there's a clear goal, and clear timing. And someone already paid for it and wants my work! Creating without any clue about how people will receive my work is more stressful than I EVER imagined!!!

I kind of love making big changes (this life, case in point), so after my i-feel-sorry-for-myself-so-I'll-binge-watch-netflix episode I decided on creating a fresh outlook and environment for myself. Instead of putting on the pressure to work endless hours with noendinsight, I decided to intersperse my time between work, taking meaningful breaks (I'm finally reading again!), and allowing myself breathing room. It's just as important to take care of yourself and your environment as it is to put in many work hours. And you know what? During this time (non-work hours) I think I've stumbled upon another card series! So there you go- it works!

This environment changing mood I'm in is leaking to other areas of my life- I've been planning to reorganize my studio, and the apartment is slowly getting a deep clean! ah, it's rejuvenating!

By the way, I'm offering custom greeting cards now on my Etsy shop. I will have more postings soon, but if you're interested in gifting a one of a kind card (for a special birthday or anniversary, new baby, wedding, new home...so many reasons), please get in touch!

Hope you are having a great week. It's rainy here, perfect for working under warm lights, tea breaks, yoga, or you know, watching netflix.

xx

Pri

Slow down September

Have you experienced the surreal feeling when time goes by so fast that you're aware of moving moment to moment, but allofasudden it's the middle of the month? That's what the past two weeks have felt like to me! I've been to the east coast of Canada, attended two weddings, started practicing Italian script (the writing, not the language ha!), and worked in between it all while battling a cold. And time has flowwnn. Now that I've taken some time to stop and reflect on the past two weeks, there's so much to share! I was so excited to contribute some calligraphy and design to both weddings, and so happy to see the work live and in person! I posted some pictures to my facebook page, if you want to take a look.

As a practice, I'm trying to take note of inspiring sights around me and document it when I can. Although I feel I only scratched the surface of possibilities, I ended up taking a bunch of pictures of the breathtaking scenery in and around St. John's. We had gone on a hike and I couldn't get over the picturesque views (and the wild blueberries everywhere!) I had to zero in on the leaves - so many varieties and so beautiful!

I mentioned earlier in my post that I've challenged myself to studying the art of the Italian hand. I took a class earlier this year at the IAMPETH convention with Heather Held, and was immediately fascinated by this playful and beautiful script. So I'm going to work on this script every day for the next 6 weeks - it will be fun to document and see my progress!

Here's a video I did of myself writing out my company name in the Italian hand (a faster version can be found at my instagram account) This video is done three times the original speed, but is still about a minute long :)

[video width="640" height="640" mp4="http://www.papertrailsdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/Sequence-01.mp4"][/video]

 

I wrote this out with a Gillott 404 nib and Walnut ink on Rhodia blank paper. The Italian hand feels a lot like drawing, because the 'blobs' are sometimes added at the end, kind of like adding some shading or touching up a sketch. :) Ah, I'm loving writing in this style!

I'm looking forward to more indoor time and continue to create my cards and art prints. I hope the rest of this month goes by a LITTLE slower. :)

Have a happy Monday and great week ahead!

xo

Pri

 

Having a room of my own

20150828_082909.jpg

I've recently started entering my receipts from this year's expenses into excel- it's a long, boring process, but the procrastinator/organizer side of me kind of loves it. It made me think about how I seem to be pretty lax with my business spending budget. I think I've been in 'setup' mode for a long while, and am getting to the point where I'm finding it difficult to distinguish between my needs and wants- for example: "Oh, I found this ink everyone's talking about on instagram, I should get it (because you never know when a client might ask for a cardinal red ink)".

"And here are those nibs I've never tried- what if they make my calligraphy amazing. I should try them out. But since I have to ship from the US, I should order a dozen, just in case"

"The brush pens I was experimenting with weren't the ones on the recommended list for the class I'm taking, so I obviously have to buy the supply list! Oooh but look, they come in 12 different colours!"

One day I will learn-- I hope! I guess this company is like my baby, and I want to give it all the tools and opportunities possible for it to succeed. So money's no object, right?! Sigh. I started reigning in some of the purchasing, atleast until my excel sheets tell me I'm in the green (oh man, when will that be!?!)

I just finished up A Room of One's Own recently. I've been wanting to read this iconic essay for a long time, and it was so great. Besides all the fantastic insights on the patriarchal world we lived (and live) in, it also made me appreciate and realise how much I have, and that many other (more) creative people haven't had (or will not have) access to. I have a room of my own, a space to be creative. I have the emotional and financial support to pursue this dream I've had for a long time, which previously lurked in the far corners of my mind. Who knows what this will turn into, but I have the ability to see it through, which is so....unreal.

I forgot to post a picture last week of my re-printed business cards! I bought some lovely Stonehenge paper from Aboveground Art Supplies, and it feels just amazing!20150828_082909

This week was busy enough- got some invitations designs done, and lots of signs and other wedding stuff for my friends' wedding in just over a week! Can't wait to share pictures of it soon! I'm also buried in the process of creating new cards- for everyday use and christmas! And here's another Flourish Forum exchange I'm just mailing out today- on deadline date - eek!

20150828_082149 (1)

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!

xo

Pri

 

 

Organizing, Listing, Planning

Pixlr_20150816221745718.jpg

August has been a busybusy month! Between wedding invitations, envelope addressing, custom Etsy orders, and getting out in the hot sun, there aren't enough hours in the day. I'm also working on getting more product created, calligraphed, printed before the end of the month. phew! I've never needed to plan and organize my days as much as these past few months. There's just so many things to keep on top of- the jumble of work orders, appointments, tasks. Since I have spent a good amount of time thinking about and working through this, I thought I would share the ways I (try to) stay organized.

My moleskine planner is my WORLD. Many who know me can attest to my inability to retain stuff (anything) if I haven't written it down. Which is why I need a good old fashioned planner. I'm usually making my weekly plans on a Sunday or early Monday morning, and then check out my planner everyday to see what I want to tackle that day. I also add more notes and appointments in the daily section.

It's not just a planner to me; it's where I keep track of books I want to read, birthdays, and awesome quotes I've come across. It's my treasure chest!

My only complaint about this planner is that it can't handle any ink much thicker than a ball point pen. Major bummer for a calligrapher! But I found these amazing pens in Japan that have been making me so happy everytime I use them. They are Pilot Frixion pens, and they are ERASABLE with the little plastic ball on the end. It's the coolest thing ever, and of course, I bought it in every colour.

I manually 'sync' (ha-ha) my planner with my google calendar. I use this online calendar for when I'm out and about and need to keep track of something, add a meeting or appointment, or add a note. It works pretty great, and bonus! I can add cute emoticons to events and meetings.

I've tried using some online applications previously but haven't been successful at updating it (how many organization methods can one use??). Trello is a really great online tool which I've tried to use in the past; I might give this one another try because I love the idea of having all the updates from one project in one place (rather than rummaging through a file or emails, which is my current, super inefficient, method).

This week I am re-printing my business cards on some nice stock I found at Aboveground, and printing some linocuts that have been sitting around for ages. Excited to get that done and up on my Etsy shop soon! Also got a lot of custom invitation stuff going on, I'm looking forward to sharing some of that work soon! I've started keeping a little journal by my bed- with the crazy busy days, it's hard for me to shut off my brain immediately at the end of the day (it's been a shocker to my typical asleepin30seconds self!). The stuff's pretty illegible because of my half closed eyes operating in bad lighting, but it's so great to get it out of my head! And who knows, maybe there's something there!

 

I'd love to hear about other organization methods- please feel free to drop in a comment below on your favourite way to make sense of crazy busy days!

Have a lovely, productive week!

xo

Pri

 

 

Taking Breaks and Procrastinating

20150806_101344.jpg

Canoeing the beautiful Barron River I was 'off the grid' this past weekend on a canoe trip. The trip was awesome, challenging, relaxing, and so so beautiful. The days leading up to the trip was kind of terrifying. Going off the grid?! But what if someone orders something, or I get an email from a current client that needs to be addressed asap?? I might lose business, or affect my response times! Of course, none of that happened- I had emails and orders waiting for me patiently when I got back, and I didn't piss anyone off by not responding this weekend.

Having my own business feels like I have to be around twentyfourseven, and for the most part, I am. There's just so much backofhouse stuff to figure out, so many emails and notes to be on top of, there really aren't enough hours in a day! I really need to realise that I can take a weekend off without my new world coming crashing down around me!

This week I'm moving between taking actual breaks and procrastination, as I try to pace through the heavy workload I have set up for myself. I have SO much to catch up on. I still don't have business cards forgoodnesssake!!

Inks and Washi tape all organized with my purchase from aberfoyle antique market

But why have I been procrastinating so much on this and so many other projects? Some other calligraphers and artists seem to work so much faster than me, but I seem to get overwhelmed so easily. Maybe I'm just wasting time doing non-productive things. Like the continuous drive to organize my studio (majorly successful procrastination technique). I've been indirectly putting off producing art and creating more cards - it's become such a daunting task (what if it's ugly, what if it takes too much time, what if I run out of ideas?), and time has only made it worse! I was thinking about it lots this week, and am telling myself to just take it one step at a time. Just pick up a pencil/paintbrush and have some fun. It's on the docket for today!

Handmade envelopes from patterned scrapbook paper sealed with a pretty wax sticker from fox and quills

The thing with procrastination is you don't know where the time goes- allofasudden it's the end of the day/week. And then you meet friends for lunch or dinner and don't know what to say about the progress of your business! I laughed when I read this article about how to get out of your head and interact with the outside world. A really good read for those who work from home, have been working a lot, or for anyone who feels unsocial at times (everyone). I was amused to find that I practice half of these 'techniques', as I often am in a situation where I'm interacting with people that have VERY different days than me. I think I've gotten better at talking about my world, but I'm still not totally comfortable with it.

By the way, I've updated my portfolio to reflect some of the things I've been working on these past few months- check it out!

Anyway, I'm going to get to it now! (After a quick run..... )

xo

Pri

There's no such thing as work/life balance

IMG_20150316_113023.jpg

Wow, It's been over a month since my last blog post! I've been guilting myself about not posting often enough on the blog, but then I  started to think about why I've been so inconsistent with it, and why it sometimes feels like a chore. I have a bunch of drafts started but can't seem to get past that stage! It's been difficult for me to constantly be 'online'. I've read so many I've been trying to spent time everyday doing thisarticles that talk about the importance of staying 'top of mind' with your followers by posting pictures, blogging, and talking about projects I'm working on. I find that I can't be consistent with it. Some days I want to just be alone in my studio, quietly working. It's a double edged sword- it can be a safe, comfortable environment where there is no judgement or expectations, but it can be also very isolating. I find I work well under pressure, so having external deadlines can be super motivating, but the pressure and stress is nothing like I've experienced before- it's so personal and deep.

It's all such a roller coaster! Even with my productivity levels. Some days, I'm ticking off SO many to do's on my list, and at other times I find I can only do one thing a day and feel creatively stuck or inadequate. And when this happens, I'm so far from thinking about posting a picture on instagram about fun things I'm working on! It's interesting how the social media persona we sometimes portray for 'business' purposes conflict with our 'real' selves. In my current life where my professional and personal worlds are constantly colliding, it makes it hard to separate the two.

This book review I read on one of my favourite sites, Brain Pickings, made me think that maybe it's not about separating our 'business' and 'personal' lives. We tend to think in terms of the all too familiar 'work/life' balance measuring scale. But what if we didn't measure these different aspects of our lives, and instead made an attempt to be happy and at ease everyday, no matter what we are doing? What a crazy idea! :)

I love this card I made for my friend A

Alice in Wonderland Custom Quote & Watercolour illustration

Anyway, here's what I've been working on this past month: I completed invitations and envelope calligraphy for a wedding and a baby shower, completed some custom calligraphy projects, and applied for a craft show (eek!!) I'm also completing a special project for a wedding coming up at the end of the month, which I will tell you about soon! I've also received details to my first calligraphy exchange! It's organized by Flourish Forum, and this exchange is to send a favourite quote to seven other people! I'm super excited about it and will be posting pictures of my work in the coming weeks.

Until then, it's more wedding invitation work (wedding season is definitely here!!), calligraphy quotes...and maybe I'll finally get around to finishing my darn business cards! And an update to my website- soon! yay!

Oh, if you're looking for cards that can be used for any occassion- new home, birthdays, anniversaries, I have a cute set of cards up on my Etsy shop. :)

xx

Priyanka

 

Accepting change and making decisions

It's hard to believe that February has come, and almost gone. I don't know if it's a good thing (that I've been so immersed in work that I haven't been aware of time) or a bad thing (that I've been so immersed in work that I haven't been aware of ANYTHING ELSE). One thing's for sure, it's been sort of crazy! The juggling between custom orders, creating prints and greeting cards has been tough! It's been hard not to jump to a new thing every fifteen minutes but stay focused on the task at hand.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I can manage this new pace of life without going crazy. Organization, of course, is key, and my moleskin planner never leaves my side. No, I will not give up handwriting all my appointments and to do lists!! I've found that the other incredibly important element to sanity for me is a regular routine of yoga and running. Running is great when I'm super stressed and need to physically tire myself out to calm my mind, and yoga really helps with mindfulness and focus. Since I've been working from home and turning into a hermit, I've found a love for doing yoga in my own home space. Something about using my home as a place that I can wind down as well as work feels balanced and encouraging. I use this amazing website for my classes.

Having your own business can be so liberating and constraining at the same time. You can decide on ANY direction for your business, but all decisions feel like they hold so much weight that it's stupefying! I finally did make a decision recently, and that is to offer up my calligraphy and design services for wedding invitations and events. Yay for making the decision! I hand design the invitations and create a digital copy that folks can print themselves, or send to a printer! I'm working on getting some examples on my Etsy shop soon....

Speaking of Etsy, if you haven't already seen, I've added some new screenprinted cards that can be used for many different occasions- the cards are blank and speak the universal language of love. :) Here's my screenprinting process and setup in my home studio:

 

On a personal note, it's been a bit of a challenge understanding where my 'new life' fits in with the world and people around me. There have been stressful, sometimes sad, sometimes guilty, sometimes happy days related to this. I stumbled on this article recently. It was a good reminder that when I feel like I'm 'wasting time' (mostly in relation to my old life), I am probably wrong, and even if I'm not, it's something I shouldn't stress about because it's still leading me down some pretty amazing paths. I am still accomplishing something even if I am not going into an office everyday.  I need a daily reminder of this- we probably all do. :)

xx

Priyanka

The image at the beginning of this post is a little quote I wrote out for my lovely friend's beautiful new baby. Check out my Etsy shop for more pics and purchase options :)