Challenges & Breakthroughs

Sorry things have been rather quiet around here lately. I've been working on the behind the scenes things and things are slowly coming together. It's always easy to plan and dream and brainstorm, but not always as easy to implement these notions. Let's start with the positives..

The breakthroughs: 

1) I have come up with a way to colourize my drawings to look as good as they can look. While this might seem trivial, it was devastating to create a lovely pencil crayon illustration, that when scanned looked like a bad wax crayon drawing with grey outlines. Now I draw my images in pencil, ink with a fine tipped pen, create a vector outline in Illustrator and colour in Photoshop. It's actually less work than it sounds, and I'm left with clean lines, beautiful textures, and truer colours. I'm very happy about this development. 

2) I've narrowed down the type of paper I like for the cards, and it is quite textured. I normally would have thought the texture would look too old fashioned and take away from the images, but it really sets things off. I'm looking for a bit thicker of a paper, I think. Nice sturdy cards appeal to me. 

3) I've completed Illustrator and Photoshop in school and am thrilled with what in able to do. I was working with a super old version of Corel photo paint... Like 1998... And it's so nice to be able to navigate its programs effectively. 

4) I'm edging closer to HTML and website building and can finally put my plans into action. I've sketched out menus, landing pages, shop layouts etc. and I'm so excited to actually make things work. I did my first HTML class on Tuesday, and I'm super excited to get started!

Stay tuned for the challenges!

Thanks for reading,

-Karen

Changes

Hello everyone.

I keep apologizing for being M.I.A, but this time there really is a reason. Taking my class, and re-reading the book "The Handmade Marketplace" has got me scheming, and planning and full of ideas.

While I've completed the Photoshop portion of my schooling and am starting on an overview of Illustrator.. the most important part of the course is

web design. 

I've dreamed up a website that encompasses this bloggalleries etc and ties in the illustration aspect of what I do, as well as the knitting. I've been in the rough stages of starting a card line and would like to share more of that here. I want to re-brand and rename and redesign everything as well.

When I started Blue Anchor.. it was more about crafts... and sea glass jewellery, and wine charms. Besides knitting, there's not a whole lot of crafting going on (at least not regularly). I'd like to emphasize my two loves: drawing and knitting, as well as share some of my (very amateur) photography, my thrift store and etsy finds, and a little behind the scenes getting my cards launched, learning web design and maybe the occasional craft fair.

I'm very "bipolar" when it comes to organization--- part of me always wants to classify things too closely and be super organized, while the other part wants to not feel pigeonholed by being too specific. I think that's what's going on here.. it feels disjointed having both

Blue Anchor Crafts

and

Dearest Doodles

... so hopefully tying them together will create a stronger, more unified image, and also encourage me to write a lot more!

 It' s a ton of work, and might be a long process (as I don't really know much about webdesign besides plugging generated html things into blogger and messing about.) I'll probably be using Wordpress too, as that's what my school is teaching.

Anyways, I'm just checking in to say that you will be seeing some exciting changes around here in the next (err... six months? year?), and the finished product (if it turns out to be anything like I've imagined) will be worth the wait. I might not blog on here as consistently in the meantime, but I am planning to share some of my steps in the right direction or any big news that comes my way (ie, planning a card-line, perhaps even selling something?!)

I thank you for reading and for your support. I'm excited to see what the future will bring, and will keep you updated on the new changes as they come.

Thanks so much for reading,

-Karen

Tuesday Treasures

Hello,

I know I've been a little MIA,  but I've been learning loads of things in Photoshop at school lately, so my time has been a little occupied. This weekend I fiddled around with the program, designed a blog mockup for a friend, and made a mother's day card. I'm really excited about the things I'm learning---- I feel like I can work towards some of my goals now that I can improve my images! Yay!

This week, I  tried out contacts. I can't decide about them, I have two trial pairs, and it's a little difficult to focus on my computer screen at work. I'll probably investigate further, but I've decided that I really don't mind myself in glasses--- I might actually prefer it!  You can wear more eye makeup without looking tacky, you don't have to wear as much jewellery, and there's always the sexy librarian/secretary thing, right? Haha. I went on Etsy and found the most flamboyant glasses I could find. Go big or go home, right?

Here they are:

I love the squareness of these beautiful cats-eye glasses

Arrows!?! So fun.

These are kind of spacey.... like retro-sci-fi

These baby blues are just toooo pretty.

It's like brooches for your eyes! (Okay, that's a gross simile... but you know what I mean!)

These are incredibly funky

These are extremely mod... Love!

Links: 

Thanks for reading! Do you wear glasses or contacts? Which do you prefer?

Tuesday Treasures

Hello, hope everyone had a great weekend!

Though I managed to find myself with a rather achy cold, I had a lovely weekend. Lots of movies, dachshund snuggles, spicy food, and organization (well, my computer, not my house unfortunately.) I'm still on the hunt for a decent jacket, but I've narrowed in on a shop that might carry what I'm looking for. I have teensy shoulders, so no jackets ever fit properly. I basically look like a line-backer.... or I raise my hands and the jacket goes up to my ribs.   It's pretty windy, and rains a lot in Victoria, so a jacket is kind of a year-round necessity (we didn't get a real summer until the end of August last year, either!) I've been spending a lot more time outside, and have been enjoying it! I have lots of pictures to post from various excursions... one day I'll have time to post them!

Work and school have made me a very busy bee. I've decided to only knit (when I can, that is, my wrist is still unhappy) dolls for the craft fair I want to attend this winter. Custom orders are lovely, but it's just not as spontaneous, there are deadlines, and sometimes I'm just not as excited about what I'm doing...  I'll definitely start up again once I have a better handle on life, but as it is, I just can't. It feels kind of good to come to this realization... when you have too many things on your plate (and I still do...) it gets overwhelming. I just need to putter along at my own pace with my side projects for now.

There isn't really a theme this week, just pretty things in lovely springy colours! Enjoy!

Tuesday Treasures

We put on a baby shower for my cousin's sweet baby boy this weekend. The decorations stayed up, yummy food was eaten, but most importantly it was a lovely chance to catch up with family-- especially ones from out of town. My other cousin is having a baby in the summer, so it's an exciting time. It makes my heart happy to envision little ones running around together at family events in the future.

I'm embarking on a pretty busy week, but had a productive weekend. I sat in a coffee shop for the first time in years with my notebook. I wrote down a bunch of ideas and it was super helpful. Feeling kinda pumped about my endeavors, even if they are rather exhausting.My hand is also falling off from attempting to get back into knitting, but it felt so good to knit again. I'm on the list for a CT scan, which might give some answers. Wish me luck!

This week's Tuesday Treasures is all about toys! I know I've posted similar things in the past but I just love a good, quality, handmade toy!

Love the shape of this airplane

I adore the organic look of this hedgehog toy. Isn't he sweet?

I almost want to buy one of these now for my future child. That's how much I love this.

Crochet veggies are more fun than plastic.. you can even cuddle with them!

Seriously, check this out. Best dress up props EVER! Let your imagination soar!

Links:

Old England Inn

There is a place near where my parents grew up, called the Old England Inn. Well, it's called the "English Inn and Resort Now". The other day when I was driving by, I saw that there was a rezoning sign. After panicking a bit, I read an article in the newspaper saying they're wanting to tear down some of the out buildings and the replica of Anne Hathaway's cottage to subdivide. I decided to walk up and take some photographs....

A little history. The manor house was originally called "Rosemeade" (so pretty!) and was built in 1906. It was built in a Tudor style (which I absolutely adore). In the 1950s/60s it became a bit of a tourist attraction... quaint, quirky, and kind of kitschy. Tudor+history+kitsch = amazing. They used to have tours too. 

My grandparents stayed at this hotel when they were newly weds. My mother worked in the kitchens here in high school. My dad was a waiter at the same time. He did this dressed in a doublet and knickerbockers... as the restaurant was themey. I remember eating there as a small child and having a kids menu that featured knights and ladies, and being served by a lady in a long dress that laced up the front with big sleeves. The inside was full of beautiful carvings and grand rooms. It was truly awe inspiring for a kid. 

I forgot to mention, my parents were married there in on a sunny winter day in 1986. My mum threw her bouquet from a window in the grand hallway. I always thought I would get married there too when I was older.... unfortunately it has fallen into disrepair. 

They stopped offering dinners (which is terrible, as the restaurant is walking distance to my parents house, in a large residential area with poor dining options), the grounds are overgrown and unloved-looking, and they repainted the house (probably with great expense) a taupe and rust colour, which is so bland compared to its white and black Tudor glory. They took out the beautiful carved staircase and replaced it with a finger-print infested glass railing. They added leather couches and made it look modern... too modern. It just seems like someone had the wrong vision for the place, and now it has failed... the reviews are terrible... poor service, gross rooms, bad breakfast, and owners that didn't seem to care about their guest's experience. It's such a shame to see a place with such potential being mismanaged.

There's so much family history here, it breaks my heart to see that some of it might get torn down. I'm hoping that they can restore it to its former glory, with a nice family restaurant to walk to, updated rooms full of happy paying customers, with the unique and well maintained grounds its so well known for.

Tuesday Treasures

Just like the

infamous squid post

I'm not sure what possessed me to choose hedgehogs, but here they are! They are rather adorable (if you don't look at them from underneath and see their sharp teeth!--- I looked after one in elementary school for a friend... definitely not quite as cute as illustrations (but still pretty darn cute!)

Here's this week's Etsy Favourites... Tuesday Treasures Hedgehog Edition!

Such a sweet illustration style

This fuzzy hedgehogs look pretty friendly!

This would definitely make bath time a little more whimsical!

I definitely wouldn't say no to this cute brooch--- adorable!

Cute hedgehog, cute packaging!

Twenty Four

So, I think it's basically a prerequisite for a blogger to do one of these for their birthday, (though as my age advances, I'm not going to be too excited... 24 things was already too many!) 

I'm finally going to the doctor about my wrist (yay- doctor appointment on my birthday! Joy!) a... thing any sane person would've done weeks ago. Now we're wondering if it's a cyst or a bone sticking out. I vote bone... apparently there's a bit of a gap in my wrist where something should be. I kinda feel like Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep in "Death Becomes Her"...where they're literally falling apart... so before I disintegrate completely....

Here's my 24 before 25

1. Drive up Island by myself.

I have a ridiculous fear of the highway that goes up island. It's twisty, narrow, and you always hear about crashes from people driving stupidly. But I really like the idea of getting out of the city sometimes, and the only other route to elsewhere is on the mainland, which a little cost prohibitive with a $85.00 ferry ride. Also, the Whippletree Junction, which houses the most AMAZING retro antique store/book store is in Duncan... incentive, right?

2. Visit Chilliwack.

I grew up in a small-(ish...okay it's 80,000 people) farming town about an hour or so away from Vancouver. I've been back once in five years, which kind of makes me terrible. All my family is from here, so I don't have a reason to visit for holidays etc, but I do miss friends there and miss where I grew up. (despite the rampant crime, smell of manure and smog... but who can say no to water-slides and mountains? not this lady) Plus, I've never eaten a cupcake from

Little Bow Sweets

, so this needs to be rectified immediately.

3. Design a WordPress site.

I'm going to school and learning how to do this, and I hope it can be super interactive and fancy. That's my plan.

4. Make a card line.

Man, I'm giving away

all

my secrets in this one. I've been planning to put my doodles onto cards and see about selling them online and in shops! It's a dream of mine and I'm taking steps to make it a reality. 

5. Sell a card.

Making a card line is one thing, selling them is another! haha

6. Start a project life binder or some kind of scrap book.

I'm really bad at this kind of thing, but I love the results. As I'm taking more pictures lately, it would be nice to have some way to display them. (this might have to start after school, I'm already feeling bombarded!)

7. Do a craft fair.

The last one was a bit of a bomb, but I think in the right venue and the right audience my stuff would do pretty well. I was also extraordinarily shy for the last one, being a receptionist is pretty good training for talking with the public. 

8. Eat healthier, get in shape

(the perennial goal, right?) But I really am taking steps to stop being so cooped up indoors working on indoor things when the weather is nice. 

9. Make Dearest Doodles something better.

Expand the content, make the content better, create a gallery... just basically market my drawings in a better way. 

10. Learn to bring my camera with me

.. most of the time. Sometimes carrying around a huge heavy camera is a super pain in the bum, but I want to just haul the thing around with me so I can get some more spontaneous photos. 

11. Phew, is anyone finding this a lot of things yet? I sure am! Number eleven is

get a larger tattoo,

or at least plan it out. I kind of want to reward myself for getting in shape by getting a tattoo on my upper arm, like I've always dreamed. Definitely exciting for a tattoo lover like me. I feel unfinished. 

12. Find love

. Well, that's always nice, isn't it? I'm not going to kick myself too hard for this one if it doesn't happen, but I'm going to try. Online dating profile? Check. Receptive to meeting new people? Check. Lots of terrible coffee dates that make me want to cry? Strange people that make air quotes constantly? Awkward walks in the rain? Confusing signals and feeling like I want to be alone forever? Rejection? Check. Check. Check. Check and Check. Is it worth it?

Definitely. 

13. Write and illustrate a children's book.

Yup, definitely giving away ALL my secrets on this one. This MIGHT be in the works.... maybe one day I'll say more. *shifty eyes*

14. Have longer hair.

No more pixie cuts. I mean it! No matter how ugly/awkward/bushy my hair gets. 

15.

Learn adobe illustrator, photoshop, coding etc.

(enrolled in school so I'd say that's a check)

16. De clutter and fine tune my home.

With a lot of hobbies comes a lot of stuff. But I don't want my house to look like I have a lot of stuff, just nice homey stuff that I love. I'm gonna work on storage, getting rid of junk, and making things work. 

17. Find a proper sketchbook.

Use it. A lot. Actually draw stuff and experiment. For a "creative" person I'm waaaay too controlled when it comes to sketchbooks. I want everything to be perfect. That's not what they are for. I need to learn this!

18. Revamp blogs.

I've taken Elsie's E-Course Blog {Design} Love and am going to work on the designs for both my blogs. 

19. Read 15 books

(we'll see!) I usually only read when I'm totally burnt out from everything else I could be doing (so sad, but I've gotten a few under my belt due to my knitting absence, so we'll see!)

20. Blog more

. Just write about what I'm working on, take more pictures, share more things. Try to find a balance between scheduled posts and spontaneity. 

21. Start knitting again.

Maybe not as manically as I used to, and probably won't be taking a ton of commissions. I want to stock up for that craft fair I want to do. I want to have a totally kick-ass table. 

22. Rewrite Resume

with all the cool things I've learned at school, and with all the skills I've learned working my current job. I'm a completely different person from that awkward, shy girl who applied for the receptionist position seven months ago. Seriously, how can seven months change someone so completely? Craziness!

23. Learn to enjoy baking.

Okay, this is probably a stretch. Okay, a huge stretch. It's in direct defiance of #8. But I kinda wouldn't mind a batch of cookies in the often every one in awhile... we'll see. 

24. Get people to actually read this blog.

Well, I've had 10,000 views.... not too shabby, but I'd love to get some regular, commenting readers. Probably going to have to branch out and advertise more. Maybe get a business plan... hmmm.... haha. (thank you for those who do read! I appreciate you!)

Phew. That's worse than New Years.

Tuesday Treasures Birthday Edition

My birthday is on Monday, so I decided that I'd theme this week's Tuesday Treasures my wishlist items from Etsy. This is all imaginary, but these are a few of my favouritist things at the moment that I wouldn't mind owning. (I'm terrible with wishlists, everyone else does it but always feel a twinge of greedy... but I can like things on the internet and share them, so I should probably get over that. Haha.)

Anyways, I'm feeling a little weird about turning twenty-four. It just sounds OLD. I felt like this about twenty-three last year, but twenty-four is just so close to twenty-five, and twenty-five is only five years from thirty and OMG WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!?! (Does anyone go through these feelings?) haha.

I'm caught between trying to figure out my life (job, husband, house and kids do have to start somewhere right?!) and trying to just be chill and let things happen. It's a weird balance, because if you don't go out and try to get things in your life, you'll probably stay single, and live alone in your rented apartment, knitting dolls.(panic attack ensues!)  But if you try too hard, you won't let things happen naturally and then you're back to being a spinster, renting, and knitting dolls. Life is so complicated nowadays. Can I time travel to 1965 and get married out of high school and have two kids by now? It would definitely take the stress off a bit! (not to mention the amazing clothes... ulterior motive?)

Anyways, now that I've freaked myself out, here's some pretty things to take my mind off it:

This gorgeous three stone bezel set ring (though three might be too wide for my finger)

This GORGEOUS print from one of my favourite flash artists

This GORGEOUS necklace from Fable and Fury (Okay, I might have to cave and actually buy this one)

I love the retro-starburst-ishness of this ring!

This amazing serotonin necklace. I'm in love!

Links: 

Have a lovely week, and keep your fingers crossed that the weather is nice so I can pet some baby goats (and not so baby goats) at the petting zoo! I'll have to take photos!

Here We Go

So, since I was six, the longest period of time I've had away from school was five months. This five months was when I finished my University Degree, and was trying to decide what to do with my life. Then I started Sprott Shaw and the craziness ensued, and here I am a medical office assistant at a physiotherapy clinic. During the five months off, I dreamed up my dollies and started Blue Anchor Crafts. Well, I graduated from Sprott Shaw in September, took an evening class at Camosun College and HERE I GO AGAIN!

Yup, I'm starting school again. I'm taking a web design class at a local business college that's one-on-one and I can still work my regular shifts at work! I'm going to be learning how to use Illustrator, Photoshop, Dream Weaver, coding, and how to make a website with Wordpress!  *dances around like a maniac*. I'm pretty excited.

Not only will it boost my resume (Look at this girl, she has a History Degree, MOA Diploma and a Web Design Certificate and is under 25) hopefully getting me out of the reception part and working doing other things in an office one day, but it will be SO helpful for Blue Anchor Crafts and Dearest Doodles, which I have pretty big plans for in the near future. I feel like I'm finally going to have the tools to work with to do what I love, even if it ends up just being just a side project.

I'm really going to try to blog more regularly and discuss my dreams, goals, and things that I'm working on. I have a few projects I'm excited to share with you, but they might be rather long term... especially with throwing school into the mix! Stay tuned for fun and exciting things here and at Dearest Doodles!

Tuesday Treasures

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend! The weather is ridiculously warm, the ocean breeze is beautiful and the birds are singing. Spring is officially here! I'm definitely excited about getting outdoors more this summer.... not being stuck in a classroom like last year. I've caught the spring-cleaning-fever and have reorganized most of the cupboards in my apartment (a thing I usually avoid like the plague!) I'm feeling excited to get some projects started (I'll tell you more later!)

Here's my favourite things from Etsy this week....

1.jpg

This print is AMAZING! I'm in love with this artist.

I love these lamps! In my dark apartment, you can never have too much lighting!

Crazy expensive, but crazy cool mid-century mermaids!

Amazing retro bowl!

il_570xN.402855313_2dfo.jpg

Tuesday Treasures

Easter is almost upon us! How is it spring already? I guess because it never snowed I don't feel like we're properly done with winter yet (I can feel people shaking their fists at me as I type) but the sunshine and smell of freshly cut lawns is rather lovely. Daffodils aren't too bad either.

I'm a spring baby (actually, my birthday is on Easter every once and awhile) so I'm always fond of this time of the year. When I was a little kid, we used to have Easter Egg hunts for my birthday parties, usually rather soggy due to April weather. Fun times nevertheless. While I won't have any Easter Egg hunting this year (being an adult is overrated) I will dye eggs like I have since I was a kid. I'll be posting my lovely eggies later this week!

Here's my Easter Themed Tuesday Treasures!

Links

Have a lovely short-week everyone! Any big plans for Easter?

Tuesday Treasures

Hello Everyone,

This whole not knitting thing is kind of bumming me out. Especially because I literally have BASKETS of new yarn in never-before-knitted-with-by-me colours. I'm not really having the best week, so to cheer myself up I'm going to start updating my illustrations page more (it's my left wrist that's healing, so drawing can't bug it too much.. thank goodness I'm a righty!)

Check it out here!

This Tuesday Treasures is a little less cutesy that usual (mood?) but I came across some really cool things on Etsy this week, so I thought I'd share.

 I'm in love with these city-landmark inspired prints! Such a great idea! 

Fable and Fury is one of my favourite Etsy shops. They have THE neatest things there. I love how big their necklaces are, and I love the obscure/creepy themes. I'm super attracted to large necklaces right now because I just bought one for my birthday (waves flag sarcastically) that turned out smaller than a penny. I'm a little disappointed. Fable and Fury has a necklace that has REDRUM and an axe on it that I'm rather fond of (I grew up on horror movies, okay??)

Speaking of growing up, I can't believe I've never showcased anything with my high school celebrity crush on it. Yup, that'd be Mr. Manson up there. While a little unstable, he is very intelligent and rather a good singer/writer/director/artist. What can I say, I like my guys well rounded! (and tattooed and skinny) Isn't that print of him amazing? (Yes, I like horror movies, sing with gusto to Manson in my car, knit like an old lady and collect vintage figurines...)

Back to something a bit more cute. I am in LOVE with this collar. The big black bow is adorable and it kind of reminds me of Sailor Moon (another childhood love) 

Anyways, that's this week's Tuesday Treasures! The sun is out right now and it's hard to believe it's 7pm!

Hope everyone has a lovely week!

Tuesday Treasures

Hello!

After a few weeks of letting it slip (how do the weeks go so fast anyways? It's madness!) here's this week's Tuesday Treasures!

Not too much to report here, except Spring is on its way, and the dreaded daylight savings time is upon us. (Boo! Getting up at 6am was bad enough.. now I have to wake up at 5am!)  I was perfectly happy with sleeping in, getting to work in the daylight, and not having it be light at 7pm. Silliness indeed! It was lovely waking up this morning listening to the rain... and so hard to get out of bed! In other news, I was an idiot and tripped in the dark and fell on my bad wrist on the weekend (no alcohol involved I might add--- just stupidity.) Thanks to my wrist brace for making the work week (and this post) possible.

Here's this week's Tuesday Treasures!

Cemetery Part II

I had no idea that such a beautiful place existed in my city. Victoria is old (older than Canada in fact, with settlement starting in 1843.. which is pretty impressive considering you can't get much more west than us!) Our downtown is filled with charming old buildings, but for some reason I didn't think we'd have a cemetery to match. I started out near the ocean, where the smaller, more simple headstones are. They're beautiful and peaceful in their own way, but I hoped to find at least a few stunning examples of the workmanship of the old days. Then I came across her...

Wow. This is probably one of my favourite photos from the day. I can't quite describe her expression... she doesn't look peaceful or protective... more stricken... it's rather haunting actually.

I may have squealed when I came across this. (as in appropriate as heel clicking, I know.) From the headstones, I believe the demographics in Victoria were probably heavily English Protestant, and, as I studied religion a lot in my history degree, I believe that protestants usually back away from the gaudy and opulent..... This lovely gentleman and lady are Italian. Absolutely amazing! 

Also a large Scottish Population! (Like my ancestors!)

This fellow was my age when he died over 100 years ago. So sad.

Even more hauntingly beautiful in silhouette

I love how nature always finds its way into things crafted by humans.... so beautiful.

Such a sad story!

Cemetary Part 1