The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter

I’m Baaaaack!

Photo by Justine Camacho on Unsplash

I’ve let this blog slip massively. I’ve not been well (emotionally and physically) and it’s been very hard to summon up the energy to do any writing at all. I just haven’t been able to motivate myself to do it, whether that’s ‘it’ is the action of sitting at my computer and typing, or whether it’s the mental process of coming up with things to write. Either way, things haven’t got done, and posts haven’t been written, and it got to the point where I had to say to myself that I had to take a break, for my own sanity.

I’m feeling a little better now, and have been able to write, so I’m hoping that I can get back on track with this blog, because I really have missed it.

The thing is that sometimes, life gets in the way, and in the past I would have blamed myself for not being strong enough to be able to cope with it, and to also get on with things (like writing these posts), but I am slowly learning that it’s okay to say that I’m having a bad day, and that the post I want to write will wait until tomorrow, and it will probably be better for me giving myself some time. I’m not saying that I never have those feelings of ‘not being good enough’, but I am more aware of them now, and I can try and practice being kind to myself.

So, I guess what this post was really about was to say that I’m back, and that I hope you’ll join me on this next journey this coming month. 🙂


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Going Old School

Going Old School

A Practice In Reminiscing

I remember the Christmas that my parents bought me my first electronic word processor. I remember the excitement when I tore the wrapping paper away, and when I opened the box and switched it on, watching the screen whirring to life. It was a Canon StarWriter, and I loved that machine.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, pretty much from the first time that I realised that I didn’t have to just read books, but that I could actually create them, too. That Christmas, I started writing on that little word processor, and I loved it. The feeling of freedom that writing gives me is like nothing else on this earth. It is a joy like no other, and I am sad to say that I had lost it for quite a while.

The thing is that until the last year, I had been a carer for fifteen years, and if I’m honest, that took up most of my time and energy, leaving me very little left to give to my writing.

That changed in October 2017, in a heartbreaking way, when my sister, and best friend (whom I was caring for) passed away suddenly. It has taken me a long time to get to the point when I finally feel able to focus and dedicate the time to my writing once more.

The thing is that, having made that decision, I have struggled to write using my laptop. There are any number of distraction free apps on the market, but none of them prevent the constant notifications that are forever at our finger tips.

So, I started searching to see if there was something else that I could use, which is when the memory of writing on my little word processor as a child, came to me.

Now, obviously, we are in an age, where portability is essential, so, while I got out my StarWriter (yes, I still have it, and it still powers up flawlessly) to use at home, I began looking for something that would be a good, portable alternative.

This is when I stumbled upon this gem. The AlphaSmart Neo2. Looking at the writers forums, I saw that a number of novelists were working from this device rather than from more modern, and possibly high tech devices.

The thing is that the Neo2 does exactly what I need it to. It gives me a full sized keyboard, and a small screen, which I can see about six lines of text. There is no internet, and no pesky notifications to distract me, so I can simply write, write, write. The screen works in bright sunlight, and with a lamp, so I can literally take it anywhere with me, and the battery life is approximately 700 hours, on guess what?! Three AA Batteries!

I have had this device since Saturday, and I can honestly say that I have probably written more in these few days than I have in the last month or so.

This is the thing though… as humans, we have a tendency to over complicate things, with fancy apps, and cloud backup, when really, all we need is the ability to put the words in our head down in some way.

With my Neo, I simply write, and then when I want to transfer it to a document, I simply connect it to my laptop with a USB cable and “send” the document there. In fact, I’ve done that with this very post that you’re now reading.

I’m not saying that it will work for everyone, but for me, it has given my writing a new lease of life, for which I’m so grateful for.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Knitting

Knitting

I’m Still Learning…

Oh have I had some fun with learning to knit this last month. In January, I learnt to purl, which opened up the world of knitting to me.

I began with some pretty black yarn and multi coloured thread plyed together, which works up into a beautiful ombre effect. I made a scarf, using stocking stitch, which, for any of you that don’t know, means one row of knit, and another of purl, alternating. This gives one bumpy side and one flat side.

It also tends to make the yarn curl at the edges, which means that I will need to block my finished piece. Blocking basically entails wetting the finished piece, and then pinning it out to a board, in order to allow the yarn to naturally shrink and dry flat.

Since making the scarf, I decided that I wanted to try doing a rib stitch. This is where the fun started. This stitch consists of alternating a knit stitch, with a purl stitch…

The problem is that my brain seemed to be unable to comprehend this. I couldn’t work out how to hold the yarn. I couldn’t work out how I should begin each row. I even ended up creating stitches… like, brand new ones that my knitter friends tell me don’t exist.

Yeah. That was fun. It was like I was doing a backwards purl. So confusing.

Anyway, I think I’ve finally gotten my brain around the mechanics of rib stitch now, so that is my plan for my next scarf… a pink, pale pink and green striped, ribbed scarf.

I’m hoping that it’ll be nice and tactile, which will also help my anxiety.

Watch this space…


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

January’s Illustrations

January’s Illustrations

52 Illustrations Project: An Update

Photo by Tim Arterbury on Unsplash

At the start of the year, I began a project to complete an illustration a week. This is an update so far.

My first illustration, was a digital painting of a rather tipsy mouse, who was celebrating the new year. I used procreate on the ipad pro to do this piece. I am relatively new to digital painting, but I very much enjoyed working on it, and am excited to do some more digital artwork.

My second piece was a mushroom fairy house, done on 300lb hot press watercolour paper, using FaberCastell Polychromos pencils.

I wrote a review of them, which you can read here:

The third piece was a bit of an experiment. I did a coloured pencil piece of three sunflowers, on pastelmat paper. I have never used pastelmat for coloured pencils before. I read about an artist that was using it online, and thought I would try it. However, I found that I wasn’t that struck on it as a surface for coloured pencils. I am going to try again, possibly next week, and I’ll post a proper review of it when I do.

My fourth piece was a caterpillar, which was also a digital piece. This was a very quick piece, as, if I’m honest, I was running out of time. I used it as a practice in not being such a perfectionist with my work.

My fifth and final piece for January was a ladybird sat on a leaf, which was a digital drawing. It was only a quick illustration, but I still like it and it’s adding to my practice of using procreate.

So that’s it… five weeks down, and five illustrations finished. I’m excited to see what this next month brings.

Watch this space…


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Handmade

Handmade

And why we pay more for it…

Photo by Roman Spiridonov on Unsplash

As any of you who regularly reads my blog will know, I am a writer, artist and crafter. I create things, which I hope to sell. The thing is though, that as a creative, I have found that so many people really object to paying a little more for the things that I make.

It’s the same with most of my friends who are also creatives. People see the mass produced, machine made things in the big mainstream shops, at a tiny price, and then they baulk when I tell them my prices.

The thing that they aren’t taking into account is that I have trained, and practiced, and honed my skill to produce this item; I have spent hours, weeks, and sometimes months, working on it, and have poured a tiny piece of my heart into it.

This is the difference when you buy from a small independent, rather than a big chain store. Obviously, I am aware that some people simply cannot afford to not buy from a big chain, and I don’t judge them at all.

But as an example, if I were to crochet a cardigan, I would need to purchase the wool, which isn’t cheap. I then spend many hours working to create it, buying, or inventing a pattern, and correcting (probably many) mistakes that I make. I would then charge about £60 for that cardigan, which could, if desired, be adapted to fit individual shapes and sizes. I have had people claim that this is far too expensive, and yet, these same people would have no qualm about going into Marks & Spencer and purchasing a mass produced cardigan for £70–80.

How does this make sense??

This is the problem facing all small creators. We cannot possibly charge an hourly rate, as if we do, we would invariably price ourselves out of the market, and yet, these companies are effectively getting in the region of £60 an hour, and they are using mostly machines to do the work!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, when you buy handmade, you make an individual do a little happy dance. They feel valued, and worthwhile. You may pay slightly more, but you will be getting an item that is completely original, and which will generally be finished to an extremely high quality, because let’s face it, the odd complaint to somewhere like Marks & Spencer, and a refund is a drop in the ocean to them… they simply don’t care, but to a small independent creative, this same complaint could cost them a lot, not just financially if they have to issue a refund, but also in negative feedback.

So, before you go shopping in those big stores, just have a think about whether you could find a small independent creator who could give you something far nicer and better made.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Perfection

Perfection

And Why It Has No Place In Art

Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash

Since learning to draw properly (I couldn’t draw a stick man properly until the age of 22), I have gone through several stages in my journey into art.

First, it was a struggle to get the images from my head down on the page, and I grew impatient, turning out images that weren’t quite what I wanted.

Practice helped me to fix that, but then, I faced a different problem… the innate desire in me to produce ‘the perfect drawing’.

The thing is, that there really is no such thing as ‘perfect’, when it comes to art. Art is an expression of the soul, and it is not something that can be judged in the strict terms of good and bad; it is simply what feels ‘right’ to the artist creating the work.

I’m not saying that you can draw a hand and call it a house, but I am saying that sometimes it is possible to fall into the trap of trying to make something perfect, when, really, in doing so, you lose the whole point of why you began the drawing in the first place.

I have done this so many times, and it has led me to abandon a large number of pieces; it is something that I struggle with on a daily basis, thanks to my need for perfection, and it is something that I have decided to work at conquering, because in the end, it is the creating that is important to me, and not the final piece (although I try to at least strive for accuracy).

So, if you’re a seasoned artist, or someone who has never done any art past lessons at school, I want to encourage you today to just pick up a pencil, or paint brush, and create. You won’t regret it.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Crochet Mood Blanket Update

Crochet Mood Blanket

An Update

Well, January’s done. Am I the only one that thinks it kind of flew by? I can’t quite believe that we’re already a good week into the second month of the year.

I’ve had a bit of an up and down type of January, thanks to illness, and some other stuff, but I’ve also been quite creative, having done five illustrations, learned to knit (I’m not very good and need a LOT more practice), and started working on another novel just for fun.

I also kept up with this crochet challenge. I’ve managed to crochet one row for every day of January. I narrowed the colour palette down, but in reality, this was a mistake, which I intend to rectify this month.

It doesn’t look anything like a square, but you know what? I’m actually okay with that. I added in quite a lot of extra stitches, so it gets wider as the month goes on. I’m hoping that this month, I can avoid doing that.

The thing that this project has taught me already is to really think about the way the day has gone, because we can get so caught up in fleeting things, and sometimes they are no where near as bad as we think they are.

This project has helped me to keep these things in perspective. I’m hoping that the same can be said of this next month. And the good thing is that even if I am having a truly bad day, with this project I’ll be able to look back and say “Yeah, it wasn’t a good day, but I created a part of something.”


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Crocheted Mood Blanket

Crocheted Mood Blanket

A Line A Day, A Block A Month, A Blanket A Year

This year, I have introduced a new project to my routine. Some days are good days for me, and some days are not so good- that’s the thing with depression. Moods can change so easily.

It got me thinking… we all have those days where we feel like we haven’t actually managed to accomplish anything, but what if we did?

This is where my idea of a crocheted mood blanket came to me. Crochet is something that I have always found therapeutic. I read a book by Kathryn Vemillo called “Crochet Saved My Life”. In it, she talks of crippling depression and how the repetitive physical movement of crochet helped to give her something to focus on.

I guess this is where the spark came from. Imagine a crochet project made up of twelve “squares”; one for each month of the year. Every day, I plan to crochet a row in a colour that signifies the mood of the day. That way, even on my worst days, I will be able to say that I created something, and it will make me feel as if I have turned something potentially bad, into a part of something beautiful.

These are the colours I have chosen.

1. Rainbow — Hopeful

2. Yellow — Happy

3. Blue — Tired

4. Aqua — Peaceful

5. Red — Triggered

6. Black — Down

7. Pink — Creative

8. Green — Ill

9. Grey/Black — Sad

I’m hoping to post an update on this project once a month, so keep your eyes open for updates and photos. 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.