Welcome to my first blog post for 2019 – will it be one of barely a dozen, or one of many? Nobody knows!
What I do know is that I am deep into my summer holidays, with another week to go.
So far I’ve done pretty much nothing except lob around at home, Christmas celebrations aside.
Isn’t it funny how Christmas seems so long ago already? Time is a such a weird bendy thing.
I received some fabulous books for Christmas, and an unexpectedly fierce summer cold and cough from my sweet nephews.
I’ve been coughing and spluttering for about 10 days, it’s been kind of gross. On the upside, I’ve been able to rest lots and take naps and drink loads of orange juice. I am still coughing as I type this, but my ribs don’t ache anymore.
Back to the great books – thank you to my sisters and sister-in-law – I absolutely loved Kon Karapanigiotidis’ The Power Of Hope. As you may know, Kon is the founder of the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre (ASRC) in Melbourne and he is a human rights activist, lawyer, an amazing vegan cook and an incredible storyteller.
The things that stood out to me most in the book are Kon’s unquenchable passion and his vulnerability. He writes straight from the heart, detailing the sacrificial work ethos of his migrant parents, his lonely university days, how the ASRC came to exist, and his desire to be a father. I can’t recall a more candid book by a male author.
I highly recommend this book to you. Thank you Kon. You rock.
I’m not a maker of resolutions. Are you?
I don’t buy into the “new year, new you” crapola that absolutely saturates media around this time of year. I don’t see the need to start a new year weighed down with a list of lofty expectations as long as my arm. I figure I made it through 2018, no radical course adjustments necessary.
Things I definitely do NOT resolve to do:
Take up less space!
Hmm, ever noticed that resolutions seem to have a diminishing theme? Yuk.
What I would like to have, just as I wanted last year, is more creativity. I’ve decided that Fat Mum Slim’s Photo A Day challenge is a simple way I can engage my creative eye this month. Four days in, and I’m killing it!
Holidays always means loads of TV watching for me. I unashamedly love TV!
I just binged the wonderful Marie Kondo’s latest series on Netflix. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
She has such a great spirit about her, don’t you think? I found, even with the language barrier, it feels like she’s really non-judgemental and genuinely wants people to live calmer, happier, tidier lives. She gets the undies folding a bit wrong, but one person can’t know everything!
That’s pretty much my holiday wrap up so far. I do hope I’ll get a few fun activities in before I head back to work, maybe some painting or sketching and a nice lunch out somewhere? We shall see!
Keep noticing the ordinary, extraordinary things won’t you?
I was bringing my rubbish bin in a few nights ago and noticed my overgrown lawn was putting on a show. Popped the bin away, grabbed my camera and spent a few minutes taking photos – of a beautiful weed. Glorious! Did you know that dandelion means lion’s teeth? Neither did I! I can see why though.
How does something so fragile hold its form? Hmmmm, maybe there’s something in that for all of us.
Here’s to those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, and to the coming of autumn!
Tell me how your summer is going.
What did you get for Christmas?
Favourite read of the summer so far?
Are you pro-Kondo?
PS: This is an unsponsored, friendship based announcement!
I would like to give a shout-out to Bron of Real Mum Style, and promote her upcoming Body Confidence + Wardrobe Happiness workshop for Melbourne peeps. It’s coming up in March, and I think it’s going to be a corker. Bron doesn’t do formulas and rules for dressing, she does confidence and fun!
Bron is a wonderfully colourful, fully down to earth, positive vibes giving lady who decided she was sick of talking shit about herself and her mum bod, so she stopped!
I am pumped about this upcoming event, and there are only a handful of tickets left. More info on Bron’s Instagram (or if the effing link will work) here!
When I started this blog two and a half years ago (wow, how time flies!) I thought it would be all about giving you the verbs, and the nouns, and the adjectives, in snappy sentences and witty paragraphs.
Little did I know that along the way, I would discover new creative passions in drawing and painting. It’s funny what you don’t know until you do, isn’t it? And even funnier what you’re convinced you can’t do.
As last year came to a close, I decided to undertake a year long creative project.
I decided that I would sketch every day in 2016, that’s 366 consecutive days.
I began here, with a sketch of my creative space.
I’m happy, and a little bit proud, that I have just crossed the half way point of my self-imposed challenge.
Yippee! It’s all downhill from here, or something like that.
I haven’t drawn every single day; I’d give myself about 95% in the consistency stakes, but I have drawn 188 times, with sketch 189 still to come for today.
Some days I’ve picked up a pen, some days I’ve picked up a paintbrush, some days I’ve done both, and forming the daily habit of creating something, no matter how rushed or laboured, has given me a great deal of pleasure.
I wanted to mark the half way milestone by sharing some of my daily sketches and paintings with you, because I’ve had such lovely encouragement of my beginner’s efforts.
Honestly, I doubt that I would have kept going without the affirmation I’ve received.
We never really know how much our encouragement of others means do we?
That’s why I’m such a fan of saying out loud the positive things we think when we read a great article, or taste a delicious meal, or see a painting that makes us happy, or love someone’s speech, or shoes, or smile. It only takes a moment to say “that was so great/your words really moved me/thank you for sharing that” or tweet someone a high five, or shoot an email to a friend, or even a writer or artist whose style speaks to you.
I can’t possibly pick my favourites, so I offer this sampling of the past 188 days.
I give you the sketch…
Are you a sketcher? A doodler? A maker? A creative dreamer?
Fan the flame. You never know what it might ignite.
All my daily sketches are on Instagram @igiveyoutheverbs, you can search for them using my hashtag #IGYTsketch, and by month using #IGYTsketchJanuary etc.
It’s Good Friday, and the day started goodly indeed, as I made myself a festively appropriate breakfast of a toasted hot cross bun and a lovely cup of coffee, then hopped (#seewhatididthere) back into bed and enjoyed my first fix of the podcast Stuff You Should Know.
Pleasingly, I now know more about Carl Sagan, and Grimm’s fairy tales and how continents got their names.
Do you like podcasts? They’re certainly super popular at the moment. I like Serial (though season 2 isn’t as captivating as season 1), Short & Curly, Let It Be and now I definitely rate SYSK.
Podcasts satisfy and fuel my curious nature. I think it’s super awesome that we have access to so much information just with a press of a button. My SYSK playlist (so far) has episodes on mass hysteria, passports, colour, Tupperware, ocean currents, pyramids and the Enlightenment. Bring. It. On. I’ll have to go back to the library soon, so I can download more eps.
I had another lovely creative time with my niece Matilda this week. Here’s our latest collaboration. I am loving my role as “the creative auntie”.
This week Matilda chose acrylics, and I encouraged her to mix some colours.
I think this pink house with Matilda mixed blue-y green window frames looks sensational.
At my house, there are no mistakes when you create. Art critics be gone!
We sat side by side at my small desk, collaborating on where the stripes should stop and the spots begin — so much fun. Hopefully not just for me!
And you can’t create on an empty stomach, so we made a batch of pikelets and gobbled them happily.
Autumn seems to be kicking in properly, at last. The temperatures are dropping, and the sky has been super blue. I often stand at my back door and snap pics of the sky. Blue skies and gutters – which captures your attention?
I choose the sky, though the lines in this shot make me smile.
I’m still sketching/painting/drawing every day, dipping in and out of online challenges and my obsession with all things autumnal. I’ve got 84 consecutive days under my belt.
There is endless inspiration in nature, as well as in every day domestic things. In fact, wherever I look I see beautiful lines and shapes and colours. I want to have eyes to see beauty in the ordinary.
I see it in buttons, in a fallen leaf, in a collection of house plants.
I hope you’re cosy and close to a hot cross bun and a cuppa. And I hope you always have the ability see beauty in ordinary things.
PS If you love autumn too, tag me in your fave autumnal pic on Instagram @igiveyoutheverbs, or jump on to my seasonal hashtag #crushingonautumn.
Last weekend I was away from home, and it was so great.
This weekend, I am at home, and that is great too.
Though I had a sensational time last weekend, I’m definitely a homebody kind of person. I love my place, and my space. I love being quiet.
I’ve been reading a few posts this week about the event that plane took me too last weekend, which was a blogging conference. There are so many things to “take away” from big events like that, action plans to implement, changes to make, products to launch, contacts to follow up.
So many things.
Here’s what I’ve taken from it – I travelled lighter this year and found that freeing.
Yes, physically my luggage was much lighter, and smaller, thank goodness, but I also feel like I went with less fear and anxiety and worry about fitting in and networking and being, well, shazam-y.
This year I worried much less about clothes or fitting in, topics which understandably seemed to create a lot of anxiety for people. I rocked my usual style of being pretty casual. Jeans, or my new and oh-my-God-so-comfy 17 Sundays joggers, throw on a top of some description, and I’m good to go.
I think that the shift in my attitude allowed me to meet people in a relaxed way. I met some fabulous people, and I hope the seeds of some new friendships were sown.
The content of the conference was great, it always is, and the sessions I liked best were the ones delivered with passion and enthusiasm.
Some people are drawn to conferences because of the international “headliners”. Though they’re great at what they do, I couldn’t give two figs about anyone’s global reach or follower count. Last year I’d never heard of the headliners, it was the same this year.
This session alone was worth the price of admission.
Darren Rowse, Mr ProBlogger, asked us about ourselves, our purpose and how we use our time.
These things have nothing to do with blogging per se, and they’re the bedrock of it.
What Darren pointed out was, like everything in life, the stuff we produce on our blogs, comes from who and how we are.
When we are living well, pursuing the things that light us up, taking care of ourselves, our blogs will show that.
When we run ourselves ragged, jam too much in, or stop caring, that shows up too.
That’s why I’m here, typing while the sun comes up this morning.
I want to write from who I am. I want everything here to be real, and hopefully relatable.
I’m not selling anything, making money, or plotting becoming the biggest blogger in the world.
I don’t want those things.
I just want you.
I want you to read along with me, to teach me, perhaps to learn from me, or see something from a different perspective.
I want to make you laugh and think and reflect.
I really want you to pick up a paint brush or pencil and express your creativity! That stuff is gold.
Maybe this little blog will never “go” anywhere, maybe it will. That’s not the point of it.
The point of it is what’s happening right now.
After I hit publish on this, you’ll be reading these words and I just want to remind you this morning that you matter, that you CAN be the person you want to be and that this is a place where dreamers are welcomed.
Like Darren, I want to know, how are you? Not in a supermarket check out convo way, but really… how are you?
What lights you up? What frustrates you?
If you had one wish for yourself (not your kids or your partner), and one wish for the world, what would they be?
My answers orbit around these themes – self-acceptance, creativity, and encouragement.
They are my lofty goals, and little by little, I’m living them out.
How about you?
PS I love hearing from you! Use that comment section ✌🏼️
A grey autumn afternoon seems the perfect time for a post about colour, don’t you think?
At the start of the year, I decided to do a weekly creative post here at I Give You The Verbs, so 52 Paintings (a category on the blog) and #paintisaverb (for Instagram/Twitter etc) were created. (If something’s worth doing, it deserves its own blog category and hashtag, right?) Here’s the first post in the series.
Over the past 14 weeks, I have painted more than I have over the past 46 years. Some weeks the paints were out day after day, and some weeks I was less motivated or found it hard to make the time. When I got a job, I treated myself to a couple of one-on-one art lessons with Selina of I I Can Draw With Selina and I discovered that I can actually draw. I think I’ll stick with painting, but it was awesome to achieve something I thought was completely out of my reach. I drew a cupcake! Selina taught me so much in our lessons; I have new skills, and more importantly, I have new confidence in my creativity.
A couple of weeks ago someone in my bloggy Facebook gang shared a link to The 100 Day Project, which you can read all about here. In a nutshell,the 100-Day Project is a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal. For the 100-Day Project, it’s not about fetishising finished products—it’s about the process.
The great thing about the project is that the manner of making is up to each individual who decides to get on board. I know people who are doing #100daysofhandlettering, #100daysofmakingmandalas, and #100daysofrandomcreativity to name just a few.
I am doing #100daysofpausing. I didn’t think I could commit to being creative in the same way for 100 days running, so by choosing to pause, I can take a photograph, paint, write, cook, reflect, strike a yoga pose, look at the sky, sing a song…. the options are only limited by my imagination.
Here are some of the things I’ve paused to make, see, enjoy, appreciate and feel so far.
I am posting every day on my Instagram account. If you don’t already, why not follow me and we can count off the 100 days together?
This challenge is an extension of what I wanted when I started #paintisaverb, which is to be deliberately creative, to make creativity part of my every day life and not some far off, only for the ‘talented few’ thing that I couldn’t enjoy. For the time being there might not be specific 52 Paintings posts each week, but I’m still creating and making!
There are about 80 days remaining of #the100dayproject – it’s not too late to get on board, and commit to making as a daily practice. I am loving it, I’m thinking more creatively, and appreciating the time spent on making. It’s not something I have to ‘squeeze in’, it’s something I look foward to every day – it might be as quick as taking a photo, or painting for 10 minutes or longer. It’s the act of making that counts, not the amount of time spent or the results.
And don’t we all need that? Something that we do for FUN, not for a result or a critique? I think so.
Good morning. Drumroll please…… this is my 100th blog post, and my first blogiversary today. Wow!
Cake for everyone (which fits in nicely with #sundaybakingsunday)!
One year ago today I Give You The Verbs was born. I haven’t given birth to a child, but boy there were a lot of tears and feelings of helplessness, with a good measure of ‘I can’t do this!’ thrown in as IGYTV came into the world. But I did do it, and now we’re here.
I am really chuffed with this little space I’ve created. It isn’t the biggest or best blog out there, to which I say phew and not my goal! Let someone else fret over stats and content and usefulness and niches and targeted social media campaigns and all that jazz. I’m a happy hobbyist. I write this blog because I want to. It’s a creative endeavour, not a commercial one (but if you’re a publisher or agent reading this, let’s talk!)
This space is a non-competitive zone. I do not and will not buy into the idea that my blog is in competition with anyone else’s. I know others disagree, particularly if blogging is tied to creating an income stream, it’s a different beast, but I just do not give this notion of thousands of people bent over their laptops, elbows up, hoping to knock others out, any credence.
This is actually a topic that keeps coming up and it really makes me cranky, especially when I see it crippling new bloggers before they’ve even hit publish for the first time. Ugh!
Do you think those creative heroes of yours, who toil away diligently at their craft, are thinking about the other guy when they’re writing a novel, or creating a painting, or crafting a song? Their manager might be, their agent might be, but if you tried to write a great novel or song or anything of beauty while thinking about your ‘competition’ I reckon those projects would never see the light of day. Guess what? There’s room for everyone. Look at your bookcase or CD collection – there’s the proof, right there.
The plaint fact is, I get cranky at quite a lot of things… that’s how I’m wired, especially when I see people limiting or doubting themselves. I even got cranky in the middle of a video I made last night about my gorgeous blog’s birthday. I’m not going to bother with a #sorrynotsorry tag, I’m not into that silly I have to add a hashtag to my opinions (just in case I offend) stuff. I have opinions, and I own them. I’ve even completely changed my mind on some things over the years.
Sometimes I even ramble about these things on YouTube. Yep, I’m one of those bloggers.
See what happens! I get fired up and end up on Tangent Highway.
So let’s take the next exit off Tangent Hwy, and get back to my birthday/blogiversary.
What a fantastic thing it is to reach a little milestone and scramble up on a rock and look back at the year that’s just flown by. Yes there are stats I could recite, but I’m not going to do that. It’s not what this is about. It will never be what this is about.
As anyone who reads this blog knows, it has been a year with a few challenges for me, but more than that it has been a year where I’ve been able to unfurl my wings into new creative territory. How awesome is that?
A year ago I did not blog, or write regularly, I didn’t paint, I didn’t own oil pastels, I didn’t think I could paint or be creative in that way. Guess what? I was mistaken. I had boxed myself in to a certain type of creativity – my love for words. Now I know that most creative endeavours are just an effort away.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Is it crochet or triathlon or learning Japanese? Here’s how to do it. Ready… HAVE A CRACK. Just try it.
Try it without expecting to be the best, fastest or most fluent. Try it without any of your ‘measuring’ sensors engaged. Just try it. Does it feel weird and hard? That’s okay. If you’re a bit like me it may feel like you want to throw something through a window as you bump into inevitable hurdles… take a deep breath, say a kind word to yourself, and just try again.
That’s basically what this blogging caper has been for me. So. Many. Hurdles. I can recall more than one occasion when l I was sitting in front my laptop and wanted to scream (and sometimes did) and throw that box of technological mumbo jumbo into the wall (glad I didn’t do that). So I had to give myself a talking to: Hey, Annette, have you done this before? No. So why don’t you put down your enormously unhelpful load of expectations and just TRY. I’m glad I listened to myself – and the many, many other encouraging voices I was surrounded by during the Blog With Pip course I did last February. Those ladies are the reason we’re here. Pipsters forever!
If you can embrace trying, teamed with a lot of encouraging self-talk, you’ll be astounded at what happens. Seriously.
And here we are, 100 posts later.
No walls with laptop shaped holes in them.
I’m still learning, still trying things, and when I need to, I remind myself I’m not in competition – not even with myself.
I want to give a special shout out to just two people today, which is a really difficult thing for me to put a limit on, but if I tried to name everyone who has encouraged me this post would go on for days and days. Just know this, YOU, the person reading right now, your time and attention to this blog means so much to me. When you hit the like button, or leave a comment, or join my #InstaTribe or follow IGYTV on Facebook…. every time, it means something special. It registers. You matter to me.
The two women I want to thank are women of integrity and passion. They are Australian bloggers and they are both decidedly lovely.
The first is Pip Lincolne; a do-er, blogger, author, creator, encourager, crafter, teacher, and a deadset inspiration. Pip is one of those people who is on the go a lot. She pours her heart into every endeavour she’s involved with. She’s sensitive, she’s strong, and smart and generous. Pip teaches the Blog With Pip course (alongside a lot of other cool courses), and it was under her tutelage that I learned how to get this blog from an idea to a reality. Pip answered my desperate emails in those early weeks (along with loads of other students’ cries for help), she helped me narrow down the best choice for my blog name and she even came up with my tagline. She’s my blog guru, and a woman I have enormous respect for.
The second is Nikki Parkinson: a champion supporter of women, style maven, author, blogger, a really hard working and generous lady, community fosterer and also a deadset inspiration. I have been following Nikki’s blog Styling You for quite a few years, and she’s always been so generous with her style advice and encouragement to me, as well as to thousands of other women. Do you know the #everydaystyle thing on social media? That’s Nikki’s! As for the power of Nikki’s encouragement of this endeavour, I can’t even tell you what it means to me. Nikki really sees people.
So to Pip and Nikki, I offer my sincere thanks. You both truly inspire me.
There are others my fingers are itching to add to the list… like Beth from BabyMac and Kayte from Woogsworld… ladies who write blogs that I love, ladies who have both taken time to encourage me online and reply to comments and messages, and who didn’t roll their eyes at me when I cried on them at ProBlogger. (I wasn’t fangirl crying on them, I was new blogger overwhelm crying, but it’s a known fact that I am not a smooth networker.)
Damnit! I added more than two. But that’s it. There’s no way I going to add the lovely Sonia from Sonia Styling or my New Zealand BWP buddy Rachel from The Chronic Ills of Rach to the list. No way. I said two, I slipped to four, but see, I didn’t even link to these last two…. oh wait, I did. #sorrynotsorry ha!
See what I mean, so many people to thank, and it’s NOT about “names” in the blogging world, it is about women who have encouraged me that I Give You The Verbs isn’t a completely pointless vanity project.
I’m going to leave you with this awesome piece of advice from Nikki of Styling You.
Nikki gave us this piece of advice in her session at ProBlogger last year, and I think it is absolutely foundational, not just for blogging, but for life. There’s such a temptation to be busybodying into what others are doing, how they’re doing it, why their party/business/marriage/blog seems more successful/fabulous/popular/cool than yours. Nikki told us to stop giving so much attention to what others are doing. Feed your own guests. Look after them, give your energy and attention to the people who are at your table.
Great advice, don’t you think?
So that’s my 100th post for I Give You The Verbs. Sheesh, I’m so proud of this space, of persevering, of taking chances in posting on days when I’ve been feeling really vulnerable. I’m humbled and amazed by the response my writing receives. Truly gobsmacked. I feel like I have spent a lot of time in the past twelve months saying thank you. I’ve needed people’s help and encouragement, and people have been so generous with both. So, I’m happy to say it again, thank you.
Here’s to my ‘baby’ I Give You The Verbs (aka IGYTV), and mostly here’s to you, the people who make this space what it is!
Here’s to trying, and playing and creativity.