I Give You The Sketch – The Last 31 Days

Hello December! 

Good morning Summer! 

Who knew that when I decided hundreds and hundreds and HUNDREDS of days ago that I wanted to draw every day in 2016, that I’d actually do it? Not me, that’s for sure. 

Yesterday was day 335 of my #IGYTsketch adventure, and with 31 sketches left to create, I’m pleased as punch (why not Judy?) that I’ve continued to put pen or brush to paper for 11 months straight. Well, almost… I have missed days, and played catch up – which is silly, because actually there are no creativity police out there! 

The point is, I’ve kept going, not because I have to, but because creating has become part of my life. It makes me happy, relaxes and challenges me and puts me in touch with something bigger than myself. Art opens me up. 

I have had great ideas that I couldn’t quite pull off, and drawn more leaves than you could poke a stick at in a deciduous wood. I’ve drawn by the beach, at work, at home, in bed, in cafes, anywhere I’ve found myself. 

It’s all very Jack Dawson a la Titanic – I have air in my lungs, a pencil, a scrap of paper and now I’m here with you fine folks! 

Let’s take a little screenshot trip down memory lane, shall we? I posted all my sketches on Instagram, using the natty hashie #IGYTsketch, which I modified to include the month. 







To kick the year off, I sketched along with one of my now favourite artists and illustrators, Lisa Congdon. 

Lisa taught a month long class online through CreativeBug, and it was a great way to find my feet with the daily habit of creating. Love, love, loved watching her videos and seeing how my brain and hand translated what she drew. 

I think the absolute BEST thing about drawing 335 pictures (so far) and posting them online this year has been the way that’s connected me with other artists. I have met so many sensationally talented, lovely people through creating, it’s really helped me feel like part of something bigger, even though I’ve spent most of this year at home by myself. 

I bang on about people’s generosity and kindness a lot on this blog – I know – but it’s because that’s my experience of life online and off. Whether I’m writing or sharing art, people are overwhelmingly kind and encouraging. That’s RAD. 

Thank you so much people of the interweb. I have needed you this year and you’ve been here for me. 

I hope I’ve returned the kindnesses I’ve received, in some small way. 

Let’s continue our screenshot tour through the past five months, shall we? 






When I look through these snapshots of each month, I remember lots of the days I drew these things – flowers and abstracts, huts and shells and things from the IKEA catalogue, and SO many leaves, and I feel so damn grateful that I signed up for that little online creativity course Inspiration Information, I think back in July 2014. 

I had NO IDEA where that one decision could lead me. No idea whatsoever. I believed wholeheartedly that I could not draw when I started that course. I was wrong! 

Hmmm, seems to me that I need that reminder right now, and maybe you do too. 

We don’t know what’s ahead of us. No matter how much we plan or make New Year’s resolutions or how secure we feel in the world, we just don’t know what’s next. And the limits we put on ourselves, sometimes they’re total bullshit. 

That one decision, to sign up to a course that I think cost me $50, has altered my life. I was going to write, altered my creative life, but I don’t think it’s right to rope it off, to put one aspect of who I am over there, sectioned off from the other parts of me. 

With 31 days left of 2016, I plan to keep giving you the sketch. I hope you’ll see something that makes you smile or triggers a memory or brightens your day. 

I have made myself happy on crap days by picking up a pen and sketch book. I’ve looked up more than I ever have and seen more than I ever knew was around me, and within me this year, thanks to drawing and painting. 

Not bad for a girl who spent 40+ years thinking she wasn’t artistic. 

I wonder what you’re wrong about as far as your talents and capabilities. I know this, you’ll never know until you have a crack. 

Got air in your lungs? Got a pencil and a scrap of paper? 

You know what to do next.  

As Jack said, make it count. 

Much love to you, 

Annette xx 


Here’s my favourite sketch of the year, little me, drawn from one of my first memories. 



The IKEA Sketch Project

Happy Monday, friends! Today I’d like to invite you to participate in the first ever (well, first that I know of) IKEA Sketch Project. The project is 100% endorsed by me, and IKEA have not paid me a single meatball, yet!

Before we dive in, let’s catch up a little.

Hello! Is the sun shining where you are? It is here, and it’s delightful. Spring is only days away, and that’s making me very happy. Buh-bye winter, it’s been real. I’ve basically stopped coughing up a lung, which pleases me mightily, and I’m wearing a fabulous plaid shirt today, so I’m feeling very snazzy!

How are you? Are you longing for spring? Or heading into fall? Do you have a shirt that makes you feel snazzy? I highly recommend it.

After catching up with the Kardashians this morning (Is Rob having all his tattoos removed? They look very faded.) I hot-footed it down to the library, where I nabbed my favourite spot in the quiet study area.

I’m sitting by a long, narrow window, so I can see sky and trees and grass, and hear not much except the clackity-clack of keyboards and the noise of the snack pack of the lady next to me, and an occasional cough. It’s heaven in my ‘hood.

Back to the invitation to this IKEA thingymajig; as I think you all know, I’m a teensy bit addicted to all things social media, sketching and Swedish furnishings.

You could say I’ve got a bad case of Triple S syndrome. In that respect, I’m totally anti-vax!

The much anticipated arrival of the new, shiny, ‘designed for you’ catalogue from my favourite Swedish retailer got me thinking that a great way to find inspiration for my my daily sketching practice, and work on drawing tricky stuff like chairs and tables would be to go all Julie/Julia Project on that glossy tome, and sketch something from the catalogue each day. Gosh that was a long sentence. Sorry grammar gods.

So I busted open my catalogue to page 245 on the weekend, and sketched myself an Applaro outdoor chair.

Theirs. Mine.
Theirs. Mine.


FullSizeRender (10)

Whoops, technical WordPress hitch, I don’t know how to make the double dots appear over the a and o, sorry about that to any lovely Swedishian readers. I even forgot them over the A in my sketch, ay carumba! (That’s Swedish for yikes.)

I shared my sketch on Instagram, as is my daily habit (using #IGYTsketch), and my friend Emily from Squiggle and Swirl said she’d had a similar idea about sketching from the IKEA catalogue, and Claire from Cats Eat Dogs was on board faster than you could say Swedish meatballs.

We’ve decided to take an ad-hoc sharesy approach, and take turns choosing a page number to sketch.

Earth shattering announcement – the IKEA catalogue is not the same the world over! *picks self up off floor*

When I announced that I’d sketched a chair from page 245, and Claire flipped to page 245 in her St Louis, USA version of the catalog (eep! they lost some letters too), she found an entirely different page of products.

You can check Claire’s cool Instagram account, right here and Emily’s lyrical Instagram drawings can be found here.

Would you like to sketch along with us?

For those of you thinking, I can’t draw, you’re wrong! Everyone can draw, it’s a totally true fact!

Here’s what you need to know:

We’re all on Instagram, so we’ll be sharing our sketches there.

It’s as easy as sketch, snap and tag. We’re using #IKEAsketchproject.

For the moment, either Emily, Claire or I will choose a page number or maybe a specific item (I haven’t actually run any of this past them in an official, sign up and lay your money down kind of way, because it’s a fun thing, with NO silly rules or tut-tutting), and then whoever wants to can join in and sketch and share. 

And if you just want to sketch anything that catches your eye in the catalogue, that’s okay too. 

Fun, right?

You could even create an IKEA masterpiece from macaroni, or macrame. The sky’s the limit!

Let’s also say from the get-go that this is not at all a competitive thing, it’s a we love drawing and sharing thing, okay?

It’s very important to note there are no #IKEAsketchproject police, you can dip in and out as it pleases you, but how fun would it be to see lots of hand drawn Vardagen bowls and Garnera serving stands, not to mention slightly wonky, whimsical Lisabo side tables.

So, pens, markers, watercolours, macaroni, paper and IKEA catalogue/log at the ready?


This is your official invitation to join in, just for fun, because sometimes fun and silly and wonky is a fantastically effective antidote to having to be oh-so-exacting about things, don’t you think?

Creative play, that’s where it’s at.

Come on! Join the #IKEAsketchproject, we’ll even modify the catalogue’s sub-heading:

IKEA — Designed for you. Sketched by us! 

I look forward to seeing your amazing, sweet, wonky, unbelievably stunning drawings on Instagram.

If you don’t follow me there already, you can find me here. Don’t forget to follow Claire and Emily too, they’re great!

I’m off to sketch page 175.

Page 175, here I come!
Page 175, here I come!

How do you reckon you pronounce Inbjudande??

Yours in the promotion of creative fun,

Annette xx


PS If anyone at IKEA notices this and wants to start a fabulous new range of sketched IKEA furnishings, call me!


Taking Stock – January 2015

I know I’m not alone in this, but gosh, how fast did January seem to zoom past us? We’re already one twelfth into 2015. Seems an appropriate time for a Taking Stock post, given that Easter eggs are already on sale.

Have you succumbed and snuck a sneaky six-pack of hot cross buns into your trolley yet? Those marketers want us to rush from one holiday to the next don’t they. You’d think they’d put the Valentine’s Day stuff out before Easter stuff.

I’m going to pump the brakes on February for a minute and take stock of the first month of the year. I’m using the list that Pip always posts at the end of her Taking Stock posts on Meet Me At Mike’s.

Here’s what’s happening in my world. If you want to get on the Taking Stock bandwagon, you can use the blank list at the bottom of this post. Credit it back to Pip please: credit where credit’s due, it’s easy and nice to do. 

Making : Lots of art, and enjoying it so much. You can follow my ‘progress’ here.



I’m also doing another round of an online course called Inspiration Information, and I’m joining in with a month long creative challenge called #Tinkersketch, which you can follow on Instagram.

Cooking : I roasted a couple of capsicums today, I think I’ll put them through some pasta. I also made my first ever lamb roast for Straya Day. It was super tasty and fed me all week long.

Lamb Roast = Strayan
Lamb Roast = Strayan

Drinking : Soda water & cordial. I haven’t had a drop of soft drink all year. Feeling lighter.

Reading: how to look at a painting by Justin Paton. It’s a great book about art, and seeing what’s there.


Wanting: Work. I just ticked over a year of unemployment. Sheesh, enough already.

Looking: At clouds, everywhere I go. I’m obsessed by their shapes and colours.

2015-01-16 20.40.04

2015-01-28 12.58.41

Playing: If I can find a recorder, I’ll be playing With Cat Like Tread for Eden. I hope I can remember it properly. By the way, have you been watching Eden’s weekly newscast? You totally should. It’s awesome – check it out here.

Deciding: I’m trying to decide whether to write a bit about the highs and lows of being on Newstart.

Wishing: For a money tree, those bills aren’t going to pay themselves, and Newstart doesn’t cover them. Not even close.

Enjoying: The cooler days. I’m longing for autumn!

Waiting: I’m waiting to hear back about a couple of jobs I went for last week. Come on!!

Liking: Instagram – there are so many great creative people out there.

Wondering: Whether I’ll ever be able to accept the generosity of others without crying. It’s one of those things that is wonderful, and difficult. I’m looking for the lessons in it. I’m sure there are lessons in this season and I want to learn them all.

Loving: The sky. Instagram. Bed. Creativity. Making things.

Pondering: What else I can do to create some kind of income stream…. am I brave enough to try copywriting, offer my services in organising/decluttering, or maybe I should join a travelling band of ragamuffins.

Considering: How much I could make as a ragamuffin. It might not work, I’m a bit of a homebody.

Watching: The Block Triple Threat, for now. I love Scotty Cam, but all the redundant editing could be too much to deal with!

Hoping: I’m hoping to continue to be hopeful. Hope is a choice. I choose it, again.


Marvelling: That my blog is almost one year old!

Needing: Quite a lot, and not much. It’s a paradox.

Smelling: The aroma of #sundaybakingsunday – today’s scent was zucchini bread.

Wearing: Fave trackies today, with my trusty #teamstripes 17Sundays tee.

Following: A bunch of artists and painters on Instagram.

Noticing: That once you open your eyes to it, beautiful things are everywhere.

Knowing: This too shall pass. Most days I have pretty easy access to that mindset, some days, not so much.

Thinking: How great it is that I am part of an online community of people who practice encouragement, kindness and generosity. Their juju holds me up.

Admiring: Taylor Swift’s songwriting abilities. I’m an out and proud TayTay fan. #shakeitoff

Sorting: I still have to sort through my shoes, but I think #hoistthehangers has been a great success. Did you follow along? You can read about my adventures in decluttering here, here and here.

Buying: Just the essentials. Yes, essentials often includes chocolate. I’m settling for the Coles brand at the moment, it’s two-fiddy.

Getting: Ready for autumn, it’s my favourite time of year.

Bookmarking: I’m not much of a bookmarker, I’m a Bloglovin kind of girl.

Disliking: Counting every cent, every week.

Opening: This week I know I’ll be opening some awesome mail. I’m so excited about that.

Giggling: The babies in tunnels videos that are doing the rounds are pretty cute.

Feeling: Calm again. I’ll be okay.

Snacking: on #sundaybakingsunday goodies and corn relish dip and crackers.

Coveting: New bed linen, or trying a new moisturiser, or being able to buy anything that catches my eye. I miss being able to shop for pretty things. Speaking of which, I wouldn’t say no to this awesome dress by 17Sundays.

Wishing: For instant recall of every person who has done me a kindness in the past year. I’d love to be able to list you all. I really would.

Helping: Naomi pass time at the Apple Store last week was fun. You can check out her January Taking Stock post on her lovely blog here.

Hearing: Harry Connick Jnr today, while I was reading. I’m loving him on American Idol.

Would you like to take stock too? Go for it. You could do this on your Facebook page, or on your blog if you have one, or you could even take photos of all the things and make it a photographic essay on Instagram or Tumblr. Here are Pip’s latest prompts. Remember, credit where credit is due…


That’s all from me for now.

How are you enjoying 2015 so far? Tell me just one thing, or all of the things, that you’re enjoying or working on so far, in the comments.


Annette x