Monday, 3 January 2011

Time for something a little different: 2011 challenges

Since becoming self-employed, I've realised that training and development is completely in my own hands.

That sounds a bit corporate doesn't it?  But on chatting a while back to the OH, who has been self-employed for more years than either of us care to contemplate, he couldn't remember the last time he did anything of the sort.  So we signed ourselves up with Business Link, and have been to some seminars for small businesses (at least now we have something in common about work apart from the fact that we are now both in the "creative industries").   I've also been to HMRC's workshop on tax, which was both surprisingly interesting and seriously helpful.

As someone who used to be responsible for making sure all our office got their targeted 9 days or more of training a year, I thought it was time I exercised my corporate muscle on a little personal development.  So here are my 2011 personal challenges:

Drawing Every Day
Inspired by Rachel at katzelbows, I've made a resolution to draw something every day.  Efforts thus far have ranged from the frankly piteous (Ernest the lovely bear transformed into a beast of spindly legs and a wonky neck) to the almost passable (the metal heron that stands on our hearth).  I'm laying bets with myself as to when you might get around to seeing anything I've produced...

2011 Playing Cards
Again led astray by Rachel, I've signed up for this challenge.  The aim is to create a playing card each week, using a medium of your choice.  So far, I've decided on my suits, - the elements of earth, fire, air and water - sent off for sufficient ATCs, and planned a theme for each card.  My first card will be the Ace of Earth, and I've chosen a theme of Hearts of Oak.  

For more details, see the linky to the left.

2011 Calendar Challenge

I saw this on a couple of blogs, was intrigued, and next thing you know, I'm sucked in and playing along.  Linky to the right - via the Kathryn Wheel - if you fancy joining in.

I love journals.  I've been keeping a personal journal incorporating a little bit of art for many years, and I also keep a series of travel journals (travel being my biggest personal vice, or maybe virtue).  So when I saw this challenge, I was almost salivating, and immediately started rummaging in my stash of pristine journalling books.  Having located an A4 plain paged number, I was immediately inking away at January 2011.  Here's the story so far:

Think we may need a bit of an iron there...or at least some pressing with a heavy book or two.

The background is a selection of inks: little pigment pads from the sale at Hobbycraft, and Brilliance pearlescents.  The inks have been pressed and rubbed onto the surface with scrunched up kitchen roll.  The tree stamps are in the same inks, with a bit of Promarker to fill in any gaps (oops).  I would like to tell you where I got the tree stamps, but after a bit of surfing, I can only conclude that they are no longer in business.  Which is a real shame, as the stamps are beautiful clear clings, and I love using them.

February is going to be a riot of reds; the inks are already lined up and ready to go!


  1. You are soooooh naughty posting up these super challenges. I'm well and truly suckered into the playing cards and signed myself up already. Still debating/divering about the calendar challenge. Not done anything lke this before in my life (well not this one anyway)Lol. One of my resolutions this year is to use more paper and start working with ATC's so to this end can you tell me where you have got your ATC supplies ordered from. Hugs Mrs.A.

  2. Oooh Oooh I'm doing thacalendar one - not posted mine yet as went mad with the paints and it's taking an age to dry. I'm going to try and draw or paint every day too.

    Business Link sounds familiar - I wonder if that's what OH did a while back - I'll have tto ask him.

    You tell Henry I may have to chaperone if he is waving his hose around. My Hetty is young and innocent you know :D

  3. Well, how familiar is some of this. I was a free-lancer for the last 8 years of my working life and a wage slave all the years prior to it and one thing I was very keen on was CPD (Continuing Professional Development). We have the Business Gateway in Scotland providing the same services as Business Link and like you I attended the courses HMRC is kind enough to run to keep the self-employed on the straight and narrow and as you say the Tax Man is now very approachable and helpful and matters fiscal are really quite interesting, especially when it's your own accounts your are dealing with. That's quite a programme you've given yourself and I'm going to pop over Rachel's and see what these ATC playing cards - sounds interesting. Hope your business prospers over the coming year. Elizabeth

  4. Mrs A - I've emailed you at your blog email addy regarding the ATCs. Glad you are doing the playing cards too - it should be really good fun. I'm having a great time planning out the suits and individual cards.

    Carmen - It is partly your fault that I am still slightly covered in platinum and indigo ink (looks like a very strange affliction..."I got the silvery blues...") from January's calendar, as I think I first clicked through to Kath's blog from yours. This is a logical extension of my love of journals, and I'm itching to get on with February's pages. Probably not tonight though, as OH is restless, and my chances of escaping without an inky spillage are remote...

    As for Henry, I think it's just his age. He tried to corner me in the bay window this morning when he lost control of his appendages, but after a swift reminder of his place in the household (outside the pantry, not under the window), he's been behaving. I shall remind him of the need to protect Hetty's honour.

    Elizabeth - ah, CPD - you are taking me back to my accounting years! I've been amazed at how training much is out there for free, and it's mostly been of very high quality. Thank you for your good wishes for the business - it's really appreciated.

  5. I am very excited for you and the startup of your new business! I wish you tons of wonderful success! What really caught my eye, though, was your resolution to draw every day. I can't really draw, yet I love to break out my nice colored pencils and art journal, so I'm going to do that too! Thank you for visiting my WOYWW! Hugs!

  6. wow I am loving your calendar page - I so hope everyone can keep this up for a year, it will be very interesting!

  7. gorgeous!! Loving the glimmer to your fab page I have never done this type of craft before, so I am sure I will learn loads! Thanks for your inspiration! Hugs Juls

  8. Wonderful January page, love the tree stamps! Looking forward to this challenge! Your playing card project sounds like fun x