Categories
lifestyle

The Living Room Saga – Part 2

If you’ve been visiting my blog for long enough you know I’ve been working to make our house more cute and cozy. I did a whole analysis of what was going wrong on this post and after putting on some though, I decided to take action.

In November I finally decided to buy a new table and chairs for our dining corner. The table was easy! Most tables from regular furniture stores are way too large for our space. We narrowed the search in just two stores, Structube and Ikea, the only ones that had smaller sizes. After a bit of consideration between a rectangular or round table, we opted by the Docksta from Ikea and we love it, it fits well in the space and it’s very neutral. I was not sure about the white at first but the table just disappears in the space. That’s exactly what I wanted.

Docksta Table from Ikea

But the chairs took a bit more effort… I wanted something delicate and modern at the same time. After getting to the conclusion that upholstery was the way to go, I visited many stores and check dozens of models. It had to be compact, light and allow me to create a fabric cover (I’m planning to sew them in the future). We finally opted by the model Polly from Structube in light grey.

Polly chair from Structube

Structube has amazing products but since the pandemic they’ve been facing some very slow deliveries. I was aware things could take longer but it was a lot… We ordered in November and received in March.

All the wait was worthy!

Notice below how our “dining corner” is so compact. The table and chairs fit perfectly and the set doesn’t look bulky. I can’t believe we finally have four chairs and it doesn’t feel it’s out of proportion. We definitely need to pull the table to use that chair in the corner but this just happens when we have visits, so no problem at all.

I’m specially happy about the metallic finish of the legs, the brass tone is very subtle and makes a nice contrast with the grey fabric. I also really like how the light grey goes well with the darker color of my sofa. Having a neutral base was really important and I like the contrast of the cool furniture with the warm tones of the house.

Spring is here and I’m happy to see the sun coming in through our new curtains. They made a huge difference and the room looks way bigger. The linen curtains made everything more cozy and since we are not allowed to make large holes in the walls, we used a pressure rod.

The wooden coffee table was a present from one of our friends and I love to keep it decorated and change the objects from time to time. It really helped organize the structure of the space. With more beautiful things to look up, there is less attention to the carpet. It doesn’t bother me so much anymore.

In the pictures above you can see the two pillow covers I knitted last winter (the gray and the graphite ones). After finishing, I simply stitched my work to some pre-made cover from Ikea and it looks awesome. The crochet napkin on the table is also my work.

I decided to always keep something over the accent chairs to help blending the orange color with the rest of the room. I crocheted this throw (it’s not ready yet!) and combined with a lumbar pillow, it makes a nice set.

The side table used to be green and I painted with white and brass spray, it looks way better and it’s not fighting with the rest of the furniture anymore. I noticed flowers and plants with round edges goes better with this decoration. Sharp and pointy ends fell more tropical and casual and it doesn’t give the cozy effect I’m aiming for. During the spring I’m using these hydrangeas from Pottery Barn, but I might change when the summer arrives.

My idea is to keep the neutral base and start changing the colorful pillow covers according to the seasons or events. Did I mentioned I started designing fabrics? I’m developing my very first pattern collection and it’s inspired by the movie Gosford Park. My idea is to print and sew covers for the cushions and also print some art for the walls above the sofa. I also thought about some textiles for the table, like a table runner or even a table cloth. Keep one eye on my portfolio for new illustrations and patterns.

Did you like the progress? Let me know in the comments!

Categories
learnwithjonara

8 good habits for working from home

With one year of experience since the pandemic started, we should be all expert in the art of working from home.

But I feel there is always something we can improve and new tricks to be efficient are always welcome. Do you feel the same?

Here I share my good habits for working from home, I hope to hear from yours too!

1. Start the night before

Would you like to have a peaceful morning?

Start the day before:

  • Choose your clothes
  • Plan what tasks you will accomplish the next day

Waking up in the morning knowing exactly what to do gives me great peace of mind and motivation to start working.

Image: Anna Shvets

2. Get dressed and ready

Are you tired of running crazy when you have to an unexpected video call?

Stop embarrassing yourself:

  • Fix your hair and face first thing in the morning
  • Dress something comfortable but professional

When I dress professionally I feel my whole day is more productive and I love being ready in case I need to run a last minute errand or call someone on video

Image: Cottonbro

3. Clean your workspace

Got your work papers mixed with your bills and shopping lists again?

Do one thing at a time:

  • File the papers you already finished working with
  • Have a separate pile for papers not related to work

When my desk is clean and organized I don’t waste time time searching for anything. I like to clean and file papers as soon as I finish each task.

Image: Michael Burrows

4. Avoid being interrupted

Can’t focus on anything while working from home?

Stop stopping for everything:

  • If possible, ask your family to don’t enter in the room where you are working
  • Turn off notifications from all your apps

If everything fails and you still keep getting interrupted, try to do the “hard work” very early in the morning, before everybody wakes up

Image: Lascot Studio

5. Follow a schedule

Don’t have time to start or time to end your work?

Work smart, not hard:

  • Divide your day into blocks of tasks
  • Don’t stay on social media during your “production time” block!

Booking blocks of tasks is the best way to make sure I’m focused and I won’t skip important obligations

Image: Anete Lusina

6. Have a decent lunch

Are you eating in front of your computer or mobile?

Take a break to eat healthy:

  • Make a beautiful plate and look at your food instead of looking at a screen
  • Enjoy every bite and think about nutrition

Spending the whole day seated and eating from a box in front of the screen is the fastest way to lose energy and get stressed. It’s good to pause for eating!

Image: Valeria Boltneva

7. Connect with your online community

Do you spend days without talking to a human being?

Keep in touch with reality:

  • Video call friends from your industry and catch up
  • Interact with other professionals and increase your network online

While it’s nicer meeting colleagues for a coffee in person, online meetings are a true necessity during these pandemic times, don’t get isolated from your industry.

Image: Ivan Samkov

8. Know when to stop

Do you feel guilty when you are not producing?

Even machines need maintenance time!

  • Finish your work on a decent time, organize for next day and let it go
  • Plan relaxing and fun activities for your weekend.

If I’m productive in my “productive blocks” I feel I earned the right to rest and I relax guilty free. However not always we are productive and that’s ok! Relax now and organize better for tomorrow.

Image: Sam Lion

I hope you are having a great time in your home office. I love working from home and I feel I’m getting better at it! My main tips are:

  • Start the night before
  • Get dressed and ready
  • Clean your workspace
  • Avoid being interrupted
  • Follow a schedule
  • Have a decent lunch
  • Connect with your online community
  • Know when to stop

How about you? Tell me a tip on the comments!

Categories
learnwithjonara

7 basic gadgets for digital illustration and social media

Discovering the best tools for working with digital illustration and social media is a process of trial and error. After many years exploring I got a basic set that works well from sketches to published work. Check it out:

1. Light Table

Forget about transfer paper and use any paper you like! It’s so thin and easy to move around you can use anywhere. I always create my first sketches on it.

2. Scanner

Scanning drawings is way more precise and clear than taking pictures. I have a Multifunctional Canon Pixma now, but I want to upgrade in the future. The scanner is great but the printer I use mostly for documents, not for graphics.

3. iPad + Pencil

One of the best investments for digital work.  I tried many tablets in the past but I adapted better with the iPad. If you plan to work on procreate this is the tablet to go. (it also supports Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop).

4. Paperlike Screen Protector

I love the precision of the iPad and pencil but it’s still slippery, specially when writing or doing something precise. Using a matte screen protector adds a bit of grip and feels better than working on glass.

5. Tripod

Having a flexible tripod is great for recording time lapses or having your hands free when meeting people online. An essential tool for a digital illustrator.

6. Computer

Although you can do most things on the iPad I still like the comfort of having a computer to create mockups, update my website and do some last details. It’s light and thin and I carry everywhere.

7. iPhone

Record time lapses, update social media, have meetings and publish everything.

In the above picture you can see my whole set of gadgets (just missing the scanner). It’s super compact, fits in a backpack and it’s light to carry around. I always have with me when I’m travelling

I hope this might help if you are just starting! Please feel free to comment if you have questions.

Have a favorite gadget? Comment below!

Categories
learnwithjonara

6 free apps that make social media beautiful

I used to create all my videos on Windows Movie Maker and edit all my pictures on Photoshop. I felt like a dinosaur.

Now I do most things directly from my phone and it’s awesome and super easy. Create amazing content for your Instagram and Blog in no time and for free! Check my 6 favorite apps:

1. InShot

Make vídeos on your phone, add music, filters and crop! The free version has a watermark but works pretty well

2. VSCO

Keep the colors of your feed consistent by using always the same filters. This app makes magic with my pictures

3. VOUN

Add frames for your images and give your feed some air. It makes anything looks pretty! I use everyday!

4. OneScreen


Test how your wallpapers will work on phones or iPads, create mockups easily!

5. Trello

Organize everything, book posting times, share plans with a team and access from your computer (if you need)

6. PicCollage

Cut out photos, add text, create animations, add stickers and more. The free version has a watermark but it’s still pretty cool and easy to use

Bonus: Procreate Pocket

If you like to doodle and sketch on your mobile, for U$ 4.99 you can have Procreate Pocket on your phone. For me it’s Photoshop in my hands. I use for everything, for color studies, quick sketches and to retouch pictures.

I love practical things! How about you, what is your favorite app?

Categories
learnwithjonara

5 ways I improved my feed in the last 5 years

Many people start social media accounts and have no idea how to organize their posts or how to create a consistent presentation. Social media is everywhere and we are naturally attracted by high quality images and good quality content. In the last 5 years I improved the quality of my Instagram feed and I would like to share my tips.

All creators can benefit from a beautiful and organized feed. If you don’t know where to start, here are my tips.

1. Give a nice presentation

It can be the most beautiful drawing in the world, if your picture is dark, blurred and missing details, nobody will notice you.

2. Learn to use colors

Images in black and white are captivating but colors transmit emotions. If you don’t want to add color to your artworks, at least use colorful frames from time to time.

3. Try different techniques

Experimenting something new will boost your creativity and improve the quality of your work

4. Use your imagination

Copying other works and drawing from observation are important tools for learning but creating something new and showing your own vision of the world is what really makes your work pop

5. Give some air

Too many pictures in the same style can get a bit tiring. Alternate the way you show your creations, zoom on details, show your work space and make things more attractive.

Bonus: Show your face

People love to see who you are! From time to time show your face, your process and your opinions. Make it personal and really connect with people. It’s a social media space, not just a portfolio, so be social.

Did you like these tips?

Share with that friend who is just staring in art!

Categories
analysis

Inspiring décor and style from 80s and 90s

It’s a lovely long weekend here in Canada and I took some time to watch old movies and search for some decorations and art ideas. I confess, I love decoration and fashion style from the 80s and 90s. It’s a bit over but it feels so cozy and cute. My top picks from this long weekend are:

You’ve Got Mail lovely decoration

It’s been 22 years and we are still in love with Kathleen Kelly house. Lots of botanical art, warm tones, floral pillows, greens and oranges. Walls molding and trims everywhere and a ton of detail. One day I have to do a deeper analysis of her style. Here is a quick peak.

I really love the have French door in the kitchen, the cute little ornaments in her curtains, the amazing china cabinet and the vitral window in her entrance hall. What a dreamy place!

Mrs. Doubtfire warm and cozy house

I actually don’t like this movie and was not able to watch it all again, but I really like the house and the decoration with warm tones of beiges, oranges and greens. It feels very cozy and warm. The movie is from 1993 (click on the images to see details)

I cant get over her cute kitchen with lots of ornaments, the great green sofa cover and curtains everywhere. Super cozy.

Heartburn amazing 80’s style

Last but not list, is not only the décor but the fashion style. Take a look on the amazing clothes Meryl Streep wears in this Nora Ephron movie. I want them all! (click on the images, it’s just so good)

My mom was pregnant from my sister in 1986 and she dressed exactly like that! I’m not sure if I like so much for the nostalgia of those times but seriously, I need that grey linen blazer. Her house was also charming but she never finish her decoration, what is a shame, it would have looked beautiful.

I hope you had fun in this back to the past style and decoration. I’m so inspired! I know my house and my style shouldn’t look exactly like that but I really want to use some of these ideas. Keep in touch and thanks for visiting!

Categories
lifestyle

The living room saga

I’m sorry I disappeared again. If you read my last post you know I got back from vacations and didn’t like my decoration – or lack of it. I started reorganizing things and since the basement got acceptable, I decided to organize my living room. I’ve been struggling a lot to decorate this house. In my old apartment we had 2 white sofas, the carpet was light and all doors were white, metals were chrome, balcony was concrete. There was a lot of natural light, decorating was really easy, everything look fine there. My decor was simple and informal and worked just fine.

Now here is a house, there is a tree just in front of my window (I love the tree but it’s a lot of shade), the carpet is a dark, old and stained camel color, baseboards and doors are dark coffee, all metals are brass or black and our balcony is a reddish wood.

Don’t take me wrong, I love living here. It’s great to be in a house, location is perfect, rent is fair and the space has a lot of potential. But I never had such a hard time finding the right pieces for a room. I think it all started with our decision to ditch our old white sofas. They were already second hand sofas and were very worn and stained. When we moved here, my mind was in some crazy mood and I didn’t think too much. We got a grey sofa from Structube and 2 orange chairs at Wayfair. I guess that was the begginning of all the problems.

I actually like our sofa and chairs, but that was not the best decision for the space. The room looked really dark. All my pillow covers didn’t work anymore. All the porcelain objects I had with white and blue started screaming in contrast with the orange chairs (complimentary colors can be quite aggressive). I didn’t want plain grey and orange decor so I decided to add some pink pillows and try an analogous color palette. That helped.

There was also the problem of the dining room. First I placed my table in the kitchen. I didn’t like the yellow and blue chairs so I started painting some chairs light green. I didn’t finish but decided to move the table to the living room. The green and blue chairs look awful with the orange and pink decor. To make things worse, I decided to paint an abstract picture and somehow I got carried on and transformed in a splatter painting and added blue. I can’t explain why and I hated the painting for many months.

So that was the state of the living room when I got back from vacations. Camel carpet, beige walls, grey sofa, orange accent chairs, black media furniture, chrome coffee table, wood old dining table, mismatched chairs in green, blue and black, bad taste artwork. OMG. Did I tell you I study architecture and worked in renovation for many years? How did this happen?

Anyways I decided to act. First I inverted the layout of the room and that helped a bit, now entering the room you see the sofa first, not the huge black figure of our entertainment furniture. This was way more inviting. I removed my old ugly artwork and I’m working on a new painting with light and brighter colors.

Then I bought a rug and that was a mistake, it just made my carpet looks even uglier. The rug looked like a white towel in person, very thin and very white. I returned the rug and try to understand what went wrong and why I keep getting upset about my choices.

So disappointing

This last week I just removed everything from the room and try to look again at it and really see the colors of the room and what will make it look prettier. I realized I’m just fighting with this house colors since I arrived and it’s time to make peace. The palette of this house is warm. My grey sofa, glass table and grey rug were cold, of course they will fight with the house. The orange chairs and all the other colors are too much and too saturated for this place, it needs a more neutral muted palette. The decoration needs less color, less contrast and more texture and layers.

First thing I did was to add some curtains (we cannot make holes in this house but I found a good tension rod that saved my life). I started knitting a cushion cover in light grey and I’ll get more pillows in neutral colors. I also had an old cocktail table a friend gave us and was not being used. That actually helped hide the carpet and gave more structure and warmth to the space. I moved the glass table to the corner, so this is how it looks like now.

I’m so happy about the curtains

Next steps are getting a lamp for beside the sofa, keep getting more neutral cushions and add objects on the shelves under the tv and on the table. Then put some art on the walls. I actually would like to make a cover for the orange chairs in a neutral color and actually even a white cover for the sofa but there is so much to do, so one thing at a time.

I’m just super proud of this, first time I finish a knit project. Now just need to sew into a pillow cover

For the dining room I gave up of my current chairs and table. I’ll buy some new ones and move the old ones to the kitchen. I found some light gray chairs I like and we are thinking about the white tulip table. I’m not quite sure about the white and the design is a bit more modern than what I wanted but I think it the round lines will help keeping the space cute. I simulated with my current chairs on the space, it’s seems a bit squeezed but it fits.

I really don’t like the open kitchen. I want to cook more and I avoid making certain foods because I know the whole house will be smelling for hours. So my priority now is to find a way to close the door (making no holes and keeping the budget!). Not easy but I have a few ideas.

I’m still dreaming about buying rugs. I would love a large sisal one for the dining room, covering that round cut on the carpet and making everything look larger… and of course a nice patterned rug for the living room. We will get there!

How about you? Do you have any room in your house that you struggle to decorate? How is it been? Let me know on the comments

Categories
lifestyle

The basement make up: Part 2

Do you get upset at your house when you get back from vacations? I usually love coming back home, but I went to visit some relatives for a few days and when I got back, I found my house dark and sad. That can’t be good!

I feel house decoration is always an ongoing project. Especially if you are renting and have a tight budget. How can you make it cute and cozy without spending a ton?

I started moving some furniture in the living room. Then we decided to move some things in the kitchen as well. The basement got loaded with random things and I thought, enough is enough.

Here is my new studio / sewing room. I got this machine just before the pandemic but so far I just made face masks. I want to make a quilt for my bedroom and some clothes for me, so it will be good to be able to move around the table.

The white shelves behind the desk have been traveling around the house. They started at the studio, moved to the kitchen and now they are back to the studio. I think it looks good here. All my art supplies are now in boxes and the mess is finally hidden. The clothes rack will be used to dry projects or hang works in progress.

A few details to make everything neat. I added cute lamps to the clothes rack and re-use some baskets as storage for my yarn. The plant behind the sewing machine hides the electric cables. White cardboard boxes hide most of my art supplies and work as “vertical drawers”. And I finally got a place for my brushes and they are not spread all around anymore.

The gym is still there, on the opposite side. The main change was this white curtain to hide the furnace (it’s actually a large table cloth hanging from the ceiling). I’m still thinking what to do about the floors, but that’s ok for now.

Nowadays I rarely use this computer, so I decided to make a vertical station . It looks neat and we can watch Netflix from the treadmill. My old framed paintings and canvas are hidden behind the bamboo divider and some of our books are now on those shelves.

Here is a panoramic of the whole space. It was a battle but I think it’s done for now. If you don’t remember how it looked like before, please check The basement make up: Part 1

I still would like to cover some walls with wallpaper or fabric and hide the floors a bit more but the other parts of the house need some attention and I have my illustration projects to work on. I’m happy for now. What do you think? Leave me a message in the comments!

Like this post? Share it! 🙂

Categories
process

The collection saga

Remember when I said I was going to postpone the launch of my collections for 2 months? I thought that would be enough. Guess what? That won’t be enough!

I was working on my Halloween collection last week and I was really enjoying and having tons of fun. But yesterday I realized it’s already September 3rd and I don’t have any completed drawings. Not even 1! You might think, oh you have almost 2 months to Halloween. But I actually don’t.

  1. I have a full time job
  2. I’m going to visit my husband’s family for 10 days
  3. Halloween collection should be released about 2 weeks before Halloween…

So I calculated and basically I have 20 days to do everything (16 pieces, between stickers, illustrations and handwriting quotes). I started to think about cutting some of the drawings and making a smaller collection. Then I thought about skipping Halloween completely and start working on the Christmas collection. But I didn’t like that idea. Why would I publish the whole Thanksgiving collection for September/October and then spend again another month and a half without posting anything again and then suddenly post a ton of Christmas drawings? People want some consistency!

Well, yesterday I was painting the floor of one of the art studios I work at. I love those days when I can do something mechanical, it helps me put my mind back in place. I thought a lot about many things.

Pushing myself so hard is destroying my creativity

Drawing takes time! While it’s nice to work with a sense of urgency, I can’t keep like a machine. I need to be kind to myself. So I took a hard decision, but this will give me peace of mind. I postponed everything for the next year, including the Thanksgiving collection that is already done.

I’m going to create enough drawings to have a “savings account” of drawings. I want to have 6 months of drawing collections ready before starting posting on social media.

This might not make sense for most people. You might be thinking: why don’t you just draw and post like you did before? Why make such a big deal?

It’s been a while I like to work in collections (astrological signs collections, months collections, holidays collections, etc). I prefer to work in collections because it allows me to tell a complete story and I feel very accomplished. The other reason is that collections help organize visually my portfolio and offer a variety of products on the same theme. It’s pretty much like a fashion collection. I’m pretty much inspired by fashion, so it makes sense to plan collections like a fashion designer plans for the runway.

So that’s what’s going to happen. I’ll keep posting behind the scenes here and I’ll offer a few isolated drawings online until I get my collections organized and well stocked. Best news I got this week, I was approved on Giphy, so soon I’ll make lots of gifs available for Instagram and Facebook. Keep in touch!

I love gifs and stickers! 🙂