Perfectionism is slowing me down!

I am a perfectionist.

I’m not sure when it started and it doesn’t look like it is going to end any time soon so I am just going to talk about it for a bit.

Let me throw a quote at you that I think is somewhat relevant to this topic:

“Art is never finished, only abandoned” –Leonardo Da Vinci

Whenever I set out to do anything (art, music, videos, this blog), I struggle with what I think is a desperate fear of failure. When I work up enough courage to actually start doing something, it feels great…for about 10 minutes. Then the perfectionist inside starts to criticise every single detail until the work before me becomes awful and I feel ashamed of how I can produce something so awful. Any attempts to fix the problems that I made up are useless because it only makes it worse. So I give up and throw it all away.

I started at least 3 blogs before I made this one, all deleted. I have tried about the same amount of YouTube channels, all deleted. None of the content I ever produced was ever good enough. I was boring, I looked silly, my username was never good enough. My attempts would last a couple of months before I scrapped it all. This need to be perfect has only stopped me from improving which is so frustrating. Not just that, but my fear of failing again is so strong that I don’t even try anymore. And that is just plain stupid.

When I made this blog, something changed. I still struggle every single day, and I really hate my blog, but I didn’t delete it. I want my content to be bad, I want to go off on tangents, and forget my point because that is me, because then I can learn and improve. I can’t express how anxious it makes me to have all these posts that I am not happy with, but if I don’t stick with it, then I really never will be good enough.

I’m not entirely sure what my point was or even if there was a point but I guess like with everything I post on this blog, I want to talk about my struggles. I think it helps to know someone else out there might know what you are going through.

If I have any advice for someone who is going through this, it would have to be stop fearing failure. Produce bad content! The only way to improve is to try, fail, and try again. Don’t do things to be good, do it because you love it. Something I’ve noticed – people like passion more than they like perfection.

I don’t want to be a prisoner to perfectionism anymore so, hopefully, we’ll be seeing a lot more bad content from me. Feel free to tell me how to improve.

Farewell, until we meet again.

Unicorn cake

A more extensive look at the steps I took to make this cake. I completely made it up as I went along.

Check out the video I made of the process here!

To start, I drew out a quick sketch and added colour and annotations to say how I wanted it to look.

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I wanted a rainbow for the layers and silver icing in the middle to be like unicorn blood from Harry Potter. It was a good in theory but did not turn out so well in practice. The icing just turned a pale grey.

After I figured out all the details, I had to find a good vanilla cake recipe because all the cake recipes I have used in the past have ended up being crumbly and dry. I needed one that would hold up 7 layers. I found one from Gretchen’s Vegan Bakery. This recipe is the best cake I have ever had! Highly recommended!

So I had the plan and the cake, all I needed was the right sized cake tins, colour for the layers and icing, and fondant icing for the ears. I used regular fondant icing from Tesco. I knew that the colour would have to be strong and not too thin a liquid otherwise it would mess up the mixture (been there before with a red velvet cake). I opted for some gel food colouring from amazon which judging by the pictures, was decent quality. I also ordered 8-inch sandwich tin, silver gel colouring, and gold powder colouring. By this point, I decided to do a chocolate-filled ice cream cone for the horn, instead of icing, as it was easier and had a really cool pattern on it.

I had everything prepared so I waited for my birthday to come.

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I made the cake layers one mixture at a time so I wouldn’t have cake mixture sitting around with nowhere to put it. It worked out better that way because I had time to prepare the next thing and do some cleaning up.

As the cake layers were cooling, I made the “silver” icing (100g butter, 200g icing sugar, too much silver colouring which didn’t really make a difference) and melted a bit of jam. I put jam and icing on each layer, just enough to make it stick together, any more then the cake would have been unnecessarily sweet. I assembled the cake on a cake board on a Lazy Susan so it could spin while I was decorating it. Whatever icing didn’t go in the middle, I used to kind of cement any holes or breakage and left it overnight to set because decorating was another day of work.

To decorate, I started with a layer of white buttercream icing all around. To do that, I used about 100g TREX and 100g stork with 400g icing sugar (I may have put more, I didn’t really measure it), and a tiny bit of soya milk (possibly about a teaspoon). I used a palette knife to smooth it out, something I hadn’t done prior to this cake and it didn’t go spectacularly well.

Next, I melted some chocolate to fill up an ice cream cone, that I would use as the horn. I put a bamboo skewer through it and put it in the fridge. Once it was set, I covered the cone in some gold powder (which didn’t really come out very gold, unfortunately) and placed it in the middle of the top of the cake.

I then used royal icing to mould the ears and eyes. This was actually pretty fun because I like to sculpt. I broke off two bits of icing about the right size and cut off bits to make it into the right shape. Then, I smoothed out the surface and coloured the front bit with gold powder. I put a cocktail stick through them both and placed them next to the horn.

Finally, the hair. It was so hard and it didn’t come out the way I wanted it to, to be completely honest. But it still looked good so whatever. I made some buttercream icing (1 part margarine, 2 parts icing sugar) and mixed some colours in with it. I think I did 50g margarine to 100g icing sugar per colour. I put them into a piping syringe, like this one, and just piped some spirals all over the place. My hands were very tired by the end of it.

The final result:       20181030_214544.jpg20181030_214616.jpg20181030_214915

If you want me to keep making fun cake projects, be sure to like this post. If you have any ideas of what cake I could make next, or any other recipes you want me to try out, leave a comment below.

Farewell, until we meet again 😄

 

Artistic Ventures

Happy new year!

First off, I have been busy. I felt I owed it to this blog to work hard so that I would have something to talk about when I got back from my break.

Something unfortunate has happened to me recently. I don’t want to talk about this too much as I want to keep this blog as a positive environment but somebody that I liked (an acquaintance rather than a friend) said something really insensitive about my mental health and it has caused quite an important change to occur in my life. A positive change.

I got upset but then I realised, somebody who has no problem saying something hurtful for no reason, is not worth getting upset over. I am now feeling uplifted and determined to be the best version of me. Gone are the days where I would hide who I really was just to make other people happy. I realised that I will have critics no matter what I do.

I made a new set of goals for this year (which I will talk about in tomorrow’s blog). Today I’ve been focusing on drawing. I’m such a perfectionist so all my efforts to draw and make art, have always ended with me giving up. Not this time.

This time, I picked up my pencil, I picked up a piece of scrap paper and designed my very own chibi style. I did myself proud. I believed in myself and it paid off.

Way more art will be coming in the future. Keep an eye on instagram.

Most importantly of all, do not ever let somebody knock you down. Rise above them even stronger than you were before.

QOTD: What is your favourite art medium (if you don’t create art, what is your favourite to view)?

AOTD: I think my favourite is regular graphite pencil. It is so simple, yet so amazing what you could do with one pencil. I also like coloured pencil.

Christmas Shopping (and a cool knit trick)!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Here we go again with the rushing around, desperately trying to find the right gift for our loved ones. It is as much exciting as it is terrifying! This year, I vow to get it done early so everything is ready.

I’m not sure what I’m getting everyone but I have been collecting a few ideas over the course of this year. My cousin was born last week so I had the idea to crochet her a blanket. That’s how I figured out this really cool idea…

So, the colours I chose are orange and yellow because they are bright and inspire happiness. I started to crochet but realised that the yarn is too thin for what I pictured in my head, and the colours didn’t work the way I wanted them to – orange was too dark, yellow too bright. Then a light bulb flicked on above my head like some kind of eureka moment – crochet them together, and it created something magical.

Unfortunately, these pictures don’t do it any justice but you can still see the amazing marble affect it has. It is so soft and warm already and I’ve only just started. I hope it turns out well and most of all, I hope I get it done before Christmas because I am really bad at finishing things I’ve started.

QOTD: What is on your Christmas wishlist?

AOTD: I think the thing I need the most is fluffy socks. You can never have too many fluffy socks, especially in weather like this.

Trying out Poster Paint

I love painting and I wanted to paint my mandala art in bright colours so I thought I would try out poster paint to see how well it works.

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This box of 20 from Baker Ross was £19.99. So that’s £1 each for a 600ml bottle.

Price is not the only thing of importance, however. The quality of the paint is the main issue.

 

The paint is quite bold and bright but the colour comes out very streaky. It doesn’t dry as a flat, solid colour.

I would say, though, it is very good for children to use – which is who it is aimed in the first place. It dries very quickly, it washes off of hands and most materials easily, and they last a rather long time. However, I suggest that if you want a paint for your art, you are better off using acrylic paint.

QOTD: What is your favourite type of paint to use and why?

AOTD: Watercolour, mostly because of the way the colours blend together so well. Also because it tidies away so easily and doesn’t take up loads of space like my other paints do.