Here we are...

After a long and emotionally exhausting kind of a week,
I made a conscious effort this weekend to give myself some real time off.

I have to admit, I'm terrible  at time off...
The only days I've taken off work in the last 6 months are to go on training courses for my other job,
and when I do have a free day, I like to know that I'm doing something "constructive" with my time.
So I'll book a driving lesson or do some volunteering or get my wedding planning hat on.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not wanting to play martyr here - my busy bee ways are entirely through my own choice, and I would pick extreme busy over extreme boredom any week.
But when your brain starts to ache and you consider 7.30am a lie in, it's time for some time off.

So this Saturday afternoon, I cancelled all my plans and spent several hours walking around the city with my fiance, just being.
We wandered in and out of some shops, had some lunch, spoke about the things we're each passionate about and re-remembered to always learn about and from the people you love. 
We drank coffee and looked at kitchenware for our hypothetical marital home, 
and my mind and my heart were at peace.

It dawned on me later that day, sat alone in my room with a glass of wine, a bag of cookies and a wedding magazine, that I wouldn't change my life for anything.

This is a wonderful exciting and blessed time of my life, and yes it may be crazy and exhausting and I may want my bed during a high percentage of my waking hours, but I know that I will look back on this time with happiness.

Right now, this is where I am, and I'm content.

A few months back, I shared a little painting inspired by a song I love,
and this week I found myself obsessing over maybe my favourite song of all time by the incredible Jason Mraz, just not able to get the lyrics out of my head. 
I painted the above with an overwhelming sense of being just fine with exactly how things are, no matter how busy or messy or sometimes difficult.

Here we are.


Taking part in something exciting...

I've had a little blog post open in the background of my laptop for a few days now while I decide whether to take part in what's on offer...

Mollie over at Wild Olive (whose blog I'm fully in love with, by the way) 
is running her first ever stitch swap, open to anyone anywhere, which is exciting in and of itself to me because so many things are USA only.

The idea of sweet little 4 inch embroidery hoops flying all over the world between people who have never met just hugely appealed to me...

So I decided today I would get involved.

Is anybody else doing this?
Or anything similar?

You can sign up until the 29th February if the idea tickles your fancy too!

(Mollie's own image - as good with a camera as with a needle!)


Wedding Wednesdays 2 - Our Save the Dates

Having spent the last couple of weeks being inspired by all sorts of different designs from around the web, falling in love with the huge selection of free fonts available out there, and scrapbooking away with my (embarrassingly large) collection of wedding magazines,

I spent my day off last week in my favourite corner with my favourite cup of tea seeing what I could come up with...

I like the idea of simple designs for Save the Dates.
Somebody gave me some great advice that you want to give people only the information you want them to remember, in the hope that they at least remember that.
There's some beautiful images out there, and a few meaningful photos from my own collections that I was tempted to use, but I decided to stick with simplicity.

 I like the lace effect border on this one,
although decided in the end I didn't want something so black and white,
but it looked wrong with the lace in our colours.

A classic wedding-esque swirly look...
Pretty, but led me to conclude it could be anybody's.
Surely the point of designing your own stationery is to put yourself into it, 
so something a little more "that could only be Samm and Nikki's" was needed...

This is Campbell tartan ribbon... as in the tartan of Samm's kilt, which he'll be wearing on the day. 
We decided fairly early on that we wanted to base the colours around his family tartan, 
so it struck me that Save the Dates are a good moment to start injecting a bit of the theme, giving people an idea of what's coming
(and if they're anything like me, picking their outfits accordingly!)

I love these much more. 
Still simple and clear, but so much more us!

What do you think?

I've just started jotting down some ideas for decorations for the reception venue too...

This wedding planning thing is too exciting!!


2012 NYR #2: Keep an art journal

So I mentioned in a recent post that my brain's all a bit out of focus lately, 
and that I've been struggling to control my butterfly mind.
I put this down, in part, to the fact that everything in life is just so exciting right now 
and I'm a little like a kid in a candy shop... which is a great way to feel, but focus is good too.

So I thought February would be the perfect time to get serious about one of my 
2012 New Year's Resolutions...
To keep an art journal.

So many people seem to be doing this right now, 
so I figured there must be something to be said for it!
where she's always sharing her recent art journal pages,
and Claire of Heart Handmade UK seems to have caught the fever for it lately too.
I adore both of these ladies' style, and I couldn't help but feel inspired to keep a more organised log of my thoughts and scribbles and whatnot.

Here's a few pages I've been creating...

 Hello 2012. A year for growth, joyfulness and getting married

 What I have learnt...
A list of reflections on the last 12 months and what 2011 taught me about myself
(forgive me for not sharing, but I decided an art journal should really still be a journal... and we all know better than to peek in a girl's journal!)

...A big question.

"Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey and enjoy every idle hour"

Anyone else art jounalling this year? 
I'd love to see.


Wedding Wednesdays 1 - Save the Date inspirations

It now being less than 11 months until the big day, 
I thought I'd introduce a new little series here on nikki joy blog.
For me to keep all my ideas and planning organised, 
and to share the latest things that are exciting me.

So, we have recently had it confirmed by our church that we can definitely get married on NYE...
Which means two things...
Firstly, lots of shameless excited dancing and jumping ensued 
(while Samm looked on in embarrassment)
Secondly... It's time to design save the dates!!

Here's some designs I've been filling my Pinterest account with lately...

I know it's been "on trend" for months now, 
but I don't think I'll ever get sick of Scrabble tile cuteness.
This template is by Bianca at the pretty blog 
who has sweetly included a printable customisable pdf / jpeg.

I really like the simple typography on this Save the Date from Page Stationery, so neatly beautiful.

I really adore the handmade look of this one, it's so personal.

This design from a Printable Press pulls at my heart strings because it looks just like the snowy scene around us when Samm proposed to me a couple of winters ago.

I'm working on a few designs currently involving lots of tartan and lace ribbons.
I'm sure I'll share when I get to that "I can't decide which I like best!!" moment.


Ever had one of those weeks when you can't decide what to make...?

So you just make it all!

For some reason I am totally without creative focus at the moment.
I feel the urge to sew and paint and draw and sing and cook, 
and more often than not, all I end up making is a mess in the process of getting out everything at once!
(my poor fiance has threatened me with binning a good proportion of my art supplies before we live together... then again, he still genuinely thinks he's won the "we're not having a craft room" argument!)

So in my total lack of focus, 
here's a bit of what's emerged from my scatter brained processes...

 I decided it was about to time to get started on some Springtime creations,
I got these pretty bows made...
then it decided to snow all weekend.
Springtime focus destroyed.

So I thought I'd some cute handmade buttons...
Here's the one I ended up making before getting distracted.

Around this moment I figured it was time for a more skilled project, 
So I made myself a little glasses pouch from a fat quarter I've been wondering what to do with.
I quite like this little guy, but I only had the one snapper element, 
so again, I'm back to my butterfly-brained mess-making.

On a bright note though, it has inspired me to fulfill my NYR to keep an art journal,
it's a great thing to try if you've never done one before, 
it's one small way to keep my mind all in one place... for a little while.

What do you do to still your mind?