I’ve Moved!

The time has finally come for Doing it the Open Way to close its doors. I’ve loved this little blog, but I feel like it’s time to move on to bigger and better things! On that note I’d like to introduce my new site, Open Way Designs:

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All of my old content has been migrated over, so you’ll still have access to all the fabulous stuff that came before… and I have big plans for more great things to come your way over the next few months.

Thank you so much for all of your continued support!

D x

A Sunday Summary

A Sunday Summary 2

So… what have I been up to this week…

Well I managed to get my evil assignment out of the way (we had to adapt a short story we’d written into a script for stage, radio or screen). I chose to write a screenplay, and I can tell you, I do not have a future as a screen writer! Painful is the only way I can describe it!

On Thursday I guest posted for my friend Jo – ‘50 things to make me read your blog‘, if you’re looking for a few tips on how to keep your readers interested, you should definitely check it out!

Yesterday I met up with a bunch of lovely creative and crafty bloggers in the centre of Nottingham, it was so much fun! It’s the first time I’ve met up with any bloggers ‘in real life’ and it really wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be!

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[I’m practically glow in the dark, I didn’t notice the spotlight above my head!]

We had such a great time talking about all things crafty – I’ll be posting about the day more in-depth later this week, so stay tuned!

I’m still managing to stick to my daily ‘15 Minutes of Mixed Media‘ challenge – if you want to see some of my creations then check out my Instagram feed and if you’d like to play a long, tag me (@dairecharlotte) in your photos and I’ll come and cheer you on!

I’ve got back into the swing of the whimsical reading challenge I’m hosting, after a little time away from it and I’ve also been working on a TOP SECRET project, that I can’t reveal yet, but I promise you’ll be the first to know!

So what have you all been up to this week? Feel free to leave me a link to your posts in the comments below – I’m always looking for new reading material!

D x

 

A Belated Year in Review

As I mentioned last week, Beth from plasticrosaries.com recently tagged me in her ‘2013 in Review‘ post, and even though I’ve already summed up 2013 elsewhere, I thought I’d play along anyway…

A belated year in review

1. Your top 5 new favourite blogs to read in 2013  (you’re totally tagged if you’re listed here – no pressure of course but putting it out there…)

Satchels and Pearls (ok, I’m biased. This is my friend Michelle’s blog, and she gets bonus points for making me Auntie to the cutest dumpling ever!)

Girl XOXO (I love the combination of bookishness and blogging tips. She takes really great photos too!)

iHanna (Her blog is just full of creative inspiration, and her archives are filled with fab tutorials!)

Rae Missigman (A fairly recent discovery, but now she’s definitely one of my favourite mixed media artists)

The Tangerine (The brain behind the Book Chat)

And of course there are the great blogs I mentioned in my last round up post, and thelovely lady who tagged me in this post.

2. List Your 5 most read blog posts in 2013

The Art of Benin (I still can’t understand why you keep coming back to this one!)

Myth and Magic Notecards (I have the fabulous Julie Fei-Fan Balzer to thank, as she featured my tutorial on her awesome blog)

Documented Life – Staying Organised in the New Year (I’m pretty impressed… this one ranked at number 3, despite being published 5 days before New Year’s!)

De-stressing with Doodles (My oh-so-sophisticated method of stress management…)

{21 Secrets} Doodling Our Way (And the first installment of my 21 Secrets 2013 portfolio)

3. Name one blog you wish you had found sooner

Hands down Jo Gifford a.k.a the Dexterous Diva – I think I’d have mastered the art of blogging waaay sooner! (Plus, she’s lovely!) Did I mention I’m guest posting on her blog today?

4. Your favourite blog post of 2013  

I really loved creating the art for The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and the Giraffe Note Cards Tutorial and I LOVED taking part in Love Triangles 101, check out my review of Before I Met You or When Love Triangles Just Don’t Count for a taster!

5. What would you like to improve (if anything) on your blog next year?

Plenty! I have a list of goals for my blog that I’m constantly adding to. One of my aims for the year is to write 10 guest posts (if you’re interested, let me know!) I’d also love to hear any thoughts you have on how I could improve Doing it the Open Way. Is there anything you’d like to see change?

6. Name one blog you have a blog crush on.

Alisa Burke’s blog is amazing – her outlook, her design, her voice, her imagery, her features…. everything is just gorgeous! She’s currently running a course on blogging if anyone’s interested?

7. How often do you post?  

I go through phases… I vary between every other day and once in a blue moon. One of my aims for 2014 is to become a much more consistent blogger.

8. Share your first post of 2013

Bienvenido 2013 (also known as an introduction to my whimsical reading challenge!)

9. Name one thing you would be doing if you weren’t typing this post right now.

Coffee! And probably working…

10.What have you loved the most about blogging this year?

I’ve loved getting my mojo back – I actually want to blog now! I’m really enjoying learning how to do new things and make little improvements. I know it’s a slow process, but I’m feeling very inspired!

And with that I conclude the looking back, from this very second, it’s all about 2014!

D x

A Sunday Summary

A Sunday Summary 2

How have you been enjoying the first week of 2014? It’s been a pretty busy one for me, so I have lots of things to tell you!

  • This year I’m writing a collaborative story with my friends Paola and Tory – the first chapter goes live next week, but right now you can read our introductory ramblings or our three mini-prequels. I hope you’ll follow us along this journey, we’re so, so excited!
  • Today I got an honourable mention from Beth over at Plastic Rosaries in this post (thank you Beth, my follow-up is pending) – I’m honoured to be one of her bloggy discoveries of 2013!
  • I’ve been getting stuck into the fabulous Documented Life project I’ve signed up for – I’m posting all updates for this project on my Facebook page, so if you’d like to see my quirky, one-of-a-kind planner you should hop over and have a look!
  • Although I promised myself I wasn’t going to commit myself to so many reading challenges (I have this crazy idea that reading shouldn’t be so stressful…), but after seeing this one on I Believe in Story, I just couldn’t resist! Last year I really enjoyed dipping my toe into new genres, so I think this might be the one for me.
  • I’ve been sticking to my New Year’s Resolution of doing 15 minutes of mixed media each day – I’ve decided to post photos on my Instagram every day (I’ve even manage to recruit my friend Jo a.k.a. The Dexterous Diva to join in on this arty goodness) – If you’d like to play along, or just see what we come up with, you’ll find my updates here.
  • Last but not least, I’m currently advertising for guest posts – for more information, check out this post.

I hope you have a really great second week of the year… I’ll talk to you soon!

D x

2014 – Aims and Intentions

Happy New Year!

Back at the start of 2013 I shared a few resolutions with you, of things I wanted to accomplish over the past twelve months.

I’ve had a crazy, crazy year. I’ve been promoted. I’ve bought a house. I relinquished my dog love and adopted a cat. But did I manage to do what I intended? Let’s see…

– Art Journal Every Day:

Unfortunately this is not something I managed to stick to. I can honestly say that I really, really noticed the difference when I had a break from arting. I was unmotivated, I was grumpy, I was just not my usual delightful self. I have a new project in mind for 2014 that hopefully will help me stick to a ‘daily creativity’ regime (more on that below)!

-Update my blog at least 3 times a week:

I haven’t managed to stick to this one either, but I have definitely been going in the right direction. This year I have published 178 posts (that makes the weekly average 3.4, so if we were going by averages, I can tick this one off!). However, recently I’ve been focusing on blogging less and promoting more. I feel like it’s really worthwhile, because as much as I enjoy writing for myself, it’s really great when others read and enjoy your blog.

– Join the Quirky Crafts Design Team:

I was an active member of the QC design team for ten months, but unfortunately due to work and study commitments, I just didn’t have the time to keep going with it. It was such a great experience though, and a great way to flex my creative muscles! I think these were my favourite things I made while on the design team, which was yours?

– Host my own reading challenge:

I can check this one of my list! If you follow Doing it the Open Way you’ll know all about my whimsical reading challenge – you should come join in with me, it doesn’t have a time limit on it and I’ll definitely be carrying on next year!

– Take part in a few awesome arty workshops:

Where do I start… I’ve taken part in Life Book (by Tamara LaPorte), 21 Secrets (by Connie Hozvicka), Inky Doodles (by Michelle Houghton), Whimsy and Wonder (by Alisa Burke) and I’ve been working on a ton of others that haven’t been blogged about yet (including a bunch I bought in Traci Bautista‘s sale)

– Help my darling dunce-of-a-baker boyfriend bake every single thing from the ‘Step-by-step cakes’ book I bought him for Christmas:

We baked one thing, and it tasted like feet, so that book has been banished to the back of the shelf. Hummingbird Bakery and Lorraine Pascal all the way…

I’ve also accomplished some other ‘less planned’ things – I managed to complete a ‘blog every day’ challenge in May, I’ve totally refurbed Doing it the Open Way, I reached my reading goal of 50 books and I’ve embarked upon the final year of my degree. All in all, a lot has been done, and I know a lot will be done this year too. So (finally) these are my aims and intentions for 2014:

– Read 50 Books

I managed to smash this one last year, reading a total of 66, but since moving I have quartered the time I spend on public transport (which used to be the time I used to do all of my reading). I think 50 will be a challenge, but I have so many unread books on my shelf that I think I should at least try!

– 15 Mixed Media Minutes

This year I’m going to make a solid effort to build up a daily creativity practice. I was initially inspired to do a year-long creative challenge by iHanna (last year she managed to do 365 collages – one per day!), but I wanted to be a little bit less specific (as I know how ‘flitty’ I can be). I later found that one of my favourite 21 Secrets teachers Rae Missigman did a similar challenge last year, and recommends it wholeheartedly, so that’s good enough for me! I bought myself a shiny ladybird timer, and I have a studio filled to the brim with art supplies, so there’s nothing holding me back! I’d also really like to try filming some of my efforts – is that something you’d be interested in seeing?

– Work Through A Writer’s Book of Days:

Book of Days is a writing companion, a book of 365 daily prompts designed to help cultivate a habit of writing. I’m unlikely to share the results of these prompts here on the blog, but it’s still something I’d like to work on.

– Open An Online Shop

This one will be a lot of work, as the contents of the shop will be artwork and handmade crafty things, but when I finish my degree (in May, woooo!) I’ll have time to burn. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and I’m convinced 2014 has to be the year!

– Keep Going With My 52 Things

You may remember that on my birthday last year I made a list of things I wanted to get done by the time I turn 25; I’ve made a start but there’s still a long way to go!

My aims and intentions tend to shift as the year goes on, but at this moment in time, these are the things I’m hoping to see through. I might have more a chance of sticking to them this year – the Documented Life project will certainly help!

So how about you guys? Do you have any resolutions for the New Year, or do you prefer to take things as they come?

D x

P.S. Jo over at Dexterous Diva is currently running a competition to win some great prizes – all you have to do is share a blog post featuring your New Year’s Resolutions… check this page out for more information!

Guest Posts: Creativity and Inspiration

What do you do to add creativity to your life? What are your favourite techniques and supplies? Do you have any tips and tricks to bring creativity into otherwise boring things? Where do you find your inspiration? How do you come up with ideas for your blog posts or stories? Do you get crafty with your kids? Do you have a tutorial you’d like to share? Would you like to share a review of your favourite art products?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES I’d love for you to write a guest post for Doing it the Open Way! For more information, or to submit something for me to read, drop me an email to Daire.Openway@yahoo.co.uk or a tweet @DaireCharlotte.
Hope to hear from you soon!
D x

GUEST POST – Finding Me

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Today I have a guest post lined up for you written by one of my best (in real life) friends, Gabby. When I first started talking about Non Fic November, she was eager to take part… to be honest I was expecting a post about her fave books, as I know she loves to read non-fiction, but instead she sent me her own true story. I hope you enjoy.

‘Finding Me’, I know, what a mind-stirring title to have. I bet all sorts of thoughts and feelings are swirling around your intrigued mind, I know they are for me.

The path of finding myself is an interesting whirlwind of adventures of the heart and mind, a story with no ending but continuous telling.

Childhood, what a thing of beauty! It is innocence of all things, but I had a disruptive one. Yes, I had all I could ask for materially, but there was nothing to be given emotionally. Two parents that hated each other’s guts but couldn’t live without each other’s emotional abuse; that is a story for another day.

Finding myself? Now that was a heartbreaking challenge. Destructive relationships of torment.

Adulthood started quite quickly for me as I moved out of my broken home at the fragile age of sixteen. I moved in with my boyfriend’s family (who I really disliked). They where the type of people who would sell poison to a child to earn a pound in return, so you can probably imagine the horrid experience I had there.

I fell pregnant within a few months of living there. It really was a God send, but not really the best age to be having a baby. I was seventeen, and with a man who couldn’t look after a fish, let alone a child and a woman. I had such a terrible time living within this man’s parents’ home I ended up finding myself homeless. Fortunately, the kindness of our country housed me, not something you dream of as a child – I know I didn’t. I thought I would be married to the man of my dreams, who would take my breath away with every kiss. I’d be living in a big house with lots of happy children. But life has a funny way of biting your butt into reality; still, I held on to the dream of prince charming.

So I had my beautiful little boy, with big bright blue eyes and wavy white soft hair. I can’t explain that feeling when you first hold your precious little bundle of joy. Feeling his skin against mine, his warm soft pale skin, the feeling of when we first looked into each other’s eyes so powerful it brought me to tears. I felt for the first time truly loved. Truly wanted. Truly needed. And I promised this gorgeous little soul in my arms that I would always be my best and do my best, and I would love him forever.

Two months later I got married. Still seventeen. I felt wrong having a baby and not being married. At the time all three of us were living in a motel, and my soon to be husband started changing into something dark.

We were married for two long hard years. I was raising a small baby and looking after a house, a load of animals and a drunk. Things quickly changed after the wedding. This man I had married became a monster, with abusive langue and actions. It got to the point where I completely lost myself. I became a walking, talking zombie. Until one day it became to dangerous to be this man’s wife anymore. So I ran, I ran as fast and as far as I could, abandoning my home and my beloved animals. I grabbed what I could. I took my beautiful baby and ended up in a women’s refuge.

I lived with women who have seen the ugly side of humankind and been victims of it. So safe to say, I was not in a good place.

For the next two years I experienced the world of dating and being a single mum. I came in to this unknown world; all I knew was how to be a wife and a mother. I met some very unpleasant people, but to be honest after what I went though, I wasn’t that pleasant any more. So I went around, destroying and hurting every man I could. I’m not proud of the things I did at all.

I realised I needed help to get my happy back. I took myself to counselling. I found that all the stuff that had happened to me turned out not to be the root of the problems. It was my childhood experiences that started it all off, but I didn’t realise that until I really started to look at myself.

So after many failed relationships and heartbreaks, mental breakdowns, I finally found my happy. How, you ask, well I deeply relied on my religion, and I still do. But there were certain things that I couldn’t understand, like “be God like” and “God is love”.

I found a book called Be Love to Find Love and it really saved me. I helped me let go of negativity, I finally understood so much more, and not just the things that had confused me in the Bible.

This book delves deep with you and shows you the meaning of what love is. We spend our lives feeling as if we have to be loved by another to feel love and to feel happy. The funny thing is that you will never truly feel happy this way, it feels almost as if something is missing, but what? I found it. I found out how to release every bad memory and burn it up. I found out how to replace the darkness with only good, joyful emotions. I learnt that, yet again, everything boils down to those hurtful things that happened during childhood. I’d never let go of it; I just carried it around like an old, stinky, heavy suitcase that I didn’t add anything new to. All I did was replay out the same hurt through my life, in many a different way, but it was all still very much the same. Once I let go of everything, and truly forgave.  I FELT SO FREE. I learned how to love myself and be love, not need it, or want it, but be it.

So you ask how all of this helped me to understand what the Bible meant by “be God like” and “God is love”. It’s quite simple really, being “God like” does not mean to be as a God it means, to have the qualities of God, so if God is love, so are you.

I don’t look at the past any more, or pressure myself about the future. As soon as any such thoughts return into my mind I burn them (not literally). I tell myself it doesn’t matter what has happened, it is history. And it doesn’t matter what hasn’t happened yet. Looking into your past is upsetting, and looking into your future is too – you feel as if you should be there and not where you are. That is the wrong way of thinking you. You should only ever be in the moment where you are; you should truly enjoy it every –  feeling, taste, sight and sound otherwise again it just becomes a distant memory that you can’t get back.

My happy has come from realising what I actually already have, not what I want or dream about. I have opened my eyes to see that my life is amazing. I am in love with my life and everything in it. I find just walking my son to school is such a pleasure. I get to see the beauty of the natural world in a leaf, the colour of a vibrant berry, the sounds of the birds singing, but the best of all is that I am in this moment with my son. Our relationship has gone from strength to strength, with me realising how to be here instead of anywhere else.

The really great quote “if you can’t love you who else can?” and “if you don’t love your life who else will?” brought it home. I can say everything in my life has improved drastically with just being present in it instead of looking for the next thing coming. I am more positive and my relationships with friends, family and everyone else have all changed for the better. My mum said she finally has her daughter back after watching me destroy myself for years. It is safe to say I have found myself again and it is still only the beginning of my life’s journey, but I feel amazing.

You all can do it to; you can all find your happy – it is already within you, you just have to let go. I wish you all love and happiness. 🙂

For more information on Be Love to Find Love, check out this site.

I’d just like to say a big thank you to Gabby, not only for being one of the greatest, most inspirational people I’ve ever known, but also for always being there to support me in everything I do. Love ya.

She’s recently set up her very own blog. I hope you’ll head over and share some love.

D x