I can testify that your neice with an unusual name will love getting something personalised with it. I used to scour the racks of badges, pencils, stockers and keyrings in all the giftshops on all the school trips and days out with grandparents hoping to find something with the correct spelling of my name (Vikki - common name, but my parents used a weird spelling - or weird enough not to come on keyrings anyway). I did fianlly find an elephant badge, and it was blue - so I nearly cried because not only was it my name, but it was my favourite animal and colour too! I was 24 at the time....
anyway, point being, she'll love it!
Project: the sketchbook.
I nipped into the local art shop today, to grab some gel medium to try a new image transfer technique I saw in a magazine (will share if it works) and found they were giving away goodie bags - really nice ones - for a shopping promo event in the area. I got, amongst other stuff, some oil pastles and a beautiful moleskin sketchbook. I really wanted to find a use for the sketchbook, but... well.... I don't draw or sketch at all, and I couldn't think of a 'use' (like to store recipes, or keep lists, or whatever) that I felt wouldn't be a waste of it. I thought about giving it away, that would be my usual route when I come across something lovely that i can't find a place for, let someone else enjoy it. But... well... I just wanted to keep it, ok?
So I decide I would, with no use or rhyme or reason. Maybe I'll try to sketch more - maybe I'll keep lists, maybe I'll brainstorm craft ideas, keep magazine cuttings, sew on it... whatever. I decorated the fist page, without to much idea how I would proceed. while I was doing it I realised how few things in my life I don't have rules for - real or self-imposed, I have certain ways of doing just about everything, and many of those are completely arbitrary. So, I will not have rules for this book. It will not matter if each page is good - I don't have to show anyone, I can experiment and I don't have to plan, or worry if my ideas won't come out like I see them in my head. I can erase, but I don't have to. It doesn't matter if my work is straight up copies, or highly un-orginal in concept, or utter frickin brilliant genius-ness.
Those things sound easy, but they're not, for me.
the first page - my first ever time using pastels - my first time not knowing pretty much exactly what I'll do before I start. It might not look finished, but I think it is (unless I change my mind at some point). just... being joyful, and in the moment, free and playing with colour