Quick Sketches: A Little Bit of Therapy

I love quick sketches. Normally I do them when I find an image of something I find beautiful, but sometimes I do it as a creative warm-up.

Christine Fichtner quick sketch bird

Not even a proper sketching pencil.

The best part is that I put no pressure on myself to make it perfect. Unlike the cards that I paint, I don’t care how these sketches turn out.

It becomes therapeutic, and it gets those creative juices flowing.

Anyone can do it with paper and a pencil. Even if no one else ever sees it, it’s good for the soul.

Do you have any small, therapeutic exercises? I would love to hear how you all take some time for yourselves in this busy world.

Throwback to the ‘Cool’ Sweatpants

I have a confession to make: I haven’t bought sweatpants since high school.

Now, to put this into context, I live in a city where it’s normal to go to school or grocery shopping in extremely casual wear. Vancouver is not, unfortunately, known for its fashion. Sweatpants are extremely popular here. So going for that long without buying new sweatpants is a bit surprising. Especially since, though I admit that while I was skeptical at first, this style of sweatpants is really growing on me (you can dress them up! Crazy!).

That being said, giant, baggy sweatpants were actually considered cool when I was in high school, and were a staple in my wardrobe. The signature Russell sweatpants. Oversized. Part sporty, part hip-hop dance inspired.

Getting a kitten has had me digging to the depths of my wardrobe and bringing out clothes that I don’t wear very much anymore. As armour against the kitty claws. This includes sweatpants from over ten years ago, and old sweatshirts. It made me rather nostalgic.

Christine Fichtner tbt sweats

Just missing the Adidas Originals shoes.

In my defence, these sweatpants have held up extremely well against any wear and tear. Quite amazing, considering how often I used to wear them.

Most of the time at home I wear pyjama bottoms. But I have to say that I’m very much enjoying the good old sweatpants. And they do an excellent job protecting me from my kitten’s claws.

All in all, I’m very glad to have dug these out. I still might buy some new sweatpants though.

 

Hallway Decor a la Prague

One thing I loved about Prague was the architecture and design. Everywhere I looked, there was something beautiful to see.

There was one tea house that I went to many times. It was quiet amidst a bustling city. With delicious tea and books spread throughout.

Christine Fichtner prague hallway

A colourful assortment

And the back hallway leading to the bathroom was decorated in the most wonderful way. Light streaming, and an eclectic assortment of decorations and plants. Everything placed seemingly haphazardly, and yet it all fit so well together.

This is also one of the reasons I love white walls. They make colours pop, and they practically glow in the sunlight. This hallway has been a huge inspiration for my decorating.

 

Transforming a Space

 

Christine Fichtner Flowers 1

Strawberry planter not used for strawberries.

It’s quite amazing what a bit of green can do for a space. It’s a colour that calms, and yet rejuvenates. I love having plants around the apartment, bringing life to squared, static walls.

We have a small balcony. There is space for a small table and two chairs. It’s enclosed by walls, though there is no roof. It’s grey. Or rather, it was grey.

My fiancé and I love spending time outside. And summers in Vancouver are absolute perfection. There are gorgeous trees outside our apartment that are wonderfully green all spring and summer. But our balcony was rather lacking. We wanted to sit outside, but the space was rather dreary. We decided that our next home project was to transform our balcony into a cozy, warm space.

Christine Fichtner Flower 2

Is it weird that I find the trowel really cute?

We started with plants. Green, and pops of colour. We don’t have space for many, but already the change is notable.

We also bought a cheerful blue outdoor rug, and lights to string above. Lanterns will certainly make an appearance as well.

It’s a work in progress, of course. There is much to be done, and I don’t have a green thumb and am definitely learning a lot about gardening as we go. Any tips and tricks that you may have are well appreciated!

I will be posting updates on the transformation of a plain and grey space to one full of life and light.

It’s Kitten Time

My fiancé and I got a kitten! We’ve always wanted a black cat. They’re like fuzzballs with eyes.

Christine Fichtner's Kitten

This is Jerry! Also toe beans.

Ryan has had pets before, but this is my first one. My mom is quite allergic to both cats and dogs, so we couldn’t get one when I was younger. I got fish, but it wasn’t quite the same. So I promised myself that when I grew up and moved out I would get a pet. And here I am! My first Kitten! Who is, even as I type this, batting at my fingers because they’re moving.

Christine Fichtner kitten on my shoulder

He likes to sit on my shoulder.

Jerry is already very, very loved. Claws and all.

What’s your experience with pets? Your favourite moments? Do’s and Don’ts? I would love to hear from you all!

Madrid Style

Part of what I love about traveling is the way each city has its own style. The architecture unique to each city is, to me, something that really highlights the difference in culture.

Madrid apartments

Madrid

There’s something fantastical about buildings that intersect streets. Like icebergs splitting through water.

 

Little Creations

I try, as much as possible, to make my cards by hand. I don’t always have the time, and I’m a sucker for Papyrus cards… but most of the time I like adding that extra personal touch.

christine flower card

My most recent card.

After a bit of a break from painting, I’m still getting back into using watercolour and remembering its unpredictable and finicky tendencies. But I love how calming it is. How much fun it is to play around with colours and watch as they interact.

This card took me two tries. The first one didn’t turn out so well, but allowed me to get a feel for the way I wanted the colours to move. I find that, much like writing, the second drafts and those thereafter are much more refined.

I am hoping that eventually I’ll paint cards that I can sell on Etsy or in local stores. Cards that are heartfelt in their colours and messages. Because we don’t always have the time to make our own, but sometimes we want to show people just how much we care. And I believe that art can do just that.

Wardrobe staples: Leather Jacket and Booties

I love it when clothes feel like they carry secrets.

Fashion

Cool colours for the cooler spring days.

Pockets in dresses, small details, hidden colours.

Part of the reason I love my leather jacket and booties is because both of them carry secret colours on the inside. Outwardly, it’s not visible. But every so often, the colours flash as if coming out of hiding for just that turn, that one step.

Christine Fichtner leather jacket

It hides a lovely green.

Another I reason I love them is that they’re classics. You can never go wrong with a black leather jacket and grey ankle boots. They match almost any outfit. You can dress them up or down. Shopping, work, for drinks at the bar… the possibilities are endless!

Christine Fichtner booties

Leather booties from Coach. Well worn and loved.

When it comes to jackets and shoes, I prefer not to skimp. As tempting as it is to buy more pairs of cheaper shoes, I am a firm believer that buying good quality shoes will be a better investment in the long-run. They’ll be more comfortable, and they’ll last longer. Comfortable shoes become well-worn over many years. Cheap shoes soon find their way to the trash can after a season which, in addition to being a waste of money, is bad for the environment.

Styles change quickly, which is why I try to look for classic staples that I’ll be able to wear throughout the years.

I don’t completely rule out fast-fashion. But I try to invest in quality. As someone close to me used to always say: I’m not rich enough to be able to afford cheap shoes.

Treasure Hunting

Nature and food. Two treasures that I love.

Christine Fichtner Quarry Rock hike

Isolated

Lucky for me, I live in a city that has a ton of both. How could I not take advantage of it?

As my first hike of the year, it was probably a good thing that I ended up going on a shorter, easier trail. (I may have huff and puffed anyway…)

My friend Miki called me up and we headed out to Deep Cove to hike up to Quarry Rock. It’s a gorgeous hike, and the view up top is spectacular. It’s a fairly popular hike, and by the time we started to head back, the trail was getting a bit more crowded.

Christine Fichtner bun hair curls

Feeling accomplished post-hike!

There was not a lot of wildlife to be seen this time around, but seeing a raven hanging out around all the hikers at the top was quite something. It must be quite used to humans, since it did not seem nervous at all despite having at least twenty people  and five dogs sitting or standing around.

Christine Fichtner Quarry Rock

A spectacular view.

There’s something wonderful about being surrounded by trees, secluded, away from the reaches of urban life.

It’s rejuvenating for the body and mind. It’s something that never fails to lift my spirits. The life, the energy, everything about it, I believe, brings out the best in us.

Christine Fichtner Honey's donut

How could I not?

Of course, after hiking we had to stop by Honey’s for some incredible donuts. The maple donut was well worth the trek across the city.

The weather has been incredible this year, and I plan to take full advantage of it. This means plenty of hikes and time spent outdoors.

I live in a beautiful city full of opportunities to enjoy nature. What about your city? If I were to visit, where would you send me?

 

Mondays Mean

Mondays mean breathing in the new week, stepping into its embrace. No matter how tired, how reluctant.

Mondays are sleepy days for me. And as I sit at my desk, I find myself seeking ways to open my mind creatively.

christine fichtner painting palette

Colours to brighten my day.

It normally starts with a quick sketch. Something simple to ease myself into practice.

Then I pick up my paintbrushes, and delve into colours. Bright ones, today.

The sun filters through the leaves outside. The air picks them up, and they murmur. This I mirror with my brush upon the paper.

Mondays can be difficult. But finding enjoyment in splashes of paint is not.

Come, Summer

I can’t wait for the warmer days. The sunny skies with cool breezes. Sandals, skirts, and road trips through the mountains.

Summers in Vancouver are absolute perfection. The winters inspire traveling abroad, but the summers keep me home, wandering my homeland.

I eagerly await the inspiration that summer brings.

Christine Fichtner maxi skirt jeans jacket

Back when I had short hair!

Comfort is very important when I travel. If I’m going to enjoy myself, I have to be comfortable. Luckily, maxi skirts and loose, flowing tops are in. And for the summer, a jean jacket is the perfect addition to keep any chill away.

That is

A presence, everlasting.

Love and wisdom. Knowledge in their eyes.

With each word, we change. Slightly, subtly.

Sometimes it is blood that binds us. Sometimes it is choice. Love transcends blood; cements what choice connects.

Nature’s hold is tangible in the increasing lines and slowing motions. But even She does not hold back our souls.

Sometimes a single glance. A clasping of hands.

“I know.”

Is all that is needed.

Forward, Ho!

Something incredibly exciting happened recently: I got engaged!

Christine Fichtner engagement photo.jpg

Obligatory photo!

I’ll try not to gush too much, but it’s much too exciting not to share it with you all. Marriage was never the end-goal in my life. But the romantic part of me, which usually likes to hide away, really, really loves the idea of getting married to the person I love most.

Apparently my fiancé had been planning the proposal for months. I was oblivious to it all, which made the surprise all the more special. It was private, and intimate, and absolutely perfect. Of course, we’ve had to get the ring resized twice, since apparently my fingers are smaller than estimated.

Now that we’ve had time to enjoy our time as newly-engaged, it’s time to start planning the wedding! This means a lot of work between now and December. This certainly will not become a wedding blog, but there may be various updates on the process. We will be doing a lot of it by ourselves, so there may be some frustrated rants.

Christine Fichtner invite painting

I’ve started drafting wedding invite cards!

On that note, any advice and recommendations are very welcome! We will be having a very small wedding, but I don’t doubt there will be much to do. I would love to hear your experiences and any tips or tricks!

Devour

“Whatever it takes,” he nodded to himself. “Can’t be weighed down with concerns about others. Won’t get anywhere like that.” His eyes strayed to the golden shimmer that was splayed next to the red counter. It was a number larger than anyone had ever had. But not enough. It was never enough. He always needed more. Because stopping meant losing. Stopping meant someone would catch up.

   There was a chime. The number flickered. Six billion nine hundred million ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine. His smile widened. The golden number ticked upwards. He glanced back at the red numbers. He had done it. No one would ever be as rich as he was. He was the ultimate. He had everything. The freedom to do whatever he wanted, the power to control the world.

   Almost. The numbers leered. There was more. There was still more he could do. His movements stilled. He stared at the golden numbers that beamed his pride and obsession. Almost.

—-

A small excerpt of a flash fiction I am working on. Exploring the depths of greed.

Her Skin Held Time

I could feel time in her skin.

It was soft and dry and thin like the skeleton of a leaf half decayed.

It told me of days and months and years that had all passed. It told me that more had passed than would come.

It told me to hold her close and treasure her.