Over the weekend inspiration hit. Late on Saturday night I decided I wanted to paint. Not even that I just wanted to, I had to paint. I had all these really amazing ideas. Since all the craft stores were closed I planned to wake up, shower and head straight to the store to pick up supplies. When I woke up it had snowed, not too much but the roads easily the worst they'd been all winter. It didn't stop me.  It took so much longer to get to the store than normal but I chugged along. It felt good to buy new craft supplies. It had been so long since I had really purchased anything crafty that I almost forgot how great it feels.

Back safe in my warm apartment I set to work. I spent a while drawing up one of the designs I imagined the night prior and after ten or fifteen minutes painting it called it quits. It just wasn't right. I started working on something else and wasn't pleased either. I fiddled around with the paints a little while longer before rinsing my cup and my brushes. Not only was I discouraged, I was embarrassed. Why wasn't I able to paint what I saw in my head? I know I've touched briefly in the past on how I maybe have a habit of getting too ambitious about new hobbies, then feeling defeated and eventually giving up when I'm not the best. That was happening once again.
Later in the day, while outside on my walk with Klaus, it hit me. It doesn't matter that what I painted didn't turn out as planned, I had fun. It was relaxing, and it felt really refreshing to do something creative again. It was my first time with watercolors but even if it was my 100th time with them it shouldn't matter. When it comes to roadtrips I'm a firm believer that it's not the destination that matters but the journey. Why shouldn't that apply to art as well? I mean, obviously making something pretty is the best but just making things in general feels amazing.

I'd been in a creative slump for so long. My sewing business and circumstances at the time drained me of the creative juices that were always in me. I missed making things but I had literally no motivation. I'm slowly but surely feeling like my creativity is being awoken, first with embroidery and now with this. It feels amazing. I'm feeling like myself again.

I love making things but in a way I've always held myself back. I've always wished I could paint. In the past I've tried acrylics but quickly admitted defeat when I wasn't able to produce things like my favorite artists. The thing I would always forget is that they'd been doing it for years and years. Skills take lots of time to hone. Maybe once in a blue moon you find something that you just get but everything else takes time.
Photography has always been something I just got. I'm not suggesting I'm the best, or that I have nothing left to learn - quite the contrary actually. There was one distinct moment I remember thinking photography was for me. It was shortly after my sixteenth birthday, I had begged and begged for a digital camera. Looking back, it was a piece of junk but I loved it. It even had a flip out screen so I could take pictures of myself. Not too much has changed. Hah. Anyway there were a bunch of praying mantises in my mom's garden and I was taking pictures of them. As I was reviewing my pictures one stood out in particular. It was gorgeous. Shoot, I still think it's a pretty decent photo. But in that moment I was like "Wow! I'm good at this! I should keep doing this!" From then on out I loved photography. In the years since then my skill has only grown.

The internet is an amazing place especially when you want to learn something. I can google "how to paint with watercolors" and get 2,360,000 results (literally). The internet is also a really awful place when you want to learn something. All of a sudden after reading a tutorial... or five you have these unrealistic expectations of what you're making should look like. You're comparing yourself to all these people who have been doing it for years and that's stupid, plain and simple. I'm honestly glad I got into photography before the internet was something that was such a huge part of my everyday life. I'm not sure that I would have taken the time to work on my skills. I worry that I might have seen some amazing photographers work and been discouraged by my own.

The internet is a very real part of my life now though. Even when I'm not looking for certain things I'm seeing them, maybe on a blog I love or even instagram. Just because Jesi is over here killing it with her paintbrush shouldn't make me feel bad about what I'm doing with my brush. She'd actually probably yell at me for making myself feel poorly because I'm want to be as good as she is. Comparing any part of your life to anyone elses is such a bad idea. I think creativity is so so so important and to let it be squashed by comparison is a waste.
The internet and comparison brings us into another discussion all together but I just wanted to write this post to remind you (and myself!) that...
 ▴ There will be hobbies you stink at at first but that doesn't mean you'll never be good. Keep working at it.
▴ Practice doesn't make perfect. Nothing is perfect. But practice will make you better, guaranteed.
▴ Just because it isn't a masterpiece doesn't make it a failure.
▴ Another artists success is not your failure.
▴ It's okay to be bad at something, it's better than not trying at all.
▴ You're never too old and it's never too late to learn a new craft, skill or hobby.

Maybe this was a bit ramble-y but I feel like it's important. More than that, it's being weighing on my chest for too long and I know that others probably feel the same way. Now get back to that hobby you tried to pick up six months ago but shoved in a drawer to try and forget about after less than perfect results! I have a paintbrush to get back to.

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I've been living in new apartment for just under two months now. All the rooms are done-ish, meaning that each one has at least one or two little things that I want to find or fix up somehow. The main thing my office is missing is lockers. I've been looking like crazy for them but haven't found the right ones yet. I just can't get over the idea of having them, so much so that I keep putting off my housewarming party. Must. Find. Lockers!

Even though I'm still working on the rest of this room I wanted to share some photos of my vanity area today. Since I took the bigger of the two bedrooms for my office there wasn't really room for my vanity in my bedroom. My office has two windows that, as luck would have it, my vanity fits perfectly between. I knew immediately that's where it was going. Since those two windows get the best lighting out of all the others in the apartment, it was obvious where my plants would go. So basically, it's an amazing little area. I feel like a goddess everyday while putting on my make-up surrounded by plants.
 I love it here. Seriously, this apartment is just perfect. Can't wait to share more photos of it as I find the finishing touches for each room!

/// Source list 
jewelry holder hands 
jackalope ring holder
▴ Small gold turtle is vintage.
▴ Large turtle shell and stool are from Target.
Vanity (Actually a writing desk from Walmart, but it was $40, and it does what I need it to!)
▴ Mirror was thrifted.
Anything else, just ask!

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belt - Modcloth (many years ago)

Y'all, it is still stupid cold outside. I'm so sick of wearing layers upon layers every time I leave the house. It seems weird to think that I could ever wear shorts and a tank top again, it just feels like winter has been here so long. You know it's bad when you start getting excited about 30 degree weather. I've taken to dressing up nice while I'm in the house so I don't go crazy. I've actually worn this exact outfit twice this week. I mean, if no one saw it did I really wear it? As long as I still smell nice, and only have a minimal amount of pet hair on my it's all good in my book. Although as soon as the camera comes out, all bets are off. That dog is a total ham. I cannot step in front of the camera in the house without Klaus running over and trying to get in on the fun. Needless to say, these photos put my pet hair on clothing limit over the line.

This is another post in collaboration with the #iamunique campaign by Unique Vintage. It's a year long campaign to celebrate how you express your own unique style, embrace your own unique body, and embody your own uniqueness. I'm a member of the Style Society along side four other awesome bloggers. I'm still so excited to be a part of something so positive like this. Right now they're actually focusing on "every body is a beach body" which I love! I'm bummed to not be participating but uh, like I said it's freezing. I don't exactly have anywhere to be wearing a swim suit. Check out their instagram for a really neat polyptch they made promoting the sentiment. (It looks better in app than online, of course.) I've actually always wanted to do a swimsuit outfit post but felt kind of silly frolicking in the water with a camera pointed at me. "Oh, don't mind me. It's for my blog." Maybe this is my year.
Hope you're having an awesome start to your week!

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Over the last few days I've taken the time to update a lot of pages on the blog. Nearly all the pages along the top navigation bar have had a facelift. Since it's apparently not all that often that I get around to doing a complete overhaul on them I thought a little recap of what to look for would be helpful.
 /// Little Things
About Me : New photos + updated "about me". My favorite part is the main photo, a scan of a handful of photobooth pictures.
FAQ : New questions added, including the most popular questions I get about abandoned buildings.
Equipment : The only one that didn't get an update. Guess I'm waiting to just rework the whole post. I will add right here though that main thing different is my love for this lens. I've owned it for just under a year now and it's seriously the coolest. Not really sure how I went for so long without it.
Favorite Posts : New posts added to the list!
Contact Me : There's a new cute picture of Klaus? Haha, not really much to be updated on that front.
Shop : Still the same link as before but with some new photos I'm really excited about.
Blog Buttons : A brand new section with buttons so you can link to The Dainty Squid if you so please.  If you need another size just shoot me over an email.

/// Even Bigger
▴ I added a handful of new tags to the blog, and deleted some that weren't being used. New tags include bikes, cemeteries, Cleveland, and travel. These are all subjects that get a lot of attention here on The Dainty Squid but for some reason were lacking a tag. This should make browsing a lot easier. Actually, if you have any other suggestions for tags, things I blog about often, then let me know!

/// Best of all
 I updated the advertising page big time. Here's a quick overview of the new things happening there...
 ▴ The XL and large ad space options both now include inclusion in at least one Friday Favorites post. It's something I've been going back and forth about for a while now. A lot of blogs include some sort of sponsored feature with the purchase of ad space but that just doesn't really fit The Dainty Squid's content. I still really wanted a way to highlight my sponsors though. Inclusion in a Friday Favorites post is perfect and I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner! I understand that it may sound like the integrity of my Friday Favorite posts will be compromised but the way I see it is since I have to approve all sponsors before ads go live anyway. Knowing that I'll be featuring them in my Friday Favorites just ensures that those advertising are a good fit for my audience. Friday Favorites always have been, and always will be products and links I'm super pumped about.
 ▴ Small ad space now runs for 35 days instead of 30 like other ads. That's less than a dollar per day!
▴ The three month advertising discount? WAY BIGGER!
▴  I've opened up the option for other ways to partner! Something else in mind other than ad space? Interested in having your products featured on my instagram? Thinking a sponsored post best fits your need? I'm interested in discussing whatever you may be thinking. Just shoot me an email
So, that's whats new around here...along with a handful of other things I've probably forgotten! Haha!

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