Sunday, 19 April 2015

3 language learning tips!

Hi everyone!
So today I wanted to share 3 language learning tips and tricks that are great for helping you progress in your languages!
1) Flashcards
For me, one of the best ways to learn vocab is by using Flashcards. I use a set by the company 'krammers' which I love as they are kept together by a ring, but paper rectangles will do just fine! :) Basically just write each word in your native tongue in the front side, and the matching word in your target language in the back (along with gender depending on the language). You can also make some of the cards the other way around. This is great as you can take them about with you so you can constantly be testing yourself on new vocab.
2) Immersion
Visiting a country that speaks your target language is not always possible, I know. However there are many other ways to immerse yourself in the language. Watch youtube videos about your interests in the language. For example I love art, so I watch lots of German and French art videos. This really helps with accent reduction and intonation as you'll be hearing it more often.
3) Practise every day!
If you don't look over what you've learnt every day, you will forget it within no time, I promise you! I find the site Duolingo is great, as it records how many days you've gone on it in a row, and if you don't practise one day then you 'lose' your streak. You could always use a post-it note and make a tally of how many days you've practised without a gap in between, and this should work just as well!

So I hope you have fun learning, and never forget your goal. For me, my motivation is knowing how cool it will be when I can talk to a native speaker of my target languages fluently in front of my friends! Shallow? Perhaps, but it does definitely spur me on!
Anyway, I hope you have a really lovely day,

-Clara x

Friday, 27 February 2015

My artwork!

Hi everyone!
I thought I'd share some of my artwork with you all today! I am by no stretch amazing at art, however it's something I absolutely, completely, incredibly love doing, so I thought it'd be fun to share :)
Do let me know if you want more posts on my artwork, or videos on my youtube! I have plenty more to show! Or you can head over to my Instagram where I have a lot of photos of my work <3
So let's begin with the piece I'm proudest of :)
It's a tiger, if you couldn't tell already haha. I did this using prismacolors and staedtler coloured pencils, and I am so pleased with the vibrancy of the colours! I wasn't sure how to go about drawing the silver whiskers of a tiger, so I just drew them in brown, so a little inaccuracy but you know- not the end of the world ;)
This was the first drawing I did after purchasing my set of prismacolors. I wanted to practise blending colours, and I thought what better way to do that than with a rainbow lolly? I really do love how well the pencils blended though- the pencils were definitely a good investment for me!

I have also been working on improving my watercolours so I gave this dreamcatcher a go with an 'ombre' (I use the term loosely; at least I gave it a go eh?) background, then used black fineliner and metallic crafting markers to draw the dreamcatcher. I'm actually really proud of this one, even if the background is a bit mucky!
Here's another one mixing watercolour with materials I'm more comfortable with. This was done with ink pen, coloured pencils and watercolour. I'm really pleased with the effect of the scales on the tail of this one, and I worked long and hard on it... Particularly on the background as I hope you can tell!
And oh, what's that? Another piece mixing watercolour and ink :P This time I did a really easy 'dabbled' (excuse my lack of knowledge on art terms haha) green background, and then did my best to letter the lyrics to one of my favourite songs over the top with black felt tip. Who knows what song these lyrics are from? ;)

I also gave shrink plastic a go the other day (video coming soon), where I drew on it and then shrunk them in the oven. I'm amazed at the results- they were so much fun!!
But here's one of my favourite ones I made of winnie the pooh- drawn completely free hand with prismacolors!
Do you like it? :)
Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed looking at some of my artwork!
Love you all,
Clara xx

Friday, 20 February 2015

25 Cute Plush Ideas!

Hi everyone!
Recently I feel like the 'plushie' community on YouTube and Instagram have been running out of inspiration. With many of the biggest sewing YouTubers no longer making videos, there seems to have been a bit of a creative block from their followers.
So today I thought I'd do a post on 25 cute plushie ideas to get you back into sewing!
So here we go!
1) A strawberry
2) A pineapple (you can get creative with the embroidery on this one)
3) A penguin
4) A heart (super quick and easy!)
5) A social media logo (facebook, twitter... or if you're feeling daring you could even try Instagram!)
5) An Earth (I have a tutorial on this hint hint ;) )
6) The sun
7) A raincloud
8) A cat
9) Rilakkuma!
10) An iPhone (TammyHallam has the most incredible tutorial on an iPhone plush!)
11) A fish
12) An elephant
13) A simple square with your initials embroidered on (gives you an opportunity to work on your backstitch :p)
13) A burger
14) An owl (they always turn out cute!)
15) A rabbit
16) A chick (continuing the spring theme)
17) A hot chocolate (again, tammyhallam has an amazing tutorial on this)
18) An orange
19) A pear
20) Your country's flag
21) A puppy
22) A musical instrument
23) An album cover
24) An iPod (yet again, TammyHallam has a great tutorial)
25) A racoon plush (LouiseLovesCrafts has a fab tutorial!)
So I really hope this has given you the inspiration you need to get back into the wonderful world of plushies. Let me know if you'd like a part two, or if you'd like one on charm ideas, drawing ideas, sewing projects etc :)
Love you all,
Clara xx

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Beginner's guide to plushies! Materials!

Hello everybody!

So as you may or may not know, I have been making plushies for almost 3 years now, and during that time I have made over 100, so today I thought I'd make a guide on how to sew them!

So first in this series I will be talking about materials :)
1) Of course, fabric is a must. For a beginner, I'd definitely recommend a fabric that doesn't fray such as felt or fleece. Felt is super easy to work with, whilst fleece is a little harder (although it does make your plushies super soft!), so felt is probably your safest bet. It is also really, really inexpensive- usually only about 50p a sheet from hobbycraft! And I believe it's even cheaper in the US!
2) You will also need tools. Firstly a needle. You can find sets of needles in supermarkets if you have a look, or you probably have some lying around your house too. Also, pins are great for pinning fabric together or pinning a template onto your fabric. Again, supermarkets always have these.
3) To stuff your plush, you will also need stuffing! You can find this at hobbycraft in huge bags, and I've seen it at Dunelm too. Or you could always purchase old teddies from charity shops and take out the stuffing if you're feeling a bit evil!
4) Threads, again, are very easy to find. I've seen thread at multiple supermarkets sold in sets of the most useful colours, so I'd definitely recommend picking up a set of them.
5) And finally, for extra touches, little bows, ribbons and findings are great! Check eBay or hobbycraft for these :)

So, hopefully this post was helpful! I'll definitely make more beginner's plushie guides soon!

Much love,
-Clara xx

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Poundland Finds- Gorgeous 2015 Diary!

Hi everyone!

So I don't know about you, but I love poundland. There are some really great products there if you look hard enough. And yesterday I found a diary that I'm super happy with, so I thought I'd make a post about it.
So, first of all, there were numerous patterns to choose from, but I ended up going with one like this:
As you can see it's a gorgeous blue colour, with orange, red and yellow shapes over it and white detailing. They are fairly thin, which for me is ideal as I need to be able to put it in my schoolbag along with my school planner. And, of course, it is spiral bound. 

As for the inside, yes the paper is fairly thin so no, I wouldn't recommend using felt tip pens or anything on here, but pencils, biros and ink pens are absolutely fine :)

It starts off with a page in which you can write your personal information in case of an emergency or if you loose the diary, however naturally I've chosen not to share that on the internet haha. Then it has a couple of pages with conversions/capital cities etc which I always love because 1) I find them interesting and 2) they are really useful! Here's the first double page of them:

If you can just about see, there are even USA-UK-European clothing conversions, which is great for me living in the UK if I shop online or go abroad. Many sites only show US sizes, so this is perfect!

And for the diary pages themselves, they are pretty simple, typical pages, but I prefer that as it means I've lots of space to write and decorate.

There is a notes section at the bottom too, which is a huge plus for me! However, sadly the diary does not come with any sort of bookmark or ribbon... No problem though; on spotting that I promptly made my own!
I think it adds a nice pop of colour too :)

And nearing the back, there is a section to list telephone numbers, a notes section and a monthly accounts section. Admittedly, the accounts section is particularly necessary for me as a 15 year old, however if you are an adult, I think that's a big advantage!

So that is it for the diary. Perhaps it's pretty standard and plain, but for £1, I love it! I think it is really important to plan each day so you can keep a clear mind and get everything done, so if one of your goals for the new year is to become more organised, then I'd highly recommend this! And if that isn't one of your goals, I highly recommend it to be! 

Thanks so much for popping by, I hope you enjoyed this post!

Much love,
Clara xx

Monday, 24 November 2014

Snail Mail!

Hello my lovelies!

As promised, I'm back with another blog post, and this one is going to be about snail mail!
Now, if you search snail mail on Instagram or Pinterest, you will quickly understand why I love it so much! It is basically post... but not typed bills or adverts. Snail mail tends to be much more carefully and beautifully made with stickers and washi tape. And, of course, they are nearly always handwritten by your penpals.
I personally only have 4 penpals, although I have seen some people who have more than 20! Although for the amount of time I have that is definitely not feasible! Plus, I really want to fond strong bonds with people, and I feel like if I had too many that would be less likely to happen. But each to their own :)
Either way, receiving a handwritten letter is amazing- especially if it is as gorgeously decorated as the ones I receive! I mean, just look at these envelopes!
I even received one from my lovely Dutch penpal Suzan which was clear!

Not only that, but the letters themselves are gorgeous too, and always so sweet!

And if that wasn't enough to make you fall in love with mail art, just look at the sweet little things inside! I've received stickers, postcards, hot chocolate, confetti, envelopes and more!

But the thing I love most is the writing itself. It is just so amazing to read a letter that someone has clearly put so much effort into, and it's awesome to be able to learn about their country, culture, language and opinions. I have 3 Dutch penpals and 1 German penpal, and I've found out more about what it's like to live in their country than I would even if I spent 10 hours researching it on the internet. And since I learn German, it is really helpful to write in the language occasionally to my lovely penpal Vanessa too.

Handwritten letters are just so much more personal than emails and messages, and I just love it so much!

Plus it's a great excuse to go out and buy more stationery! Just look at my collection of letter writing supplies (which I am going to make a detailed blog post on, naturally ;) )

There is not much I love more than sitting down with a hot chocolate and writing letters and making envelopes and wrapping up teas and decorating with stickers and then sending them off.
So, in conclusion, I highly recommend you start writing more letters! It is a great way to gain a wider cultural understanding and form friendships with people all over the world.

With love,
Clara xx

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Hello and welcome to Clarabella!

Hello everyone!
Thank you so much for checking out my blog- it means a lot to me!
My name is Clara, however my Dad has often called me Clarabella. I love to craft, play the trumpet, run, learn languages and cultures, scrapbook, journal, draw, write letters... and so much more!
I thought a blog would be the perfect place to share my hobbies and loves on, and hopefully you will all like it!
Anyway, as an introduction I thought I would write 10 facts about me :)
1) I live in England, but I am 3/4 Northern Irish in blood. My mum grew up there, and I have visited there many times as lots of my family live there. I love both England and Northern Ireland.
2) I love to learn languages. While I only learn French and German at school, I like attempting to learn the basics of other languages too such as Danish and Irish. The one language I'd love to speak and write the most is Russian- I think it sounds so beautiful, and the written language is just amazing!
3) I also play the trumpet, and I love it so much. Although I am not crazy on classical music, it is amazing to play, and I just think the trumpet is such a gorgeous instrument. I also learn tiny little bits of piano, although I must admit, no matter how fun it is to play, it doesn't come as naturally to me.
4) On the topic of things I like doing, I also love running (well... sometimes!) Last year my best friend and I decided to run 10 km for Cancer Research UK in the race for life, and it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. We trained so hard for it, and raised so much and it felt amazing to know what a difference the money could make. If any of you are looking for a new hobby, then honestly running is fantastic!
5) I have an obsession with stationery. Paperchase is heavenly to me! Honestly though- browsing through letter sets and looking at adorable pens and stickers is so much fun! And using them is even more fun, of course! If only it wasn't always so expensive...
6) Linking to stationery, notebooks are some of my favourite things to have. I have kept a daily journal since January 5th, and old entries are so lovely to look back on. Also, if you have time, it is a really nice thing to keep pages with photos and stickers in of special days- a little like a scrapbook. But I don't just reserve my notebooks for journals- oh no! I have notebooks filled with doodles, to-do lists, video ideas, sketches- anything and everything!
7) As I mentioned earlier, crafting is another big hobby of mine. From knitting to sewing to jewellery making to clay figures, I've probably done it! I love sewing cute keyrings with fabric, and making polymer clay charms is great fun too. Not to mention they make great gifts! I actually have a YouTube channel on which I make crafting tutorials and updates, if you would like to take a look! :) Just search Clarabella Crafts and it should pop up!
8) The sort of music I listen to, to be honest, it mostly whatever my sister plays! Haha! I especially love The Strokes, The Smiths and David Bowie. If I'm looking for music, I tend to go along the genres of indie and alternative rock... and sometimes a little indie pop ;)
9) I am fairly tall. I think I am about 5 ft 8 1/4 inches. Maybe not as tall as some, but definitely taller than average! People tend to assume it's nice being tall, but I've got to say, people constantly commenting on your height and saying you're 'giant', isn't the most fun! Although I'm sure others have it much worse.
10) My favourite colours are probably a bright turquoise or teal, or a deep red/purple. But then they do change a lot. In summer I definitely tend to light bright colours more, and in winter I'm all about those deep, rich colours like burgundy and navy <3

And that's about it! I will be sure to post again soon my lovelies!
~Clara x