My secret talent… and the death of my creativity

Originally I started off thinking that this would be one of those posts where I tell you 10 things about me you don’t know and it would all be very witty and interesting. The reality was that I just didn’t think half of it was actually even slightly witty or interesting, but I started rambling about the first thing on the list for long enough that it needed its own post, so here we are! (I’m not sure if it’s just me, but every time I write posts about myself and not my outfits etc I do wonder who on earth would read it. Clothes feel much more exciting.)
Anyway, truth be told, I don’t have many hidden talents. I can’t even wink. In fact, apart from what I’m about to talk about I can’t think of much I can do that feels like a special skill – other than retain endless encyclopaedic knowledge of online clothes catalogues. But that’s probably because I spend too much of my life looking at online clothes catalogues… and I bet the information about where to buy a red skirt has pushed out something useful like… maths.
Anyway, the one thing I can do that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned on this blog: I can draw. I particularly love drawing people – I love capturing expressions and the immense satisfaction of getting a good likeness. It’s something I’ve had a knack for since I was little and it was always that one thing that marked me out among my classmates (er, apart from how notoriously bad I was at any kind of physical activity/sport and my outstanding ability to be picked last for every team).
15 minute sketch using pen
A 15-minute sketch of B from the other week
But while I can draw, I rarely ever do it now. In fact, the first time I’ve sat down to draw in over three years was for the above picture, sketched on holiday entirely because I’d just won a sparkly pen in an arcade machine and couldn’t work on my blog for either writing or taking photos (internet connection and weather being too bad). Isn’t that a curious coincidence…? And it turns out I technically was working on my blog as now it’s become a visual in this post (is nothing sacred?!).
I think I’m one of those people who can’t have too many hobbies – not creative ones, at least. That exists right? Or am I just lazy? I love writing this blog, but if I’m honest it is completely all-consuming when it comes to my free time. I’m constantly thinking about it, or content creating, or tweaking code, or answering emails etc etc and by the time I’ve spent hours at the weekend doing bits and pieces for it, all I want to do is internet window shop and Netflix. I currently think of it practically as a second job – just one I love doing (well, apart from the crippling boredom of alt tagging pictures – but no job’s perfect). But nonetheless, I already have a full-time job that I additionally spend a lot of time commuting to, so when you add my non-official blogging job in, there aren’t many hours in the day.
Let’s compare the quick sketch above with the last artistic thing I did, just before this blog began, for effort levels…
Painting of Marilyn Monroe
Apologies, she doesn’t photograph very well and looks washed out here, but you get the gist…
Yeah. That one took a while. (And unfortunately didn’t completely succeed on likeness, so points if you know who it is without having to go through an elimination process. I’m not as good with paint as simple sketching! Take my word for it that the sketch of B above is far more accurate.)
So while I might now try to consciously pick up a pencil a bit more so that I don’t lose the knack completely, there’s a part of me that knows that while this blog’s around and I’m working I probably won’t be making the most of my one real talent that until this point in my life was one of the defining things about me. Unless you count putting the occasional cute outfit together as a talent…?
Do any of my fellow bloggers feel like your blog has pushed out things you used to enjoy doing? Perhaps it’s not unique to bloggers – maybe it’s an adult thing when life gets in the way…
Although, not all of us seem to be deterred, as fellow blogger Bonita’s proved recently! Running a blog and having three children hasn’t held this lady back from her artistic pursuits… Frankly she’s putting my one-sketch-in-three-years to shame – she’s even found time to draw me, of all people! Not to mention Jessica (Chronically Vintage), Nora (Nora Finds) and Harlow (Vintage at Heart) too. I simply couldn’t talk about art in this post without applauding this project and her superior multitasking skills!
© Teacup Girl Art
And if you think these illustrations are as cute as I do, you should check out Bonita’s brand new Teacup Girl Art website and find out more about what she’s up to. I love the idea of celebrating stylish ladies like this (am I allowed to refer to myself as stylish??) – and that you can buy all manner of merchandise with the illustrations on. Quite frankly, why wouldn’t you want me on your iPhone/mug/cushion? (Don’t answer that.)


  1. August 20, 2015 / 1:13 pm

    I can relate but my blog served as my solution to the problem of my hobbies/talents getting pushed away. Once I became an "adult" and began working full time, it was a total buzz kill to my creativity. I used to write novels – full on books! I still love to read and write but I just lost the ability to write a book. I had some ideas but not the time to really commit like I used to during school. So my blog has been my solution – it's not fiction but at least I'm writing regularly!

    • August 20, 2015 / 6:01 pm

      I've never thought of it the other way round – that a blog can help keep creative hobbies going. I guess I don't value photographing outfits as highly as I do my artistic abilities, but maybe that's just me! Thanks for sharing this though – it's given me a bit of faith back in blogging 🙂

    • August 22, 2015 / 3:32 am

      Sara I was just going to say the same thing about writing novels! I wrote several novels prior to blogging, but then life turned into a whirlwind and I got more into blogging and somewhere along the way my novel-writing ceased. I miss it, but I keep reminding myself that blogging is ALSO a form of writing, albeit a different kind.

      I still want to finish a few of the novels I never ended, but it's not as big of a pull as it used to be.

  2. August 20, 2015 / 5:57 pm

    Well hello there fellow artiste! Well that's quite a talent you've kept hidden from us! I do thing blogging sometimes takes over as an 'only' hobby rather than just one of many. It's very consuming in terms of time I think.

    I too am a drawer, but haven't picked up a pencil in a while. I wish I had more time to sew, I made a skirt once including putting in a zip. So proud! I've made some crafty wedding bits recently which felt good. I also write poetry and short stories – see here for a recent but not amazing example:

    I think hobbies will be thin on the ground for the next 3 years while I do my PhD!! Let alone the blogging…

    I'm so busy at the moment, sorry I don't have more time to chat. 2 weeks and 2 days to go…..!! xx

    • August 20, 2015 / 6:04 pm

      I definitely feel like it's my only hobby right now! I didn't know you draw and write – in the old days I used to write too. Well, my degree minored in creative writing as you know, but I haven't written longer than I haven't sketched!! I think this blog scratches that itch…

      I will read your story! 2nd prize and it's not that amazing?? Sure 😛

      I can't believe its only 2 weeks until the wedding – crikey! I figured that might be why you're quiet on the blog front. Fingers crossed it's smooth sailing until the big day xx

  3. August 20, 2015 / 10:46 pm

    Ahh I let the blog took over my life last year, obsessing over traffic and follows. Right now I blog for myself and enjoy it a bit more. I have too many hobbies, too many friends, too much going on (okay now exactly RIGHT NOW cos I'm jobless) but I'd rather sit and watch TV then think about the blog all the time. I also find that when I'm not stressing out about it ideas seem to struck better! 🙂

    • August 21, 2015 / 12:21 pm

      I think that's probably what I've done this year, if I'm honest. I've upped my schedule to posting once every 3/4 days rather than once a week and it really does keep me insanely busy!! I do like doing it though, it just is at the expense of other creative things. I still find time to watch TV, that's for sure 😉 I find my ideas flow better if I DO think about it all the time, so I guess we're all just different!

  4. August 21, 2015 / 8:11 am

    Fashion can be beautiful, but posts like this are hold every bit as much beauty, too, for they show us more of the soul behind the garments and I for one not only read them, but appreciate and adore when my dear blogging friends open up and speak straight from the heart like this.

    Both you and Bonita are wildly talented artists and I loved seeing each of your work and am over-the-moon honoured to be a part of Bonita's. I honestly shed tears when I found that she had drawn me. It's one of the most touching things to happen to me in my whole life. What an honour, too, for my illustrated self to be in such venerable vintage blogger company.

    Huge hugs & the utmost of understanding (when it comes to not having time for much in the way of hobbies),
    ♥ Jessica

    • August 21, 2015 / 12:23 pm

      Aw, thanks so much Jessica. It means a lot that anyone would read this and enjoy it, honestly! And thank you for calling me 'wildly talented'!! I love Bonita's drawings and felt similarly over the moon when she got in touch to show me my illustration. It was incredibly touching and so special. And I'm SO pleased that I'm featured alongside some of my favourite friends, very much including you 🙂 x

  5. August 21, 2015 / 8:46 am

    I must say I am the complete opposite! I'm the hobby queen, seriously I've tried it all, and I dip in and out of different hobbies, especially arts and crafts as the mood strikes me. I'm the type of person to get up at the crack of dawn because I had a new idea. Costs a bloody fortune too, I like to have all the tools of the trade! Im so glad you shared your talent, it is amazing the skills people have up their sleeve. Also you look amazing in the cartoon, such a wonderful selection of vintage ladies there.

    • August 21, 2015 / 12:24 pm

      Ha, I love this different perspective! If I was going to get back into art properly I'd need so much replacement kit as I'm sure my paints have dried up by now and my brushes were in a mess… so it's probably for the best that I don't get back into it – how will I buy all the clothes then?!

  6. August 21, 2015 / 11:56 am

    You've got skills! I haven't got an artistic bone in my body unfortunately but I've always found I've needed a creative outlet. I blog of course but my writing isn't great. I definitely find though that my blog stops me doing other things, it feels like I have 2 full-time jobs sometimes! One day I'll learn to relax maybe hehe. In the meantime, draw more!!

    Kariss xx

    • August 21, 2015 / 12:25 pm

      😀 I think I need to learn to relax about the blog too, but it's not in my nature to be relaxed about anything. I'm a worrier through and through! xx

  7. August 21, 2015 / 12:14 pm

    Wow! What an awesome secret talent CiCi! I would love to see more of your work. 🙂 I hear you on the blog-killing-hobbies thing though. I used to write a lot more than I do now, and take artistic and landscape photographs. But now I'm writing and shooting for my blog, I just don't seem to have the urge to do those things anymore. ❤

    I just want to say though, thank you so, so very much for your sweet words! I can't say how much your support means to me, and I am so thrilled that you thought to mention me in your post. (♡◠‿◠) Thank you again!

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    • August 21, 2015 / 12:27 pm

      I hope it all makes sense why I was so keen to feature your work in this post now 🙂 You're still doing amazing things around your blog, so I'm still allowed to be inspired by you 😉

      And of course I support this project of yours – it's fantastic and it's such a good thing for the vintage style community. I heart it – and I heart you! xx

  8. August 21, 2015 / 1:39 pm

    Oh WOW, you are super talented! I've never had the slightest knack for art at all, I cannot draw to save my life, so I'm so amazed at your abilities to be able to capture likenesses and expressions so well – I've very impressed!
    I know how you feel about other things getting pushed out of the way because of blogging. For me, it's writing for the fun of it. While obviously blogging is writing, and some of my day job includes writing too, I used to love creative writing (I always said I would write a novel one day!) and that gets pushed aside. Fortunately though I've managed to find bits and pieces of time here and there recently for my new favourite hobby, sewing, although I'd definitely love the chance to do more of it, but with full time work, plus extra work that I do for Ben and my dad on their business' websites, blogging, volunteering for Brownies…the list goes on, it does still get pushed aside!

    • August 23, 2015 / 4:07 pm

      Thanks 🙂 I used to love creative writing too, but I do find that the blog scratches my writing itch at least… And I was really meant to get into sewing this year – I've got a brand new machine I've only used once. But I need to learn from scratch and I don't have the time or the patience to get into… it would just eat into time I could spend blogging! I'm amazed you manage to blog at all considering how much you have on though!! x

  9. August 21, 2015 / 11:48 pm

    Wow! You are so talented, thank you for sharing!
    I absolutely love blogging and I suppose at times it does at times have more of my attention, I try to balance everything out though x

    • August 23, 2015 / 4:10 pm

      I try to, but I think I've got a bit of a workaholic streak and I'm channelling some of my efforts and ambition into the blog now! It's like I enjoy it because it's a productive hobby, whereas anything that feels more frivolous I'm not bothering with… Probably not a very healthy attitude to take! x

  10. August 23, 2015 / 3:16 pm

    You are very talented! I love the sketch you did of B, that's a great amount of detail for a quick sketch. I feel you on the lack of creativity thing, though – I used to write more short stories (or sketch out the storylines, more often) before I started blogging.
    On the other hand, it's not that I'm less creative, just that the creativity has taken a different direction. Planning out outfits, locations for shoots, writing the posts, all of that takes it's own kind of creative energy. And I'm a much better photographer now than when I started, even though I'm using the same little point and shoot camera.
    Also, you are not alone in being a little in awe of Bonita doing all she does with 3 kids. That's impressive.

    • August 23, 2015 / 4:11 pm

      Thank you, I was really surprised it turned out that well considering I was so out of practice! And what you're saying is very true – the title of this post wasn't quite what I meant because I don't feel like I'm not creative, it's just not in all the ways I want to be. I just couldn't figure out how to make that fit in a title though 😉 I agree that other skills like photography that I never had before have come on in leaps and bounds. And also that I'm absolutely no match for Bonita!

  11. August 29, 2015 / 4:07 pm

    Wow! Amazing talent! <3 I used to draw and paint a lot too but haven't done much since after high school. I can't really blame the blog on it though since I only started blogging about a year and half ago and I graduated high school much longer ago than that. But I recently had a conversation with my friend who I took art classes with and we marveled on how you never really lose it or forget how to do it. I mean sure, if you worked at all the time you will always get better, probably, but stopping and not doing it for a while…. if you pick it up again it's like it was always there. Kind of like riding a bike 🙂 <3

  12. September 3, 2015 / 2:37 pm

    Lovely to see your art work, it was really interesting to read all about your hidden talent! I hope you get time to do more of it, even just the quick sketches here and there. I cannot draw at all and now my niece is two and keeps demanding I draw a dinosaur, a cow, Grandma, Daddy, the dog etc. You have never seen so many stick people/animals!

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