Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A cautionary tale..

A belated happy Christmas to everyone. As ever good intentions went out of the window in the pre-Christmas silly season, so all hope I had of blogging, doing Dyan's tag challenge etc, got left by the wayside in a maelstrom of nativity, illness, cooking,illness, family commitments, illness and building work. But I have survived it all, even the illness (almost) and once my body recovers from the inevitable abuse of Christmas and New Year, I'm sure all will be back on track. As my husband disappeared to do some shopping with the children about 12 hours ago and my house guest has absented himself for some local visiting, I find myself alone with nothing special to do. I say nothing - the house could use a hoover, the washing needs doing and I could start packing for our weekend away, but what the heck, it'll wait. So I did this. This is a little journal, a double page measuring about 7" x 5 1/2". I have this notion of having it in my handbag with a few scant supplies so that I can journal on the go, but who am I kidding? I can't go anywhere without a huge bag of paints, pictures, crayons, pastels etc etc. Nice idea though? I think that the quote is rather appropriate for this time of year too, although can't say I have eaten anything truly huge, just lots of little things and some quite big things...
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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

And finally.....

It has taken a while but here at last is my December page. This snowy weather is beautiful but goodness, doesn't everything take a long time! Living in this winter wonderland is a long cycle of getting dressed and undressed, drying wet clothes, trekking through either deep snow, or tip-toeing over sheet ice. Add children and animals into the mix and add at least another fifteen minutes!

The background is a mixture of Dylusions and Studioline paints, oversprayed with Dylusions mica sprays in the special edition Christmas colours. The tree is a Sizzix die cut out of Crafty Individuals Christmas paper cut up and glitter glued - after all it is Christmas! The stamp is from Stampotique.

Last Friday I had a first: I went snow shoeing! The trusty Beast (my car) ploughed through snow and over ice to reach the moor a mile or two outside our village. We then snow-shoed through snow which was at times above my knees (and I am 5'11). It was great fun and VERY tiring!

And this is what happens to a dog who has at times had to swim through snow it was so deep!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

This page has been on my mind for a while, but for ages I couldn't find a picture of an elephant that I liked. I think I will add more journalling to it, but it might be too personal to share, so this is it for now.
Judging by the amount of blogging that has been going on over the past few days ( I came online to blog hours ago, but have had to catch up with everyone's new posts), a lot of people are suffering the effects of the snow and unseasonally cold weather. We had our first snow fall last week, and it has just kept on coming. Perfect timing as we have no loft insulation at the moment, due to a building project - brrr!

Of course some creatures don't mind the snow, as you can see here:

The downside of working within walking distance of work is that you can always get there, and the head of our village school is determined to keep school open, mindful of the trauma that some parents have been going through to get their children to school and then to work. Admirable of course, but my children are NOT happy, as they are desperate to get the sledge out, and by the time we get home, get togged up and are ready to hit the slopes, it's dark. Still, judging by the forecast, we'll still be sledging at the weekend....
I haven't completed my December page for Kate's calender challenge yet, but it is in progress, so pray for a snow day tomorrow and I might get it finished instead of working all day...

Monday, 22 November 2010

Can't sit still!

Can't settle to anything - have so many ideas and can't quite decide where to start. More of this later. Anyway, first things first - Sandra was asking what pages I produced at journaling at Dyan's the other day. I haven't blogged them yet a)because I really don't like this page, and b)because I haven't been in the house for long enough to take a photo. Having said that, the days have been so dull that I had to resort to scanning this is as the light was so bad. I don't know what it is, but I just don't like purple on the page. I wear purple a lot, so it's not that I don't like it as a colour, but I never like anything I create in purple. Dyan challenged us to make a page with random sentences put together, and this is my result.

Whilst hunting through her enormous stack of magazines, I found the phrase on this next page that I felt had to be put to good use. Like most people, I don't have the luxury of being able to turn a blind eye to household chores, work and animals, so all my journaling and artistic endeavours are tinged with a little guilt, because I know there is always something that I should be doing instead...

So, onto the cause of my ants in the pants...

Some time ago, my lovely friend Nicky suggested that I should introduce myself to the lovely team of people who run a local artists studio and skills workshop called ArtisOn as a potential tutor for art journaling. I did what i am sure most people do at first - mutter, shuffled my feet, did a lot of 'oh noooo, I couldn't possibly, I'm not a proper artist - I just splodge paint about' sort of stuff. When I mentioned it to other people (like my husband, my Mum, Sandra)and they all had the same response: 'why not?', I started to wonder myself. Anyway, long story short, I went, introduced myself, showed them my work and they booked me! Me! So, that's the first stage, it doesn't mean anyone will actually come right? Well, yesterday was the open day at the studio and I went along to demonstrate for a couple of hours. Four and a bit hours later, I came home with a great big grin on my face. I met some lovely people who clearly thought that journaling was as great an idea as I do, and lots of ideas were shared and paint was splodged and inks blended and generally fun was had by all. Some people booked on straight away and lots of people said that they were going to - so fingers crossed that they do! I couldn't sleep last night for all the ideas going round in my head, and today I have managed to achieve practically nothing. It was great to be a part of such a vibrant, creative atmosphere, I'm only sad that I didn't really get a chance to look at all the other artists stuff - I couldn't get away from my table! Check out the ArtisOnwebsite for some of the exciting things they are doing, or their facebook page. Right, back in the real world, my hands are nearly frozen solid - the builders are busy here and that means no loft insulation, a big hole in the ceiling and now they are forecasting snow for this week...

Monday, 15 November 2010

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas...

Christine asked me to do an entry for her round-robin journal when we were at Art Journaling at Art from the Heart on Sunday. Although I said that I wouldn't get around to it for a bit, I sat down to do something else today and this just happened...Procrastination has always been a particular forte of mine, and although this doesn't look like a lesson plan, it was much more fun! I am not feeling remotely Christmassy - in fact I got quite grumpy the other day when all the shops were full of tinsel and Christmas carols - it is only November you know! As if you didn't know, the stamp is Uncle Buck by Stampotique, and the paints are a mixture of Claudine Hellmuth and Dylusions. I have made a smaller version to use as a Christmas card, although I am not sure who I would send it to though! Are you feeling Christmassy yet?

Thursday, 4 November 2010


What a week! My life is a finely balanced thing - one extra element and the whole pile of cards comes tumbling down. I am in a phase of change - trying to do more of the things I want to do and make them pay, so that I don't have to do the things I don't want to do. I make new year's resolutions twice a year - January, with the new calendar year, and September with the new academic year. My academic year resolution was to accept the things I cannot change, and change the things that I don't like. After all, there is no point moaning about things you have the power to change. Anyway, all this means that I have been taking on more, with a view to taking on less if you see what I mean! This week has been mad, compounded by the fact that I was away for a week with the children last week. We went to Cornwall (in the South West of England) for some chill out time, involving some journalling:

This is my eldest, journalling the most hideous journey ever - eleven hours!
This is also the first time my kids have been surfing, and if you look close enough, you might be able to see how well they took to it:

And here we are - the surf dudes!

We also went to visit the Eden project - what an amazing place. The different biodomes each house a different environment, rainforest, mediterraenean and outdoor. The rainforest was amazing - to see bananas, pineapples and peppercorns growing in the Uk - wow! It was made all the better because there was an African children's choir singing, dancing and drumming too - it gave me goosebumps all over.

In between all this excitement, I did manage to squeeze in a little journalling - here is October finished :

And here is November ready to go:

Can't believe that we have nearly completed the year - who's carrying on next year?
And finally, because my Mum has a beautiful new house, and it's her birthday today, and because a certain person let me down on the present front, I had to create her a gift at short notice. Here it is - she said she loved it, I guess I'll know how much by where she hangs it!

Have a safe and fun Guy Fawkes Night!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Better late than never

This page has been weeks in the making, and a combination of being busy with swaps (another post in the pipeline) and life just generally being busy, has meant that I have only just got around to finishing and posting this. Although I hadn't finished it, I started to fill in the squares so that I didn't fall too far behind. The trick or treaters are Stampotique (of course!), the background is Jo Sonja's acrylic paint and Dylusions spray inks. Like a lot of people, to me October suggests Halloween, although I'm not really into it. My kids are, of course, and they are already way over-excited about dressing up on the 31st. We will be sending two members of Team Jacob out trick or treating (two werewolves for those who haven't read the Twilight books).

Monday, 20 September 2010

How many skeletons are there in your closet?

I am a lucky girl, I know. Yesterday I went to Art from the Heart for a day of chilling out and journalling, whilst husband took two overtired children trainer shopping (snigger). It's my first time on a journalling day, but I had met many of the journallers before, on the Dina Wakley weekend, so it wasn't too daunting. Dyan challenged us to journal the skeletons in our closet, which we had to write on a piece of paper and place in a disguised pocket. We also got to play with Tim Holtz's new stamps and Dyans new paints and mica sprays - lush! Unfortunately they had sold out of paints, so I shall have to wait until later in the week to bring them home to stroke.... I'm not sure that the photos do justice to the fantastic shimmer that the new sprays with mica have - it's very intense.

This is just a detail shot to show you that I removed the arms and legs of my skeleton so that I could sew them back on again, and that way he would move about. (I had a few happy moments jiggling him up and down, much to Sandra's amusement).

And finally, for those who requested pictures and new car smelly vision, here at least is a picture of my new 'car'( haven't found the smell setting on the camera yet).

I know, it is a tank. After much resistance about fuel consumption, cost of ownership and general 4WD hating, him indoors finally caved and bought me a vehicle that will mean I can tow a trailer and two horses, so that my friend and I can go off and do events without turning up exhausted, having hacked all the way there first. I know, I am a very lucky girl. What can I say, I must have done something to deserve it....

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Remember these little fellas?

Remember these guys? We won them from the slot machines on a family trip to the seaside at the beginning of the summer holidays. I realised the other day that I had never got around to blogging this page, and whilst I am getting back into the routine of having a husband back at work, me and the kids being back at school and all that goes along with that, I thought that this might stop you from thinking I had fallen off the blog planet! I haven't forgotten that you asked for the new car smell and pics of the the new wheels, but I haven't been in for long enough to take a picture yet! I promise I will catch up soon!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Skin of my teeth...

Phew! Because I am still carless - new wheels are due to arrive any day - Kate did the swimming run. I feel a bit guilty that she worked and then took my son swimming whilst I got to play, having had an afternoon at the hairdressers, but I promise I'll do my bit once the new car arrives!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

How lucky am I?

Right, pour yourself a glass of wine, this could be a long one! First of all, August has been and gone - where did that go? It just goes to show how much I function on routines, because I have been rubbish at keeping up with my journal this month. However, it has been a GOOD month! First of all for all those that know, my husband was made redundant earlier this year, and yesterday he started a new job, which so far, he is loving! (Huge sigh of relief, loving having an empty house...)

Secondly, it was my birthday, and just look at all the lovely presents I got!

My Mum bought me these little beauties:

My in-laws bought me this little stash - oh yeh! Should keep me busy for a bit...

My lovely (now employed!!) husband bought me these - pan pastels. The picture doesn't do the vibrant colours justice, and I can't wait to really get going with them.

And what about this: a card made for my birthday by my friend Anna, who insists that she isn't the least bit arty, but in all the years I have known her, has never just given me an off the shelf card. She is one of the girls that I open water swim with. We have had many fantastic wild swimming experiences, and she has used the faces of the two of us and our friend Karen to make us into Sylvis's sirens. Sylvia is our seventy-something year old swimming teacher, and we love her to bits. Not only has she helped us all become better, fitter swimmers, but she has helped to form a fantastic, supportive band of friends without whom my life would be so much the poorer.

And finally, my sister-in-law turned forty today, and this is the card I made for her. She texted me first thing this morning to thank me and to say it was 'a keeper'. Bless.

Phew! Right, back to work tomorrow - only seven and a bit weeks until half term!

Friday, 20 August 2010

More Dina Stuff

So I was just reading this morning that even Dina Wakley has down days where she questions her art and finds it hard to motivate herself. That makes me feel a whole lot better, because I feel like I have just let this whole holiday pass me by without really taking advantage of it artistically. Can it be that I haven't completed a single thing since the Dina course? Hence why I am still blogging it.
So on the second day of the course, we had to 'do' texture. 20 layers was the target, but I have to day I was enjoying myself so much, I never managed to keep count of how many I used.

One thing that Dina taught us was that sometimes pages just don't work, and that's ok. But, just because they don't work as a whole doesn't mean that they can't work at all. So we made a page, folded it into a booklet and hey presto - a little journal to work in...

Afterwards we went out for dinner with Dina and her future heartbreaker of a son. Also in the picture are Christine, Kate and Jude

The next day was something of a challenge. Portrait painting. Hmm. It's easy, just like painting by numbers apparently! You just highlight the lightest areas, add black to the darkest and then build up layers of colour in tones. Easy. Ha Ha. Well, here are the two pictures of my kids that I am prepared to show. The one of myself looking like Mrs Doubtfire is going to the same place as that picture of Kate....

Right, well it's raining here today, so for the first time in weeks, I am going to focus on some housework instead of the garden, then next week when I am home alone ALL WEEK (yee-ha!)I can create to my hearts content. Ooh and I need to blog my birthday presents - prepare to be green with envy!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Dina Wakley Weekend

Can't believe that this time last week, I was in the first of three fantastic days of Dina Wakley classes at Art from the Heart. It was a fabulous experience, not least because not only did I get the opportunity to have three days of guilt free art (no thinking about whether the kids are hungry, thirsty, watching too much tv etc.)but I got to meet some of the people I have previously only met online! It's hard to know where to start, but I guess the pictures can do most of the talking!

Dina, of course makes it all look so easy, her style is so effortless and even when she just throws something together to illustrate a technique, it looks way cooler than I could achieve with hours of deliberation. But these pics are the results of the first day of spraying and daubing and generally playing!

Special mention should also go to Dyan, as her altered originals inks were a key part of the creations we made!

More next time, although I am not allowed to publish one particular picture of Kate when we shared a room....

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Cake and candles

In case it isn't obvious, it's my birthday this month. Hence the cakes. As a child my Mum always used to make the most amazing cakes - decorated to illustrate the current passion in my life. If she were to make one this year, it would have to have big inky splodges on it, because tomorrow I am off to Art from the Heart for three days of inky painty fun with Kate for Dina Wakley's three day workshop. How lucky am I!

I am not particularly taken with this page, but I think I have used up all my energy this week on digging a big hole in the garden for a patio and then shovelling 2 tons of hardcore into it. Right, off to paint my toenails now...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

July done!

Ooh, that snuck up quickly. One minute I was happily filling in a petal or two (on the days when I remembered I hadn't done an entry for a week!) and then I read Kate's blog briefly whilst I was waiting for some dinner guests to arrive last night(love the tea towel Nicky - sorry couldn't face trying the wine today for some reason!) and for some reason I was surprised to find that the month had ended. This in itself wasn't a problem as I only had two days left to fill in, but doing a page for August? Doh! I shall have to think up something quickly, as I am already behind.....

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Bird Brain

At last - the holidays are here! Not before time either - if we hadn't broken up when we did, I fear for what may have happened - my brain was just a nano-byte away from meltdown...Hence the journal page above. The borders are a mixture of collage sheets I have collected over time from Collage Anonymous and Crowabout and the figure is from Collage Anonymous with the owl head from Tumblefish. The background is made from Sir Tim's new distress inks.

We have just spent a few days in that most tacky and British of seaside resorts - Blackpool. My Grandmother lives there and we went to see her. The kids love the miles and miles of slot machines there and we spent several happy hours shoving 2p coins into the penny fall type machines. These little critters were some of the prizes we won - how cool are they? Before the kids could attach them to anything, I said I had to photograph them so I could use them on a journal page, which is what I am off to do now.....

Monday, 19 July 2010

Loo Blues

When I was a kid, loo bloo was a strange thing that hung over the edge of the toilet bowl and made the water all blue, and I suppose probably did some kind of cleaning job. Now I am a big girl, loo blues is more appropriate! I am now coming down from my huge strop about how much I do at home and just how disgusting a bathroom/kitchen/carpet has to be before anyone will even consider wiping a cloth round/getting the loo cleaner out/hoovering up the dog hair (oops, think I might be on the verge of another tantrum.....1..2..3..calm...). I think all this comes mainly from the fact that I am overtired, probably more stressed than I am admitting and just plain sick of doing everyone's thinking for them (oops, there I go again...).

Anyway, this started out as an ATC for Marsha's blue challenge, but went a bit wrong, so I re-did it as a journal page to perfect the technique. The floorboards are these strange chinese visiting cards that are made of wood, which I painted and distress inked and stuck on. I added the fish for a little humour (I needed it!) not that any self-respecting fish would live in any of the toilets in our house!