Sunday, 29 July 2012

Whit woo

My latest Life Book creation

This class was taught by Juliette Crane and we all created whimsical animals.
I chose an owl as Juliette often uses owls in her own work.

This mixed media creation, consists of spayed ink, stencilling, gesso, acrylic paint, collage and all manner of methods of application.

My creation did end up looking quite different to Juliette's but I am really really happy with how it turned out. 

Friday, 27 July 2012

Quick catch up

Last friday was mums birthday, she is cruising the Baltic with dad, so I got the card made early and dad packed it along with all her other bits, to surprise her once she was on board.

I have it on good authority dad had also secretly arranged flowers for her cabin and a special meal with Champagne on her birthday, awwww almost makes up for not seeing her on the day .

So this is the gatefold card I made

And as per usual when I make an unusually sized card, I totally forgot it needed to fit an envelope ! So I had to make a box too.

It's been a superbusy week and I have a massive thankyou to say to Anita and Margaret who have helped make the shop run smoothly in dad's absence, thankyou both so much.

I spent monday with Anita, our day off ended up in Hull on a magical mystery tour, we were in search of arty stuff for our journal and got several bargains, had a lovely lunch and as always lots of laughs, thanks for a lovely day Anita.

On tuesday Neil surprised me with tickets to see Sterophonics at the Grimsby auditorium. When I saw they were announced I was desperate to go, having seen them about four years ago I knew I would need to see them again, but alas the tickets sold out and I thought I had missed the opportunity, unbeknown to me Neil had sourced some on the quiet and surprised me with them when I got home from work.

Wow what a night, the little guy with the big voice never ever disappoints, they are one of the most professional, relentless and true to record bands I have ever seen, and Kelly makes it all look so effortless !

I have been working on my Lifebook all week and have some new paintings to share over the next couple of days and I have also taken on a couple of new projects. Myself and my friends at the shop have all decided to complete a themed circle journal this year, as they are all readers of my blog, I won't be sharing any of the pages just yet as it will spoil the surprise but I will be compiling them all into a post once the journals are complete.
Some of us will be completing a second prompt based art journal, where the emphasis will be on the writing and the words, these I will share as we go along.
Also Anita, Margaret and myself are undertaking a photography challenge for the next two months, this will be shared as each photo is taken and added to my journal.

One last little thing before I bid you goodnight and continue watching the Olympic opening ceremony,
a big thankyou to Ann for the flowers and for reminding me there is always love and light xxx 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Winged whimsy

Another little painting for my Life Book

Tam demonstrated an easy way to draw a butterfly and a frame made from texture paste.

My mixed media painting was created with acrylic paints, gesso, neo-colours, polychromos pencils and a black fineliner.

We have had Snowy to the vets this evening, he had a small swelling under his eye, which didn't go down after his eye was cleaned, we daren't take any chances so off he went to his least favourite place in the whole world.

Thankfully it wasn't anything too serious, he had an infection and the swelling had to be drained but he was a little trouper and apart from having to endure a weeks worth of anti biotics and one of those ridiculous cones on his head he is fine.
In fact I know he will be happy with the anti-biotics until he realises the little lumps of cheese he is being treated to are really his pills in disguise !

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Boys and girls

This weeks class cards

One for a young boy

And one for either a teenage girl or someone who has just passed their driving test.

Huge thanks to Anita and Margaret who have both been helping me this week, dad is busy cruising with mum, heading towards the Baltic as we speak, so the girls have been keeping me company and helping with all the things dad usually does, so far so good ( but don't tell dad - I don't want him thinking we can manage without him !)

Cuttlebug class as usual with the ever lovely Bonnie tomorrow, can't wait to see what she has in store for us this week.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Blob art

As part of the Life Book course, Tam introduced us to the wonderfully whimsical 'blob art'

Here is my finished piece.

We started out with a long strip of folded paper which we added splodges, drips and squidges of paint, the paper was then folded up again and smooched all over to squelch out those blobs. Once opened this is what I had to work with.

Our task was to try and see critters in the blobs, which at first I found a little hard to see but once I started doodling, all manner of weird and wonderful creatures began to emerge.

I drew outlines around dominant shapes and formed them into beings.
I then blanked out the background a little with a neutral coloured wash of acrylic paint.

And then it was time to start adding some details, I used acrylic paint and neocolours to add extra colour and dimension..

The outlines were done very loosely with a black biro ( as per Tams instructions) and the critters began to develop cheeky little personalities all of their own.

I have to say this is one of the most fun forms of art I have ever tried. When I first watched the video I wondered if it was all a little bit weird and pointless but discovered it was neither.
It was definitely a valuable lesson in allowing your imagination to guide your pencil.
The whole thing reminded me of a similar exercise I completed at primary school, blobs of acrylic paint, folded and smoothed creating mirror image butterfly wings.
Maybe we should revisit these fun elementary practices more often and unleash the imaginative child within.

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

Pablo Picasso

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Every wall is a door

One of my practice pieces for the up and coming circle journal I am going to be involved in very soon, developed this week into a completed page.

It started out life as an A5 piece of watercolour paper, I spritzed with water, swiped an ink pad over, then stamped with script and used a bottle top to create the circles.
I added splodges and a swipe of gesso down the centre.

I then added several layers of ink in shades of brown and red.

I ran it through the cuttlebug with a Tim Holtz texture plate. And then rubbed with gold wax.
At this stage I thought the piece resembled a pair of old doors, so I cut it down the centre and inked all the edges with walnut stain. I searched the internet for a door quote, and an idea for the rest of the page was formed.

The background was created by sponging on several shades of blue and buff acrylic paint, I added bricks, which were coloured with my neocolours and some stamped script.

I added hinges to the doors  (Cuttlebugged labels with shabby embossing powders) and finished the page with a quote painted in black acrylic paint and stamped butterflies which were coloured with copics.

Friday, 13 July 2012


This little box is my upcoming saturday class and will be held on Saturday 21st July

The box measures approximately 3.5inches square

We will be making the box from scratch and each class member will be able to choose all their own papers, card and style of embellishment, I am currently working on three more samples for the class so there will be plenty of style to choose from. ( I will share them on here as soon as they are all finished )

The box opens up to reveal three 'drawers' which would be a lovely way to either store keepsakes or present gifts.

I must add that the design for the actual template is not my own. My bessie Anita perfected the measurements and has very generously allowed me to teach the class ( you can also read that as Anita declined the wonderful opportunity of teaching a class herself on the grounds that it could result in loss of patience and subsequent murder !)

So -  thankyou Anita for being so generous and sharing your design with us.

Life ends when you stop dreaming,
Hope ends when you stop believing,
Love ends when you stop caring,
Friendship ends when you stop sharing
Author unknown

If you are interested in the class please telephone for further details and to book a place.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Music is love ...

Kate recently brought into the shop these fabulous ATC's.

They were created by some lovely and very talented crafters at a recent retreat and sent on as RAK's to myself Anita and Margaret.

So, thankyou Kate, Janet, Michelle and all you other generous ladies, they were a very much appreciated surprise.

As well as my recent minor obsession with using my scraps to make tags, I also regularly sit and craft some little handmade flowers from leftovers -  card, papers and general bits and bobs.

The flower top left has been crafted from a Coke can, coloured with alcohol inks.
I have used various punches on book paper, card and scrapbook paper for the others, some have been distressed, some inked and some treated with a light spray of glimmer mist.

I have just been teaching myself the finer nuances of dubstep.
Having two teenagers and an almost teen in the house inevitably leads to quite deep and meaningful conversations regarding various genres of music.
Neil and I have very similar and totally eclectic tastes in music, nothing is off the agenda and we have tried to expose the children to a wide range of styles.
Amy and Robbie were recently having one such conversation re the merits of dubstep and how it is being introduced into mainstream, well hello dubstep, I say as the conversation drifts entirely over the top of my head and disappears into the ether being neither comprehended or absorbed in any way.

Well I don't know about you, but it annoys the hell out of me to have my kids talking about something that I don't understand.

So I set about a secret mission, mission dubstep !
Secret because I don't want to obliterate what is left of my street cred.

I have been youtubing and googling and have learned about reverberating sub-base and BPM,
Syncopated percussion and the importance of movement and insistence !
I have been introduced to the charm that is Skrillex ( note heavy sarcasm not apparent in the typed version of this sentence !)

And my conclusion - it is a genre of music I can quite happily live without.

I think I will stick to my industrial metal !

Music is love in search of a word
Sidonie Gabrielle

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The busy man is troubled with but one devil

This weeks class cards

Using  a new Stampendous stamp and the freebie from Craft Stamper this month

And the second card was for a new baby, simple little bib design.

Sorry the blogging has been a little hit and miss lately.

I have been busy, around the house, generally getting some long overdue jobs done. All entirely boring and totally not blog worthy but necessary none the less.

I am still working hard at the gym, six days a week, the scales are not showing any drop in weight but my clothes are much looser and I am currently two dress sizes smaller than I was in January. I absolutely love weight training and I am finding I need to do far less cardio now that I am lifting heavier weights.

I am also creating several projects for my new saturday classes which will be resuming very soon, the first of which will be in a couple of weeks, details to follow later in the week.

Also my last circle journal has just come to an end and we are beginning another one, all good friends who know each other through the shop.
Most of the other girls have not done any art journalling before, so, for the next month our tuesday and friday get-togethers are going to be centred around learning some new backgrounds and mixed media techniques, so I am working hard to put together some interesting stuff  to help inspire the girls.

So -  busy, busy, busy,
And you know what ?
It's all good
Keeps me out of mischief !
(Well  - a little less mischief !!!)

The busy man is troubled with but one devil
The idle man by a thousand
Spanish Proverb

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Circle of friends

Warning : long photo heavy post

This weekend sees the culmination of all our collected efforts, 10 sisters, 10 journals, 10 months, 10 new friends.

Here are the last pages and the tag I completed in our circle journal, these were for the organiser of the whole group and mummy to the group - Darcy.

One of her favourite colours is purple, not a colour I am usually comfortable with but I did enjoy working out of my comfort zone.

And the accompanying tag, with my details on the back so Darcy will know who created these pages in her journal.

I used gesso and acrylic paints for the background colour, I used pearl paints, inks and patterned papers for the collage style elements, copics and paints for the leaves and stickers for the lettering.

Stamps, inks and liquid pearls were used for details.

I received my completed journal back too, here are all the pages lovingly created by my new found circle journalling friends.

First up Darcy's pages and tag, the butterfly lifts up to reveal beautifully written poetry.

Next up are Jaynes pages and tag, I adore the fabulous row of houses and all the hearts.

Next we have Lynne's fantastic pages with those gorgeous feathers.

And then we have Janey's pages and tag, I absolutely adore the background on these, such pretty colours

And then comes Lea's pages, one of the youngest in the group, and her pretty in pink design, the flowers are utterly yummy

Up next we have Jackie's pages and tag, I was really inspired by the fantastic texture created by the webbing on the pages and sweet words on the tag

And then there is Becca's pages and tags, gorgeously rich and dimensional pages, and the words on the tags so very thoughtful and thought provoking

And the truly unique pages from Marie who used a quote from one of my favourite books as her inspiration

Finally, last but by no means least we have Catherine's pages and tag, Catherine was always the lady who posted to me, and she often included a sweet card too, I love these pages and texture of the background.

I also received today a gift from Darcy, she made the bag and doll and I know she did it for every one of us, thankyou honey they are adorable

 I can honestly say it has been an amazing experience, I have learned so much and know I have made some special friends along the way. Unfortunately I wasn't able to meet up with them all this weekend as planned but I am with them in spirit and have an amazing piece of art to remember this wonderful experience by.

Thankyou all so very much for inviting me into your circle and for each and every one of these gorgeous pages and tags.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Typewriters and Tiaras

I have quite a bit to share tonight, first up this weeks class cards

Both created with the same stamp but used in two slightly different ways, the masculine version

And a slightly more feminine version

My wednesday class went according to plan and nothing unusual occurred until Dawn did the most extraordinary thing. She organised an impromptu raffle among the class, keeping it to herself what it was for.
After the prize was drawn and the monies collected she handed them over to me. I thought she had done it to help support one of my nominated charities, but no !

She had done it in order to replace the Cuttlebug which got damaged in a previous class ( I hasten to add she was NOT responsible for it breaking, it happened in an earlier class )

She reduced me to tears bless her, in a good way of course, and once again it reminded me how lucky I am to have such a wonderful customer base who have all become so very special.

A customer remarked recently that walking into my shop  was like walking into the bar at Cheers, I made a quip about not serving alcohol but she insisted it was the friendliest and most relaxed craft shop she had been in. I took the compliment with a blush and a mumbled thankyou but afterwards realised what a special thing she had said and that is down to my lovely customers who are always so caring and sharing. We have a proper little community and for that I will always be truly grateful.

So, thankyou Dawn, and all my other wednesday ladies for the kind thought and to all my customers for reminding me what is so wonderful about the crafting community.

Talking of community, we have been running the ATC swap for just over a year now and I have to say I love every single swap.

June's theme was chosen by Kim,  Jubilee/ Street Party and the required colour was blue.

Here are my ATC's

The teapots were stamped and painted in distress inks, the hearts were added with copics and the backgrounds were created with inks and acrylic paints

The wording and number '60' were handwritten with a journalling pen and the flower was die-cut out of ribbon with a Tim Holtz die, the brad has been coloured with a copic pen to match the theme.

Here are all the entries for the swap and although each one looks similar from a distance, but they were all very different on closer examination.

And this months winner was our newest ATC swapper, who made a debut with this utterly cute version of a street party - congratulations Sarah

Sarahs attention to detail won me over, the little heart banner all individually created and glazed, the cupcake and supersweet critters just stole my heart. Well done Sarah.

And this is the little prize I made for Sarah

A little box, a similar version to the one I recently shared as taught by YeeTing in the Stampin' Up class.

And the three little drawers filled with a few treats.

Once again a massive thankyou to everyone who took part and made the swap such a fun and inspiring event.

A reminder that this months theme (July) is

ORIENTAL and the required colours are BLACK and RED.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Tag you're it !

Last weeks class cards ( back down to two - I daren't try and do four in one go again just yet !)

A gatefold with a frame within a frame

We created the centre stamped image to resemble a tile by embossing over the whole of the image.

And for the second card we recycled something from the first card, we used the negative card from die-cutting the leaves as a stencil to create the flourishes at the bottom of the card. And just because I don't like to be told what to do, ie border punch round the page ! I punched one section of border on each edge just for something a little different.

This weeks class cards are a masculine and feminine version of one particular stamp set, I will be back to share them later in the week.

Thanks to Jan we have been saving all our scraps to create tags, Jan inspired us last week with some utterly gorgeous little creations and I have been busy making something out of nothing so to speak.

I re-used a little of the wrapping paper from this gift to create a complimentary tag.

I think this tag-making from scraps could become a new addiction ! Thanks Jan !