Sunday, 31 January 2010


Well I'm all for these fantastic challenges that are out there in blog land at the moment, documenting the world as we see it, whether it be monthly, bi-monthly, daily etc.  I've been on with quite a few of them, one of them though really hit a cord this month and I didn't realise until afterwards that I actually didn't want to do it.  The idea was to advise your younger self and obviously the idea is to give yourself a bit of friendly advice, you know the idea - using the advice means that the long and difficult learning curve can be avoided. 
Now on any other day it would have made me think of light subjects, fun things that would be fun to do, but when I read the topic the only thing that really stuck in my head was preventing my Dad's death - now how on earth could I do that, would the advice prevent it, or make it worse, would it have happened regardless, how could I do it, would it have eaten my life up trying to prevent it - I went around and around and around in circles to the point where the page in question ended up in pockets - did I want to give that advice no I didn't - why because I can't actually change it!  

I believe in the butterfly effect - you know the one where the flap of the wings causes a hurricane elsewhere so the thought of changing something like that would have far reaching life changing results
So this is the aftermath of what became 'too painful a subject'
I've even fought with this page - I should have realised then, this one has layers and layers and layers of paint, and paper and ink and black paint and fabric and stamping and - well you get the idea!   
So many of you may think why wouldn't I want to prevent such a life altering situation - well I would, I'd give anything to change that one instance in my life, but and this is the big but what would my life look like now?  I met my husband when I was only 17 and he was related to what was then my Mum's boyfriend (now my Mum's husband), so without my husband I would be without my child and honestly and truly I couldn't live without either of them.  Therefore I'm not happy to wishful think 'if only's' or 'what if's' and this particular learning curve - well some subjects should be left alone!  
Now don't get me wrong I love to journal difficult phases of my life and I'm quite happy to dream about what I'd do if we won the lottery but wishful thinking of what has gone before just doesn't float my boat -next time I'll leave the subject alone when it strikes the wrong cord!  
No matter what you can't actually change your past

Sunday, 24 January 2010


Well last night my Mum came over with my sister and my niece for an art journaling evening.  My Mum has never 'art-journaled' but my sister has so we were on hand to talk her through some of the techniques we use - not to say we are 'experts' far from it - just we've read a few books, blogs etc and had a go previously!  I usually paint a background and then go hunting for an image, but in the back of my brain is usually the idea of what I want to art journal about!  

Last night's brain prompt was 'Strong Women' - now over the last few weeks I seem to have had contact with women I consider 'strong' - you know the ones I mean the ones who seem to be dealt the toughest hand life can throw at them and yet they seem to keep their heads above water (although for some it sometimes feels like - 'only just'!).  One of these 'strong women' is a very close friend of mine whose gone through a really difficult time in her work life, but she's finally decided to prioritise herself over work and has finally left said job in order to retain her sanity, if she wrote a book about what's happened nobody would believe her because it sounds far too far fetched - but believe you and me she's lived through hell for the last three years at work! There are other women I've been talking to either via my blog or in life in general who are also fighting their demons - so to all of you - and you know who you are this page is to say that no matter how difficult life is - being a strong woman means you retain your values and you make me proud to be a woman.  

Now add into this that I was in the presence of three other 'strong' women - my Mum, my sister and my niece,  putting the page together was a breeze - I love it when it flows like this and all comes together!

I loved using the colour red, I'd had the image on the right hand page for some time Ms Mirren is one hell of a lady and I found the one on the left whilst wandering through a magazine, the 'demon' image behind the picture on the left was cut from a separate article months ago and don't ask me why but I just knew one day I'd need to use him - this page was that day!

I tattooed the ladies again (I can't help it), sequin waste stamping in the background - even where the cellotape was on it - LOL!
Blonde moments and Tim Holtz stamps galore

Silver pen and black paint

Hope you're all having a great weekend - can't believe how quick it's gone - update on the bathroom - all done, looks great - just makes the rooms around it look dreadful - hey ho - February's 'room' is the hall stairs and landing!

Friday, 22 January 2010


Well I sat down last night to a little art therapy, I've officially started my 'year in the life of an art journal' which started from this blog I'd scribbled and scrawled the other night through the "WHAT?" question so it was about really going for it last night.  

As you can see scrawly writing on the left hand side, just having a little rant, although the original prompt said to cover it up I've made it scribbly and scrawly enough to struggle to see what I've written, only I really know what I'm waffling on about so I added a little water to make it look a little more 'lived in' and pretty much left it as it was
but boy did I go to town on the right hand page

I started with a little paint, and then had a rummage in my desk box - this is basically where I throw all the things I haven't used on layouts so it's full of all sorts of things, from ribbon and buttons to sparkly stars and eyelets.  In amongst this I found some 'free gifts' from a home magazine I got before Christmas, they were silver stars and pretty uninspiring but then I realised that the other side was shiny - so out came the few alcohol inks I've got and away I went making a mess - I mean having fun!

I tried sticking them down with glossy accents but they kept coming unstuck - so nothing for it but to get our the paper piercer and some embroidery thread - much more like it!

In the box I also found some test pieces of alcohol inking from a scrapbook class, so they were torn up (lovingly of course) and stuck down!  Then eyelets and some offcuts of ribbon from my Christmas day top that I bought before Christmas - does anyone use those silly bits of ribbon on tops - whilst they are still on the tops or have manufacturers actually colluded with scrappers and art journallers alike and agreed to put ribbon on for us to cut off and embellish pages?

Then I found out some alphabet stickers - you know the ones lurking in the back of the cupboard, and stuck any 'W' 'H' 'A' 'T' that I had on the sheet, any letters that were too offensive (ie - shiny silver) I altered with alcohol inks!  Forget how fast they dry!  Then it was done and I'm really pleased with it!  I then added some eyelets to the front of the book, I've decided that each prompt I'm going to add either something to the front of the book or the back of the book that goes with that prompt - that way the covers reflect the book inside!

And yes I've got the backs of eyelets and messy backs of stitches to contend with on the next page - they already look awesome mmmmmmmmmmmmm - definitely liking this anything goes messy style - what do you think?

Just have to share a little purchase from last night, now yes I know I should have been buying blinds for the bathroom but I couldn't resist how gorgeous are these?

Apparently vanity cases - I think not - ripe for altering!!!!!!!!!!!!!The insides are just as delish!

And what about the clasps!

I mean I just couldn't resist them could I?  Would you have been able to refrain from buying them?  Particularly when I tell you the smaller one was £3.99 and the larger one £5.99 - now what do I do with them?  No honestly what would you do with them?  I don't want them to land in my cupboard of thinks to alter I want to do something with them?
Answers on a postcard or better still comment on my blog!
Hope everyone is having a happy Friday, I'm off now to try and buy a few bathroom fitments, we're going to attempt to methodically go through the house this year decorating and making general improvements.  Now what I'd dearly love to do is rip out the bathroom and start again - but money doesn't grow on trees so it's a case of tart it up a bit.  So we've been pricing up some new bits and I've bought new towels etc, then said 9 year old this morning decides to lean with some force on current towel rail - needless to say he was mortified when it came off the wall - screws and all!  So whether we want to or not - new bathroom fitments it is LOL!  Ooh and I've got something else I need to show you, personally think we were barking when we bought them but I wonder what you all think - I'll try and include photo in next blog post - now that's got you thinking hasn't it!

Sunday, 17 January 2010


Well I think it could be said that I'm truly inspired - it's the only way to describe it, I've been blog hopping and it's always fun but then sometimes I think if I spent less time blog hopping I might get more crafting done, but then I think I become so inspired when I blog hop that I can create - anyway enough of me going around in circles.  

Sometimes I see glimmers of the little creative person inside of me, now being a Virgoan is not always conducive to creating something 'out there' and I never describe what I do as 'awesome', I tend to like neat lines I even tear paper neatly, I'm not great with messy - it has to be controlled and that's me just the way I am not learnt behaviour just part of me, but sometimes I wish I could create something on a wing and a prayer - and this time I think I've managed it

We came back from a great weekend at Center Parcs last weekend, despite the weather (yes we were there during the snow and the ice etc) it was overall a great family weekend, in amongst this weekend, I picked up leaflets and brochures and ended up with clean coffee cups from a particularly well known coffee shop that changes its cups to red at Christmas, we had paper bags and handles and lots and lots of bits of paper and at the end of the weekend I gathered them all up in an "I'll do something with them" kind of way (I've got a cupboard full of those - you know the must haves that you see in the charity shop but never quite finding the time to 'create').

However this bundle was different, I recently came across this awesome art journal blog - talk about inspired!!!!! thanks to Carmen who I might add also helped me find Lara's blog which is just as inspiring - do you get the theme here, inspired!  Anyway thanks to them I created this little gem

The front and back covers are made of cardboard, covered with the Center Parcs paper bag with the stickers from the Made shop that we went to - bound with my trusty bind it all then on the inside ...
I've gessoed, ripped paper bags and used scraps (quite literally) from my scraps box! Even the clean cup got used!

I love the feel of it, mod podge all the way and gorgeous paper bags

Badly punched paper bag that in normal circumstances would get side lined, got included because I think I could thread something through this bit

Pamphlets, were torn, included and covered

More scraps of paper put down in an "I don't care" kind of way

More offcuts and envelopes

Pamphlets refolded so they still 'pull out'

Where the leaflets were all too heavy on the publicity side I just went for it with paper!

Now the big question is what do I do with if from now, although it encompasses all things Center Parcs it has just about the right number of 'pages' to begin the "Year in the Life of an Art Journal" so what do you think?  Should I go for it?

Friday, 15 January 2010


Well I saw Sandy Poppins this morning and she said - get your blog updated and I thought - do you know what I think I will!  Didn't think I'd have a lot to put on but pleasantly surprised.  This page was started some time ago but I didn't complete it, it's in my A4 art journal and I took it away to Center Parcs last weekend and finally finished it, me and my sister had an art journaling night on the Friday and we were both really pleased with what we finished off with! 

Other side of the page

Had a bit of filling to do on both pictures to cover up words etc, but overall quite happy with the finished results.

Now I know we've all had to deal with the hideous weather this last week and I've certainly done my fair share of moaning about it, due to school closures last week I decided to take my 9 year old with me to work and because we were literally snowed in on the estate we had no alternative but to make the journey by public transport and using those things called legs!  The round trip took 4 hours in total - absolutely crazy when you bear in mind I can do the journey on a normal day in 10-15 minutes each way!  However, we were greeted with an awesome sight at the bus stop - I've no idea who did it but it brought a smile to everyone who saw it!

At first I thought they'd used some sort of charcoal but on closer inspection I'm fairly sure it was spray paint!

A few people have said the one on the right resembles our only ever female prime minister - what do you think?

I just love the expressions - absolutely fantastic!

Warning - Change of topic LOL

A few of you may be wondering if I managed the Journal Your Christmas - simple answer - yes and here it is completed, I ran it until the 11th January (even though the prompts stopped on the 6th) primarily because I wanted to include our Center Parcs weekend away!

Did it end up as thick as last years? - You bet it did!

Now an A3 double page spread - apologies for the poor photography - I'm still tattooing my pictures have you noticed?

Close up left page

and right page

and an A4 one that's a work in progress

Orange isn't a colour I usually play with, but I'm loving this up to now, can feel some more painting coming on though.

Loving my art journaling at the moment, it's proving great therapy.  I've got my first ever circle journal heading off this week - quite excited about that - well I am now it's finished!  Didn't know if I'd manage it - I've chosen the top "Quotes to live your life by" or "Favourite Quotes" can't wait to see what it's like when it comes back! 

Done a photo order recently so need to kick into mini book making when they return! 

Hope everyone's got that Friday feeling! 

If you pop along and get to this point (presuming I've not bored you all silly before now) then leave a message I love knowing who has taken the time to read my waffle!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Well after a rather eventful snow day and a lack of ability to actually go out in the car today we've been stuck in!  Goodness knows what it will be like tomorrow morning but I really could do with getting back to work!  Anyway enough of the weather if you wanted to know about that you could just turn on the 24 hour news channel for them to tell you its snowing. 

Anyway as mentioned in previous post I made two other 'Pink' books just before Christmas, one for my niece and one for myself, this is mine.  It's a mixed shape book based on a chipboard base.

The black 'frame' in the centre is actually a Maya Road minibook that was hinged together on thin jump rings, I loved the shape of it so dismantled to use as frames in the book.

Another close up of the inside of the book! I loved the photos they so lent themselves to the red and orange background which I created by using a baby wipe and painting acylic directly onto the chipboard, then stamped on the book with some new Tim Holtz stamps that I've got, before using my bind it all.  Here's the back of it in all it's glory...

and those gorgeous ribbons - next a close up of the cover.

As the original Maya road 'frames' were hinged with jump rings I had holes in the 'frames' - therefore I've covered the holes up with some punched hearts.  Another close up...

Loving this close up, yes it looks like a metal frame, but it's not it's silver mirror board, cut into a frame shape with my Big Shot, then but through my Big Shot with an embossing folder and then painted with cheap black paint, then wipe off the excess paint with a piece of kitchen roll, if you take the excess paint off in one direction it really does look like metal! 

Here the book is in all it's glory - can't you see why I loved making all three of these books. 

Now a bit of art journaling from inside my A4 book

I've had the pages prepared for some time but never finished it, I had a disaster on the photo page when I fought with a silver pen and lost!  However, I love the fact that art journaling means you can keep your mistakes!  So here it is in all its glory (plus you can see the real colour of the page)

I left it as it was, did a bit of moving around of the silver paint, a bit of stamping over the top and there you have it!  

For part of my sisters Christmas present I made us matching art journals - they are only small but quite sweet, the idea behind them is to generate a double page layout per month and then swap them.  We've chosen the word 'Positive' as the prompt for the entire book - this is my decorated 'Positive' page just inside the cover

I'm trying to go for more texture at the moment, hence the wired ribbon and this is January's double page layout, may still add more to this, so into layers!

I love it when I finish a page! 

Finally I've done the cover to my A3 journal - hurray!  It's taken an age to decide what to do, but some aged music sheets, with Tim's stamps and then a little bit of playing not to mention a large amount of red paint have meant that it is finally done.

And because you can't see the bottom corner due to my appalling photography here's a close up!

So there you have it, a few bits of art journaling to get me into the January mood!  If you stop by leave a comment I love to find out whose been along!