Saturday, 19 December 2009

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...


So yesterday was a red letter day - the last day of school and it snowed! My children, who normally need to be persuaded, begged, threatened and cajoled into being ready to leave the house at 8.30 on a work day, were outside playing in the snow at 7.20 yesterday! It's amazing what a bit of the white stuff can do! This is a view of the walk to school! How picturesque does it look in the snow!

As we were the first in to school, the playground was a virginal white blanket, unsullied by human footprint...That is until I dared Charlie to make a snow angel!

I love the snow, but more than anything, I love the look on my kids' faces when we get this kind of snow. The pure glee on her face makes me giggle. Mind you, contrast that with the state of my son after an hour in the snow that afternoon when I left them sledging in the field next to the horse whilst I was busy breaking the ice in the water troughs and filling haynets. The poor mite was crying with the cold - the snow was so deep it was coming over the top of his wellies and his little feet were numb. A fire, 2 hot chocolates with marshmallows and a blanket later, plus the final of one man and his dog - he recovered.
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Wednesday, 16 December 2009





Inspired by Kate, who in turn got her inspiration from somewhere else in Blogland, I have created a December calender page for my big journal. This month, as anyone who works with children or who has children will know, is mad. I knew that I wouldn't have much time, or come to that, energy for creative stuff, so this seemed to be the perfect answer to getting messy, getting a few things down without having to do a whole page. As you can see, I haven't had much creativity since I did this page, cos' I seem to have done little other that scribble a few words on some of the boxes, and I'm even behind on that! Still, on countdown now, and only 2 days to go until we break up.....
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Friday, 20 November 2009

A la Teesha

So, like a lot of other people out in blogland, I have been watching the online tutorials that Teesha Moore has posted on her blog and utube. I thought it would be fun to give it a go. It was, but I'm not wild about the fact that it isn't really my page, it's me copying Teesha (and that not very well)and I need to seriously practise my lettering! And it took ages! I think I've been at this one page for well over a week! Admittedly I have been nose to the grindstone with college assignments and being VERY disciplined about not doing any art. I enjoyed the process, and learned a few techniques that I want to try on my own stuff, but I also added to my ongoing shopping list of things I 'need' next. If anyone finds a UK stockist of those Sharpie poster paint pens, or Uni Posca pens which I think might be similar, will they let me know please?

Monday, 16 November 2009

Heart on my sleeve

This isn't quite finished yet, but I have reached a bit of a dead end with it, so I thought I would blog it, and them I am bound to think of a thousand things I could have done to make it better. At least that is what usually happens! The image is from Crowabout, and the stamped background is from two Tim Holtz stamps. The hearts are just drawn onto old german book text. I think a journal is an excellent way to vent all the things that usually set me off, but I'm a little concerned that I do both....

Monday, 9 November 2009

Remember, remember...

On November the 5th, it is Guy Fawkes night here in the UK. We celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes and his team who were plotting to blow up the houses of parliament in order to dispatch King James I and most of the aristocracy in 1605. I love Bonfire night, it is one of the few really British traditions we have. We go to a local display in the next village, where they have great fireworks and you know everyone else there. Whilst I was standing there in the dark, watching the kids faces (they love it almost as much as me), I remembered when I talked about this tradition when I was teaching in France. The kids looked at me as if I was gone out, they couldn't understand why we Brits celebrate the failure of a plot to overthrow the monarchy, when they are so fiercely proud of their revolution and their Republic! I had never thought of it like that before, but I suppose it is slightly bizarre.

The background is simply black paint and then spattered paint in yellow, orange and red. The rocket is from some Crowabout papers, and then just journaled in white gel pen and lots of stickles!

By the way, thanks to Kate for the blog award. Apparently I have to tell you seven things about myself that nobody knows. Hmm, tricky..

1. I was once an extra on Emmerdale (a British soap), although I never watch soaps.
2. I failed my driving test twice (never having failed anything before, I was devastated)
3. I would love to be on a 'normal' people's version of Strictly Come Dancing. My husband is not a natural dancer, and I love dancing, although never having seen myself, I may be just as bad...
4. I have just bought my first pair of ski boots, and can regularly be found wearing them around the house..
5. I suffer from claustrophobia. It can attack at any time - sometimes just when I get my feet caught up in the duvet.
6. I wear my heart on my sleeve. What you see with me is what you get. I am quite an emotional person, and I don't generally hide it. (Hmm, journal page coming up?)
7. I never (ok, hardly ever) lost my temper until I had children - now I do it on a daily/hourly basis.

Phew, that was hard. Right, now I have to pass it on. Quite tricky as I think quite a lot of people have this already:


Monday, 2 November 2009

Happy Halloween

Well, ok, I know I'm a bit late, but I just haven't had time to blog this page yet - I did actually finish it on Saturday. My children are a bit grumpy because we ran out of time and they didn't get a chance to go trick or treating. My husband is a pretty fervent anti-Halloween-ist, and I had no intention of creating anything halloween-y, as I am no big fan myself, but I had these mermaid images from indigochylde on etsy, and had been wanting to use them, so I thought it would make a funky twist on the usual witch. The witches are from Lisa's Altered Images.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Find some joy in your life

A couple of weeks ago, we watched 'The Bucket List' starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, about two men who escape from a cancer ward and decide to complete a list of tasks before they die. Of all the things that they did, the one that struck me the most was 'find some joy in your life'. The Jack Nicholson character, whilst being fabulously wealthy, was a fairly unpleasant character who was estranged from his family, and finding joy was one of the things that he couldn't buy. It made me think of some of the people in my life who have been through some terrible things recently, but manage to stay positive. My husband has often been known to call me a duck (i.e. gliding along on the surface of things but paddling like mad underneath) and there is a tendency to dwell on all the hard things in life when you are feeling a bit out of control, but probably what we should do is focus on the happy things, however tiny. Like this morning for example, when my five year old crawled into bed in his stripy pj's, all warm and soft, and covered my face in kisses. With a start like that, it doesn't matter how bad the day gets, that little boy will make me smile all day....

The background is acrylic paints, water soluble crayons, oil pastels. The pennants at the top are hand-drawn on 7gypsies 'catalina' paper, the letters are magazine clippings. The images are from lisa' altered art and the leaf shapes are from Stampin' up, stamped onto pages from an old german paperback.


Back to the Claudine-esque style for my friend who after a very stressful 12 months has finally moved into her new house. We went to school together, our children are the same ages and we have had to maintain our friendship over hundreds of miles for years, but now she lives only about 30 miles away, which is fantastic for both us and the children. Anyway, in her new downstairs loo, she has a couple of framed pieces of artwork by visitors, so I thought she might add this canvas to the collection. It is all Studioline paints, some old book text and marker pen.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Didn't we have a lovely time...


What bliss! After a week of operating at full tilt, where I was in danger of meeting myself coming back the other way, what better way to wind down than spending a day with Kate getting messy? We made gift bags, Christmas bunting (not finished mine yet) and then got the paints out and got messy. This canvas came together really quickly and was very therapeutic. It started out quite Christmassy, but ended up not so, but I still like it. I'm going to make some of these as Christmas presents for my special friends, instead of Christmas cards.
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Thursday, 8 October 2009

The eternal search

Ooh, I've had a lovely time this evening - kids in bed, husband out, iPod on, inks out (in fact my hands are now blue)and I've made lots of mess. It's therapy, relaxation, whatever, it just helps me to download. Anyway, as a tall girl who also happens to be on the curvaceous side, I find it tricky buying jeans. If they fit me in one place, they don't fit me in others, and if they fit most places, then they are too short to wear with anything but flip flops! Last year, on a shopping trip to New York I found THE perfect jeans, and they were soooo long I had to take a couple of inches off them, even wearing them with platform heels, which at 5'11 (and a bit)is pretty unheard of for me. But, they are black, and I want them in blue! I have been searching for them ever since, but it appears they do not exist. I guess I have two options: go back to New York (sounds like a plan), or ask our local butcher to use his meat slicer to shave bits off me, so that I will fit in the kind of jeans that the Claudia Schiffers of this world manage to wear. I know which option I am erring towards...

Anyway, the tags are from a pair of jeans that I bought recently, and are purely functional - i.e. they can be worn for work and it doesn't matter if they get covered with paint/snot/poo etc.
The hems and pocket are from a pair of Gap jeans of my daughters. I have been trying to persuade her that they are way too small for her now, but she still insists on wearing them - but not any more, ha ha! The background is adirondack denim ink pad applied direct to paper and the stamps are Tim Holtz, with a couple of 7gypsies rub ons.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Rants of the middle aged

I'm not sure when middle age officially starts, but my ranting has definitely hit 'writing letters to the editor' proportions this last few weeks. Had fun getting some of it off my chest anyway. The images are from Lisa's altered art and stamps are Paperartsy and Tim Holtz. I used sequin waste and acrylic paints for the background - a mixture of babywiped studioline and ranger dabbers.
Feeling on a bit of a roll at the moment, but I think preparing a few backgrounds in advance has helped, and I sat in front of the tv the other night and cut out several sheets of images so that they are ready to go whenever the creative fairy visits. It certainly speeds things up. I have been known to put on a coat of paint before breakfast this week, slap on another before leaving for work and then tackle the page proper between the kids bedtime and mine. Hmm, maybe that's why my son ended up at his swimming lesson without his trunks this week? Off to batten down the hatches at the allotment now, as riding Megan in the gales outside my window at the moment is not an idea I relish. Apparently they have already lost power and telephone lines up at the stables and as I write the power has flickered off and on here too. Best post this quick!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Swimming with the Fishes

No, not like that! Last weekend I had an amazing experience, swimming a mile in a local lake. The early morning mist made it really magical, and the opportunity to see the wildlife from a different angel was really special. Can't wait to do it again! The images are from phenomenen1859 and indigochyld on Etsy, the background is old book pages, studio line paints and oil pastels and charcoal. It's the first journal page I have done that I feel quite happy with, although I think that I'll probably go back and tinker a bit. As I can't find my camera, I had to scan it, which makes me think that in future I'll make journal pages that fit the scanner better!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Messy but productive?

On the art of moodlingSarah has challenged people to own up to their craft room messiness. My husband is constantly telling me that he is going to come in and organise my desk for me (you can imagine the response he gets!)and I suppose looking at this, you could understand why. But, I know where everything is, and can reach most of it without getting up, which is pretty much all the criteria I have...In my defence, it was a lot tidier than this when I sat down yesterday morning, but you know how it is when you get into the groove... Anyway I have been making ATCs to swap with my new friend Katrin in Germany, who I met through Marion's Zetti swap, so I had a lovely couple of hours 'craaafting' as my husband calls it, in the hammiest of west country accents:

I so liked the nude image that I did for my friends card last week, I decided to scale it down to atc size and made one for myself too!

I have often wondered what to do with my atcs, as sticking them in a file in the cupboard seems such waste, until I saw what Kate does with hers. Then I found this nifty bit of kit in a gift shop in town, so I bought it and now it hangs in the downstairs loo!

Right off to do some jobs now so that I can get on with some journal pages that I am dying to get down...

Monday, 21 September 2009

More naked women!

This might seem like a new obsession, but this is for a birthday card for one of my friends who was involved in the wild swimming incident last week, so when I found this image on, I had to use it. The background is ecoline inks and salt, the stamps are a mixture of Tim Holtz and Crafty Individuals. The text is from Lisa's altered images, and I couldn't resist the pale moon, even though the mica chip makes the moon not quite so pale!

Monday, 14 September 2009

New Journal, new experiences


My new moleskine journal arrived last week, and I have spent a few days trying to decide how best to 'christen' it. Committing something to paper, especially when it is bound into a pristine new book is quite hard for me - it doesn't allow for any 'errors'. This weekend I went away with some of my very best friends, and we had such a marvellous time that journalling it in my new book seemed only fitting. I used a mixture of watercolour paints (which haven't seen the light of day for ages), studio line acrylics, oil pastels and permanent pen. It records a challenge which was dreamt up after a few too many glasses of cava, but executed in the cold light (and cold water) of day!
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Can you tell that the kids are back at school, and that my life has taken a turn away from the self-indulgence of sitting at my desk? It's been ages since I had anything I felt like blogging - nothing else I have done felt worth sharing. Even this page has taken me nearly a week, and it's not even that pleasing to me. I was feeling quite miserable about the onset of autumn and the fact that summer seemed to be over even before it really got going.... But then I thought about some of the great things about autumn and the harvest time. As my good friend Anna would say, 'it's good enough'.
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Thursday, 20 August 2009

Does my bum look big in this?



Armed with all the tips and techniques picked up from Dyan earlier in the week, I got out the Claudine Hellmuth paints last night, created my background with pink, brown, blue, and stamped with Tim Holtz stamps. A little highlighting in oil pastels and some computer generated text, and then a layer of beeswax. I'm quite happy with it:)
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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

More Claudine-y stuff

Yesterday I spoiled myself to a day with Dyan at Art from the Heart. She was running a class to teach some of the different ways that you can use Claudine Hellmuth's Studio Line paints. Happy coincidence seeing as I now have the full range! It was great fun as usual and verrrry relaxing. Anyway, here are the results....Now for some reason my computer won't let me rotate the images today, think I must have upset it...

Monday, 17 August 2009

A Tale of Two Houses

I decided to do this journal page yesterday, but it wasn't supposed to look like this, or at least not quite so shamelessly Claudine Hellmuth-like. It was the paints you see. I painted the background and had the idea of the two houses to illustrate the fact that my parents are in the process of moving into separate houses after forty years of marriage. It was the colours you see - as soon as I had painted them (new paints for my birthday) it just made me think of some of Claudine's art. After that, the Charlie and Lola collaged details and the black and white photo additions were obvious. I was reading last night that you have to try on different styles until you find your own, so if Claudine were ever to see this, I hope she would take it as such, and not just as shameless plagiarism. I really enjoyed doing it though.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Happy Birthday to me...

I love birthdays. I love other people's birthdays, I especially love my birthdays! I have never been one of those people who dreads getting another year older, but maybe it's just that I love presents more than I dislike edging closer to middle age! Mind you, if you had a husband who had ventured into a craft shop all on his own, and had chosen you this little selection of goodies, you'd have a birthday twice a year wouldn't you? I could say it's a shame that he picked six Claudine Hellmuth paints that I already have, but then I'm hoping that Dyan at Art from the Heart will let me swap them for something else when I go for a class later in the week. It's like a gift within a gift!

Decided to break the artistic fast brought on by the holiday with a journal page. I have spent all week planning, cleaning and catering for my own birthday party, so I thought I would spoil myself to an afternoon at my desk with my new colours!

Holiday ups and downs

You might wonder what downs there could be on a holiday where every breakfast was with this view. Quite so. It was fantastic, hot, sunny every day, the kids loved the pool (for hours every day)and we thoroughly chilled out. BUT!! How I wish I had taken some art supplies with me! I even looked for some whilst we were there! I thought about before we left, but decided I couldn't carry all the things I would want. I'll know next time, and prepare some journal pages before I go like my clever friendKate, and then when I am bored of reading and sudoku, I can take advantage of the lack of washing, ironing, dog walking etc. My clever nine year old was smart though, she took her journal look:

Friday, 24 July 2009

zetti swap

The very talentedMarion set a challenge to do three zetti atcs. As this was an area I have never been before, I fancied the challenge, but having seen some of the entries on Marion's blog, I am now feeling like a bit of an imposter, they are all scarily good. Well, a bit like the journal page, I haven't got time to do anything nowbecause at this very moment I am supposed to be emptyiung the fridge and taking the cat to the cattery etc, so here they are.

Queen journal


Dyan at art from the heart set a challenge to use one of Patti from Lisa' Altered Art's 'Queen' collage sheets. This is my entry. Almost as soon as I had finished, I had a million ideas about how I could have made it a million times better, but I 'm off on holiday today, so this is it. Better luck next time!
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Friday, 26 June 2009


Here are my entries for the 'Think Monday, Think ATC' challenge of Frogs. My first thought was to go with the Frog prince theme, hence this little fella with his grungeboard crown and triple embossed golden ball. The background is ecoline ink and salt and the zig zags are from a paperartsy border. The numbers are also from paperartsy. Then I got to thinking about a saying we have in our house 'madder than a box of frogs', but this little guy looked more sad than mad, so I had to alter the text!
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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Purple and Green


This is my entry for Wednesday Stamper's theme, in by the skin of my teeth, rather late on Tuesday The background is alcohol inks in lettuce and wild plum, over stamped in imperial purple with a crafty individuals stamp of a tree. The birds are from paperstreet on Etsy. And since the inks were out, I made a card for my great aunt, whose birthday it is on Friday in the same colours.
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