Saturday, 4 August 2012


This will be a brief posting as I am doing it from the tunnel terminal on our way to France. The car is loaded to the rafters, four people, five bikes and associated kit, as well as all the camping gear. I may have snuck in a little bag of art supplies....
My August page reflects the Olympic mania that has taken over our house, we are all completely hooked. In a house full of keen cyclists, you can only begin to imagine the excitement that the Tour de France, followed by the cycling success of team GB at the Olympics has caused. The keen eyed amongst you will spot that my podium athletes all sport Bradley Wiggins lamb chop sideburns!
Well, about to depart underground for two weeks of cycling and lake swimming and mountaineering, so enjoy the rest of the Olympics everyone! Bye!

Thursday, 12 July 2012


How did that happen? All of a sudden, it’s nearly the end of term and that means a whole year has flown by, AGAIN! I’m sure it must be an age thing, that you start complaining how quickly time passes, because when I was younger, I’m sure that I used to find the slow passage of time really frustrating!
Despite having been very organised for my journal page last month, I have been up to my wotsits at work and at home this month, so I have fallen a little behind, but having got through all the busy stuff, I treated myself to a day in my art room, to get some journaling done. I had intended to make this page all cool blues, to echo the utterly miserable weather we have been having of late – more like monsoon season than summer, but I decided that it needed a bit of jazzing up, to lift my own mood, if nothing else. Some of the flowers are made from Tumble Fish Studios background papers, and some from Basic Grey papers. The stamping around the edge is a Stampotique stamp by Jo Capper-Sandon.
At the weekend, I was teaching a lovely group at ArtisOn in Masham. We made a flag book, and despite their initial trepidation about the construction of this project, I think that they made a great job! Here is the outside of the books:
And the inside:
Right, off to get some zeds – off to the beach with the horses tomorrow, pray for not TOO much rain!

Friday, 1 June 2012


It's all happening here! Our village is decked out with bunting and flags (needs careful inspection if you are a horse as I discovered tonight on my way to a riding lesson - Mary was most put out by the number of flags, bunting and people on ladders rigging up their decorations!)As I write this, my children are on the first leg of a weekend of adventure; they are been taken all the way from rural North Yorkshire to the big smoke - London in all its glory and no doubt thronging with people. My parents are very bravely taking them to watch the flotilla on Sunday, whilst Mr H and I indulge in a grown-ups weekend in Glasgow with Jude and Paul!

So, my page for this month pays homage to the massive celebration that is taking place in the UK this weekend. I must admit, I am fairly ambivalent as far as royalism goes, but I do like a good party, so enjoy everyone!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Stampotique Designers Challenge - Family

So, this week's challenge on the Stampotique Designers Challenge blog has set by Kate Crane and is on the subject family. It got me thinking about the last family gathering we had recently when my husband's cousin was back from New Zealand and twenty one of the immediate family gathered for a noisy get-together. As is 'de rigueur' at these events, we had to have one of those awful family photos, where everyone stands a bit stiffly and posed, and as the photographer had had a few glasses of wine by this point, the latest picture featured quite a lot of wall, and not much family! I decided that the Daniel Torrente characters from Stampotique made an even motlier crew than we are, and I thought a police style line-up photo might be appropriate! I coloured the figures with pitt pens and a paintbrush, and used some dylusions spray inks on a gessoed vintage book page, wiping a little off through a stencil for a slightly grungier background. I created a frame from white card edged with black distress ink for an 'instagram' kind of look. The line up height markers are in black paint applied with a ruler.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Playing catch up!

I've been in a bit of creative desert recently, and I think like a lot of things, it's a case of doing more to be able to do more. I locked myself in my art room to do my May page, because otherwise, the month was going to be over and I would have done NOTHING! I'm not wild about this page, but it got my creative juices flowing and I have been like a woman possessed ever since, completing next month's page, doing a couple of journal pages and even prepping some journals for a kids class that I am running at artisOn in the summer holidays.

Even when you are feeling a bit 'numb' creatively, you can't help but create something pleasing with a stencil and some Dylusions sprays! This started as a bit of warm up, but I decided that I liked the less is more approach and kept it simple. There's been a lot going on in my life recently (isn't there always when you are a working wife/mother/daughter!) and some of the recent events have made me think about how I deal with situations out of my control, so this page is to remind me that I am going to change!

These are the journals that I have prepped for the kids summer classes. As a parent, I dread the 'holiday diary' that the children are encouraged to keep every summer holiday, but last year I took my two out to buy a notebook and rather than pages of dry writing, encouraged them to paint, stick and spray their holiday experiences instead. It was sooo much easier to motivate them, that I though I would run it as a class to see if other children might be inspired too!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Busy, busy, busy....

Every time I think I'm on a creative roll, someone pulls the rug out from under my feet and it's another month since I last posted! This time it's for a good reason. I have been doing a series of evening classes at artisOn, called making an art journal. We spent three weeks making a journal prompt notebook and then an A5 journal, and then the final week tackling the first page. Some of the participants had journaled before and some hadn't, so I think their creations were amazing! Above is a selection of their journals and first pages. Obviously, every good teacher has a teaching model, so I had to create myself a new journal (think this brought my total number of journals in progress up to five - more on this later)and then do a first page in it myself...
I'm in an avid reading phase at the moment. I tend to go in fits and starts where I hardly read at all, and then other times where I survive on a few hours sleep to fit my reading in - and I'm in a voracious mood at the moment! I made a collage sheet of images and text for course participants that could be used to either descibe the trepidation of tackling the first page, or the power of a good book. As you can see, I went with the good book - I have read the same three books three times in the last few weeks! This was a bit out of my comfort zone as a journal page takes me AGES usually, and I had to complete this in about 20 minutes - just goes to show what you can achieve under pressure (although I will probably go back and tinker with it...)
This is a wallpaper sample book that was given to me. One of the joys of artisOn is the selfless sharing of ideas and resources that goes on, everyone is SO lovely!I was given this book as a source of scrapbook style papers, but I was immediately drawn to its potential as an art journal. It's quite big, bigger than A4, but it has a carry handle - how cool is that! I have gessoed the first page and will see how it shapes up as a substrate, but I'm thinking that decent wall paper is a good a paper as any...

Friday, 13 April 2012

Stampotique Designer's Challenge

I wait for ages for the opportunity to blog, and then two come along at once! Taking of advantage of the school holidays (and fitting in some classic work avoidance), has meant that I have had some play time in my art room. This tag was one of those serendipitous finds (I think it was a demo piece from a class)which had found its way in to my scraps box, but has actually found its way back out again! The challenge this time, on the Stampotique Designers challenge blog, is to doodle:
Kaz says"Whether it's a few dots to highlight or a simple border, right through to drawing an accent on a stamp, I'd like you to do something freehand on your project."

I chose this Daniel Torrente stamp, Lovely Wings:

I decided that if I doodled a little extra detail in, I could make these beautiful wings into a monster. The caption was something that was said to me a week or two ago, so it seemed relevant on two counts. Here is close up of the little critter:
As you can see, I added eyes to the holes in the wings, teeth to the central hole to make a mouth and two tentacle thingys with some additional eyes. I then doodled some wavy lines of differing thicknesses for him to slither over. Great challenge, Kaz, I loved it!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

April already

I have been away from all things arty for too long! It's because I have been wielding a paintbrush of a different kind. The ongoing task of finishing the building project has been dragging on, and Mr H and I decided that we needed a oush to move things forward. The hall, stairs and landing was such a mammoth job, it nearly broke me - in fact I still struggle to get my right arm over my head without wincing, but it is done! We have carpet and painted wood, replacing the rather yellowed varnished pine that was originally there. It's clean, fresh and so nice to have carpet that isn't stained with building filth, or dog hair! Coming out of the bedroom every morning gives me that little frisson of pleasure I would normally associate with a good journal page!

In the meantime, I have been squeezing in a bit of arty-ness, although being so pre-occupied with decorating has meant that I think my March page is possibly the page I like the least over the past three years of journaling! I'm trying to become less dependent on stamps and downloads and reawaken my love of drawing, so this was an initial foray back into the world of wielding a pencil probably since school!

At the beginning of March, I went to Art from the Heart to spend three days arting about with Dina Wakely. We created an amazing book (unsurprisingly mine is yet to be finished!)and as part of the process, we had to create a page to cut up later in the process. I loved the colours and the contrast so much that I decided to recreate the scheme for my April journal page. It's a bit busy, but I still like the boldness of it.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Busy, busy...

It's been a busy old time since we got back from France. Of course there was the usual stuff when we got back - piles of post and a whole lot of washing! Fortunately it was half term here, so I had some chill time with the kids and thanks to my Mum, some time out on my horse. This weekend I was teaching at artisOn all weekend, so I had a lot of preparation to do - just packing up all the resources we use takes a while! As always, Sue and Gaynor made me very welcome and Vanessa and Sue prepared a real feast on both days - it's worth going just for the catering, never mind the wide variety of courses they do! The ladies on both days were fab, we had a real giggle, apart from the bits when they were concentrating hard and it was REALLY quiet - might have been something to do with the sticking out of tongues...? The picture above is at the beginning of the first day - you can tell because the table is still really tidy!
I love the fact that people start off really restrained and before you know it they are flinging colour around like 3 year olds. One of the ladies confessed that she has long had an issue with having dirty hands, but that a day art journaling had been good for her, once she realised that she had no hope of keeping her hands clean. On that note, here is a page in my big journal.
This is huge - A3 size. I bought it on holiday last summer, and I have been a bit afraid of tackling it. I found the giant scissor blades in the newspaper when I was laying it out for the children at pre-school and I knew it would come in handy one day.... Right, best get off to bed, we have a visit from Jude and Paul this weekend, and a combination of busy days with Dina Wakely at Art from the Heart ahead of us this weekend, and late (and probably quite boozy) nights afterwards, means I'll be shattered by Sunday!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

February chills

I'm late again! I have a good excuse though, I've been away. It always amazes me just how much organisation a week away can take. I'm not complaining, because the week was a week skiing with Mr H, and my mother-in-law was here looking after the children; but while my husband comes home from work and chucks a few things in a bag, I spent the best part of a fortnight cleaning, organising cupboards, writing instructions, filling the freezer and making sure that my poor mother-in-law could manage to navigate her way through our chaotic life without major incident. It was so worth it though. We had a fantastic week skiing in the French alps, although I have to say, I have never experienced cold like it. Our last day, the thermometer on one of the chairlifts said -21C! This is the fourth time that we have been to this resort, and we have never experienced temperatures anything like this. The photo above is from a tiny little mountain restaurant where we stopped for a 'vin chaud' and a warm up on the last day. Better then the view from your average Starbucks, eh?

I had my best ski week ever, something clicked this year and suddenly I found I could go faster and more controlled than before, even faster than my dare-devil husband, which may account for the daft pose in the photo above - clearly I was feeling a bit cocky! I can't describe how much good fresh air, beautiful scenery and quality time together does for the soul.

Anyway, onto things arty! I started this journal page in mid January, but was lacking a bit of creativity to actually finish it. However, I filled in the squares until inspiration struck, and finally completed it this morning.

And here is the Valentine's card I made for Mr H, all made from scraps. The background is a page from my mop up journal, and the other pieces are all bits from my scraps box. I haven't bought any new downloads or stamps for ages, which is usually where my inspiration for a new page strikes.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

And we're off!

Happy New Year!
For once, I appear to be almost on time! It always amazes me just how long it takes me to put a page together sometimes, but sometimes the ideas keep me awake at night, and other times I have to drag them kicking and screaming from somewhere deep inside!I started this one on new year's eve and finally finished it last night. I have been trying to get away from using pink and orange for a bit, because I LOVE them, and therefore tend to use them a lot, but I decided that since I was on holiday, I would indulge myself and have a bright and cheery start to the new year and my new journal! The stamp (Stampotique's Dance Party Break Up) has been sitting in my collection for a while, but she hasn't been afforded the honour of a journal page yet, so it seemed a good opportunity to use her. She looked so perky and positive, I thought that the caption 'best foot forward' summed up how I feel at this time of year. In January, the new year seems so pregnant with possibilities, I always feel as though I am starting with a clean slate. I don't do resolutions as such, more I set myself challenges, so I don't have that feeling of abstinence or denial, more the anticipation of new adventures. Funnily enough, as I was sticking the many feet down the side of the page, I was listening to the radio, and the presenter actually said 'best foot forward into the new year' - how weird is that! As you can see, Hobbes, our cat, was taking a keen interest in proceedings! Here is the finished page (minus cat)
>Stampotique 6136 'Dance Party Break Up'
Collaged images 'odd bods' by Collage Anonymous, Lisa's Altered Art