Saturday, February 28, 2009

Step by step journal pages.

I've been in my home studio today just messing with my journal, so thought I would show you a step by step . This is what I created today, it didn't turn out like I thought it would but then nothing ever does lol.

I started with my favourite pages of recycled newspaper with a generous coat of Gesso. This makes the paper less absorbent which is perfect because I wanted a really muted look.

I coloured the pages with Scattered Straw Distress ink applied with a piece of Cut n Dry foam.

I then randomly applied ghost mask letters from Tim Holtzs Idea-ology range all over the pages.

I then applied Spiced Marmalade Distress ink, over the mask letters.

I then added Fired Brick Distress ink to areas.

I lightly spritzed the pages with water.

And removed some of the ink with scrunched up paper towel.

My favourite stamp of the moment, Slight Alterations was inked with Jet Black Archival ink and stamped around the edges.

The masks were removed to reveal the background underneath, and I framed all the edges with Red Pepper Adirondack Paint Dabber.

I wrote my words directly onto the pages.

and outlined the important ones in red.

And here's the final piece. I will probably go back and add more on later. I am not happy with it, but it says just want I want it to at the moment!! And I feel that its important to know that. Sometimes the doing is more therapeutic than the end result,

Love it when I am covered in ink. I am such a mucky pup.

I then decided to do a similar layout in the Round the World Journal. This time I wanted the look to be a lot stronger so I applied the inks to card.

That is probably the fastest turnaround of a circle journal I have ever done. Received Weds, first set of pages finished yesterday, second set finished today, sorted and on its way by Monday.
Tomorrow is the regular Art Journals class in the studio, so there will be lots of creativity flying around, messy hands galore, lots of tears no doubt but also lots of joy and laughter. And with any luck if Jeanne (the chocolate lady) turns up , lots of chocolate. Yayy!!!! If you fancy joining us please feel free to turn up, no experience necessary, just a big heart and a sense of humour.!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Busy, busy day!

Well its been a busy one today. got to work early and seen as the workshop was already prepped up yesterday I had time on my hands. So I got out my fave mixes of reinkers and B/M pearl pigments and got spraying some backgrounds. Love doing this it is sooo therapeutic. Then I grabbed some of Tim's new stamps and got stamping . I am really pleased with these and they were so quick and easy to do.

These are from Eclectic Pallette and Eclectic Collages.

I then grabbed the latest Round the World Art Journal and created this. Maybe my mojo is a coming back!!. It was an unusual shaped journal . Long and thin. I painted it with my favourite pink set of Adirondack Paint Dabbers. I then stamped around the edges with my new all time favourite stamp ( in pink and then black) from the Slight Alterations set. The bird on the branch and the floral stamp are from the Urban Tapestry set. I hand wrote my favourite saying and accented the main words with Glossy Accents. A little touch of Star Dust Stickles and its good to go.

The bird postage stamp is CI-198 by Crafty Individuals
Today's class was Shimmer n Shine. It is a technique intensive workshop where you learn tons about how to use the fabby and versatile Blonde Moments pearl pigments . They all went home with an instructional tag book full of the techniques to refer back t. Everyone also put the techniques into practise by making a spritzed, painted and stamped tag. Gorgeous.

Talking of Shimmer n Shine workshops, I am teaching one of the breakfast workshops at the Great Northern Papercraft Extravaganza in Harrogate 28th/29th March. My workshop sold out extremely quickly so we have added more spaces, but you Will need to be quick to be sure of a place. The workshops take place before the show opens, meaning easy parking , no queuing, fab classes and breakfast refreshments as well. All for the bargain price of £10. What are you waiting for?? To book for mine or any of the other fabby classes HERE.
We had our latest delivery of the Black Market Paper Society papers the other day and they are now logged into the website ready for you. That's if there are any left as they are flying out the door. There are 5 ranges , all textured and double sided for you to choose from and they are only 70p a sheet. cool eh??
These first two sets are Letters from Paradise and Ebony and Alabaster

The next two are Let it Bloom.

The final one and my personal fave is When the Weather is Fine

Just needed to show you two more photos. The first is a very rare one of mum and me together. It was taken at a Carers Resource Charity Fundraiser where we were manning a Craft Stall. (Those were the days selling hand made gifts and ornaments lol). I think this is the only photo I have of just the two of us and I have always loved it. Mum was never keen on it because she said every time she looked at it she didn't see me and her, she saw herself and her mum lol. Maybe I,ll be thinking that of me, Jay and Emmi in another 25 yrs.!!!

And the final photo is the little one who is making it all bearable, the most beautiful grand daughter in the world, Maisie Lilly. She brings a smile to every ones tear stained faces. you can't cry when shes around as she doesn't understand , plus why would you want to anyway?? We had a 20 min bounce on the trampoline, dug for worms, had pretend tea outside in the Wendy House. Tea, strawberries and cream, splishy, splashy bath, Sticking and gluing and finally smoochy hugs and sloppy kisses before bed. As mum always said "There are no rainbows without the rain"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Auto pilot is stuck

A strange day today. It is only a week since mum died and there just seems to be so much to do. Maybe that is deliberate so it keeps you too busy to think? But it is extremely difficult to make decisions when you are cruising on auto pilot. What hymns, what flowers, what food, what outfits? Its never ending. And does any of it really matter anyway? My brother printed the Order of Service today and I just wanted to share with you this poem because I think it is really beautiful.

You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she's gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

Okay I am going into my craft room now, I am going to get out my paints, mix them with a bit of snivel and a lot of tears and see what appears. It probably wont be pretty but at least it will be from the heart. xx

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Muffins and Movies

Today was Craft Day. Oh yes , I couldn't go for a nice normal workshop to gently break me back into work could I?? No it had to be Craft Day!! 6 women doing the Accordion Frame book, 2 women doing the Memories Frame, 1 doing Pop Star Album, 1 doing B&W Album, 1 doing Art Journal Cover and 1 decorating canvas's. Phew!! Plus me running around in a daze. lol. But we had a lovely day together with some stunning results.

Warm welcome to new ladies Su and Jean. They are already on the Favourites list for rocking up with homemade muffins. Cool eh?

Mind you they didn't last long!!

Su is obviously an avid reader of the blog because she also came prepared with these little beauties.

Is that a Kurt Gieger logo I spy?? Oooh going a bit green with envy.

Big, big thanks to bezzie Su who ran around after me all day, making tea, finding equipment and mopping up tears. Unfortunately she has developed a permanent trail of snotty snivel on one shoulder. Maybe I should balance it out a bit and cry on the opposite shoulder for a change.
Had a meeting with the priest this afternoon to finalise arrangements for mum. He is a real old fashioned Irish Father and he is lovely, we even had him singing ( way out of tune) the old Catholic hymns, so we could pinpoint mums favourite one. What a star.
Tonight I had 2 of the regular children's classes. They are in the middle of Art Journalling and it is fantastic to see how they are blossoming. I am unable to journal at the moment, I sit down but nothing comes out. I wonder if it is that secretly I am frightened of what might come out! I have prepared a new journal especially so I am ready for when the creative urge finally arrives.
Just wanted to mention that if you haven't already done so you need to hop on over to Tim's blog, where he has a video blog of his trip to Europe. Surprise , surprise I feature in it , knowingly on our mammoth shopping expedition in Leeds. And unknowingly (cheers for that Mario!!) in my shop where I am filmed mispronouncing guacamole and telling Tim to Bugger Off in a broad Yorkshire accent!! Such decorum lol.
You also need to check out the new video on the Ranger site itself by He who must be obeyed the lovely Alain. Yes you heard correctly Alain stars in a 9 min video showing the use of Grunge board, Adirondack dabbers, Distress Ink pads and Tim's Idea-ology range. He does a really cool job and you can hardly tell how nervous he was. I have just one more comment - if he thinks hes coming after my job, he can BUGGER OFF!!! LOL

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I am in a strange place at the moment. Numb from grief but happy with relief. Its a bit like no mans land and I am sure many of you have inhabited this little world as well. Unfortunately many more of you will in the future.
The thing most people are saying to me is "I didn't realise your Mum was so ill". And unfortunately neither did we. She had a chronic degenerative back problem , where her bones were literally crumbling away , and had all come to terms with the fact that this was a condition that was untreatable, bar from extreme pain management and nursing from us.( I have to say I have the best two daughters ever. Jay and Emmi practically moved in with Mum and did everything possible to make her life easier). But there were lots of other underlying niggles and she was convinced that there was more to it .She received a lot of support from her GP ( who we cannot thank enough for her wealth of compassion and kindness). She was instrumental in instigating test after test but Mum was constantly told there was nothing there, she felt that people thought she was just malingering.
Every week for 4 weeks she was told she was being sent home from hospital and just needed rehabilitation, when it was obvious to us that she was deteriorating fast.
Suddenly the medical team sprang into action and Monday she had a CT scan, Wednesday early evening , after a lot of persistence on our part, I was told she had massive growths and had only weeks to live, Thurs lunch she died.
She had massive primary and secondary Cancers in the lungs and bones and had suffered a heart attack in the previous 24 hrs. All this had been missed.
Finding it earlier would have made no difference to the eventual outcome but it would have made a great deal of difference to her quality of care and her own peace of mind. I struggle with this fact.
I feel deeply privileged that we all spent a lot of time with her in these last few months , and were all there for her last few hours. But my heart has been wrenched out and at the moment I am left with a gaping hole.
I have always loved this saying and I feel it is very apt now.

God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change,
The COURAGE to change the things I can,
And the WISDOM to know the difference

Night, night mum, God bless.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thankyou from the bottom of our hearts

I just want to say thankyou to you all for your kind comments. It is hard to explain how touched we are that you have taken the time to write to us at this difficult time. It really restores your faith in human nature.

After a difficult couple of days it was nice to get out this afternoon into the fresh air. It was a beautiful sunny day so me and one of my bezzies Su went for a walk down by the river. It was very calming and blew away quite a few cobwebs.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sad times

As you all know my mum has not been well and it is with great sadness that I need to tell you all that she died this afternoon. I hope you will all understand that the blog will be a bit hit and miss for a while. xx

Anyone heading to the studio or shop in the next 7 days

Please can you ring the shop on 01423 873739 if you are planning to visit the studio or shop in the next 7 days. This is to check that there is someone there as we won't be there for normal opening times
Art from the Heart

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tim's new stamps.

Its not what you know its who you know!!! Apparently Tim's new collection of stamps is not going to be available anywhere for quite a few weeks yet. Apart from my place that is Yayy!! They should be landing any day now. There are still a few available for pre order HERE , but be warned they are nearly all gone and if you think that any of you are getting your mitts on my set you've got another thing coming!!!
These are a few of my faves.

Of course I just have to have all of them but these are my top three. lol

Here's a sample tag that Tim made for me using his stamps with inks and his time masks. All decorated with his Idea-ology hardware, of course.

Came down stairs this morning to the most gorgeous sight and smell. My Lilly's were in full bloom. I know a lot of people think they are funereal flowers but I love them and always have them in the house and the studio. These were a gift from Sainsbury's and I have had them nearly a fortnight. Don't they look great??

Quote of the Century

"You are an extraordinary woman.

How can you expect anything ordinary to happen to you"

Louisa May Alcott