Monday, 29 September 2014


Another summer has passed with me carrying a list of photo challenges set by Rinda over at Gallo Organico.  The list is looking worn and well used but my mission has been accomplished and great fun had along the way! 

I thought some of the photos on the list would be easy but often they were the ones that
turned out to be a real challenge!  Other photos have stories and happy memories attached so without wasting any more time, here is the complete set of photos for this years challenge taken between 21st June and 21st September. 
1.  A sign welcoming people to your home town (or a nearby town)
The photo I wanted to take said welcome to Essex but every time I passed I have been a lone driver.  So instead here is one welcoming us into Wales....

2. A garden gnome
These cheeky chappies were seen at a local garden centre

3. Birds on a wire
Now this was one I thought would be easy. We have a wire outside our home where birds sometimes congregate - but not when I was looking for a photo!  But luckily, on a local walk I discovered this notice:
4. A group of tourists
The Tour de France came through Essex and I decided to join the carnival atmosphere.  I managed to take several photos for the challenge and wrote about my day here.
5. A rack of postcards
Another photo that proved more difficult to find than expected!  There were signs saying no photography in the hall that we were visiting and the attendant took her job seriously but allowed me a quick shot while she turned her back!  
6. An urban street
Bradford Upon Avon..... somewhere I have wanted to visit for a long time.  It met every expectation and more.  A return visit will be planned. 


7. A rural landscape
I am lucky enough to be surrounded by rural landscape but I liked this barn when I went to see the Tour de France, so decided to include this.
8. A tattoo on a person
Some of you will know that we frequently attend VW events.  These bring quite a diverse crowd (see here) and on a previous occasion I approached someone for a photo of his tattoo.  But then I saw this guy and I decided my other photo paled in comparison.  I was hesitant to approach him at first as he looked intimidating but my want-of-a-photo helped me to ask if I could take a photo. He obliged with few words and by turning his back to me.  Then, when I was appreciative, he offered to show me more… and more!  Apparently 85% of his body is covered in tattoos and I got to see most of them (there were some I said I didn’t need to see!) but as I thanked him again and went to walk away he said there was another I should see….  and to my relief he lowered the inside of his lip to reveal the word TATTOO.  He seemed pleased that I was interested in his body art and I am glad that I didn’t let appearance stop me asking him. 

9. A bakery
Out for lunch with a friend I saw a wonderful bakery but the bin outside the door spoilt the picture. My friend, supportive of my endeavour for a nice photo, explained the challenge and asked if we could move  the bin for a moment.  I then went inside to thank the shop owner and I was invited to go back earlier in the day when the shelves are full, as their bread was photo-worthy.  I loved that they joined in the spirit and I did not plan to make a purposeful journey but next morning I just happened to be passing by so I stopped off and more photos were taken.  

However, another VW event followed and I spotted a beautiful split screen van that had been converted into a bakery..... I now had a dilemma.  Which to include?  After all the effort involved in the first photo I decided to add both!

10. A photo bomb
I wanted to take a photo of this gate when my grand daughter walked into the shot.

I laughed and thanked her, realising that it would count as my photo-bomb. She was amused at this and asked me to explain the meaning, so when I took this next picture she decided to give me an extra shot by suddenly pulling a funny pose! 

11. A horn
Who ever thought there could be so many kinds? 
I especially loved the hats and I mentioned that VW events are diverse.  Well that's where all these photos were taken.

 12. A mascot
I needed a lucky mascot for this off road ride.  But it was great fun even if I did get a bit wet and muddy....  and guess what?  It was at another VW event!

13. A sunrise
In the days that I commuted to work I used to see the sunrise regularly, now I have to get up specially to see it.  After setting my alarm on two mornings it was too cloudy for the sun to break through.  Third time lucky!

14. A parade
preceding the Tour de France.

15. A juggler
Guess where?  At a VW event!!
I was struggling to find a juggler but low and behold there was a small area set aside for people to have a go at circus skills.  I went in and explained my quest, and asked if someone could possibly do some juggling for my photo.  Karl jumped to the challenge and onto a ball...  juggling skittles and knives and giving me a personal show for which I was highly grateful and thoroughly entertained.  Meanwhile his assistant Becky added her own side show!

16. A sign in a language other than English

17. A lamp post
I love these assorted lamp posts found at an antique centre... you can guess what took us there!
18. A water fall 
Easy this one... we have one in our garden.   

But I also liked this novel idea seen at a local tea room....

19. A public garden

20. A bus (not a car, truck, lorry, camper or RV) with a picture painted on its sides.

21. A photograph of you with something representing the season.

Alternative - A bird house
Since my photo of a welcome sign was not my home town or area I am adding an addition.

And that's me done for another year! 

Looking back I see that each one has a different feel, such as the year it became a family affair and we all looked out for photos during our travels.  This is still the case, but this year people I do not know have gone out of their way to pose, participate and play along too.  I have met some really interesting characters, learnt lots, and had huge fun.  So thank you to Rinda for organising this annual challenge and to everyone else who has taken part and shared photos.  I am going to miss it but hopefully next summer will bring another list and another photo challenge.  Already I can't wait to get started! 

And if you have stayed this far to look at my photos and read this post a BIG thank you to you too....  your patience and company is appreciated!!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

5 in 5 - Melanie -September 2014

Melanie is my friend who lives in Australia and she loves photography. Every month Melanie has taken part in this monthly neme and we managed to find a way round her not having a blog by posting here. I love that we have found a way for her to take part so once again Melanie, a big thank you, and over to you:

On September 5th  I arrived at Sydney airport with my daughter and grandson.  We hired a car and drove to Katoomba in the area known as the Blue Mountains. The cockatoos in my photo where gathered in a reserve next to where we parked the car about 20 of them and of course my camera came out and clicked away.  In less than five minutes I had taken a dozen photos of them and had to tell myself to stop.  The sun was shining and we headed to Echo Point where we had an excellent view of  the rock formation known as the Three Sisters.  We then set off on a walk which was where I expected to take some excellent photos for the 5 in 5.  This didn’t happen as first rain then hail.  We were cold and very wet and now as I look at the photos I attempted to take they are very dark and the cockatoos far outshine them.  Just to give you an idea of the change in weather here is a before and after of the Three Sisters.

The Three Sisters
Now here are those Cockatoos who need no other introduction and guess what they were still there chewing away when we returned to the car and the rain was tipping down.
As always, Thank you Melanie.  I love this monthly look at life on the other side of the world. 
If this has inspired you to take part in this challenge you have until 25th before the link closes. It's great fun and this post should answer any questions or give other information that you need.

Thank you to everyone else who has joined in or left comments. Links for this months posts are here and hopefully I'll be back with more photos from Melanie and myself next month. I hope you will join me!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


In May I was invited to take part in a creative Blog Hop where you answer 4 specific
questions about what you are working on and your style. You then pass it on to three people who will post the following week - so when Lisa Horton from That Craft Place invited me to join the Hop for a second time I wondered what more I could say.  But then I decided that a lot has changed for me since May and so here I am again with an update and more of....

1. What am I working on ?

In July I resigned from my full time career to do what I love.....   play, create, teach and write.  Each day I wake up excited and my head buzzing with ideas, I am loving my new life!   New opportunities presented themselves immediately and so when I saw the workspace in a local papercraft shop I jumped straight in and asked if I could use this space to run book making classes.  The thought had not occurred to me before, but suddenly I was open to new ideas and I was so excited when the owner said yes!  Friends came a long to support me, new ladies have started to come and I was also asked to run scrapbook classes.  I love how this is working out.... 

So this gave me the idea to ask at other shops, as I want to reach out further afield and run more classes. As a result I have regular classes booked at a large well known craft store and a demo day planned so that people can come to see what I do.  I will also make books and kits to take with me as I am also invited to sell what I make. 

I also have a date booked at another papercraft shop.  I love the supplies that they stock so I am super excited to be running a class there and I hope it will the first of many....
I am learning lots too!  Such as  the different ways each shop arranges classes, how long it takes to plan and prepare for each class and that some people like kits because it takes away some of the decision making.  It's HUGE fun and I consider myself very fortunate.
In addition there is more exciting news! I have been invited to join Lisa's design team at That Craft Place and I am eagerly waiting my pack of laser cuts to arrive so that I can start playing. I love the idea of being part of a team and coming up with new ideas and projects
and I hope to share some of these here. 

And talking of sharing, I have been running a Junk Journal Swap and writing a series of blog posts. I have loved the excitement of these journals arriving and there is just a couple more to come before I put them together and post them back.  I already have a list for people who want to join in next time, and yes, there will be another since this has been such fun.  If you want to be included just let me know.
And finally! 

I have been working on projects as part of an online course called Paperlove.  As well as opening my eyes to a new world of paper play new friends have been made and Happy Mail sent and received.  I am so glad that I signed up for this course.  I still have projects to complete but meanwhile some of my work has been shown on the website at Paperphilia and I have booked a residential weekend next April so that I can meet Rachel Hazell in person.  Am I excited?  You bet!!  

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre ? 
3. Why do I create what I do?
4. How does your creative process work?

The answer to all these questions was covered in my previous Blog Hop post so rather than repeat myself please follow the link to find out more.  So now it is time to pass this on, unfortunately one of my friends was unable to join in, but next week you can find out what Bernice and Neil are focusing on so I hope you will hop over and see for yourself. 


Bernice Hopper

I have known Bernice for some time and I admire her art journaling and mixed media work.  She has extensive talent and  as well as paper Bernice also likes to work with textile. Bernice  runs online classes of her own and is currently one of the teachers on Made

Neil Walker
I have met Neil at shows and demonstrations and I love his journals and mixed media work.  He works as part of a design team, has his own a collection of masks and teaches too.  Check out his programme and blog here:

That's it for now.  Thank you for visiting and to Lisa for inviting me to join in this Blog Hop.

Friday, 5 September 2014

5 in 5 - September 2014 - WHAT DO YOU SEE?

Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of

each month I post 5 photos that I have
taken in 5 minutes. 

This weekend we went to a VW event and as always there was a beautiful display of pampered split screen campers with  original or modified retro interiors and bodywork gleaming.  And then you get the Rat Look.  Now I wrote about these here and beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.....   

But look more closely.....
I love the close up of the bodywork.  My mind immediately jumps into 'how can I use this?'  and there are thoughts of background papers, adding textures to some of my photos or manipulating these images in Photoshop. 
I wonder what ideas you might have?   

I know Helena loves to use Photoshop and digital photography and I wonder what she will make of these?  And as these photos fit perfectly into Helena's weekly neme 'Zoom in Zoom Out' I am linking in.  I love the idea of taking two photos of the same object and I often take photos with the idea of sharing on ZIZO.  I really must follow through! 
I hope you are inspired to get out your camera and join in the '5 in 5' photo challenge. 
Here is the plan:

1.  Choose a location.

2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a timer for 5 minutes (I use my mobile phone).

4.  Take as many photos you can until the time is up.

5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool below.
     You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos.

There are more details here.

And one more thing - when you use the link tool, please click on your post title.  This will show the web address. Please right click, copy and paste this as your link.  This will take readers directly to your '5 in 5' blog page and be easier for them to find.

Thank you to those who have taken part so far, I have loved seeing your photos and hope you will be back with more. 

And don't forget, you have until 25th to post your link

Thank you for popping by! 

Thursday, 4 September 2014


It is beginning to feel like Christmas here....  no, not because that time of year is fast approaching but because happy mail is arriving!  Each day I wait excitedly to see if the postman will deliver another Junk Journal and word has spread because 3 packages are on their way from US.  I'm happy clapping here!

I am having great fun with this Swap and some of the comments I received have really added something special:

'I've really enjoyed the process of creating something that doesn't need to feel 'perfect' - it's been liberating!  

'Thanks so much for the little nudge I needed to start feeling creative again' 

'I was so inspired that I've already made myself another one'. 

All this from the same person!   And there have been other lovely comments and gestures too.  Let me show you another package that arrived.......

I mentioned lovely gestures.  Well this surprise package came from a friend who is not taking part in the Swap!  She had made the most delightful little velum packages with 
French Sugar Paper and stamps tucked inside.  And there was a wonderful assortment of papers and folded card.....  'is this the kind of thing you're looking for?' she asked!!  Well, it takes another paperlover to know that this is EXACTLY what I was looking for, and so a HUGE thank you to Angela!!   The journals will be even fatter and more interesting for your contribution.
In my last post I decorated pages and pockets with Dylusion Spray Inks.  This time I have been getting messy with paint and stamping.  I  have a pile of books that I keep for upcycling and altering so I often tear pages of text and cover them with Gesso or a light coat of paint or ink.  Afterwards I use it as a background or as part of a collage, or decorate it in someway.
For a long time I have been planning to experiment with making my own stamps so I decided to keep to the theme of upcycling and I cut some scraps of mountboard, covered it with wet glue, and added string.  It was a bit messy to do as the string kept lifting and uncurling, but perseverance won

And here is the result.  I liked the effect when I tried it so I made another using thicker string and a more loose design.  I have lots more ideas which I will be trying out when I have more time.....

But meanwhile here are some more pages I have made for the Junk Journal Swap.  My pile is growing, and once the journals have all arrived I will spend a happy couple of days swapping pages and making up journals to post back.  Sending Happy mail is as good as receiving!!

I am also including scraps.  These die cut negatives make wonderful additions to a page as strips or cut into individual letters to create words.....


And do you remember this background paper I showed in my previous post?
Well here is a page that I made from it......
It is ready now for someone to add their own ideas, or maybe just leave it as it is.  Because soon this page, a long with the others, will be packaged up and posted.  It is too late this time to take part in the Swap although this has been such fun that I will be planning others.  Let me know if you want me to keep you posted about this.  Meanwhile if you missed previous posts and would like to catch up here are the links:
Last time I mentioned that my friend Deb is taking part in the Swap and will be sharing the story about what inspired her journal.  She has been on holiday but like a trooper she has come home and done her part so now it is over to me to put into a post.  So watch this space because Debs is someone who always inspires me and she has a wicked sense of humour! 
But first, the 5th of the month is approaching and that means it will be time for my monthly neme '5 in 5'.  I  also have photos of my Summer Scavenger Hunt to share so I hope to catch up with you again soon and thank you for visiting.  And thank you too, to everyone who has taken part in this Junk Journal Swap - I am loving every minute of it! 
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