Wednesday, 29 June 2011

TEN minus FIVE

....  is five.  Five more things to complete on my list of 10 things on the 10th that is.  And my workspace today is still looking a crazy mess, but that's how I like it best.  Because I can dip in and out as time allows.  I have been busy finishing the last pages of my Journal Yours Christmas album and because I am enjoying it so much I decided to finish it on 6th January which is the 12th night. 

This page is a collage done on Picasa using some of my favourite photos taken during 2010.  Favourites because they trigger happy memories or special moments that I want to recapture time and time again.
That I wrote about here, here, and here.

I wouldn't usually do a college on a page, but this was an idea suggested by Shimelle as part of this course, and  it fitted perfectly with that I wanted to achieve.

I wouldn't normally print images off Google for my pages either.  But I wanted to create a page about Pantomine, and did not have any photos I could use.

The Cinderella poster opens and inside I will use the space to journal.

There are just a few pages to go and some more journalling to add.  Then I need to find a way of binding this very fat album together!

Happy Wednesday and enjoy what ever you are doing.
Oh, and by the way, if you want to see what other people have on their workspace go over to Julie's here.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Can grief be good?  I know it is a processing and experiencing of feelings.  And I guess you can do that in a positive way by going through the stages by embracing it, and recognising it for what it is.  Or you can deny yourself this because it is too painful, uncomfortable, or because for whatever reason, you just can't.

This week someone I know died before her life had really begun.  I worked with her for nearly 3 years and although I lived in the knowledge that her life could end and tried to prepare myself for this, nothing can take away the shock.  And I am trying to work with this in a positive way.  Work is not the place to be while I process what has happened, and and it is important that I recognise my own needs otherwise my work with other people may be affected.  And so I am at home, doing what I know helps.  Being creative, because this is what touches me most.  Not scrapbooking or album making.  But art journalling and writing.  Get in touch with my thought processes and feelings, and allowing them to be expressed in a healthy way.  And I also know that isolating myself is not helpful, so I have had contact with friends and other people who can help me with this.  And sometimes, more often than not infact, it is mutual support.  A sharing of memories, ideas of how to put things into perspective and to move forward.  I am going to the funeral and I will also be involved in a celebration of her life with other people who knew and worked with her.  Ceremonies and rituals are important.  Our ancestors knew this much better than we do.

In 10 things on 10th I said I would start an art journal.  And this seemed the perfect time to do so.  I don't know why I didn't do this years ago actually.  I love expressing myself through art, or working with others to do this.  A journal is the perfect place to keep pages together.  Up until now I have always worked bigger, A1 or A2, but there is no reason why I can't keep doing this too when the mood or need takes.  And now I recognise that the beauty of an art journal is that you can take it with you.  Use it in the moment or when opportunity strikes.

So here are the first pages.  Some speak for themselves, others are work in progress.

I have also started to make some backgrounds.  This one is a favourite photo of mine that I altered using  impressionist style at befunky.   If you have not checked out this site already it is worth a look.  I like to alter my photos sometimes for creative work, and think I will be doing this more regularly with an art journal to fill.

And this one was hand printed using the base of a bunch of celery.  They look like flowers, I love the effect:

And finally, for those who have visited from Julia's, here is a picture of my desktop.  Not my usual style, but now you know why.

You will also know why I have not visited so many blogs or left comments this week.  I will be back in action soon. 

For the moment I just need time to be quiet and to gather my thoughts. 

Monday, 20 June 2011


Today I am celebrating one year of blogging, or as Ruth called it - my BLOGIVERSARY
I was initially very unsure about setting up a blog, but I'm so glad that I did.  I've made lots of new friends, some who I occasionally meet face to face as well as in blogland.  And some are joining me in my first Blog Hop..... I feel so honoured and privileged.  THANK YOU - you know who you are!!

And here are some of the firsts I celebrated a long the way.  For this has all been a learning curve and I now see that my blog has become another way to create and develop.  I am linking back to posts in case you want the option of dipping in, so let's start:

1.  It felt like a risk when I organised a Poll and a Giveaway.  But it turned out really special when  winner, Natasha, used one of the tags I made in her artwork and posted it on her blog.  I had the biggest smile on my face when I saw it!

2.  I did an on line course and was encouraged to join the blogging world in order to share my creative work and to meet other people.  This is my first post.

3.  My first residential was an amazing experience and we created from dawn to midnight.  I'm going again in October.  I can't wait!  

4.  I made my first scrapbook page.  Handmade books and mini albums are my first love, but I  like scrapbook techniques and I LOVE some of the pages I have made during the year in taught classes at my monthly Eclectic Keepsake group. 

5.  I had a first meeting with Moira.  We met through 'Taking Flight' the online course that introduced me to blogging.  As as well as becoming a friend Moira also runs the residential workshop that I attend. 

6.  I posted my first video.   If you ever doubt yourself or your capability, just watch this. 

7. I took part in my first Blog Hop & won a giveaway!! I couldn't believe my luck and had such fun visiting new blogs.

8.  My first online swap, where I exchanged a handmade gift as part of Louise Gale's Creative Colour Challenge. 

9.   I took part in my first interview.  This was part of an online course where we were encouraged to think about different styles of writing and to interview our self!

10.  And finally, this is the first Blog Hop I have organised... so let's not waste any more time and let the fun begin!


Listed below are names of those taking part.   
Visit each blog in turn, and you will be directed to the next person on the list.  If you 'get lost' don't worry - just come back here and pick up the thread.   

As you visit each blog, look out for a letter
There are 12 to collect.  When you have them all, rearrange them to make one word.  Then come back here and leave the word in a comment. 
I am offering a GIVEAWAY as a thank you for taking part, and will randomly pick a name from the correct answers on Thursday 23rd. 

Of course you are welcome to leave a comment without collecting the letters.  I LOVE receiving comments, as these always brighten my day!  

This is the start, so have fun & I hope to see you back here at the end.  And don't forget, this is where you pick up the thread if you get lost or have joined part way.

Let's start hopping!!  

  Your first letter is : C  

1.   Sandie (you are here!) 
2.   Ann
3.   Louise
4.   Angela
5.   Laurie
6.   Karen
7.   Moira
8.   Deb
9.   Alexa
10. Den
11. Lynn
12. Ruth

Friday, 17 June 2011


There seems to be a focus on fabric for me, right now.

My daughter doesn't understand my obsession with paper craft, though she appreciates what I make.   However, I do understand her obsession with fabrics, and with upcycling, because I share that.

And imagine my joy when I saw a photo of my smallest granddaughter on Facebook wearing a dress that Emma had just made. 

For the fabric Emma used one of her tops that she no long wears and she made up her own pattern.  Wren looks the perfect model and seems happy to wear her new dress!

Then I found a wonderful website for vintage style fabrics:   I just had to look them up and oohed and aghed for a bit.   I see see an order following. 

And to complete the hat trick Alissa posted about a new magazine called Mollie Makes. I just had to look out for it today and joy of joys I found a copy in Asda.   I intend to curl up with with a nice cup of tea and linger over each scrumptious page just as soon as I finish this. And to wet your appetite here is the video that Alissa posted. I just had to share and while the kettle boils I shall watch it again... it is just so cute!

By the way!   I'd love your feedback on my new blog header and layout.  It was time for a change and it's still evolving and work in progress, but I'm still undecided about having a sidebar.   Do you think my profile should be at the top so that visitors can find it easily?   What is the first thing you look for when visiting a new blog?

Have a good day and don't forget June 20th is my blog-birthday-hop!
Lots of amazing people are taking part so hop along with us and have some fun. 

Hope to see you soon, I'm off to boil the kettle! 

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Oyay! Oyay!

If I were a town crier I'd be ringing my bell loud and clear!  Because you see, my blog will be one year old on Monday 20th June.

And I am organising a  
to celebrate.  

This is my way of saying thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey.  I have some amazing participants lined up, a surprise or two, and am I excited ?  Yes I am!  I hope you will make a note of the date and join us for some fun!
Thank you to Robert Needham, Town Crier for Colchester, Essex for permission to use this photo. 

I'm also celebrating progress in other areas too.  In my last post I named 10 things I wanted to achieve in the coming weeks.  I have ticked off Project 365 and these photos are now sorted and downloaded onto my Flickr site.  Yay!!

Thank you to anyone who left a comment on my post.  I was truely grateful and encouraged and have visited each of you to thank you personally.  But the Google Gremlins were about... grrrrr!  After writing a comment I would be signed out..... I would sign back in and repreat the process only to be met with the same problem.  I can't tell you how much time was wasted and it got so bad that I actually gave up.  And I don't give up easily!  But I did get to see what other people listed as their 10 things and loved the ideas and the sharing.  And I also found out something pretty special, but more about that next time.... 

Another of my intentions was to start a art journal.  I love using all kinds of media so this seemed a good place to experiment and work on pieces that are small enough to complete.  There's no point in starting yet another project that remains unfinished!  And so I bought this book.  There are no techniques or instructions, just 1000 images of completed work.  But a great souce of inspiration which will naturally flow into my other creative areas.

By the way,  has anyone else had Google sign in problems or is it just me? 
Enjoy your week, what ever you are doing.

Friday, 10 June 2011

10 things on the 10th

I posted here about things I want to change within the next 5 years.  That is a very generous time frame because realistically I want it to be more like 5 months.  But who’s counting?!

Then Shimelle suggested posting 10 things on the 10th of the month and I got thinking. ....  life has felt very chaotic and busy lately.  Things have been neglected because of the on-going building work and spending time with my Mum following her operation.   I have now started my new job and slowly, slowly, I am gathering my breath and trying to catch up.  And so, I am going to set myself 10 goals this 10th day of the month.

I am giving myself to the 10th of next month to complete this, that's 4 weeks.  So let’s start:

1.     Sort out my photos.   Since December these have been simply downloaded off the camera onto the computer.   Usually I sort each download into various albums and have a system that works for me.  I take lots of photos on a daily basis so this will be a huge task.  And best not left any longer!
 2.     Project 365.  Yes – I am still doing this even though my Flickr album only contains 30 photos this year.  This means I need to download a photo a day from February to now.  I once got behind with this before and made a mental not NEVER to do that again as it was so frustrating and difficult to catch up.  Some lessons need repeating!

3.    Start an art journal.  This is more pleasure than pain.  Something I keep saying I want to do, and now I have set myself a target.

4.    Finish knitting a bolero for my newest granddaughter.  I keep starting projects and not finishing them, and you know how fast babies grow.  Wren will outgrow it before I finish if I don’t get it done!

5.    Complete my Journal Your Christmas album.  Yes – you read right!  I know I have said this before and again I will be taking it to my monthly group.  But this time I plan not to be distracted.  The trouble is I see other exciting ideas and put the JYC album aside.  Not this time, because I really do want to finish it before I start another album.  And I have others earmarked so I have motivation.

6.    Start using my Wii machine again.  I did use this regularly for a while and enjoyed the fitness games and exercises.  I need to increase my physical activity and this suits my lifestyle right now.  In the future I hope to be able to get out more.   I love walking and gardening but for now things indoors are more pressing.

7.    Plan something for my blog birthday on 20th June.  I’m still thinking what I might do.  Watch this space!

8.    Plan a holiday or short break away.  A change of scenery would be very welcome.

 9.    Organise my work space.  You know how things accumulate and increase in piles?  At least it saves the need to dust.....

10.    Add a texture to a photo.  One of my plans this year was to experiment with Photoshop Elements and become more familiar and confident with using it.  Not so!  I have used textures before by layering and I even started taking photos specially to use as textures & effects.  Remember I said I download my photos into albums?  ‘Textures’ is one of them  and this is a photo I previously experimented with. I am setting this as my final challenge and hope I can remember how to do this.
Incidentally, if you don't have Photoshop, 'Picnik' offer a range of special effects, lots of them free and fun to play with.

I am looking forward to coming back on 10th of next month to celebrate my achievements, and I really hope I can do all these things.  Especially organising the photos.  I wonder what 10 things you would choose?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Looking back with a smile....

A year ago I enrolled on my first e-course 'Flying Lessons'.  And this led me to starting my blog.  Something I never even considered before. 

And as my first year of blogging approaches I am thoughtful about the changes this has made to my life and the people I have met a long the way.  But I am not here to get philosophical - just to share with you one person who made an initial impression.  Makiko is a very talented artist specializing in pottery, but one thing that I always remember with a big smile is her amazing 'Blue Box and Books' which she made and shared on a video.  I've yet to make a video but this is one that I admire and aspire to.  Hope you like it too.

My blog wouldn't feel complete without sharing a photo, so here is one that I took the other evening when driving home.  Sun rise and sun sets are another thing that make me smile.  What makes you smile?

Saturday, 4 June 2011


Five things you know won't be around in five year's time, Sian said. Actually it was Amy who said it first, and I grabbed my camera.  Because I have lots of things that I hope will be long gone by then.

Take this sofa. It is lovely & comfy, the perfect place to snuggle up with a glass of wine & a good book or film. But the arms are worn and cost of recovering it is almost the same as replacement. So out it will go.

And this Laura Ashley vintage dress. Alas, it is too small for me now and it has hung in my wardrobe far too long. It is earmarked for Ebay, along with a leather reclining armchair and a heap of once read books.

Not so much a 'thing' this time but a whole room restoration. It's work in progress and I want this block work and the mess gone. We are changing everything around in the utility room, so it has caused immense upheaval and lots of plumbing work......


..... and the kitchen units being removed to access drains. So the units are currently in the living room and their contents are piled on work surfaces and in boxes on the floor.

And finally my shelves of stash. These have currently taken over the dining room-turned craft room. But it doesn't work. There are too many fixtures such as the fireplace and bookshelves that line an entire wall.  The room just does not feel right as a creative space, and so they need to go.  Not literally. Just to a new place where I can finally feel settled. I have tried the spare bedroom, that didn't work either.  And so I am on the move again.  And I am definately not waiting 5 years for it to happen!

                      I wonder what five things you would like to see changed or gone by 5 years?
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