Sunday, 30 June 2013


Thank you for the lovely comments left on my Blogiversary post.  I said I would pick a name on Saturday 29th and that day came and went. I have good reason and I will come to that in just a minute. But first I have a winner to pick for the Giveaway!  I have written the names and folded each paper....

JennieSian, Beverley, Debs, Alexa, Scrappy Jacky, Maria, Furrypig,
Fay aka Beautifullily and Jo

Shuffled the names well.... 

               Shake,  shake....
                            Drum roll please......

And the winner is:

Please drop me an email Maria (Rinda) with your address so that I can post the notebook to you. Thank you.

And the reason I am a day late in announcing the winner?  Well, I was unexpectedly away!! 

I spent a wonderful day yesterday with friends visiting from Australia. Melanie and I went craft shopping during the day and caught up with lots of chat, and then in the evening we all went out for a meal. Sadly we won't be able to do this again soon as Steve and Melanie fly home this week but they plan to return in 2015. Yay!
This photo will count towards my Summer Scavenger Hunt as it is a local pub. I must post others on my list that I have taken soon....

After we had said our goodbyes I decided there was still time for me to drive over and join Cheryl Johnson's Photography Bootcamp.  My friend Pauline was booked to go for the weekend but was then unable to attend both days. So she thoughtfully invited me to take her place on Sunday. I didn't know anyone but thought that having a drink in the bar before bed time and joining the group for breakfast would give me a chance to meet other members and to catch up on the days events and plans.  And what a wonderful time I had! I was made very welcome, thank you everyone, and especially to Pauline for making it possible. 

I have taken part in a couple of Cheryl's online courses in the past and for this course I was the only one with a bridge camera. I did not let this daunt me and I knew there would be lots for me to learn.  We had two children acting as models, which was a new experience for me and something that I really enjoyed.  The children did not seem daunted by the numbers of cameras pointed, and they were beautifully co-operative and appeared to enjoy the playful atmosphere that Cheryl created.


The sun shone throughout and after lunch we practiced in pairs, experimenting with reflectors and different poses which was very helpful as I am always self conscious and never know what to do with my arms and legs! I'd recommend Cheryl Johnson's Bootcamp. She runs it once a year with her friend Lesley, and has other online courses available.   
So that's me for this Sunday evening. 
Another week starts and I will be back soon with an invitation.   


Tuesday, 25 June 2013


I have a day off work. I wish it could be relaxed.  The sun is shining and I would like to do no more than potter in the garden, visit a friend, or just spend my time leisurely....

Instead my head is racing, flitting from this to that. The list of things I need or want to do. 
Sometimes I wish my life was more simple. I wonder what it would be like to have a tidy home? A routine and 9-5 job where you leave on time and have just a short journey to and from. An organised craft space where I could just go to when I want to create. Instead... my head buzzes with ideas and tasks. It feels relentless lately. My home and creative space reflect that - there is a mess everywhere I look. 

I take stock. The sun is shining as I sit here at the computer. Before this, I sat with one of my journals, a list book where I try to organise my mind and my day. It usually works well.  Sometimes I set times for tasks, leave them unfinished when the allocated time is up. Move on. Make headway. My heart is still beating faster than usual. Adrenalin.  I know today is just 'one day' and there is much I want to achieve.  Ironing, car insurance to sort, making kits for a book making class I am teaching in 2 weeks . I immediately think of my cabin. This weekend I achieved a lot. Even more than I imagined I could.  But it is left unfinished. Time ran out and inside the door there is disarray. I smile. There is a familiarity....

I look around my computer. Clear the other day... part of my sweep of paper and clutter.  Some of it lies on the floor in another room, waiting to be filed or organised. I sigh, then catch myself.  I remember the recycling sack, bulging with paper and so heavy I have to drag it rather than lift. I need to take some out and start a second bag. A reminder of my achievement. There will be more paper... lots more paper to throw. Enough to fill the second bag if I am focused today.

My mind flits from one thing to the other. A phone call I must make to a friend. She is on a 6 weeks stay in UK and returns to Australia next week. Her schedule is as tight as my own. We plan a second meeting this Saturday. I am excited, feel myself breaking into a smile when I think about seeing her. Soul mates separated by too many miles.  Melanie has also discovered a love of creativity and we share ideas and photos of our work.  I am sad we can not have play days, sit at a table together. Another sigh...  again I catch myself... remember the internet.  How this brings us together and fills the gap.  I think that I must experiment with Skype. It is downloaded but I have never tried it. The thought of spending more time learning how to do something is daunting. But sometimes, I remind myself, it is in a good cause and I know I will be so glad of it.

I think back again to my list. My heart is beating calmer now. I look around my desk top.  It is nothing I can't cope with, small steps I tell myself. The computer is buzzing. I don't like the noise but I can shut it off when I am absorbed. I wish I could go for a walk down the river. I picture the water sparkling in the sun. It is the perfect day for being outdoors, but today, I need to be firm with myself. There are things to be done. I need treats to keep my motivation going. A cup of special tea.  Rose, I think. I imagine the hot filled mug next to me, the steam lifting a scented fragrance. It inspires me to leave the computer. The back of the house is in shade this time of day. I prefer the front at this hour where the sun streams through and lifts my spirits. But there are things to be done..........

This post is part of Simply A Moment - a monthly meme hosted by Alexa of Trimming the Sails. 
To read other moments or add your own, do visit.  And thank you for popping by today.
Please note: 
I like to add a photo with my post but today I am keeping things simple so that I can do more.
But I have photos to share very soon...

Thursday, 20 June 2013


Three years ago I signed up for an online course called 'Take Flight'.  I'd never done anything like this before.  It wasn't cheap.  It felt a huge risk. But...

It turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done. Of course, I didn't know that at the time... I felt completely out of my depth. Some people had businesses or established blogs, some had big dreams and ambitions. And I felt like Christopher Columbus sailing into new territory.  I had a lot of learning and catching up to do!!   And I still feel like that a lot of the time.... 
I had no thought of starting a blog when I set out on that course. I had signed up to be part of a creative group where I could share my ideas and connect with like minded people. And starting a blog felt such a brave thing to do.  A fellow 'Flyer' and I took courage to do this together.... three years ago, to this day. 

And what I did not expect when I set out on my journey, was the wonderful community of friends that I would meet along my way. My life has become all the richer for this. I went on to discover other online courses and made lots more friendships. But I learned that blogging is not something that is confined to online.... 
             Oh no!! 

I now have a wonderful friend who lives quite near and so we see each other regularly. We met through Shimelle's 'EXPLORE' course when we were encouraged to find a buddy. Well, Pauline has become much more than a buddy. We both love photography and get excited over the same creative ideas and materials. We have so much in common.... she feels like a twin and I feel so lucky.

And I didn't anticipate going on a residential with blog friends, but I did!  Lizzie organised this with a band of helpers and what a fantastic time we all had!! I knew lots of the people before we went.... some by name, others because we have formed online friendships or follow each others blog. And after our meeting, closer and new friendships have been formed.  Some of us are meeting up again in November, at another residential. I can't wait!  And the other week, while I was on a day out, I arranged to meet up again with Ruth.  But what is magical about blogging is that you can also 
call someone and invite them to meet even if you've not met before!  I did this while on a visit to Devon this Easter and I had coffee with Jenny.

There have been other unexpected surprises. I recently took part in a swap and I loved one of the cards that I received. I didn't know the artist but I emailed to say thank you... and another friendship was formed. And what is so exciting, is that in the very short time I have known Dawn, I have seen her 'Take Flight'.  After donating one of her paintings to raise money for families who lost homes and loved ones in Oklahoma, her work has taken off! Dawn did not expect or plan this and it is all thanks to this wonderful world of the internet and blogging!  And of course, to her generosity, because what goes round comes round.

I have plans to meet other blog friends too. I have two more residentials booked in the coming months, both arranged by people I met on that first online course.  And my connections interweave as friends meet other friends and my journey continues... becoming ever more exciting and adventurous. And I am so full of gratitude! I never imagined that my journey would unfold in this way and I feel I am still at the beginning. I still have so much more to learn! But I am proud of my first video downloaded onto YouTube. And I have  promised a tutorial to go with the Maxi Mini book. It is being written now. And I also have something else to reveal: my first neme. I want more focus writing my blog, and some fun! So more about this very soon.
Meanwhile, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been part of my wonderful journey. I have been inspired, cheered on and enriched by your support, comments and friendship. I will be sending some good mail...  
If you would like the chance of winning one of my handmade notepads just leave a comment. You don't have to write a blog. Maybe you like to read them. And I will pick a name from random on Saturday 29th June. 

Thank you for visiting. And when I am home from work I will be pouring  a glass of wine to celebrate.  
Cheers!!!  Happy Blogiversary to me!! 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Here is my workspace this week.... I am almost ashamed to show.

It's a crazy chaos that I am trying to organise and clear. It also spread back into the house a few weeks ago and the dining room table is also covered.  I have bought rather a lot of new materials recently including more this weekend:

Did I mention that I filled a new loyalty card in my last post?  Well I did, and I did it again at a different shop this week!  You see I spent Saturday with Dyan Reaveley, learning art journaling techniques.  The colourful mess page you see above is one of my first attempts of creating background pages in my brand new journal. And because I can see I am going to fill the journal quite quickly I thought I had better buy two more! I also bought a new Perspex block as this one is good for larger stamps and has a measure down one side and a curve on the other - useful for drawing lines to journal in or for giving pages a different shape edge. 

I already have Cut-N-Dry foam but can't find it so decided more was needed.  And the 6x6 Template sheets are for cutting out my own stencils. Yay!  What fun it will be to design my own - I was going to experiment with a laminated sheet and I will still do this as they will be considerably cheaper if they work.  Completing my shop is a collection of Dylusion sprays - I've thought about buying these for so long!  I posted about my day with Dyan here so pop over if you want to find out more.  It was an amazing experience and I can't wait to book another day it her. 

Sometimes the universe gives us what we need... 

For weeks now my head has been very messy with information and ideas that I have gathered.  In fact, my head has been as messy as my workspace.  So I have been writing it all into a notebook to contain it...  make sense of it...  and keep it safe. 
And I knew were to find it. 
Only now I can't because very annoyingly I left my notebook at the workshop, and I am lost without it.
So I am stepping back and starting with a blank page because One of the things I had been working on is ideas for my  third Blogaversary next week. The problem is, I had so many ideas that I was overwhelmed and consequently nothing is planned as yet.

But I will!  I don't want the day to pass un-noted so without my book I will start again and this time I will keep my ideas simple. My wonderful friend Pauline has offered to pick my book up for me.
And here are a couple of other things on my workspace, work in progress and things to come. 

I do hope you will pop by again next week to celebrate my third Blogavesary with me. I am thinking a giveaway, a swap, or something equally fun! 

So that's me, for now.  Over at Julia's you can find out what other people have on their workspace today.  And what a great way of finding out what others are making a mess with, buying, and doing.  Have a great week and thanks for popping by! 


Sunday, 9 June 2013


My friend Pauline and I had planned to go to Harrogate this year to visit Art from the Heart.  You see, we were keen to book a couple of classes with Dyan Reaveley, but do you know what? 

Dyan came to us instead!  Well, to the south that is.... to
Faversham in Kent. She was running four classes this weekend but we
decided all four might be too much to absorb all at once, so we
booked two and plan to go to Harrogate another time for more. 

I love art journaling and you can see one of the first pages I ever
made here. I still remember how powerful it was to produce this page and I had it in mind to buy a 'proper' art journal and materials so I can be more serious in my intent. And finally, yesterday I did just that! 

Pauline and I were so excited to be meeting Dyan, and we soon got down to making a mess.  Now you know how it is when you have a brand new book of beautiful blank pages...  you want to stroke them and perhaps put it aside for something 'special'.  Well, Dyan was having none of that!  She ran a tight ship and when she said open a page, pick up a Dylusion spray and use it on the page, well we did!  We were told not to spend time choosing a colour - just take the first one you reach out for.  And we did!  Then we had to repeat this on another blank page.  Third time we were primed and about to spray... when Dyan said  'spray the persons page sitting next to you'! 

Then we had to tear two pages from our book, and a strip out of another page...  all this done quickly and without opportunity to think about what we were doing.  Which is probably just as well!  It felt very liberating to act so fast and unconsciously... which for me is what art journaling is about: the freedom to express yourself, with the focus on process rather than a plan or outcome. 

After this we set about making some background pages. Dyan is an excellent teacher, and not only that, she is one of the most modest and generous artists I have met.  She invited photographs and said her sole intent is to encourage others to try art journaling.  That her work is just 'paper and paint'... and if 'copying' her work gave others the confidence to give it a go, then that was fine.  She said we could share her work, did not need to give her credit... and her whole attitude was so relaxed and giving. I am sure this allowed us to be less precious with our own work and to experiment and be playful.   

The classes ran from 9am to 6.30pm and we learned different techniques including how to spray, stamp, mask, use hand writing, college, and create different effects. Now my confidence is boosted there will be no looking back!!   Here is my new book looking pristine:

 And soon after, with pages torn out and covered in ink:

A page in progress:
And one completed:

I didn't think I would achieve so much in one day and a part from enjoying everything I learned it was pure pleasure to meet Dyan.  She was so inspirational and says that art feeds her soul.... I know mine was truly satisfied yesterday. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


This post is part of a weekly sharing of what is on your workspace and this is my dining room table, looking very clear and tidy.

I have been shopping for new supplies and lots of things I didn't know that I needed...  Yay!!

I went to The Craft Barn this weekend you see, and there were 3 marquees full of demonstrators and amazing examples of their work. Now I love anything to do with PaperArtsy, and Leandra was there showing how to use their chalk paints on textured finishes.  So I had to buy some more masks.  Okay, I know I already have lots I haven't taken out of the wrappers yet! But you see I already had some Artist Spackle that I bought at Ally Pally last year and so I didn't need to buy any filler. Yes... I know the pot is still unopened, but now I have been reminded why I bought it! I have a project in mind... and the money I saved on the Artist Spackle I spent on 3 pots of Treasure Gold. Good thinking, right?!  
I have been busy making notebooks lately so needed more Bind-it-All wires. I have made other mini books too, and I was looking for a different kind of closure.  These magnets will be good to experiment with... 

I also loved some papers I'd not seen before: 'stationary noted' by Teresa Collins. One of the sheets (Owl Ledger Paper) said to me 'mini book' and the 'Quotes' and 'Poleroid' sheets said 'pages' inside-said-mini-book.  Mmmm... I am working on other projects right now but I think I know the outcome.

I was also drawn Tim Holtz Kraft-Core (Nostalgic Collection). What amazing colours! So many to choose from - but it wasn't difficult.  The three colours are what I am most drawn to and I thought the orange complemented.  I have been resisting the Tim Holtz flower die for so long.  I am someone who will always try and improvise where I can. I have a scoring board and thought I could make flowers by cutting strips and folding the score marks. I've come to the conclusion that when too much effort and time is involved it doesn't happen.  Although these rosette type flowers are probably dated now I follow what I like rather than trends, and so the die jumped into my basket on this occasion.  Something else that jumped in was Americana clear Chalkboard coating.  I've yet to try it but I'm told it turns everyday surfaces into a chalkboard and as it is clear it will allow the colour underneath to show through. I will let you know how I get on with experimenting.

The other thing I couldn't resist is the PaperArtsy stamp set.  I already have one in that collection and I use it a lot. Yes! That is something I use and could fully justify buying more of! 

This Saturday I have booked 2 Dyan Reavely classes.  So excited!!  I know I will buy some of her Dylusions sprays, so another shop for supplies is planned.

So that's me, for now.  I'll tell you all about the DR classes next week. 
Meanwhile, over at Julia's you can find out what other people have on their workspace today.  Have a good week.. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013


I love days like today!  

A day off work.

With friends.

Just to do what we please.... 

After throwing around ideas we decided on a visit to The Craft Barn in Surrey.  Now, I have planned to go here for a l-o-n-g time and suddenly I make two visits in 4 days! But that's a story for another time....  

We arrived at The Craft Barn and there was a surprise in store. Because unbeknown to my friend Jill, I had arranged to meet one of my blog-buddies there. It was lovely to see Jill's look of surprise when Ruth arrived! We had all met earlier this year at a residential in Milton Keynes. It was so good to catch up with Ruth again and we all managed to browse, spend money and admire the wonderful supplies. 

Ruth had an appointment so the three of us went to lunch in a pub. And then we explored Godstone, a beautiful village with a green and pond, and an antique shop where I bought a lovely wall mounted candle holder. It will look lovely in the garden and it is rusty and aged, so just the effect I want. 
We then went to the village church, where there is a pirates grave. 

The story goes that the pirate was buried in an unmarked grave and this was the start of strange happenings... until eventually he was
reburied and given a Christian service. 
And next to this church there was another... 

a small church set in grounds with a row of almshouses.  This was an unexpected find and there was much photo taking.... 

We also found a lovely tea room overlooking the village green.  It was featured in a magazine, and the warm welcome and home made cakes certainly lived up to it's reputation. 

The sun shone from start to finish, and it was a lovely relaxing day. Batteries are restored, good company enjoyed, and I bought home many happy memories and lots of photos.  Oh!  And of course... I mustn't forget the lovely papers, dies and other lovely things I bought in The Craft Barn.  I filled my loyalty card in just two visits and now have a £5 voucher to spend.  Must go back soon, me thinks!!   

Days like today are precious to me.
Time with special friends, wind down time, doing things I enjoy most. 
So it is fitting to add it to Sian Fair's monthly
 'Story Telling Sunday: Pick your Precious'. 

There are other stories to read so why not take time out for yourself and pop over?


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