Monday, 12 May 2014


If you have time why not grab a cup of tea and join me for a moment or two...  because my lovely friend Louise Gale has asked me to participate in a blog hop with a difference. I love Louise's work and the life that she has created for herself, so thank you Louise for asking me to take part, I felt honoured.

 As part of this hop I was asked to invite three other friends and they will follow next weekAnd so at the bottom of this page you will find links to three lovely ladies who happen to be blogging
friends of mine, and by coincidence their names all start with J! So do pop along on Monday May 19th to read their own responses to the questions.   

Meanwhile this was a lovely opportunity to take some time out to ponder the questions asked of me and Louise has responded to the same questions here.  So.... make yourself comfy while I tell you what I am focusing on right now:

1. What am I focusing on? 

Each year I choose one-word and this year it is CREATE.

Back in January I decided this is going to be a year of more action. Things I had started would be continued or completed and there were other things I wanted to fulfil. But it wasn't just about doingThis would be me putting my heart into it! I would be taking more risks and challenges and time to create the life that I want. 
And I have! 

My main love is making mini books and I have been busy experimenting with new designs.  I love constructing with paper and I have made several new books that I am really pleased with. You can see one on this YouTube video here.   

The book shown here has hidden pages and lots of space for journaling or photos. I love photography and take my camera everywhere, so putting my photos into books is one of my favourite things to do. Each book tells it's own story. Some people like to scrapbook but I love the size of mini books and the interaction with pages. I confess - I can get excited by construction and all the different kinds of books you can make. 

As well as making books, I also love going on retreats with creative friends, taking part in online courses and swaps, and attending classes.  Recent ones include stained glass and felt making and I have a soldering weekend booked as well as one with Francis Pickering. I was also excited to be invited by PaperArtsy to take part in their recent 3UP. You don't need 3 guesses to know what I made!

Recently I was invited to have a stand at a local ArtBookArt fair.
I have started to say 'YES' to opportunities and to share more of what I am doing.  Interestingly the more I do this, the more opportunities present.

As well as attending classes I also love running them. This week I had a wonderful day showing a group of ladies how to make one of my latest books.  I hope to run more classes and also I am planning some of these online as some people who express interest can not attend due to distance. My first is work in action and I will be announcing details soon, so if you are interested in local or online courses please let me know by email or in a comment. 

I mentioned earlier that I love photography. Something else I enjoy
is my monthly neme '5 in 5'. I started this last year and love that other bloggers join in and share their own photos and story. What I didn't anticipate when I started was that my friend Melanie in Australia would join in. There was just one problem - Melanie does not have a blog! I tried to be creative in my thinking and so every month I post a page written by Melanie. Nor did I anticipate that good friendships would be formed. Joy is one of my tags who you will be introduced to shortly. She discovered my blog through this neme and I am so glad that she did. We now share happy mail and have a meeting planned in August. I can't wait!  

I completed Project 365 for a number of years and sadly this has been neglected of late. I've not given up on it though and hope to get back on track. I recently signed up for an online Photography Course and I also hope this will help to motivate me with Project 365. 

I have also signed up for an online writing course and would love to write a book one day. I am always writing. As part of The Artist Way I write morning pages, I also write lists, notes, letters and a journal. Meanwhile my blog provides a way for me to be creative and to share other things that I love.

2. How does my work differ from others of its kind? 

My approach is eclectic. I love to upcycle, recycle, use new materials and create my own. I like originality, so each of my books is personal and this is also what I teach. I encourage people to take my idea and to make it their own. For example, at last weeks book-making class my example was a sewing themed book but I encouraged everyone to make a book that was meaningful to them. These ranged from wedding, craft inspiration, a gift for a husband and project books.  Ideas were bounced around, materials sourced, and everyone created a book that was unique and personal. I shared more about the day here and this is the book I used for inspiration:

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 

Because it feels part of who I am and I can't imagine not creating! My mind and hands are never still and I am always busy making or doing. Apt name for my blog then - itchifingers - chosen by my

I have tried many crafts (too many to mention) but first and foremost I love papercrafts. This is because it is easy to carry and do where ever I am. I have a campervan and even though space is at a premium I always make room for a project that I am working on. At work I have sat in the camper during my breaks, paper and glue strewn across the table. And when we go for a weekend or more, a big bag is always packed. Luckily I have an understanding family....  

I started making books as keepsakes for family and friends. Small books with photos and memories.  Then I realised I gave them away and had none of my own.  That's when I started making them for myself, and I now have several baskets that I love to look through. So much nicer than looking at photos saved on the computer. Here's a few more of the books I have made over time. I have created some photo albums onto DVD and mean to do more of these - there's only so many photos you can put into a mini book and it is another way I can be creative!

My creative influence is also around the home.  I have upcycled furniture and transformed an antique bookcase into something I love.
Then there was the piano stool....  and the dining room chairs. More projects are in progress as I write , including some beautiful fabric that I want to use for recovering an armchair and making light shades.  So many ideas... so little time.... 

Having a personal influence is important to me. My husband has hand built furniture over the years and these pieces are more precious than things bought from the shop. Our table has a story, it has been adapted over the years to suit our family lifestyle and it is destined for another change. I want to paint the legs. The top was  indented at Christmas by my youngest granddaughter. I may leave it. A memory of the time she came to decorate a gingerbread house and decided that scribbling on the table was more fun than paper. Or perhaps she was just lost in her own thoughts and did not realise what she was doing?  A doodle perhaps... at just 3 years she hasn't yet mastered that, but give her time. Sharing creativity with my granddaughters is something else I love. Luckily, they love it too.
As well as family, social networks and friends are also important to me. Last October I set up an online community and together we are working our way through Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way. This group is very special to me, it allows opportunity to do something else I love - write - and to continue on my journey of self discovery and fulfilment.

Another online group I set up was 'Fit for Fun'. Being part of a supportive group allows opportunity to make yourself accountable and since Jan 2013 this special group of ladies have supported and cheered each other on in their efforts to improve their health and fitness. Like The Artists Way, this group is now closed to new members as it was important to establish trust and confidentiality.


4. How does your writing/creating process work?

I work very much from intuition.  Like all my creativity, I start with an idea but then allow it to free flow. I love to trust the process and never know what will develop until the end. Part of the pleasure and satisfaction is discovering that it has a life of its own and allowing it to reveal itself, rather than trying to contrive something that it is not meant to be. 

When working with paper I do not measure or use instructions. Again it is a connection with the material and experimentation, and a learning process. I need to be more detailed for online classes though. Not everyone thinks in the same way and my instructions and information need to be clear! I love challenges and new ways of thinking, so I see this as fun and yet another opportunity to learn.

I work in the same way with fabric and other materials. I sometimes use a pattern but more often I will see inspiration and create my own design.  I am self taught in many things that I do.  Some things come naturally, others are more of a challenge.  I have yet to fully master crocheting but need to remind myself that practice makes perfect!  For me, creativity extends in all areas of my life. I love cooking and baking and recently went on a breadmaking course and learnt how to make sausages by watching a YouTube video. In all these things I adapt recipes and experiment and sometimes I wish I had written notes as I went a long so that I can do it again. But mainly I like to work intuitively and it works for me, most of the time...   

So!  Thanks so much for visiting and I hope this has given you an insight into what I do and love.  Have a wonderful week, what ever you are doing, and next week  the blog hop will move over to these three lovely ladies, so please be sure to pop back and visit them on Monday 19th May.


Joy Shallcross

Joy recently turned 66 and has been crafting all her life. She's very much a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none type creative, loves knitting, crochet, gardening, photography, homemaking and writing. She's also done painting, dressmaking, quilting, fabric art and various other crafts, and always more than happy to try something new. Joy is retired from paid employment and runs her own business as a Phoenix Trader She enjoys spending time with family and friends and her beautiful grandchildren.

You find visit Joy's blog here

Julie Kirk

Julie Kirk is a blogger, freelance magazine contributor and the one-woman kit creator, product-photographer, branding-designer and marketing manager behind an Etsy shop selling vintage paper packs and creative supplies. Throughout all those things she is motivated to either inspire and encourage others or to make them laugh. Preferably both [as long as they're not holding craft scissors while they're laughing. That could be disastrous.]

She shares a house and a life in the North East of England with a small mound of ephemera, an overflowing wardrobe, a newly stripy workroom and a man who doesn’t mind any of it.

You find visit Julie's blog here

Jemma @Just-Jimjams

Jemma is married with three children (one still at home). She is a former computer programmer; trained as a primary school teacher; and is now working in a theatre.
Jemma has been scrapbooking since 2006, and is currently on DT for Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog and S J Papercrafts, as well as being involved in UKScrappers.
Jemma has been Blogging since 2011. Her former hobbies include Fencing and Tae Kwon Do; while her current hobbies include Geocaching and reading.  She is part of a reading group who meet in a tearoom where they serve wonderful cakes!
Jemma lived abroad as a child in Indonesia, Holland, Spain, and Nigeria.  And as an adult she has lived in Sweden, Holland, and Belgium before finally settling back in Cheshire.
You could say  that Jemma is well travelled!

You find visit Jemma's blog here

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