Monday, 25 May 2015


This weekend saw me at one of my regular weekend retreats, creating with friends.  For a change I travelled light and it made a big difference - I could actually find things easily and my choices were limited.  While this caused the odd small dilemma, it meant I wasted less time wondering what to use, and it certainly worked well for me.  Note to self: do this more often!!

I made 2 special birthday cards and 4 books, and my friend offered me papers to decorate a book when I didn't have what I wanted.  Two of the books are gifts.  One to someone I used to work with, and the other is a give away.  The offer is now closed and it is time to announce the winner:  CLAIRE NEWCOMBE that is you!!  This book will be on it's way once I have your details and I hope you have fun filling the pages: 

Thank you to everyone who took part and while it is too late to enter the challenges and
giveaways you can still visit the Blog Hop

I hope your own weekend was as fun as my own. Hope to see you back here soon and thanks for popping by!

Sunday, 24 May 2015


I have a wall of mirrors, a collection of old and new, and I suspect one of them was once a set of three on the back of a dressing table as there are two small holes each side of the frame.  I don't remember where I got it from but for years it has waited to be hung and loved.  As it fitted the space well we put it up but I have never liked the frame and always planned to do something with it.

So when this months design team called for Shabby Chic I decided to take it down.  First I filled the holes on the side with Grunge Paste, then put masking tape round the edge of the glass to make painting easier.   I applied a coat of PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic in Limelight to the frame, I chose this colour as I wanted to tie it in with the décor in the hall and to give it a contemporary edge.  Then I added a coat of PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze, before adding a top coat of Fresco Finish in a contrasting colour.

And here is the finished effect.  You can see the green walls in the hall and I think it works well.  The frame is subtle but more interesting than it was before.  Sometimes less is more.

I need to live with it for a bit before I decide whether I will do any more to it.  Then I will give it a coat of DecorArt Matt Medium to seal and protect it.  Thanks for popping by!
Materials for this project are available from That Craft Place
and other Shabby Chic DT projects can be seen here.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Blog Hop - FOCUS

Welcome to the Blog Hop!  With focus as a theme it could only mean one thing to me - my camera!  It goes everywhere with me and on my recent trip to the Shetland Islands I took over 4,000 photos, but don't worry I'm not planning to show these today! 

Instead, I chose just one and I decided to use it as an art journal page.  Out of necessity this was a quick page but I did manage to try a new technique.  I went to the Shetlands to attend a book making course and one of the ladies had printed photos onto tracing paper.  I loved the effect this gave to her page so I tried it out here using the image of a camera.  The opaque paper allows the background text to show through, I love being able to see different layers and this is a technique I will use often hereon.   I have lots of journals: for experimenting and playing in, art, for writing morning pages, and others which have a theme.  This one is all about 'journey' and I have written more about my journaling here.  

But I digress!  While visiting the Shetlands I flew out to the Fair Isles and stayed in the Bird Observatory.  This was a wonderful adventure and I will write about it more another time. I'm already planning a return visit!   It was here that we hoped to see puffins; however we
was told that they were just starting to arrive and it seems they come and go until they start to nest.  So imagine my joy when my first cliff top walk revealed lots of these little birds!
They are deceptively small and are quite brave birds, allowing us to get quite close.  They were beginning to seek out burrows and it is quite clear to see where they nest as the ground is like craters!  Puffins are not camera shy either so I was able to take lots of photos, in fact some seemed to even pose!

I like to have fun with my camera and as a way of creating focus I have a monthly neme called '5 in 5'.  The idea is to set a timer for 5 minutes (I use my mobile phone) and to take as many photos as you can in that time.  Then choose your favourite five and post them, linking back to my page so that others can come and see.  And just to keep things easy I post on the 5th of each month but you are welcome to post yours up to the 25th, so there is still time this month if you would like to join in!  Please pop over to see more here if you have time.  

As well as photography, one of my greatest passions is making books and as I have so many photos to choose from I have decided to use PhotoBox on this occasion.  It's my first time of sharing my photos this way but it won't stop me making other books about my trip!  I love constructing and choosing papers for each page and if you would like to find out more about the books I make and workshops that I run I have a Facebook Page.  

I am offering a giveaway.   To be in for a chance, just leave a comment on my Facebook page and I will chose a name from random on Sunday the 24th of May at 10pm BST.  Like my page and you will be entered twice!  

So!  Thanks for popping by and I hope the puffins made you smile as much I did.

Next in the Blog Hop is Louise so do pop over and say hi!   And if you have come straight here you might want to start at the beginning as Jennifer is planning a weekend of fun events and is giving away a WRK Insta Album Kit. 

This is the prize up for offer.  Enter to win by commenting on all the blogs in the Focus Your Craft & Soul Hop! The giveaway closes on Sunday the 24th of May at 10pm BST, and is open internationally.  Here is the complete list, have fun!


Sunday, 10 May 2015


I have just returned home from the Shetland Islands and while there I stayed in the lighthouse on Bressay.  On my first morning I woke up and admired these flowers growing on the wall. 

And when I raised the camera you could see a scattering of snow that had fallen overnight.  Luckily it was our first and last but I was undeterred because I had gone prepared for all weathers! 

Today I am joining in with Helena's Photo Pairs.  I often take photos with this in mind but then I don't get round to posting them, which is a bit daft!   I hope to do better in future.

5 in 5 - MELANIE - May 2015

 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, over to you:
Hi from a wet Adelaide.  Yes more rain this week and the gardens are loving it.  I had planned on a trip into the city for my May 5 in 5 but changed my mind at the last minute. The day was wet and cold.  I was round a friend’s house and always have the same feeling when there and I look out on her court yard garden.  It is like an oasis.  My friend and her husband moved from her family home of 50+ years a couple of years ago leaving behind an incredible garden.  A garden which reflected a lifetime of love.  With a smaller home and just a court yard out the back I had thought that the garden would be greatly missed.  Not so the court yard has been brought to life with splashes of colour, lots of green and is a joy to see and be in.  Hopefully my photos as I walked around will give you some idea of it.
As always, a big thank you to Melanie for sending these photos. I love the different sky and it proves we only need to look around (or UP!) to appreciate what is already there.
So if this has inspired you to pick up your camera and take part in this challenge you have until 25th before this months link closes.
It's great fun and this post should answer any questions or give other information that you need.
Links for this months post are here and hopefully I'll be back with more photos from Melanie and myself next month. I hope you will join us and thanks for popping by!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

5 in 5 - May 2015 - TAKING PAPER TO BRESSAY

                                        Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of
each month I post 5 photos that I have

taken in 5 minutes. 
By the time you read this post I will be in the Shetland Islands. I have signed up for a book making course on the island of Bressay, staying in a light house and am I excited?  You bet I am!  The course is run by Rachel Hazell and I have waited s-o long to work with her, I love Rachel's skill and playfulness with paper, I know I won't be disappointed.
Today I have been busy packing and thought I would share photos of some of the things I will be taking with me: 

First is my latest journal made for this trip.  It has five signatures and  the design on the cover is rather special as it is a copy of a lino print made by a friend who lives in Denmark.  We met through Paperlove, an online course ran  by Rachel Hazel, and as I shall be staying in a lighthouse it has a strong connection for me.  It feels just right as my cover piece and I printed it onto calico as I want it to be hard wearing.  The canvas cover wraps round and will grow with the pages as it fills. I will add more to the cover when I am there.

Next are some of the papers I am taking, these have interesting print and will be used for making books. I also have some maps, I can't wait to see what we make with them.

Here is another map and book that I will not be cutting up. Instead these will be used to explore the islands. We will be away for over two weeks in total and our road trip will include visits to Aberdeen, Inverness and 12 hour ferry crossing to the Shetlands. Weather permitting we might fly out to Fair Isle but island hopping is definitely a plan.

Two little notebooks that I made, one for me and one for my friend Ruth who is coming with me. 

There is definitely an unplanned theme going on and my final photos is more paper.  This time birthday cards because I am lucky enough to celebrate my special day while I am staying in the lighthouse.  How lucky am I?!  

I'll tell you more about my trip when I return, meantime if you would like to join in this monthly photo challenge please link in below so I can come and see your photos. Here's 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. 

   Please note: 

You can take  your photos any time, they do not have to be taken on 5th!
And you have until the 25th of the month to add your photos to the link.
There are more details here. 
Thank you for popping by, your company and comments are always appreciated and a special thanks to those who took part last month.
As always I really enjoyed your photos and seeing what ideas you came up with for this challenge. See you soon....
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