Why do birds sing?

Hello friends!

I hope everyone had a good Christmas and spent time with the people and doing the things they love the best.

We spent Christmas day with my parents and yesterday we had a friend over for lunch and went for a long walk along a beach.

My parents gave me a Love Links bracelet and two sets of beads for Christmas, it’s really lovely and something I will treasure always.  It was to replace the ring they gave me a couple of years ago.  I had that ring on my hand for a couple of months and then one day when I was working on the outside of the house it disappeared.  I was heartbroken about losing it and searched high and low but couldn’t find it.  Mum wanted to buy me a replacement ring but I thought the bracelet would be safer.

My husband gave me a Sizzix Big Shot (although he didn’t know that until I unwrapped it on Christmas morning, he just knew he had paid for a large box) and I’ve been busy embossing papers and cutting shapes when ever I’ve had a few spare minutes.

The spread above about the birds is not one of my most inspired but it happens to be the next page in the journal.  I’ve decided to share good and bad as it’s all part of the process.  This spread actually looks grubby to me and I have no idea where that dirty colour came from…

I am back to work tomorrow so I have to use today to catch up with a few outstanding projects.

You can see the gifts I made for my friends for Christmas on the Little Boxes and Things page.

See you all soon

Big love

AJ

Wake Up

Hello Friends!

Today’s spread is my homage to coffee – I drink a lot of coffee (probably too much if the truth be told), I like it.  The background is fairly simple, just textured gesso ground, acrylic paint and a Tim Holtz reflections (numbers) stamp, some paper scraps and more gesso.  The small coffee related images are from a card kit I bought in a £1 shop, but as I don’t make cards I decided to use them in my journal, and the words are hand written.

Yesterday I went over to the mainland to meet up with the rest of my team for the first time and to have a Christmas lunch with them.  They are a good bunch of people and it was nice at last to be able to put faces to names after almost a year of being the isolated member of the team.  The lunch was good and we had fun getting to know each other.  AND I had time to pop into Hobbycraft on the way home (always a bonus).

Just two more days of work and then it’s Christmas, which means a four day break for me 🙂

I hope you are all doing well.

Big love

AJ

All wrapped up and Ready to Go

Hello Friends

First of all I’d like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.  May all your dreams come true 🙂  I’ve added a little festive snow to my blog.

With just a week to go all the hand made presents are finished and ready to be delivered.  I hope my friends enjoy them, I had fun making them, so I hope that will show through.

I can’t tell you what’s inside the parcels yet, but I will show you after Christmas.

Now I can relax a bit and stop panicing.  I will be at work all this week and on Wednesday I am going to meet the other members of my team for the first time (I work in a remote location) and we will be having a Christmas lunch.  That should be fun, I’ve spoken to a couple of them on the phone and they sounded nice.

The spread above is another from my 6×6 journal – textured gesso ground, torn pages from an old dictionary, vintage images of women, acrylic paint, stamping and hand drawn swirls and writing.  Afterwards I thought it probably would have been better to have printed the words as, like many people, when I try to write by hand it hardly ever comes out as I expect and this was a style I’d not tried before.  I wasn’t entirely happy with the results, but hey-ho that’s how things turn out sometimes and I do like the message.  My life has been extraordinary so far, I’m grateful for that and hoping for more extraordinariness in the future, for me and for you too.

Oh, I just noticed the date 18 December 2011! Today is the 41st anniversary of my first date with my soul mate and life companion. Wow, now isn’t that extraordinary!

See you soon.

Big love

AJ

Everyone…

Hello Friends!

Sorry I haven’t time to write much today, I’m in my usual seasonal panic before Christmas.  I’m still trying to make the last of the presents and I’m struggling!  Why do I take on these ambitious projects?!  I am working on the last two and hope to get them done by the weekend.  I’ve made a couple of errors which have set me back a bit, but I’ve just had to work around them because I don’t have time to start from scratch now.

This is another spread from my small 6×6 journal – textured gesso, Inktense and acrylic paint, some scrap paper and more gesso and stamped and written words.

Before I go I’m going to recommend you check out Gretchen Miller’s blog Creativity in Motion she has a great post today about a Gratitude Scroll.  Gretchen ran my favourite workshop over at 21 Secrets where we made a Revo-lution book for ourselves.  Eventually I will get around to sharing that with you here, but in the meantime check out her blog, it has loads of wonderful creative ideas.

See you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

Choosing to be happy

Hello Friends!

I hope the Christmas preparations are all going well for you all.  I’ve almost ground to a halt, I only have a few things left to do, but my enthusiasm has waned and it will be a last minute rush again as it always is.

I am astonished that I had to get to the age of 56 before I realised how I feel is only partially influenced by external things and I can actually make a decision about the kind of day I will have.  So I am choosing to be happy.  Of course I won’t always be successful but I am going to give it my best shot.  Well they do say that practice makes perfect, so I am sure the more I practice being happy the easier it’s going to get.

Please don’t get me wrong I don’t have any big issues in my life that make me unhappy, it’s just that I can be a bit of a moaner at times and I am beginning to really appreciate that everything is so much better when I stay in the positive zone.

This is the second spread in my small 6×6 journal.  The background is textured gesso with some acrylic and Inktense on the top.  I used little scraps of paper and some scraps from old books, which had been die cut and sprayed with Adirondak colorwash spray in plum.  I wrote the words with my atyou spica lavender pen and edged the pages with Adirondak Bright Purple Twilight ink.

I just realised that two weeks today will be Christmas Day (I almost swore!)  Oops I’d better get a move on!

See you soon

Big love

AJ

Feeding my Soul

Hello Friends!

I hope everyone is well, happy and prepared for the festive season.  I’ve got all my shopping done, most of the hand made gifts are completed so I just need to wrap things up.  I am always very resistant to putting up decorations but I usually relent a day or two  before Christmas because I do like all the coloured lights.

This a spread from my second journal.  It’s a small 6″ x 6″ sketch book with a wire binding.  I like the journal because it’s small enough to carry around with me and the wire binding makes it fairly sturdy and expandable.  However I am beginning to dislike the way the binding disects the spreads in two, so for the image above I have scanned both sides and stitched them together (in Photoshop) without the binding showing.

Most of the journals I have started so far have wire binding so I’m going to have to look around for something else to use in the future.  I do have a lot of board books so maybe i will start using them.  There are lots of options to choose from 🙂

So yes I do a little bit of art every day now and it’s doing me a power of good.  Using inspirational and motivational quotes is also helping me to focus my mind more on the positives so that’s good too.

Happy December 8th everyone

See you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

Completeness

Hello Friends, I hope everyone is well.

So this is the final bit to show you of my first art journal – the cover.  I left the cover till last for two reasons, firstly so that I could carry the journal around with the plain cover so it would not attract too much attention (although it did start to intrigue people as it ‘fattened up’); and secondly because while I was working on the journal the cover got covered in paint and dirty marks and by leaving the decoration until the end it meant that I could make the finished journal look ‘pretty’.

One day a friend saw the journal on my desk at work and without asking grabbed it and started looking through it, it felt a bit like he had picked up my personal diary and started to read it.  I don’t think he was very impressed.  He said “Who’s done this?” and I replied “Me” to which he enquired “And how old were you when you did it?”

On front and back covers there is gesso, collage, stamping, acrylic and watercolour paints and distress inks.

On the Front cover I added a little bit of bling and a panel with the title ‘AJ’s Art Journal’.  I found some big cardboard floor dominos made for small children in a charity shop.  I actually liked the images that were on the dominos but I also found that I could peel the shiney cover off them, decorate them and for the cover title I used glossy accents to give it a shine.  I didn’t know how to make a closure so I sewed a flower bead on the front and back covers and used a bit of fibre to wrap around the beads and form the closure.  I also added fibres to the wire spine of the journal.

The panel on the back cover is something I found by the waste bin at work, it’s an identification plate for a pump, and I coloured it with stazon ink, put two brads through the screw holes and stuck the whole thing on with glossy accents.

I’ve shown this image before but this is the finished journal.  I really love it and I’ve had so much fun making, showing it and I’ve really appreciated the encouragement, lovely comments and the new friends I’ve made.

Creative people are just The Best!

That’s all for now, see you soon

Big love

AJ