Here comes May and that was April.

May 2012Hello friends!

I hope everyone is well and happy.

Here is my calendar page for May all ready to go, I’m excited because I think it’s going to be a good month.

April was apparently the wettest on record.  I know they say ‘April Showers’ but this was more like a monsoon at times.  It’s ironic because much of the south of England is currently under a drought order which basically means the use of hose pipes, sprinklers, etc. for domestic purposes is banned and we are being encouraged to be careful not to waste water.

People struggle to understand when we have had so much rain there is still a shortage of water, but two winters of less than average rainfall have left the ground water very depleted.  Although a drought in English terms has no comparison to a drought in Africa.  Here it means we have less water than we would like, in Africa it means there is no water.  The truth is that most of us take water for granted.  All my life I have been used to turning on a tap and clean water coming out of it.  I am sure that if I had to walk for hours a day and had to carry the water I needed, which even then would not be clean enough to drink, I would still treasure every drop.

Below is my completed page for April.

April 2012 completeSee you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂


BuntingHello Friends

Tomorrow I will be posting my April (finished) and May (ready to go) pages for the 366 Calendar challenge, but I wanted to post something today, it being Sunday and my usual day for posting on my blog.  So here is some bunting I made yesterday for the Jubilee Celebration event Ryde Social Heritage Group is holding in the Heritage Centre in Ryde Cemetery on 26 & 27 May.

I bought some blank cardboard die cut flags and a pack of Portobello Road papers from Papermania and I got some Union Jack material and some red ribbon from the local habidashery shop.  I painted one side of each flag in either red, white or blue acrylic paint and added the RSHG logo.  At first I tried to cut a stamp of the logo from an old mouse mat, it wasn’t bad, but not good enough so finally I cut a stencil  and I stamped RSHG on all the flags and then inked the edges.  Then came the fun part – decorating the front of the flags with either material or paper.   My mum gave me her sewing machine a while ago and that made everying so much easier.  I am pleased with the results although I am a little worried that the cardboard will rip where the machine needle has made holes.  The bunting is for indoor use only.

We are having the kind of weather that makes people complain, high winds and lots of rain.  I really don’t mind this kind of weather because it means I can stay in my art room all day and not feel guilty that I should be outside enjoying the sunshine.

I hope you are all having a great weekend.

Big love

AJ 🙂

Your Life Story

Your Life StoryHello Friends

It’s a wet and windy Wednesday in the UK.  The cats got me up at 5am today.  The fact that the wind and rain were battering at the windows but Jack made it perfectly clear he wanted to go out (my cats are generally ‘fair weather cats’).  I knew he wanted to go to the toilet and I put him in the litter tray about 10 times and tred to encourage him to use it, but he was having none of it and instisted I opened the door.   Jack really does not like using the litter trays at all whereas Bill is quite laid back about it, in fact Bill sometimes comes in from the garden just to go to the toilet!  But if Jack was going out so was Bill.  At 5:30 I relented and let them both out.  They were both back in the house within 5 minutes, presumably having done their business outside.  It was too late for me to go back to bed then so I caught up with some emails before getting ready for work.  Now at 10:30pm, after a day at work, I am really tired and off to bed soon.

The spread above was done very quickly.  The pages were already gesso’d and had some paint on them.  I stuck down some ripped book pages and some images of old typewriters I found in a magazine at work the other day.  I painted over the top with gesso and some lovely russet acrylic paint, which I then wiped back, and the text is made up from some stickers I bought from the bargain bin at Hobbycraft the a few weeks ago.  I’m not sure you can read the text, it says: “The story of your life is exactly as you write it” which is another message to myself about the choices I make.

Just like the art this post was done in a rush.

Hope everyone is doing well and I’ll see you soon 🙂

Big love


Have Beautiful Dreams

Have Beautiful DreamsHello friends!

Warning: the last two sentences of the third paragraph are a bit rude, so please don’t read that paragraph if you are easily offended.

I hope you are having a good weekend, I am and I am also managing to get a few things done so that’s good, it eases the pressure a little.

The spread above is from my A4 journal.  I painted the pages with some really old pink and orange fluorescent paint I found in my art box (it must be at least 20 years old).  Then I stamped the pages with a Tim Holtz reflections script stamp and a Tim Holtz heart.  I added some gold leaf to one of the pages.  Then I collaged with scraps of paper of all sorts, some images of vintage ladies, some die cut dots, and various other pieces I found in my stash.  The lovely quote is, I believe, by Eleanor Roosevelt and it is to remind me that if I follow my dreams all will be good. 🙂

On Friday all the big bosses came for their meeting, it was strange, for most of the day they were crammed into the meeting room (which was really too small to accommodate the numbers that turned up) and it must have been very uncomfortable for them.  At lunch time they came out and ‘talked to the troops’.  A buffet lunch was provided which I had been tasked with providing.  I am not sure why I was asked to sort it out as catering is really not my speciality.  Anyone who knows me would tell you that.  I suspect it was more to do with the fact that I don’t have a pair of testicles and all my colleagues do.  I’m thinking of asking my mum to knit me a pair 😉

The lunch time chat was really more of a case of ‘the troops’ complaining about how things are run and some of them were quite aggressive.  All the managers acted very professionally, were very reasonable and promised to look into every complaint.  It remains to be seen whether or not they actually do.  After a couple of hours they said they had to go back into their meeting and asked if anyone had anything else to say.  No-one said anything and I thought ‘someone needs to say thanks to them for coming here today’, so I forced myself to say something.

As soon as I started speaking a felt a rush of blood from my feet to my head, I was hot, felt like my face must be the colour of a beetroot and my voice was really shakey, to the point where I almost couldn’t get my words out.  I did my best and I hope it was good enough.  I think it’s important when people make an effort that they are acknowledged and thanked.  It’s one of the complaints we make about our bosses – they never say thank you to us.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I’ll be back soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂

Good Old Days?

Good Old Days?Hello friends!

It’s a wet, windy and dismal day here on the Isle of Wight and I’ve been struggling with a low mood, actually been on the verge of tears a couple of times, and I have no idea why.  I’m not normally a depressive person but I let things at work get to me today.  Two days of having computers not working hasn’t helped because it has put me behind with stuff. I have let other stupid little things get to me too.

Coming home, doing some art and stroking Billy Kat has helped a lot.  Cats are such good therapy 🙂  There is a big meeting at work on Friday with a lot of senior managers, and I really need to get a positive head on for that.  Today if anyone had asked me how things are I’d have struggled to say anything positive and that’s not good.  Sometimes I just get days like this and hopefully I can turn it around tomorrow – I must remember I can make a choice to be happy, breath and smile 🙂

This spread is from my 6×6 journal.  I started with a smooth gesso’d background, painted it with a brown acrylic then collaged some ripped vintage pages (that Alicia from Altered Bits sent me) and some scraps of old maps of my town.  I don’t actually use the real maps, but scan them, print them on photographic paper and age them with tea so they look like the real thing.  Then I used some blue acrylic paint and some white ink dabbed through punchinella and wrote the quote (in my poor handwriting) in white ink and highlighted (or do I mean lowlighted it) with black.

I have become aware recently how much people look at the past through rose tinted glasses.  Especially at work, things were always better back then, in the Good Old Days, although when that time was differs from person to person.   I also know that rather than aching for the past and what was, we should all try and live more in the present.  As Oprah says, “this moment is the only one you know you have for sure”.  So we’d better enjoy it.

Thanks for listening, just putting this all down has helped me to lift my mood, I think tomorrow is going to be fine.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Big love

AJ 🙂


The Power Within

Hello Friends!

I am really enjoying the weekend and hope you are too.

We had a fantastic meeting of the local history group yesterday and afterwards I went to a felt making workshop to help make squares for a ‘Friendship Quilt’ that will be displayed in Ryde Library for Ryde Arts Festival at the end of June beginning of July.  I made two squares that were only ‘squarish’ ha, ha, ha.  Lovely group of people and we all had fun.

The spread above was made late last year for 21 Secrets 2011 in Tamara Laporte‘s workshop called Collage Paint Soul.  Do you know about Tamara?  She is lovely, check out her blog.

My journal page already had Adirondak Colorwash spray on it from where I had put a wet stencil between the pages and I collaged scraps of paper with inked edges on top, and two images cut from a magazine to make up a girl.  Then I painted over the top with acrylic paints and stamped with various stamps including a Tim Holtz number stamp and I also used some glitter glue.  The thing I loved about Tamara’s workshop was learning that you can take a face from a magazine and paint over it.   I am hopeless at drawing people and faces, and clearly I need more practice, but this is a good way to learn.

I know the head is far too big for the body, believe it or not that was intentional.  Years ago I did an photo/art project called ‘The Big Head Project’ it involved taking photos of people’s faces, printing them out super large on my printer, cutting the face out and sticking it on cardboard to make a mask and then taking another photo of the person with the Big Head.

Here is an example, the colours look odd because the film was cross-processed.

I added the quote from Lord Buckley to finish off the spread.  Here is what it looked like before I started painting:

That’s all for now, I’ve got to get on – places to go, people to see, things to get done.

Big love

AJ 🙂




Spring Sunshine

Spring sunshineHello Friends!

I hope everyone is good and fine today.

It’s a bit ironic that I am posting this spread tonight because it is pouring with rain outside!  We did have about two weeks of glorious almost summer weather, and even today between the showers the sunshine was bright.  I do love the lighter days and the sunshine.  The light does bring joy to my heart 🙂

On this spread, in my 6 x 6 journal, I gesso’d the pages, then painted with acrylic paint.  I collaged a ripped up Daffodil bag I picked up at the local garden centre.  You were supposed to fill the bag with bulbs and buy them but I only wanted the brown paper bag.  There is also a little bit of artist tape I made following my friend Carolyn’s instructions.  Pop over to Carolyn’s blog A Colorful Journey to find out more about making your own tape – be warned though it’s addictive 🙂  The flowers are die cut baby wipes I had used to wipe back paint on other pages.  The font for the text is called “Jellyka Delicious Cake” it’s a free font I found on the internet.  I’ve been practicing my writing skills but I’m still never really happy with my own handwriting.  I think the black shading is a from a set of cheap oil pastels I bought.  They are not good so this week I ordered some Portfolio Oil Pastels and I am hoping I will have more success with those.

My life is hectic again at the moment.  I have a meeting this Saturday I need to prepare for  – including writing a report and transferring a load of photographs into a presentation for our guest speaker, but this evening my computer decided to go sloooooooowwww and it took several hours to sort out.  Mind you while it was running System Mechanic and fixing the problems I was able to do some art so I shouldn’t complain should I?

I am loving the workshops over at 21 Secrets and just wish I had more hours in the day to play.  Some of my friends tell me that if they didn’t have a job they would be bored, I can’t believe it, I would never be bored at home would you? However I would be broke if I didn’t work, so needs must 😐

That’s all for now  “It’s time for Bed”, said Zebedee

See you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

Curiouser and curiouser!

Curiouser and curiouser!

Hello friends!  I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

I am enjoying the long weekend and getting a few things done, not as many as I really should do as I keep getting distracted by ‘art projects’ but my massive ‘to do’ list is a little shorter than it was at the beginning of the weekend.

The page above is from my A4 journal.  I have always loved everything to do with the Alice books, I just like the weird, other wordlyness of the stories.  I really love the background colour on this page.  The chequer board is from a stencil I cut myself from a sheet of acetate (I didn’t get it quite right as is shown on this image, but since then I have added some tape to make the perspective look better.)  I tried to do an image transfer of Alice, but it didn’t work, you can just see her in the background.  When that didn’t work I painted over the image and surrounding area with yellowish glitter paint.  Then I printed a new image of Alice, cut her out, coloured her in and stuck her on.  The cards are from a sheet of Graphic 45 Halloween in Wonderland paper.  I can’t remember where the little chipboard hearts came from or why I stuck them on.  The quote about not knowing where you are going is from the Cheshire Cat and “Curiouser and curiouser”  is what Alice said just after she had eaten the cake:

“’Curiouser and curiouser!’ Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English). ’Now I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!’ (for when she looked down at her feet they seemed to be almost out of sight, they were getting so far off).”

I am about half way through checking out all the workshops on 21 Secrets and I have made a start on 2 of them already – Connie Hozvecka’s “Flow” and Dale Anne Potter’s “Personal Acts of Kindness”.  There is such a lot of good stuff to try and excellent teachers I know I am going to have 9 months of fun!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Big love

AJ 🙂

Cycles and Circles

Circles within CirclesHello friends,

Happy Wednesday!

21 Secrets started on Sunday and I am so excited, there is so much choice I really don’t know where to start.  At the moment I am just browsing before I make a decision.  The playground is open for 9 months which seems like a long time, but it will soon fly by.  In three months last year I only managed to do about 4 of the workshops, so realistically I will probably only complete half of what is on offer this year so I need to choose wisely.

The weather is still sunny here in the UK but not as warm as it was last week.  It’s going to be a huge shock when it eventually rains as I can’t remember the last time that happened.  I hope it’s not until after the weekend as we have a four day break this weekend for the Easter holidays.

The spread above is from my 6 x 6 journal and was created after I watched a YouTube video on circle fractals, unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the video now and I can’t find it again.   But when I was doodling one day I thought I would give it a go and I really enjoyed it.  After I had drawn all the circles I coloured them with my inktense pencils and when they were dry added the white dots and finally the words.

Hope all is good with you

Big love


This is April!

AJ's AprilHello friends!

I hope all is good with you.

What a busy day I’ve had since I posted That Was March this morning, I’ve been scanning negatives and uploading photos to my lomohome.

I stopped taking photos with my Lomo LCA camera a while ago because I couldn’t find anywhere to get my film processed.  Yes, I still use my analogue camera and film for my own personal photos (although I use a digi camera for photos for the history group).  Anyway there still are some places that will develop film, but I love to use slide film and get it processed as a normal negative.  Most photo developers look at you like you are completely nuts if you ask them to do that, or worse still like you are some sort of criminal and on the whole they refuse to do it.

Developing film in this way is called cross-processing and it has an ‘interesting’ effect on the end results.  Different films get different results.  My favourite film to use is/was Agfa Precisa CT 100 iso, but the production of it stopped years ago (in 2009 I think), I bought up a load of it at that time and it takes up a fair bit of space in the fridge (much to my husband’s annoyance).  However what I could buy then was already passed it’s ‘use by date’ so now in 2012 we are waaaaaaaaaay past that date and I thought the film might be not worth using, especially if I couldn’t get it developed.  Then a couple of weeks ago I found a place willing to cross process for me, I gave them 6 rolls film.  Two needed to be cross-processed and the other 4 (ordinary negative film) I had no idea what, if anything they had on them, so I told the developer “Just develop them and roll the film, no prints, no CDs”  Still cost me nearly £50!!!!

So today I have been scanning the first roll on my negative scanner, it takes ages as I have to use the highest resolution possible and then do some cleaning of any specks of dust that got on the film between me taking it out of the packet and putting it in the scanner, then resizing the photos and uploading them to the website.

I don’t think anyone else will be that impressed with the shots, but I am so pleased

a) that there was actually something on the film

b) that the Agfa Precisa, even though it is years out of date, still delivers the colours I want and

c) I can load up my camera again and get back into my other arty love – lomography 🙂

So today is April 1 and the start of 21 Secrets I am so looking forward to learning for all those great teachers, I think it is really good value for money considering the quality of the teachers and the number of workshops you can participate in once you sign up.  Maybe I’ll see you over there?

Sorry, I’m rambling on a bit aren’t I?  Above is my journal entry for April for the 366 Calender Challenge over at The Kathryn Wheel. Hopefully I got all the numbers in the right place and sequence this month!

I’m off to play, see you soon

Big love