Be Inventive


Hello friends

Hope everyone is well.  It’s still sunny here but not so warm now, but still better than cold and rain 🙂

I have found out that my role at work will cease to exist in a very short time, probably in a few days time.  I will still be employed but I don’t know what I will be doing.  I have decided to see that is an opportunity, because I think I could do with a change – a new challenge.  Hopefully something good will come out of this.

Today I drove Mum and Dad over to the airport again in the hopes of getting Dad his second flight in a glider but it was too windy so the flights had been cancelled.  They have told him to try again on Wednesday, but he will have to get the bus, unless my brother is free, because I am at work on Wednesday.

I have loads of stuff to prepare for the history group‘s next event in September.  We will be celebrating our 10th anniversary with a huge exhibition over 4 days (September 6 -9) at St Thomas Heritage Centre.  Yesterday I volunteered to write up 30 display sheets on the history of the group, I’ve managed 6 sheets today, but they still need to be checked for accuracy.  I think I started with the easy ones so this is likely to get harder.  I also have a wooden box to alter so we can display artefacts in it and lots of greeting cards to design and print so we can sell them and make some money.  I expect I will get it all done eventually as long as I keep plodding away at it.

The spread above is from my 6×6 journal, you may not be able to read the quote, I wrote it on brown parcel paper and then used distress ink but I wasn’t expecting it to be so dark.  It says “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk”  Thomas Eddison.  Well I certainly have plenty of junk so let’s hope I have a good imagination too 😉  On this spread is my first really successful image transfer, the machine on the left of the spread, I also collaged images from an old motorcycle magazine, a couple of images found on the internet (bottle of Brain Salt and the man with the weird rollerskates), there is some home made tape on the edges, and I stuck my little ‘pile of junk’ on with glossy accents.

Oh, I almost forgot, the Olympics!  I’m not really into sport or big national/international events, but I thought, as it’s happening in London, may be I should try and show some interest in the opening ceremony, it’s probably a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.  When I started watching, about an hour into the ceremony I think, there was a lot of music, dancing and some strange graphics, I didn’t really understand what was going on.  Then the athletes started to process into the arena.

I need to explain to you that I rarely watch television, I used to love watching films but in recent years I have always fallen asleep before the end of the  film so I don’t even do that anymore.  Watching the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics I’m sorry to say I got bored, and when I realised we had still only got to the beginning of ‘D’ and there was the rest of the alphabet to go through, I gave up and went to bed.  I think I would have liked the fireworks but they were on far too late for me.

If you watched it I hope you enjoyed it, I have heard mixed reviews on it from others.

See you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂


Ha, ha, ha!



Hello friends

It’s Wednesday and it’s still sunny, so I think we are now enjoying summer, I hope it lasts a few weeks at least.  It is so lovely, warm and bright.

You are probably wondering why I have posted my image upside down, but in fact it is the right way up, it’s just the quote that is the wrong way up.  I really liked this background.  It started off as a page in my journal where I cleaned off rubber stamps and stencils so it had lots of random words, letters and shapes on it.  I collaged some vintage foreign ripped book pages, scraps of paper and some papers I had used to protect my work surface when spraying onto another spread.  I added some colour with Inktense blocks on it  and edged the pages with black watersoluable oil pastels.  I really liked seeing all the layers so I thought I would just add a quote.  I found this great quote attributed to A A Milne and I liked it because I am a very disorderly person.  My OCD husband simply does not understand how I can work in my room surrounded by so much clutter and mess 😉  I used a new set of alphabet stamps I purchased and happily started stamping out the quote, I was pleased when I finished the first page, but I had just started the second page when I noticed the stitch I used to hold the feathers in place on my Follow Your Dreams page, then I realised that all the words were upside down!  Well it was too late to do anything about it so I carried on.  So should anyone look through my journal they will come to a page that looks like this.  I guess that’s a happy accident.

At work we are undergoing yet another restructure in the function I work for so lots of things will change soon.  I don’t know what’s going to happen with my job, but I have seen the new structure and my team does not appear on it.  I do know that at the end of it I will still have a job but at the moment I just don’t know what it will be.  The last time they did this to me I nearly cracked up, they put me in a role that I was totally unsuited for and still expected me to do all the duties in my old role, even though they said that role didn’t exist any more!  Tomorrow I have to go to a meeting where I may find out a bit more.  I am a bit more chilled out these days so I will just wait and see what they say.  Lots of people throughout the whole company are worried for their jobs and I don’t think this is going to much for staff morale, we’ll see.

Anyway I hope you like my ‘upside down’ spread.

See you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

Live, Love, Laugh

Live, Love, Laugn

Hello friends

I hope everyone is doing well.

I’ve had a busy week and missed posting to my blog on Wednesday, also I apologise if people have left comments and I haven’t responded or left comments on their blogs. I have had loads of catching up to do (that’s what happens when you take a week’s holiday) and on Wednesday I went to a meeting at our head office at work and didn’t get home until 8pm!

Anyway, after weeks and weeks of rain and miserable weather we finally have some sunshine – woo hoo! so maybe summer is here at last.  I love it, everything is just so much brighter and lighter in sunshine.

Yesterday morning I worked in the cemetery transcribing headstones and spent the afternoon tidying up the garden.  This morning I went out into the  cemetery to take photographs so I can update the RSHG website.  I don’t think I will have time to do that today though*.  This afternoon I took my Mum and Dad out for a drive, we were hoping that dad could have another glider flight.  He loved the flight my brother and I gave him for his 90th birthday and he is allowed to have 3 more flights at half price if he takes them before August.  Since his birthday in May the weather hasn’t been good but today we thought it looked OK.  When we got to the airport there were no flights but they said we could try again next week.  I hope the weather stays good and I hope I can make it then too.

The spread above is from my 6″x6″ journal I gesso’d the pages, stuck them together and then pulled them apart to give a textured finish, I used some acrylic paint and stamping, then I collaged lots of scraps of paper and a couple of word stamps, added the three words and finally edged the pages with black water soluable crayon.

*Right I have to go as I have a mountain of ironing to do before tomorrow – so that’s my evening sorted out 🙂  I don’t really mind though because it’s SUNNY and warm and we have all the windows and doors open!  I hope it stays like this for a few weeks now.  We’ve had enough rain thanks.

Have a good week everyone and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂

Follow Your Dreams

Follow Your Dreams

Hello friends

We are back from our holiday in Yorkshire.  We had a great time, even though it rained a lot.  We rented a small cottage next to a farm out in the country and spent most of the time with T’s friends and family.  We ate out every evening and had some great meals.  The best place we ate was called Aagrah on the canal at Skipton – the best Indian meal I’ve eaten outside of India – truly fantastic.  There was an Asian supermarket in the town where T’s sister lives so we stocked up on spices, pulses and goodies before we came home.  (The second best Indian meal I’ve eaten outside of India has been cooked by my husband, who is an excellent amateur chef and a master curry maker) 🙂

I am feeling quite tired today, probably owing to the fact that I drove for 8 hours yesterday with just two short comfort breaks.  Despite having a lovely holiday it was good to be home.

The boys were fine while we were away, they ignored us for a while after we got home but when T opened his suitcase to unpack Jack jumped in and refused to move;  Billy sat on my lap for about an hour in the evening demanding to have his tummy tickled and then when I went to bed he came too and snugggled up close to me all night.

This spread is about exploring texture – scrumpled up tissue paper, a couple of swabs my dentist gave me after she extracted a tooth (but i didn’t need to use them), a piece of film, metal leaf and some feathers.  Also used acrylic paint, Adirondak Colorwash spray, acrylic ink and correction fluid.  If you watch Donna Downey’s videos you will probably see that I have been inspired by her in making this spread (circles and drippage) :-).

Back to work tomorrow and I have lot of catching up to do.  The week before I went away I had a great week and was hardly in the office at all.  I had to give some presentations with our HR Director on Employee Engagement.  I did it three times – the first time was in front of the people I work with locally there were about 40 of them, the second time the audience was probably about 250 and the third time about 150.  Normally when I speak in front of people I use notes, so I don’t forget anything important, but this time I did it without notes.  The director asked me three questions which I had to answer – Who are you? What have you been doing in your area to improve things for your colleagues? and Why did you become an employee engagement champion.  Everytime I said something different, but I did get lots of compliments from the directors and audience afterwards so I went on holiday with a great feeling.  Tomorrow I will have to figure out how I am going to catch up with 2 weeks of outstanding emails and actions, however I will not get stressed about it because I have realised finally that just doesn’t help.

I’ll be back soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

The Destination


Hello friends

I hope everyone is well and happy.

This is my last post before we go off on holiday so I will be having a bit of a blog break for about a week and a half.  It’s going to be strange and quite refreshing to have no internet access for a while, but I am taking a few art supplies and a new journal I have made especially for the trip.

It is T’s 60th birthday and we are going to Keighley in Yorkshire where he was born and spent the first 16 years of his life.  We haven’t been there for about 40 years.  I hope it’s a good trip because he doesn’t have much of a memory of growing up, I think his childhood was quite traumatic, his parents split up when he was about 11 years old.   He wants to go back to his roots, but I hope it doesn’t bring back too many unhappy memories for him.

We will be seeing his best friend from school, his sister and an aunt so we are looking forward to that.

It’s hard to believe that the boy I fell in love with all those years ago will be 60 in a few days time (even harder to think I am just a few years behind him)!  Our relationship is as solid now as it’s ever been.  Love is a wonderful thing and I am lucky I found my soul mate when I was just 15 years old.

We are both going to be quite traumatised at leaving ‘the boys’, our two cats behind, but we have a friend coming to stay in the house and look after them while we are gone.  Hopefully everything will be OK.  We have never had children so these two beautiful cats mean the world to us both and we have never left them before.

For this spread I used gesso, acrylic paint, some bits of old maps, a dots rubber stamp and some tape I made.  I used microporous surgical tape and stuck it down on a sheet of acetate then printed text and old maps onto the sheet.  It wasn’t hugely successful, as the printing is not as ‘fast’ as it would have been if I’d stamped with Stazon ink, but not a bad effect.  The face is an image I cut from a National Geographic magazine.  The edges are inked with distress ink.

Right, I’ve got to go and pack, hope you all have fun while I’m away.

Big love

AJ 🙂Bengal Boys

The Bengal Boys  (they are not pure bred Bengal, but they have the leopard spots and many Bengal traits).  They look really sweet in this photograph but generally they don’t like being too close to each other any more!  Boys!

July – is it summer yet?

JulyHello friends

Here is my spread for July for Kate Crane’s Calender Challenge.  I seem to have a butterfly theme this month 🙂

June was really busy for me so I didn’t get much time to doodle on my June spread, just recorded day by day what was happening in my life.  Here is the completed June spread.

June completeSorry, no time to write anything else today, Tony and I are going away for a week on Friday and I have loads of preparation to do before then.

Have a good week.

Big love

AJ 🙂