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 🙂


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 🙂

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!

Doodles Unleashed

Doodles UnleashedHello friends!

As I am writing this at 7am on Sunday morning the sun is shining through the window, so maybe today we will have some ‘summery’ weather.  We are fast approaching the longest day and summer hasn’t started yet!  Oh the joys of English weather!

I don’t really mind much, I’m not one for lounging about getting a tan, and despite living on an Island I never swim in the sea (not unless I travel to another Island where the weather and sea are warm), but I do like walking on beaches and I like living near to the sea.

This week at work I organised a meeting to get the whole Island Team (about 40 people) together to share progress on the Employee Engagement Programme.  It didn’t turn out as I had hoped and got hijacked by people who wanted to vent their opinions about how bad things are.  I have to admit things are not good, but at least the company is trying and there have been some successes which I wanted to share.  I couldn’t finish my presentation because of all the interuptions and negativity.  I felt quite despondent after the meeting, but then I realised that at least it shows how passionate people are and the negativity wasn’t directed at me personally.  It was really hard work though!

Thank goodness for art, at least now I have a way of working through angst and upset so I don’t have to dwell on the negatives.  I did my best for the team, but it wasn’t what they wanted, that’s OK, I’ll learn from the experience and move onwards.

The spread above is from a Strathmore Online workshop I did earlier in the year called Doodles Unleashed by Traci Bautista.  I have already posted one page here.  The spread above is unusual in that I actually did some journaling on it, that’s really rare for me.  Anyway it’s a fantastic workshop and it’s free so if you haven’t tried it I recommend you check it out.  It will stay online until 1 August 2012 so there is still time.  You can find out the details here.  There are three workshops available but I only did Traci’s.

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

Big love

AJ 🙂


Life’s Treasures

Life's Treasures

Hello friends!

OK so I promised something ‘prettier’ this time, the scan doesn’t really do the spread justice because you can’t see all the glitter and shine on the page.

This spread was a challenge from a friend.  She went to a craft show and when she came back she gave me this small bag containing lots and lots of tiny pieces of fabric saying “I expect you can do something creative with those”.  Hmmm, I looked at the bag for a while and wondered.

These pages were already painted a very dull and pale pink colour and I just stared sticking the little pieces of fabric over the background, using ModPodge, until both pages were covered,  you can just see some of the pink background.  I kept thinking about the little things in life, the moments, when they are all brought together can turn into something significant (deep eh!).  Then I started adding, glitter, gems and embellisments to the pages to give some dimension.  I couldn’t find an appropriate quote so I made one up (based on many that I’ve read before).

That’s it for now, I hope everyone is well and happy.  Today, at least for now which is early morning, the sun is shining – a rare event in recent weeks here – so I need to go out and make the most of it!

See you soon!

Big love

AJ 🙂

Trying to be Fearless!


Hello friends!

I hope all is good in your part of the world.

This will have to be a quick post because it’s waaaaay past my bedtime and I have to get up earlier than normal tomorrow.

This year I have been trying to be braver and to build up my self-confidence.  A friend of mine who is training to be a life coach tells me that when I talk to him I make lots of self-limiting statements.  I’d never thought about it before but I guess he is right.  All my life I felt that I wasn’t quite good enough in many aspects of my life.  So now I’m telling myself more and more that actually I am good enough.  I am putting myself outside of my comfort zone and doing things that I’d have been too scared to do a few years ago.  I still get scared and worried that I’ll mess up (and sometimes I do mess up) but at least I try now.

So I found this quote which I thought was PERFECT for my 6×6 journal and  I also have it pinned up along side my computer screen so I read it every day, it’s becoming a sort of mantra for me.  I had no idea where it came from so I ‘googled’ it and I was so ‘over the moon’ delighted to find out, this deep, philosophical quote is attributed to A A Milne author of the book Winnie the Pooh! I think Christopher Robin said it to Pooh.  How cool is that?!  The actual quote starts “If there is ever a tomorrow when we are not together, you must remember..”  and I don’t think it had the “and more loved than you know” bit at the end.  Someone must have added that on before I found it, but it’s still just perfect for me.  I really like this spread even though it’s a bit dark and difficult to read.

I’ve been so busy this last weekend I totally missed the whole Jubilee thing, but I hear it was a great success despite the typical English Bank Holiday weather.

I’ll be back soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

The Journey

The JourneyHello friends!

I hope you are having a good week.  Mine is going fine.

For this spread in my 6×6 journal I started with a page that had some horrible dark green paint on it and the opposite page had dabs of pink ink.  Not a great combination!   I collaged copies of old maps and papers from the Papermania Bookprint collection onto the pages.  I coloured them with Inktense blocks and water.  Where I had used Mod Podge to stick the papers down it acted as a resist to the colour – a nice effect.  I finger painted the whole spread with an ‘eggyolk’ yellow acrylic paint and then added the circles by stamping brown acrylic paint using bottle caps.  I thought it needed some contrast so I stencilled blue acrylic paint through punchinella and a big dot stencil.  Finally I added the words using brown Stazon and a set of tiny letters I purchased at Hobbycraft a while ago.

Making the spread was a bit of a journey, I had no idea where I was going with it when I started and I wasn’t sure where I was when I finished.  It was good fun though 🙂

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Big love

AJ 🙂

The Moment is Now!

The Moment is NowHello friends!

Happy Wednesday to you I hope you are all well and happy.  I am fine, but I’m feeling physically exhausted at the moment – in a good way I think.

I’ve been doing something completely different at work last week and this week, it’s interesting but tiring for me.

This is a spread from my 6×6 journal.  I started by collaging some images I’d printed but because my printer was running out of ink the colours came out really strange.  Rather than throw them out I decided to use them as a base for a journal page.  I also ripped up some of the local newspaper the was lying on my work table and stuck that down too.  Then I finger painted with blue acrylic, I used a handcut stencil and some blue distress ink then I over collaged with scrapbook paper and the quote which I hand wrote.  I know I should credit the author, but I’m sorry I can’t remember this time.  Finally I overstamped with a paisley stamp and black Stazon and a flower stamp and blue Stazon and I edged the pages with the blue ink too..

Right, I’m off to bed now to get some rest before another busy day of site visits.

I’ll be back soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂


A Beautiful and Incredible Place

A Beautiful & Incredible Place

Hello friends

Gosh, it’s mid week already, I just don’t know where the time goes, but then they do say ‘Time flies when you are having fun’ 🙂

This spread is from my 6×6 journal and I used stuff that was just on my work table – scraps of paper, images from magazines, old maps, even a bit of packaging from a Tim Holtz mask I purchased.  The pages already had gesso on them which I had textured by putting the wet pages together and then pulling them apart (I love that effect), I finger painted with yellow acrylic paint and then collaged the paper scraps on top.  I edged some of the paper with black ink and some with yellow ink.  I added more gesso to the edges of some of the images to push them back to the background.  The quote is by Ole Osterkamp and I wrote it on some cream vellum, tore the edges, inked them with yellow ink and stuck the pieces on.  I have started putting dates on my finished pages, because I am having trouble remembering when I did what, if you know what I mean 😉  I liked the end result.

The journal is actually wire bound, but I am in quandry about continuing to use wire bound journals.  There are pros and cons.  The wire binding allows for expansion as the pages and journal thicken up and also allows for a lot of decorating, with fibres, charms etc,  of the outside of the spine when the journal is completed.  But the wire binding really distracts and disects the images I make across two pages.  That is why I scan the two sides of the spread and stitch them close together without the wire binding showing.  Is that cheating?

I hope all is good with you my friends and I’ll be back again soon.

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