Happy Holidays!

Finished-journal-cover

Hello friends!

PICT0285Happy Holidays to you!  I don’t have to go back to work until January 2nd and I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am just to have a break!  On Saturday I decided to put up some Christmas decorations and attempt to get myself into the Festive Spirit.  I went out to buy a Christmas Tree, I wanted a real one, and I honestly thought that having left it so late I would be able to get one at a reduced price.  Wrong!   They had sold out!  So I bought the only artificial tree I could find and now that it is decorated I think it looks fine in the corner of the living room.  Christmas TreeThe cats don’t seem to mind it either.  The first Christmas we had the cats they were about 9 months old and they both completely freaked out when a large decorated tree materialised in the living room and until it was removed they refused to come into the room.  Last year we did have a real tree but it was TINY (only about 1 foot tall) and the cats took no notice of it so this year is it in our new dining room.  You can probably just about see it in the corner 🙂  Fortunately this year ‘the boys’ are not at all concerned about the tree in the corner, they haven’t attempted to climb it yet but both of them have had a turn at sitting beneath it.

So my big news is that I have completed my A4 Journal which I started in October 2011.  As always I did the cover last –  I used texture paste in which I embedded some little mirrors, I sewed a big black button on the front to act as a sort of door handle and I used loads of different coloured acrylic paints to give it an ‘aged’ look.  The title letters are from a word game – coloured with distress inks and topped with glossy accents.  Finally I decorated the wire spine (which I have come to hate) with ribbons.  It feels so good to have it completed :-).  My 6×6 journal is also just a few pages away from completion and, because a new year is coming up soon, I have made a start on my 2013 Revo-lution book and I will be sharing both with you soon.

A4 Journal finishedFinished Journal Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Big love

AJ 🙂

Strange Creature

Imagination is a Strange CreatureHello Friends!

Sorry I missed my mid-week post again this week.  On Wednesday I took the day off work and did my Christmas shopping.  I left home at 10am and didn’t get back until 6pm.  My husband said “What have you been doing all this time?”.  He does all his shopping online or just buys vouchers for people!  Anyway I can’t say I was full of festive spirit, but I bought a lot of stuff and spent a lot of money and now it’s all wrapped up it looks OK.

I am disappointed that this year I haven’t had time to make presents for my friends, but I just didn’t feel up to is in November and then ran out of time to even start in December.

My mood has improved this month and I will be glad once Christmas is out of the way, it’s not really my favourite time of year but at least I am having a long break from work so I’m bound to have time for some art.  I am hoping too that T picked up on those massive hints I dropped for new art supplies.

We have some family coming to stay just after Christmas so yesterday I decided to do some housework, and managed to put my back out within about an hour, I was only bending over to pick something up too and it wasn’t even heavy.  Fortunately it’s not too bad and the painkillers are helping to relieve it so I can carry on with my tasks.  Today’s task is to clean the grout between the tiles in the bathroom.  It has to be done because recently I’ve been standing in the shower looking up at the tiles and thinking ‘Yuk, that looks horrible’!  The truth is I’m not really cut out for domesticity, if I did it more often it wouldn’t have got into such a state, but unfortunately I can always find more interesting things to do than clean and tidy 😦

However I promise you that by the time I finish today it will SPARKLE!

So this page is the last page in my A4 journal which I started in October 2011 and is a page I did for Traci Hanson’s Journal Quest on 21 Secrets.  I found a Big Bird and a Polar Bear cub in my painting.  Strange eh!

Have a great week everyone

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

Home, a place of safety

 

Home, a place of safetyHello friends!

I hope you are all well and happy.  I have had a busy weekend.  Yesterday I had to make myself go and do the voluntary work in the cemetery, it was hard because I knew RoseMarie wouldn’t be there, but I also knew it’s what she would want me to carry on.  It was a lovely sunny morning and my friend Kate came to join me and we spent a pleasant couple of hours recording inscriptions from some of the memorials.

In the afternoon I went shopping, I was hoping to be able to buy some old National Geographic magazines cheap from one of the charity shops, but I couldn’t find any 😦  However in one of the charity shops I did find a rather fabulous scrap book of newspaper cuttings someone (unknown) made in the 1930s, I probably spent more than I should have done on it, but I couldn’t resist!  In the same shop I also got some good artist brushes for a bargain price.  Well you can never have too many brushes can you?

It is now 6:30 pm and this is the first time I’ve sat in front of my computer today.  I had to resist switching it on because I had chores to do today.  I got up early this morning and started to clear out and tidy up the cupboard under the stairs.  Eventually we intend to move the washing machine in there to free up some space in the kitchen.  It’s hard to believe that so much stuff could be crammed into such a small space.  I was ruthless and threw of lot out!  When my husband got up (much later than me) we spent time working out how we are going to deal with the plumbing and then we went to a big DIY store to buy the materials we will need.

It was too late to start by the time we got back so I went to see Mum and Dad, who are both fine, and I’ve just got back from that visit.

This image above is a single page from my A4 size journal and was done fairly quickly (I guess you can tell that) as part of the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge:

Headline prompt: Security, what makes you feel safe and secure? What rattles your sense of security? Where do you go for comfort and refuge?

Color prompt: Cool colors (blues, greens, violets, etc)

Quote prompt: You can’t make a place for yourself in the sun, if you keep taking refuge under the family tree. Helen Keller.

Well, my home and my art room make me feel safe and secure so that’s where I go for comfort.  I managed to get my two cats into the image, but not my husband, he is probably around the back of the house tending to the garden, either that or he is upstairs haveing a nap 🙂  By the way my house is not as big as the one depicted on the page.

I’m not sure who to attribute the quote I used to, I have seen several similar quotes attributed to different people, but nevertheless it is what I feel about home.  I feel that I ruined it with the terrible writing, but never mind…

Have a good week everyone and I’ll be back soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂

Focus on the Journey

Focus on the JourneyCLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Hello friends!

I hope you have had a great weekend, mine has been OKish.  I woke up with a horrible headache on Saturday morning and that kept me in bed all morning.  I finally managed to get rid of it and at lunch time I got up to make myself some toast.  The phone rang and my husband told me it was a friend wanting to speak to me.  I groaned as I really didn’t feel like talking to anyone but he had already told her he would get me so I answered the call.  Then I was hit by a bombshell, I was told that another friend had collapsed and died that morning.  It was completely unexpected, I had only seen her the previous Saturday when she came and volunteered in the cemetery with me, helping to record inscriptions from the memorials.  She has been helping me do this for several years.  In all that time I hadn’t really got to know her that well as she was a very private person, but gradually she began to open up and chat, especially when it was just the two of us working together.  She was a kind, caring, thoughtful soul who did much to help other people.  The last time I saw her she cheerily said “See you in a couple of weeks”.  As far as I know she had not been ill and her death was sudden and unexpected, she was only in her early 70s.

Rest in peace Rosemarie, dear kind soul, I will think of you and miss you every time I go into the cemetery to work.  The work you did will be appreciated by many people from all across the world who carry out research into their ancestors from our town.

She has been on my mind a lot ever since I heard, I had to phone several other people to impart the sad news and then I spent the rest of the time working on my art which has helped me to stay grounded.

The page above is from my A4 journal and was completed in August.  I used  pieces from an old cycling map as the background and then gave it a wash of watered down gesso and acrylic paint.  The bicycles in the bottom r/h corner were an image transfer.  The image and quote on the left hand page I found on the internet and it made me smile as I can imagine how precarious it was to ride a pennyfarthing bike.  The photograph of the girl is me aged about 18 on a bike ride in Nepal.  I stamped on the page with a Tim Holtz reflections text stamp and a number stamp.  I think I probably used Portfolio water soluable oil pastels to edge the page.  The quote sums up what I feel about art journaling – the process is more important than the end result – It’s All Good even if it’s not always good art 🙂

Have a good week my friends and I will see you soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂

Triumph & Defeat

Triumph & Defeat

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Hello friends!

This spread was completed for the challenge over at Fall Fearless and Fly and boy oh boy was it a challenge!

Headline prompt: Triumphs and defeats: What do you see as your greatest triumps and defeats.  What have they taught you? Which have you learned more from?

Color prompt: Black & white

Quote prompt: Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Click on this link to find out more about the callenge.

Just using black and white was so difficult for me and I did manage to sneek in a little bit of additional colour, the map in the top right hand corner has some red dots on it (that was intentional) and the stencil I used, still had some colorwash spray on it which came off on the page (that was unintentional)!

It was interesting to see how much depth was possible from using monochrome, but I still prefer using brighter colours.

As for triumphs and defeats in my heart I know that neither is really that important, but in reality defeats still knock me down and triumphs boost my self-confidence.  I guess I have a bit of work to do in that area 🙂

Yesterday I bought a couple of pairs of socks so I can make Sock Monkeys for Operation Sock Monkey.  It looks like fun and will challenge my sewing capabilities.  Why not give it a try?

That’s all for now, see you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

Do What Matters Most

Do What Matters Most

 

 

Hello friends!

Apologies I am out of sych again with my blog posting because I have been super busy again.

This journal page was made back in August, I used a lot of ephemera for the background including a leaflet a got from the doctors about a (rather unpleasant) medical procedure I had to go through, and a leaflet my husband had about access to work.  The colour scheme is a bit odd, I don’t think that acid green and purple really go together that well but it’s just what happened when I made the page.  The words were originally done in a different way and I hated how they looked and re-did them.  To be honest I’m not really that pleased with this page, but I love the sentiment.

At the moment what seems to matter most to me is creating art.  I have just finished my first Teesha inspired journal and I love it.  Creating it has definitely been feeding my soul and given me some ideas which I shall be pursuing in the next few months.

On Friday I gave my presentation to the group in Ventnor and it went really well, I enjoyed it and, judging by all the smiling faces and the comments I received afterwards the audience did too.  I have one more presentation to do tomorrow evening and then I can relax a bit and try and get my life back on track and hopefully regular posting to my blog.

This weekend we successfully constructed the window blind for the dining room (it took several attempts to get it right), so I will soon have to start looking at how to improve the kitchen (and you know how I feel about that)!

Have a good week and I’ll see you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

“What a long strange trip it’s been”

Strange TripHello friends

This is another of those odd pages from my A4 Journal, produced in Tracie Hanson’s Journal Quest workshop over at 21 Secrets.  As you can see I’m really NOT a painter!  When I excavated my painted page all I found was these two odd and weird characters 😐

Do you recognise the quote?  Well you’d probably have to be of my generation and background if you did, it’s a lyric from the song Truckin’ by the Grateful Dead, from their album American Beauty.   It played a significant part in the soundtrack of my life when I was in my late teens and early 20s – and that was waaaaay back in the 1970s!

So anyway I hope life is good for all of you, I am really fine.  I am doing my new job now  and I’m still waiting to find out who to hand over my old job to.  At the moment nothing relating to my old job is getting done, but I’ve decided not to concern myself with that.  There are some good things about the new job – at the moment because I am learning I am very busy, the day passes quickly and I don’t get bored.  My new manager is very supportive and he has spoken to me more times in the last week than my previous manager spoke to me in the past 18 months.  Some people like being left alone, but I prefer to have communication with my manager.  I am happy that he is showing an interest in what I do and how I do it and I know that if I have any problems I can phone him up and ask for advice.   He and all the other people in my team all work in the same location (miles from where I am) and I thought I would feel isolated, but I have spoken to a few of them on the phone and they have all been really nice and helpful.  So I think things could work out fine.  Once I have mastered the data inputting part of the job there is another chunk of work coming my way which hopefully will be rewarding.  So I am pretty happy with things now.

That’s all for now folks see you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

 

 

Off into the Wild!

Weird & Wild

Hello friends

Well I am pretty much packed now and ready to leave in the morning for the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat.  I am sure I will think of some last minute things I’ve forgotten, but at this stage I don’t think it matters.  The important thing is to go and have a great time with lots of lovely creative people.

This is a spread from my A4 journal and I did it back in May for Traci Hanson’s Journal Quest workshop on 21 Secrets.  It’s a really fun workshop and it made me look at and do things in a completely different way.  I won’t give away Traci’s secret but it’s all about looking at a painted page and excavating what is inside.  Other people found really beautiful things inside their paintings but what I found was just weird stuff.  It did make me smile though.

Have a great rest of the week and weekend everyone and I’ll see you next week when I get back.

Big love

AJ 🙂

Joie de Vivre

Joie de Vivre

Hello friends

I hope everyone is having a great weekend, we had a glorious sunny day yesterday and T and me cut down a huge Jasmine bush that was growing over the garden wall and overhanging the pavement on the other side.  The local council wrote to us telling us we had to cut it back and we decided to cut it back to ground level.  It will grow back in time.  Today we have taken two carloads of cuttings to the local landfill site.  The back of my car is a mess now!

This spread is one I did at the end of July and I thought I would share the process with you.  My camera makes the colours look weird, the scanned image is truer although slightly brighter than the original.

I started with pages already covered in paint and Adirondak colour wash spray from stencils used on other pages.Joie de vivre 1

 

 

 

Collaged pages ripped from a 1911 L’Art Decoratif magazine.Joie de vivre 2

Painted over with watered down gessoJoie de vivre 3

Added stamping (French themed stamps) with Brown Stazon and the swirls in Archival Perlescent CrimsonJoie de vivre 4

 

Added some colour with watered down Blackberry and Burnt Umber acrylic paint but it made it look muddy!Joie de vivre 5

 

 

Toned down with a white wash and stamped with a Tim Holtz Reflections text stamp and Memories archival ink in black.  Added glimmer mist spray in Fully Purple and Pink Bubblegum

Joie de Vivre 5Finished with collage of vintage papers from the Graphics Fairy blog, scrapbook paper My Mind’s Eye Lost & Found ‘Breeze’. Portfolio water soluable oil pastels and hand written quote.

Tomorrow I am going for some training in my new job.

Stay well & happy everyone

Big love

AJ 🙂

Courage

Be Inspired

Hello friends

I hope everyone is well and happy.

Our big exhibition is over and all packed up and stored away.  It was a great success and we all had a great time.  I am so proud of, and grateful for having, such a great team of people.  We all put a lot of hard work in to it and are now all very tired but contented.

Today I heard what my new job will be (for the next three months at least) I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping to be offered something completely different and challenging. It sounds like this is just a desk job inputting data, but I will find out more about it next week and hopefully it will better than it sounded today and something I can take ownership of and have some pride in.  At least I am still located locally and only a 20 minute drive from home, so that’s good.  If all else fails, I can carry on getting all my job satisfaction from my local history group and all my creativity from my art journal.

This spread was done back in June, it has lots of book papers, stamping, stenciling, some image transfers, acrylic paint, the flowers are painted with fluorescent paint and I finished the pages with Portfolio water soluable oil pastels.

Enjoy the rest of you week everyone.

Big love

AJ 🙂