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



GlowHello friends

I hope everyone is well and happy 🙂

Well it’s mid week and I’m still struggling to find time to do my ever growing list of ‘things to do’, know how it is…

My dad is recovering well from his operation now, he’s pretty tough for someone who is going to be 90 this year.  Yesterday, my eldest brother, his wife, Tony and I took Mum and Dad out for a meal to celebrate mum’s 80th birthday.  We had a lovely time.  This weekend my other brother and his family are coming over from France to see us all.  It will be a short visit but nevertheless a treat for Mum and Dad.

The page above is from my A4 journal and is a page I did for Rachel Whetzel‘s workshop ‘Silent Messages’ in last year’s 21 Secrets.  Rachel recommended using Creative Paperclay to add texture to a page.  I couldn’t find any in the local shops so I used Fimo Air Light, I think it worked about the same.  You smooth a thin layer of the clay onto a wet page of your journal so it sticks to the paper and then make impressions in the clay.  When it’s dry you paint over the whole thing with gesso and then just treat it like a normal journal page.  I put the clay onto the page without thinking about what I could use to make impressions.  I was stumped for a while so I just grabbed a round, wooden carved pot from my desk and rolled that over the wet clay.  When it was dry and gesso’d I used acrylic paints, scrap book paper and printed tissue paper to add layers.  I finished the page with gold Rub ‘n’ Buff on some of the edges and stamped the word glow with gold metalic acrylic paint.

When the clay dries it does warp the page quite a bit.  That might bother some people but I like it.

You can find out about this year’s 21 Secrets here.  It’s a great place to get inspiration 🙂

That’s all for now, catcha later

Big love


Revo-lution 2012 – Kindness

KindnessHello friends!

I hope everyone is well and happy.  I must admit I’m a bit under the weather at the moment and have spent most of today in bed.  It will pass I just need to rest up for a couple of days, so I probably won’t go to work tomorrow.

The spread above is from my 5″ x 5″ Revo-lution 2012 board book inspired by a workshop I did on 21 Secrets last year with Gretchen Miller.  Gretchen has information and an e-book all about the Revolution available on her blog here.

This image reflects my desire to become a kinder person.  I really like the way it came out.  I painted the pages with a pink fluorscent paint I found in my stash when I tidied up my work room recently.

The paint must be nearly 20 years old because I remember I originally used it to paint on big fabric hangings that were used to decorate walls at clubs and parties where my husband DJ’d.  When the hangings were lit with UV/black light the colours really glowed.  Anyway despite its age most of the paint is still useable so I’ve moved it into my paint storage drawers for easy access.

Also on this spread I transferred text from a book directly onto the page using gel medium.  Thanks to Donna Downey for the tip on how to do that, it’s really easy and the results are amazing, although I must admit you can’t see them too well in the picture.  I stamped over with my tiny flower and tiny dots stamps.  The hands are cut from a magazine, the letters are from a word game I bought in a charity shop and are stuck on over a piece of scrap paper.  The hearts were cut with my new BigShot 🙂 and I stuck the three words onto pre-made tags from K & Co which were attached with a decorative brad.

That’s all for now folks, I’ve exhausted myself and need to go and lie down again for a while.

See you later

Big Love

AJ 🙂

Revo-lution 2012 – Change

Hello Friends

I hope everyone is well and enjoying the new year.

First of all I apologise because I have not been replying to comments on my blog, which I think is very rude and I hope you will forgive me.  My only excuse is that things have been very busy.

My dad went into hospital on Friday for what the doctor described as a minor operation.  It was to remove a lump about the size of a tennis ball from the side of his face and neck.  We already knew that the lump was benign but it was beginning to affect his swallow.  There were some risks in him having the op.  Dad is nearly 90.  The doctor assured us that if all went well he would stay in hospital one night and then come home the next day.

The op was done in a hospital in Portsmouth, just a few miles from where we live but with a stretch of water and a ferry crossing between.  Mum wanted to be on the same side of the water as dad, so on Friday we all set off together and mum and I booked into a hotel overnight.  We left him at the hospital at about 1pm and the next time we saw him was at 5pm.  He was sitting up in bed, looking pretty OK.  He has a three inch cut in his neck with 12 stitches, which does look quite dramatic, but the big lump is gone!  Everything went well and he was allowed to come home yesterday.  He is just feeling slightly sore but is suffering no after affects from the general anaesthetic.

I think mum and I were more exhasuted than he was by the time we got home.  I checked on them both today and everything is still fine.   Phew!

Apart from that I’ve had to update the history group website and prepare a presentation for next Saturday, now I have a quarterly report to write before next weekend and then there is a stack of about 100 historic photographs that someone lent to me a couple of months ago that I really must scan so I can return the originals.

Still I’ve managed to do a little art and this is the second spread in my 2012 Revo-lution book which is about the changes I want to make in myself for my intention of becoming a better person.

That’s all for now.

Big love


New Year’s Revolution!

Hello Friends

Happy New Year to one and all!

I’m not making New Year’s Resolutions any more, because to be honest they usually seem to be about giving up things and I rarely keep those kinds of promises.  So this year I am trying something new.

One of the workshops I did at 21 Secrets 2011 (now sadly ended) was Gretchen Miller’s Revo-lution workshop.  It’s all about exploring concepts of transformation, creating change and new possibilities through art.  You concentrate on key words that have meaning for you and you make a journal page to show that meaning visually.  You can find out much more about this process at Gretchen’s blog Creativity in Motion.  It’s a great thing to do and I highly recommend it.  I do believe it can be life-changing for the better.

I made one Revolution book during 21 Secrets which concentrated on Joy, Bravery, Harmony, Creativity, Confidence, Authenticity and Serenity and now I am making a new book for 2012.  The first page is about Inspiration – I want to be inspired and I’d like to inspire others.  The book is a 5″ by 5″ board book stripped back to the board and then gesso’d and I’ve used images that inspire me.  The couple on the left are my parents who have loved and inspired me all my life; the sunset at Castara bay in Sunny Tobago (one of my favourite places on earth); a bit of an old map of Ryde, the town where I live, it has a fascinating history; Albert Einstein – who was a genius, deep thinker and often a little playful, I would have loved to have met him; Images of work of Joan Miro and Keith Haring, two of my favourite artists.  The little image bottom right says Plant a Seed, because that’s what inspiration is – the potential for something great.  I’ve included ArchBishop Desmond Tutu because he is another highly intellegent man, deep thinker, has a heart the size of a planet and a ‘wicked’ laugh.  I would love to meet him.

My good news is that I am now signed up for 21 Secrets 2012 so this year I will be participating for the whole 9 months, (big smile).

I hope all your dreams come true in 2012.  Here’s to another art full year.

Big love



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 🙂