Happy Holidays!


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 🙂


Focus on the Journey


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 🙂

The three of them

The three of themHello friends!

I hope you are having a great week, I am doing fine and finally finished preparing the presentation I am giving tomorrow evening.  I’m a bit nervous about it so I hope it goes OK.

This week I have been continuing to work on my Teesha style journal, but today I thought I would post a photograph of the three (A4 size) canvases I painted after I came back from the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat and was overflowing with inspiration from the workshop I took with Flora Bowley.

I thought the paintings were OK for a first attempt, but my husband insisted they hang on our new dining room wall.

So far they are the only things in the room as we have been waiting for the new blind to arrive before we moved our table and chairs in to the room.  The blind arrived today so over the weekend we have to try and figure out how to construct and hang it.  It’s all quite exciting really except for the fact that I know the next job in the house is the kitchen.

I have been putting it off for years and years now for a couple of reasons

1. the kitchen is not really my territory, apart from putting the kettle on to make coffee and helping with the washing up, I really don’t spend any time there, and

2. I know it’s going to be expensive and will take up a lot of time and, let’s face it, that is money and time I could be spending on art!  But my husband is a superb cook and he has struggled in a very impractical kitchen for years, so I think I just need to take a deep breath and help him with the planning, purchasing and the huge amount of DIY it’s going to take to get it done.

Anyway, that’s all from me for now, see you soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂



Hello friends

I hope you are all well and happy.

I’m not so good today and have taken a day’s sick leave from work.  I had two long days on Tuesday and Wednesday.  On Tuesday I went for my interview, still not really understanding what I was being interviewed for.  I think it went OK but won’t find out for a couple of weeks what they have decided to do with me.  Yesterday I had to attend two meetings on the mainland and didn’t get home until 8pm.  I was struggling to stay optimistic and cheerful yesterday, but I think now that was because, although I didn’t know it, I was already unwell.

Today I didn’t get up until about 3pm and I’m still not feeling good, but you can’t lay in bed all day can you?

This page is from my A4 journal and is opposite the one I posted last time, the colours match but they are not really what I would call a spread and were done months apart.  On this page I used Fimo light on parts of the page and pressed a load of trinkets and keys into it while it was still wet.  I made the page quite warped but I don’t mind that.  I used blue, orange, black and gold acrylic paints; stamping and scrap book paper.  I hope you like it.

I’ll be back soon, hopefully feeling better and in a lighter frame of mind.

Big love

AJ 🙂


You are Here

You are Here

Hello friends!

This is probably the most summery weekend we have had all year and I’ve been stuck inside working away on my computer preparing stuff for the history exhibition in September.  Never mind, at least I didn’t get sunburnt and at least it is nice to look out the window and see bright light.

The image above is just a single page from my A4 journal.  I used quite a lot of ripped up map for the background so I thought You Are Here was an appropriate quote.  The criss-cross lines I made by inking up a wheel from toy car and running it across the page.

On Tuesday I have to go for an interview at work so that, in 30 minutes, my competencies can be assessed and then I think I will just be slotted into a job where they (senior managers and HR) think I will fit best.  It’s all a bit strange really especially as I have already applied for a post that was advertised internally but that’s not what they are interviewing me for.  Anyway I have decided that I just need to do some preparation, go along, do the best I can, not get too anxious about it and try to enjoy the experience.  I’ll let you know how I got on next time I post.  I think it must be quite a tough interview because the 5 managers I work with have already been through the process and 3 of them have not been reappointed to their roles.  I already know I am not going to be reappointed to my role as it is disappearing into vapour in the restructure, but I will definitely still have a job.  So there is definitely something new for me just around the corner.  Exciting or what!

OK I am going to drag myself away from the computer now and the many things that I am supposed to be doing and I’ll go and see if Mum and Dad want to come out for a drive and an icecream.

See you later

Big love

AJ 🙂






Hello friends

It’s a sunny Sunday and we are just off out for an afternoon in the sunshine at the V-Dub Island, a small festival a few miles from where we live.  T is DJing there this afternoon at 4pm.  We went along last night to have a look and really nice, only a few thousand people there on a tiny site with three main areas for entertainment – the main marquee where bands play, a similar sized one which is a cafe and where smaller bands play, and  smaller marquee where my husband will be playing his tunes for an hour.  It had a really good and friendly atmosphere there last night, very friendly.

Yesterday I laid the laminate flooring in our new (tiny) extension, so gradually things are coming together in there, just a bit of painting to do, a few tiles to replace on the floor where the kitchen joins the new bit, the builders have to come back and put in the skirting board and then, finally, we will be able to use our new dining room.

The spread above is in my A4 journal and was an exercise I did for Connie Hozvicka’s Flow workshop on 21 Secrets.  It’s a really great workshop.

When I first did the painting it looked like this, and was done with guache paints, I loved the colours:

Flow before

But after I had lived with it for a while I knew it needed something else so I added the more organic shapes with acrylic paint and the cool quote about going with the flow.

Sorry!  I’ve got to go, T’s says we will be late if we don’t leave now!  I haven’t checked for Typos so forgive me if there are any.

21 Secrets is still running to the end of the year and is on sale now.  If you are interested check it our here, there are some fantastic teachers and workshops there.

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!

Sometimes you just have to go with it!

Doing your best!Hello friends!

It’s another wet weekend in the UK!  Oh well don’t have to feel guilty about staying in all day doing art 🙂

This page almost didn’t make it to the blog, because I’m really not that happy with it.  I was tempted to just paint over it with gesso and start again, but I spent so much time getting it to this sorry state it probably deserves to be just as it is.  I always try to do the best I can, but I’m not a perfectionist, I reckon if that’s the best I can do at this time then I should be satisfied.  It’s a bit of a struggle with this page because it’s ugly, but I hope it might grow on me.

There are so many layers I couldn’t even begin to tell you the whole process, but the page includes textured gesso, acrylic paint, stamping, acrylic ink, lots of torn paper (of course),tissue paper, holographic paper and rub on lacey bits.  I bought some small letter dies to cut the letters from holographic paper for the quote.  The dies were cheap, and unfortunately they don’t really work in the Big Shot, so I had to improvise and add layers of card until eventually the letters punched out.  The words ‘Best’ and ‘Moment’ are stamped with some vintage letter stamps that were being thrown out at work, there is not a full alphabet but I didn’t realise until I tried to find the N so I had to use Z on its side!  I stamped with Perfect Medium and used black embossing powder.

Because of the way the light from the scanner reflects on the holographic paper you may not be able to read the quote, it says: Doing your Best in this moment, puts you in the best place for the next MOMENT.

That’s all for now, hope you are all enjoying your weekend, next time I will post something that I think is prettier.

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 🙂