As We Grow Up

As We Grow Up

Hello friends

Well we finally had some sunshine, and oh boy! doesn’t it make a difference, everything looks and feels better when the sun shines.

Yesterday I did a lot of work in the garden.  The only area of responsibility I have in the garden is cutting the grass, but because I don’t do it very often, the two grassy areas are more weed patches than grass and look very scruffy.  This contrasts very badly with the rest of the garden which is very neat and tidy, as are most things in my husband’s life (apart from me).  I really don’t know how he puts up with me, he is obsessive about tidiness, and I live my life surrounded by clutter and stuff!

Anyway I cut down the two weed patches and they now look slightly more respectible, however I am pleased to say I have finally convinced T that we should do away with the grass altogether.  The area at the back of the house where we occassionally sit on the rare occasions when it’s warm enough will be paved (when we can afford it) and the garden at the front of the house is going to have raised beds so T can grow even more vegetables.  This is a huge relief for me I can tell you, and gives him more growing space – he loves his home grown veg.

Today was even more glorious but I woke up feeling poorly and spent most of the morning in bed.  When I did get up there were chores to do and then a visit to my parents.  Fortunately I have a day off work tomorrow so I will be able to enjoy a day that I felt like I missed today – if you see what I mean?

This spread is from my A4 journal, it looks a bit busy, but I was pleased with how it turned out.  I did it a while ago so I can’t really remember the whole process, but there are ripped and die cut old book pages, acrylic paints, gesso, stamping and a really cool, but very long quote I found.  It starts “As we grow up” and ends “live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back”.

I think if you click on the image you should be able to see it big enough to read the whole quote  – it’s a good one.  I use all these quotes because I am really trying to improve myself – to improve in my art and in my attitude and outlook.  I don’t always succeed and I definitely do have negative periods, but I’m trying and slowly I feel that I am getting to grips with it.

I hope you are having a great weekend.

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 🙂


Be Grateful to People Who Make us Happy…

Be Grateful to People Who Make us HappyHello friends!

I hope everything is good with you.  We are in the middle of a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK and it’s unseasonally cold.  At least it has stopped raining for the time being, but a little warmth and sunshine would be appreciated… maybe tomorrow?  I mean we are well into May now!

This spread is from my A4 journal.  You are probably getting the idea by now that one of the things I love to use in my art is torn paper – books, adverts, old maps, receipts, scrap book paper, etc. I just love paper!  I also love script and especially script I can’t understand.  I can only speak English so all other languages look fascinating to me.

I also like the idea of my soul blossoming, so thank you Marcel Proust for the lovely quote.  Fortunately there are quite a lot of people in my life who make me happy.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Big love

AJ 🙂



BuntingHello Friends

Tomorrow I will be posting my April (finished) and May (ready to go) pages for the 366 Calendar challenge, but I wanted to post something today, it being Sunday and my usual day for posting on my blog.  So here is some bunting I made yesterday for the Jubilee Celebration event Ryde Social Heritage Group is holding in the Heritage Centre in Ryde Cemetery on 26 & 27 May.

I bought some blank cardboard die cut flags and a pack of Portobello Road papers from Papermania and I got some Union Jack material and some red ribbon from the local habidashery shop.  I painted one side of each flag in either red, white or blue acrylic paint and added the RSHG logo.  At first I tried to cut a stamp of the logo from an old mouse mat, it wasn’t bad, but not good enough so finally I cut a stencil  and I stamped RSHG on all the flags and then inked the edges.  Then came the fun part – decorating the front of the flags with either material or paper.   My mum gave me her sewing machine a while ago and that made everying so much easier.  I am pleased with the results although I am a little worried that the cardboard will rip where the machine needle has made holes.  The bunting is for indoor use only.

We are having the kind of weather that makes people complain, high winds and lots of rain.  I really don’t mind this kind of weather because it means I can stay in my art room all day and not feel guilty that I should be outside enjoying the sunshine.

I hope you are all having a great weekend.

Big love

AJ 🙂

Good Old Days?

Good Old Days?Hello friends!

It’s a wet, windy and dismal day here on the Isle of Wight and I’ve been struggling with a low mood, actually been on the verge of tears a couple of times, and I have no idea why.  I’m not normally a depressive person but I let things at work get to me today.  Two days of having computers not working hasn’t helped because it has put me behind with stuff. I have let other stupid little things get to me too.

Coming home, doing some art and stroking Billy Kat has helped a lot.  Cats are such good therapy 🙂  There is a big meeting at work on Friday with a lot of senior managers, and I really need to get a positive head on for that.  Today if anyone had asked me how things are I’d have struggled to say anything positive and that’s not good.  Sometimes I just get days like this and hopefully I can turn it around tomorrow – I must remember I can make a choice to be happy, breath and smile 🙂

This spread is from my 6×6 journal.  I started with a smooth gesso’d background, painted it with a brown acrylic then collaged some ripped vintage pages (that Alicia from Altered Bits sent me) and some scraps of old maps of my town.  I don’t actually use the real maps, but scan them, print them on photographic paper and age them with tea so they look like the real thing.  Then I used some blue acrylic paint and some white ink dabbed through punchinella and wrote the quote (in my poor handwriting) in white ink and highlighted (or do I mean lowlighted it) with black.

I have become aware recently how much people look at the past through rose tinted glasses.  Especially at work, things were always better back then, in the Good Old Days, although when that time was differs from person to person.   I also know that rather than aching for the past and what was, we should all try and live more in the present.  As Oprah says, “this moment is the only one you know you have for sure”.  So we’d better enjoy it.

Thanks for listening, just putting this all down has helped me to lift my mood, I think tomorrow is going to be fine.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Big love

AJ 🙂


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 🙂

Life is Good

Hello Friends!

We changed the clocks this weekend so tonight it was lighter for an hour longer, the weather has been glorious and everywhere there are signs of spring.  I took my parents out for a drive this afternoon and the magnolia trees have just come into bloom, they look beautiful.

The page above is from my A4 journal, it looks a little ‘muddy’ as there are loads and loads of layers of gesso, acrylic paint, scrapbook paper, some Tim Holtz stamps and then more of the same.  It took a lot or work to arrive at something I was happy with – sometimes that’s how it goes.   The words sum up how I am feeling at the moment.

At the beginning of the month I said that I knew of 2 exciting things happening in March and the first happened last Friday.  My local history group was invited to a Royal event, the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the 200th anniversary of the passing of the Ryde Pier Act.  I think that my American friends will be much more impressed by this than any of my English friends.  I don’t know many English people who are ardent Royalists, but it was great for my hard working team to get some recognition for all the unpaid work they do researching and documenting the history of our town.  Prince Edward (the Queen’s youngest son) was very pleasant and easy to talk to and we had a fantastic day.  If you are intersted you can read about it here.

The second exciting thing is going to be the Party on the Pier next Saturday, we did it last year and our historical display attracted many people.  We are looking forward to having another wonderful day.

I hope life is good for all of you.

Big love


Past, Future and Present

Past, Future and PresentHello Friends

This is a quick post because it’s early morning (although I’ve already been up an hour and a half) and I have to get ready for work.

Right now I am full fo anxiety.  Something has happened at work, I am totally unsure exactly what happened, but it means that either I have messed up, or one of my colleagues has been very dishonest.  I really think it is more likely to be the former than the latter, but either way I am in an uncomfortable situation.

The spread above from my small journal is about the past and the future, I used a lot of collage on this one, old book pages, old maps, and some old adverts.

I quite like the quote, but for now I need to go and face the present.  Wish me luck!

Big love