Saturday 31 December 2016

Life Needs Balance

A final post for 2016, a bit of play in my journal for what seems the first time in ages...I have been making birthday cards for my January birthdays (I seem to have lots of them; but I can't share those yet - or at all in several cases as they've been despatched without photographs...)

But, play time in my A5 journal... the background started as ever, with leftover paint from this or that (Christmas cards probably)
 I added some black modelling paste through a Dylusions stencil to make a staggered brick wall
 and stamped several of Elenazinski monsters (Paperartsy) on tissue paper, before painting them with Fresco paints
As I was placing them around the page, I decided that they would need something to ground some of them... or, more precisely, hang them - from...
the border stamp is from ZA01

I scribbled a border round the top of the page and was searching around for some words to add to the page...    

till the way the monsters were swinging from the "ropes"  struck a chord..                                                                

 Life Needs Balance... Hoping 2017 will bring balance to your lives - time for work, rest and play, time for family and friends, time for - whatever you want!  Happy New Year!!

Wednesday 28 December 2016

WOYWW 395 the in-betweeny

Welcome to the Happy just gone Christmas and nearly New Year edition... WOYWW 395 marks the end of the year.
A year of loss of great people, including authors, singers, actors, in what seems to be a never-ending announcement. (sadly as I was returning from Kew on Tuesday I got the news that my Godmother had died on Boxing Day too)

A year of great desk sharing thanks to Julia and a year of friendship whether in the virtual or the real world.  Thank you to all of you for your visits and your comments and your friendship. Who said meeting people off t'internet was bad, eh?

Since I last saw you, I wrapped and delivered my presents...having bought the last tricky ones I was fretting about last time out!

I hope you all had a very Happy Christmas.. I cooked myself a lovely roast beef dinner (no point doing turkey for one, and besides, I prefer beef!) and gorged on chocolate and TV

 I had lots of gifts of my own to open.

which I did after I had prepared said roast beef dinner for the oven... here it is resting while the oven warmed up! (wine at the ready too!)
 and this is what I received...

lots of lovely toiletries, and bath goodies, a calendar from my cousin who visits her local favourite place even more than I go to Kew; and some craft goodies and a snuggly penguin from my brother and sister -in-law (he's microwaveable to be toasty and my niece tells me he's called Monty after the penguin in Happy Feet...)
and some (more) very generous gifts from my boss Monica - including the photo of me in the silver frame. It's one she took herself of me at the "official" photo-shoot for the firm's website... but I quite like it so I'll let her off!

after dinner I snuggled on the sofa with the tv and phone and  chocolates...
(always room for chocolates!)

 Boxing Day saw me unexpectedly at my brother's for a second Christmas dinner, turkey this time, which was lovely. Not seen them since Richard's and my nephew Peter got married in August.
my niece Rachael took this one of me

(it's ok Rachael, I'm not including that one of you!!)

and Tuesday (another Bank Holiday in the UK) as I hinted at the top,  saw me at Kew, in the bright sun and frost of a fabulous December morning here for the pictures, as always, there are LOTS!

but I will duplicate one here, for Julia... you can see why!  She's got us all doing it now!

I'll be home again today as I am not back at work till 3rd January so will be round to see what you've been up to very soon.  I'll leave you with a Happy New Year wish  - let's hope 2017 is good to us all; wishing you health and happiness.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

WOYWW 394 but EEEK Who's ready?

Hello deskers..  It's Wednesday.  perilously close to Christmas.  Hands up who's ready?    (I don't really want to know, it will just depress me...)    But before that we have another date with Julia and WOYWW
I did decide to add a bit more to the journal page - so far, a bit more outlining of the shiny green stencilled letters,  and some white splatters. (love splatters!)
I'll probably "faff" a bit more with this still yet.....
So, who's been enjoying the annual CountryView Crafts Advent calendar sale then??? I am sure it's not just me!  (I know Shaz has been keeping an eye on it as she tipped me off one day for some Paperartsy goodies... which I ignored as I DID have most of them that were on offer...!

I have been fairly good so far,just two orders ......

one of which has arrived so far - some Sizzix dies - I love flourishes, and have wanted a really big one for ages... and the Tim Holtz scribbly Christmas (especially the tree) grabbed my eye a year or so ago... so they fell into the basket one day.

and here is a close up of the desk... a tartan ribbbon that came on a parcel that was sent to work, and I was offered first refusal, a tartan wrapped present from my cousin,  waiting for the big day..
and when I was at Kew last week I bought a book "London's secret places" with the idea of finding somewhere different to visit.
  But don't hold your breath.... I went to Kew last Saturday in the thick fog - it was amazingly atmospheric - see here if you have time -I know some of you saw the link on facebook

I'd better call it a day, this is not very short and sweet -   I will be attempting once again, after work, to try and get the last two gifts... yes, running seriously out of time.. and no ideas either!! so your desks will be visited later on.  Promise!

It leaves it to me to wish you all, a very Happy, and Healthy (we can hope!) Christmas and New Year  - keeeep WOYWWing!!  

Sunday 18 December 2016

Wanderlust (remember that?!! ) One Collage Challenge

so yes, I was still taking part, just not done very much lately.  hey ho!  2017 will be different, right?

However, I have been following and doing, the One Collage Challenge, which we've been encouraged not to share until the very end.  Every couple of weeks Kasia gave us a prompt.  Each stage was to take no more than 5 minutes... sometimes this was easy, others not so!

We could choose any surface we liked, bearing in mind we would be working on it for the whole year.
I took a 25mm by 30mm flat canvas  I may have gesso'd it to start with, made no notes, just took photos of each stage.
1. grab at random, no choosing, 2 pieces of paper, tear large pieces and stick to surface.
Grab one acrylic paint and add a shape , either with brush or your fingers

2. repeat the shape from guideline 1 by doodling on the surface - once or more times.  I went more! I chose a matching pen

3. write in (some of) your shapes, thoughts, words, feelings about it so far

4. Use your fingers and add paint round the doodled shapes from step 2.

5. take a semi transparent acrylic paint and paint round the outside of the shapes from step 2 (was running out of gaps by now, regretting quite so many doodle shapes, not enough spaces left)
these were meant to be smooth brush strokes.

stage 6 was to find a word from a magazine and put it aside.
stage 7 was to write turn the canvas upside down and write the date
8. (you can see the photo is still the wrong way up, as the date is the right way round)
add drips or splashes of something white - ink, paint, over the canvas,

9. repeat step 8 with tea bag stains..
10. pick a stamp, any stamp and permanent ink, stamp all over the collage.  you can see I used 2 different inks

11 was to find another word from a book or magazine.

12. find a loose corner on your stuck down papers from the very beginning, rip a corner and tear

13. take a favourite acrylic paint and fill the torn spaces - this didn't take long as I only got one!
I was in a purple mood at the time but do admit to making my favourite not clashing.

 14. add some white dots to the painted area from 13 - any kind of dots. I varied mine.

15. find a focal point - a face - human or otherwise  -   my main problem with these word finding and picture finding exercises was not having many magazines (other than craft ones which I won't tear up!) but I found one eventually.

16. find something from a magazine that will replace one of the eyes.

17.  grab a black marker and draw 3 thick lines somewhere on the  collaged face

18. find another word.

19. put the face in a frame, grab pen(s) pencils,.draw a frame - shape of choice.

I used black and white markers

20.. I just realised I missed out this step, I was playing catch up today and missed it.
there is meant to be another image from a magazine, stuck on the forehead - pretend!

21. find a picture in a magazine of a background.
(I found a picture from Kew in my Kew magazine.. at least that was fairly easy.) make it fit behind your face, filling no more than a third of the frame.

22.  take a photograph and keep it on your computer.   we were not to look at the next stage (published at the same time) before doing this..

I had an inkling of what was to come by this point, I could see where it was going.

typically right at the last minute I forgot to take a photograph of the penultimate stage of step 23..

23.  Yup, cover the whole thing with gesso or paint.

I chose two thin layers of gesso.
first part (that I forgot to photograph on it's own) was to use the saved words and create a sentence, we could add to them if we wanted.
my words read Grand Family Designs Magical Winter.

Next and final stage was to write in the rest of the space, words and feelings about the whole process of the One Collage challenge.  
For me, it was all about not over-thinking each step, not spending too long - I certainly stuck to the 5 minutes each time, and it was certainly quite free-ing not knowing what was coming next.
Thanks, Kasia, this was fun!    There were definitely stages I didn't like so much, but hey, they've all gone now under that gesso!!

Paperartsy Mail Art Challenge

Scraping in with a challenge for the last time this year at Paperartsy, "mailart" 

as luck would have it, like many of us, I have some envelopes to create for some monetary gifts for Christmas.. which was probably the reason behind the timing of the challenge.   There have been some fabulous posts during the week to get us inspired.

Here goes!
I took took two A5 plain white envelopes and brayered Frescos
 For my niece I used Bougainvillea and Tango Frescos, and a little bit of Bubblegum, brayered

stencilled in Snowflake, (not sure what this stencil is called but I was channelling the mistletoe look... kind of

used the Seth stencil to create a label, did some Snowflake and Little Black Dress bumping

stamped the Tracy Scott large circles "believe" stamp in Cactus Flower archival ink, but it's so dark both last night and this morning, I can't get a very good photo..

 repeated on the back - you can see the stamp better on this side!

did some doodling round the stencilling

for my nephew, similar idea but in blues (how stereotypical of me!)  I used Glass Blue, Beach Hut and Southern Skies and stencilled again, this time I bumped Snowflake on top of Little Black Dress

and the same frame in Snowflake with some doodling

Entering the Paperartsy challenge here...

wishing you all a very happy Christmas!

Wednesday 14 December 2016

WOYWW 393 It's beginning to look....

... a little bit like Christmas...
First let me welcome you to another week joining up with Julia and the gang at the Stamping Ground for WOYWW   Photo heavy post and it goes on a bit, sorry Julia!

So, we had a fab Christmas office party (well, afternoon tea and later dinner... full story with lots of photos here )  here are a couple of my favourites!
 Afternoon tea  (Mad Hatter's Tea at the Sanderson,  whacky flavours but gorgeous!)
beautiful Christmas tree crafted from champagne bottles at the restaurant for dinner

 I managed to collect a few souvenirs for altering at some stage... the box is my "doggy bag" from the leftover steak from dinner, that I brought home with me... a napkin from the bar we stopped at for drinks between tea and dinner (as you do!) and a napkin ring (paper) and "drink me" label from afternoon tea.
 Plus, a Liberty catalogue, just for drooling over, and also because I need some magazine images to finish a challenge I've been doing for weeks...

This was the scene in bed on Sunday morning...
Christmas card writing... I don't normally do this kind of thing in bed (stop it!!) but it was too early to get up and I was cosy, so I brought the cards back to bed with me!  I admit to staging this shot to show some of the cards better!

Lots of grumpy penguins as you can see!

I haven't made room for a Christmas tree (definitely will next year..... probably) but I have decorated a couple of window sills..
this is the living room
 I'll try and get a better photo for next week..

I went back to London on Saturday to do some Christmas shopping (I know, mad or what!)
and bought this fab garland which I've wound along the sill.   (John Lewis if you're interested!)

I did get some presents too, didn't only end up with stuff for me... one present, one for me, one present,,, that kind of shopping!

So, the cards went in the post on Monday morning.. all but one of my presents are bought, the ones that need posting have been, and so it must be play time, right?
I turned to the journal page that was the mop up result of my "oops moment" a few weeks ago
Have just added some shimmery bright green paint (Pebeo) stencilling so far, and a bit of stamping (Seth Apter stamps, that Julia gave me)

the pens are still out so I can get on with some doodling but I kind of ran out of 'oomph'... weird, have the time now to do something for me, and can't get cracking!!

oh, and in case you're wondering, no I haven't got round to trying to clean the rug, it's still blue!

Hope you are all racing ahead with your preparations and find time to relax a bit too!

Catch you at a desk soon!

Wednesday 7 December 2016

WOYWW 392 - the little pile is growing..

Not a lot happening on my floor today, (well Tuesday night) but I did crack on with the card production at the weekend...
it's Wednesday and time to share our workspaces at Julia's once more..
I was having a chat on Twitter on Sunday morning (early) and ended up getting out of bed to count up how many cards I had made and how many I needed... cue immediate get up (I can't craft in my pj's!) and got on with it...

 this is the result - the total, didn't do all these on Sunday, that would have been pushing it!  but the pile on the right is Sunday's

I think I need about another 8 or so...
so not bad.  I bought the stamps on Saturday... anyone want to write them for me?  Plus, who's doing my gift shopping for me???

as the workmat is bare, this is a side look at the storage area (the tidy one!)
the box with the tube map on is full of Paperartsy stamp sets (and so is the spotty one underneath it....) and the little box to the left is full of Paperartsy mini stamps... the two transparent boxes hold Fresco paints (and some Pebeos) and the blue box under that, other paints... the wooden boxes behind that are double deed and hold my wood mounted stamps, and the coloured drawers hold all kinds of ink pads (old ones!)
Most of you have seen this shot before, but probably not for a while..
The cold is more or less gone, that wasn't too bad, the cough is of course lingering and driving me mad!

I probably won't have much time for desk visiting till about Friday, as it is the work office Christmas do on Thursday (an early afternoon tea then an evening meal, all up in London somewhere - will let you know next week!)  so Wednesday night will be spent getting ready.  or snoozing on the sofa like normal.... so I'll see you soon.