Tuesday, 30 December 2014


I know there are a lot of you out there who are picking a word for the year. Last year mine was 'stretch' and the year before, 'dream'.

I have pondered this for a while now, and this coming year I feel my word should be flourish - grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way; a bold or extravagant gesture or action; living in an optimal range of human functioning. Synonyms: thrive, prosper, blossom, bear fruit.

I have struggled with this word, pushed it to one side, thinking there must be something else, but it keeps coming back. Somehow it feels too positive, too much like having fun and not working at something. But then I think about how hard it is for me to put myself forward and the 'bold or extravagant gesture or action' definition starts to come into its own. Perhaps flourishing, for me in 2015, will be more about taking those bold actions.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Going deeper

The fast-approaching new year has several long-term projects for me. One of them is Take Me Deeper, with  the His Kingdom Come community. Each week we will receive a Bible verse as a prompt. So the book above is my journal for the year-long journey deeper into faith.

The page below has been in the making over the festive period. I was looking through my postcard collection for a completely different image yesterday when I came across this skull. Having just finished making the journal above, I was thinking about what lies under the surface and what underpins my faith. The skull seemed to be perfect - it depicts what lies underneath the skin and muscle of a body, the skeleton that holds everything up. All the muscles are attached to the skeleton and so we are able to move. If there is something wrong with the skeleton, it shows.

Layers of stamping, tape, gelli-prints and paint.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

A couple of items

Even with the busyness of the season, I managed to spend a bit of time in the studio. Here is a ring I made out of some bits and pieces left over from other things. It proved rather difficult to photograph, so here it is in two different lots of lighting in a bid to show the details.

And keeping my pop-up skills from going rusty - this is the thank you card I'm sending out for gifts this year. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Filling the bucket

In this season of busyness it is easy to do too much, to wear yourself out. Knowing yourself and knowing what fills up your bucket is important, because it is your responsibility to keep your bucket filled, no-one else's.

So in between the cooking and the serving and the visiting I'm making sure to fit in some art and creativity of some sort, because it energises me; it fills my bucket.

And when my bucket is full, I'm a much nicer person to live with.

What fills your bucket?

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Getting all my ducks in a row

A ten minute page dashed off between the chores of Christmas - service sheets to arrange and print up for church, props for the services etc. This is the creative picture of what I am doing at the moment - getting all my ducks in a row so everything will - in faith! - run smoothly during this week.

I hope you all have time to fit in some creativity amongst the busyness. And a very happy Christmas to you all.

Thursday, 18 December 2014


I had a lot of fun doing this page. I love the bright colours and the shapes. I had fun with the layers of gelli prints and the collaged shapes, the stamping. And the whole background just reminded me of an otherworldly landscape. It looked like another planet.

And sometimes I feel like I'm from another planet.
When I seem to be speaking in a foreign language.
When my interests are completely different from those around me.
When I feel slightly out of step with the rest of the world.

But I'm happy in my alien skin :)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Flowers in her hair

I had a gelli-print that I didn't want to tear up, so I decided to use it as a background. It was calling out for a face, and this girl emerged. She looked a little doubtful about the flower, even though she can pull off that blue hair :)

It made me think about how risky it can feel to do something unusual, even if it is only something small. And how, sometimes, we need to step out and take the risk. So go on, put that flower in your hair.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Journal slipcase

In readiness for the new circle journal/round robin starting in January 2015, I've made my journal and picked the theme of journey. I've decided on a set of loose pages, one per person with a pocket and tag. To keep all the pages together, I've made this slipcase.

I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone translates the theme :)

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Circle journal 2015

The circle journal group for 2015 has been sorted and there are nine of us participating this year. I have decided to go with loose pages in a slip case for my journal this year. My theme is journey and this is my own take on it. On the plain side, I have the inner journey (above)

On the other side there is a pocket to hold a sign-in tag. On this side I have done the outer journey. For me this is the trek from the UK to Australia.

And here is the tag. On the reverse I have written a little bit about myself so the other journallers can get to know me a little.

And here is the tag in place.

Now I just need to make the slipcase.

I'm looking forward to seeing all the different takes on the theme of journey, and all the different styles that I know will add beauty and insight to my journal.

Can't wait to work with you, Susan, Susan Jane, Kim, Dawn, Shelby, Shel, Beverley, and Claudia!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


The other night I had to get out of bed and journal. I don't think it has ever happened to me quite this way before. As I was lying there, frustrated and restless, a page grew in my head. As I thought about my feelings, the page grew before my eyes. I had to get out of bed and make it come to life.

I take heart from the yellow spilling out through the gaps in the 'containment'.

This is completely unlike my usual process. Usually I potter about with colour and pattern and see where it leads. This page almost made itself and only took about fifteen minutes. Once it was out and on to the paper, I was able to go back to bed and to sleep. The thought-spilling helped!

A few days after the page at the top, this one emerged. The thought kept going round in my head. Where there is no flexibility, the walls have to be smashed to start again.

The thing that struck me was that the crack I made on the page was in white, not black as it would be in reality, even though I had only half an hour before been looking at photos that were of things with cracks in them. I think that subconsciously I am hoping that when the walls are smashed, the light will come through.

Sunday, 7 December 2014


How often do we speak in an 'secret knowledge' shorthand? As we are still settling into a new church, I find myself coming up against it again and again. The opportunities for getting things wrong or putting my foot in it - quite innocently - are huge, simply because I don't know the traditions.

It makes me aware of how I communicate to others. It is so easy to use a shorthand that may not always be fully understood. This is OK with those who are close to us and understand it. With others, we need to be clearer and make sure that all parties understand the same thing to have been said or agreed upon.

To begin this page I used a mask of linked circles and gesso. A baby-wipe and some red acrylic made the pattern pop right off the page. The image was so strong, I didn't want to do too much more with it, so a few small, patterned stamps applied through the mask and around it, and some gelli-printed paper, and that was it.

I want to explore this mask and gesso technique a bit more, I think, but with paler colours so I can build up some layers more easily.

Thursday, 4 December 2014


These last couple of weeks have been very busy for me with preparations for Christmas services and a workshop, so it was fun to just pull out the journal and play. I was having fun with doodling on this page, circles and stripes, but then I felt it needed eyes.

Once the eyes were there, I found that I didn't want to add the rest of the face. Then I had some lyrics start going in my head 'private eyes, they're watching you'. That sent my train of thought to being watched all the time, even if we're not aware of it. I don't mean in a creepy way, but that our children watch our behaviour and imitate it. They are much more likely to do what they see us doing rather than what we tell them, especially if the two don't tally.

It is so important to be consistent. If our private life doesn't match our public life, if there isn't transparency and consistency, then how can we be trusted?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Tag swap

I joined a tag swap over on the google+ community Creating and Sharing Mixed Media. This is my first one with the theme artist's choice. It has now arrived with Anne so I can share it.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Growth Spurt

It's only when you go to put on familiar clothes that you realise you've had a growth spurt. Suddenly those clothes are too short in the leg and look slightly silly. You've grown, seemingly overnight, but didn't notice at the time. Of course, you can replace 'clothes' with habits, exercises, familiar pursuits, whatever. You go to do something familiar, and it feels different because you have grown.

And it's a good feeling.

This page started with a few bits of collage from a Chinese dictionary, some perforations from the edge of a page, and a bit of pattern where I cleaned off a stencil with a baby-wipe. The whole page was then coated with gesso.

The green and pink acrylic paints were calling to me, so on they went with a plastic palette knife. Then a bit of yellow at the edge.

I looked through the box of kirigami patterns my daughter has made and picked out a flower. Pasting it at the edge with some gel medium meant that I could cut part off and use it on the other side of the page.

Then it needed a border so I rummaged through the rubber stamps. A bit of orange seemed to be called for, so that was used to fill the border.

A bit of doodling.

Some washi tape from my stash.

And the journalling to finish off. The lines are stamped on.