Thursday, 29 May 2014

Getting back in the groove

Finally I feel as if my head is clearing! I've made a page that I'm happy with.

So how did I get out of my slump? Well, I watched Dina Wakley's video about warming up and Carolyn Dube's about overcoming that 'stressed out, I can't create' feeling. I pulled out some scraps and made these:

Even used some of the new stamps I carved:

I've enjoyed using the big circle stamp so much that I made some other sizes, too.

Anyway, I was on a roll, so I pulled out my journal and made a spread. When I was finished, I realised that it also fit with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's challenge to use 10 items or less. 

1. Journal - hand-bound ledger paper
2. Spray inks - Brusho
3. Paintbrush
4. Copic Ciao marker
5. Mask
6. Aquatone watercolour sticks
7. Black pen - waterproof uniball fine
8. White pen - Marbig correction pen
9. Washi tape
10. Gold gel pen (not pictured) 

Have you ever lost your groove? How did you climb out of the slump?

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

One Little Word - Will

The word for the month on One Little Word is will. 

Will is one of those fun words that can be used as a noun or a verb.

We have the faculty by which a person decides on or initiates action, and intend, desire, or wish to happen. So if I will, I have an intention or desire to initiate action.

In this case, to make this page work!

It really wasn't coming together for me until I put a layer of gesso across everything, stuck on the circles, and outlined the shapes with a green aquatone pencil. Then it started to work better. I started to feel as if I was getting back on track.

Do you sometimes have to be very deliberate about imposing your will on your pages?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Stuck in my own head

I'm feeling a bit stuck in my own head at the moment. I thought that perhaps making a time-lapse video would shake me out of my rut. I've mentioned before that making one of these videos makes me feel that I have to work quickly so there aren't long gaps where nothing is happening. 

Combine that with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's challenge to use only ten items to make a page, and it really forces you out of your comfort zone.

Ten items - let me tell you, that's a real challenge! Here are mine:

1. Journal - this is a Mont Marte A3 journal
2. Gesso - again Mont Marte
3. Acrylic paints - Kaisercolour
4. Babywipes - to apply the acrylic paint
5. Gelli-printed greaseproof paper - that's what all the other items are resting on
6. A plastic palette knife - used to apply gel medium as well as paint
7. Gloss gel medium by Reeves
8. Black ink pad - Archival Brilliance
9. Hand-carved alphabet stamps
10. Spray ink - Brusho powder watercolour inks in a spray bottle

I also used a heatgun to speed everything along. I hope that's not classed as cheating :)

As soon as I started on the page I wished I had picked different supplies! I didn't realise how many different things I use when making a single spread. When you have everything available to you, you don't really think about it. Also, look out for the OOPS where I was trying to squeeze a small amount of turquoise paint on to the palette knife and ended up with a huge blob on the page instead. 

I'm not displeased with the page, but I will probably add more layers at a later date. I like the paler, calmer piece near the centre, above the words. It feels like that is the place I am walking to, leaving behind the busier parts on either side, which are like my thoughts at the moment - a bit jumbled and crowding in on each other.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Fighting the weeds

Do you ever go through periods where all your energy seems to go into negative things rather than positive ones?

Think of it like gardening. I spend most of my time in the garden keeping the lawn down and pulling up weeds, when I'd rather be growing herbs and vegetables. My energy goes into getting rid of things I don't want to grow rather than on planting what I do want to grow.

I need to get turned around!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Circle journal round up - my pages

Now that I've completed all my pages for the circle journal/round robin, I thought it would be fun to gather them all together in one post. My own hasn't arrived home yet, but as soon as it does I'll post all the loveliness from it :)

There was a wide range of journal styles and themes and it was great fun to work in all of them.

Here are the pages and both sides of the sign-in tag for Beate's journal - Fools and Divinities:

Gayle's theme was doors and windows:

These are the pages for Jessica's journal with its theme - exploring the inner and outer.

Lee wanted to know What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Monique inspired us with an Emerson quote:  “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen.”

Susan Jane wanted her pages to be a surprise, so I haven't blogged them in their entirety before. Her theme was trees:

Monday, 19 May 2014

Circle Journal completed!

I've now completed all my pages in the circle journal and am about to put the last one in the post back to Lee in Canada. Her theme was, "What do you see when you look in the mirror?"

My first page was the obvious - I see me :)

But what about the second spread?

I looked at quite a few quotes about mirrors, but some of them had already been used by other participants. That's one of the drawbacks of being the last to work in a journal, I guess. But I found one eventually:
Your self-esteem won't come from body parts. You need to step away from the mirror every once in a while and look for another reflection, like the one in the eyes of the people who love you and admire you.  Stacy London
How uplifting! And it's good to be reminded of it, too.

So now the parcel will go in the post, and eventually my own journal will make its way back to me.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Lee's Journal

Lee's journal is the last one for me in the circle journal/round robin. Her theme was 'What do you see when you look in the mirror?'

For my first spread I went with the obvious - I see me when I look in the mirror! Although I see a reflection of me, not the me that everyone else sees. I have to point out that this is not a self-portrait, though :) I don't like having my photo taken and my portraiture skills are pitiful, so this is just a representation of a woman perhaps looking at her reflection.

I have no idea at the moment what I will do for my other spread. It needs a little thought...

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

New stamps

I've been busy carving some new stamps. I like stamps with patterns that I can use on their own and also repeating to make a larger overall pattern. The basket-weave and the flower will do that easily.

I also wanted something architectural. This postcard has been sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks:

It's by Avant Card - they distribute free postcards in public places such as cinemas, museums etc. I love the design so used it as a basis for a stamp. I didn't want the image to have a definite end point so tried to make it look as if the column was crumbling a bit and therefore the bottom of it disappears into nothing. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Fake journal page 2

In my fake journal the woman moving through the Gospels witnesses the baptism of Jesus. She's starting to be drawn in, wondering about all that is happening. 

Friday, 9 May 2014


My husband is always on the lookout for things I might be interested in as he looks at design websites and innovations. He found this fabulous barbecue cookbook that comes apart to give you all the things you need to actually barbecue a piece of meat - the cover is a chopping board, there is foil, greaseproof paper, even salt and an apron included in the pages. 

Now, as a bookbinder, that has really set me thinking...

And what about these gorgeous bubblewrap famous paintings by Bradley Hart? Paint injected into the bubblewrap to act as pixels. Great idea! And I only ever printed with it...

Thursday, 8 May 2014


I'm finding myself making very colourful backgrounds at the moment. Previously I would tend to stick to a couple of colours, generally next to each other on the colour wheel, all very soothing. But not for the last few weeks for some reason.

This background started with some pages where I cleaned my brayer off after using the gelli-plate. Then I stencilled on to it, added some gelli-printed greaseproof paper, stamping, and a yellow wash. There was no white space in sight so I added white circles, inspired by Carolyn Dube's 'white space vs. colour' fight.

Well, that circle on the right, the one down at the bottom on its own, was just calling out to be made into a flower. But when I had five petals on it, there was just something holding me back from putting that last one in.  I looked at it for a while, thinking I needed a word.

Incomplete. That's what the page was saying to me.

So I put the word in, and it fit just right where I'd left out that petal.

And then I remembered that I am incomplete, not yet finished. So the riot of colour and pattern that doesn't yet fit together - I shouldn't worry about it. Everything will fall into place in time. And I shouldn't be so hard on myself, because I'm a work in progress.