Thinking happy thoughts!

I’m trying hard to, although I admit to still being quite uncomfortable and in a little pain… I had my first ever mammogram today and to be quite honest, it was far more distressing, uncomfortable and downright painful, than I had expected. I knew what was going to happen because I watched a short documentary about  breast screening last year, but I am just thankful it’s over. Now to wait for the results and hope all is well.  One of those necessary evils I suppose.

So, I am glad that Wednesday Stamper’s theme – “think happy thoughts” and show what makes us happy came to lift my spirits. It’s been such a busy few days that I haven’t spent much time with hands on creating, more a quick sketch here and there in the odd waiting room!

There are lots of things that make me happy – art, stamping, paints, etc. are the obvious ones, but combining them is joyful too! I spent a while today messing about with walnut ink crystals. I bought them well over a year ago and had never even opened the tub, so my backgrounds are a lovely deep brown in places and I did some stuff in my art journal too (but that’s for another day!).

This would be my first choice – poppies! There are few sights that delight me more than a field of poppies, nodding their pretty heads in the breeze! I passed a clump of huge California poppies in a garden this afternoon and that was how I came to embellish my poppy-head stamped image with the red paints! That fits nicely with Theme Thursday too – gardens… 😉

And, this little character also makes me smile happily! I have stickers in my fat pencil case and they “fell” into my hand whilst I was rummaging for my Inktense pencils…

I know, it’s Hello Kitty! I can’t help it – I love these stickers!! 🙂

Amor, Amor!

By Cacharel, from Cacharel, is my favourite (affordable) perfume. It’s a birthday or Christmas (or Mother’s Day) treat and I wear it when I’m going out – wherever I go! I don’t do “best” anymore – life’s too short, seriously…

So, in honour of TMTA – “Perfume” – this week, here’s my puffed hearts ATC:

It’s a tad misshapen, because I was busy poking wadding into it as I was stitching round it and one side’s a bit fatter than the other! No worries, it was fun!

It’s been a busy day, creatively speaking. I started and finished a 16″ x 20″ oil on canvas abstract; I watched the first of Roz Stendahl’s Workshop 3 videos – courtesy of those lovely people at Strathmore and then went up and laid down colour on 6 journal spread pages and created this ATC. I’m a bit tired but there are still quite a few ideas running round in my head – some already committed to paper post-its and clipped into my little “everything” journal.

The painting – originally called “Ebb and Flow” – is the product of one of my post-it ideas, so that worked out really well and has convinced me that I must continue to make notes and stick them in the EJ. It’s a bit busy for “ebb and flow” now, so I am considering running a “Name that painting” competition here on my blog… We’ll see! I’ll take some photos when the light’s better and blog it! 😉

If only…

I created this page this morning in answer to the prompt “More than words” over at Wednesday Stamper. I sit here typing, covered in paint (well, my hands are anyway!!). And, I didn’t write anything on this page because I just can’t. There isn’t space for all the things I feel when I look at her riding the crest of a wave? Or struggling against the ocean’s pull? Or….. ? What do you see?

The eyes at the top are by Third Coast Stamps; the large script stamp is… an old one! The background is a medley of Neocolour washes applied to a loose page from my fave book, or altered book or scruff journal!

Here are those backgrounds I printed onto alternative papers for my everything journal in yesterday’s post:

And that hymn sheet I printed onto – upside down though! I really should think before I print!! 😉

*****Does anyone (with a wordpress blog),  know why all my photos go to the top of the blog post when I click “insert into post”, instead of where I left my bloody cursor??? Cut & paste is beginning to annoy me… 😦

The finished leather journal…

Yay! Today I managed to sew the signatures into the leather journal and take pics. I also took pics of the Oilcloth Tote I sewed myself last week after reading the Kath Kidston Book! So be prepared for a photo-post!!
 
 
 
I used one of the art journal painted pages from my Layer Love painting workshop for the inside covers, both front and back. It feels right!
 
 
All the signatures are scrapbooking papers, junk mail, etc. It’s a fun journal… 😉
 
 
I must admit that sewing the signatures in place was quite tricky, but by the time I’d done the second, I had the hang of it:
 
 
That middle page is one of my art journal backgrounds printed out onto an aviation book page. And I did the same with a Gospel sheet, which looks quite different!
 
 
And there you have it…
 
 
And then there’s the new oilcloth tote bag:
 
 
I’ve had this piece of oilcloth hanging around for over a year in my fabric stash and finally, I felt inspired to make it into a big old shoulder bag/tote for parcels, groceries, etc. The only thing I regret is not including a pocket for my phone and purse (wallet). However, I have since crocheted a phone carrier, so 1 out of 2 ain’t bad!!
 
 
To stop the strap from sliding off my shoulder, I used some plain twill (recycled curtain ties!) and some fancy machine embroidery stitches! Fun and practical as it actually works!
 
If you want to find the tutorial for the art journal, it is HERE on Ilse’s blog. (Artist in Training).
 
So, between all this handmade stuff and real life, changing the blog theme and having issues with the photo uploader which won’t let me post a photo where I want to, life is pretty calm right now. I am wondering if this is a “calm before the storm” thing? Maybe I am just a pessimist!! 😉

Books and busi-ness!

I have been a busy bee lately. Nick and I started packing away things we really aren’t going to need/use or look at whilst we wait for a move… and at the same time, I have been back to AP, where I work during the summer season. At the  moment, because Easter’s so late this year, that’s only really once a week but that has also allowed me to really get stuck into my Etsy store – okay, shop! I listed Lace Face today!!

I am still tryin g to stay on track with the art journalling, although I do get distracted with Penny’s Songs in my Heart blog and other challenges, but I like challenges! It makes my art-brain more active! So, reading Julie FFB’s blog a couple of weeks ago, I saw a tutorial for a leather journal… I have some scraps of leather and as it’s my own journal, I thought it’d be fun to experiment and try it out.

I am also going to change the blog theme (and if WordPress doesn’t stop buggering about, I may move to Blogger… >.<) so expect the unexpected!!

This is what the front cover will look like when I have inserted the signatures… and above is the entire cover. I have used greyboard inside to strengthen the cover. I may paint that later… On the outside, I used a stamped flower and other Cherry Pie images, and some pretty purple yarn with fancy stitches that are on my sewing machine’s programme! See, Linda Matthews has been encouraging us to use the embroidery stitches we have available…

I even had a go at Linda’s Flip-Flap Fabric tutorial for another book cover! I am still in Fabric-love mode at the moment, so… 😉

Really? £20 million…

That’s apparently, approximately what the cost of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Royal Wedding will be. In this day and age, a time of crises and mounting global debt and deficit, that seems not only excessive to me, but rather obscene. So, this is my Journal page for AYITLOAAJ’s April 15th Prompt: Really?
 

How much?

All the stamps are handcarved. The royal crest is from the envelope the 2011 Census docs came in and the flowers are torn from junk mail too – I liked the colours!! My “spring green” girl has been resized and printed out, so she can comment to her (slightly smaller),  alter ego!

I’m neither a fan nor anti the Royals. The Queen finally became a taxpayer like the rest of us, which made her more “palatable” as far as I’m concerned, but the Monarchy in general… Why? Personally, I find them out of touch and well past their sell-by date! And that’s all I have to say on the matter… (having met a couple of them in my dim and distant past – oh yeah!)

Oh and apart from the prompt – Really?!, there’s a song, some lyrics and we got to use speech bubbles!! There are some cool examples on the blog, so do go check it out!! I too, have been sucked in by the lovely weather we’re having here in the UK this week and now have the sunburnt knees to prove it!! Hence the lack of blog posts! Then again, it’s bound to rain soon, innit?!! 😉

Coffee…

Not my fave beverage, that would be tea! TMTA this week has coffee as its theme and my Spring Green character has suddenly become Miss Java! I think she looks like a “Miss Java” should though, with her stylised face and cap…

"Miss Java"

and I have been using up scrap ATCs (again!). Trouble is, I can never just make one!

Guaranteed

The small dragonfly stamp is by Personal Impressions – love it!! 😉

Travel

For Take a Word this week – I found this quote and it struck me as most appropriate. It’s almost like… “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence…” or “Be careful what you wish for…” I like to think of myself as a ‘glass half full’ type of person – so after uttering a few bitchy remarks recently, and being pulled on it by the other half, I started to question that.

Am I really happy with what I have or am I lusting after what others have??? Well, I have done some soul-searching and decided that I am basically happy! That’s not to say of course, that I wouldn’t love to win the lottery, because I would! I really would love to take a Grand Tour and meet up with fellow art bloggers, go do some workshops, take a class or two and chillax… In the meantime, I am grateful for what I have here and create the wistful characters who are looking for more!!

I was lucky enough to sit outside in the garden for an hour or so to create this journal page today, and long may this fine spell continue! 🙂

Chain Reaction…

is the song title I chose to depict for Sunday Postcard Art’s challenge this week. I like the catchy beat and lyrics and I liked bending and blending the lines of colour…

Chain Reaction...

Diana Ross has never been someone I am comfortable watching, but I do like her voice. Who makes you uncomfortable? 😉

Hey there, Delilah!

For Songs in my Heart, I love this song and sing along whenever I hear it (much to DD’s disgust!!). It’s one of those songs where you can hear and understand the lyrics and it has a really easy, catchy chorus – win-win as far as I’m concerned – so let’s hear it for the Plain White Ts!

This is one of those altered book art journals where I let loose with the watercolour paints… I had the most trouble with her mouth! You’d think she was singing the flippin’ song! I drew and painted her on Saturday evening in front of the telly… No wonder I had to keep asking what I’d missed!