Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happier New Year 2012

It's been a tough old year one way or another but now Christmas is almost upon us and we plan on making it a good one - it was dad's favourite time of the year so we should definitely be celebrating it, he wouldn't want us not to.

I received a beautiful Christmas gift recently from a good friend, Joanne - it's a lovely wall hanging consisting of three small frames decorated in some of my favourite colour combinations (and very wintry-looking).  I had thought of putting photos of Mia in it but then realised that the Crafty Individuals images (from their book series) would fit just right so I changed my mind and added three Christmas "angels" instead.  Here it is, now hanging on the living room wall alongside the fireplace, so I can view it every day.  Thanks, Joanne - I love it!

Last year Mia went completely silly when we tried to decorate the living room - she was quite happy for us to decorate the front room and hall with sparkly tinsel, Christmas tree, fairy lights and baubles, but when I tried to hang up tinsel in the living room she got very scared and refused to even come downstairs the next morning so it all had to be taken down.  Wondered how she'd react this year - well, she was again absolutely fine with the decos everywhere else, then we put up a very plain green garland (no sparkle at all) on the wall over the sofa, draped a couple more garlands around plus a wreath above the fireplace.  She gave it all the once over, went daft again about the garland over the sofa (which had to be removed), but decided that this year we could keep the rest of the garlands and the wreath up!  What a comic she is!

Looks like we won't be getting a white Christmas this year, in fact it's turned quite mild here this last day or two which doesn't seem quite right somehow, but at least it means we can get around quite easily without being snowed in!

I hope everyone has a happy and peaceful Christmas and here's hoping for good things to come in 2012.  For myself, I hope to get back into being more creative again as my artwork has rather been on the backburner for the past 12 months or so.

Mia and I wish Everyone a Very Merry Christmas
and Happy New Year 2012 !

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

R.I.P. Dad

Thomas Alexander (Alex) Mason
24/12/1922 - 11/11/2011

Dad died peacefully in his sleep on 11th November (Remembrance Day) - he would have been 89 years old on Christmas Eve.  His funeral was held today with a beautiful, moving service in a lovely church in the centre of the village where my parents lived for 25 years - we had a small gathering of close family and friends, but sadly our mum could not be there as she has dementia and has lived in a residential care home for the past few months.  At least my sister Lindsay and I can be comforted by the knowledge that she doesn't understand that dad has gone so has been spared that sadness - they had been married for 65 years, 

Together celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary

Goodbye, Dad ..... you are missed and will always be close in our hearts

Friday, 21 October 2011

Cat in a box !

We've been going through one of those spells I think everyone gets - when stuff breaks down and has to be replaced - has to come all at once, doesn't it, not in ones?  We had to replace the garage doors as they'd gone rotten and were too far gone (picture me, one wild and windy day, trying to hold the doors shut to stop them falling outwards onto the car and at the same time calling to Graham for help - who of course couldn't hear me, being round the corner and inside the house - enough was enough - so now we have a nice new up-and-over door that won't disintegrate in the wind and damage the car).  The toilet flush packed up and had to be replaced.  Graham's mobility scooter broke down, we thought initially it was the batteries, but turns out to be something else - to do with the computerised starting system or some such, don't ask me the technicalities - so that's had to go away to be repaired and won't be back until Monday.

Then the kettle began to leak so I checked out the Internet for a new one - we have a "whistling" kettle which we really liked so I needed to find the same one again .... the updated model turned out to be way cheaper on Amazon ..... so when it arrived, of course it was well packed inside another larger box padded with brown paper.  You've guessed it - naturally, Mia had to investigate, hop in, make herself at home and that was it - we are now currently living with a large cardboard box in our living room (along with an assortment of paper balls, feathers, wool, catnip mouse and tape measure - mine till Mia commandeered it - we find ourselves having to explain it all to any visitors)!

 Nothing "crafty" to show you today I'm afraid.  Haven't done more than a few ATCs recently and I can't show those yet as they're for a future swap I'm in.  Went to the Royal Preston Hospital last week for more tests on my arm (EMG) - this time both my arms and legs were checked out, with electrical currents, and I had eight needles also put into my dodgy arm, the unofficial result was that nerves/muscles were okay everywhere else and that my left arm/hand doesn't appear worse.  The consultant will get the full results in a few weeks.  In the meanwhile, I'm not so sure about this "not getting worse" bit as some days it feels as though it's deteriorated and right now it's not so good to the extent that I'm having to type using only one finger on my left hand or I'm making lots of typing errors due to the hand weakness.  Very frustrating and a complete mystery as to what's caused it !!!!  But enough's enough, best stop typing now before I completely wear my hand out!  Just didn't want you all to think I'd totally vanished into the "ether" ! 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Journal Tags

Just a quick line to say that all the lovely journal tags have now been swapped out and popped into the local postbox - they should be winging their way to all those who participated in the morning.  Thanks to all that joined in, I hope you like your tags but silly me forgot to take photos of them all before they were sealed up in their envelopes!  Memory like a sieve these days I'm afraid!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


I'm typing this with rather inky fingers (despite giving them a good scrubbing) as I had a session this afternoon inking up, painting and stamping on a set of tags to create backgrounds, which will be swapped out with other artists to add photos of themselves and quotes - eventually we'll all end up with a tag book each, it's called "Sisters in Art" and being run by Ali (who always has brilliant imaginative ideas for swaps) on her Yahoo group, VintageATC UK.  Anyway, I rather enjoyed myself and have decided I'm a bit of a fan of "tags" at the moment ..... I've also finished my three tags (Autumn, Daydreamer and Vintage Birds) for my own tag swap running here on my blog this month (check out the details in the sidebar as there's still time to join in if you fancy having a go)!  Have received a couple of sets already and they're lovely so I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of you all come up with.

So ....... whilst I was playing with the tags this afternoon I remembered that I promised to put up pics of the "Steampunk" ATCs that I made a while back - so here they are, hope you like them, they're my first attempts at the steampunk style which is a style that I love and have seen some fabulous art created in it - just try googling to see what an enormous range of steampunk creations there are!

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Flying Machine

The Mad Scientist

The Time Machine

This Way Up

All the above ATCs are still in my possession for one-to-one swaps, but the three ATCs below are the ones I made for the Steampunk swap I was in so they've now gone to new homes.

Medicine Man

Time Traveller

Robot Punk

Thanks also for the lovely comments left about my Heaven and Hell pages, they're much appreciated.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

My Tag Pages for the Journal Journeys Challenge

This month's challenge set by Dawn over at Journal Journeys (click on the link in the sidebar to check her blog out) was to add a tag or inclusion to your journal pages.  Coincidentally ..... definitely not intentionally .... on the same day I also posted a challenge on my blog for Journalling Tags (great minds and all that *LOL* ....... don't forget to sign up for this one, by the way, if you fancy having a go - it's not due till the end of the month and all details are over in the sidebar too).  Anyway .... I digress .......

Okay, I thought, I had an idea to add some tip-in tags to my pages, having done something similar in an altered book round robin swap, so I merrily set to and gave the next pages in my journal (the Khadi handmade papers one I'd set aside for the Journal Journeys challenges) a "soaking" with watercolour paints ...... oops! next thing I know, the pages are peeling out of the book because the water has loosened up all the glue binding them to the spine.  Disaster !!!  What to do????  I couldn't throw them away and start again because on the back of one of the pages was the first challenge I'd done (the pink and orange one) and I didn't want to lose it.

Time for some quick-thinking - okay, I'll put them in my other art journal; fine, but the pages are different sizes, which meant a bit of juggling around, cutting down pages and taping the new ones in so they were all the same size.  In the end, it worked well and I was happy with the result.  The theme of my pages is Heaven and Hell Is ....... I cut down one page into just a strip and adhered the tags to it, then wrote a random selection of my own particular "heaven and hells" on each side. 

These are the Heaven and Hell background pages - I used a mixture of watercolour paints, glimmer mist sprays, stamps and images, bits of lace and glitzy stickles

Close Up of the Heaven page - the image was one I spotted in my local paper and gave me the idea for the pages

The image for the Hell page came from a page-a-day calendar we have on the subject of "magic"

Here are the pages as they look with the tag inserts (Heaven side) - I added eyelets and fibres to the end of each tag

Tag inserts showing the Hell side

I had great fun making these pages, even though they ended up being a bit fiddly and time-consuming, and I'm fairly pleased with the results.

Things I have learnt about art journals - firstly, the art journal that I am now using is one I purchased from Paper Chase in Manchester last year.  It's pretty sturdy but the pages are paperbag brown and quite heavy, which means I have to cover each page with white gesso, acrylic paint or paper before I can start journalling and all these extra layers are making a lot of the pages rather stiff.  Also, the book is in landscape mode.  I'll know in future to choose books with white pages, maybe not so heavy and either square or portrait layout as I think that'll be easier to work with.  I've also learnt to check out the binding of the journals carefully too in order to avoid another journal falling to pieces on me when it gets wet (I'll have to make sure I don't use anything too wet near the spine of the Khadi book from now on - it's a lovely book to work in though, the texture of the paper is super, so I shall definitely be using it for some other journalling or poetry)!!! 

Finally, I've learnt to just have a go in my journal - sometimes I've followed journalling prompts or challenges, sometimes I've just created a page out of my own head, how I'm feeling on a particular day (not necessarily how I'm feeling the next day), some pages are more successful than others, some I might want to keep secret, but it doesn't matter if they look messy or neat, serious or funny, nonsense or intelligent ..... each and every one of them is a way of expressing my feelings in any one moment of time and it definitely doesn't matter if I make mistakes, how else do we learn?

Hope you've enjoyed looking at my entry for Dawn's challenge and maybe you'll feel inspired to have a go at journalling yourself too.  Have fun!

Thursday, 1 September 2011


Today, according to the weather people last night, is the first day of autumn - not so sure myself, but there's definitely a freshness in the air and the sun has been shining wonderfully all day - it certainly feels like summer is sliding down into autumn and it's one of my favourite times of the year.  Anyway, it put me in the mood to come up with a new challenge swap for you all and this one is all about "Tags".

I'd like you to create three tags, approx size 3" x 5", each with a different theme :-

1)  Season of Mellow Fruitfulness (Autumnal)
2)  Vintage Birds
3)  The Daydreamer

The idea is that these tags can be added to your art journals (for those of you who journal) or used as gift tags if you don't, so please leave some plain areas on your tags so that the recipient can add their own journalling or words.  Please also lightly decorate the back of each tag with paper, inks and/or stamping and include your personal info around the edges, so there's room on the back of the tag for more journalling if desired.

Usual rules apply - tags to be with me by 30th September and please include an SAE (large letter stamp/sturdy envelope) for returns.  Email me to sign up and if you have any questions.  I've added the details of this swap in the sidebar too. 

Hope this challenge swap appeals and I can tempt some of you to join in!  Look forward to seeing what you all come up with.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Flying without Wings

It's almost the end of the month and, with a spot of cheating, I'm just about in time to post a pic of a "fairy" page I've created to add to my 2011 Art Journal, so meeting Dawn's Journal Journeys challenge theme of Fairies for August.  I say cheating because I actually made the page some while back for a round robin swap which as sometimes happens didn't materialise.  I've really been short of time this month for making much art at all and the "fairy" theme kept slipping away from me.

However, when I re-discovered this page (during a tidy up) I thought it might just fit the theme - at the time "Flying without Wings" was playing on the radio, hence the words I added to complete the page - hope it fits the bill ! 
Looking forward to seeing what Dawn has in store for us in September!  Go check out her blog (link above) if you fancy having a go at her journal challenges.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Apologies for not posting so regularly recently, there's been a lot going on, but hopefully I may have a little more time now to "blog" and "art".  Anyway, I'm sure everyone must have received their bookmarks by now so I thought it was time I put up photos of them all - a lot of these book titles were new to me so will be added to my reading list.
Bobbie Eccles - Front and Back 

Chris Bedford - Front and Back 

Joanne Parkin - Front and Back 

Sheila King - Front and Back

Sonia Jones - Front and Back 

Sue Jenneys - Front and Back 

Sue Horsley - Front and Back 

Hope you enjoyed browsing through them - and for those who took part in the swap, hope you enjoyed the challenge of creating something a little different from my usual ATC ones.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

A Journal Page

Whoo, I've just had a marathon session printing off lots of old family photos from the computer, so before I packed up for the day, just thought I'd show you a picture of the last journal page I did (courtesy of Ali's prompts).  This was created a few weeks ago and the theme of the page was "LOVE".  I chose to use one of my favourite pieces of poetry (a Shakespeare sonnet) as the focus of mine.

My feet have hardly touched the ground for the past few weeks, so much has been going on (family wise), but things may calm down again shortly so I'm hoping to be able to concentrate a bit more time on my art journalling before too long. 

Anyway, just a short post today ....... catch up with you all again soon!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Look at these Beauties ......

,,,,, that landed on my doorstep yesterday morning.  I was involved in a Journal Envelope Round Robin on the Vintage ATCs UK Yahoo Group - we each coloured the backs of four envelopes any way we liked, I used acrylic paint dabbers, and sent them on to the next person in the RR, along with a tag and couple of images for each envelope.  Each person added to the envelopes with stamps, the chosen images plus any extras, embellishments, collaging, etc, and finally they were returned home to us.

Mine are just absolutely gorgeous, I love them ...... the idea is to add them into our journals, write on them if we want as well as having the insides as pockets for secret messages or photos, or anything else we fancy.  Right now, though, I just can't imagine "spoiling" them with my scruffy handrwriting ! 

(Pic of same envie below, with tag on top)

My envelopes were decorated by three American artists (Jeannie, Marita and Gina) ..... they did a fabulous job, didn't they?  Everyone loved creating these journal envies and we're planning on doing it again before too long. 

(The Bookmark Swap is now closed, all sets arrived safely and they're all now ready for posting out tomorrow - so watch your letterboxes, ladies, for something nice dropping in.  Thank you all for taking part).

Monday, 1 August 2011

A little bit of background journalling .....

I haven't done any journalling this past week or so I'm afraid, though I've got several ideas floating around in my head (just haven't had enough free time).  I did create a couple of background pages in my journal a little while back - Ali (click to link up to her online group) posted some instructions about some backgrounds she was creating and suggested we play along too.  The pages involved paints, paper strips, stamping, masking, clingfilm and stencilling ...... a whole lot of fun and I loved the way my pages turned out.  Now they're all ready to add some journalling!

I was going to show you a picture of the last journal page I created too, but just realised I haven't taken a photo of it yet - oops!!! - so it'll have to wait till another time.  Also haven't forgotten that I promised to post pics of the steampunk atcs I made so I'll add them some time soon as well.

The Bookmark Swap is now officially closed (yesterday) - the bookmarks received are fab, but I'm just waiting on one set coming in ...... I know it's on its way, just think the post office are playing slow at delivery.  So once the last bookmarks come in, I'll be swapping them all out - it's been fascinating to see which books have been chosen and there's a fair few I'll be adding to my own "must read" list I think!

Finally - it's the 1st August today, which means Dawn has posted her next challenge on her Journals Journey blog so hop on over to see what it is ..... you'll like it, I know I'll be joining in.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

My Lovely Chunky Book ..... with thanks

Sorry not to have posted sooner, but life is very hectic here at the moment, with little time for any crafting, journalling or blogging.  However, last week I received a lovely and unexpected surprise, from Sheila and hand-delivered to me by my sister Lindsay.  Last year Sheila decided to host a chunky book swap, having previously joined in the one that I ran - I signed up but unfortunately had to drop out when I realised, primarily for health reasons, that I wouldn't be able to complete the number of pages required.  So you can imagine how surprised and delighted I was to receive a book after all ...... everyone had kindly created an extra page for me so that I wouldn't miss out!

The theme I chose for my book was "Heavenly Bodies" and these are the pages in my book ........

Sheila's page
(Sheila also did a wonderful silvery textured front page and a back page for the book)

Gez's page

Lindsay, my sister's page

Elaine's page

Hilda's page

Cheryl's page

Joanne's page

Zoe's page

Sonia's page

Karen's page

Thanks, girls, you all did wonderful work - I love my book !