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.