Monday, January 31, 2011

A little diversion from my daily journal....

Tonight instead of starting a new page in my little daily journal, I thought I'd better start prepping some pages in my travel journal ready for our trip to Paris in just 2 weeks!  (can't wait!)

I want to keep up my 10 minutes a day while we're away, but I don't want to be carting bags full of art materials around with me, or doing anything overly complicated while we are there, so I thought I'd prep up 2 or 3 background pages and just take a glue stick and a couple of nice pens and just write a bit up about each day, and stick in a few tickets and other souvenirs.  Sounds like a plan.

So this is the first of those background pages.

It was easy peasy, but I like the way it turned out, even if it is a bit pretty pretty pastel compared to the stuff I usually produce.

I lightly sketched a (hopefully recognisable!) picture of the Eiffel Tower, and the word Paris, and then went over the pencil with masking fluid:

(please excuse my grubby table!)
I washed some watercolours over the word and the Eiffel Tower, and then used the same colours watered down further over the rest of the page.

Once everything had dried, I peeled off the masking fluid (see top picture, this was the fun bit!), rubbed out the pencil lines, and ended up with a nice resist image:

Purty :)

I'm looking forward to finishing this page off in Gay Paree!

 AJED : 31/365

Bit of an explosion in a paint factory, this one....

 ....but here we are with another journal page, my last for January. 

I'm pleased to have completed 13 pages over the month, I hope I can keep this pace up.

I saw this quotation - "when you realise how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky" - on ChrisG's excellent blog.

Some sites attribute the saying to Buddha, but most have it marked down as fake, there's no evidence that it's even close to anything Buddha actually said - but never mind, fake Buddha seems to have a way with words too!

The page base is collaged with various book pages, postage stamps, sheet music, etc.  You can just see bits of those peeking through if you look carefully.  This was coated with gesso and a couple of colours of acrylic paint.

I added a couple of swirls with india ink on a paintbrush in the bottom right hand corner and 2 packing tape transferred airships, which I had left over from that His Dark Materials CJ entry the other day.  I also put a strip of my favourite Japanese cityscape tape down the left side.  

Then I added 3 copies of a photo of me laughing my head off on a theme park ride, framed with yet more paint, and the main journalling in blue Uni POSCA paint pen, outlined with a black Pitt pen.

Three stars cut from book pages coloured with yellow oil pastel and some white pen scallops finished it off.

This page is an unholy mess, but I have enjoyed pulling it together over the past 3 days, and it makes me happy.  That's all I need from it really.

AJED : 30 / 365

Friday, January 28, 2011

If you had three wishes....

....what would you wish for??

Is it tricky to narrow it down to three?  Or would you cheat and go for all encompassing ones like "I wish that everyone in the universe was happy and healthy"?

I scribbled my hopes and dreams all over the background of this page (and veered wildly off topic half way down, as I tend to do when I just spill the words out onto paper), and then covered most of the writing up again.  But I know what's under there, which is all that matters I guess.

Did you know, it's REALLY difficult to take a photo of your right hand with fingers crossed when you are right handed and your camera is heavy and unwieldy?  That piccie you see there took about 20 attempts!  Got there in the end though.

Supplies used on here: the background is Golden fluid acrylics and glimmer mist sprays with some overstamping with black and white gesso, and some splats of light grey acrylic ink.  The hand is my own, the candles were from a piccie on't interwebs.  The 123 stamp is by Paper Bag Studios, the letter stamps spelling WISHES are by Creative Imaginations.  The light pink border is hockey tape.  I think that's everything.  I don't know who made the embroidery floss :)

AJED: 27/365

Thursday, January 27, 2011

His Dark Materials

What a fun circle journey entry this one was to work on!

This is from the Take Ten CJ, and the theme here is famous books.

I'm the seventh to play in this book so there were only 4 titles left to choose from, and I'm ashamed to say that I hadn't heard of three of them!

But luckily one of the remaining choices was Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy, which is such a good one that I would have chosen it anyway I think, even if I'd had first dibs.

A quick how to:

The background is made from a paper napkin that I have been keeping for the perfect moment, and this turned out to be it.  It was glued down with gel medium and then sprayed with a couple of different colours of glimmer mist.  And then I painted in a few darker stripes on the right hand side.

Will, Lyra and her daemon were cut out and then painted with a white paint pen to make them nice and bright white.

I decided that they needed something behind them so roughly sketched a viaduct on some of my scrap paper that I use to protect my table when using spray inks and cut it out.

The airship and scroll (which features the passage from John Milton's Paradise Lost which inspired the title of the book series) were aged with distress inks and then glued down.

Three rusty iron stars finish it all off down in the bottom left.

Next month I have "Couples in Literature" (more books!  don't these people realise that I don't have time to read? :) ) - I have chosen Orpheus and Eurydice, wish me luck!

And don't worry, I haven't forgotten my ten minutes art journalling tonight, no completed pages yet to share, but here are a couple of backgrounds-in-progress:

The second one was made using this fab technique from the very talented Dyan Reaveley:

Clever, huh?

AJED : 26/365

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yet another art journal page....are you all getting bored yet?.....

...because I'm afraid I'm not! Sorry :)

This one has taken 4 days, not because it was difficult, but because I had a busy busy busy weekend, so my ten minutes per day really was only ten minutes.  And also because the page had no idea where it was going and I needed to give it time to figure itself out.

This is so liberating for me, making stuff without a hint of a plan, I love it!

So, on day 1, Friday, I just prepped the page with black gesso (my son Darby's suggestion, he saw me getting the white gesso out as usual and said 'why don't you use black gesso instead because Bob Ross likes black gesso' - so I did :)  ).  And I also painted the blue/green and reddy pink papers which would go on to make those chevron strips, and stamped spots on them in copper ink.

On day 2, Saturday, I stamped the 5 journalling blocks with white ink, and painted them roughly inside with blue and purple interference paints.  I also added the scribbled oil pastel border.  And I punched out all the chevrons for the strips and stuck them on. 

The page now looked like this:

And then I drew a bit of a blank....

The plan was to journal inside those blocks, but I had no idea what about....

On day 3, Sunday, we went to London, to the Science Museum, where we saw this fantastic display of sculptural casts of the same face showing different emotions:

Amazing aren't they!

I took photos of the 6 faces, and said to my other half that I might use them in my journal....and then he pointed out something I had completely missed....the journalling blocks I had laid out, with their metallic/reflective interference paint, looked like mirrors!  And these fab faces would look brilliant staring out from these mirrors.

This is why I call him my creative director, he always has clever ideas like that.

We got home late that night and I was tired, but I still did my 10 minutes, I printed out the photos of the 6 faces, and cut them out.

Then today, I finished the page off by sticking the faces down on their mirrors, outlining them with white pen, and adding all the writing and a few doodles.

I really like how this one turned out, it's definititely a different challenge starting with a base of black instead of white, but it's a fun one!

And it gave me a chance to play with two new toys, the chevron punch, and the rest of my POSCA paint pens.  Both toys that I will definitely be playing with again very soon.

Can't believe I haven't missed a single day of this yet - doing something creative, however small, every single day, is such a great feeling.

AJED : 24/265

Friday, January 21, 2011

AJED: 10 pages in 20 days, I'm on a roll :)

I can't believe that I haven't missed a day yet of working in my journal for at least 10 minutes - and that I'm averaging one completed page every other day - go me!

I had a lot of fun with this particular page, trying out all sorts of new techniques - like toner transfers with a Chartpak blender pen - and toys - like my fantastic new POSCA paint markers.

I also tried out an idea I saw on a blog somewhere - wish I could remember where! - of drawing a rough border with oil pastels before you start slathering paint on top - and then using a sharp blade at the end to scrape off the paint at the page edges revealing the oil pastel colour underneath.  It looks wonderfully grungy - I like!

Close up so you can see the toner transfers (under the orange paint) and the oil pastel border a little better:

The photo is one I took on Christmas Day last year when we (me, my 3 boys, my sister, my cousin and my 2nd cousin) went for a walk in the failing light up to Fortune Green cemetery.  I was kicking myself I didn't have a real camera with me, just my phone, which doesn't cope all that well with poor light.

But if anything, the lo-fi-ness of the pics worked in their favour:

And the "Don't Blink" title?  Well, that is of course a nod to the best Dr Who episode ever!

**edited to add - I just noticed that I forgot the apostrophe on "don't" - how awfully illiterate of me!  Luckily it was a quick fix: 

AJED : 20/365

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So I've been stuck working from home today....

...looking after Connor and his poorly foot.

To be honest I'm no big fan of working from home, the remote connection to our work computers is slow and keeps kicking me out, I don't have anywhere really comfortable to sit and work for long stretches, and it's hard to concentrate with a small person complaining that they are booooooooooored, or hungry, or thirsty, or all three.

But there's one big plus, I have all my art and craft materials in easy reach during my lunch break - yay!

So today I had my journal page finished by 1pm :)

It helped that it was a quick and easy one - it was in response to the weekly journalling prompt set by Efemera over at UKStampers:

Your prompt word this week is.... Schooldays
1 Jot down 10 random things about your schooldays.
2 Use lined paper
3 Add some ink blots and doodle in the margin. 

I worked quickly without trying to make it look pretty, as I wanted it to be as messy and as "me" as a page from one of my old school exercise books, and I think it worked.

All the "I remember"s remind me of all the lines I used to have to write in detentions!

This was also a chance to finally use the set of teacher's tracing alphabet stamps that I picked up at a boot sale about 7 years ago and have never opened - they stamp horribly but as it's a messy page anyway it doesn't really matter :)

And - as I had already gotten my art journal every day commitment out of the way at lunch, I had the evening free to polish off a Circle Journal page.  Get me!  Mrs. super productive!

Excuse the rubbish photo of this one, the flash caught the copper embossing a bit too bright.

This is my entry for "brown" in the Colours CJ.  The temptation to do my layout on Mr Hanky the Christmas Poo was strong, but I resisted (after all, Christmas is so last month)

Apparently I have "coffee and cream" coming next that would be more brown then?  Mr Hanky, anybody???

AJED : 18/365

Can you spot it? Nobody I've shown the page to so far has.....

So I'm still art journalling every day.....I don't think I've ever had any kind of resolution that lasted this far into January! :) 

This page is in response to the first set of prompts on the A Year In The Life Of An Art Journal blog....  the requirement to include a foot photo on the page gave me the opportunity to illustrate being 'different' in a 'different' kind of it!

I tried out my new calligraphy fountain pen for the first time on the bottom bit of journalling, not sure if I like it or not, but then everyone hates their own handwriting don't they?

The photo above doesn't show the sparklyness of this one, as the background is 99% glimmer mists, gotta love glimmer mists, especially now that I've refreshed them with a pinch of perfect pearls to add a bit of extra shimmer.  This pic gives you a better idea:

AJED : 17/365

Friday, January 14, 2011

Another art journal page that didn't have much of a plan....

...and it seems that's the best way.

This one started off like this:

The face was from a brown paper bag that Connor brought home from a school trip to Bath.

I ripped it, stuck it down, gessoed over the lot, stamped a few black stars, and then thought "now what?"

I decided that the face looked a bit too much like Father Christmas (it's actually a Gorgon, according to Connor anyway, I thought they were female but what do I know?), so on a bit of a whim I made him into a sun.

Then I grabbed the first tub of paint that looked like it would go with the yellow - hot pink fabric paint, which dried a bit strangely over the gesso, almost like alcohol inks, kinda cool.

Then I sprayed the living daylights out of it with irridescent gold glimmer mists.  Just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Stamped journalling about how I can't wait for the warmth and the long daylight hours of the summer, and three gold eyelets, and it was done.

I love this letting-the-page-go-wherever-on-earth-it-feels-like-it thing, it's fun! 

AJED : 14/365

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Definitely my favourite art journal page so far

This one had a mind of its own, I had no idea where it was going, I just came along for the ride :)

Maybe that's why I like it so much, I didn't have to work at it.

The background you've seen before, all I did tonight in my 10 minutes was finish it off.

I stamped the cool lil dude at the bottom first - he's a fantastic hand carved eraser stamp made for me by my incredibly talented friend Monika - because he fitted neatly into those triangle shaped holes (these were leftovers from when I punched the pennant triangles for the "thanks page")

Here's a close up - isn't it weird that even though they were both stamped with the same stamp, these two chaps look like they have very different personalities?

For no obvious reason I then got to thinking of my dreams, and how I can never remember them at all, but I am pretty sure they're really good ones.  Maybe these little chaps steal my dream memories?

The big bold title (which takes up the top one of my journalling blocks, so I had to write small to fit everything in to the other two), a couple of doodled stars and the jornalling itself finished the page off.

I think this is the way to go from now on, rather than starting a page with a plan for the finished product already in mind (which is the norm for my CJs) , I think I'll just let the art journal pages evolve on their own.  It's more fun that way, plus it seems the end result works better too.  Who'd a thunk it?  No plan is better than plan!

AJED : 12/365

Don't worry, I'm still at it for at least 10 minutes a day....

... but I had two art journal pages in progress at once over the last 3 days, so didn't have anything new to share before tonight.

The first up is this "thanks" page....I've journalled a whole bunch of things that I'm grateful for....something to look back at if I'm ever feeling low, to remind me just how awesome my life actually is!

I seem to have a thing about triangles and harlequins and pennant borders , they just keep popping up everywhere.

And I've also got this messy page in progress.  I've no idea what it's going to be about or where it will go from here, but I've thoroughly enjoyed working on the background (even if it did drip all over the rest of the book and spoil my past pages, grrrr, you can see some of the drips on the page following "thanks" in the book above.  Never mind, I can cover them up)

Look, more triangles!

AJED :  11/365

Monday, January 10, 2011

the mysterious Project Zero unveiled!

It wasn’t supposed to be so mysterious, by the way, it’s just that I knew this would be a long blog post, and I just haven’t had time to write it all up until now (plus I wanted to finish blogging the A-Z Year first as this effectively replaces A-Z as our family’s main motivational ‘thing’ this year).

So – a bit of background….

At some point last year, I saw on another blog, reference to a site called Day Zero. The point of this site, is that users would choose a start date (Day Zero), and a list of 101 goals that they would like to achieve – some big, some small. From their Day Zero, they get 1,001 days (just under 3 years) to tick everything off of that list. So that’s roughly one goal achieved every ten days, if things go to plan, and the nice long timescale gives you time to make arrangements / save up cash for any goals that are tricky/expensive (one of ours, for example, is to go to California, which we will need a year or two’s saving up for, for sure).

The Day Zero website was fab – you could browse through everyone else’s lists for inspiration, and there were various other ways to help you pick your goals – I liked the “would you rather” tool especially. And there was somewhere to store your own goals too. Which I did. And I didn’t back them up anywhere.

(you know what's coming next, don't you....)

And then the web site disappeared last December! Nooooo! (The owner is travelling in India and is unable to get it fixed until he gets home, so it’s still down)

Which is another reason why I am late blogging this, as I had to start all over again building the list of goals. Bummer :(

I also, for some reason, started calling the thing “Project 101” in my head, which then got kind of merged to “Project Zero”, which actually makes less sense than either “Day Zero” or “Project 101” when you think about it, but never mind, it has kind of stuck now.

So – now you know what it is, here is our list!

(you’ll notice we’re not quite up to 101 yet, this is because we wanted to leave some scope to add new goals in during the course of the project, there are about 20 spaces left to fill)

Day Zero – 1st January 2011
End Date – 28th September 2013

Goals are categorised depending on who they are for (just me, me and Jay, or the whole family), and what type of goal it is (travel, creative, geocaching, none of the above….)

They are in no particular order of importance:

All of Us

Places To Go
  • A trip to the IoW including a game at the Ryde rink
  • A day out at Symonds Yat and Clearwell Caves
  • Climb Glastonbury Tor
  • Get lost in the maze at Blenheim Palace – progress made on this one, have already bought tickets
  • Go to a Roller Derby bout
  • Visit Gormley's "Another Place" sculptures
  • Visit 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites – 3 down, 7 to go
  • Go to the seaside in the Winter
  • Visit the European Drag Racing Championships at Santa Pod
  • Holiday in Blackpool – booked for next August, this was the kids’ choice, I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to it or not!
  • A day out at Weston Super Mare – this one’s for me, as I’ve never been despite living so close, and we want to see the new pier
  • Go to a Disney theme park – booked! We are off to Disneyland Paris next month, woohoo!
  • Visit Barbury Castle – right on our doorstep but we’ve never been
  • Go camping – not looking forward to this one :( I’m too old for tents!
  • Climb Solsbury Hill nr Bath
  • Holiday to California & Oregon – this is our long shot goal, fingers crossed for a lottery win!
  • Ride 5 roller coasters that none of us have ever been on before
  • Visit all 9 of the surviving Wilts/Oxon white horses – 2 down, 7 to go
  • Visit the Isle of Man
  • Go to Alton Towers – Connor has never been, and it’s at least 15 years since I last did
  • Clifton Observatory
  • Visit 10 different museums
  • Go to Drayton Manor
  • Holiday in Cornwall
  • Visit 5 more National Trust properties before our membership runs out – expires June 2011
  • Get a FTF! – we only want one, we’re not greedy :)
  • Between our two accounts, own a total of 10 active cache hides – we currently have 3
  • Find a geocache in a tunnel
  • Solve and find a total of 10 puzzle caches
  • Visit at least two of the Geocaching Trifecta in Oregon & Seattle – this relies on the California / Oregon holiday
  • Find a night cache (one that is designed only for night time access)
  • Find a geocache in a cave / underground
  • Find a Wherigo cache
  • Find a CHIRP cache
  • Bake (from scratch!) and decorate cupcakes – we aren’t the most domesticated of families, usually only making cakes from the sort of cake mix where you just add water and hope for the best - so this routine task for most will be an interesting adventure for us!
  • Go kite flying on a beach
  • Witness a solar eclipse – let’s hope there is one scheduled at some point in the next 2 and ¾ years! :)
  • Attempt surfing – emphasis on the word attempt
  • Make a wish at 11:11 on November 11 2011
  • take Connor and Reece to their first live gig – the tricky bit will be getting them to agree on a band they both like
  • Tie a note to a helium filled balloon and let it go
  • Have a Facebook-free week – eeeek!
  • Start a new family tradition
  • See a duck billed platypus in the flesh – the trouble with this one, is they don’t seem to be in any zoos outside Australia!!
  • Go horseriding 
  • Go up in a hot air balloon
  • Snorkel with fishes all around
  • Go go-karting or quad biking
  • Go to a football match
  • Milk a cow
Just Sarah & Jay

Places to Go
  • Have a smooch by or on the Eiffel Tower – Paris trip booked for February, just have to persuade him to kiss me :)
  • A long weekend in Prague
  • Reach the milestone of 500 geocaches found
  • Find a 5-star geocache (difficulty and/or terrain)
  • Visit MKL, Telford and Manchester EPL rinks – MKL down, 2 to go
  • See at least two more NHL teams play live
  • See comedians Ed Byrne and David O Doherty live – progress made on this one, Ed Byrne tickets booked for March 2011
  • Get both our showers fixed!
  • Make a list of 10 movies that we both really want to watch, and watch them
Just the kiddies 
  • Reach the milestone of 300 geocaches found
  • Make a water rocket (as seen on Backyard Science)
  • Have a go at fishing
  • Learn to ice skate
  • Be early for school every day for a fortnight
  • Connor – learn to ride his bike
Just Sarah
  • Frame some of my own work behind glass and hang it up in my home
  • Set up a circle/collaborative journal site/blog – I’ve set the blog up, but it needs a lot more work before it goes live
  • Do the Project365 photography thang – I’m going to do this next year I think, easing myself in with the UKScrappers A-Z photography challenge this year instead
  • Make a big-enough-to-be-functional quilt
  • Send a secret to Postsecret
  • Start a daily Art Journal – ACHIEVED 1/1/11
  • Get back into ATCs - take part in three ATC swaps
  • Sell something hand made on Etsy or Folksy – just one thing will do
  • Photograph Highgate Cemetery
  • Finish Darby's coif
  • Learn to play 3 songs on the guitar
  • Teach Lauren how to make a charm bracelet
  • Finish Pacman needlepoint – about 40% complete but has been shoved in a drawer for the last 3 years
  • Make a "our year in pictures" scrapbook for 2011
  • Learn how to use my jeweller's saw 

And that’s about it!

That little lot should keep us busy for the next couple of years, eh? :)
I’ll blog every goal as we achieve them, in the meantime, wish us luck with finding a live duck billed platypus and saving up enough money to go to California! Oh, and remember, if I suddenly disappear from Facebook, I’m not actually dead, I’m just having a week off :)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A to Z Year : November 19th - December 31st : letters X, Y and Z

And so, here it is, the last A-Z Year post, sob.

I’ll be genuinely sorry to see it go. We had so many wonderful alphabetical adventures in 2010 because of Nicole’s simple but brilliant idea.

I’m so glad we made it through the year without giving up along the way – to be honest that is most unlike me, I’m very much a starter-of-things and very rarely a finisher-of-things.

Our levels of activity did slow down towards the end, granted, with the colder weather limiting our opportunities for day trips, etc. But we did always make sure that we did do at least one thing each fortnight specifically for the A-Z thing. Many of these we would probably never have done otherwise.

So what did we do for the last 3 letters?

Well – for the letter X, we started our Xmas celebrations much earlier than we would usually do. I normally try to ignore Christmas until at least mid December :)  But X fortnight was during November, so we decided to head down to London, and find a Santa’s Grotto where the boys could meet Father Xmas.   (Well it was either that or learn to play the xylophone, and we don't know anyone who has one of those....)

This was harder than you might think. The most popular grottoes (Harrods, Selfridges) were absolutely impossible to get tickets for (apparently they sell out within minutes of release!), and many of the other stores and places (Kew Gardens would have been cool) didn’t start their Christmas season until December. But then we found out about a massive Xmas-themed fun fair / market being held at Hyde Park called Winter Wonderland. It had a Christmas circus, a giant ferris wheel, loads of good rides, plus, all importantly, a Father Xmas grotto.
On the way there, we stopped off in Camden Town and went to EXhibition #3 (I hope that counts as an X :)   ) at the Museum of Everything. One of the main themes this year is taXidermy – specifically the wonderful works of Walter Potter – so I’m counting that X too :D   And we also drove down the street where my Ex lived in West London :)

Once at Winter Wonderland we had a brilliant – but very cold – time. We did take a detour late in the afternoon to visit the EXtremely posh shop Harrods, but that was mainly to warm ourselves up.  Once cozy all through we went back to the fair and went on the EXciting ferris wheel before hometime.

What an EXcellent day that was :) Well, apart from the fact that I fell over and hurt my knee badly (as I type this over 6 weeks later it is still playing me up :(   ), and almost needed an X-Ray. That would have been taking the A-Z cause a little TOO far!  And apart from the fact that we never actually got to see Father Christmas in the end as the queues were ridiculous all day!
Our other participation in X fortnight was in the form of a geocache. We looked and looked for a local cache with the letter X in it for us to do, but with no luck. I commented that, given the nature of the activity (looking for hidden “treasure”), it was surprising that there were no caches for miles around called “X Marks The Spot”. So we decided to hide our own cache with that name. We didn’t actually get it launched within X fortnight, as it took a while to find the perfect spot for it, and a while to get through’s review process. But we did do all the prep during the second X week, including making this pirate map – arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

If you fancy going to search for the cache yourself, here it is: GC2K3KY – X Marks The Spot.

So that was X. It was a pity we couldn’t persuade Connor’s dad to give him his new X-Box a couple of weeks early, just in the spirit of the A-Z Year:)

We thought Y would be easier, but in the end it turned out to be rather tricky. We did have one big day out planned – to Symonds Yat, on the River Wye (geddit?). They have some lovely caves there, and you can visit Father Christmas in the caves. It looked fab, but unfortunately the bad weather (lots of snow and ice, which don’t make for great driving conditions) put paid to that plan :(

Then we thought we would visit the green Santa at Westonbirt Arboretum. The grotto there is very unique, Santa is in his original green robes, and it feels like a more pagan Yule celebration there than the standard commercialised red and white Christmas. So we thought Y for Yule would be perfect. Of course then it turned out that we couldn’t get tickets for the night we wanted. Sigh.

So – by that time just desperate to find a decent Santa’s Grotto for the kids - we ended up going on the Swindon and Cricklade Railway’s Santa Express steam train to the North Pole. Which was fantastic fun, the kids loved it, but there wasn’t a letter Y in sight!!!

One thing I did do, though, was apply for this fantastic Pummelvision video that takes the last 2,500 of your Facebook photographs and puts them together into a kind of stream of consciousness video – it’s like your life flashing before your eyes! And what does it have to do with Y? It loads up onto your Youtube account once it’s finished processing (which, after a few false starts, took a couple of weeks, but I did at least attempt it for the first time during Y fortnight). Here it is, brilliant isn’t it! I got quite emotional watching it for the first time, as apart from the first couple of seconds, it’s almost entirely made up of pics from the year 2010, and we have had such a fantastic year, to see it all fly past me in 4 minutes is really powerful!

Oh, and given the state of the weather, we took this opportunity to give the kids the ultimate bit of parental advice, that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives – never eat yellow snow ;)

So – after Y fortnight being a bit of a failure with no major Y event successfully achieved, we were determined to make up for it during Z – the last letter of this great journey.

Things were a bit busy for the first week of the Z fortnight, in the run up to Christmas, but as soon as the big day was out of the way we headed to Marwell Zoo. Well, where ELSE could we go for Z? Zambia is a bit far :)

There were Zs aplenty here, with lots of zoo-keepers, and of course zebras. And I made good use of my zoom lens snapping photos galore.

We virtually had the place to ourselves as it was a cold, very foggy day, not an obvious day to go zoo visiting. But I think because of the cold, and the lack of noisy gawkers, it was extra special. The big cats especially were a lot more lively than usual. In the summer they just tend to laze about and ignore you.

So once again (and for the last time, sob, unless we do it all again one time), we have the A-Z year to thank for a great experience. We have of course been to zoos before, but without the timing of the letter Z at the very end of the year, we probably wouldn’t have gone at this particular time and experienced a nigh on empty zoo with great views of the animals.

We also had fun playing zombie games on the Xbox <-------

And the very last thing we did? Very appropriate given that it’s the project that will replace A-Z Year as our main motivation next year. We finalised our list of goals for “Project Zero”, which was due to start (and in fact, as I write this, did start) on January 1st 2011.

Bye Bye A-Z Year!

We THOROUGHLY enjoyed you!