Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hoorah, the postcards are done!

OK, so actually, that’s a fib.  SOME of the postcards are done.  But the rest are at least part assembled and almost there.

I have five finished ones to share, you can imagine the rest as they will look just like these ones, just with different quotes…

(they aren't double matted by the way - the postcards have a white border, the dark brown is just what they were sitting on when I took their picture)

I decided in the end to go with a fairly simple design - just one image and a line or two of text - so as not to cover up too much of that busy busy background

I used this heart image from The Graphics Fairy, and had fun researching a lot of different heart-related quotes to go with it, so each postcard could be unique.

Here are all the quotes I used (and a couple that I liked but didn’t use in the end), and where they came from.  See if you can work out who said what :)

(answers are in the comments)


1) Wherever you go, go with all your heart
2) There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart….pursue those
3) The heart forgets its sorrow and ache
4) Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
5) Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year
6) Only do what your heart tells you
7) Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this
8) Your heart is full of fertile seeds, waiting to sprout
9) I have a different constitution.  I have a different brain; I have a different heart; I got tiger blood, man.
10) Be careful what you set your heart upon – for it will surely be yours
11) Let your heart guide you.  It whispers, so listen closely
12) The heart has reasons that reason does not understand
13) Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go
14) There are two tragedies in life.  One is to lose your heart’s desire.  The other is to gain it.
15) Above all be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it
16) The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.
17) It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye
18) The head thinks, the hands labour, but it’s the heart that laughs
19) We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures


A) George Bernard Shaw
B) Jacques Benigne Bossuel
C) Ralph Waldo Emerson
D) Liz Curtis Higgs
E) James Russell Lowell
F) Homer
G) Confucius
H) Thornton Wilder
I) Steve Jobs
J) Hardy D Jackson
K) Antoine De Saint-Exupery
L) Buddha
M) Michael Nolan
N) Charlie Sheen
O) Princess Diana
P) the movie Land Before Time
Q) Louise Driscoll
R) James A Baldwin
S) Morihei Ueshiba

How many did you get right?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Postcards in progress

This weekend, I've made a start on my postcards for iHanna's annual swap

They are a long way from finished yet, but I thought I'd share how I'm getting along so far

I am working on all the backgrounds at once, on 4 large sheets of watercolour paper.

Later I will chop them down to size, attach to postcard blanks, and add a focal image / some words...  I think .... to be honest I haven't really decided yet how I am going to finish these off :)

I should make about 16 postcards from this lot, which gives me the 10 I need for the swap, and some spares for if anyone on Postcrossing requests a handmade card.

I started with a pale underpainting in pastel pink and baby blue - not really my colours, but it'll all be covered up soon enough :)

Used my favourite varitone square dots stencil on top with a dark purple spray paint

Brushed gesso randomly over the top in places

Added a wash all over of lilac Ecoline watercolour, and then added red Ecoline in  places.  Love how it settles  differently on the gesso to the rest of the sheet.  That red Ecoline dried paler than that, more like a dark pink.

There are three steps here as I forgot to take pics, metallic copper and blue acrylic paints brushed randomly, followed by circle designs stencilled using bright red spray paint

Next I sprayed metallic gold paint through a circular dot stencil - it's much shinier than it looks in these pics

A few brush strokes with a darker blue/violet paint, and that's the backgrounds all done
I know they look a mess at the moment, but hopefully once they are cut down, matted, and finished off, they will look ok.  Fingers crossed :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rocking Your World Friday - week 8

It's that time of the week again - time to round up all the big and little things that have made me grin like a loon since last Friday, and share them with the world :)

If you would like to do the same, then feel free to hop over to Virginia's blog and join in!

Saturday, we had planned a day trip to Brighton, but the weather forecast was pretty pants so we scratched that idea in favour of a return trip to Oxford to do all the things we ran out of time to do last weekend.

Highlights were the History of Science museum where I got up close and personal with Einstein's blackboard, the Graham Sutherland exhibition at the Oxford gallery of Modern Art, and buying a metric ton of postcards in Blackwells book shop and the Bodelian library

Devastation, East End Street, 1941 by Graham Sutherland
We had a bit of a rest on Sunday but the next day it was back into action because my youngest had a teacher training day and I booked the day off work so we could have a Mummy-Connor day.

We decided to pay my Dad a visit in London, as we haven't been down to see him for a while (Boxing Day was the last time I think? BAD daughter!). Connor was really excited mainly because he loves his grandad, of course! But also because grandad lives almost next door to a Hungry Horse pub :) so that's where we went for lunch.

After our food had gone down Connor and I headed up into the city proper on the tube - the plan being to head straight for the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. But then on a whim we hopped out at Bethnal Green on the way, and went to the toy museum (nowadays called the V&A Museum of Childhood)

Wow, this place has changed so much since I last visited (which may have been when I was a child myself....). I remember it being a bit dingy, and with one room just full of creepy Victorian dolls. Shudder! But now it's all open plan and light and airy, and there are tons of interactive and dress up areas. It was so much fun! At one point I was convinced that we were going to get kicked out as we both got a total fit of the giggles (more like shrieks of laughter!), and I was getting some properly disapproving looks from some of the other parents. Oh well, if you can't have fun in a huge building full of toys, then the world is in a sorry state :)

Evil pirate bandits!!!  pow pow pow pow!!

We did make it to the National Gallery next (where I can assure you we were much better behaved ;)

There was a giant countdown clock in front of it, for some sporting event of some sort ;)

I always assumed that I'd been to the Nat Gallery before as a kiddie, but it didn't look familiar, so this must have been my first time.  Wow what an experience!  I saw original masterpieces, up close, not even behind glass, by - deep breath - Constable, Rembrandt, Rubens, Turner, Picasso, Pissarro, Monet, Manet, Degas, Van Gogh, Bosch, Holbein, Seurat, Renoir, Gaugin, Cezanne, Rousseau, Canaletto, Titian, and LOADS more!  So much eye candy!

Some of our favourites from the day:

Holbein - with the cool perspective skull that looks perfect from the right hand side of the painting, but all squished when you look head on

Van Gogh

the Ugly Duchess by Matsys - apparently this painting from  1456 was the inspiration for the  Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland
I could have stayed in there all night but they rather selfishly wanted to close up for the day, so I bought some postcards (yes, MORE postcards!) and then we walked up the road to Chinatown.

The sun was just going down when we got there, it looks even prettier in the blue hour.  And we found a shop selling proper, actual MOUNTAIN DEW!!  woohoo!  not that nasty energy drink version they sell over here.

All in all a brilliant day

And the rest of the week to date has been pretty good too - pancakes on Tuesday - yum yum!

A gorgeous necklace in the post on Wednesday from my bessie mate Alison - a "just because" pressie - thank you so much bwwoo!

And yesterday, a day out of the office in the glorious sunshine, down to Surrey to do some training at Unliver, where they have FREE Ben & Jerry's in reception (oh god if I worked there I would be 40 stone :) ), and they gave us each a goodie bag of all sorts of product samples from haircare products to Hellmans mayonnaise :)  An unexpected treat.

And last night I booked the cottage for our summer holiday - Cornwall, batten down the hatches, we're coming!

Once again - not a bad week at all!  (apart from toothache and a cold sore, but hey, you can't have everything :) )

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The face inside is right beneath your skin...

Another day, another dollar - or in my case, another week, another CJ

This is my entry in Virginia's journal - which is all about Linkin Park

The pages are folded, so this (above) is what mine looks like closed

And here it is open :

I've gone with the song "Paper Cut" - and as that's about paranoia I had this idea of making Chester's eyes kind of pop out of his head to suggest eyes darting all over the place looking out for the bad guys, that kind of thing.

Not convinced it worked but never mind :) 

The flash is really bouncing off the metallic sprays and inks on that photo above, this close up gives a truer idea of what the background looks like:

So, yes, that's the main entry in the book.

Virginia also asked us to share our recommendations for new music.

Trouble is, I mainly listen to stuff that was recorded 20 years ago :)  So this bit was a bit tricky!

I ended up sharing bands that aren't necessarily new (Polar Bear Club are, not so much the others), but who have released GOOD material recently. In other words they're not just sitting on their laurels living off past glories.  Like some bands I could mention.

Sorry, the flash has rendered that one pretty much illegible.  I really ought to take my photos in the daytime!  (trouble is, I'm at work in the daytime)

and then last but not least, we were asked to make a sign in page, featuring a logo or symbol that represents us or is important to us.  How could I choose anything other than my orca?

So that's it for this month.  I have Sian's song lyrics themed journal next time around, looking forward to that one.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I've just signed up....

...for Hanna's annual mail art swap.  Excited :)

The deadline's soooon, I'd better get cracking on my postcards!

anyone else playing?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let's all pretend it's Friday....

... because I'm a tad tardy with my Rockin' post this week.

Oh if only it was Friday, we'd still have the whole weekend ahead of us - rewindable weekends and fast-forwardable weeks really would rock my world :)

So what were the high points of last week?  I'm going to race through these as life's got very busy all of a sudden!

On the Friday evening after I posted my last RYWF, I finally found some time to work in my art journal for the first time this year.  I've missed it loads!

On Saturday we got to watch our ice hockey team play, and more importantly, win - hooray!

On Sunday we had a fantastic day out in Oxford - three museums, two art galleries and a lovely all you can eat Chinese lunch.

The highlights were the Egyptian exhibit at the Ashmolean, finding a real (albeit stuffed) Perry the Platypus at the Natural History museum, the crazy brilliance that is the Pitt Rivers, and the first Oxford Rhino at the old prison:

the Pitt Rivers museum - this place is wonderful - it's dingy, so they give you little wind up torches to use - but  it is packed full of the most eclectic and seemingly random stuff from all over the world - like Ripleys Believe It Or Not but less tacky :)

Where's Perry?

later this year Oxford will be hosting a rhino trail like London's elephants and Bristol's gorillas - looking forward to it!
On Monday I finally finished (at silly o'clock in the morning and within moments of the deadline) all the page samples for my next tutorial for the Art Journey course over at UKScrappers.  Remind me not to leave it so close to the due date next time!

Tuesday I had an early night, bliss!! I was in bed and fast asleep by 8:30, lovely

Wednesday night brought an extra hockey game, mid week games are rare and they mean I get to see my fella Jay in the week, always a treat, plus we won, against one of the top teams in the league - go Wildcats go!!

On Thursday I discovered I have an unexpected day off!  Our holiday year at work ends on March 31st, and the lady who does our admin is nagging everyone to book their remaining hols.  I thought I had either 1 or 2 days left (I always try and save at least one for childcare emergencies etc), turns out I have THREE :) I've booked them in a block towards the end of March.  No idea yet what I'll do with them - I might just have 3 consecutive pyjama days :)

And on Friday I got my DOWNLOAD tickets!!!  We're going to see the mighty Soundgarden! and Five Finger Death Punch! and Rise Against! and, fingers crossed, Black Sabbath!!!  can't WAIT.

 So there you have it, a good thing happened every single day last week, that'll do me nicely :)

Now I'm heading off to Virginia's blog to see what the other Rockettes have been up to....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Art Journey sneaky peekies....

I have been a busy bee this week preparing page samples for next week’s tutorial over on UKScrappers as part of their *free* six month art journalling workshop – here are some sneaks. 

Can you guess the subject of my “class”??

It goes live next Monday (materials list / research) and Wednesday (tutorial)

See you there!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy luuuurrrvvvve day everybody

Valentines Day card for the best boyfriend in the world ever. ever.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rocking Your World Friday - week 6

You know every week with these posts, I have to fight the urge to embed the video to the most annoying song in the world…

But hey everybody, it’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday! :) 

Everybody lookin’ forward to the weekend??

OK, OK, I’ll stop :) 

So – what’s been happening over the last week that’s shout-out worthy?

On Saturday, we collected my youngest’s brand new phone, and he is over the moon with it!  It’s not only the fact he has a nice new gadget, but the extra freedom it brings him.  I’m now much happier letting him go a bit further afield to knock for a school friend in the afternoon or at the weekends, knowing that he can call me if he has a problem, or that I can call him if I want him to come home, or just want to know where he is.  So he’s happy playing with his pals, and I get a bit more time to myself without a bored child underfoot.  I’d call that a win win, and well worth the £7.50 monthly fee!

Later the same day I had my photographer’s hat back on as the roller derby team I take photos for – the Swindon Rail Road Rebels – had another closed bout.  This was their last “friendly” game before their first public bout next month.  And also the first at a new venue, so I wanted to get as many practice shots as possible to make sure that I can get some really good pics next time.

The really great thing about the new venue is the bright blue floor, which along with my team’s red kit and the visitors’ yellow kit, made for some very primary-colourful photos :)  I really enjoyed watching the action again, and can’t wait for the public bout so I can drag my family along too and show them how great it is!
I emerged from the roller derby to find that while I was indoors, the white stuff had fallen, yay! Not much snow, but enough to amuse the kiddies.  Sadly it was all gone by Monday so I couldn’t use it as an excuse not to go to work ;)   I forgot to take a photo to record our momentous ¼ of an inch snowfall, so here’s a pic somebody else took of my local Chinese restaurant on Saturday instead:

On Sunday Jay had to go home early (boo!) as Reece had a party to go to, and Connor was out playing with his school friends all afternoon, so I had some rather unexpected “me” time.  I was a bit lost at first, not used to it!  But in the end I whacked the Kerrang! Channel on loud on the TV, and sat down and worked on a circle journal entry – started and finished in one sitting which is almost unheard of!  And with that last CJ page done I am now completely up to date with my crafting commitments, and have NO pressing deadlines for the first time in forever.  Such a lovely feeling :) 

Accordingly, on Monday night I didn’t even go NEAR my making-stuff table.  Much as I do enjoy my creative pursuits, it was fab to have a guilt free night off, doing nothing but browsing the net looking at holiday cottages, and watching trashy TV (Ru Paul’s Drag Race, trust me, telly doesn’t come any trashier than that, but I love it :D)

Earlier on Monday, two rather cool things happened.  Firstly, I got an email from the Moleskine company to say that they wanted to use a photo of my 2011 art journal on their "Me and My Moleskine" page :

And not only did I get the bragging rights of being on the website, but also I got to choose a Moleskine journal as a prize - yay!

I went for the pocket-sized watercolour journal, which turned up the very next day:

And secondly - you may have seen me mention the Artistic Licence circle journal I'm currently a part of.  The way this circle works is that each participant has designed a book based upon a specified artist, and as the books travel round, we each do a page in each book in the style of the that artist.

Well, back in early December last year, I was working on Lou's book, and her artist was Nikki Monaghan.  This was my "Monaghan inspired" entry:

and I blogged about it here.

Well if you look at the bottom of that blog entry, you'll see a new comment, left by the actual artist lady herself :)

I was really chuffed that she took the time to comment (and relieved that she didn't hate what I had done lol)

After all that excitement, the rest of my week has been fairly quiet - work, home, play with paints and stuff, read, sleep, that kind of thing - but perfectly pleasant.

Oh and we woke up to the perfect amount of snow this morning - just enough to play snowballs and make everything look pretty, but not enough to disrupt the roads and shut the schools :)

I hope that the rest of the Rockettes have also had nice weeks - I'm off to chief Rockette Virginia's blog to find out!