Friday, 30 December 2016

Happy New Year!!

Hi Everyone,

I haven't had much time for crafting or blogging over the last few weeks, what with Christmas and all kinds of other stuff I won't bother you with - but I'm SO looking forward to geting back into my craft room over the weekend and starting 2017 as I mean to go on.

With this in mind, I had a massive tidy-up on Boxing Day, so my creative space would be all ready to go (it was getting really out of hand!). Here is my newly-tidied desk ...

Last Tim Holtz Tag of 2016!!

Hello everyone,

The last couple of months have been extremely full - not just with Christmas, but with all sorts of other stuff going on - so I haven't had much time for crafting, but I was determined to finish my last Tim Holtz-inspired tag for this year. Talk about just in the nick of time! 

If you follow Tim's blog, you will already know that this year he has been revisiting tags from previous years and remixing them to create new inspiration. Here was Tim's gorgeous tag for December, which combines Shadowpress, Burlap and Punches ...


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

WOYWW #390 - Messier and Messier

Hello everyone,

I'm writing this very quickly on Tuesday evening. By the time it posts itself, it will be Wednesday and time for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. I'll be at work by then, but the lovely Zsuzsa from InkyDinkyDoodle is going to link up for me over at Julia's Stamping Ground. Thanks Zsuzsa!

My desk is a total embarrassment this week - as you can see, I've got to the "shove the clutter to the sides to make JUST enough room to work in" stage AGAIN ...

In my defence, though, it is creative chaos! There's a card there, almost ready to post to a special friend for her birthday tomorrow.

So, whether your workdesk is beautiful and organised or even messier than mine, why not join us over at Julia's and show the world what's happening in your creative space this week? :o)

Thanks for visiting, I'll catch up with everyone as soon as I can :o)

Annie xxx

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Remembering Wonderment

Hello Everyone,

We're nearly at the end of this amazing year of Life Book 2016. For week 47, the lovely Tracy Verdugo showed us how to put together "Inspiration Bundles" and use them as prompts to create another page for our Life Books. She encouraged us to treat this as a playful process and rekindle our sense of wonderment and curiosity

I loved this idea, but felt a little daunted, because I had no idea of where I would end up and didn't even know where to start!

My picture certainly went through some ugly phases, but I carried on regardless and tried to enjoy the journey and just play with the ideas prompted by my Inspiration Bundle.

Here's how it ended up, a bit weird, but hey ho, it's meaningful to me so that's ok ...

The first step is to make up the inspiration bundle of various pieces of paper ephemera. Here's mine all tied up and ready to go ...

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Gilding the Lily

HI Everyone,

I've just caught up with the second bonus lesson for week 45 of Life Book 2016, in which the wonderful Faith Evans-Sills inspired us to paint and doodle on fallen autumn leaves. It did occur to me that it could be kind of gilding the lily to decorate these already-beautiful things, but then I thought, "Why not?! They're just lying there on the ground, why not have fun, enjoy them, be inspired by their shapes and colours ... " It was also really interesting to work on a completely different surface and I found that the Posca acrylic paint pens worked really well.

Here's how mine turned out ...

Faith suggested making them into a banner, or hanging them on a wall, and I thought they could make an unusual greetings card too, but in the end I wanted them to be included in my Life Book, so I stuck them to a page with heavy gel. Not something I would ever have thought of doing before, but I love how it turned out :o)

Thanks for popping in today, see you again soon.

Annie Xxxx

Tuesday, 15 November 2016


Hi everyone,

Now I'm all caught up with the Tim Holtz Tags of 2016, I was determined not to fall behind, so I grabbed a few minutes this morning to make my tag for November. Well, in fact I've been making mini journal pages instead of tags and I just about have room to squeeze one last page in for December.

This year, Tim has been combining two techniques from previous years to create something totally different each month. For November, he reworked Remnant Rub Resist and Dimensional Colouring, as well as layering die cut cork over torn corrugated card to create lots of interesting texture.

Here's my version ..

The rose was stamped with Archival Ink onto the background and again onto some watercolour paper. The raised parts were coloured with Distress Inks on the watercolour paper, cut out and adhered to the background with foam dots. I think it gives a great three-dimensional effect, and I love the way the remnant rubs resist the inks and create that white halo around them.

Thanks for popping in to my blog today, see you again soon :o)

Annie xxx

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Finding Joy in the Small Things

Hi Everyone,

Winter is definitely peeping over the parapets here this week, with steely grey skies and a sudden drop in temperature, but we are still enjoying the beautiful autumnal hues all around us. My very hard-working and tidy-minded husband has been hoovering up the leaves in our garden, whereas I've just been gathering a few pretty ones for my next Life Book project!

For week 46, we had a lesson with the talented Tamara Laporte, who showed us how to draw and paint a beautiful wreath to celebrate Autumn. She also made some really cute Quirky Pumpkins, which I will be trying as soon as I get a chance. Here's my version of the wreath ...

We sketched it in pencil first, then added watery colour (I used my Wispa markers and a water brush), finishing with fine black ink to add definition and detail. After that, I went back in with Inktense water-soluble pencils to add more depth to the colours.

I was inspired by leaves and seed pods which are in my own garden, but used a LOT of artistic license! It was really quick and easy to do and I love the end result - it would be fun to do one for each of the seasons wouldn't it?

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today, hope you are enjoying and feeling inspired by the seasonal changes wherever you are today :o)

Annie xxx

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

WOYWW#388 - messes and prizes!

Hi everyone,

I'll be at work by the time this posts itself for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - hopefully the lovel Zsuzsa at Inky Dinky Doodle will do the honours and link up for me (thanks again Zsuzsa!) and I'll be back later for a snout around to see what everyone else has been up to this week. Why not join us over at Julia's Stamping Ground and show the world what's on YOUR workdesk this week?

Here's mine as it was on Sunday afternoon - no action at all since then!

As you can see, it's got to the point where I barely have room to work on there at all .... again!!! I'm reasonable clean and tidy everywhere else, and my WORK desk (ie at the office) is really organised - but in my little workroom I am a total pig ... I very happy pig though :o)

Most exciting thing on there is the TH die set and little pot of Perfect Pearls, which arrived from Simon Says Stamp on Saturday. I was lucky enough to be one of the winners on Tim Holtz Tags of 2016 in September - the prize was a $25 voucher for SSS and I had SO much fun spending it, but it was really difficult deciding what I wanted the most, because their range is ENORMOUS!!

The picture underneath has actually been finished since I took this photo - but I brought it downstairs to colour in whilst watching Poldark on catch-up TV yesterday. It's going to be a long wait until the next series ...

Thanks for popping in today and I apologise in advance if I'm late visiting this week - I have to work around new working hours now. Have a lovely day and a crafty week.

Annie xxx

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Annie's Emporium of Needful Things

Hello Everyone,

We're on Week 44 of Life Book 2016 - I can't believe it's nearly over! There were two lessons this week. This one was with the lovely Lisa Viger, who created a piece called "I am Worthy of Spinach"! Lisa encouraged us to think about and celebrate things we love and enjoy and to believe that we are worthy of them. She divided the page into sections, filled each box with sketches, doodles and words to show important things in her life, and then added colour to the inked outlines to finish it off.

Mine is a slightly different take on the idea - the "I am worthy" didn't quite sing to me, so I decided to record all the things which are important in my life and which make me happy, and set it out like a page in a catalogue, or a shop window ...

I am very much enjoyed doodling with words just lately - seems to be I want to write all over everything I do at the moment :o)

Thanks for visiting me today, have a happy and creative week and I'll see you again soon.

Annie xxx

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Happiness is not a Destination ...

Hello everyone,

There's a chill in the air and grey skies today here in Norfolk - brrrrrr!!! I've been collecting beautiful fallen leaves for my next Life Book project - watch this space :o)

Not too much arty farty time this week, but I did finish my journal page for Week 44 of Life Book. This was a very enjoyable yet challenging lesson. Tam, who is the creator of Life Book, got together on Skype with the wonderful Effy Wild to play "Art Journal Tag". It was great fun to watch and then I had a go myself - here's what I ended up with ...

Perhaps this is an over-used saying, and I did have to paraphrase it to make it fit - but I think it's so true and particularly appropriate for this page, because I had to embrace the process and just enjoy the doing of it, having no idea what was coming next or where I would end up!

The idea of Art Journal Tag is that you work with an arty farty friend and take turns to pick prompts from a "hat" to use on your page. Effy provided us with around 50 prompts - based on techniqes, media, colour and so on. I didn't have anyone to work with, so I picked 9 prompts at the start and worked through them in order, allowing only 10 minutes for each one.

Here are some pics of the process ...

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

WOYWW #386 - Resin Knick-Knacks and Sharp Pencils!

Hi Everyone,

We're just into Autumn here in Norfolk UK, and a very beautiful one it is too, hope you're having a good day wherever you are in the world. Today is when we link up over at Julia's Stamping Ground to join in with What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - it's great fun to have a nosey at creative spaces all over the world and anyone is welcome, so why not show us what's happening in yours? :o)

I don't get to play along too often these days, due to a change in working hours, but my lovely bloggy friend Zsuzsa over at Inky Dinky Doodle has kindly offered to link me up so I can go back later for a good old snout around and catch up with everyone. Thanks Zsuzsa!

It should be Show Us Yer Mess Wednesday for me again this week. Here's a picture taken yesterday afternoon ...

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Chunky Versals

Hi everyone,

For week 43 of Life Book 2016, the fabulous Martha Lever introduced us to "Chunky Versals". Inspired by traditional fonts used in old manuscripts, this is a fun, quirky, informal version which is easy to draw by hand and then decorate with paint and doodling.

Here's my take on it. I think it might make a nice cover for my Life Book ...

Don't make the mistake of believing it's enough to reproduce the realities of life.... The object of art is to give life a shape, and to do it by every conceivable artifice.
Jean Anouilh.

You may recognise part of this quote from the top of my blog. For me, it means that art helps to make sense of life, to explore and express how the artist feels about something. It may be music, or sculpture, or a garden, or poetry, or a mixed media journal page, or anything you like, as long as it speaks to you or for you, and it doesn't matter if it's a great masterpiece or amateur dabbling like mine! This is what Life Book has been about for me. As well as encouraging me to experiment with different media and techniques, it's given me the confidence to express myself through art.

Oh I am waxing lyrical today aren't I? Must be the weather :o)

Thanks for popping in today, see you again soon.

Annie xxx

All Caught Up!!

Hi everyone,

What a beautiful day it is here in Norfolk UK - all sunshine, blue skies, and the trees turning golden green for Autumn. I hope you're having a good day wherever you are.

Ta-daaaaa!!! At last I have caught up on my last overdue tag for Tim Holtz Tags of 2016 (Lizzy Hill if you're reading this, can you believe it?!) - this one should have been done in MAY!! For the 2016 series, Tim has been randomly selecting two techniques from previous tags and "remixing" them to come up with something different and new. This time, he used tissue-tape resist and tiny tattered floral thinlets dies.


I'm not making tags this year, instead I'm making little pages to go in a leather-bound journal my good friend Trina gave me last Christmas. As ever, I had to improvise with the supplies I had available, but that is part of the fun. Here's how mine turned out. Its pretty simple, but I only had half an hour to play ...

I take no credit at all for the beautiful flower, which was given to me by my lovely friend Amanda,

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Art at the Speed of Life!

Hi everyone,

For week 42 of Life Book 2016, the talented Pam Carricker inspired us to create some speedy, stress-free art by building up layers of collage and paint in a very free-form way to create a meaningful journal page. I worked on mine in stages as and when I had a few minutes to spare - stencilling, scribbling, spreading and spritzing, dabbing and doodling away to my heart's content and not worrying too much about the end result.

Here's how it turned out ...

The scribbling you can see all over the background is mostly words of encouragement to myself - reminding me to let go, embrace the process and enjoy the journey, rather than focusing too much on how I want something to turn out. If it goes "wrong", it's not the end of the world, it's another adventure, an opportunity to explore something new and use my imagination and creativity to turn it around. One of the most important lessons I've learned through doing Life Book is that I should never give up on a project just because it isn't turning out how I'd imagined it.

The end of the year is looming now - I'm almost at the end of my Life Book journey, just a few more paintings to make. What an adventure it's been! :o)

Thanks for visiting me today, see you again soon.

Annie xxx

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Weirdly Wonky Selfie

Hi Everyone,

It's another beautiful bright Autumnal day here in Norfolk UK. When I've done a few little chores, I plan to play in my room for an hour or two, then I'll have a nice walk through the sunshine to spend some time with my son, and this evening I have a card-making jolly to look forward to - what a perfect day!! I hope you're having a good day wherever you are :o)

It took me several days to work through the lesson for week 41 of Life Book 2016, but it was a really enjoyable process and as always I tried out lots of new ideas. The wonderful Kristin Dudish showed us how to paint a multi-layered self portrait. Mine turned out very strangely I think, but I'm going to share it anyway as it's part of my LB journey ...

Hmmmmm .... yes .... definitely needs work!! :o) I'm glad I went with Kristin's suggestion to take a picture of the background before painting the portrait as I really liked this effect ...

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Tim Holtz Tags of 2016 - October AND August

Hello lovely Bloggy Friends,

Yesterday being the 1st of the month, I popped over to the Tim Holtz blog to check out the tutorial for this month's tag and I was extremely excited and surprised to see my name on the list of winners for September wooooHOOOOO!!! I really didn't expect to ever see my name there, I am SO chuffed!!!

Each month of 2016, Tim has been picking two tags at random from previous years and remixing the techniques to create new effects. The tutorials are always inspiring, full of tips and techniques, and I love the challenge of adapting to make use of whatever supplies I have on hand. Best of all, it doesn't take long to make a tag - this morning I made TWO :o)

Here's the first one, inspired by Tim's October tag ...

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

WOYWW #382

Hello fellow deskers and lovely peeples,

It's Tuesday evening and I'm scheduling this to post itself tomorrow morning as I will be at work by then - and hopefully the lovely Zsuzsa over at Inky Dinky Doodle will check in and link up for me, then I will catch up with everyone over the next few days. Thanks Zsuzsa :o)

If you would like to show us What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday, just post a pic of said workdesk and link up over at Julia's Stamping Ground - or just pop in for a good old snout around some of the many crafty spaces around the world, it's fascinating and quite addictive!

My workdesk however is not at all fascinating this week, very little going on ...

You may recognise this as a GIANT box of Thorntons chocolates - but in fact it is empty, it was just salvaged for me by a friend who knew I would make good use of it, which indeed I will.

I did make this tag over the weekend, inspired by the Tim Holtz Tags of 2016 July edition, which is slightly more interesting ...

This year, Tim has been "remixing" two techniques from previous tags to create something new. This time, he used a resist technique with Micro Glaze (which I didn't have so I used matte medium) and created the title with the negative and positive parts of diecut words, which was a fun idea. I'm nearly caught up now, just May and August to finish before the next one is posted on Saturday. It really does get you using that stash of supplies and making the most of what you have squirrelled away!

Well I'm off to get a sensible early night now, thanks so much for popping in today and I will catch up with you over the next couple of days to see what you've been up to - see you at Julia's! :o)

Annie xxx

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Beautiful Boundaries

Hello Bloggy Peeps out there!

We just got home from our little holiday and as always, it's lovely to go away, but it's great to be home :o)

Buckinghamshire is beautiful, and full of National Trust places to visit, so we made very good use of our NT membership this week. We went to Stowe, Claydon, Waddesdon, Wimpole, Hughendon and the old courthouse at Long Crendon. Each one fascinating its own unique way - I love how these places are like windows through which we can peek at the people who lived in the past. When I was a kid, I spent many happy days visiting places like Ham House and Hampton Court Palace with my beloved Gran, it really brought history to life for me.

As a huge bonus, many NT places now have second-hand bookshops, and look what I got for only three quid ...

We also visited Bletchley Park on the way - the home of the "Code Breakers" during WWII - absolutely fascinating, well worth a visit if you get the chance. Click here for a short film about it on the BBC History site.

We stayed at The Bell in Aston Clinton, a lovely quirky old inn, clean and comfortable, with efficient service and a FABulous restaurant, in which we overindulged every single night of our stay. Thoroughly recommended!


In between day trips and dinners, I found time for a little creative scribbling in the sketchbook I took with me. All the wonderful architecture and art we had seen was very inspiring and my head is bursting with ideas to try out in my art journal. I made a page for week 38 of Life Book 2016 - this was a bonus lesson with the amazing Melody Ross, in which she encouraged us to think about our boundaries and look after our "soul house" ...

The house is me, and the areas in the picture represent the boundaries I have set to keep myself safe - so for example, the people who are most important to me and make me happy are within my garden, protected by the picket fence, whereas those who only bring negativity into my life are banished to outerspace - they're still there, I'm aware of them, but they can't touch me - brilliant!! :o) Melody printed her journalling on strips of paper, which she glued over the picture, but in my limited hotel room situation, I decided to write directly onto the page with a Micron pen and I quite like the interesting texture it gives.

I also started working on some fancy lettering which I've been meaning to try for a while ...

... the decoration of each letter was inspired by a word or words beginning with that letter, such as A for Abacus and J for Jester. It was very enjoyable, and hopefully with practice I will get a bit braver with lettering on my artwork.

Well, time to stop waffling on and get back to the real world! I have a couple of chores to catch up on, then maybe I will have time to play later ...

Thanks for popping in today, have a happy and creative day :o)

Annie xxx

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Smile And The World Smiles With You

Hello lovely Bloggy Friends,

For week 37 of Life Book 2016, we had a lesson with the talented Angela Kennedy and I loved it. Firstly, Angela showed us how to create subtle texture for the background, then we sketched out a face and figure, filled in blocks of colour with matt acrylic paint and then added detail and shading with coloured pencils.

Here's how mine turned out - a smiley one for a change!

Angela started the background with white gesso, then brushed in a touch of black and whilst it was still wet she used a fan brush to make circles - I love how they look almost like bubbles in the air! In fact, I liked the effect so much that I decided not to add any more detail to my background ...

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

WOYWW #380 - A Deskful of Promise

Hello Fellow Deskers and Bloggy Friends,

I'm not about on Wednesdays any more, since my day off changed a few weeks ago, but the lovely Zsuzsa from Inky Dinky Doodle has kindly offered to link up for me. so that I don't have to miss my weekly WOYWW fix - although it may take me a few days to catch up with visiting (ie snooping) fellow deskers.

If you would like to join in, just post a pic of What's On YOUR Workdesk this Wednesday and link up over at the lovely Julia's Stamping Ground, or just pop in for a little nosey around some creative spaces all over the world  - but be warned, it is addictive!

Here's what's on mine this week ...

I can't take a pic of the actual desk to show you, because I stupidly left my iPad at my son's place, but it's boringly between-projects tidy anyway, so you're not missing much! These books are piled up at one end of it, waiting to be transformed into something amazing, like I've seen other people do on You Tube. I found them in a local charity shop - probably should have just bought one or two, but I couldn't choose, because I love all these stories and the illustrations are beautiful. I enjoyed these as a child, and later I enjoyed reading them to my own children, they make me feel happy just to look at them, so maybe I will just keep them in a pile for a while ...

Ok, so I'm going to schedule this post for tomorrow morning, and hopefully my mate Zsuzsa will do the honours and link me up to WOYWW, then I'll catch up with everyone over the next couple of days. Have a happy and creative week :o)

Annie xxx

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Catching up with Tim Holtz Tags

Hello Everyone,

I'm still playing catch-up with the Tim HoltzTags of 2016 - I did January, February, March and April, then skipped a few, did September's and promised myself I'd go back to the rest. Instead of tags, I'm making little pages to go in a gorgeous leather journal I was given for Christmas.

This morning I found myself with 40 minutes to spare before I had to set off for an appointment; just enough time for some speedy crafting I thought! Here's the result; my tag for June, only three months late ...

This year, Tim has been picking two techniques at random from previous years, and combining them to create something different. It really inspires me to dig out those supplies, rummage through my drawers and try something new. Usually I don't have all the stuff Tim uses, so I have to get a bit inventive with what I do have, but then that's half the fun isn't it?! Here's what I did ...

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Trying to Unfold

Hello my friends,

This week I've been working on the lesson for week 36 of Life Book 2016, in which the fabulous Annie Hamman created a beautiful intuitive portrait with acrylic paints. It was fascinating to watch the process, as Annie showed us how to make a wet palette and mix our colours, then build the face in stages, starting with the darkest values and working towards the lighter values.

Annie made it look so easy, and I loved watching her painting unfold so much that I watched the lesson videos three times!! Putting the techniques into practice wasn't quite so easy, and my picture went through some VERY ugly stages, but I persevered until it got to a point where I could call it done and move on ...

When I saw this little person looking back at me the next morning, I found myself wondering who she is and what she is thinking - she looks a bit kind of wary and watchful I think. I would really like my next picture to come out happy, but I don't seem to have much control over how it turns out yet!!

Thanks for popping over today, see you again soon :o)

Annie xxx

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Catching up with Tim Holtz Tags

Hellooooooooo my lovely bloggy mates,

This year I was TOTALLY going to keep up with the Tim Holtz Tags of 2016, but somehow yet agian I've fallen behind - which is a shame, because they are really quite quick to do, they get me using up all that stuff I have stashed in my craft room, and they always give me a kick up the mojo!

For 2016, Tim is doing a "technique remix" each month, where he takes two techniques from previous tags and combines them to create something new and exciting.

Yesterday, I made this one for September ...

,,, as you can see, this year I am not actually making tags - I decided to create little pages instead and file them in the gorgeous leather journal which my good friend Trina gave me for Christmas.

This month, the talented Tim showed us how to use Yupo paper for a marvellous resist technique. As always, I didn't have all the supplies Tim used, so had to improvise - but that's half the fun isn't it?! I did have some yupo paper though - it's a bit expensive, but great fun to use and unlike any other paper. I struggled to get the resist to work, but will definitely try again. You can watch Tim Holtz making it look REALLY EASY on this YT vid :o)

Ok, no time to chat, I have June, July and August to catch up on now!! Thanks for popping in, I'll see you again soon.

Annie xxx

Friday, 2 September 2016

Happy Scrapping

Hello Bloggy Peeps!!

Thsi week I've been scrapping for the first time in AGES. Most of my arty-farty time this year has been spent happily up to my elbows in mixed media for Life Book 2016, so scrapping has kind of fallen by the wayside. I still get my gorgeous Quirky kits every other month though, and they are full of irresistible papery loveliness. This month, I particularly loved the patterned paper and painted wood embellishments from the Pink Paislee "Take Me Away" collection and used some of them on this page ...

... which shows a very happy John during a boat trip in Amsterdam a couple of years ago. The houses cut from the patterned paper are a perfect match for those houses in the photo aren't they? The Jillibean Soup die cuts and Fancy Pants puffy alphas were from previous Quirky Kits but coordinated nicely. We also got a bottle of Nuvo dots in a dark blue - I used them to make the little dots in the bottom left hand corner there. I had been wondering whether to invest in some of these, and now I probably will get a couple more colours as it was fun to use and you can make the dots whatever size you like. They do take a long time to dry though.

Now I want to make a pocket page to go opposite this in my album - my plan is to make a lot of pocket pages with a few feature pages like this one, to get my giant stash of photos scrapped quickly before I forget all the stories!!

Thanks for visiting me and my blog today, see you again soon :o)

Annie xxx

Monday, 29 August 2016

Blossom,Grow, Transform.

Hello Bloggy Friends,

This month Life Book has been all about "Growth and Transformation".

In the lesson for Week 34, the lovely Roben-Marie Smith showed us how to create a beautiful abstract picture of flowers in a pot, using a combination of collage, paint and other media to build up layers of colour and texture.

Although I love pictures of flowers, they never seem to work out well for me, but I did enjoy the process and picked up some new ideas and techniques along the way. Here's how it came out ...

To start my collage, I used some gorgeous papers from two of my Life Book friends which they sent to me when we swapped ATCs a while back - there's a beautiful gelli print from Zsuzsa which I used to create the magenta/blue flowers, and some lovely painted music score paper from Mychele which I used for some of the leaves. It was really cool to be able to incorporate some art from my friends into a piece of my own.

I also love the look of the collaged text paper and Roben-Marie's idea of printing our journalling onto deli paper, which then became another layer in the background ...

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Just Playing!

Hello Everyone,

It's a lovely long weekend here in the UK, as we have a Bank Holiday Monday woooHOOOO!!! The weather's not up to much, but that suits me, as I plan to spend some time playing in my room - first I want to catch up on a Life Book lesson I missed, then I want to do some scrapping as I have a delicious new Quirky Kit to play with. My kind of weekend :o)

This week on LifeBook we had a Bonus Lesson - a "mash-up" with LB creator Tamara Laporte and her good friend Jane Davenport in Australia. Their styles are very different and it was interesting to watch them work together on the same piece to create an integrated whole. Tam encouraged us to free up our creativity by trying a new style and using limited supplies.

I chose to be inspired by Jane's style, determined to use only what is in my pen case, and since it was Friday night at the beginning of a long weekend, I decided to further liberate my creativity by doing most of my painting under the influence of one or three Gin & Tonics!! When I got up in the morning, I was pleasantly surprised by what I had left on the dining table the night before ...

It's quite different from my normal style I think - much more loose and scribbly, less controlled than I would usually be. Straight away I wanted to add bits and titivate, but I'm going to leave it and add it to my Life Book as it is.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

WOYWW #377

Hello Bloggers and Fellow Deskers,

My working hours have changed, so my Wednesdays are not what they used to be - but the lovely LLJ has very kindly offered to link up for me so I don't have to miss my weekly dose of snouting round other people's workdesks and still get to show you what I've been up to this week. If you would like to join us, please pop over to Julia's Stamping Ground and click on Mr Linky.

I've been crafting in the garden again today, making the most of the summer while I can - as I type this at 8.30 on Tuesday evening, darkness is already falling and there are tiny bats flitting about outside, where only a couple of hours ago I was playing with Paper Clay to make this little guy ...

No, it's not Davros - when he grows up, I think he wants to be a mediaeval King's Fool - but he may yet change his mind! On Sunday, I had the most amazing and inspiring day with the talented Tanya Goddard, who creates art dolls. Tanya comes from Russia, where there is a tradition for these wonderful, expressive character dolls. It was such a privilege to spend a day with Tanya, learning all her secrets and I feel SO inspired!! She gave me some Paper Clay to make my homework - brilliant stuff to use, which I believe you can get on Amazon.

At my next lesson, I will learn how to make the body and clothes - I love that Tanya uses recycled materials and things like toilet paper to make her beautiful sculptures, definitely a woman after my own heart!

So, I will checking in at Julia's when I get home from work this evening - see you there!

Thanks for popping in to visit me today :)

Annie xxx

Friday, 19 August 2016

Happy Anniversary!!

Hello Bloggy Peeps,

Saturday 20th August 2011 was one of the very happiest days of my whole life - because I married my Lobster ....

This painting was inspired by a photo of My Beloved taken on a very happy afternoon during our first summer together in 2010. We had just found each other through eHarmony and on this particular afternoon, we met up with some friends at the Duke's Head Beer Festival Somerleyton in Norfolk.

What an amazing time that was - we had just found each other through eHarmony and were beginning to realise that we fitted together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. I've called the painting "Rose  Coloured Specs", because we're still looking through them now :o)

Thanks for visiting today my blogg friends, and if you are reading this too, my Stinky Lobster, Happy Anniversary!!! <3

Annie xxx

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

WOYWW #375

Hello Bloggers and Fellow Deskers,

What a beautiful WOYWW morning it is, and I have the whole day more-or-less to myself - the trick is to decide what I really feel like doing and then actually do it, rather than waft about doing nothing in particular and then feeling like I've wasted the day :o)

Here's my workdesk today - after a mammoth clearing and tidying session at the weekend ...

It seemed like a good idea to do it while DH was away on a jolly, as I knew the temporary mess that needs to happen while you're tidying a craft room would drive him nuts. So, I started around midday on Saturday .... by 6pm I was wishing I had never started, but luckily my son was keeping me company and stopped me from throwing the whole lot out of the window ... we stopped for dinner, then I carried on .... he went home about midnight, I still carried on .... it was finally finished at 3.30am!!! Phew !!! :o)

Now I wonder how long it will take me to trash it again?!

What's On Your Workdesk this fine Wednesday? If you would like to show the world, or just have a nosey at what everyone else is up to, please join us over at Julia's Stamping Ground - it's addictive!

Thanks for popping in today, see you again soon :o)

Annie xxx

Sunday, 7 August 2016

We All Cast Shadows

Hello my friends,

This week I didn't get a lot of play time, but I did manage to finish a painting. For week 31 of Life Book 2016, we had a lesson with the talented Gillian Lee Smith and I must say it really got my creative juices flowing ... I also got very very messy in the earlier stages :o)

This month Life Book has been all about light and dark. Gillian encouraged us to be brave, and to accept that as we build up layers we will have to let go of part of what was there before, but that's ok because it's all part of the journey and it all helps to bring depth and interest to the piece. She also warned us to be very patient, allowing time for each of the layers to dry completely before going on to the next ...

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

WOYWW #374

Hello Bloggy Friends and Fellow Deskers,

I've missed WEEKS of What's On Your Workdesk Wednesdays - what with holidays and other pressing stuff, and now my day off has changed, so it will be difficult to link up and visit on Wednesdays. But I miss WOYWWdays, so I'm going to try scheduling this to post itself tomorrow, then in the evening I can do a late link-up and have a little potter around Blogland to see what everyone's been up to.

If you would like to share what's on YOUR workdesk this week and have a little snout around other people's crafty spaces, please join us over at Julia's Stamping Ground - how lovely to see our Julia on the road to recovery and back at the helm, although the lovely Jan did a great job of looking after us all whilst Julia was away :o)

So, without further ado, here's my favourite arty-farty space this week ...

I have been making the most of the sunshine by working at a garden table under the gazebo in our garden. This was taken just before I started on a very messy gelli printing session - good job the table is wipeable plastic!

Thanks for popping in today, see you at Julia's  :o)

Annie xxx

Finding My Voice

Hello Arty Friends,

Life Book 2016 has been like a huge arty banquet for me - it's full of delicious things I want to try, but I don't have room for all of it at once! So, I've been dotting back and forth as and when I have a bit of space for arting, helping myself to whichever delectable morsel takes my fancy - and some of them I know I will get a taste for and want to try again and again.

This time, I went back to the lesson for Week 27 with the wonderful Lisa Viger - what an inspiration this was! Lisa encouraged us to first listen to our critical inner voice, see if it had anything useful to say, choose to act on it or ignore it, and then let our inner child out to play :o)

Here's my end result (bit of a sad girly, not sure why) ...

Firstly, we allowed our inner voice to scribble words all over the page, then over this we created a soft, light background with layers of bright pastel colours. If you look closely, you'll the word "LISTEN" along the bottom - but my poor sad girly has no ears! I could tell you that that was a deliberate choice, because the picture is all about learning to listen (or not) to my inner voice, but in fact this did not occur to me until just now!

Next, Lisa showed us how to create our own translucent collage pieces, and this was an absolute revelation to me. We drew the face, figure, flowers and butterflies free hand and coloured them with coloured pencils. Lisa used rice paper, but I used deli paper as that's what I had available, and coloured with Prisma pencils. Once these pieces were adhered to the background, they became beautifully transparent, allowing previous layers to show through. Totally yummy!!

Here's a closer look at the effect ...

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Dance of the Shadow

Hello my arty-farty friends,

We had another bonus lesson with the fabulous Mary Beth Shaw for Week 29 of Life Book 2016. It was a totally crazy lesson - we scribbled and scrunched; dribbled, doodled and dripped; painted, inked and even set fire to our work at one point - what an adventure!

Here's how mine came out ...

I've photographed it against the cement path outside my house, so it's not immediately obvious, but if you click on the pic and look closely, you will see that those are burn holes which go all the way through the paper. I think it would make a good cover for an art journal, what do you reckon?

Mary Beth certainly has a way of encouraging you to let go of your inhibitions and just play!

I can't wait to see what the next lesson has in store for us :o)

Thanks for popping in today, see you again soon.

Annie xxx

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Finding the Light

Hello Bloggy Peeps,

This month in our Life Book adventure has been all about light and dark. The lesson for Week 28 was with the wonderful Tamara Laporte, creator of Life Book, and it was called Embracing All of You. Tam encouraged us to work with a whole figure this time, rather than just a face as we have before.

Here's how mine turned out ...

We started by using a gelli plate to create a grungy background, masking off the silhouette of a figure, then used torn paper masks and gesso to make the shapes of trees. After that, various media came into play to add shadows, highlights and extra detail - I used Inktense pencils, Prismacolour pencils, Pitt Pens, Posca Pens, Neocolour II crayons and Golden Fluid Acrylic paints.

And what a lovely messy time I had. Need to go clean my room now .....

Thanks for visiting me today, see you again soon :o)

Annie xxx

Life Book 2016 ATC Swap

Hello bloggy mates,

What a busy week I'm having - off work, but SO much to do!!! However, the sun is shining and I feel very positive ... every little thing is gonna be all right now :o)

Not much time for blogging and artyfartyness this week, but I just wanted to show you the beautiful ATCs which I received from the lovely Mychele Boardman for the Life Book 2016 ATC swap ...

Aren't they GORGEOUS!?! I love the layered backgrounds, the colours and most of all those beautiful faces which just radiate a feeling of calm and tranquillity. Our theme was "Healing and Transformation - working with the Inner Critic" - something which many of us can relate to I think.

Mychele also sent me some beautiful hand painted papers and fibres and other goodies which I will enjoy using in a project very soon! Here are the two ATCs I made for Mychele ...

It was a bit daunting joining this ATC Swap - mainly because my Inner Critic tells me my ATCs will not be good enough - but Life Book is such a supportive community and it is wonderful to make a connection with another Life Booker, even though we will never meet IRL.

Thanks for checking out my blog today, see you again soon :o)

Annie xxx

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Embrace and Transform

Hello my bloggy friends,

This week, I travelled back in time to week 24 of Life Book 2016 to catch up on a lesson with the fabulous Tamara Laporte, creator of Life Book and Teacher Extraordinaire!

The lesson was all about working with our Inner Critic and Tam showed us the wonderful "paint-over-collage" technique which she does so well. This time, she encouraged us to incorporate an animal into our painting ...

It just had to be a cat for me, and somehow this one ended up sitting on his companion's shoulder. There are definitely shades of my little friend Archie there - he used to look at me just like that ....

Thanks for visiting my blog today, see you again soon :o)

Annie xxx

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Gelli Time!!

Hello, me again!

Just popped back to show you a quick peep at my first ever experiments with my brand new Gelli Plate. oh Wow!!! I'm going to get addicted to this :o)

I watched some brilliant YT videos by the talented Barbara Gray from Clarity Stamps - check out her YT channel for loads of ideas, tips and inspiration.

Here's a closer look at my results so far ...

Recycled Reflections

Hello there Bloggy Peeps,

I had a lovely day today - playing in my craft room for the first time in what feels like AGES!! For week 25 of Life Book 2016, we had a bonus lesson with the inspiring Rae Missigman, who showed us how to make a little art journal out of one of those paper wallets your photo prints are sent in - genius!! :o)

Here's how mine turned out ...

The gorgeous fibres were sent to me by my lovely bloggy friend Zsuzsa - I thought this was the perfect opportunity to use them. Inside the wallet there is lots of space for me to store ATCs-in-waiting and mixed media experiments I've saved to use as backgrounds for tags and such ...

The wallet had a coat of gesso and several layers of paint, so it's quite robust, and I reinforced it with washi tape at strategic points ...

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Embracing My Selfie!!

Hey everyone,

Week 26 of Life Book 2016 and we had a lesson with the amazing Pam Carricker who showed us how to map a face and create a painterly portrait - of ourselves EEEEKK!!!! We learned how to mix hues, tints and tones of just one coour with black and white.

This was a HUGE struggle for me - firstly because I really don't enjoy looking at pictures of myself, secondly because although Pam made it look easy and fun, the technique did not come naturally to me, and thirdly because I rather unwisely chose to use a smiling picture as my reference.

After about three hours of trying really really hard, I had a tiny tantrum and wiped off all the paint with baby wipes!!! Then I noticed that some of the paint had stayed put on the gessoed background, leaving a kind of shadowy version of my portrait - it said to me "don't give up - you can save me!" so the following evening I had another go at it, adding details back in with water soluble pencils .... and in the end I was really happy with it and glad I didn't chuck it in the bin ...

It's not exactly the most flattering portrait ever painted, but hey! Strangely enough, somehow I can see my Mum in there too .... :o)

Thanks for visiting me today, see you again soon.

Annie xxx

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

WOYWW #368

Hello Fellow Deskers and Bloggy Friends,

It'sWhat's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - time to share what's happening on mine and check out other Deskers' crafty doings. You're very welcome to join us - just pop over to LLJ's to link up.

Lady June is trying to put her sunshine hat on today, I think it must have got lost in the bottom of her wardrobe or something - very strange summer weather we're having so far this year, just the odd tantalising glimpse and then it's gone again, most peculiar.

We've been away in beautiful Cornwall, catching up with friends and family, and of course I had to take a few artyfartysupplies with me and get a little crafty time in whenever/wherever there was an opportunity! Here's What WAS On my Workdesk LAST Wednesday (but I couldn't blog it) ...

This was a project I was working on for Life Book 2016 - check out the finished result here if you're interested. Note the brolly there - essential piece of kit!

Another temporary workdesk somewhere between Cornwall and Paddington ...