Thursday, 27 December 2007

In the world of the Golden Compass

As a bit of fun today, and being partial to fantasy movies, polar bears and Daniel Craig, I went to the Golden Compass web site ( On surfing around I came across a quiz to find my very own daemon - just like in the film. I don't usually have much time for these kinds of quiz but I did it anyway, just for fun. I liked the questions posed and found the results really interesting. On answering the questions Daemon Inachus was declared to be my daemon. Now, I'm not the biggest spider fan in the world (although I do use a jar to catch the ones that come into the house and put them back outside) but the description of my personality was spot on. It says I am modest, solitary, flexible, softly spoken and spontaneous. At least that's how I see myself. Maybe others would tell you different. I'm certainly spontaneous when buying books, as Amazon has just found out - I've been spending my Christmas money.

Friday, 21 December 2007


I tried my hand at altering another photo. With all that wonderful frost I have plenty of photos of gravestones that I want to use. The one here was produced by using a 50%bleach/50% water mixture. I dipped the whole photo into it until I liked the colours them rinsed it in clean water with a splash of vinegar. I added some peel off stickers, coloured the gravestone with marker pen, sanded heavily and added some silver embossing powder. I still have difficulty letting rip with photos. I'm not sure what constitutes a 'good' altered photo.

I have also added some photos of a scarf and tie that I have been playing with. My Dad asks me to make him a Christmas tie each year. This one is covered in huskies and has been very popular with Dad's customers. I have had two requests for these ties. The scarf uses Color Washes but I am not convinced of their value for money or usefulness. The colours are too pale once washed and dried. I have used different kinds of fabric paints in the past, and while I like the effect of spraying on silk, I find Colour Washes too expensive and wasteful. I use plain copier paper to mop up the left over ink once I finish painting the scarf.

Winter wonderland

We have had the most amazing frost over the last few days. I haven't seen frost like this in years. I'm living in a winter wonderland. The last few days I have been going out with my camera to photograph the icy conditions. It's wonderful. Unfortunately my pipes have frozen today and I have no water.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

'Tis the season to be jolly

I've been making Christmas cards and ATCs this week. I have a few swaps coming up so I'm getting in early. One of the swaps involves using painted backgrounds, wrapped pipe cleaners and fabric beads. Another is inspired by the art of Piet Mondrian. The most fun I had this week was helping my sister make a pair of Christmas earrings. We had a great laugh. Although she claims not to be artistic she is more creative than she gives herself credit for. The teddy earrings were inspired by the bear beads on Tina T's Polymer Clay blog. I have added a few other random ATCs to my photos too.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Pingu & Co.

Having just spent a week and a half in bed with a mystery illness there has not been much going on in the realms of artiness. I have been trying to catch up with a few random ideas that have been floating around in my head for a while though.

There is a growing trend on internet craft sites for making decorative paper arches. The arches come in a variety of sizes, from long and thin to small a squat and every other variation in between. Some are vintage, some are modern. I happened to come across this phenomenon a few weeks ago and thought I would have a go myself. My first attempt is small in size and Medieval themed, including one of those ubiquitous Medieval birds. It all adds a bit of variety.

Inspired by the arch theme I also made an architecture themed ATC. I love the randomness of using embossing powder with a glue stick. I got some great bubbles in the bottom left corner.

I also took another route in my papercutting adventure. My penguin is made up of layers of cut paper - a full bottom white layer, a black layer cut to the shape of the black on the penguin's body and an inlaid piece of hand painted paper for the yellows. I am quite pleased with the result and have been trying to come up with some other ideas that might work in a similar way.

Finally, my little bee heart. I don't actually like hearty, romantic themed crafts but I had some chipboard heart shapes that I was given and have been trying to use them up. The bee was a painting I did ages ago. It dawned on me that I can scan my art work, print it out and use it as images for my collages. The only trouble was that it was too fiddly to cut round the legs so I cut them off and redrew them once I had stuck the image down.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Papercuts and washers

I managed to take some photos of the washers and mosaic tile I mentioned yeasterday. Still not wonderful but better. They are ideal for use on cards, ATCs or larger pieces of art. The washers were painted with alcohol inks, rubbed on an embossing pad, sprinkled in odd places with copper detail embossing powder then with a light sprinkling of UTEE. It gives a colourful and water splashed effect.

The tile was covered in glue and dabbed with pearl ex in various colours. One dry I added a little Lumier paint in gold - just patted on with my finger and left to dry. Then came a coating of Ranger crackle accents.

More papercuts too - a framed 3D piece inspired by the work of Helen Musselwhite and a smaller 3D piece of a fox. The fox has been sitting around for weeks waiting for something suitable. At least he has some landscape to run around in now.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Snowy art

It snowed for the first time yesterday so I was inspired to do some snowy papercraft. The picture does not do them justice (once again! - maybe I should find out how to photograph my work properly?). The papers are painted with metallic paints and the bird one has gold leaf. I also made some lovely decorated washers and glass mosaic tiles but they don't photograph well. I will keep trying though.


Glasgow won the bid for the Commonwealth games today. Nigeria was the loosing side which I find a terrible pity. Africa has never hosted the games and considering that London has the Olympic games in 2012 maybe it would have been fairer to let Nigeria see what she could do. Still, it means jobs and investment for Scotland as well as increased tourism during the games. However, with the mess over the Scottish Parliament building going massively over budget I dread to think what kind of mess Glasgow will get into.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Bonfire Night

Tomorrow night is Bonfire Night in the UK. A night for fireworks, bonfires, hot soup and sausages. Well, not necessarily the hot soup and sausages but certainly the other things. In memory of this I produced an ATC and for those who are not familiar with the celebration I have added a little history.

Guy Fawkes night is an commemoration of the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. A group of Catholic men planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament in retaliation for the persecution of English Catholics but were undone by one of their own. The group accessed 36 barrels of gunpowder and stored them under the Houses of parliament, waiting for the moment they could destroy all those who stood against Catholicism. However, some of the conspirators had second thoughts. It is said that one of them wrote a letter warning of the plot. That letter reached the King and unfortunately for Guy Fawkes he was found with the gunpowder when the guards stormed the basements. He was arrested, tortured and executed. On the night of 5th November 1605 bonfires were lit to celebrate the safety of the King and thus the date became known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated with bonfires, fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes.

Today the Queen only enters Parliament one day a year and the Yeoman of the Guard still search the basements before her arrival.

The whole occurrence was immortalised in a nursery rhyme:

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

For more information take a look at:

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Thank you

I would just like to say thank you very much to everyone who leaves a comment on my blog. I do not always get the opportunity to thank everyone personally but all comments are greatly appreciated. It is always nice to know that something I have produced creates its own reaction in people.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

For those who have no pumpkin to carve...

I'm currently waiting for my sister to arrive so we can have an evening of scary movie watching but I came across this little site via http://alteredroute.blogspot. It passes a few minutes and I might just come up with a few ideas for next year's pumpkin. Have a go :

Happy Halloween!

Yes, it is Halloween - my favourite day of the year. Not that I like all the commercialisation involved. I prefer the more traditional approach. Halloween for me is a day for remembering loved ones lost as much as for watching scary movies. I do carve a pumpkin though. Every year a new design - from cats to ghosts as well as the traditional scary face. I have gone for the scary face this year but here is a photo of one of my pumpkins from a couple of years ago.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Just a few more bits and pieces. I have some inchies for an Italian swap (inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and Rome), a Halloween ATC and some little pillow boxes.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Evening sky papercuts

I found a few of my own design papercuts and thought I would upload them. Instead of the traditional pale background I used an alcohol ink background. Nice and zingy but maybe a bit too much. Slightly diluted inks might have been a more subtle idea.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Polymer clay mosaic

I bought myself the Mixed Media Mosaic book by Laurie Mika the other week and this is my first attempt at a mosaic. The photo does not do it justice though. The colours are much nicer in reality. Lots of pearl ex and lumiere paint was involved. While arty Renaissance style art is the usual central image for these mosaics, I put a photo of my old Sam in mine. I think this might be slightly addictive though. Making little tiles with as many different designs as you can imagine is a nice thing to do in quiet moments. I have to buy some more clay first.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

A cut on the wild side

Having now sorted out my internet security problems - it took two hours 20 mins to update my anti virus and my internet connection cuts out after two hours - I can update my blog without wondering if something untoward is going to shoot down the phone line.

I have been working on some papercuts for greetings cards recently. This is one of them - a scene made up of designs by Ellen Brown. I have a few others but have not go around to scanning them yet. There are so many ideas going round in my head right now and finding the time to get them all done seems to be getting more and more difficult. I think I need to send my brain on holiday to Transylvania for the weekend. Why Transylvania? It's nearly Halloween and I have always fancied going to Transylvania.

My new Open University course materials arrived the other day - Perspectives on Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo is known as the ultimate Renaissance man but it seems that he was not all that different from other artist/craftsmen of his day. Looks like there is plenty more info to absorb. Although the course doesn't officially start until next week I am already on week two of the study book. There is just no holding me back when there is something new to learn.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Variety is the spice....

This is my first attempt at an altered photo. It took me three days to pluck up the courage to start abusing it but once I got started there was no stopping me. The picture was printed from my PC onto gloss photo paper then sanded, bleached, sanded some more, alcohol inked and drawn on with permanent marker. Then I took a pair of scissors to the edges and scored merrily along the bottom and sides. Although I have altered photos with graphics programmes before, doing it to a physical photo is new to me. It totally lacks finesse but I love the colours that the bleach and sanding creates. I may be able to use these techniques in other work.

I got a soldering iron for my birthday too. Nothing is safe from me now. Metal is being soldered left, right and centre. Great for making wire embellishments. I just have to figure out how to make my joins a bit neater.

Monday, 1 October 2007

There has been a distinct lack of pictures on here over the last few entries. So I have added some for your perusal today. My first attempt at an art pin, some pop-ups, mini tags and those ubiquitous inchies.

Paper engineering is my latest obsession. The pop-up ATCs above are actually a design by Rober Sabuda. I just printed it smaller so it would fit on an ATC. Take a look at the link to see lots of projects you can try yourself.

A Place to Bark auction

I was sent an e-mail this morning from one of the ladies on an inchie group I am part of. She has contributed some work to a charity auction for Bernie Berlin's A Place to Bark charity and wants to spread the word. The link is:
There are some lovely ATCs in the box and the price is climbing steadily. A worthy charity in my view.

Skull-A-Day pt 2

I'm on Skull-A-Day! Well, not me, personally. Some of my work is. Totally wonderful! The link is: I can't tell you how exciting it is. This guy is a genius and so many other talented artists submit work to him. I have a very silly grin on my face, let me tell you.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

A load of Pollocks!

I came across this web site on Seth's The Altered Page blog and had to pass it on. For those moments when your brain is dribbling out your ears or you have a burst of creativity and no pen or paper:

I have a widget!!!

If you take a look at the bottom of the page you will see my portfolio widget from Art Wanted. I am rather excited about it. It is cool. I spent 20 minutes staring at my monitor watching the pretty pictures go by. OK, maybe I need more sleep.

Great results!

I got my results for my Open University course on the 14th September. I did so much better than I thought I would - 95%. So I ran off to sign up for my next course. Actually, it was done in a panic. I went to the sign up page to check the registration deadline (which I thought was the 19th) and found it was the 14th. So I had to sign up. Now the thinking starts and I wonder what else I could have done with the money (saving being the closest to my heart). I guess I'll have to wait and see if it is worthwhile.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Fossil finds

I made the most amazing discovery this morning. I had a ton of gravel delivered to my house earlier this year which was duly shoveled and brushed into place. This morning I was repositioning one of the graden lights when I saw a shell shaped item which I picked up. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a fossil! The Devil's Toenail (Gryphaea) is very common - nothing to get excited about there - but on further exploration I found that there are many, many of them throughout my gravel. It's amazing and rather exciting to know that my garden is now full of fossils for prehistory.
For some extra info on them take a look at

Sunday, 9 September 2007


I came across this fantastic blog the other day. Skull-A-Day is a collection of skulls made out of just about everything. For those of a Hallowe'en mentality - take a look. There is so much imagination and creativity as well as a laugh there. Not to metion some lovely submissions that are for sale on Etsy.

Friday, 7 September 2007


I was reading a blog today and noticed the date of the last post - 5th September. I thought to myself - 'What is Blogger talking about. It isn't that far on in the year.' Then I realised... it is the 7th September... I would like to know what has happened to the last year? It seems no time since I lost Sam. It also means it is just a month 'til my birthday. Eugh!!!

The robins have started singing again. It is the one sounds that reminds me of frosty, cold days where spiders webs glisten on the gorse bushes and the mist glides around the pine trees. Autumn must be coming. My favourite time of year. All those golds and reds, the chill in the air and warm, wooly jumpers, a cup of tea and a good book - no more beautiful time of year to my mind.

With that in mind I have been making some Hallowe'en themed items in autumnal colours - some hand carved rubber stamps which then transformed into some hand painted and printed paper and some ATCs for a swap (the ones in the previous post).

I also had the good fortune to e-mail a very nice, helpful fellow this week. Seth has his own blog called The Altered Page. I highly recommend taking a look at his work. His mixed media work is wonderful, rich in colour and depth. As mixed media work is not my forte, I can only hope that one day I will be able to produce mixed media work to that standard.

More pictures

A few more bits and bobs. The hallowe'en piece was made using hand painted paper and hand carved stamps. It has to be one of my favourites.