Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Time for a "Do Over"

Hi Guys.
Long time no hear. This has been a crazy year for me and many things have been neglected or moved out of focus.
This blog has sadly been one of those things. Some periods in life become almost overwhelming and time seems to be snatched away and you just sit there and watch it leave, unable to summon the energy to fight for it.
Today is the beginning of the re focus effort. From the end of this month some changes that I have made to my creative life come into effect. It is a bitter sweet moment for me and I'll be talking more about that in a later post.
Needless to say, one of the results of the change will be that you will see more of me on here. More projects, more tutorials and more of my creativity and individuality.
For those who have hung in there with me and not written off this blog, thank you.

You can see that I have changed my blog header photo. I've done this to reflect the direction I will be moving in.
 Books and journals will be my focus.

To start my new journey off I will be teaching a book making class for The Craft Barn on Sunday July 10th with a book, entitled, appropriately, "Growth" A book that during the class will get you started but allow you to grow the book by adding further pages over time.


If you would like to share this journey with me, you can find further details HERE.
Until next time. I wish you well.




Saturday, 19 March 2016

The stranger wanders by...........

Good morning.
I feel like I am wandering through a stormy, dusty creative desert at the moment. Not sure how I got here but I am plodding grimly through it. One staggering step at a time confident that at the end of this journey there will be an oasis of calm.
I'm sure that I am not the only one feeling that the pressures of the everyday are getting more and more each year. Our days are filled  and sometimes over filled and it is difficult the slow down.
Still, we strive and endeavor to do so.
Today, I am sharing the transformation of the project from my last post. (Yes, it has been a VERY long day!)
 So, this was the original project. I loved doing it and the finished piece but as I have nowhere to display it so I changed it to this.......

 I split the piece in half, added thin greyboard pages and turned it into a journal. I stitched burlap to the spine to tie in with the feel of the covers and used the same paints to add colour.



 Hope you like it. I also hope that you have a wonderful and creatively blessed day.
Till next we meet.

ps, over at The CRAFT barn blog today I have an altered letter rack. I'd love it if you would take the time to pop on over for a peek HERE




Thursday, 4 February 2016

Couple more sketches.

Hi again, Yes, a second post from me today. Just thought I'd pop on the next couple of sketches from my one sketch a day book. With the week I've had I'm more impressed with that fact that I managed to put pen to paper every day !

Going triple for The Craft Barn

Good morning guys.
I hope you are well. As a rare treat I have a midweek weekend so today is my Saturday. I think a lazy day is in order......
I thought I'd pop on to share a few pics from my project done for The Craft Barn a few weeks ago. I'm not going to go into too much details regarding stages but if you would like to see them then you can pop over HERE to see.
My triple consisted of 3 door plates made up from Andy Skinner's Tando Creative Industrial Elements kit. There are three layers of paint and mediums on these to create the effect.

 The finished project ended up as an A4 board with layers of paste, paint, heat embossed designs and burlap.


Further details were added by the addition of metal embellishments. Love these keys.

The finished piece. It was fun to make and I was pleased with it.

However, I have a confession to make..... I looked at it and thought, "yes, I really like it. But where can I put it?" Well, it has undergone a transformation.....and upon that teaser I will say goodbye and make you wait  until tomorrow to see what happened to it.....
Have a fab day.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Mad as a March Hare....

Good morning friends.
I trust you are well. The weather is cold and miserable so I'm avoiding my studio and keeping myself indoors (When I'm not at work!)
This weekend I had a go at my second needle felted project. Something that had a few more technical aspects to it. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed myself though I was not totally happy with the proportions when I had finished. I am learning things and that is a good thing. I know what not to do next time now so lesson learned......

Here he is, warts and all.


 It was different working with a wire armature and adding details like cheeks, mouth and eyebrows. Unfortunately the legs are not long enough proportionally but hey it's only my second attempt so overall I'm pleased. I'll just have to hide him in a bunch of flowers LOL



I've also been enjoying my daily sketch. Here are the next 12 days.


I really should be popping down to the Studio so I'll see you later. Have yourselves a fun and creative day.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

One sketch a day

Good morning folks.

I'm kinda playing catch up a bit here as the first few weeks of the new year has been busy.
One of my gifts at Christmas from Shenay was a One Sketch a Day journal. A very cool and perfect sized 365 day journal.
I started it on Christmas day and now, on day 27 I think the habit is almost embedded as I can't settle down in the evening without doing it!
I thought I would share a periodic round up of my completed sketches with you. Some I love, some I am not sure about but the process of drawing daily quick sketches I love.

 Each spread has 4 days spaces. You just add the date and go for it.

After doing a couple of days in colour I decided I was just going to use pen and ink as I didn't like the coloured elements (and it's easier to carry just pens with me!)

The question mark was when it was late at night, I was tired and could not think of anything to sketch. I was not going to do anything though as I knew if I skipped a day I would regret it. It's also then too easy to skip another, and another!

It's cool to see the variety over a few spreads like this, hope you enjoy them and if you like sketching this is a brilliant size to work with.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

No, I don't like tea; not really into cute either........

Good afternoon friends.
I trust you are well. Something different from me today. A spot of crafting but no paint, pastes or stamping. No, don't run, it's not too bad I promise.
Last week I had a bit of a sort out in my studio and came across a paper making frame I had picked up last year. One of my favourite memories was when my father and I made paper when I was younger so I thought I would introduce my daughter to the delights and we had a spontaneous paper making session in the kitchen. This is where the tea comes in.  We added the contents of a bag of Earl Grey tea to the mix (The only thing worth doing with tea in my opinion LOL) and raided the garden for some dead things to add interest too.

 So, here I am showing her the process, after all, demonstrating is more fun than telling....

 My first sheet off the frame and couched.


And the finished sheets all dry. I made three and Alyssa made about five or six. It was great fun and I had a cool trip down memory lane.

Oh and no, they don't smell like tea!

Then, for something totally different too. For a while now I have been enamored with the amazing artistry of needle felted sculptures I see on Pinterest and fancied having a go but didn't even know where to start. Wandering into Hobbycraft the other week to get something for my daughter I came across all the tools and wool and impulsively popped them into my basket! Got them home and then panicked. They taunted me all of the week and come Sunday I thought, now or never.
Well, tempting though it was to attempt to create a stunning realistic fox for my first try I decided that as a novice I should really try something simpler. I would therefore like to introduce you to Alf, short for Alpha as he is my first needle felted creation!



Working with wool and needles is definitely a different experience and there were a number of times when I almost threw the towel in! I'm glad I didn't though as in the end he looks like a kitten and I have a much better understanding of the process and what not to do too. As a bonus I only drew blood once!
Something different for me but also something that has kickstarted my limping mojo for which I am grateful.
Hope you all have a fab afternoon. Take care and we'll catch up soon.

Friday, 15 January 2016

The heart has it's reasons

Good afternoon folks.

This week has flown passed and I can't believe it's Friday already. Still, I have at least managed to get some crafting time in my studio this week.
On Monday I went though to visit my buddy Mark , We didn't get much in the way of crafting done but he did take me to his local craft store That's Crafty. Well, what a fabulous place, great selection of products and lovely owners. I could have lost myself in there for hours..... I did however not leave empty handed as you can imagine. I was introduced to and fell in love with, tbe Carabelle Studio stamps.

So this is my first little creative make with one of their stamps.


 I stamped the design onto white card and mounted this onto a Tando Creative Media Board. I used DecoArt Fluid Acrylic  Pthalo Turquoise and Cobalt Teal  to paint the background.
 Fluid Acrylic Diarylide Yellow
 Quinacridone Red
 Everything was layered up and a wash of Quin Gold applied onto which I sprinkled some salt.


When it was dry I removed the salt and added some details with Liquid Pearls and some Liquid glass over lightbulb at the top and the bottom dial before adding the sentiment.

Hope you like it.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Life's a bit of a pressure cooker.

Good morning friends.
Assuming that there are still some of you who haven't given up on me yet!  I know it's been a desert here for a while. I had really hoped to get off to a good start after Christmas but my wife was ill so it was a couple of weeks of doctors everyday (that or hospital) so all good intentions came and went. Fortunately she's on the mend now and I have had the rare treat of a week off so am playing creative catch up!

So, first things first. Sunday saw the launch of The Craft Barn's Annual Craft Challenge. All the details can be found HERE. This due we've decided to revisit by popular request The Alpha challenge so every two weeks will be a new letter.

This year I decided that I was going to create Neil's Arty Farty Bookshelf for my alphabet. My idea was that each word would be something that relates to art or artists. So each book begins with the definition of the word and then I can dip in and out of them throughout the year adding bits that I come across that inspire me and link to the word.

So I needed 26 little books......


 26 inners ready.
and then they needed covers so I hauled out my Vagabond and a pile of embossing folders.

 Job done!

The first letter of the challenge is B so I chose Bohemian.
 I coloured the covers with Fossilised Amber and Blueprint Sketch Distress ink
 I used some of the Seth Apter stamps, love these.
 A Sweet Poppy stencil
 And my Wonky Street mask to sort out the definitions

 It was fun to do and I look forward to adding to my collection over the year.
It should be fun so why don't you join in?

So, as I am sure you are still reeling from the shock of me actually posting again I won't overwhelm you so I'll say cheerio and I'll be back tomorrow.........
Take care folks.