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The day I made a hand carved stamp set.


I have been wanting to make stamps for ages now and I have had a couple of goes with some success but nothing amazing.

Boosted by the fact that I said that one of my goals for May was to make a stamp set, yes, not just one lonesome stamp, a lovely friendly set of them, I got to work.

I am not a get the equipment and dive in kinda girl, I have to look at at least one book on the subject if possible.  I checked out ‘Carve, Stamp, Play‘ by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and ‘Making an Impression‘ by Geninne Zlatkis from the library and got studying stamp making.

Of course I don’t get far into any books about making stuff without wanting to jump in and have a go.  I grabbed my carving equipment and some stamp blocks and decided what I wanted to make a stamp of.

I love to use sumi ink with a sumi brush so I wondered if I painted a basic design on each of my three stamp blocks, would it leave an impression I could carve around.  Yes!  It worked, I painted some test designs in my sketchbook, then onto each carving block. I left them for a few minutes then carefully blotted off the excess ink to leave behind the shape I was to carve.  This way I got the flow of the lines I wanted to create the stamp because I used my brush directly onto the stamp block.


After some carving and book consulting and more carving and stamp testing and final carving, success, I have three stamps I love! These are pretty big as stamps go, about 4 inches tall, maybe I will try my hand at smaller ones next.


Now I want to carve a feather stamp, a raindrops stamp, maybe some dots of various sizes all over a stamp, the alphabet…..the possibilities are only restrained by my dedication and trips to the art store for more stamp blocks!

I made this last page in my ‘season of play’ journal for the latest Get Messy Art Journal season.  I painted the flower type marks and stamped over them with my new handy dandy stamp!

Happy Wednesday x


100 days of Freeform Mandalas 11-30

I am really getting into the world of freeform mandalas, so much apparently that I have neglected to write a blog post about my 100 Day Project since day 10.

I am now up to day 43 and I have 43 mandalas.  Some days I have to play catch up but I have not fallen more than one behind.  If I do, I shall catch up again, one of the ways I manage the 100 day project is to be kind to myself and not let myself get too far behind with it, but if I do, then I allow myself to make 2 or 3 in one day if needed.

Are you doing the 100 day project?  Are you using any helpful methods to keep going?

Happy Monday x



Get Messy Art Journaling Botanicals class

This week has been full of flowers in my sketchbooks and art journals!

I am so happy to be a student in the Botanicals in Art Journaling class hosted by Get Messy Art Journal and taught by the wonderful and talented Alicia from Vine and Thistle. 

I love to draw and sketch flowers and botanical everything anyway so this was obviously the class for me. So far I have been making botanical bits and bobs in my art journal, my new sketchbook and some vintage ledger paper.

My favourite technique is from the free class and involves replacing heads with flowers and I can assure you it is super fun and you may not be able to stop once you have started!

I am looking forward to completing the class and filling my sketchbooks with all of the botanicals.

What classes are you taking at the minute?  Any recommendations?

Happy Thursday x

‘I like’ Friday


These are some things that I am liking this fine Friday-

Trader Joe’s lemon cake mix is the very best box cake!  I usually avoid cake mixes but this one is delicious.

The immortalists by Chloe Benjamin is so far an excellent read.  I am two thirds into it and really enjoying it.  It is about 4 kids who go to a fortune teller and find out the dates of their deaths.  From there we follow each character into adulthood and see how the predictions (genuine or not) affect their lives.

Making sketchbooks from old books is my latest love.  I am always on the lookout for old books with a beautiful cover in good shape so that I can use the cover to make myself a sketchbook.

Finding recipes I want to make in In the Small Kitchen by Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine is a joy, so far I want to make banana chocolate chip bread and vanilla cake with chocolate frosting.  Yes, I like cake!!

Flow and Breathe magazines are at the top of my pile to read and I am keen to grab five minutes to get stuck into them both.

I am a student in both Sketchbookery and Botanicals and I am enjoying them because they are full of ideas and inspiration but in different ways which means I am learning and learning.  They are both class which use sketchbooks or art journals and I am getting lots of ideas for making sketchbooks as well as filling them.

What are you liking this Friday?

Happy Friday x



Daily Moleskine 2018 April Pages

Lots of flowers this past month as I also participated in Creative Bug‘s daily flower challenge with Pam Garrison.  The flowers sit alongside vintage photos, vague figure sketching and a spot of collage.

My Moleskine daily planner is filling up nicely and it is lovely to flip through the completed months and see what was going on.

I use this planner to test new paint colours or practice a new idea or supply.  It is a no pressure platform to mess about for a day and then turn the page. Some of which I like and some I don’t but whatever the turn out, I always turn the page and carry on.

Happy Monday x


Taking Stock May 2018


Each time I write a ‘Taking Stock’ post I have to look back on a previous one to get the list and make sure I am consistent with the title.  While I am visiting the older post I like to read what I was up to just a few months ago!

One of the many reasons I like to write these fun posts.

The idea for Taking Stock came from Pip of Meet Me at Mikes fame and I am grateful to her for it.

To take stock, just copy the list at the end of my list and fill it in to make it your own stock take.  Do it again in a couple of months and revisit them to see what you were up to!

Making : sketchbooks using old book covers.

Cooking : I am not sure what to cook for dinner but I made a very nice apple cake at the weekend.

Drinking : Frothy coffee.

Reading: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.

Wanting: Spring, it seems that here in the mid west we have once again leapt into summer with only a whisper of Spring weather.

Looking: At a vase of flowers which  I want to sketch.

Playing: Trivia in pilates later this afternoon no doubt.  My pilates instructor is into trivia and works it into class wherever she can!

Deciding: What travel art supplies to pack for our upcoming UK trip!

Wishing: We could spend longer while visiting home.

Enjoying: Planning our holiday!

Waiting: For my cold and allergies to go away and let me breathe again!

Liking: Working out with kettle bells at Core 3 fitness.

Wondering: Whether to make the book (in the photo) I bought at an estate sale last weekend into a sketchbook or not? It is so cute inside I am loathe to touch it, I think it will stay in my old book pile.

Loving: Turbo Kick classes which I take twice a week, I just love bouncing around for an hour and it is great exercise!

Pondering: Ideas for an art tutorial I am making for Get Messy Art Journal.

Considering: Making another sketchbook from a lovely book someone left in the free box at the library. It is old and well read but has covers which would make an amazing sketchbook.

Buying: A converter for my fountain pen so that I can use it to draw with waterproof ink.

Watching: Sketchbookery videos and enjoying my sketchbook as I fill it up.

Hoping: For some ideas for my art journal.

Marvelling: At the generosity of people and information.  We are planning to mudlark in London one day this summer and I have got so much information from people, I am so grateful.

Cringing: At the coffee I just made, it is like rocket fuel!

Needing: More milk in my coffee…

Questioning: Most of my methods at the minute, I seem to be running on a treadmill and consequently getting nowhere fast! I need to take a step back and get some things sorted out so I can get creating and moving forward again.

Smelling: Cut grass.

Wearing: Levi’s t shirt with a cassette tape on it and some old Calvin Klein Jeans capris along with my Birkenstocks.

Following: Caylee’s lead at Get Messy in setting some goals for May.

Noticing: How creased my clothes are, I need to iron some stuff!

Knowing: Practice is the only way.

Thinking: About our trip to the UK in the summer, I can’t wait!

Admiring: Everyone doing the 100 day project as we are 30 days in now.

Sorting: Winter clothes from summer and storing the winter woolies away until next year.

Getting: Ready to go to work at the library.

Bookmarking: Magazines because I never get to read them all the way through so I have to mark where I got to.

Coveting: A new sofa, it is so hard to decide.

Disliking: Being too hot.

Opening: My box of vintage black and white photos to choose some to work with in my art journal.

Giggling: At the fact that I am writing this list from the bottom up.

Feeling: Accomplished because I cut the grass today. It is the little things…

Snacking: On a banana, I would have chocolate, but we don’t have any!!

Helping: With adult craft at the library tonight. We are making little books from pretty paper and ribbon!

Hearing: Air conditioning and wishing we had a couple more weeks before we had to put it on!

Here is a list for you to copy and fill in.

Happy Wednesday x


Making :

Cooking :

Drinking :








































Art journaling, bookmaking and sketching.

I felt like I was neglecting my little art journal for the Season of Play at Get Messy this week. So one evening I picked it up along with some collage pieces I had chosen, cut out and left to one side. Rather than wait for inspiration to strike I decided to just go for it and make a page with these ladies, a constellation map and some butterflies with a few swipes of paint.                                                                                                                                                        I have also just signed up for Sketchbookery so I did a little sketching practice on this page too in the form of a flower blind contour drawing or three.

Of course once I start in my art journal another page wants to be made and then another!

This one is continuing the lines of contour drawing with some collage elements.

I made these gelli prints last week and I wanted them in my art journal but I didn’t want to overwhelm them with other elements, so I made some rings with the cut off parts of the prints and glued them down. I just love these transfer prints made with the gelli plate.

To accompany my new sketching practice I made a sketchbook using a vintage French text book cover. I am not sure where this gem came from but I am pretty certain it was an estate sale somewhere here in St Louis.

I carefully removed the book block which I will use for other projects, taped the inside of the spine to strengthen it and picked out the paper I wanted to use for my sketchbook.

I love making my own sketchbooks from choosing the cover to the paper which goes inside. The process is so satisfying and working in a sketchbook with this fabulous cover is such a joy.                                                                                                                                      This book has hot press watercolour paper alongside a few pages of kraft paper. Some of the watercolour pages are fold outs  and some are half the regular page height, which is another joy of making your own book, you are in charge of the size, weight and colour of the papers.

I hope you are enjoying whatever you are creating!

Happy Thursday x