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Get Messy Season of Reflection week 1

For this season I explored the Japanese stab stitch book binding technique.  I have to admit that I have always looked past this method as I didn’t think it would be a great journal binding as it doesn’t lay flat readily.  I always thought it looked too bulky to work with the papers I like to journal on and I was right, it would not work very well with a  watercolor paper even though I am sure it could be persuaded to open flat. So I explored some different papers.

I followed the advice of the experts and went for the four hole binding to start with and I used a soft unbleached mulberry paper and my trusty waxed linen thread.  It opens nicely and I like the folds at the outside edge of the book.

This technique does not require folded signatures, you can use single sheets or folded sheets with the fold at the spine or the open edge.  I am thinking of all the possibilities to be had with this book binding magic!

Of course I can always make a book any size I like, tall, square, long, skinny, landscape or tiny.  With the Japanese stab stitch, I can also use almost any paper and I love old paper which doesn’t always like to be folded, so that should be fun to try.

So far, I have been filling this one up with mandalas, I can put my template between the pages and paint on the pattern.

I got some straw for my garlic as a winter blanket and turns out it makes a nice background too!

Happy Thursday x


Taking Stock November 2019

It is ages since I did a Taking Stock post, so here we go!  They are super fun so I have left a blank list at the end for you if you want to copy it and fill in your own Taking Stock.  I must say thanks to Pip at Meet Me at Mikes for the original concept. In fact if you just want to browse a fabulous blog, Meet Me at Mikes is one of the best!

Ok, let’s get going –

Making : Sketchbooks with lovely paper and the Japanese Stab Stitch bookbinding technique.

Cooking : Frozen pizza tonight as I am at work!

Drinking : Biscuit tea made by Taylors of Harrogate, it is completely delicious even though I don’t normally like flavoured teas.

Reading: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, I have only just started but it is about twins who spontaneously combust and sounds hilarious.

Wanting: A good night’s sleep.

Looking: At the foggy evening outside.

Playing: In my new stab stitch sketchbook.

Deciding: What to do this week on my unexpected day off!

Wishing: Fairies lived at the end of my garden. (maybe they do!)

Enjoying: Looking at lots of cookbooks borrowed from the library.

Waiting: For my new cardigan from Goodwill to dry so I can wear it!

Liking: Getting bargains at Goodwill.

Wondering: How long I can leave a bag of turkey and stuffing chips before I devour them!

Loving: Gin and tonic in a can.

Pondering: Food and menu planning for next week.

Considering: What to buy everyone for Christmas.

Buying: New boots.

Watching: The Curse of Oak Island

Hoping: For some direction.

Marvelling: At all the people who do all the things.

Cringing: At awkward conversations.

Needing: My new boots to fit (the curse of online ordering!).

Questioning: My exercise routine – I need more cardio!

Smelling: Favourite rose perfume.

Wearing: New earrings.

Following: Creative Bug daily classes.

Noticing: All the different bookbinding techniques.

Knowing: I have an eye test tomorrow.

Thinking: About mandalas and all the ways to make them.

Admiring: Teachers.

Sorting: Winter scarves, I do love my scarves!

Getting: Ready for a cold couple of days.

Bookmarking: Podcasts – This American Life and No Such Thing as a Fish.

Coveting: My new boots.

Disliking: Noise.

Opening: A box of tea bags ordered from England! Yay!

Giggling: At ‘Little Brexit’ on BBC Radio 4 iPlayer.

Feeling: Up and down.

Snacking: On turkey and stuffing chips!

Helping: My craft group at the library make necklaces.

Hearing: My family watch Terminator.

Happy Wednesday x


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

Making :

Cooking :

Drinking :







































I Planted some Garlic!

After much research (ok I read an article in a gardening magazine) and waiting for the first frost, I have planted half a pound of garlic.

If it all grows I will have a stall at the end of my drive or I can be a French lady with a striped shirt and a string of garlic around my neck (stereotype? Moi? Never!).

I even have a bale of hay at the ready for when the ground gets chilly and it needs a straw blanket, I also have a snack if any horses pop over!

Happy Tuesday x

Weekend Finds

This weekend my favourite antique store was open, it is only open for the first seven days of the month, so you have to get there when you can!

This time I didn’t see much I wanted (which is a good thing really!), but I did spot this teeny tiny pot.  I have owned a less ornate one before and found it to be ideal for holding small amounts of ink to dip a brush or pen into. Unfortunately it met it’s end when I dropped it on the kitchen floor, so I was happy to see this one.

I thought this was an old salt cellar, but on further research it could be a toothpick holder.  Either way it is the perfect size for a puddle of ink and for two dollars, a bargain!

Happy Monday x


Get Messy, Season of Habit pages from my Art Journal

When I made this art journal a couple of months ago, I was sure of two things, I loved the look and layout of it and it has way too many pages to fill in one season of Get Messy.

Turns out I was correct on the first one, I loved this journal every time I worked in it.

It transpired over the course of the Season of Habit that my second assumption was very wrong, I filled this treasure up with maybe one page to spare.  Not only did I fill it, I added a pocket full of art cards and two mini accordion books.

I used all of my favorite techniques, starting with making the book itself, machine sewing, collage, simplicity, spray painting through old doilies and using old photos.  These are a few of the pages from my completed journal.

Happy Sunday x


‘I like Friday’ some new art books.

I love books and I love books I can learn from and be inspired by!  For this Friday post I thought I would share some of the latest books to my collection.  I always borrow fiction from the library as I know once I have read it, I won’t read it again and I don’t have space to store a load of read books.  However, non fiction/reference/learning/inspiring (yes some novels are inspiring but I am usually after pictures!) books I will often buy.

These three all have valuable information and lessons both practical and mindful.

Find your Artistic Voice by Lisa Congdon

A Field Guide to Color by Lisa Solomon

A Big Important Artist: A Womanual by Danielle Krysa

Happy Friday x

Ways to use Vintage Fabric in my Art Journal.

I found a fabulous length of lacey vintage fabric at an estate sale this weekend which I think must have been used as a tablecloth.  I snatched it up with my mind already planning things to do with it. So here are a few ideas for using vintage fabric in your art journal.

Sketch it in as much detail as you want.

Trace through it, follow all the shapes or just a few.

Print with it, using a gel plate.

Photocopy and add to your journal page.

Spray paint through it and use as a background.

Dip it in some ink and sew it into your journal.

Cut out a section and stitch it in, use matching thread or a contrast colour, hand sewing or using a sewing machine.

Add a piece of fabric as an extra ‘page’ by sewing it down the edge or the middle of an existing page.

I added this section of the fabric by sewing it into the existing page of my journal with the original ribbon which I used to bind the book. Now I have to decide what else to add to these pages?!

Do you use vintage fabrics?  What do you do with them and where do you find them?

Happy Monday x

Artist Trading Cards part two

I should be calling this my ‘opposite project’! I rarely work in layers and I hardly ever use stencils and I almost always add some collage.

For these cards I have used multiple layers, added no collage and I love it!

I took the cards off the cutting mat and mixed them up and stuck them back to make a gelli print using white gesso and a leafy plant. I must confess that this was a stage where I could have hated it once I peeled off the gel plate, but I didn’t.

Once the paint was dry, I grabbed an Inktense pencil and loosely traced the botanical shape then gave it a spray of water.

At last it was time to separate the cards and see them individually to decide what was next.

I grabbed my waterproof black ink and a vintage nib pen and added some simple plant shapes, gave the whole lot a splatter of gold and called them done.

I am pleased I gave layering a try and I am even happier that I like the outcome!

Happy Friday x

Making Artist Trading Cards.

I started this project completely backwards!  I cut out my nine cards and then promptly put them back together into a rectangle in order to paint and play on them all at once.  I really should have done all the painting and stenciling then cut them up, but that is what happens when there is no plan, just the decision to make something.

As it has turned out, putting them all together on a cutting mat, held down with masking tape, is working out and I this way I can take them up and rearrange them to carry on mark making.






Now I have painted, spray painted and stenciled, I am going to mix the cards up and see what marks I can make.

Layering is not usually something I do, but I am enjoying this and I am excited to see where it ends up, I am also slightly nervous that I will add a layer and wish I could remove it!

Let’s see what happens.

Happy Wednesday x