Wednesday 30 November 2011

Purple Phase: using purple with yellow, navy + silver

Hello, hello.

Back in September, when I stated the Purple Phase, I decided to run it right throughout Autumn so I didn't feel rushed. And when I decided upon November 30th as my end-date it felt like an age away ... and now it's here!!

So here's the final purple palette:
In honour of the final post of the series ... and to show the passage of time ... today's outfit post is brought to you by a rather colder, more bedraggled looking garden than in the rest of the series ... and a colder, more bedraggled looking me!
 During the rest of the series I aimed to convince more poeple to wear purple by creating some quite easy-going, laid back, casual, totally wearable palettes and combinations.

Not once did I suggest you wear bright purple tights with silver shoes and a sunshine yellow cardigan ... until now:
 For me, yellow and purple just works.

In fact, I like it so much that I don't really care:
  • that it was the colour of the uniform in the last school I worked in ... 
  • or even that I once wore a yellow + purple outfit on a weekend away in a Premier Inn hotel which, as you might know, has those exact shades as their corporate colours! I matched their decor rather too well. So well in fact that if I'd stood very still in the foyer... you wouldn't have been able to pick me out  .... [I blogged all about it at the time here].
And as for the silver shoes ...
 I could argue that, as I wear a lot of silver jewellery, like the necklace I'm wearing here for example:
  ... then the silver shoes work to balance out the effect somehow, as there's silver scattered across the whole outfit. But ... .really ... do I need to make an argument for silver shoes?

They're silver shoes for goodness sake!

Silver. Shoes.

And they're comfy. And were in the sale.

Enough said?

The skirt and vest are my most recent purchases and - if you remember this colour palette from a few weeks ago, the mix of purple and yellow with blue will seem familiar. Maybe, just maybe, the navy calms those tight down a touch .. maybe!

This series has been a lot of fun and, despite it never being intended as having as many outfit posts as it turned out, it's made me realise I want to blog more outfit posts next year. So watch this space.

Maybe purple will manage to creep its way into some of those 2012 posts too ... but it won't be my focus. [If you'd like a say in what exactly the focus should be ... keep your ideas coming].

But, for now at least, here's where the purple colour-story ends.
 Cardigan: H&M ¦¦ Skirt: Gap ¦¦ Vest: Gap ¦¦ Shoes: Kenneth Cole ¦¦ Tights: Primark, I think.

OK then, as this is the end of the series, then I ought to say 'Thank you':
  • for reading the series;
  • for being a guest blogger;
  • for leaving encouraging comments;
  • for blogging your own purple projects and preferences;
  • for following the Pinterest board and re-pinning things which caught your eye there;
  • for reconsidering your discriminatory views about a specific section of the colour spectrum ... and for giving purple a second chance! ;-)
So what's next?

Well, I've got a few ideas already about blog features and series I'm going to tackle in 2012. And I'm 95% sure I've chosen the theme of the next series with the same structure as this one. But in the meantime ...

I'll be back tomorrow with my November in Numbers.

Julie :-)

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Using Purple: in a Travel Journal

Hi, hi, hi.

Today's purple project is a mini-album I made last year but never got around to sharing here. But at least it proves that I've been practising what I've preached and I've used purple 'in the wild', outside of this series!

Here it is:
Let me tell you about something I just don't 'get' ... [no, it's not 'time-travel' or 'why people let dogs lick their face' ... although those two things do baffle me ...] no, what I really don't get is why some people worry about not being able to find ready made supplies which exactly match the theme of their albums.

I mean, sometimes you just have to accept that you're probably not going to find a brand who's brought out a 'Harrogate, York, Carlisle, craft-show, visiting Hannah plus seeing Dave Gorman doing stand-up' themed mini-album kit ... and then what are you going to do?

You might just have to make your own, with products you like ... and see where it takes you:
The album itself was made from the kraft-board covers from an accordion album I hadn't used, bound together with a spine made from fabric paper [I think it's ancient Love Elsie stuff], then the pages are held in with large book rings:
There's a stretchy band holding it together when it's closed, which actually came from the swing-tag of a new hoodie James bought while we were on the holiday which the book is about.
The band passes through the book ring so it doesn't get lost when the album's open:
As the fabric on the spine was my starting point for the colours of the album, I pulled together lots of purple and brown items before I began, to sift through and see what worked. I also found a use for all my travel-themed bits and pieces too:
Some of the pages are pockets to hold receipts, tickets and details of the food we ate ... because that's surely one of the best things about going away and deserves recording just as much as any picturesque landscape!
The pockets were made by simply folding over a piece of card and either stapling or using tape to hold it in place. I also added in a recycled paper bag in co-ordinating colours:
The book's full of interactive elements, slots, pouches, tags and tabs to pull:
Then there's the ubiquitous photos of feet:
I really like projects like this, where nothing has been bought in, new, especially for it. It not only reminds me of how much stash I have and how I never really need to go shopping again ...
  ... it also makes me happy to use up those items which I bought once upon a time 'just because', and now they've found a home! Like this gorgeous rose print paper:
This is my final creative project I'm sharing as part of Purple Phase and I feel it takes us full-circle, right back to the very first project and palette which also featured purple and kraft:
Kraft is the new black. Kraft is the new denim. Kraft works with everything. And that includes purple!
So, that's almost it for my Purple Phase the only other thing I've got planned is a final outfit post for tomorrow so, here's a few reminders:
  • There's a list of ALL the posts for this series here, in its own page. So if you've missed anything, want to catch up, or want to revisit a post, they're all there for you.
  • The Pinterest board is here and it turned into a nice mix of pins of blog posts readers sent me links to; posts I spotted in the course of my regular blog-reading - which just happenend to mention / use purple and also inspirational purple-related images I spotted on Pinterest too. I'll still be adding any pots anyone wants to send [at least until the New Year].
  • If you want to help me mark the end of the series by blogging / linking me to a photo of you wearing purple [as I mentioned in yesterday's post] or just a photo of your purple clothes [if you'd prefer not to be in the photo] then please do!
  • Whether you're a veteran purple wearer or a complete novice inpsired by the series I'd love to see how differently we all interpret the same misunderstood shade on the colour spectrum!
  • I'll be blogging mine tomorrow - you can do yours whenever you choose - let me  know where it is and then I'll pin it when I get chance.
  • [I'm just about resisting the urge to go overboard and declare November 30th National Wear Purple Day .... just about ...]
OK then, I'm going to go and iron a crease in my purple tights ready for tomorrow's photo! ;-)

See you then,


Monday 28 November 2011

Purple Phase: Using *that* purple poem on my 1st ever layout

Hello again.

The end of November is nigh and I promised myself I'd be through with my Purple Phase by then ... so here I am frantically tryng to blog the remaining things I had planned, while having to accept that some of my colour might bleed into December at this rate.

So let's get started:
Way back in September, in my first Purple Phase post I posted a music video about wearing purple ... which [after I'd stopped dancing] put me in my mind of the famous poem by Jenny Joseph 'Warning' which features the lines:

"When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me." [see bottom of post for full poem].
Which, in turn, reminded me of the first ever 12x12 scrapbook pages I made a handful of years ago. Which were these:
I know ... my style changed a little in the intervening years ... but that's not the point!

The idea behind the page was that, whereas the poem lists all the things the narrator will do when she grows old:
I don't think my Grandma really waited for old age to be an excuse to be herself;
... to not care what other people thought of her:
To tread her own path, press alarm bells and wear clothes that didn't match!

I can learn from this [even right now ... while sharing my first ever attempts at scrapbooking!] and I can go on not really caring if anyone else likes what I wear ... even if it's purple:
  • At the end of the month I'll be photographing - and blogging -  myself wearing purple one last time for the series.
  • How about you?
  • You're welcome to join me - you can blog your post anytime - I'm just doing it this week to finish-off the series nicely.
  • I'll still be pinning purple blog posts until you hear otherwise.
  • November's My Month in Numbers is going to wait until Thursday / Friday now.

See you soon ... in your finest purple I hope!

Julie x

Warning - by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
By Jenny Joseph

Thursday 24 November 2011

News of 'Featuring' Magazine.

Hello, hello.

Ifyou like mixed media, art journaling, general arty-paperyness .... and magazines ... then stick around, as I come bearing good news.

'Featuring Magazine' is a brand new international, quarterly, print magazine due for launch in Spring 2012:

'Featuring is the creation of Marit Barentsen and here's how she describes it:

"This magazine wants to provide a stage for all kinds of artists. With each issue, we seek to bring our readers a view on creativity in all its forms. The focus will be mainly on art journaling and mixed media, but other types of art will be highlighted as well. FEATURING wants to bring a  spectrum of art-related articles and stories. You will also enjoy seeing pages jammed with collaborative projects, glimpses of studios, interviews, background stories, layouts, paintings, photos, poetry and much, much more!"

So, does that sound like something you'll be interested in?

I hope so.

Because my application to be part of the Featuring launch team was accepted this week and I'm going to be starting work on it very soon!
It's all very new and exciting so there's not much more I can add right now really, except ...

I really need to thank Sian for being thoughtful enough to send me the link to the call for team members in the first place. Thank you Sian. So much. x

As a way to pay Sian's thoughtfulness forward I'd like to point you toward the Submissions page of the site which contains the details of how you can submit your own work to the magazine.  I'd be thrilled to see you there.

[If you need some extra encouragement and guidance on how to submit to a magazine, then here's the post about doing just that from my Design-Team curious series. I don't know anything about submitting to Featuring - other than what's on the site - so, that's the best place for you to get the details right now.]

OK then, here endeth my big news. I'm going to scurry away and get all shy about it now ...

I'll be back out of my shell very soon no doubt! See you then.

Julie x

Monday 21 November 2011

Purple Phase: purple with blue, denim + grey


Well, I was away, but now I'm back. So I thought I'd grab the chance to share the next purple-ish outfit.

I say it's the 'next' outfit in the series when actually ... it could be the last, because it's the last pre-photographed outfit I prepared for the series. I took all the photos for the outfit posts before the new term started in October and while I had enough time and daylight to get the shots.

But now: I'm at work 3 days and it gets dark at 3pm so things are a bit different ... in fact even my hair colour is different since I took these photos [far less red and much more like my natural colour] so it definitely feels like a long time ago now!

However, I do feel like I ought to make the effort between now and next week to dress-up smart to mark the end of the Purple Phase ... so this may not be the last you see of the purple-side of my wardrobe.  [I've been taking note of all the ideas you left for me about future non-purple outfit posts, thank you, so it certainly won't be the final outfit post altogether.]

Anyway ... here's today's purple palette which, if you live in the parts of the UK which have been hidden in mists this weekend, you may find familiarly grey and foggy in feel:
Do you ever forget that [the majority of] denim is blue? I know I do.

It's so ubiquitous, I wear it with so many other colours and it hardly ever dawns on me that I'm making a colour-combo with blue
  • Think of your favourite outfit which involves blue denim in it somewhere ....
  • Got it?
  • Now, in your head, swap out those jeans / jacket etc for something exactly the same shape / style etc ... even the same shade of blue ...
  • But now imagine it's NOT denim.
Doesn't that change the whole feel of the oufit for you? It does me, if only for the fact that I certainly don't have at least 6 pairs of blue trousers in my drawer. Why would you? But jeans? Jeans are different? You can never have too many jeans!

Now, I know this outfit doesn't involve a pair of jeans - it's a denim/chambray dress - but the principle's the same: denim goes with everything you might not think to wear with regular blue clothes ... and that includes purple tights:

I love the soft shades of aubergine-y? grape-ish? purple in these wooly tights. And, like so many of the shades we've looked at so far in the series, they're a far cry from the harsh 'purple' which turns so many people off. And, along with 'with grey' and 'with neutral shades ' I'm adding 'with blue denim' to my 'really easy-ways-to-wear-purple' tips!

That's not to say that I don't like non-denim blue with purple, as this bag proves:
And while none of the shades of blue, grey or purple in the whole outfit 'match' exactly ... that's not really essential, they blend together well enough for me:
And really, I'm never really worried about what 'matches'. Blue, purple, grey. Stripes, checks, geometric designs ...
They're all fair game in an outfit for me.

Apart from  'No wool', 'No tight elastic' and 'Must be able to breathe in it'  - I have no great overarching rules when buying - and wearing - clothes.
Dress: H&M ¦¦ Cardigan: H&M ¦¦ Boots: Ugg ¦¦ Bag: Matalan
In other news:
  •  There are only 9 days left of my Purple Phase, so if you've wanted to join in and blog your won projects, you might want to do that soon. [But I'll still pin your post to the Pinterest board afterwards if you let me know].
  • The impending end of November also means it's nearly time for another 'My Month in Numbers' round-up. So if you've been planning to join in - consider this your 9-day warning!
  • Also, due to how often I get asked where I start with my Month in Numbers posts, I'm planning a kind of 'how-to' on the subject, so if that sounds like something you'd be interested ... stay tuned.
And finally an unapologetic shop-plug:
  • Another of my custom-made Plundered Pages paper packs has been well-received this weekend, so if you'd like to give one as a gift then just get in touch and I can put together a personalised pack tailored to match your friend and their specific interests [whatever they may be!]
  • Or you could even persuade a gift-giver to get in touch with me to put a pack together for you! Either way, I'm very happy to compile one-of-a-kind packs! [All excuses to sit and flick through old-books in the name of 'research' are fine by me!]
See you soon.

Julie :-)

Saturday 19 November 2011

Vintage books: Old World and New World Fairy Tales

Hi, hi, hi.

I'm not here, [well, obviously I was here when I wrote this ... you're not imagining it.] but I'm not in my usual blogging spot right now, I'm in a cottage, crafting like a crazy person with 7 other equally-as-craftily-crazy friends.

As I'm away I thought I'd schedule this post to keep things ticking-over here until I get back - like how you're supposed to leave the heating on a tiny bit when you go away in the winter, so the water pipes don't freeze-up. So just consider this post me keeping my pipes warm ...

... moving swiftly on ...

When I was designing the labelling for my 'Plundered Pages' vintage paper packs, I came up with the tagline:
"I cut up the books ... so you don't have to."

Which I thought said everythign there was to say and which might strike a nerve because, really ... who likes cutting into books?

I know I don't!

But I bravely pick up my craft knife so that old, neglected books can enjoy a new lease of life with their lovely purchaser ... and so the lovely purchase doesn't have to feel sick doing it themselves!

[I know ... you're impresed at the levels of self-sacrifice I put into my business now aren't you? ;-) ]

However, while I do manage to cut up the majority of the books I gather-in ... there are others I collect which live in safety on the 'Keep away from the scissors' shelf.

The occasional ones which pluck at the strings of my hard book-slashing heart. The ones that cry out: "Please ... don't cut me ... if you loved me you'd keep me away from sharp implements". The ones I thought I might start sharing here with you from time to time.

Starting with this:

Amazing. In my eyes at least.

My reasons for keeping some and not others in tact rarely has anything to do with what they cost to buy. This one was £1:00 from a table-top sale a few summers back but the colours and illustrations are worth far more than £1:00 to me:

Their value to me comes in their content.

When I find a beautiful book like this amongst the mass-produced novels and tacky modern kids' books on a stall or on a charity shop shelf ...
  • my heart skips a beat;
  • I begin to feel warm;
  • my eyes glaze-over somewhat;
  • and my grip on my 'treasure' tightens in case someone else notices its gloriousness and tries to buy it first!
[If you need a clearer image, James likens my response to that of a drug-addict snorting a controlled substance ... so .. yeah ... like that.]

And then, while I'm at the till paying for my amazing discovery, I even get the feeling I've done something illicit. That I'm going to be found out. That I'm getting away with robbery paying so little for something that makes me that excited.

All of which, I suppose, means I'm in the right hobby for me!

I just don't know where else I could get such quality artwork, such character, such unique items for such a low price. And the rareity of the finds makes them all the more precious ... and narcotic to me.

My name's Julie ...

... and I'm a vintage book addict.

Julie  ;-)

p.s: I'm also a Plundered Pages pusher. The full range is here and I'm happy to create bespoke packs based on any theme / combination of themes you'd like. [NB. any orders placed now will be posted out on Tuesday 22nd November because, like I said ... I'm not here ...]

Thursday 17 November 2011

All the world's a stage: Mini theatre scene

First things first: Happy Birthday sib!

It's my sister's birthday today [or it's your birthday today ... if you're my sister] and today's project is the card I made for her / you. But then if it is you, you'll have already seen it as I gave you it last night.

OK! Enough of the time travel confusion .. or maybe not quite enough. You'll see ...

Anyway, here's the card:
But this is not just 'a card', no ... it's an interactive stage-set card complete with a fully functioning David Tennant ... [the latter of which I know for a fact was on her birthday wish list!]

As she recently went to see him perform in Much Ado About Nothing I used some appropriate wording cut from the vintage book [above] which I'm thinning out before I start to use it as an altered book/ journal.

If you'd like the full details on how I made this - it's my Design Team project here on the 3DJean blog today . But basically it's an Artchix chipboard 'Scalloped Stage' decorated with vintage wallpaper, shiny things and doodling - with stamped wording and characters glued to lolly sticks!

I hope she / you liked it!

Love you big sis. x

And if that's whetted your Shakespearean whistle and you fancy a bit more of the Bard then you might like the 'Culture, Literature & Shakespeare' themed pack of Plundered Pages I added to my shop last week:

End of shameless shop-plug.


I'm off to a crafting weekend with friends tomorrow morning .. so if I don't see you before ... I'll see you next week.
Julie x

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Purple Phase guest blogger: Kirsty Neale


If you've been reading me a while you'll know that my special guest today is one of my most favourite of favourite people. So much of a favourite that:
  • I've co-hosted a blog with her [during which time I generally referred to her as 'my blog-wife' and, if I'm honest, I still do call her that when she's not listening - so let's hope she's not listening right now ... ] ;-)
  • I've delivered online workshops with her;
  • And also regularly pestered her for advice, joined with her in ridiculous chat and plotted world domination with her.
On top of all that, she still finds time to be a writer, illustrator, designer and maker of great things!

And as if being my guest wasn't a big enough excitement for her ... ;-) ... she's just learned that she's one of the brand new Design Team members for Hambly!

So, allow me to introduce you to Kirsty Neale:

... and now I'll let her speak for herself ....

Kirsty Neale:

Around ten years ago, I worked for a girls’ magazine. Along with pink, purple was one of our signature colours, and although I adored the job, I was never overly fond of either colour. When I moved on, both of them were left well and truly behind, in a drawer marked ‘hues to avoid at all costs’. I’ve since sort of made my peace with pink – in certain shades at least – but purple has never really recovered.

Then, a few weeks ago two things happened that made me think it was time to put my purple prejudices aside:

  1. First of all, Julie asked me to join in with her Purple Phase project. She’s talked me into colour-loving once before, so saying ‘no’ was never an option. I was all set to go ahead with a colour-scheme picked out of my yarn basket (purple, navy, grey and yellow – so gorgeous!)  ...
  2. when I had a second request – to make a birthday present for a little girl who loves anything pink and purple.
After switching my attention from yarn to felt, I finally came up with a set of colours which I think made everyone happy, even me.

The pink and purple shades are all quite muted, which makes them easier on the eye, but it’s the splash of green which I love the most.

It makes the bolder colours feel more natural and somehow closer to the tones in a real flower. Not that my flowers were supposed to look real, but it’s maybe reminded me that the colours I don’t like are the ones which feel plastic-y and artificial.

Fake flowers good, fake colours bad.

If you’d like to make a similar set of coat-hooks for a child’s room (or maybe your own – I’m not here to judge), here you go with a quick how-to.

wooden peg rail |  acrylic paint | paintbrush | PVA | gluepaper | scissors | felt | pins | fusible (iron-on) interfacing | needle | embroidery threads

  • Download the template pdf here.
  • Copy the templates onto paper and cut out. Check that the hole in the centre of each flower fits over one of the pegs on your rail. Adjust to make larger or smaller, if necessary.
  • Pin the templates to felt and cut out pieces, as noted on the template sheet.
  • Cut out interfacing (again, as noted) and iron to each flower and leaf to stiffen. 
  • Sew the leaves and the larger flowers together in pairs, back to back. Add the smaller pieces of felt on top to decorate, sewing with a variety of stitches for interest (I used running stitch, back stitch, whipped back stitch, French knots, straight stitch and two-colour couching).
  • Paint the peg-rail in colours of your choice – I used green for the backing section, and yellow for the pegs.
  • Fit your flowers over the pegs, and add a leaf behind each one. When you’re happy with the way they look. Fix into place using PVA or tacky glue (if the peg rail has pre-drilled holes, take care not to glue over the top of them).
As for that first purple-inspired project, I’m still hoping I might squeeze it in before the end of the month. I might not have fallen quite head-over-heels for purple just yet, but the fact I’m planning to use it again so soon can only be a good sign.



Thank you so much Kirsty!

And ... speaking of a 'good sign' ... how about this one Kirsty drew a few weeks ago. Here I am complete with animal print cape, purple frock and my Autumn/Winter manifesto!
Now tell me, who wouldn't want a friend who sends them adorable illustrations of topics which came up during ridiculous Twitter conversations? Who?

If you'd like one of Kirsty's whimsically wonderful illustrations without having to indulge in such nonsensical chatter, then have a browse around her shop in peace!


I'll be back on Thursday with a little 3D project to share, so until then ...

Julie x