Monday 30 April 2012

My Month in Numbers 2012: April

Hi again.

Tomorrow we'll be in May. May!

And I only just got used to writing '04.2012' on my timesheets.

But if the calendar says another month's over, then I guess I'll have to take its word for it and introduce another Month ... in Numbers [if you'd like to join in too, please stop by here to read the small print!].

Now let me show you how my April added up ...

0.617m2 = the area of clean, clear, white space which was my desk [for about 2 hours this month]:
Take a good, long, hard look at that clear desk, because, trust me, you won't see the likes of that again any time soon. [My desk is white. Who knew?]

I just had a funny turn one morning and decided that I couldn't possibly begin working until my room was cleaned. And I do mean cleaned. There was Domestos involved for goodness sake! For the record:
  • thinking about cleaning my room happens quite often yet ...
  • actually cleaning my room happens close to never and ...
  • needless to say ... it doesn't look like that any longer. I don't know what it does like like though- because I can't tell under all that paper.
34 = the number of clothes donated to charity to lighten the load of the drawer beneath the bed:
There was a mountain of jersey cotton in that drawer and, now I've got rid of all that ^^^, it's now merely the size of a large hill ...

30, 74, 75, 76 = the page numbers my work features on in the latest Somerset Memories magazine. Let me tell you, to someone who's always hoped that one day, she'd make it into a Stampington title ... there's no more exciting sight on a morning than finding this on your doormat:
I'm still not sure of the pages I made it on to in Stampington's Art Journaling as my copy hasn't arrived yet. So I've another exciting postal delivery still to come.

And as if that wasn't enough ... April definitely earned the title of Month of Exciting Magazine Happenings ...

1 = the first ever copy of Featuring Magazine arrived last week:
That's me on pages 14 and 38. I've talked a lot about Featuring lately so I'll just direct you to the website for now and you can find out more at your leisure.

30 = the number of Episodes of Justified watched:
Basically I went from never seeing an episode to watching two full seasons and 4 episodes of the latest season [on UK TV].

This is not usual behaviour for me. I'm not a box-set kinda girl at all. And I only have about 3 DVDs to my name. But for Justified ... it's brilliant story-telling, dialogue that keeps my ears sharp [not to mention what the leading man does for my eyes], for all that ... I've made an exception.

And it's also just possible that, as I type ... I'm watching Season 1 from the beginning again ...

And finally, perhaps the loudest and largest thing that happened this month ...

3 = the number of demolitions watched from the back window last Sunday morning:

James took the photos while I just watched a bit overawed, a bit freaked out. The view from the bathroom window will never be the same!

So that's the sum total of my April 2012 ... now you're welcome to share your own statistics with me:
  • If you'd like to take part in the full Month in Numbers community blogging experience [and to join the others on the Pinterest board]  then please, please read the info here first. It's really just about give + take.
  • And if you're just happy reading through everyone's posts ... then that's most welcome too! [There are no rules for that ... you've just got to be able to read ... which I'm guessing you've got the hang of. What with you reading this right now and everything ...].
See you later this week.

Julie :-)

Saturday 28 April 2012

Overheard: A most excellent overheard dude!

Hi, hi, hi.

Term is rapidly drawing to a close at University which is always bittersweet for me:
  • On the one hand it means I get to return to self-employment rules for a few months, which cuts down on travel time on a morning [my craft room is far nearer my bed than work's lecture theatres are!] yet ... on the other hand ...
  • it also means I don't get to listen in to conversations on campus! Which means no more gems like this one for quite a while ...

When: November 2011
Where: Outside a computer lab. Maths + Computing Dept.
Who: a group of male students were waiting to get into a lab and passing the time by discussing which Keanu Reeves films played around with time and space. [eg: The Lakehouse, The Matrix, the Bill & Ted series ...]

The highlight of the exchange [for me anyway!] went like this ....

Student 1: They should do a follow-up of the Bill and Ted film but like when they're older.

Student 2: Well ... they'd have to be!

part of my vintage-book collection

I love that response. So sarcastic ... yet so rational.

He was right of course, they would have to be older if they made a sequel now. But then again, the films are about time travel .. so who knows for sure ...?

OK my head's starting to hurt, attempting to understand time travel gets me everytime!


If you've missed any of my overheards you can catch up on all those I've blogged right here. Or you could follow me on Twitter where I often write them up as soon as I hear them. Sometimes during.

See you on Monday with My Month in Numbers.

Julie :-)

Friday 27 April 2012

Scrapbooking: Never Too Old

Hello, hello.

As promised, I'm back today with:
  • Another page to demonstrate the papers which 3DJean is currently giving away here [Go! Enter! You only need to leave your name to win! Paper! Run!]
  • And another take on this page sketch I shared yesterday:
This time round I've shifted the photo down and across and rearranged the extra embellishment/title areas:
[Firstly - a small confession - the paper I used as the background for this page is not part of the giveaway ... mainly because I used 2 sheets of it before we decided to give a set away! So, unless any of the DT have a spare sheet ... this design is not in the set.]

Apart from the patterned papers, the additional layers on this page are made from a mix of ephemera:
  • the photo is matted on to a Bingo game sheet;
  • the patterned vellum came from a brochure
  • he upside-down numbers [top left] are from the edge of a vintage map;
The repetition of numbers across all the elements was to subtly reflect the wording on the page ... about never being too old to roll up your trousers and go for an impromptu splodge in the water with your mother!

To emphasise and define all the layering, numbers included, I used my usual method of raising each piece using 3D foam:
In yesterday's scrapbooking post I mentioned how I'd repeated a shade of soft green across the page for balance, and I've done the same thing here, only this time with the 'swimming-pool-blue' shade.

Obviously the colour was taken from ... you guessed it ... the swimming pool in the photo ... then I introduced the matching shade from the Bingo sheet.

Next I wiped blue acrylic paint through some mesh tape [which you cna find in several Blank Looks packs here]:
And finally, I stapled down some turquoise faux-suede cord and co-ordinating bunting:
Here's the whole thing again, so you can see how it all balanced out in the end:


Don't forget to throw your name into the hat - over here on the 3DJean blog - to be in with a chance of winning the papers.

And feel free to use the sketch in your own projects too.

I've still got another page and 2 cards to share using this set of papers so I'll be back with those in the coming week. But before then:
  •  I've got my Month in Numbers post coming on Monday - I forgot to remind you about it this month ... so I hope some of you are still planning to play along!
  • And I feel an 'Overheard' post coming on ...
Have a great Friday and weekend ahead.

Julie :-)

Thursday 26 April 2012

Scrapbooking: When I Look Up

Hi you.

So, did you catch yesterday's post? It was just a quick one where I pointed you towards the giveaway happening over at the 3DJean Design Team blog where you can win a set of 'Envie de fraicheur' scrapbooking papers and alphas from Les Editions InfoCrea.

While we were away on our long crafting-weekend last month, the 3DJean Design Team [and several other friends] worked with those same paper and so we're sharing the pages we made, to give examples of how they can be used.  Over the duration of the giveaway I'll be sharing - [here on my blog] :
  • 3 layouts of my own - all made using the papers from the giveaway;
  • and 2 cards made from some of the leftover scraps;
  • plus the sketch I created which I, and the Design Team, used as a starting point for our layouts [the sketch is at the end of this post]. 
So, now the businessy bit is out of the way ... let's just get on to the scrapbooking bit shall we?


Here's my first layout ... one of those general 'I like this photo and I like you and so I made a page' kind of pages I seem to make a lot of:
With this page design I wanted to use a small photo with lots of layers of paper and 'bits' beneath.

I used:
  • 2 layers of different patterned paper;
  • a Lotta Jansdotter sticker;
  • a postage label [for my journaling];
  • a small corrugated card tag - with the date - pinned to the photo using a coloured hairgrip [if you received some of these in your Interesting Bits kits, there's one way you can use them!].
I also wanted to make use of the mini-alphas [also in the giveaway] to create a small title - just for a change, a move away from large alphabets and focal titles.

The circle sticker beneath the wording is another design from the Lotta Jansdotter pack [from Chronicle Books] which I was excited to find matched this paper range so closely:
As a way to balance out the page design and just pull the eye around from photo, to titling and then across again, I added a tiny strip of paper bunting and twine:
To repeat the lovely soft green of the bunting I used smudges of green paint in several places around the page. It's at the top left of the photo, then there's a tiny smear of it on the 'Hello' of the file tab on the right of the journaling and then lastly it's inside the heart aperture below:
I love using the leftover apertures you get when you're die-cutting other shapes [in fact, I've jsut finished a magazine article using some] and this one was a leftover from cutting a scrap of cork sheeting with the 'Homespun Heart' X-Cut die. I liked how its shape mirrored that of one of the leaf shapes I'd cut from the paper, so I layered them up together.

And that's it ... not a very complicated design really, its more about balancing patterns, textures and colours. And using that photo. Because I liked it.


So, now you've seen my version you might like to:
  • enter the giveaway [simply by leaving your name in the link box on the 3DJean blog] to get your hands on the papers I've used;
  • and/or use the sketch as a kick-start to a page/card etc of your own [this is NOT related to the giveaway - it's just for inspiration] and here it is:
If you do use the sketch I'm happy to pin any projects which credit the sketch as their starting point to my Pinterest board which is home to projects other people have made based on projects I've made!

Right then, I'll let you go and enter that giveaway and I'll be back soon with a new layout which takes a slight twist on the sketch.

Julie :-)

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Giveaway: from 3DJean

Hi, hi, hi.

Just swinging-by to direct you towards this [click image to read full competition details]:
And now I've done that ...

... I'll leave you in peace and catch up with you tomorrow.

J :-)

Monday 23 April 2012

Happy Birthday Mr. Shakespeare

Hi, hi.

I know I said I had blogger's block, but if there's anyone who can spur me into putting pen to paper [OK, fingers-to-keyboard] ... it's Shakespeare, whose birthday is celebrated today.

So, in honour of wonderful old William I thought I'd dust off this old- but still much loved - project I made when Kirsty Neale and I used to run The Copy + Paste Project:

The tiny head shaped shrine is home to the quote:
 "I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a King of infinite space."
[Hamlet Act II, Scene 2]

It's one of the many quotes from Hamlet which has followed me around ever since I first studied it. The idea that no matter where you are, you can think yourself free.

Similarly the quote at the very top of the page is one of my all time favourites:
"...nothing either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so."

An ever-useful reminder of the power of thought and interpretation in any given situation.

I won't even attempt to say anything eloquent now ... there's no way to compete, so let me just say:

Happy Birthday Mr.S. Thanks for all y'know, the words ... and stuff!



Feel free to leave your own favourite Shakespeare quotes, so we can all enjoy them today. :-)

Sunday 22 April 2012

Scrapbooking: Chasing Rainbows

Hello. How's Sunday been treating you?

Mine began with toast, jam and watching 3 huge cooling towers disappear from sight out of our back bedroom window during controlled demolitions . So, y'know ... just an average ordinary Sunday ...

We did manage to snatch some photos of the disappearing act ... so watch this space. But, until then ... here's a page I made earlier.

It's been raining quite a lot lately, which is good for [at least] 2 reasons:
  • [1] because there's been a lot of talk of droughts hitting the UK recently, so hopefully this is helping alleviate things for now; and
  • [2] because when you don't get rain, you don't get rainbows.
And when you don't get rainbows ... you don't get to scrapbook rainbows:
This particularly spectacular and scrapworthy rainbow sneaked up on us while driving home from York last month.

I'd grabbed the camera to capture a huge rain cloud gathering alongside us [the kind of huge, dark, glowering thing we refer to as an 'Independence Day' cloud ... iykwim?].

And immediately after snapping this shot:
... I turned around and gasped when I spotted this: 
It's intense colours and sudden appearance made me shiver for a second ... and then it made me want to get a decent photo of it.

So James turned off the main road as soon as he could and we drove along a country lane, trying to get closer to it:
 And, more specifically, trying to find the end. This is the closest we got:
... we couldn't get any nearer without driving into [and across] a farm! But the view, and the photos I took, were certainly worth the mini-detour.

This 7Gypsies rub-on quote seems to say it all:

The word 'Rainbow' in the title, the little snippet of rainbow beneath the photo and the words at the top:
... were all cut from a vintage comic and are another example of one of my favourite methods of scrapbooking:


If I'm honest, despite having lots to blog about, I've been suffering from an uncharacteristic bout of blogger's-block lately. But I'm sure I'll be back later this week with something ... or other ...

J :-)

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Featuring Magazine update

Hi, hi.

As some of you will know I'm part of the creative team for the new quarterly - printed - mixed media magazine Featuring. 

We've been working on the debut issue since last November and now we're able to share the magazine with everyone else!

Here it is:
It's currently at the printers where it's scheduled to begin printing this week. Here's the test copy being checked over by Marit, Featuring's Editor and creator:
 If you look carefully you'll see my grinning face peeking out there?  ^^^ at the bottom of our 'Meet the Team' page!

My role as Contributing Editor means I not only work on creative/artistic projects of my own [eg. for the VIP feature], but I also get to write on wider topics [eg. Etsy] and contribute general ideas, interviews and more ... all of which satisfies my love of writing about wide-ranging creative topics, not just my own work.

If you think it might be your kind of read you can flip through the preview here and if you want to see more then the magazine is available to pre-order now from the Featuring store and will start shipping as soon as it arrives from the printer's!

We're working on Issue 2 now [for Summertime release] and there's lots of ways you can get involved too:
  • there's the Theme Gallery: - contribute an artistic work in response to the given theme.
  • general Submissions: see here for the full details.
  • AND the Inchies section - inch-square affordable advertising space for all creatives - visit here for the details.
To coincide with the launch Featuring now has a Facebook page - so if you want to keep up to date with the magazine from there, then you can 'Like' it here.
I've seen the final draft as a digi copy and now can't wait to get a real papery one in my little messy hands! There's nothing more we can do now except wait and see if other people like it as much as we do ...
All of which is a touch scary but hey ... do one thing every day that scares you, right? Nothing ventured, nothing gained ... and all that.
Here's to shiny, new ventures. Mine + yours.
Julie :-)

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Card: Eat, watch TV, sleep ... arrange your 'bits bag'.

Hello, hello.

During last week's posts about art journaling I mentioned how I might write about the kind of items I make journal pages from, along with how and where I store them. Since then I've taken a few photos and put it on the list of 'things to blog when I get chance' list.

Similarly I've also been asked for posts on how to use the 'Interesting Bits' kits [from my shop] which I must admit, I've found a little trickier. Not because I can't use the kits [there's nothing in them I don't already use myself] but because each kit is one-of-a-kind and the contents are so far-ranging it's hard to show a project which is representative of any single kit without me actually using the kit ... and then I can't sell you it! So I'm still thinking around how best to do that one!

However ... I did come across this card, made a few weeks back, and realised that it's actually related to both the topics I've already mentioned:
Apart from the grid design washi-tape which a friend let me use, everything I used on this card came from one of the zip-lock bags I keep 'bits' in.

'Bits' in this instance can be:
  • stickers:- like the section of tape measure sticker on the bottom of this card and the little blue cloud.
  • ephemera:- the bingo number paper background.
  • leaflets, postcards etc:- like the 'eat, watch TV, sleep' card which was cut from a video game promo postcard.
  • anything which isn't a standard, branded scrapbooking supply: - the panda die-cut came from a pack I found on sale at TKMaxx.
  • supplies I've had for a while and think need using in a new way:- like photo corners. I'm on a mission to make these interesting again ... I'm bringing photo-corners back ...
Then all such odds and ends get thrown into a bag together to fend for themselves.

Really the only rule I put on these 'bit bags' is that they must weigh slightly less than my body weight just so I can drag easily pick one up to carry to my work desk, the crop or to the sofa [the places where I do all my crafting].

And really, this is how it's a bit like using an 'Interesting Bits' kit as because I know there's a little bit of everything in there, I know I'll be able to pull something together from just that bag, a blank card and some adhesive.

Also - the kits are colour-themed already for you, which was actually the only criteria I had when selecting bits for this card. I started with the bingo card and pulled out everything else that co-ordinated - no matter what it was.
I love this way of working:
  • of only using what's in the bag;
  • of not having any pre-conceived ideas of what I'm going to make [I mean, really, imagine me sitting down proclaiming "Today I shall make a card featuring a panda and a bingo card and some clocks and a cloud and washi tape and ancient photo-corners. Oh I do hope I have precisely all those things in my stash". Wouldn't happen.
  • of taking my inspiration from the materials and interesting bits in front of me;
  • of making it work;
  • of using up oddments, scraps and things I've had for a long time.
I find it so serendipitous and inspiring and I think the key to it working is that you're only using a little bit of any one thing:
  • some of those old items of stash might be super-ugly when viewed with the vast set of matching items it came with ... but lift it out ... move it to a safe distance .. and then you can judge it on its own merits. [If it's still ugly then .. you might want to put it in the paper recycling bin ...]
  • lots of vintage style ephemera can give a vintage/grungy feel to a project - which is fine f that's the look you're going for - but I prefer mine mixed in with brighter kitschy kitsch bits for a lighter, modern feel.
  • it makes each project unique, stand-alone, one-of-a-kind. You won't see a million replicas of it on Pinterest in the same month.
  • it makes creating in an eclectic style easy. A no-brainer. If your base materials are a bit of this, a bit of that, drawn from various interesting sources ... then the end product can't help but be a bit different and unique too.
I hope that insight into my bit-obsessed mind was of use to at least one person out there!

Now that I've finished jotting all that down it's suddenly struck me as an odd thing to have just spent a morning writing about ....

I'll be back soon with some exciting magazine news ....

Soon, soon.

Julie :-)

Friday 13 April 2012

Art Journaling: Collaged Characters [3]

Hi, hi.

If you've been reading me all week you'll know that I created this week's prompt [available as a pdf download] for the for UKScrappers 'Art Journey' feature, and here's the 3rd page I made to illustrate the idea of 'Collaged Characters':
Once I'd decided that I was going to focus on discussing ways to customise body parts to create your own characters with the prompt, I sifted through my journals and discovered that I swap heads and bodies a lot! [Not me personally you understand ... in my art journaling ... ].

And for this page I took my scissors to the head of a little lamb:
I know on the Art Journey forum there's been some discussion about where to look for interesting images to cut up. Maybe I ought to do a post dedicated to just this topic sometime ... but for now, here's a run down of what's on this particular page:

There are no two elements taken from the same original source image here:
  • the lamb came from a Barker & Stonehouse furniture catalogue from a feature on wool carpets;
  • the dress is from an Oilily children's clothing catalogue;
  • and the arms and legs are from old Elle fashion magazines;
  • the 'Important facts for you to know' wording was cut from a page of 1950s book showing how to wire up something elctrical;
  • 'dress' is cut from a 'Collection's Elements' brand of alpha sheets;
  • and the other words came from supplements + junk mail which fell out of the Guardian newspaper.
It's another thing to love about this style of art journaling ... there really is a wealth of free resources right there under our noses, seeking us out, every day:
  • whether it's dropping through our letterboxes;
  • slotted inside our magazines;
  • thrust into our hands as we stroll through shopping malls;
  • marked with 'Please take one' ... and more ...
 It's perfect if you're creating on a budget and/or if you take your inspiration from the materials at hand, like I do.


Thanks for swinging by today.  Am thinking I need to make samples with my Etsy kits ... but that means taking time away from making Etsy kits to make somthign with Etsy kits ... you see my problem here! I'm considering some sort of Guest Designer might be a nice way around this ... so I'm going to have to mull it over.

Anyway ... I'm sure I'll be back soon with something, sometime. So I'll see you when I do.

Julie :-)

Thursday 12 April 2012

Art Journaling: Collaged Characters [2]

Hi again.

So, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I've written this week's prompt for the UKScrappers art journaling 'Art Journey' and my focus has been on 'Collaged Characters'. You can visit the forum here to download the PDF which has lots of ideas on how to create your own, but for now, here's my second example:
This is a page from my notebook journal in which I generally use very little of anything wet eg. ink or paint.

This is both to avoid the pages going too wrinkly and  also because it's a much quicker process and one I've really come to enjoy. I think I'm more of a 'paper + scissors' girl than a 'paintbrush and paint' one. That said, the sunburst around the character is from where I spread gesso thinly through a stencil for a little experiment with texture.

In the 'Art Journey' tutorial I discuss 'head transplants' as a quick, easy and fun way to customise an image you've found in a magazine/catalogue etc. And this lovely creature was one of my examples:
I loved finding just the right sized body for this birdy head and that it even had the righ coloured hair to blend in!

The page itself is about the joys of a good face-scrub.

Yes. Face. Scrub.
Never let it be said art journal has to be deep and meaningful.

It really can be just about the surface. Even the surface of your face!
Ironically after creating a page on how buying some new face products made me feel good ... I'm currently not using them and have gone back to my plain old Simple + E45 cream as I suspect the new one might have been contributing to my allergies!

I suppose it oculd ahve been worse though ... at least my face didn't end up covered in feathers ...

Note to self: Be careful what you art journal about you never know what might happen.
I'll be back tomorrow with the 3rd and final page I created especialy for the 'Collaged Characters' prompt, so i'll see you then.

Julie :-)


My new range of creativity kits - which I've now begun adding to the shop, is called 'Blank Looks' and consists of various combinations of 'colour-hungry bare surfaces and textures' which are ideal for art journalers, arty scrappers, inky cardmakers, altered artists and anyone who loves mixed media and messiness.
There are 3 styles currently in the shop, but I'll be adding more, in different colourways and textures, ASAP.

As the product description reads: BLANK LOOKS are for:
  • ANYONE with a stash of spray inks; acrylics; paint dabbers; dyes and pens which they can throw in the direction of these colour-hungry surfaces.
  • ANYONE who wants to sample multiple textures and surfaces without having to invest in big packs / lengths of any single item ... think "artistic Pick 'N' Mix".
  • ANYONE who wants a self-contained inspiration-kicking idea-sparking clean slate!
 I'm really pleased with how this range has turned out, so ... I guess I should go and start uploading some more ...

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Art Journaling: Collaged Characters [1]

Hello, hello.

This week marks the release of my third tutorial created especially for the UKScrappers Art Journey, a series of inspiration prompts for anyone interested in art journaling.

So far, on the Art Journey, I've written about:
The prompt itself has gone live today and [along with all the others in the series so far] is now available as free to download PDF. [You need to be a UKScrappers member to access the files,but it's also free to register for the forum.]

This page is one of 3 I've made to demonstrate the idea of 'Collaged Characters' on your pages -  the main details on the whys, hows and wherefores can be found on the PDF - but I'll be sharing the actual pages here today, tomorrow and Friday.
Regarding the model whose head I've used: either ...
  • [a] I smudged her face with something as I was gluing it down; OR
  • [b] she has a moustache.
Based upon what I know about:
  • [a] my own messiness devil-may-care attitude when it comes to glue; AND
  • [b] the kind of make-up you see on the catwalk ...
I'd say either is plausible ...

Anywho ... back to the collaging together of a character from various sources:
Who wouldn't want to wear a skull skirt / dress-making-diagram-bodice / telephone-bag combo? I know I would!
This is a page from a journal which has absorbent handmade-style paper in it and the background was created by spritzing ink through sequin waste direct to the paper - with no gesso or primer:
The darker areas are from where I turned the sequin waste over - after spraying through it with the yellow - and pressed it onto the page for a reverse image. The darker colour actually comes from the old ink colour which had dried on to the plastic and came off when it was wet!
Doesn't prime her pages?

Doesn't clean her masks + stencils of old ink?

It's alsmost as if she's a quite lazy art journaler ...
You may say that ... I couldn't possibly comment ...


Don't forget to download today's prompt [from the Art Journey area of the UKScrappers forum] for more ideas on how + why you'd add some crazy collaged creations to your pages.

I'll be back with more chimeric creations tomorrow!

Julie :-)