Sunday 29 January 2023

Artful August Challenge - in January! Week Two

The challenge continues with 'Round', so my brain went straight to the song 'Windmills of your Mind' and I incorporated some of the lyrics with just a few of my circle stamps.
'Box' had me thinking but I ended up trying out a new die set from Sizzix and creating boxes for the images to sit in.
'Stitch' was hand stitching over collage.
'Foliage' was made using my hand carved stamps which gave a good 'imperfect ' look to the page.
'Paint' sent me off to my acrylic paints for the background and the stencilling on top, finished off with  words from my favourite book for found words,  'The Trojan Horse' by Hammond Innes, which never fails to provide some suitable words and phrases. 
I used a vintage postcard from my Great Uncle's collection as the focus for 'Building' and some Italian stamps in the background.
I created a background for 'Ink' using walnut ink and then used distress inks for the pocket and little file folder inside...
...including some of my favourite stamped sentiments.
Two more weeks and a bit to come.


Thursday 19 January 2023

Artful August January! Week One

I am busy with a new daily journal challenge called Artful August.   I found this through a flip through on Youtube, but it is hosted on Instagram, I think.   I missed this in August as I don't 'do' Instagram, but when I came across it on Rachel Greig's Youtube I decided I would do it during January, when it seems a long month and the weather is a bit grey.  There are daily prompts and it is then up to you what you choose to do.  I made a little journal from packaging cardboard and binder rings.  I have stuck to my mixed media, and incorporating some things from my Wanderlust courses. Above is 'Garden'.
The next prompt was 'Shimmer'.  This page does shimmer as I used pearl paint and a bit of glitter on the main collage image, but the camera hasn't picked that up.
'Number' came next and I enjoyed the inks, texture paste, stamping and stencilling I used.
'Soft' had me scratching my head a bit but then I used some of my handmade felt and various trims, with a soft colour scheme too.
'Envelope' was fairly straightforward...
...and I added a little card inside...
...with a fabulous Jane Austen quote on the back.
This prompt was 'Linear' and I used a washi tape technique I had learnt in Care December.
'Bright' meant I could revisit another Wanderlust lesson (one of my favourites) and use stamping and stencilling with zingy colours.

I'll post the next seven shortly.

Thursday 12 January 2023

The Garden - early January

I was having a wander in the garden, as I do most days, in between the showers and noticed that there is a lot to feel happy about.  Above is winter flowering honeysuckle, which has a lovely scent on a sunny day, but not so much on a day like today. 
In their temporary home, the hellebores are starting to flower.  Above is Hello Ruby...
...and Hello White Pearl, in full flower.  I think it is earlier to flower than last year, despite the December cold snap.
Here is Hellebore Ericsmithii Winter Sunshine in flower too with the faint pink on the creamy green petals.
Cyclamen coum are starting to show themselves...
as is this peony which I repotted in the Autumn.  I need to dig up the two in the borders and pot them up as they have not been happy for some time - too dry and overcrowded for them.  This is a job that I need to do soon.
Camassias starting to grow too. They have enjoyed all the rain we have had recently.
Camellia Yoimachi flowering well.
A burst of sunshine provided by winter flowering jasmine (Jasminum Nudiflorum).  I must remember to prune it after it has flowered otherwise it gets very straggly and unkempt. I was surprised and pleased at how much there is to see in a wet January.  I also have some snowdrops in flower but the photos were too blurry so I'll need to try again with them.

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Happy New Year 2023

Photo from the TV of The Queen Elizabeth Clock Tower (Big Ben) on New Year's Eve/New Year's Day
Here we are in 2023.  2022 seemed to go particularly quickly, but that is perhaps because I am getting older!  As I have been doing for the last few years, I will reflect on last year and write my aims for this year.

A page from my Care December journal
Read interesting books - a big tick for this aim. Although the number of books read in 2022 went down to 54, there was an eclectic selection, including Circe by Madeline Miller; Anne Bronte re-imagined by Adele Hay; At home with William and Jane Morris by Suzanne Fagence Cooper; Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley and  Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus as well as several rereads of Jane Austen books, a few murder mysteries and some series continuations.  I am already off to a good start this year, with Dame Sue Black's Written in Bone, which is just as fascinating as her previous book, All That Remains.  (I thoroughly enjoyed her Christmas lectures for the Royal Institution  series on BBC4 and available on iplayer, should you be able to access them.  She is an extremely knowledgeable and experienced forensic anthropologist and has a huge passion and enthusiasm for her subject.)  There is no doubt that I shall continue this aim.
A page from my Care December journal
Be Creative (using what I have) - a tick for this one too, although I have added to my stash of crafting supplies.  I am trying to stick to one in, one out, but there are so many lovely products out there, I do succumb.  I have been able to use a lot of what I have over the year in my Wanderlust course and in other challenges, such as the Index Card a Day challenge,  #Printinktober and Care December.  Currently I am working on a challenge for January which was originally for August, but I decided to do it now, as I find January can be a long and somewhat depressing month.  I am continuing with Wanderlust 2023 and will no doubt be making cards and making some more dresses as well as taking part in the annual challenges this year.  
Another page from my Care December journal - my portraits continue to improve, I think
Get rid of or donate things I no longer want or need - while I did start in earnest and donated many books to the charity bookshop, this rather ground to a halt, so this will certainly be a continuing aim for this year. I really must make a proper effort and keep going through the year.
Another page in my Care December journal - colours I may focus on in 2023
Take more notice of Nature - another tick and another aim to continue this year.  Being a gardener, I do take notice of the seasons and my time in the garden increases after Winter.  I still have a wander round the garden in the Winter and admire the effects of the weather and the stoicism of plants which flower at that time.  Being in the garden or out in the wider natural environment is increasingly important and does give me that mindfulness which I also get when I am crafting.  I am getting better at just sitting in the garden and not rushing to do something all the time and find that just a few minutes of quiet sitting or wandering and observing will give me a boost.  
So there are my aims again this year.  Some will be easier to achieve than others, but I will do my best.
Here's hoping 2023 is a kinder year to us all.