Tuesday 31 December 2013

Madeira: Nativity Scenes

We have just spent a week in Madeira - 23rd -30th December - and I thought I would share some, not all, of the 750+ photographs.

While it's still 2013 I thought I would share some of the Nativity scenes we saw.  These were built on the road side or in the centre of town.  Some we found more amusing than others - mostly due to the size of the baby or more particularly the size of the sheep in relation to the camels!

In the main square in Funchal

By the harbour in Funchal

Jardin do Mar

On the seafront at Porto Moniz

 These were in Seixal.

In the church at Sao Vincente

 On a street corner in Sao Vincente
In the hotel at Porto Moniz

And the last one in Machico - which didn't photograph too well.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday 26 December 2013

MLD Meme

Carolyn has a weekly meme on Thursdays called Messy Little Details.  Find out about it here.  Why don't you join in?

And lastly for December and my visit to the Christmas market - the skating rink.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Happy Christmas

I hope you are all enjoying a very happy Christmas.  Even if you don't celebrate Christmas I hope you are enjoying time with your friends and family.

I love this video of children telling the Christmas story from a different point of view.

Thank you so much for reading along with me over the past year.

Happy Christmas

Saturday 21 December 2013

Coming up in 2014

You know me, don't you - those of you who regularly stop by!  I sign up for things!  I sign up for lots of things!

And 2014 is no different.

Firstly I have signed up to do One Little Word with Ali Edwards.

I have signed up before for the OLW online courses and completed 2011 with RESTORE.  In 2012 I got as far as April with FOCUS. I planned for 2013 to be PRESENT however my father was taken into hospital in mid January and died at the beginning of February. OLW went out the window.

So I thought it would be great to sign up for this year - I particularly like the new format - and started thinking about a word. I had a long shortlist of words: released, wholehearted, unconfined, trust, forward, confidence, embrace, overcome and was fairly taken with EMBRACE.

Then I worked my way through a section on numbing in the Gifts Of Imperfection class and realised that I had 'closed down' since September 2012. When this a-ha moment dawned, my word came to me. PARTICIPATE. I am going to participate in life and although the things that I want to bring into my life are the same things I was trying to RESTORE in 2011, I feel more hopeful of success.

Just as I had chosen PARTICIPATE, this popped up on my blog reader.

A free project with Roben-Marie Smith and it seemed to me that it was just the thing to record my daily participation in my own life!  It's a mix of planner and art  journal with a weekly challenge from Roben-Marie and her friends.  Here's my planner ready for January 1st.

I signed up for Creative Jump Start - a great series organised by Nathalie Kalbach.  I've watched CJS for the last two years.  I don't necessarily do any art as a result but it's a great resource and inspiration.

Also in January I will be doing an online class, Studying under the Masters, with Jeanne Oliver and 8 other amazing artists looking at the work of artists such as Matisse, Cezanne and Edward Hopper.

And as if that isn't enough I shall be getting back into Textiles with an online course with Ineke Berlyn and a real life class with Hilary Beattie.  I did these with Hilary at the NEC last August.

There are other things lined up for later in the year but I'm exhausted just thinking about it and I'm sure you're exhausted reading about it all.

Come back next year to see how I'm coping!

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday 19 December 2013

MLD Meme

Carolyn has a weekly meme on Thursdays called Messy Little Details.  Find out about it here.  Why don't you join in?

Some years ago Birmingham City Council went through their totally politically correct phase and introduced us to the idea of Winterval - they didn't want to upset the other major religions by putting up Christmas lights!  Don't ask!

However they eventually saw sense and Christmas has been reinstated!  And here are some angles to prove it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday 12 December 2013


Today I thought I would show you some pages I've worked on in my journal this week.

I have been doing an online course called The Gifts of Imperfection with the author of the book of the same name.   I'm sure you've heard of Brene Brown.  Here's one of her conversations with Oprah.  You can find videos of her TED talks on YouTube.

And at the same time I have been doing, or rather not doing another online class called Made organised by Beth Morey.  I haven't been able to do the classes because I wasn't in a place to do them.  But after working through the Gifts Of Imperfection pt 1 which included sections on Gratitude and Joy, I was able to start on one of the Made classes: Creative Healing pt 1. This class was created by Megan Armes and from it I have worked on two pages in my journal.

On the first page I wrote in pencil, pouring out how I felt and the pain I was holding on to.  Physical pain. Spiritual pain. Mental anguish.  And then I prayed.

After that I scraped Golden Extra Heavy Gel Medium through a teardrop stencil and let it dry competely.  Because I don't clean my stencils properly most of the time, the Gel picked up the pink ink that was on the stencil from previous use!  When the Gel was dry I put the same stencil in a different place and scraped PaperArtsy Grunge Paste through it.  When that was totally dry I painted over the whole page with some PaperArtsy acrylic paint in blue and added some grren highlights to the grunge paste teardrops.

When all of that was dry I used  a thermofax screen and scraped black acrylic paint through it and when that was dry did it again with white acrylic.   I printed out the verse and coloured the paper with Distress Ink, cut it up and stuck it down.

For the second page which was a study of Psalm 46  it was suggested that we either told God out loud or wrote down the things in our heart, especially the broken things.  I wrote a whole page again in pencil and then covered it up with Gesso.

I used two stencils that I had ordered from StencilGirl - Geomaze and Random Circles.  I put the Geomaze stencil on the page and covered the top of the page using the diagonal line as a guide and sprayed with blue and yellow Dylusions inks.  Then I covered up the bottom part of page and put the Random Circles stencil down and sprayed with the same colours.

I sprayed black ink over the whole page using the stencil 'Use Your Words' which allowed the colours to show through the words.  They are great words and really vital to life but put on a page like this I felt they represented the clamour of life.  I used Dylusions Dy's Alphabet to stamp the words 'be still and know that I am God' and then went over the letters with a silver Signo pen.  The silver words show up much better on the page than in the photo!

Thanks for stopping by.

MLD Meme

Carolyn has a weekly meme on Thursdays called Messy Little Details.  Find out about it here.  Why don't you join in?

Last week I used a closeup of the structure of the Big Wheel in Birmingham.  This week  I've chosen two photos of reflections of the wheel on a building.

And on another building.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday 5 December 2013

MLD Meme

Carolyn has a weekly meme on Thursdays called Messy Little Details.  Find out about it here.  Why don't you join in?

My theme for this month is Christmas and my visit to the Christmas Market in the centre of Birmingham.

There was a Big Wheel in Centenary Square.  This is a photo taken from the side of the structure of the wheel.

Thanks for stopping by.

Photo Challenge

Every month on 12 Months in View we take a photograph of the same place, preferably at the same day and time.

I take photos of my back garden from my bedroom window.  Here's the view last month in November.

And here's how it looks now in December.

What a difference a month makes!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Workshop with Finnabair

On Saturday I was in Derbyshire at a workshop organised by Jamie & Sharon the owners of Artist Trading Post.  The guest tutor was Anna Dabrowska, known as Finnabair.

Anna generously shared her techniques with us and the class kit was the most amazing thing I've ever seen.   Packets and packets of Prima findings, a journal and some 12x12" papers.

The morning session was spent making the cover decorations.

After lunch we started on pages for inside the journal.  This is the first one and it's a long time since I worked in purples and pinks!

The second set of pages used a different technique.  When I got home I stamped the saying and stuck it on.

And then finally there was a third technique for which I watched part of the technique and then went home.  I did this at home on my own.

It was an enjoyable day.  Thank you Jamie, Sharon & Finnabair.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday 2 December 2013


On 12 Months in View today's theme is about the month of December.

Here's the journal page I did.

I sprayed green ink through the new Tim Holtz holly stencil moving the stencil randomly around the page.

I used Dylusions Christmas Borders stamps around the edges and half of the merry christmas stamp.

 I coloured in the trees and stars with silver and gold pens and added red berries to the holly.

I printed out the quote and stuck it down.  The drew round the paper with the gold and silver pens.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday 1 December 2013


On 12 Months in View it's the beginning of a new season - Winter.

And here's my introduction to the season page.

I scraped modeling paste through a Dylusions snowflake stencil.

I sprayed the whole page with 2 colours of blue Dylusions inks.

I put the stencil back on and sprayed silver mica ink although I didn't actually match the stencil accurately. I stamped winter on the page with black Archival ink.

I coloured winter with a silver pen and drew round it with a black pen.  I printed out the quote and stuck it down.  Then drew silver lines on the white paper.

Thanks for stopping by.