Monday 30 November 2015

Thank you

Today is day 30 of the 30 day blog challenge.  Thank you so much for hanging in there with me over the month of November.

The 30 day challenge is organised by Sarah Arrow and Kevin Arrow who not only send a daily email with great ideas but are available to give advice in the Facebook group.

Whilst much of what is taught is about making your business blog more visible I have learned about things that are valuable to my personal blog.  In addition you get to see a much wider range of blogs from the links posted in the Facebook group.

I signed up because my friend Sandie Cottee announced she was doing the challenge.

I schedule my blog to post at 3.30am - which does confuse some people who seem to think that I get up at 3.30am to click the button!  As a consequence of this timing I couldn't receive the email (it arrives for me betwen 7 and 8pm), write an appropriate post and catch the 3.30 posting.  Yes I know I could change the time but then I would have to alter the blog email timing and I've been doing it this way for several years so why change!

In any case what I like to do is think!  Think about how I am going to tackle the challenge! Think about what to write!  See if I'm going to ignore that day's challenge because it doesn't fit with my topic for that post.

It has worked well for me to have signed up and received the first email on October 19th and start the challenge on November 1st.  It gave me thinking time and enabled me to add a particular day's challenge to a different day's post.

What have I learned from the challenge?
  • I can complete a challenge - this is quite important as I am not much of a finisher of things.
  • Setting myself weekly topics has helped to keep me accountable with some of the projects I started eg my Venice Sketchbook and the Colour Theory Journal.
  • That I blog for myself - almost a diary of what I am up to - rather than writing for a specific audience.  That said, I'm so glad that so many of you are interested in what I ramble on about and stick with me.
  • That an editorial calendar is a really useful planning tool.
So, will I blog everyday from now on?

No.   However if I set myself another challenge or I set up an art challenge blog then you may see daily posts in the future.  For now, I'm thinking regular postings possibly 3 or 4 days each week.

Thanks to Sarah and Kevin and their generosity in sharing their knowledge.  Thanks to Sandie who encouraged me to keep going.  And thanks to all of you who read my blog and to those of you who have left comments.

Thanks for stopping by

And finally a question?
Which has been your favourite post during the last 30 days?

Sunday 29 November 2015

Christmas Countdown

Today I'm going to share with you my top 5 UK Christmas adverts for 2015.  I'm not getting paid to post them here and I apologise to my US readers if the videos don't play in your region.

#5  Because Cadbury's is my favourite chocolate

#4  I just love the clever boxes in this one

#3 Mog's nightmare

#2 John Lewis
The John Lewis Christmas advert is usually my number one choice.  This one is still great but there is one that supercedes it.

Drum roll please
At #1

Of course the whole point of these adverts is to sell stuff.  Not to point us towards the real meaning of Christmas.

There is a new advent study starting on His Kingdom Come today or you could use the study I wrote with Diane Marra last year: Pause, Ponder & Prepare.

Today is the first Sunday in Advent.  This is the period from now until Christmas Day when we consider the coming of Jesus.  And the world needs Jesus more than ever.

Saturday 28 November 2015

TMD:ReWind November week 4

This is the last of the ReWind posts before we start our Advent Study at His Kingdom Come.  The theme for this week was Promises - the promises of God.

Continuing with using my new Gelatos I scribbled 2 different colours - one on each page.

I wet the pages and then pressed one onto the other.

And peeled them apart to reveal this.

I left it to dry naturally.

I put two types of washi tape around the edge of the pages.

I put washi tape in random places on the page.  At this point I still had no idea where the page was going.

I printed out 5 verses and coloured the paper with Distress Ink.  I put the verses onto the pages and drew round them with a turquoise pen.  The pen didn't work well over the gelatos so some of the lines are a bit wonky!

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday 27 November 2015

Textile Artists

During this 30 day blogging challenge I have shared with you about mixed media artists who have influenced me and blogs that I follow.  Today I thought I would tell you about some of the Textile Artists I follow online.   Interestingly when I compiled the list I realised that I have met all of them and done real-life workshops with them.

Hilary Beattie
I met Hilary at a two day workshop at The Festival of Quilts where she crammed in all that subsequently became 12 days spread over a year as Make It Personal.  This was the collaged piece that is still not stitched!

Steph Redfern
I started making this textile book at a Steph Redfern workshop at The Bramble Patch.  It took me a while to finish it but I'm pleased to say that I did.

Ineke Berlyn
This is a zigzag book I made as a result of a day's dyeing workshop at Ineke's studio.  I showed how it developed here.

Linda & Laura Kemshall
I have done two online Creative Sketchbook classes with Design Matters and a day's workshop at Laura's studio.   This was the book I made from the class.

Anne Brooke
I haven't done a textile class with Anne but I spent a day at her studio doing a Workbook in a Day class.  I showed my follow up work in this post.

Although most of these textile artists are quilters you can see the mixed media influence.

Next weekend I'm going to a retreat workshop taught by Cas Holmes.  I'm looking forward to seeing what I learn there.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday 26 November 2015


Today in the United States it is Thanksgiving.  Happy Thanksgiving to all my US readers.

Over the past few years I have run Gratitude art challenges.  The first one was in November 2012: An Attitude of Gratitude.

The second in 2013 was also An Attitude of Gratitude challenge.

However by 2014 I realised it was no good just having the attitude you needed to take action.  And because I wanted to promote the idea that we should be thankful all the year round I posted the challenge in May: The Art of Practising Gratitude.

Each of these challenge blogs is still available and you can work through them at your own rate.  They have prompts, technique challenges and quotes and bible verses to use on your pages.

Have you ever made a gratitude journal?  Leave a comment or better still, you can link your blog page, Instagram photo or flickr photo using the Linky below.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Venice pages

Did I tell you that Gelli Plate printing is addictive?  These are more of my gelli prints.

I scanned some of the prints into my computer so that I could print them out in different sizes.

These were the pages I showed you last week where I had blotted the stencil into my sketchbook.

This week I layered bits of gelli prints - some done on paper and some on deli paper and part of a photograph.

I started on a new double page spread making a collage of some of my gelli prints and the smaller prints from my computer.  THe black pattern on the left looks as though I printed directly onto the gelli print but I actually did it onto repair tissue and glued it down with Soft Gel Medium.

As I was working on these pages I was totally distracted by an article by Michelle Ward in the latest Stampington Somerset Studio magazine.  She showed previews of it on her blog post - Cut it out.

Of course I had to have a go.  My next Venice post will show my attempt.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

A canalside walk

Roger suggested that we walk from Lapworth to Lowsonford alongside the Startford Canal and back.  There's a great place to eat in Lowsonford called the Fleur de Lys.  Always keen to eat out rather than have to cook I readily agreed.

We have walked this route a couple of times before but this time it was different.  The Canal and River Trust use the winter months to repair the canal system.  It is the Stratford Canal's turn and that meant that parts of it had been drained.

The other side of the lock in the above photo.

The next lock which apparently is having a new lock gate.  They are replaced every 25 years.

The Fleur de Lys on the other side of the canal

And an Anthony Gormley sculpture - another reason why I readily agreed to the walk.

I hadn't read about it properly before we went so I was surprised by the size of it.  I was expecting a much taller sculpture not a life size man.

The barrel-roofed lock-keepers cottages built along the Stratford canal are the only ones of their kind.

Across the bridge to the pub and a lovely lunch

before walking back to the car the same way we came.

A quirky garden shed/playhouse by the canal

The repairs from the other angle.

Not the prettiest walk but very interesting.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday 23 November 2015

My favourite blogs

Thank you so much to everyone who reads my blog.  I really appreciate that you give some time to reading my witterings.  Thank you also to those of you who leave a comment.  I've yet to work out how you would know if I left you a reply.  If any of you use Blogger and know the answer to this please let me know.  Thanks.

I thought I would introduce you to some of the blogs I follow.  So, in no particular order:

Me, with my head in the clouds
Mary's blog is a delight.  She shows her amazing photographs and her art work.  I particularly love her art style.

I love Sandie's mix of photographs, phototutorials and information about classes and retreats.  I found the 30 day blogging challenge on Sandie's blog.  Sandie and I went owl spotting in Birmingham in the summer.

I love to read Everyday Life of a Suburban SAHM.  There's a great mix of photographs and amusing stories.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here?

I love to visit Valerie Sjodin's blog Visual Blessings.  She shares her amazing artwork.  Valerie did a piece of artwork especially for a Gratitude blog challenge I set up last year.  This is her guest post on Walk.

The things that attract me to follow blogs - and I have 53 listed on Feedly - are photographs and artwork and photographs and creativity and photographs and photo tutorials and photographs.

And that sums up my blog too!

What attracts you to read a blog on a regular basis?

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Continuing with colour theory

Last week I talked about colour theory and showed you a sneak peek of the journal I made from the Pam Carriker online class.

When I was preparing my journal I only had six of the colours I needed to make a colour wheel.  These are Dylusions acrylic paints.  For the journal I chose three colours - the instructions were for four colours.  I rarely do exactly what the tutor says.  Mind  you in this case it was that I didn't have the 4th colour.   I mixed the acrylic paint with some water in some spray bottles.

Remember the colours on the colour wheel last week?   The colours above are Squeezed Orange, Fresh Lime and London Blue.  According to my colour wheel they match Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green and Blue respectively.  The other 3 colours I didn't use are Lemon Zest, Vibrant Turquoise and Crushed Grape which match Yellow, Blue-Green and Red-Violet.

Journal Preparation
I thought I had followed the instructions for putting the paint on the pages

but when I went back to the video I found I hadn't  So I did the backs of the papers the correct way.

When you fold the pages and sew the journal together you get spreads like this.

When I went to Art from the Heart I bought some of the missing colours and set about making my own colour wheel.  Ideally you would do this with only one make of paints and do separate colour wheels for all your different makes of paint.

I set the paints around my colour wheel and the red and Blue-Violet were wrong so I rummaged around and found some Golden paints that were okay.  In fact I might go through all the Golden paints I've got to see if I could do this exercise just with Golden.

Then I drew round a template to get the large circle and I found this piece of plastic canvas and worked out where the middle of the large circle was and measured where I needed to make my lines.

I used a pencil and ruler to draw the lines.

I made pencil notes of the paints as I painted in the segments

When the paints were dry I wrote the colours on the wheel and cut it out.

After I had made my colour wheel I decided I would use the other colour to make a page for the journal.  I'll show you that in my next post.

And look what I found on YouTube via Pinterest

Thanks for stopping by.