Tag Play

I am trying to remember to make the first image the one that matters most. Seems weird to do it this way but I hear it is what people prefer. Who am I to argue? My final tags:

I was hunting thru some small drawer units and found my stash of cheap luggage tags and decided to have a play. I grabbed a selection of things to play with, including s limited colour palette of acrylic paint…

and a few more tools as well.

There is a RubberMoon stamp, a dip-pen, some cheap acrylic ink sprays from Lidl, some of my deli-paper masterboard, some ancient rub-ons, and a little tiny stapler from Tiger. THAT came in a little set tat cost me about £3, if I remember right – the Tiny Attacher is about £15. OK, to be fair it is more robust, and has a greater throat depth so you can staple further from the edge of whatever, but at that much higher price point. My tiny stapler worked great for what I was doing. The brush made me laugh – it’s from Lowes so it has to be at least 27 years old. The scraper is branded CRAYOLA, so also from when the kids were small. The LIDL spray is great, very richly pigmented, and I think the box of four was maybe £5 or so. Th spray nozzles clog quick but not if you clear them with water every time you finish a session using them. They work fab with the dip pen. Oh and also a scrap of plastic bag. I saw an artist on YouTube called Dan Tirels who paints entirely using plastic bags on some of his pieces. It amazed me. An ink pad and a pen. I started by swiping on some colour

then switched to the dry brush for the next colour

and finally had a go at stamping with the plastic bag.

I think the impact of that is hard to see but it is an interesting technique that bears exploring. Next, I stamped the swirl stamp, changing the orientation and placement

and then grabbed my big deli-paper masterboard thingie and chopped off a couple of strips to use for collage – I stack some bits on with glue and some I stapled with my tiny stapler. A few swipes and outlines with the dip pen and the Micron pen and…

Oh yes, forgot the rub-ons – no real rhyme nor reason to the selection of the placement. A close up here to save you scrolling back to the top:

I quite like them, and it was just the playful session I needed. Now I just need to figure a way to use them as a page focal point. But that is a play for another day.

After a hard week of early morning travel and a thumping headache from the fast infusion, I might just take the weekend off. This is my last pre-loaded post so if I go missing it’s just cause I am resting up and taking it easy for a bit.


On not loving an Art Journal page

In anticipation of feeling a bit wrecked after my infusion, and because it really sums up how I am feeling about leaving the house at this stage of the pandemic, I am adding a page I made right back at the beginning of my jumping back into art journaling after three or so years away.

It isn’t a page I am in love with, which is why I never really shared it. There are elements I like, like the stenciling in the wonky house. While tidying up I came across a printout of Dan99’s wonky house freebie. Time has not diminished my love of it. I cut it out and used it as a stencil to draw the outline and windows then used the cut outs to mask the background and do the stenciling.

I also like the crying girl stamp. I use her, and her two companion stamps (a lady crying in a chair and a small girl crying) often. She worked well in the window.

But overall, I felt like there was little cohesion to the page, It very much felt like a beginner’s effort, which is fine, but not where I felt I should be. And yet, there is nothing I would do NOW to change it. Maybe the chaos of the page matches the chaos of the world, and that is as it should be. At least on some pages, although perhaps not all LOL!

It’s a weird thing. When I made the page the vaccine seemed so far in the future as to be unattainable. Now it is here. But so are the new variants, and the uncertainty of the trajectory of this pandemic. There are still many questions about how the exit strategy will go – in a slightly wobbly line? a deep zig zag? a two-steps-forward-one-step-back? It’s a crap shoot.

I am glad I didn’t just gesso over the whole damn thing as soon as I finished it – and let me tell you it was a close run race. But it remains a snapshot in time, and a raw, honest depiction of the chaos in my head at the moment of creation. Here’s the thing. I don’t art journal to make pretty pages. Do I like it when my pages are pretty? Yeah, sure, who wouldn’t? But it is much more about getting my mental turmoil out of my head and…elsewhere. So pages like this? The un-pretty ones, the raw, slightly uncooked ones? the messy and chaotic ones? They are probably the most honest ones, cause when I made them I was just getting the chaos in my head OUT, tidying my mental desk, and filing stuff away, stamped PAID. And when that bill comes due again? Maybe my next page will be prettier. But I won’t care if it isn’t, ’cause it truly is the process, not the end product, that is healing.



Happy WOYWW to you all!

Pre-planned, this post. I am currently unsure if I will be at the hospital for an infusion day today or if I will be at home, resting up for tomorrow. It seems prudent to schedule a post, given how prone I am to the thin edge of the wedge, as Nancy Mitford would say, that wedge that would topple the whole of the fragile resolve to keep blogging, if ever given a chance.

Here, then, is an unseen desk. In another room, the one where I keep my yarn and fabric stash.

Tricky time of day for photography. This room (and I wish I had captured photographic evidence over the two days it took me to sort it out) was a tip. There was a desk full of knitting needles, bags and baskets full of UFOs, WIPs and collections of yarn and patterns matched but as yet un-begun. One of them is on the desk.

I subscribe to Readly and they have a good selection of US knit and crochet mags. I often screenshot then print patterns that catch my eye. This was one. I thought that even if I did not have all the yarn to make the jumper, I DID have a lot of stash-scraps that would let me approximate the block-y centre-seam look, and let me use up a bunch of yarn. Garter stitch, so really mindless, great for Netflix box set watching. I had all of the left sides done (I did the left front and left back two-at-a-time like I do socks so I could do a three-needle bind off ,with them still ON the needles, at the shoulders. And I was more than 1/2 way thru the right-side front and back TAAT as well. Why did I stop? I realized I did not have enough of the particular shade of light grey to complete it. I decided to use the dark grey at the top and make the sleeves with a bit of the blue and line at the top, to distance the two light greys from each other, and finish it up.

As I am sharing this room I will show you the other bits of it – my tower of drawers of sock yarn. Don’t judge me!

and the shelves at the other side, and proof this room has another purpose – ironing!

I think I have mentioned before the fact that my house has sinks and fireplaces in most of the rooms, some functioning, some not. The fireplace is behind the sock tower and is blocked off and walled over. The sink is there to the left above and works perfectly (knock wood QUICK!)

There you go. This is the last of my desks and one that is less a desk and more a sewing table, but in the interest of full disclosure…

I will get to commenting when I am home – I just don’t think the hospital WiFi is up to the task!

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More letter sticker masking

If you aren’t keen on risking a nearly completed art journal page, but like the idea of the letter sticker masking I showed yesterday, this might be a better technique for you!

The technique is the same, more or less, but you do it on something other than your actual page, to add as a separate element. Begin with a gel print, some mop-up paper, even a bit of scrapbooking paper, and stick your letters to it

I decided to mask off above and below the letters so I could make use of the other areas for something else. The placement of the letters in the middle was just because of what was below them and what would be revealed when the mask was removed! This is the same brand of letter stickers, just a different font.

Again, I stamped over with a loaded gel plate, this time just white

and overstamped with another flourish once the paint had dried.

I am loving my flourish stamps lately! Peeling off the letter stickers and cutting out the band of white gives me the final piece to add to a journal page as text.

but it ALSO gives me the peeled off masks as letters in their own right – a twofer!

This particular set of letters has stacks of 20 or so letters in each of four colours. In this case you can slightly see the original colours peeping thru, but that is easily overcome – or you can choose to make it a highlight!

Tomorrow is WOYWW day and if all goes well I will be home for that, then back to the hospital for a final day on Thursday. Fingers crossed….


While I am away…

Morning all! I am away at hospital this week for another IVIG infusion, in an attempt to keep my myositis at bay. Sadly, each infusion lasts only a couple of months before things go south. My fervent hope is that at some point we will find the magic bullet that keeps it under control for longer periods of time. So I am going to schedule a few posts that I have dithered about adding, for one reason or another, but that may be of interest.

I played around a bit with ways of adding text to a journal page when you are not confident in your writing or hand lettering. This was one I felt warranted a little more play. Here is the final page:

I had a comment from a friend who expressed some annoyance that she could not pin the image she wanted to pin using the button under my posts. I tried – she’s right. It seems Pinterest wants to select the FIRST image in a post. If this is different for you, let me know in the comments. If correct, I will have to remember to make the most critical image the first one (usually the final page, not how it got there) and then go on to explain.

This page is in my small Roben-Marie junk journal. The background page was just black smears, really. But I came across about three packs of these sticker letters and had an idea

I stuck them over the background

and grabbed by small gel plate and built a background using transparent paints

After letting it dry I added a thin layer of heavy-bodied white paint and stamped that over the stuck on letters

When the paint layer dried, I stamped over this with a flourish stamp

I removed the letter stickers to reveal the background

I thought it was a really interesting technique, and could be done easily with any old letter stickers, not just these packs. This was done directly onto the background page, but will show you a twofer tomorrow that works well too! Also worth noting is that I used the journaling stamps her too, adding the Small Talk words on the lines. All of the stamped circles are in silver, the top ones that look white are only due to them catching the light!


Art journal text – an interesting technique

I mentioned in a previous post that I routinely scan the pages of my Tim Holtz word books, at 300 DPI, and print them out on cardstock. Then, I use the cardstock versions when adding text to my art journal. It goes without saying if you are doing this for an art piece you will sell, you should use the original stickers. But as my art journal is just for me, I like the flexibility of having multiple version of a phrase, of using just a word or two from a longer phrase, or changing the colours!

So the Clippings booklet has a very sepia tone to it. And the page I showed yesterday was a bit vintage, but it also had a lot of white on it. I auditioned the sepia tone Clippings and didn’t like it much. Instead I printed the scans in B&W and:

I liked that on the page a LOT better. I snipped a few words from here and there and was able to build a “quote” of my own. I think technically it is found poetry, but no matter. The focal point piece has stamped text on it that says the journey awakens the soul and I wanted something to support that.

I exchanged the smaller my from the Chit Chat phrase for a larger MY from Big Chat and with the change from sepia to B&W they all work together nicely!

A reminder of the final page, where I added a bit more text to the “quote”

While it may not make total sense to everyone, I feel like it expresses nicely what I am feeling lately about the winding path I am following as I try to find my way towards a more artistic life.

That was mercifully short, after a few excessively long post recently. But I hope you found it interesting.


Another AJ page from unearthed art – and camera complaints

I decided to make a page using the other bit of re-discovered art, and using my Inktense blocks. I swear the box looks untouched, although I am sure I’ve used them once before!

The missing wells are because I picked those colours to go with my piece.

I used the horrible old Creative Palette as a … palette, so I could make use of the inky pools.

Here is where the camera issues come in. I don’t have a “real” camera at the moment. My old one was giving me problems and as I am not really leaving the house I saw no reason to buy one. I had an old iPhone that has no SIM card in it, but I keep it in my craft room solely for taking photos for blogging. I can’t be doing with carrying my large actual phone around the house with me. Problem is it has been acting up a little, not actually seeming to store a photo I think I have taken, so if I don’t check, I may find, three steps down the line, that I have no record of a step I want to document. Annoying. That will be why this gessoed and scribbled-into page

seems to jump forward a few steps to this:

What’s missing is me daubing Inktense ink at the top, letting it drip down across the page, and me adding a little water to help it along. What you are SEEING is the step where I pressed a stamp into the puddle on the palette and stamped with ink. Keep up…. {wink}

…and then I brayered on a bit of that across the background

I like how the brayered ink works with the scratchy scribbles in the original gesso layer, catching on the raised edges:

and then stamping with various lids to make circles…or at least loading the lids. The stamping will magically appear on the final page.

Finally, I used the rest of the pooled ink to colour the edges of the art piece that is the focal point

I can’t really express in words the difference between the inked edge and what you would get if you used an ink PAD, but it is very different and really wonderful

It is…defined, somehow, I just can’t explain. Do it once and you will see what I mean! I added back in some more white, for highlight and brightness – and Abracadabra! Ink circles!

and finally used a weird tool I got in some long-forgotten kids Play doh set and rolled a little zig zag of gold across the page in lines – you can just about see one zig zag here, but the photo of the tool is missing. Doh!

I added text, cobbled together from the various word-books, and I have more to say on that but this post is super photo heavy and too long already, so I’ll save it for another day! Imagine if the missing photos had actually saved. Oh my. Here is the final page, with a last minute addition of some sparkle to support the gold zig zags, some small gold confetti circles dotted about:

I quite like it, again with an unusual colour palette that isn’t what I would normally pick. I keep saying that, and I think that it is misleading. I don’t think, at the moment, I HAVE a usual colour choice. I am just going’ with the flow and experimenting.

Having said that, I may feel the need to take a break from orange for a while, given the last four years of far too much of that orange face on TV…


It’s been a long time coming…

To quote my husband, on what we were doing on Inauguration Day (which for us was at 5PM, UK time):

Enjoying a nice bottle of wine, accompanied by fully formed sentences, poetry and some troll-free Presidential tweets

The first full day of the Biden/Harris administration is today.



WOYWW 607 – feeling good….

cause it is WOYWW day but not yet Good as Hell! Still possibly a few hours to wait so my page in still awaiting completion. Once the inauguration has gone off without a hitch (oh please, PLEASE let it be so) then I can FINALLY finish it, and with it, the journal. Thus, my desk is ready, and so am I.

Just at the top right you can see the page from yesterday – I still love it – it’s still awaiting the date stamp, so on my otherwise clean (yes, AGAIN) desk to remind me.

and the unearthed piece of art from my box labelled Vintage is there too, for my next page after the GAH page. This is a closer look at it:

And while I am not much for haul videos I did get this set of brushes from Amazon. I have been keen to try the ink blending brushes and this set has not only the “normal” size ones but a big, fat one and a bunch of tiny little ones. I am keen to see what they might offer. The set was cheap so worth experimenting with:

It’ll be fun – I have some ideas, we’ll see if they work out! My last two (I think) can’t comment folk are Julie F and Kathryn Frantz , both on Instagram. I’m not. I think I joined once about 10 years ago and then for some reson deleted my account. I have since read that if you do that you can never join with that email again. Oh well, sucks for me. I have a running list and will have to check back as I might have missed someone out!

Have a great WOYWW trip round the desks and I hope you all feel Good as Hell at the end of it!


Old blog posts and when they spark an idea

I had a comment and a flurry of hits on an old post about adding gilding flakes to embossing paste. You can read it here. Sometimes, I forget something I blogged about years ago, and follow a link back to my own blog to see what I said. Old age is creeping in, but at least I recognize it was ME that said it, so it could be worse!

That idea totally sparked the idea to use something else I realized I have quite a lot of an nearly never use. Embossing powders. I have a drawer full of them:

And I found it interesting that some of them still have a price tag on them!

MJD – or MJ Designs, was owned by one of some number of brothers (three, I think, one owned Micheal’s, maybe still does!) and went out of business in 2003 – the price tag is dated 1997! At least one of the other pots still had the shrinkwrap on it. DOH! I painted the page with some watery acrylic paint in pinks and blues, pale colours made paler by watering them down and NOT colours I would usually pick. Hummm. seems I added the blue after the modelling paste and embossing. Whatever. Here is a process shot – I didn’t do a very good job of capturing every step this page.

I picked two colours, a Claret Tapestry and a Worn Lipstick Distress powder – they work well together, I think

I found it a challenge to know when they had embossed, given they don’t go SHINY per se, but you can just see the change in a ray of light:

THEN I added the pale blue and lots of water. The embossing resists the paint but it pools a bit in the craters and valleys of the embossing.

More water spray, some drippage, and un-filmed steps of background stamping…. Will do better.

I found a stamp with a quote I liked (stamp by Teesha, quote by Andy Warhol) and stamped then embossed it (in for a penny….) and dulled the extreme shine slightly by brushing matte gel medium over it, which worked better than I thought it might.

I stamped another Teesha image, and puled together some of the black embellishments from my vintage box of yesterday and eventually got to here:

I love the double circle stamp, which is the roll from the tape I used when wrapping Christmas presents! Quite glad I noticed it’s uniqueness before I binned it LOL! A close up:

The attribution to Warhol was on the stamp but when embossed it turned into a block of shiny black. Oh well. I will go back and add a date stamp – I have one, I used to do it on every page, but lately I have been forgetting. I really love this page, despite it being in colours I wouldn’t normally use. I am totally going to figure out how to pry off that slightly wonky don’t and re-set it! It’s buggin’ me.

30 hours to go, give or take. WOYWW tomorrow!