We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
"Little Gidding"
T S Eliot

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Retrospective ...

... posh word for what have I been up to this year?

I've been looking through my past posts, and thought I would do a review of 2015 of my favourite creations and other things! There are links to each original post if you want to know more.

Brushos have featured quite a lot this year, and I still love them, I like the random-ness of sprinkling and spritzing (or vice versa), but they are also very useful as straightforward watercolour paints.

This card featured in January, here.

I posted quite a bit in February, and it is difficult to chose just one, but I've gone with this little canvas (see here), as I really enjoyed combining different materials and paints ...

and I've still got a load of metal off-cuts to use up!

In March I got the Crazy Birds stamps; I don't think I've used a stamp set as much this one.

They appeared for the first time on this card ... (see the original post here).

During the year I've participated in a few online blog challenges, one being the Craft Barn Calendar Challenge, which was really fun, and I did managed to stay the course and complete the 12 months.

To see all the calendar pages go to the final post here.

This is the page for April.

May saw a complete revamp of my craft room (a long time coming!), and I am still completely in love with it; I feel happy just being there - though it is not quite so tidy as when first shown here.

I've tried my hand at a few things over the years, and June saw me don a visor and get up close and personal with some welding equipment!

I love going to art exhibitions, and try to get to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition each year.

I did a post in July which included details of this year's visit, but also this canvas, which is still a favourite!

August saw the start of a series of art courses, and the first one was all about drawing - great fun, but very intense!

I'm now using what I learnt in my current watercolour course.

This was the final drawing.

September brought the super moon total lunar eclipse, which I thought was awe-inspiring - so I had to include one of my photos in this review!

It's October now, and I had started my second art course all about collage. This was the second exercise - to create an abstract collage. I loved using all the different textures. The full post can be found here.

There is something very pleasing about creating simple, easy Christmas cards (and useful too if you have a load to make!), and this one is from a November session I devised with the craft group I run. He is such a happy chap!

Now we are in December and I had to revisit my favourite collage, which was the final freestyle one I created on the collage course, using only magazine images.

I discovered Haiku at the end of last year (the Japanese poetry form), and continued to write a few throughout this year. To find them just choose Haiku from the categories list. I've written another one -

Earth's midnight slumbers
Birdsong echoes of sweet hope
Trees whisper - new year

I'm going to finish by thanking all my friends, both on and off line, for making 2015 a good one, and I'll leave you with one of my crazy bird cards - nuff said!

Happy New Year - I hope 2016 brings all you may wish for.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Happy Christmas!

My Christmas cards this year featured crazy birds, which I stamped and and embossed onto patterned Christmas paper - still trying to use it up! They were all given festive glitter hats too!

Happy Christmas to all my followers and everyone who reads my blog ramblings! Thank you for all your comments throughout the year, they mean a lot to me.

"Christmas is a togethery sort of holiday" said Pooh,
"That's my favourite kind" said Piglet, "Togethery and Remembery"
A A Milne

Monday, 21 December 2015

Beginning to feel a ho ho ho coming on ...

I'm playing catch-up with what the Fearless Four have been up to; I've still not finished one project from a couple of months ago, but at our last get together - the last one of the year - we decided to get all festive and create some Christmas wreaths.  We all used up stuff we had lying around.

I delved into my various boxes of stuff and found some cream hessian, which I used to wrap around a polystyrene wreath. I used book glue to anchor it down.

Then, using up some Christmas papers, I die-cut some poinsettas (the tattered ones from Sizzix), and some fir leaves too(from glitter card), all attached with pearl-headed pins and glue. Finished off with a hessian printed bow.

And the others?

Linda used up some die-cuts from an old kit, and added a sparkly bow.

Monica used hessian and ribbon to wrap her wreath, then added some more ribbon and cinnamon sticks (quite old ones!).

Lin did two smaller wreaths using die-cuts and old Christmas decorations, plus some more sparkly ribbon.

Fab time had by all, and a great way to use up Christmassy stuff!

Happy Christmas week!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Hello December!

December - the last month of the year, contains Christmas, frosty mornings with bright blue skies (sometimes), and my birthday - which was yesterday but the celebrations started a couple of weeks ago, and I have a lunch today too! - what's not to like about December!

It is the last page of the Craft Barn's Calendar challenge, and December's words are tree and gold/silver.

I don't have much in the way of Christmas stamps or dies, so I decided to do a doodle tree with some baubles, and a touch of gold/silver/white embossing powder lightly sprinkled.

Difficult to photograph to show the embossing; this was taken in full sunlight (a rare occurrence at the moment), so caught some shadows, but you get the idea!

So, 2016's calendar is finished - here are all the pages. If you want to read all the posts, just click on "Craft Barn Calendar Challenge 2015" from the categories list on the side bar.

All I now need to do is find some way to bind it.

Can you believe how mild it is - but still too wet and murky for me - I would really like to see frosty sparkles in the morning sun!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Scissor happy!

Its about time I told you about the final collage from my last art course, which was another freestyle one. I decided to only use magazine images - something else I've never done before.

I was using half imperial watercolour paper (22 inches by 15 inches), so quite an area to cover. This was done over 2 sessions, with some time spent on it at home too. I cut a large amount of images from a variety of magazines, then spent a long time creating a picture. I've used a lot of the cut images upside down - try and spot them!

The hardest parts were sticking everything down in the right order, and trying not to crinkle the paper, which was difficult given the flimsy nature of some magazines!

This really was amazing fun, and something I will have another go at - particularly as I still have a box of cut images! This five week course has made me look at collage in many different ways, and to experiment with a freedom I've not felt before.

So - try it, don't throw away magazines before tearing out pages with useful images ... happy collaging!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

A present for me!

How fab that I won the random number draw for last week's Craft Barn challenge - the origami card. Great to have an early Christmas present!

This week's Craft Barn challenge words are present and red. Having recently made some quick Christmas cards at the craft group I run (I've already written a post about the smiley snowman - see here), this is another one.

Using some some small red and green beads (and a pair of tweezers), create a festive present with ribbons and a bow - job done!

I've finally finished my Christmas cards, and they are now waiting to be posted. I've also nearly completed present shopping!

Time for a dance of joy!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Bend me, shape me ...

This week's Craft Barn challenge is about paper folding. Being a fan of origami, I've made a Christmas card using the dahlia flower, which is very effective when using plain/patterned double sided paper. See here for instructions.

I've made a small flower using one inch paper circles, added some gold beads for the centre, and a die-cut holly flourish.

Now I must get down to making some more Christmas cards - oh - and do some Christmas shopping!

Happy December!