Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Blog award!

I have been given a

Kimberly from Let your heart fly has awarded me this. I found Kimberlys blog through Kate Cranes calendar challenge. Please pop over and check her blog out, she is an awesome art journaller, book alterer (take a look at her 1941 recipe book!), and does beautiful bird sketches.
Thank you Kimberly!

The Liebster blog award:
The idea is to highlight 5 blogs with less than 200 followers that you visit on a regular basis and you find inspiring.
There are 5 rules:
1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them
2. Reveal your 5 picks and let them know
3. Post the award on your blog
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive on the blog-share (other bloggers)
5. Finally and the best is to have fun and spread the love!

So my five picks I am passing the award onto are:

Paige over at Ladybird Ladybird. -Amazing scrapbooker and the fastest crocheter I know! Lots of inspiration on her blog for scrapbookers and some great crochet tutorials.

Laurie over at Lone Blackbird. Creator of Five for Friday and a wonderful art journaller. Her blog was one of the first I found on art journalling.

Virginia over at Celtic House. Creator of Rocking your world friday. Great inspirational rocking posts and lots of wonderful scrapbook layouts.

Joanna over at Fiddlesnips. I found Joanna's blog as she was my secret santa for Carmens swap last year. There is so much inspirational goodness on her blog and she is also a designer for Gauche Academy.

Sarah over at Are you flowin. I was Sarah's secret santa for the same swap. Sarah does fantastic art journals and I love her style, and theres also a great book binding tutorial on her blog that's really worth checking out.

So, there's my five! Please take the time to check out their blogs, you wont be disappointed! It was so hard to choose just five as I visit some amazing blogs!

Sami x

Monday, 27 February 2012

Five for Friday wk4

Here is my Five for Friday list for Lauries challenge over on her blog
This week was your five favourite comfort foods.

My list included scrambled eggs-when Im sick
Heinz vegtable soup
homemade casserole and mash potato
Tea and cake
and of course...chocolate!
I used Dylusions paints and sprays, stencils and lots of rubons for this page. I printed off the food images from google as I didn't know if I would be able to draw them!

Why don't you pop over to Lauries blog and join in with the challenge? I am really enjoying making these lists every week and I think when I look back at them in a few years time they will remind me of my opinions/thoughts/feelings from that time. A good way to add some personal likes/dislikes to your art journalling or just your everyday journal.

Sami x

Friday, 24 February 2012

Rocking your world friday

It's that time of the week again, to find all the positives of the last seven days!

This week has been quite a bad week so I have had to look really hard. I still have got some major work issues and its brought on my IBS and a migraine this week. But I have prevailed and have still managed to find a few positives!
  • Curling up on the sofa Sunday sfternoon with my kids and watching Pollyanna-the old version with Haley Mills. What a wonderful feel good film! I have not watched this since I was a kid and I throughly enjoyed it and so did the kids, not a dry eye in the house at the end! The glad game that she plays in it reminds me of Rocking your world, looking for the positive in things and finding things to be glad about.

  • The ability to laugh in an otherwise awful week-thanks to a friend doing something really silly! I was so stressed out on wednesday and on the way to work I got my aura spray out and gave myself a quick spritz in the face to try and brighten my mood. When we arrived at work I offered the spray to my friend so she could use some. The next thing I know shes choking and spluttering all over the place as she had sprayed it in her mouth because she thought I'd said it was oral spray instead of aura spray! It contains essensial oil so did not taste very nice! This just tickled me and were laughing so hard that people on the street kept looking at us as if we were mad! It did cheer us both up though!

  • My computer froze and nearly crashed this week, while I was doing a good deed for a friend and helping her with a letter. Her memory stick must have had something dodgy on and I had to get Lady P's hubby up to take a look at it. He has told me its dying....the positive which I am really reaching for here is at least it hasn't died yet!

  • I have been ill this week and yesterday was particualry horrible as I had a migraine that left me unable to get out of bed all day. I hate being incapacitated like that, I always feel like I am wasting time and there are things I should be getting on with. Reaching for the positive again, I suppose it allowed me to catch up on some sleep and give my body a rest.

  • I found out today that our annual rent increase is actually a decrease this year, by 60p a week! Don't know what thats about, never had a decrease before, its probably a typo but just for today I am going to believe it!

  • Caleb brought home a great report from school. He also got put in the book of distinction again and recieved a free cinema ticket for outstanding work in maths.
So a somewhat smaller list this week, but the positives are there, all be it small ones!
Why don't you pop over to Virginias blog and check out what has rocked everyone elses world this week?
Sami x

Monday, 20 February 2012

Five for Friday Wk 3

I am taking part in Laurie's Five for Friday challenge. Every week she gives you a topic to make a list of five things. You can document your list any way you want.

This is week 3- Top five qualities you would want the leader of your country to possess.
I had to think about this one as I am not one for politics and the such. I do believe though that if our leaders and MP's had actually lived in the real world, i.e, worked for minimum wage, struggled to feed their families and pay the bills, then they would have a better understanding of 'the man on the streets' life and be able to run the country better! It's a simple view I know but thats me!

For this page I used Dylusions paints applied with a baby wipe so that the colour was not to intense. I used crafters workshop stencils with paint to apply the squares and stencils and ink sprays to apply the circles. The tower/house is a Dylusions digi download which I coloured with inktense pencils. I printed off some images of primeministers past and present and also printed off the title and the list using a typewriter font in word. Then I just journalled my views and doodled.
I am really enjoying these lists and am pleased I have managed every week! Why don't you pop over to Lauries blog and join in?

I ordered some more washi tape last week and my little washi tape box was full so I went and bought a length of dowel and 2 hooks from the hardware shop and I (when I say 'I' I mean my husband!) rigged this up under my shelf.

Again, very simple, but very effective. I can see what I have, I can reach them and use them without taking them off the pole and they look pretty!

Sami x

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Art Journal cover tutorial(heavy photo post)

This morning I decided I was going to make a cover for my art journal as I did not like the design on the front of my AJ.
I made a slip on cover so I can remove it if I want to or put it on another AJ.

 Front and back

I took photos of the process so I could post a tutorial on here. I have only ever done one tutorial so please dont expect to much!

What you will need:
A piece of fabric/canvas/calico as your base, bigger than your art journal
Some scraps of fabric/ribbon/twill tape to sew onto your cover to add some detail and layers
Gesso and paint/ink sprays/stamps/stencils/heat gun (if you are impatient!)
Sewing machine
Bone folder

Now, I don't really do measuring, I do most things by eye but feel free to measure and be as precise as you like.
I used canvas as my base as I knew I wanted to paint on it and canvas is also nice and flexible but sturdy enough for the job. If you choose thin cotton fabric you may have to layer 2 pieces together and put some batting/wadding in between to make it a bit stiffer.
Right, here we go...

 1. Make sure your piece of fabric/canvas is big enough to go around your book with extra for the inside flaps and top and bottom seams. My inside flaps were just over 5cm wide and my top and bottom seams about 2.5 cm wide (I measured just for you!)
 2.  Turn the fabric over so your AJ is laying on the inside of the fabric. Fold a flap in on the left hand side and make a mark so you know where your flap line will be.
 3. Stand your spine up and make two pencil lines to mark out where the spine will be. You can be a little bit generous with this to allow for the opening and closing of the book. (Don't worry about my wonky bottom edge, I am going to straighten that off in a minute!)
 4. Lay your book back down ensuring that the edge of the spine is placed at the point of the second spine mark you made. Mark the edge of the book on your fabric and then mark the flap allowance for the right hand side, making sure its the same size as the left.
 5. Draw your fold lines and flap lines on, dont forget to allow extra at the top and bottom of the book as well for your seams (mine was about 2.5 cm). You can now cut your fabric to size and straighten your edges.
 6. The canvas I had was red which is why I decided I was going to paint over it. I covered it all over the front side with a layer of gesso first.
 7. While I was waiting for the gesso to dry I stamped some words onto some twill ribbon/tape that I had to attach to the cover later.
 8. When the gesso was dry I covered the canvas in layers of paint. I used reductive stencilling to add some pattern.
 9. Then I used the stencils, paints and spray inks to add even more layers (which dont show up in the photos very well!). I used my heat gun to dry the paint so I could move onto the next stage.
 10. Turn your fabric over and place your AJ back on the inside. Fold in the top and bottom seams and use a bone folder to set the crease. You need to ensure here that once the top and bottom seams are folded you still have a little seam showing top and bottom. This is to make sure you have enough allowance to sew back the flaps either side and still fit your AJ inside (IYKWIM?)
 11. Fold back the left hand side flap and use the bone folder to make a crease and then do the same on the right hand side. The canvas makes it easier for the crease to hold.
 12. Arrange your little scraps of fabric/ribbon etc wherever you want them on the front cover, keeping in mind where the creases for the flaps and the seams are. I stamped some images onto some of my fabric to make it more interesting. You could add as much as you want here, be really creative!
 13.  Open your piece of fabric back out before you start stitching your layers of fabric on in case you accidently sew through the flap or seam layers.
 14. Stitch your scraps of fabric to the back as well and I even added some twill tape/ribbon which I had stamped on, onto the spine, although my placement was a bit out which I didn't realise until I had finished making the cover and fitted it to my AJ! You might want to check your placement before you get that far!
 15. Now you want to fold in your top and bottom seams and stitch (I stitched from the front as I had a different colour thread in my bobbin) all the way along, keeping close to the edge.
 16. This photo shows the top and bottom seam stitching
 17. Now, as I used canvas I didn't really have a messy edge on the flap sides but I still wanted a row of stitches along the flap. You can make a small seam here and turn it in and then stitch if you need to make it neater or stop it from fraying.
 18. Turn your flap in and stitch it top and bottom. Only stitch the length of the flap.
 19. Inside view once you have turned your flap in and stitched it to the top and bottom seam.
 20. Inside view of both flaps stitched up.
 21. Outside view of both flaps stitched up.
 22. Slide the left hand side of your AJ cover into the left flap.
 23. Slide the right hand side of your AJ cover into the right side flap.
 24. I added some more stamping to my front and back cover once I had finished. Looking at the photos on here I might also add some white doodles to the cover as well.
25. And there you go! One finished AJ cover.

I hope you managed to understand my instructions, if you have any problems please leave me a comment and I will get back to you. If you do have a go at this please leave me a link to your cover so I can come and have a look!
Sami x

Friday, 17 February 2012

Hello Friday Rockers!
I missed last week as I was away so have two weeks of rocking stuff to catch up on!

 * On the 4th Feb my son turned 15! It seems like only yesterday he was a toddler and now he's taller than me! I am so proud of the young man he is turning into.
 My sister made him an 'allotment' cake complete with veg patch and chicken house!

 * Last week was a long week waiting for my cocker spaniel Oakley to become a man! Paige who is the breeder I got him from wanted to use him as a stud dog for her bitch Bella, and we have been waiting ages for her to come into season. It took five sessions before Oakley figured out what he had to do, Paige and I feared it would never happen, she outed him on Facebook, lined up another stud dog and then Bam! on wednesday he realised what it was all about! I didn't realise it would be so stressful waiting for them to get it on! It will be about 4/5 weeks now until we know if Bella has puppies in her tummy!

* My daughter brought home her half term grades last week and she has done so well. She started at the high school in september which was a big change for all of us as up until last year we still had the 3 tier education system over here- primary school from age 4 to 8, then middle school from age 8 to 13, then high school. So she was just 11 when she went up and I was a little worried but she loves it and is doing really well with her work. I am so proud of her.

 * Friday was the start of the 5th Wight Craft Circle retreat. Paige and I organise this twice a year and we have a whole weekend of scrapbooking at Totland Youth Hostel on the IOW. It was lovely to see everyone again and we had such a laugh and a couple of ghostly visitors in the middle of the night! I spent the weekend doing art journal pages as I have seriously lost my mojo for scrapping (see post below for the pages I created).

 * The lovely ladies of the Friendship Group! I know I have mentioned these ladies quite a few times in my posts but they do something that amazes me on a weekly basis! I have started a new project with the group called 'culture kitchen'. The idea is to break down cultural barriers and improve perceptions of diversity using cooking and food by going into local schools and groups and demonstrating how to cook different ethnic foods. I got the local college involved and they offered to provide a day of learning how to cook English food, completely free, which we attended this week. The ladies and myself had a great day making Cullen Skink-(smoked haddok soup), Lancashire hotpot, pancakes and five fruit cheesecake.
 We had to provide our own aprons so we made them ourselves using my tutorial (on this blog) and then the ladies embroidered the Equals logo onto them...don't they look fantastic?

* My wonderful husband. He has been a star this week, looking after the kids and the dogs while I was at the retreat, cooking dinner on monday when I got back as I was just too tired to do anything.

* I had some work issues last week which unfortunately I couldn't get resolved before my weekend away so that left me worrying all weekend. Although the issue is still not sorted out it was nice to find out that I do have some backing in this and that hopefully it will get resolved soon.

* Washitape.co.uk rocked my world by delivering my order in one day so that Paige and I had a lovely new stash of tapes to play with at the retreat!

* My friend Teresa for giving me some scraps of leather so I could make a couple of handbound journals.

* Selling one of my packs of affirmation cards

* Finding this tutorial which enabled me to do this watercolour portrait. I couldn't believe how quick and easy it was and how effective it looks.

Well, thats two weeks of things that rocked my world. Why don't you pop over to Virginia's blog and see what rocked the rest of the rockers worlds?!
Sami x

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Back from the 5th WCC retreat & five for friday wk 2

Phew! What a fab weekend I have just had at the Wight Craft Circle's 5th retreat. I am so tired now, crafting till 3am every night will do that to you!
We have such a wonderful bunch of ladies at the retreat and we always have such fun and its so lovely to meet up with each other year after year. We have ladies that scrapbook, ladies who art journal, cardmakers and crocheters so we are quite a diverse bunch!
Paige and me organise this retreat twice a year, held at Totland Bay Youth Hostel on the Isle of Wight. The next two are booked for Sept 2012 and March 2013, please check out our Wight Craft Circle blog for details of tickets and dates if you are interested as places are limited and always sell out fast. There are no classes at this retreat (although if you are intrested in what someone is making they will always take the time to give you a demonstration...thanks Diane!) it is just a chance to get away from it all, create at your leisure and enjoy the company of some fantastic people. The weekend is self catering and because it is held in a youth hostel (which we have to ourselves, no other people there) we are asked to strip our own beds, hoover our rooms and ensure the kitchen is left clean, however this means that you can have the whole weekend away for just £45 a ticket!!!! A bargin price for a great weekend!

 Some of the ladies from the 5th Retreat.
 We like to get everyone out for a walk and some fresh air over the weekend so that we can take some silly photos of everyone!
I managed to get 5 art journal pages done and my march calendar page for the calendar challenge, it doesnt seem like many for a whole weekend but it was just nice to be able to take my time and really enjoy the process.

 This was my first page of the weekend. I have had an issue this week that has not been resolved and wanted to get it off my chest so I could enjoy my weekend!

 There were loads of tourist leaflets at the youth hostel so I used a map of the IOW from one of them on this page and then asked people to write a little comment about the retreat on the page.

 I found this prompt and the one below from a list of AJ prompts on this website. I used 2 images from a magazine advert and then applied gesso and paint to them, dylusions paints and sprays, crafters workshop stencils, washi tape and stamps.

 This is my favourite page from the weekend! The prompt was 'what super power would you choose?' I started thinking of super powers and then asked everyone to name a few more and soon I had such a long list that I found it impossible to choose just one so I listed them all! I used Dylusions paints and ink sprays, crafters workshop stencils and a bit of stickles on her cape.

And this one is for Laurie's Five for Friday challenge over at her blog. This week was list your 5 favourite love songs or just songs you love. I chose songs I love and made a little Ipod and record out of card to stick on the page and some Tim Holtz tissue tape.

I really enjoyed this weekend and just finding my style with my art journal pages and am pleased with how they all turned out. I can't show my calendar page until next month but I spent a whole day doing that as well!
I will catch up on friday with all the rocking posts I missed over the weekend as I am busy for the rest of the week with work.
Thanks for looking
Sami x

Monday, 6 February 2012

I am taking part in Laurie's Five for Friday challenge over at her Lone Blackbird blog.
Each friday she will post a topic for a list and all you need to do is create your list in any way you choose.
I have chosen to do mine as art journalling.

This week was five fun things. I really had to think about this one which surprised me. I suppose as I have gotten older I don't do many fun things, or at least what I would consider to be really fun, like things I did in my youth. I lead such a boring life now!
This page already had the painted stencils on from when I was working on something else and used this as a mop up page. I added some spray ink, some washi tape and some stamps and doodled on it with black paint pens and a white out corrector pen.
Why dont you pop over to Lauries blog and check it out?
Sami x

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Calendar challenge and Rocking your world friday

Hello! Its February already, time just seems to be flying by!
Here are my pages for the calendar challenge over at Kates blog. Why don't you pop over and see what everyones been up to?

 Completed Jan page

 Feb page. I used Dylusions paints and ink sprays, crafters workshop stencils and texture paste and some stamps. I am keeping with the positive affirmation/quotes for this years calendars. I wanted to put little birds on this month as there have been so many birds in my garden this month, singing away as if spring is on its way!

Right, on to Rocking my world.
My Daughter has perked up a bit this week but still has such a hacking cough, and the full on cold hit me this week so I have felt quite poorly. So I am thankful for Sudafed spray so that I could actually breath and Meltus cough medicine for helping to relieve the chesty cough!


I am thankful to my wonderful Pagan family this week and for being part of a beautiful Imbolc celebration on Wednesday....even if our sky lanterns would not fly because it was to cold and windy!
These people really are my second family, people I can always count on and turn to.


I am thankful for Stu winning at his bowling league this week. We had a bit of a row over the cost of his new bowling balls that he HAD to have and I told him he better win every week now to make them worth it!


I was really proud of my son Caleb this week when he came home with a student of the week certificate. He had been nominated by his french teacher for getting an A* in his french oral GCSE just weeks into his course. He won a WHSmith gift card and had to go and tell the headteacher all about his work.


Thankful to my sisters partner for ringing me yesterday to let me know that Morrisons had PS3's on offer for £150. It is Calebs Birthday today (15th) and he has been saving up since before xmas for a PS3. He asked everyone for money for his B-day and was hoping to have reached his £249 goal so he could go and buy one. I let him open a couple of his cards last night so that he enough money to go and buy one before they sold out!


I am grateful that we have a roof over our heads and a good central heating system...it is soooo cold here! When I hear of people dying from the cold weather it makes me so thankful for what we have. I still have to sit in my craft room with my dressing gown on over my clothes, a scarf and gloves on as there is no heating out there, but the rest of the house is warm!


I have finally packaged up all my affirmation cards and taken them over to Tracy at The Lotus Tree to sell. She has also taken my prints and a couple of original canvas's.

 These are the cards, all ready to go
 I made little clay charms to hang on the bags, popped an instruction card inside and a few sparkles in each pack.
I put them in a wooden tray and wood burnt on the front of it with my name and logo.

Well, quite a few weeks that rocked this week, I am really enjoying looking for all the positives in my week! Pop over to Virginia's blog to find out what rocked everyone elses week.
Sami x