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27 May 2015

ALBOTAT: From little acorns....

... lovely dibbers are made.

I'd like to tell you a story...

Once upon a time, not so long ago- back in the mid 1970s - a little girl planted an acorn in the back garden of her parents house....

Fast forward forty (OUCH) years and the little girl (thats her in the photo above in the garden, on her first day of school) has grown up and so has the tree.  The garden and tree, in the rear right of the photo below, have blossomed and the tree is big and strong....   gone is the 'Good Life' vegetable patch, now replaced by lawns and flower beds...

The not-little-anymore-girl now has her own house & garden and asked her Dad to make her a dibber to help plant seeds....
So he used a branch that had needed to be trimmed from the tree, turned it on his lathe and created lovely dibbers...

And that is how the acorn that I planted when I was five, grew big, and became my plant dibbers!

How great is that!

Love that my Dad thought to make the dibbers out of a branch of the tree I planted - circle of life, personal history/attachment...


26 May 2015

A Birthday Treasure Hunt...

... for my nephew's birthday. We're giving him money as a gift, and to make it a bit more interesting I planned a mini treasure hunt for him - he solves a clue (cryptic rhyming clues no less!) & goes off around the house to find the envelopes containing loot... and carries on until he reaches the birthday cake!

I hope he has as much fun going on his little treasure hunt as I had writing the clues and making the envelopes. lol

(I especially enjoyed making the envelopes! - they're so cute - 7.5x10cm! Its a Sizzix die (Tim Holtz, Movers & Shakers die - Pocket Envelope), as are the numbers (Serif Essential Numbers) on each envelope...)

I made him a card too... used a really quick'n'easy brayered background (I wanted it to look 'rough'), a Stampotique image, JOFY circles and chevrons... & I couldn't resist a bit of gold embossing - even boys like a bit a bit of bling!


25 May 2015

ALBOTAT: accentuate the positive, illiminate the negative...

.. is exactly what this well cropped photo of our garden does!

The view of the alliums, gates and aquilegia in the background focuses on the good part of the garden - and makes me happy!  Pretty!
(fyi if you widen out the photo you'd see a big pile of wood and building materials/supplies - but we'll just ignore those! lol)

oops sorry - this post may appear twice in updates because it was deleted by accident and had to be reloaded! ggggrrrr
and HELEN, yes the grass needs cutting but we can't because of the previously mentioned pile of building supplies! lol  ah well - long live the weeds and the wilderness! lol


13 May 2015

ALBOTAT: Bloomin' lovely...

... each week I try to buy flowers to have on the lounge table.. not expensive flowers just so there's something 'living' in the room... supermarkets all have flowers a good prices..  Lidl have lovely lilies at a really good price, and tulips too -  I bought two bunches a few weeks ago - one pink and one purple.. loved the colour of the inside of the pinks:

It faded from pink to a pretty pale teal colour - camera not really doing it justice..

The purples started life like this:

and gradually as they started to turn fade and gave these lovely purple/ lavender tones - nicer/more interesting ???

Last week I bought Peonies - £6 in Tesco, guaranteed for a week - love how these started off as tight little balls of buds and then burst (slowly! lol) into wide delicate flowers - similar to a waxy tissue paper..

They started to turn and became floppy and fragile, and the colours faded to different shades of a peachy pink - so pretty..

Its inspiring to have the flowers in the house and watch them change... and the colour combinations & shadings that occur naturally.   Its the same in the garden - everything is waking up after the winter - some plants are growing nice and quickly - others not so much... I'm a bit of an impatient gardener!


12 May 2015

More than a 'little bit of this'n'that'...

... its been too long since I blogged.. I'm sorry... don't take it personally -though I think my blog might be - its feeling (and looking) all unloved and ignored!... life and secret stuff takes over sometimes... but here is a fast'n'furious bullet point list of some of the things/highlights I've been up to (in chronological order) since we last spoke.. 
  • I've taught 3 fun workshops
  • I met and had a mini conversation with the national treasure that is Dame Judi Dench !! (squeal)  it was one of those moments where you think 'that lady looks just like Judi Dench, but what would Judi Dench be doing here?!?'.. well, buying her groceries as it turns out lol even national treasures need to buy groceries. lol   
    She was very lovely/ gracious, am very glad I plucked up the courage to say hello.. (though not enough courage to ask for a photo - didn't seem right - she's a Dame! lol..)
  • I watched the builders demolish the back of our house - at speed - I hope they build it back up just as fast (I doubt it, but I can hope!)... 
  • I bought last minute tickets to see Texas, one of my all time favourite bands, at our local venue.... and went to see the concert last week...(by the way - I love a coincidence: my ticket number was J10 which is part of the registration number on my car!! its like it was meant to be! lol)
    TEXAS WERE AWESOME!!! so so good... I'm lost for words - which is saying something!
    Afterwards we went to the stage door (my brother's idea - he's a big fan!) waited for a while, chatted with the band's guitarist (who was outside for a sneaky cigarette) and then out came Sharleen Spiteri... and this time I DID pluck up the courage to ask for a photo! lol
  • Went to the hairdressers - not normally newsworthy obviously - but this was a visit with a difference:
    "Hi Jo, are you feeling artistic?" says my hairdresser... "why??" I replied a little suspiciously... he handed me a wood giraffe that he wanted me to paint ... while he's cutting my hair  (he'd started painting it yellow and then..  well.. stopped) lol... 
    I'm up for a challenge -and it was a challenge - it's one of those wood toys that collapse when you press the base... (cast your minds back to being a child... we probably all had them - I think mine was a cow lol)... 90 minutes later I'm looking prettier and the giraffe isn't looking too bad either! even if I do say so myself..  lol
    (its not going to win any prizes but I had to paint this moving object while not moving my head (or body really) because my hairdresser is cutting my hair! lol  me sitting still at the hairdressers to start with is a feet in itself - so I'm not convinced the 'paint a giraffe' request wasn't just an elaborate ploy to keep me still. lol )

    Meet Gerry the Giraffe!

..and if you're wondering how JOFY stamps appeared along the base its because I drove home - in my hairdresser gown and plastic cap (stop laughing)- and picked up stamps, ink, paint and paint brushes lol
aaaah if only I could've remembered where I'd put my googly-eye stash! lol

And now I'm still working on commissions and secret stuff... while making tea and coffee for the builders :o)


20 April 2015

Blossoms and Bees!

Is the theme of my workshop at The Craft Barn this coming Sunday (26 April) - a day where we'll use paints, stamps and surprisingly- a drill!!

There are a couple of places still available so if you want to join us contact the shop to book a place.


19 April 2015

Inky painty indeed!

A day spent at That's Crafty, running my first workshop at this great craft shop (where they have probably the biggest range of stencils I have ever seen in one place! and lots of paints, inks, and other 'stuff' to work with them!) :o)

We created this cute canvas combining JOFY stamps with a Prima Julie Nutting girl stamp - I have a couple of these and they're adorable and, I think, work really nicely with the JOFY stamps.

Everyone in the class created lovely (and finished) canvasses - and had free range to choose outfits for their 'girls' from a pad of My Minds Eye papers - nice small designs which were perfect for dress fabric.

Here are a couple of boards:

I really liked the bold geometric of this dress (on Linda Carpenter's canvas) (I would wear that dress, if I was younger!), and the blue bee-hive.

This girl (Janette Smith's) also wore a largish print, this time with co-ordinating flowers - really fresh and summery.

People were sometimes undecided on how to layer up the dresses - with contrast pockets or without, with or without contrast sleeves so I suggested (because lets face it nowadays most people have a camera phone with them and its a useful tool) they photograph the dress with the options and then look at the photos - which is what we did with the cute blue yellow dress (on Liz Riding's canvas) shown below - love this option... (by the way: the contrast pocket option was chosen)
This was a fun class - & its always interesting at the end of a class to see how the canvasses are all so similar but all different at the same time.


17 April 2015

Come and get inky painty with me...

.... I have a class next saturday, 25 April, at The Artistic Stamper in Kent and there are a couple of places left..

we'll be 'buzz'y creating a lovely fun box canvas (love my wired bee!) featuring new JOFY stamps, and we'll probably have time to make a couple of cards too...

Contact the shop to book your place - I look forward to seeing you there!

13 April 2015

VersionScrap... ooh La La indeed!

VersionScrap was a whirlwind of a weekend - one where it feels that your feet haven't touched the ground but you know they have because they ache from standing, walking, stair climbing.. a bit more standing - and you've enjoyed ever single minute.. that was my my weekend...
(I take my hat off to the rest of the PaperArtsy team because they worked for 3 more days than me!)

It really is a lovely craft show - though 'craft show' doesn't do it justice - its almost like a big retreat - 2 days of great classes on offer, beautiful stands, lots of make'n'takes, great products and a nice atmosphere all help to create an inspiring craft day out or weekend as many people visit for the weekend (or all three days!) - so many things to do.

I spent Friday teaching 3 classes to groups of lovely ladies (57 people! phew!) and we worked through the language 'barrier' with the help of Sally's translation skills, and its surprising how much (or little lol) of my school french came back to me... and how miming skills come in really useful... 

... the classrooms are bright & airy and have a nice view out of the window onto the park...

I didn't get a chance to take many photos of my classes - all very busy - and I only took a few around the shops/stands themselves,.. and then it was mainly of shop names I wanted to remember - I even forgot to take photos of the PaperArtsy stand!  (or the demo samples!)  Very unusual for me & so I've borrowed a couple of stand and class photos from PaperArtsy's Leandra's twitter feed.
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I walked the whole show twice on Saturday (in case I missed anything the first time, and because it was 'a bit' busy)  and did a bit of shopping (well it would've been silly not to!) - here's my stash pile - I haven't had a craft-spend like this in ages!
several dies, a few stencils, couple of stamps, cute little laser cut embellishments (love the smell), and magazines as research and because the French magazines are lovely.  My suitcase on the journey home was only two-thirds full but weighed a blummin tonne! lol

One of the stands had 3d pens- v clever.. tempted to look into these back in the UK - could make all kinds of quirky embellishments & 3d drawings....

At the back of the hall is a gallery of great big canvasses - scrapbook layouts but huge - about 60-100cm - this wood plank based one was one of my favourites...

as well as this yellow and black one (yes, me, liking yellow - how things have changed - I told you I was embracing yellow!)

Big paper flowers seem to be on trend at the moment- I've see it used on catwalks at recent fashion shows, and in window and product displays and so I really please to see this clever use of a frame and flowers:

so much to see.. I really enjoyed this show, thanks to everyone who came to my classes and who visited the PaperArtsy stand and watched Leandra and Lin demo their socks off all weekend- it was lovely to meet everyone. 
The PA team work so hard keeping everybody happy and the stand well stocked with PA products.

I had time, on the walk back to the courtesy bus (or NoddyBus as its affectionately called, because it looks like a toy train lol), to take photos in the gardens... only the tulips were in bloom at the moment and they looked lovely - so colourful...

I had a few hours to spare before I caught the Eurostar back to the UK and so I dropped my luggage in a locker at the station and caught the Metro down to Les Galleries Lafayette... this is a mecca for shoppers - the shop is just beautiful!  The central gallery with its huge stained glass dome is stunning and smells amazing with the perfume counters in its centre.

... and last but not least here is my one and only pain au chocolat..  Being wheat intolerant I shouldn't really eat these but when in Paris how could I not!! so I had just one and it was half size so it was OK!
and very very tasty! lol

Now I'm back at home - so glad I went to VersionScrap and experienced teaching outside the UK and the show itself - I'd recommend going to the show if you get the chance...  I hope to go back next year... we'll see... I'll start brushing up on my French now, just in case :o)


8 April 2015

oo la la!

... I'm all packed (well, almost) and ready (eek) for my trip to Paris to demo and teach classes at VersionScrap!  (just a liiiiitttle bit excited!)..

I will be on the PaperArtsy stand (Boutique 01) on Thursday night demo'ing (VIP event) alongside Leandra and Lin Brown - and then teaching 3 classes on Friday - its going to be a lot of fun (hardwork but still a lot of fun!).
One of the classes has sold out, but there are still a few places up for grabs on the Journal & Block class (love these projects!) here are the sneek peeks (and go HERE to book a place)

This is the first class of the day, 10:00 (for 2.5 hours), 'Block of JOFY Flowers'

.. and 'Mini Journal' is at 13:00 (2.5 hours), this is a lovely journal/sketchbook, notebook - all wrapped up..

And there are new stamps!!!  I wanted to design something especially for the show and here they are.. all new images, new phrases and a couple of translations from the most recent English releases (and the spiky flower on JOFY36 fits onto stencil PS009, this time it fits inside within the stencil)


Really looking forward to VersionScrap - everyone says its a lovely show and I can't wait!! 

I got my suitcase out a few days ago - I wanted to give it a 'makeover': one black Carlton suitcase looks very much like every other as they are trundle around the luggage carousel at airports so,  and showing again Fresco Finish paints can be used on pretty much everything, I stenciled an image on the front and back..

I love it!
I recently tweeted reasons to customise luggage:
1. easy to spot on a luggage carousel
2. Ensures partner doesn't borrow it.
3. Its pretty!!
and I'm adding a 4th reason to the list:
4. Why not! 

(I'm travelling to Paris on Eurostar, and yes, I know my newly prettied up luggage won't be on a luggage carousel..)

I think Bertie cat wants to come to Paris - he made himself quite at home IN the suitcase... but I explained that he can't come because he doesn't have pawsport - get it pawsport/passport... no, ok then.. moving on... (apoligies - that was like a christmas cracker 'joke' wasn't it - groanworthy! lol)... aaaany hoo

Then he staged a sit on protest... cute! but still not coming to Paris!

OK, I'd better go and finish packing.. and brush up on my French...