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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Recipe Wednesday

Hi Everyone
Today's recipe is something called FLUVELS - this is our own family made up name  for this dish. 
Here they are :


The puddings are also known as cheesecakes in some homes ! Again, this is one of the quick, mid week puddings.

Start with approximately 4/5 biscuits. I used stem ginger cookies (I didn't make them this time !). Any biscuits would do, it's down to taste and flavours. The biscuits need to be broken up, I put them in a food processor but you could smash them with a hard object inside a plastic bag. I left some bits slightly larger than others - I didn't want a fine powder more of a varied crumb. Divide the crumbs between four glasses. Next, a tablespoon of lemon curd is placed on top of the crumbs in each glass followed by 5/6 raspberries. Make up a creamy whip from mascarpone cheese (250gm), 1 tablespoon of icing sugar, few drops of vanilla extract and a tablespoon of milk and (very important) the rind of a lemon. I use this tool :


For me, using a grater involves difficult washing up and grazed fingers every time! However, either tool would do the job.
Divide the creamy mixture between the glasses and add a small section of chocolate Flake (1 Flake for the whole pudding).

The process is very easy and quick, not much washing up - so for me (the cook) this pudding gets 5/5. The boys decided 4/5 - they are very demanding ! One of the boys suggested I layer the cheese and biscuits to form a few thin layers, rather than 2 thicker layers. This is a brilliant idea and will definitely be adopted next time. The pudding goes into the book.

Next time - Fruit Muffins.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Making Framework

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm reporting on a new Making Workshop : Gift of Pearls  which took place yesterday in a local Care Home. The class was a group of lovely ladies who live in a local Care Home. 
We had a great time and a planned hour long session turned into two hours ! The time flew by and everyone seemed so engrossed in the making experience that they didn't realise how much time had gone by. All the ladies were quite elderly and some had difficulties in concentration and or dexterity. However, we (the group/helpers) all managed to produce a brilliant range of Pearl bracelets. Each bracelet was beautifully packaged in a floral Gift Pocket and ready to be presented as a gift. Most of the ladies decided to give their makes to a grand daughter and took great pride in telling me about their relatives.
The project was a new take on the well used stretchy bracelet technique but the lovely coloured pearls, mixed with some shiney rondelle beads made a very attractive bracelet. The project kits contained a range of sizes and colour combinations of pearl beads and each bead was considered with great care before stringing and tieing. All bracelets were then wrapped in tissue and placed inside a Gift Pocket. The Gift Pockets were also part of the workshop and all the ladies managed to produce a beautifully finished Pocket along with a co ordinated gift tag.



This workshop was a tester for the group - the idea was to check if they could manage the tasks in the timescale and have a nice time. The workshop experience was about having an active (mental) session alongside an opportunity for social interaction. I also wanted to create a project(s) which would challenge the ladies (slightly) but would also allow them to feel a sense of pride in their 'creations'. I think, we succeeded on all fronts and the ladies were asking if I would be coming back with more workshops.
The challenge for me is to devise more stimulating projects which this type of group can manage. The physical and mental limitations of the group (at the moment) are unknown. However, I'm confident if I can present exciting/attractive ideas alongside simple tasks we can surprise ourselves and improve the self confidence and aspirations of this group of ladies. I need to find the right balance and it's quite daunting. However, I'm up for the challenge and feel I've moved on my thinking re The Making Framework (read back on Tuesday's for more background on the Framework ideas). I feel even more committed to the project as a result of the Gift of Pearls Workshop. 

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Make Art Monday

Hi Everybody
I've been working with The Eyes Project this week (read back on Mondays for more of the story).The dolls are changing each time I draw them but here is a quick look at an early version of the character without a full head (in the original painting). I've named the doll -  Lee. In the original, Lee has a long neck and I will keep this going.



The sketch needs lots of more work - so it may all change again. I quite like the eyes but they are a bit too high in the centre and and need lots more shade to emphasise them. They need colour too. I'm also going to make a new dress from fabric and my plan is to make some printed fabric specifically for the job. Colour wise, I'm thinking of blues (throughout) which is a change from the original painting.

Hopefully, next time I can have a finished sketch with some colour.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 25 September 2015

From Scratch

Hi Everyone
From Scratch is introducing my new line of Fabric Wraps - these items will be described as gift wrap and are specifically designed for jewellery. I'm working on the basic fabric squares at the moment but I'm already thinking about developing the square into something more like a storage item eg placing little pockets into the wrap. Here is a looks a the first fabrics I've chosen to use :


The Fabric Wraps are simply pieces of cotton around 25x25cm. I've cut the fabric with pinking shears on this batch but the next batch will have stitched edges and added embellishments. The idea is to produce limited batches with a particular design feature eg beaded edges or buttons.

I've used the Fabric Wraps myself for a while and have a couple of examples to share :


I'm also developing little fabric tags and flowers to embellishments the wraps and will link them (size wise) with my jewellery pieces.

I especially like the way tissue paper works with the wraps, giving them a feel of luxury before opening, slightly soft but structured at the same time. My shops will being selling the Fabric Wraps - each pack will have a Fabric Wrap, ribbon or string, tissue, gift tag and the option of a range of embellishments. I also love the idea of writing directly onto the fabric and have some pens for the job. Will share this idea next time.


I'm hoping to get the current batch into the shops this weeks. Each gift wrapping pack will be around £3.00 which will include a tag and tissue.
I will confirm the date next time. Hope you are inspired to try this out.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Clay Day

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm reporting on my progress with beading and polymer clay. Last time, I explained my thinking of combining clay beads and beaded beads in a single piece of jewellery, the idea is to cover some polymer beads with very small seed beads and add them to the existing clay beads. Seems simple !! -I tried covering the core bead in the usual way ie stitching little beads all over the core bead. There are many helpful YouTube videos showing how this can be done. I've tried using three different explanations of the technique and have spectacularly failed - every time !
I'm not giving up yet but I did have a poor decision moment yesterday, I thought I could embed the seed beads into the raw clay and then bake the bead. This was never a good idea and I've now resolved to crack the beading technique today. I've found yet another You tube video which goes very slowly and looks like it may help. Here is a look at the clay and the seed beads I'm using :


In order to help develop my beading skills, I've been trying out other beading projects and am particularly impressed with a very simple but quick project which will be a bracelet and a ring. I do think working with these additional little projects has helped my understanding of how beading needs to tackled. Here is a quick look at my progress so far :


I need to make another five or so components for the bracelet and a single for the ring. I will share the final items when finished.

However, my task for today is the achieve something like this :


Wish me luck.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Recipe Wednesday

Hi Everyone
The recipe review this week is an ice cream based pudding. Our (family suggested) name for the pudding is Espresso Ice and here it is :


This is a very easy Make. Each bowl is filled with a scoop of  ice cream (ours was Vanilla). A strong cup of coffee is made (2/3 tsp coffee) and approx 2 tablespoons of the coffee is poured over the ice cream. I added 3 raspberries, a few Pistachio nuts and a couple of Cantucci biscuits.

As the coffee blends with the ice cream (just takes a min.) a lovely coffee cream develops - the fruit, nuts and biscuits all add to very pleasing flavours. All the boys thought this pudding worked well. They gave the dish 4/5 - not sure where it lost a point ? I gave the dish 5/5 - yet another very easy pudding when time is tight. I like the look too ! This could be adapted with lots of different flavoured ice creams, fruit and biscuit options. I'm going to experiment.

The 'Espresso Ice' pudding definitely goes into the book (read back each Wednesday for more about the book).

Next weeks pudding is a cheesecake.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Making Framework

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm featuring the second stage of the Pebbles Project within the Making Framework. Last week, I mentioned about moving on from the basic shaping of Polymer Clay to make little pebbles and stringing them to form a bracelet (look back for images).
After forming simple pebble shapes using just hands (I think this is a really important stage) it's time to try out using different 'found' items to make patterns and/or impressions in the clay. Experimenting (and lots of it !) is key. Sometimes, a very simple toothpick or an old pen top can create great marks on the surface which looks brilliant as a unique decoration. Again, experimenting is very important and shouldn't be hurried - try out as many different 'tools' as you can find. Often the ones which don't appear to be interesting, create amazing patterns.
The next little project for developing and improving on the basic Polymer Pebble is a small pair of earrings with a simple surface pattern. This little project is called Pebble Plus. The earrings start with a basic Pebble, followed by decorating the small surface of the earring bead with a chosen pattern (see the image for example ideas, all made with tools found around the home)


 An earring post is then embedded into the clay and baked or cured. At this stage, we are using a bought post. 
Post curing another very small clay ball is blended over the back of the bead to double secure the post to the earring bead and gives the earrings a clean and minimal look. A wash of acrylic paint can highlight the pattern. Again, lots of experimenting is good at this stage. The paint can be rubbed off quickly and several colours used in layers to great effect. The beads are then finished with fine sandpaper and sealed with a wax layer (could be shoe polish). In this example a yellow/mustard colour clay has been mixed and the surface design is made with a craft knife tip. Brown acrylic paint is smeared over the whole surface and rubbed off. These beads were sanded and polished with clear wax shoe polish and rubbed with a soft cloth to give a dull shean.


Although, this process is quite simple, Makers can get a real sense of achievement using different patterns and choosing colours. Finished earrings can look very professional and each will be unique. There is a challenge in creating balance with size and shape. Stud earrings need to be quite small and balanced or they are uncomfortable. Good design is often simple but simple design needs to be perfectly executed !

Thanks for reading.

Make Art Monday

Hi Everyone
Make Art Monday today is featuring another few sketches for my Holiday Journal. 
In other news - my plans for the Eyes Project continue and I have my four chosen surfaces almost prepared for development. I've chosen canvas, wood, watercolour paper and canvas board for the surface - I'm not sure about the colour materials yet ? I've got some sketches but they are still changing and will be reworked a few times. I've also decided to commission some images of the original art for printing and will develop these for fabric, wrapping paper and some greetings cards. 

Back to today, my Holiday Journal has ongoing 'development' and I'm in the process of choosing actual photos for inclusion. I want small photos to compliment memories and sketches and will probably get all the different things together and add them to the journal book in a single session. My art for today is a very quick pencil sketch of the 'Kelpies'  and a look at my fish ! If you are wondering about Kelpies ?
  1. Kelpies are defined as :
    a water spirit of Scottish folklore, typically taking the form of a horse and reputed to delight in the drowning of travellers

    My Kelpies are : 
    The Kelpies are 30-metre high horse-head sculptures, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, in The Helix, a new parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area, Scotland.[1] The sculptures were designed by sculptor Andy Scott and were completed in October 2013.[2] The sculptures form a gateway at the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal, and the new canal extension built as part of The Helix land transformation project. The Kelpies are a monument to horse powered heritage across Scotland.[3]

    The sculptures opened to the public in April 2014.[4] As part of the project, they will have their own visitor centre, and sit beside a newly developed canal turning pool and extension. This canal extension reconnects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the River Forth, and improves navigation between the East and West of Scotland.

As mentioned, I'm also including a closer look at the fish images which appear throughout the Journal. The Kelpies was a very quick pencil drawing and is more of a logo style image but I do like it and it reminds me of the place and the actual experience of drawing it.



These images are from the front cover but the fish do appear throughout the Journal.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 18 September 2015

From Scratch

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm featuring little bags from TheArtsac on Etsy. These bags are designed for small jewellery items and are available in a range of pretty colours and made from organza. I'm developing some hand printed (cotton) bags in the same sizes.


More bags are under development in pretty pre patterned cotton fabrics with more fabric ideas being added. I love packaging and often find myself thinking about packaging more than the actual gift !
Each bag is suitable for all the small jewellery items in my offer and is a great way to wrap items for gifts as well as a useful storage bag at home. I use a variety of bags on a painted wooden board with little hooks as a storage solution (a future item for the shops).The fabric version can be custom made and will be developed to incorporate personal messages and sentiments.

Currently, each bag will feature a little tag - (see sample in card), some tags in card and some larger tags in polymer clay (will share new polymer versions next time). 


I'm also developing some little fabric squares which will tie with a ribbon to form a bag. I've seen large versions of this idea but not small enough for a tiny jewellery piece. The fabric square style bag will be combined with tissue wrapped items. I like this idea and I think it offers a great look - specific sized are available to order. I especially like the idea of writing/drawing drawing directly onto the fabric with a message or greeting. Will share the square bag developments next time.

Have a great weekend.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Clay Day

Hi Everyone
I'm experimenting today with my ongoing little clay project. I mentioned last week about a carved bead idea and I've developed a few blue carved beads for the purpose. I also want to experiment with beading a few of the polymer beads. I'm not brilliant with beading (yet!). I'm determined to improve my beading skills but so far I've had limited success. Even the most simple projects seem beyond my skills. However, I will keep going with it. My plan is to turn a selection of carved beads (in various shades in blues) with some 'beaded' beads and some plain beads into a bracelet and possibly a necklace.
In preparation, I've already been practicing making beaded charms (part of another project). I tried out a few charms in a number of different sized seed beads. Eventually ............. I have a beaded cross charm which looks a bit like a 'cross'.


I'm going to add a jump ring to the cross and make some kind of necklace using more seed beads (I think ?). This minor success gave me the idea to try and half cover one of the clay beads with some seed beads to form a covered cabochon. Not sure how long it will take me to do this ? or if it will be neat enough to add to the bracelet. I aim to half cover two quite small clay beads. Probably, the small beads will be more difficult than larger ones ? Will report my findings and share my experiences next time. Here are the beads involved :


Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Recipe Wednesday

Hi Everyone
It's the first review of my Midweek Puddings book today. The blank book itself is ready and will get its first recipe today. 


The pudding from last week also has a name. My boys decided on Cherry Chocolate Dip. 


The pudding was a huge success with everyone in our house. It only took about 5 mins to make. All the ingredients other than the shortbread biscuits are placed in a bowl and melted over a pan of hot water (water not touching the bowl).When everything's melted, give a good stir And you have a sauce. Cherries are placed in serving glasses and the chocolate sauce poured over. We used the shortbread biscuits to dip into the sauce.
The puddings was just right, small portion but enough and not too sickly !
The Boys gave 4/5 - they thought the dip could have been thicker (fine for me). May try slightly less cream next time. I gave 5/5 for ease of making.

All in all, the recipe has the go ahead to be included in the book.

Today's experiment is an ice cream based recipe. Results next time !

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Making Framework

Hi Everyone
Last Tuesday, I spoke about the first project in the Making Framework Book called Pebbles. I've got a range of Pebble beads going on in their most simple form and the first project will use these sort of beads :


These little beads can be very easily threaded onto elastic thread and immediately you have a bracelet. This is the first project ie the Pebble Bracelet. To make a stretch bracelet using little beads all around 0.5 to 1 cm across you will need about 28 beads. The beads don't need to be identical in size or shape, in fact the finished bracelet looks much better with a variety. 
The Making Framework book gives detailed instructions and a full list of equipment for the project, explaining why and what to do at each stage. We are making some kits available which will be previewed here on the blog, this Friday. The kits will use a range of different coloured clay and all the hand tools mentioned will be available.  In addition you will need an oven, an oven thermometer and something to bake your clay in eg roasting bag or a covered tile. I use a dedicated oven for my baking/curing but if you are experimenting you will want to use what you have rather than buying a new large piece of equipment. You can easily use an old tile inside a roasting bag or an upturned disposable cooking container. The key to a good bake/cure is to get the temperature right for the length of the bake/cure.

This is an example of a Pebble Bracelet which I made several years ago. I love this bracelet and wear it most of the time. It's in my favourite Navy with some acrylic painted creamy clay beads (the paint has been sanded back)and as you can see, its full of lots of different shapes. I find it durable and often forget I've got it on. Getting it wet or dirty is not a problem, gently wash in soapy water and its shinny again. The beads are simply strung and the elastic tied with a surgeon knot. There are lots of You Tube videos showing how to tie this knot - do a quick search and check out someone who appeals. I've sealed and polished the beads (by hand) using simple wax shoe polish (the one without any colour). It gives a lovely sheen to the surface.


Here is the bracelet made from the beads featured above :


Next time, I will share the next stage of developing the Pebble Bead and making earrings.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Make Art Monday

Hi Everyone
Today, my Make Art Monday offer is a another sample sketch from my Holiday Journal. I've made some detailed plans for the Eyes Project (as discussed last Monday) and things are underway. I'm preparing a few different surface to work with and several sizes. In the meantime, I'm sharing something from my Holiday Journal.

My picture for today is this one :


This is a collage of a painted sketch I did on the beach, Yellowcraig Beach (North Berwick). The colours represent the mood and 'feel' of the day. I watched the sea and sky for a while and saw these shapes in the clouds and the waves. Everywhere I looked I could see 'fish'. Simple fish images appear throughout my Holiday Journal and I think this afternoon ie 24/8/15 is where the idea came from. The blue/green colours also seemed to be everywhere on the day. Looking at these fish brings back memories from my sketching session - a great memory.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Friday From Scratch

Hi Everybody
I'm launching yet another new feature for Friday's, called  From Scratch is about my 'products'. Each Friday I will feature items which I have for sale somewhere, either as an item from the online Etsy Shop The Artsac, Making Kits, Making Workshops, Gallery items or local Events. I will feature a particular item each Friday and share any new display items or packaging ideas associated with the item.

The From Scratch products will mirror The Making Framework project items as well as combining my Clay Day work which make it into production. From time to time, I'm hoping to have little promotions and freebies going on too.

My first item for today is a Button Bead Necklace. I use Button Beads for a number of different jewellery makes and they are a firm favourite in my stock. There will be a number of new different colour and surface pattern designs going into production this month, all will have new pretty little fabric pouches which will be part of the package. I will be sharing these pouches next time. The Button Beads are also the basis of a few Making Kits which are a great start to making simple jewellery.
Here are a few images of the Button Bead Necklace available from Etsy.



Another week has gone by and all the new blog changes have been introduced. I hope you have enjoyed seeing the changes and find the new daily ideas interesting. Have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Clay Day

Hi Everyone
Welcome to Clay Day - another new feature for the blog. Thursdays will give me the opportunity to experiment with Polymer Clay(PC). I love working with PC and would like to set some time aside each week to develop new ideas. Initially, I want to make some new jewellery for myself as well as trying out other stuff such as little bowls or handles for tools etc.
I want the freedom and time to simply play with ideas rather than have the need to create a whole Collection. If I come up with great designs, I can then move them into production but my plan is to try out lots of new ideas.
To start, I'm going to make some jewellery for myself inspired by particular outfits. I want to work on new 'everyday stuff'. I'd also like to combine PC with metal work and again I've got some ideas for this. I usually start all new designs with my sketchbook and will follow this plan for my Thursday's. I see this project as a great luxury and will be especially excited every Thursday.
My very first project will be some carved beads. I want to create some blue beads in lots of custom colours - the clasps and findings will be made by me too. Here is an idea of how the basic bead shape will look.


Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Recipe Wednesday

Hi Everyone
I'm very excited about this new series. Each Wednesday is all about making time to find and try out new recipes. I'm also making a handmade recipe book to hold my little finds. My first little book is under construction - to be finished later this morning.
The idea is to find recipes which work for our family and stretch my repertoire. I also like the idea of making books, so it's a good excuse for that. I'm starting with the theme of Midweek Puddings.
I'm in need of a collection of ideas for easy, relatively healthyish recipes which I can use to plan shopping and produce for meals. I quite like cooking but I hate clearing up and usually don't have much time so my approach will be easy, quick,using easy to get ingredients, little clearing up and be healthyish (perhaps not always) - bit of an ask ! However, I'm optimistic.
To kick off, I'm going to use a Jamie Oliver recipe from his book Jamie's 30 min Meals. I use his recipes lots and I have made this before but it's not quite there for us so I'm going to adapt the ingredients and process a little. After each recipe I will share the details and give the end product a mark. Five for ease and five for how well it goes down with my boys. The recipe is called Silky Chocolate Ganache in Jamie's book (p56 if you have it). My version will get a new name, decided by my boys ! (we will see how that goes). I will allocate the ease score and the boys will decide the taste/presentation score.
Next Wednesday, I will include my recipe plus a little bit about how it goes. Each week, I will nominate  a new recipe for testing. After trying we will decide if it goes in the book. Here is the scrapbook style book which will eventually hold the Midweek Puddings.


Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Making Framework

Hi Everyone
Tuesday's will be all about The Making Framework (same as last year). Read back on previous Tuesday's for further information about this project. The project is just approaching the second year and is working well.
 In short :
The Making Framework is all about finding 'your' own making/craft skill. 
We start at a basic level and provide a wide variety of small structured and graduated projects using a limited range of tools.
The project aims to remove barriers to access by providing a range of acces opportunities eg. class workshops, kits, online tutorials etc.
Each individual or group is initially assessed for need and support planned.
We aim to use basic tools and materials, often making tools as part of a project and keeping costs low.
The project aims to empower Makers with the aim of developing future workshop/supporters to further encourage Making.
Additional development opportunities are available eg preparing made items for online sale/Fairs, developing packaging and display.

This year we will extend the range of Making skills/materials used in our projects and hope to prepare to exhibit the work. I'm also involved in producing a project publication which will help spread the word and hopefully make our projects accessible to a wider audience. The book has been under development for a while and we have a draft format. Much more work to do but it's going well. Here is the draft cover :


Each project will focus on a particular craft using specific materials and tools. The first project is called Pebbles and the core material used is Polymer Clay. I will provide an overview summary next week showing the scope of the first project to illustrate how the book will work. As the cover indicates, the reader is considered an Artist Maker and each project encourages an individual response to each project. The Pebbles project is a great first attemp for the Artist Maker, very few tools are needed and every finished project will be different. Hopefully, the items produced from each project will be valued and admired. Finishing makes is so important and this is one of the key elements of each project.
The journey from non-Maker to Artist Maker will take as long as it takes, some projects will be more challenging than others and hopefully a favourite craft skill will be found along the way. I'm convinced widening Making skills will benefit other aspects of life and certainly self confidence. More discussion on that one in the future.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Make Art Monday

Hi Everyone
Summer hols are officially over and I'm back to my blogging routine this morning. However, I've planned a few new features and each day will reveal the idea behind the feature. 
On Mondays, I'm sticking to my Make Art Monday theme. I had planned to use the Summer to develop the Eyes Project (read back to previous Monday's for details) .... but it didn't happen (I did some Eyes stuff but nothing significant). I'm still working on the project and will keep it going on Mondays. I'm going to review the work later and develop a detailed plan of action.
For today, this is a little sketch I did (on the beach) while on holiday - week before last. This sketch is in my Holiday Journal - I will share a few more of the sketches from the Journal over the next few weeks.

The story behind the sketch is simply a bird looking quite a lot like this came to visit out picnic on the beach. The bird was ever hopeful of some scraps as we enjoyed our afternoon - no scraps offered or stolen. The bird was large, black and looked prehistoric - I hope, I captured a little of the 'look'.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Wish I was back there !

Hi Everyone
Wish I was back on holiday. I am having trouble getting back into routines. Today, is my last day of my 'break' (holiday) - still got a bit of tennis to watch but I am thinking about making plans for work.

My last little image to share is the holiday journal I've been creating. My plan (pre holiday) had been to build the journal pages each day. I did write stuff each day - thoughts and little things which occurred to me as well as a sort of diary of events/places. I made embellishments along the way and created little sketches but I want to spend more time developing the detail. I've collected lots of items to include in the journal pages to help tell my stories - some bits are in there but not all. I've left spaces to develop my days around the stuff I've already included.

 I think, I've learned how I would change the process next time. I'm definitely doing this each Summer, I've really enjoyed the process. I wasn't sure about how I was going to tackle this particular project and I just let it happen, it worked out OK but I would have likes a more co ordinated look. The thing I would change for next time is preparing more pre holiday.I like the hand made paper I used but I would have painted a white acrylic space for my  journalling. I did have a little Titan Buff acrylic with me and did try it out but I couldn't get the pages dry quick enough to practically use in the time available to me. I think, I would also develop a simple decorating style/colour range and have a think about how the pages will/can be used. Next time I will take this 'planned' approach. 
My journal will have some pages left, I think and I'm planning on using it for our next little break in October. I will get an opportunity to try out my revised ideas.
Here is the front cover of the journal (so far). I will share more sections another time.


The colours on the front are all blue - they look a little dull in my photo but are, in fact, quite bright. I've used watercolour pencils for the lines and the fish are painted and stuck in place.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Memories from The Grand Tour

Hi Everyone
I'm almost 'still' on holiday (in my head). I pottered around yesterday and managed a few admin. jobs as well as watching a bit of U.S. Masters tennis (I love watching tennis). Work thoughts are still far from my mind ! Sadly, the weather has changed and its feeling a bit like the Summer has gone.
Today, I'm off for a run and later ...... a little shopping (may find a treat for myself ?).

I'm sharing another photo memory from our recent holiday today. This one is very special. We had a few days in Edinburgh and went to several galleries. The Scottish National and the Scottish Modern Art. The Modern Art Gallery had an amazing MC Escher exhibition. It was brilliant, the best exhibition I've been to for some time. I have always liked the work of Escher but seeing some of the printing plates and preparation sketches as well as understanding his life story was fantastic. I could have picked any one of the exhibition pieces to share but I particularly liked this one :


I saw some sketches and the copper plate which made this print. A week later it's still amazing - every item in the exhibition was such a privilege to share. I will remember the experience for a long time.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Return from The Grand Tour

Hi Everyone
We are back from our travels and the Summer hols are over. We've enjoyed a great Summer and I feel some sadness that's it's gone ! The next few days will be full of unpacking and washing stuff. This is the down side of holidays. The boys are back to school today and I given myself a few more days. I'm back next week to an organised work schedule. I'm going to enjoy a relaxing few days getting the home into shape while pushing in a little Art (where I can).
I'm also planning a new series of features for the blog which will start next week, for the next few days - I'm going to share a few photo memories from The Grand Tours. My first photo is an image of an amazing place we visited last week, not far from Edinburgh.
It's the Kelpies, a huge metal structure of two horses. This shot was taken from quite a way from the structures and they still look huge.

The horses stand either side of a canal lock - it's very beautiful and mesmerising to stand beside these enormous pieces of Art.
More images tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.