Saturday, 29 April 2017

Japanese woodblocks

I recently went to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery (RAMM) in Exeter to see the "Hiroshige's Japan:Stations of the Tokaido Road" exhibition.  

No photography was allowed but I had my sketchbook with me and after some discussion they agreed I was allowed to make sketches!

The exhibitions consisted of a selection of 21 woodblock prints from the early 1800's on loan from the Ashmolean Museum. They were truly stunning and I was particularly taken with the way he recorded people and their movements.

Sunrise at Shinagawa, Utagawa Hiroshige I, colour woodblock print

This is an example of some of the work that was on display.  

If you are ever in the Exeter area I thoroughly recommend a trip to the RAAM.  
It is free to get in (some exhibitions have a charge, as this one did, but only £4) and there is such a wide variety of exhibitions to look at.  Also a great cafe and gardens and right in the centre of the city.

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


 Welcome to 'What's on your workdesk Wednesday' and yet again a tidy desk.  It is crazy busy at work still so very little time to craft (or blog).  However this is a rare event as I actually have some new stash to share (I cannot remember the last time I bought stash that wasn't replacing something that has run out like glue or tape)!

This little haul came as a kit from a charity shop.

I couldn't believe my luck especially since the stamps and die's appear to go together.

There was also this embossing folder and some sequins (I presume to add to the mermaids tail)....but all this just for £2!  You can see why I had to buy it?

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week are 'Fake Priest Sues Tourist'.....ooh I wonder what that will bring (quite pleased its not political as there is quite enough of that at the moment!).

Happy crafting

Sunday, 23 April 2017

World Earth Day

Saturday was World Earth Day and also March for Science. 

Events were planned all across the globe as a response to the recent events over the pond for non evidence based political decisions being made regarding subjects such as global warming, medical advancements, technology etc

So we decided to join the one in Bristol. There were speakers including Chris Packham, 
Dr Simon Singh, Anna Starkey, Prof. Bruce Hood and Dr Suzi Gage.  Millenium square was PACKED, there must have been at least 1000 people there, all ages and all walks of life-all united for one reason.

There was a competition for the best placard (I quite like the couple below) and we all marched round the city shouting "what do we do we want it...fact based!"

It was fantastic and hubby was pleased to be able to meet Chris Packam (on the right!) especially as his speech included references to two of my husbands favourite punk bands (The Clash and Penetration).  It was a fantastic day out and great to take part in something that joined people across the globe.


Saturday, 15 April 2017

Speedy Recovery card

I needed to make a special card for some recently who had a nasty fall and broke her leg.
These embossed cards are quite large and I bought them from the charity table a couple of crops ago at the WOYWW meet up.  I have been mainly using them for weddings etc but I thought they would make a good base for this card.
I die cut some TH butterflies from board and coated them in some indigo blu flitter glue (love this tacky glue) and covered them with gilding flakes.

I stamped a sentiment and matted and layered it on silver card.
A feminine get well soon card and one perfect for the recipient.
Happy crafting

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


Work got in the way the past couple of weeks and the garden had to take precedence of any spare time but I did manage to get a quick hour in the craft room so I have something to show you for 'What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday'.
I am trying to use up old supplies so I have used up the last of my golden lightweight texture paste through some stencils on 3 canvas boards.  I keep these and don't use them-probably the worse thing for craft/art supplies since they are made to be used!

I have sprayed them with a mixture of dylusions and distress ink adding water and moving the boards to create pools of colour.
No idea what else to do with them (or what I am going to do with them-probably an art abandonment/free art Friday) but I am sure that given time inspiration will strike!
My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week-'Judge Revealed Fake Drugs'
Apologies if you visited my desk previously and I didn't get a chance to return visit, I do try to visit each one but sometimes the pay the bills job and life gets in the way.
Happy crafting

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Bristol Urban Sketchers Meet up

At the weekend I attended the monthly meet up of the Bristol Urban Sketchers.
It is a great group (and expanding month on month) and there are some fabulous artists with so many different styles that there is always inspiration and something new to learn.
This month we went to a 45 acre cemetery only 15 mins walk from the centre of the city.  I have lived in Bristol for about 14 years and have never visited. 
 Well, I will be back soon-this place was amazing.  It had a cafĂ©, exhibition space, museum, natural 'green' cemetery, historical areas, sailors cemetery, woodland walks and much more. It is free to get in and for a  small donation you can have a guided tour.

I was running late for the meet up so I didn't have too long but I did manage to make a quick sketch in my travel journal.  After we sketch we all meet up for either a drink or some lunch and share sketches and stories.  It is always lovely to meet with like minded people and they are such a talented group-if you are interested and in the area then they have a FB group.
Happy crafting

Saturday, 1 April 2017

More upcycled cards

 Just a quick update on some cards I have made from upcycling other items.

I hope that people don't mind that I upcycle some of the cards I get!

I often mix them up using bits from other cards, calendar etc as well as my own stash and give them a new lease ready to be gifted to a new recipient.

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


Hump day so that can only mean one thing "What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday" when we gather across the globe to show our desks.  Some tidy (so tidy I wonder if its post crime scene!) others...well...lets face it its a pig sty.....but it is creative (sort of!!).

On my desk this week I am trying to catch up with my 365 Journal and at least try to make Aprils pages so they are ready to start writing, and by jove I am nearly there!

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this weeks are 'Beauty Model weeps for Nails'-well, let be honest we could certainly do with some glib and superficial news!!

Happy crafting

Monday, 27 March 2017

Dressed to impress

 So, I decided to take a well deserved day off work the other day and instead of spending it catching up with housework (everything takes longer when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis and I admit I get behind with a lot of it) I decided to have a day sewing.

I bought a Tilly and The Button dress pattern for the Coco dress on the recommendation from a friend and whilst I made one about a month ago the fabric/seam around the armpit rippped after one wear-no idea why.  Maybe my thread was a little tight or maybe I was over zealous with the iron and it was a little too hot for the jersey fabric.  Anyway, I bought some different fabric (ponte de roma) and decided to have another go.

It was all going really well, I remembered to wash and dry the fabric before cutting it out. Then after about an hour trying, unsuccessfully, to insert the arm into the pattern I suddenly realised what was wrong....can you spot my schoolboy error?

I kept wondering WHY the sleeves were not the same each side. Then I spotted the pattern had one edge tucked over when I cut the fabric out!!!!

 Can you spot the difference between the two?  I was SO annoyed at myself (but also thankful I took my time and hadn't started sewing...that would have been a pain in the backside!) Thankfully I seem to have a LOT of fabric left over when I cut this pattern out (no idea why, I think I need to email them to ask for advice as I end up buying a lot more than I actually need) so I was able to cut another pair out.

Once I had cut the arms out correctly it was much easier to fit the arms (still took me a while to sort it out though but I am guessing this is a skill I can develop the more I make). 

I finally made a dress!  Yes its plain and black (no matching of patterns for me at this stage!!) and I may decide to put a couple of pockets on the front.  I haven't worn it yet so fingers crossed the seams and fabric doesn't rip on this one as I think I may loose the plot if it does!! 

But still...I made a dress!!!! Yes, I did a happy dance round the lounge when I tried it on and it fitted!

Happy crafting

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mothering Sunday

Today is Mothering Sunday in the UK (and the clocks went forward so back to darker mornings for a few weeks but lighter evenings).

I made a few cards (for donations at work for charity) using some of my flower fairy toppers.

Not my usual style but I am a bit of a sucker for flower fairies, I think it stems back to having the books as a child.

Quite simple cards but I do like to give a handmade card when I can.

If you are celebrating (or remembering, if your Mum is no longer with you) then I hope you have some lovely memories, and cake, we all need cake on Mothering Sunday!

Happy crafting

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Art Abandonment and Free Art Friday

There are a group of artists I belong to (search groups on FB for details) 'Art Abandonment' and 'Free Art Friday'.  Both groups abandon art (one of Fridays the other whenever you fancy) across the globe for no reason other that the love of it.

Last weekend I did a quick sketch of a robot on a tag (it helps fill the time when I am on a train) and decided to abandon it in London between Carnaby Street and Soho.

I have abandoned many items over the past few years, from postcards, drawings, paintings, painted rocks and tags, I have never heard back from anyone who has found one (the artabandonment group have a contact I attach to them) but I hope those who found them and chose to pick them up like them and enjoyed the small random act of kindness.

Have you taken part in these before, I'd love to hear about it if you have. 
Happy crafting


Wednesday, 15 March 2017


Happy 'What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday' when we all share our desks in response to the lovely Julia's call to arms here

My photo was taken late yesterday and I am catching up filling in my 365 Journal after a weekend catching up with family and spending some quality aunty time with my 18 month niece.

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week are "340lb actor bites tourist!"-well we watch the news with interest!

Now, last week Donna wanted proof of the ramdomness of the cards so I posted this video on facebook for her and thought it would be fun to share it here (though this is the first time I have tried a video on blogger so if it doesn't work and you know why please let me know!)-they are random it is just that there is SO much potential 'oddness' in the news at the moment that it seems like the cards are predicting most weeks!!

So, what's on your workdesk this week?  Don't be shy, we are a friendly crowd so if you haven't already why not join in and share?

Happy crafting


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Comic coasters

I just realised I haven't shared all the presents I made for people recently.

Whilst sorting through some stash earlier in the year I came across some MDF blank coasters that I totally forgot I had!!

In order to keep costs down and de-stash I decided to make some for presents.

The four on the left are Judge Dredd ones (2000AD comic) for my brothers birthday (it was on Valentines day).  The two female ones top right were Christmas presents for my mate Julie and the bottom right two superhero ones were for my brother in law and my nephew (dad and son coasters).

I painted the back and edges of the coasters in a couple of coats of black paint and once the images had been stuck down and dried the laborious task of sealing them begins.

Now I am not going to lie, its a chore.  I apply a coat of yacht varnish and leave it 24 hrs to dry.  Then apply another coat and leave it another 24 hours (yes the house smells like a chemical factory whilst this goes on) and give it a light  sanding. 

Then I apply a coat on the base and this time leave it 48 hours to fully cure.  Finally I add one more coat to the top and leave it another 48hrs.

Now, this may seem over the top however I have a coaster at work that I have used almost every day for well over 10 years.  It has been abused, sloshed over, left to hold hot drinks that then go cold whilst I forget them and still it looks as good as the day I made it.  So, I know its a faff but it really does make them bomb proof!

Has anyone else used a different sort of varnish/sealer to good effect? I would be interested to know as the smell of this one really is quite strong!!

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 8 March 2017


After a hectic few weeks I am hoping that normal service will be resumed and I can get some crafting (and blogging in!). Whilst the 'pay the bills' job does indeed pay the bills I must remember that crafting is therapeutic and is a great way to just be in the moment-when I craft I rarely think of anything else. I don't know if that is just me, but it works and I just need to remember to do it.

So that is what I did, I took a day off work and crafted.  It was BLISS!  I made tons of cards and felt a lot better after.  I think it is something I need to do more regularly (makes a note to herself.....and add it to the long list of notes I regularly choose to ignore!)

So, fingers crossed I am back in my stride and with that in mind here is my desk:

I am in the process of making Mothering Sunday cards which in the UK is in March.  

My "Man Bites Dog" cards - 'Crazy Prez Defends Fake Wall St'........seriously you couldn't make this up!!!!

Happy crafting

Monday, 6 March 2017

A day of crafting and doing nothing

 I finally took a leaf out of my own book (telling others to 'take care of themselves' and 'you cannot pour from an empty cup' etc) and decided to take a day off work with no intention of doing housework, ironing, paperwork etc.  All I was going to do was rest and craft.

Now I tend to be a list maker and ticker off....I rarely sit still and talk too much BUT I do meditate on a regular basis and I have found that when I have too much 'internal chatter' going on that crafting takes me out of my zone and allows me to be more mindful by concentrating just on that one thing.  To be honest I have crafted for almost 40 years so I don't even really concentrate on technique anymore more of a 'go with the flow' and see where it takes me!

So I decided to make my husband a birthday card

and finally get round to using up some of these lovely images I stamped ages ago from a friends stamp I borrowed.

Before I knew it I had a stack of cards all made and a few hours of not thinking about work, housework, finance or my RA-what bliss.

So I need to remember this and schedule more days (or even just half days) into my diary for 'me' and to allow time for myself to rest and repair.  I love my daily walks (which I have been doing for over a year now) but I need something else.

How do you give yourself some precious 'downtime'?  I am open to ideas.

Happy crafting

Saturday, 25 February 2017

A good use for old jeans

For those who don't know me (or follow me on instagram) the past couple of years I have been doing Weight Watchers.  

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and had several doses of steroid and periods with very limited mobility especially following an ankle operation which led to slowly increasing my weight (as well as picking up some bad eating habits in my early 40s).

When I started feeling better I decided to get back in the gym, increase my strength and loose some weight.  I have lost quite a lot (almost 50lb) and have been at goal for 10 months.  This does mean that NONE of my clothes fit (as I am at least 3 sizes smaller).  After various trips to the charity shop I suddenly looked at my jeans I was about to donate when inspiration struck.

I made round bottoms and a lining to create denim 'buckets' that could be folded down or opened up to create pretty storage of different heights.

I used these as a basis for my Christmas gift hampers for family filling them with homemade elderflower cordial, sloe gin, chutney, spiced sugar etc.

I forgot to make one for myself so now I am on the look out for some cheap jeans in the charity shop so I can cut them up for me!!

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


Another Wednesday and that means "What's on your workdesk Wednesday" where we bare our desks to fellow crafters across the globe.

On my desk this week are my birthday cards that I plan on upcycling into new cards which will hopefully get another chance to bring joy to someone else.

Also my 365 Journal as I try to get ahead and make March pages (though to be honest the journal has been sat there for a few days now with no movement whatsoever)!

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week 'Judge Sues Thousands Again'.....sometimes just the addition of the word 'again' makes it sound so more sinister!!!

So, if you fancy joining us then please pop over to the lovely Julia's blog (link over on the right) and bare your desk, floor or room of shame/crafting/paperwork taking precedence over art etc!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Mail Art RAK

 Look what came in the post?  Fabulous hand drawn and painted Mail Art all the way from France!  A huge thanks to the lovely Donna of

I met Donna via the WOYWW blog and when we met at one of the early crops we got on really well and when she moved to France we kept in touch (see Julia, your hard work on WOYWW creates real as well as virtual friendships).

It has been great to follow on her blog Donna and her husbands hard work in building their dream in rural France (which is odd as two other friends of mine have recently also moved to France to build their home and another two friends are planning on moving there in a few months!!) and now art is being made too.

I love this postcard and the delicate ink drawings (so fine and detailed) and the free abandonment of the watercolour splashes.

On the back of the postcard is also a sketch of a young woman.  
Donna, I love it and thank you-watch the post as something may be heading your way too!

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) of an arty nature are lovely and this is now sitting proudly blue tacked to my craft room wall which is filled with postcards that people have sent me over the years on their travels.

Happy crafting

Sunday, 19 February 2017

last lot of Christmas cards!

 So not had too much time to craft recently (pay the bills job, illness you know how it is) but I did have a final push on my last lot of recycling of Christmas cards and tags.

I made another 7 cards using different elements, stamps and some additional glitter (can a card ever have TOO much glitter?!)

 So that is just over 20 cards made ready for December.  I won't make any more but it just means that when I am panic making presents later in the year that I know that I have some cards already made!

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 15 February 2017


 Another update for WOYWW, but only a quick one.

I made some more cards, this time once again with wallpaper.  The background is a textured wallpaper with a stylised cityscape.

I added my converse stamp (I do love this stamp its made by Deep Red, I have a few of their stamps, including the muddy boots one in the desk picture at the back) and they all produce lovely clear images) which I then matted and layered.

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week are 'Exec Falls for Dog Actor'  - well, better than the various political ones that have been on my desk in the recent months!!

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 8 February 2017


Wednesday again and I finally got some crafting in!
Ok, so these cards take very little time to make but I do love the odd little pictures and they are great for a variety of ages.

The pictures are from wrapping paper-it's a great way of using up pieces too small t
use as wrapping.

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this week are 'Secret Feds Indicted DA'......ooh!


Saturday, 4 February 2017

More Christmas Cards upcycling

 In an effort to upcycle whilst still clearing out my stash (and scraps box) I have made some more Christmas cards from this years cards.

I have used the rounding punch, gems, glitter, gloss and patterned papers to alter them and make more new cards out of them.  In many cases I have cut out just a small part of the original design and used that as a feature.

Slowly but surely I am hoping that I will have enough cards made ready by the end of February as that takes some of the stress away in November when I am often panic making presents for the family!!

Happy crafting 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


Wednesday again and that mean that its time for 'Whats on Your Workdesk Wednesday'.
I missed last week (and the return visits, sorry) as the past few weeks at work have been rather hectic meaning I have had NO time for me, hubby, house or crafting!

Anyway, that is why my desk looks the same (apart from the paper bag which is full of sugar free Gin and Tonic sweets!!)

My "Man Bites Dog" cards this weeks are 'Tough Beauty Blasts Killer Movie'........not been to the cinema for a while (something I plan on changing) so no idea which movie this could be!

Happy crafting

Monday, 23 January 2017

Silver cards

 So at the WOYWW crop the lovely ShazSilverwolf brought her dies with her and I cut a TON of these (I tried purchasing the die at the NEC show but none of the stalls had one for sale-good job as now I have lots in different colours!!).

I thought that these would be suitable for both male and female cards (and both silver since they were inspired by Shaz!).
The top one is in silver and on a plain white card.  I am not great at doing plain cards but I think this one works ok.

This one is on holographic card and backed with a slightly metallic grey card with some bradless brads just to add some dimension.

That's it for now,
Happy crafting

Friday, 20 January 2017

First batch of Christmas cards!

So, the one thing I try to do each January is to make a start on my Christmas cards using old cards, calendars, wrapping, adverts etc.  I know that if I wait until later in the year I will be too busy making presents and so it wont happen!

I know some people aren't keen on this, but personally I don't like waste and am a big fan of upcycling and reusing rather than landfill.

I start by selecting the images (often only part images) and then sort them by colour group (as it makes it easier to match up backing papers and embellishment by colour).

I also add my own sentiment stamps, glitter and gems and there you have it, my first batch of 9 cards already made!

Off to polish my halo (or at least fetch it out of the huge pile of ironing that its probably be languishing in recently!).

Happy crafting

Wednesday, 18 January 2017


Hello peeps, it's hump day again so that can only mean one thing..time to share our workdesks of shame!  

Over at the queen of desks our lovely Julia presides over "What's on your Work Desk Wednesday" where we bare all!

My desk this week isn't too bad (though it has looked like this for a couple of days!!) as I am cutting up last years Christmas cards and calendars to see if I can upcycle them into cards, tags etc for the coming year (not the handmade or 'special' cards-they get saved). 

My 'Man Bites Dog' cards really were drawn like this-honest, these were the first random 5 I drew from the pack IN THIS ORDER!!!!

So, who is singing at his ceremony this week then?! 

Happy crafting

Monday, 16 January 2017

Street art in London

 I recently spent a few days up in London as my husband was playing in his band 
The Setbacks at the 100 Club in Oxford Street (where the Sex Pistols, Lemmy, Rolling Stones, Metallica, Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney etc have all played).

This was an ideal opportunity to abandon some of my  tags and check out the street art.

This tag is sprayed with inks and dyes and the image I carved from lino, adding some white posca lines for definition and a bought sentiment stamp.  I abandoned this down by Blackfriars bridge and hopefully someone found it and took it because they liked it.

All around the city (if you know where to look, usually back streets) are some amazing pieces.  This one was on the pavement under a street light and during the day it was hard to see, but when the street light came on it really lit the image up!  

The piece below was just below a bridge, no label or plaque, just a really unusual piece of street furniture!

I also stumbled across this whilst out searching for art-never noticed the building before.

Of course, there are lots of small pieces dotted all across the city for you to find by chance, however, street artists like Invaderwashere also have interactive maps where you can track his pieces in different cities across the globe-instantly recognisable for his mosiac space invaders.

Then there are pieces that are SO colourful

Like this pedestrian crossing we found!!  I must admit I really love this idea and would like to see more of them across the country.

 Only a small selection of the art I found across our capital and because it is always changing with something new to find.

Happy crafting