Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Creative Christmas

Usually when I've been away from my blog for so long it is because I've had a bad health spell. But I'm glad to say that my absence this month has been because I've been busy being creative; making lots for sale and to gift. The best thing is that it has been helping keep me well and happy :-) Here are a few examples of what I've been creating.....

  • How will/are you keep(ing) creative during the busy festive season?

Wishing you all Happy Holidays, Christmas & New Year! Enjoy the festive season :-)
Kat :-)  Xx

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Thursday, 31 October 2013

"RUSTY" - getting messy with paint, pigment powders & glue for the last journal in the Magical Journal Journey 2013

The last journal of this Magical Journal Journey is Lisa Wright's "Rust" themed journal. As I am the last person to host her journal I get the pleasure of enjoying the whole group's artwork. Her beautiful handmade book is literally bursting at the seams with gorgeous art! I thoroughly enjoyed days of getting messy with paints, inks and metallic pigment powder. It was such fun turning paper metallic and rusty BUT unfortunately it seems that these shimmery hues do not show up on the computer :-( So you'll have to imagine the metallic effects that I would have loved to share properly. 

This stitched 'RUST' was my first page. And here are a couple of close-ups.....

Only the mini basket & mini angel were bought rusted. The rest was the result of days worth of play. Below the leaf in the bottom colour was punched from one of my self rusted papers where I used pumistone Golden medium to create the texture of rust.

These pages come with a story (of course)! It is a bit long to share on here but I can tell you this much: an eleven year old girl, Cleo, moves with her family into an old house whose land includes its own private woods. She finds a letter addressed to her from Gwendylyn, the previous owner of the house, who writes that Cleo has been chosen by the Fae as her successor, to work as a human ambassador with the fairy Tree Guardians. Below is my interpretation of the portal between the human and Fae world. I spent many hours cutting out, stamping and punching leaves from the many rusty hued papers I'd created as well as from a copper foil sheet. I imagined that when the portal was opened it created an energy field that drew the autumnal leaves towards it.

My last page features the rusty box in which Cleo finds the letter.....

The following two are photos that were taken before the rusty clasp was created to close the box. I forgot to take the photos again at the end but they give you an idea...

Lisa included some giant tags for us to create on....

Again...these have a metallic sheen to them in reality....
I know Lisa loves trees (like me) & has had recent experiences of woodland fairies so I'm hoping she'll enjoy my pages. I certainly enjoyed making them. A few weeks ago some severe spasms resulted in torn muscle in my back. This meant that for over three weeks I wasn't able to sit at the table and create. Its amazing how ecstatic I felt to be creating again. I relished the paint and glue on my hands, the messy table, the alchemy of mixing paints and powders. Creating is most definitely good for my soul.

Wishing you a Happy & Creative week and weekend!  Go on - go get messy with paint & glue - you'll be glad you did.... :-)

Kat Xx

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Friday, 27 September 2013

A Cupboard of Treasures.......September's Magical Journal Journey (Tammy)

In September I had the pleasure of looking after and playing in Tammy's journal. Tammy chose tan, black and white as her colour scheme. I had this idea in my head of a girl inheriting a unique cupboard full of treasures. I got this idea because Tammy loves vintage treasures and found objects such as keys to use in her art. 
                     I learnt, whilst transferring this idea into art, that I am not that great at construction, a little out of practice with a craft knife and that no matter how many times you measure it is hard to get everything to match up. Having said that I enjoyed stretching myself in a different way and hopefully I've managed to translate my idea to the pages. 

So firstly I created wall paper as a background to the cupboard. I did this with a mix of acrylic colours which I then stamped onto with Versafine inks. The stamps are a Papermania Urban Collection that I bought last year to use on Tammy's journal knowing that she loves birds and keys.

I spent days designing and cutting out the doors from black card and lining each panel with individual papers. The beading was then done with black dimensional Pebeo paint. 
Behind door number one....

....are three of the objects that Anna-Beth (you can read the story below) inherits. A picnic blanket with memories, a scrapbook of photos and jewellery. Here's a closer look:

The jewellery was the most fiddly, especially the tiny earrings that are not much more than a centimeter in size. But the challenge was fun. I felt as if I were creating objects for a doll's house :-)
                            Then behind door number two......

Anna-Beth discover's her Great-Aunt Doris' wedding veil, a mirror and mantle clock that hold their own stories.

Here's a closer look.....

 The story behind these objects comes in the form of a letter. I stamped the envelope with a Tuscan Rose stamp that I forgot I had but am pleased to have rediscovered.

Here's what the letter says...
To my darling great-niece, Anna-Beth, I bequeath memories full of love:

My treasured cupboard made by your Great-Uncle Wilfred, as a first year wedding anniversary gift to me. Handcrafted using Japan stained wood, each panel is filled with fabrics he collected during his extensive travels. The first of eighty wedding anniversaries we shared it became my keepsake cupboard.
We kept this clockwork carriage clock ticking since our second Christmas together in Norway. Please keep it wound and working as a reminder of our love together, our love for you and the true love I know to be waiting out there for you.
On our tenth wedding anniversary in Prague we watched this mirror being made by a local artisan. We were struck at how it matched our Norwegian clock and so we had to give it a home. It reminds me of the gothic architecture and cultural delights we experienced in Prague.
I’ve left you two wedding souvenirs that remind me of that perfect day: My handmade lace wedding veil made in the Cypriot Troodos Mountains, inherited from my Greek Grandmother who also taught me to make the bread you adore; and a set of jewellery that my late sister made for me to take on our honeymoon in South Africa. I wore this set every day and so it reminds me of panoramic sunsets, elephant families and welcoming tribal people.   
The black rug holds many dear memories of picnics in our local woods and laughter filled days at the beach. Anna-Beth you were part of many of these latter picnic rug memories, I hope you’ll enjoy making new memories using it.
The scrapbook was handmade by me from wall paper offcuts from our first home. It contains decade’s worth of good times remembered in photographs, letters and postcards.
Great Uncle Wilfred and I had a blessed life full of love and laughter. In our last years you became the daughter we never had, filling our lives with even more light and joy. In addition we’ve bequeathed you our house and surrounding land but this cupboard and its contents are the most precious part of your inheritance. May they remind you of the joy and power of love and friendship. May it encourage you to fully engage in each moment, explore and discover life to the full. May it remind you that we love you and that love never dies.

Your Great-Aunt

  • Fun creative prompt: If you inherited a cupboard what would you like to discover inside of it? 

On the right hand column of my blog you'll find links to all of the members of the Magical Journal Journey. If you visit you're bound to enjoy their immense talent and varied styles.

Wishing you all a Happy & Creative Weekend
Kat X

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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Woodland Fantasy - IA Woodland Challenge

This week's Inspiration Avenue challenge is Woodland. The challenge is set by my friend Maggie  who has constructed a beautiful Woodland challenge post full of inspiration. I am a complete beginner when it comes to any digital art so hopefully you'll forgive the simplicity but it does say what I want it to at least. 

The photos were all taken on our first ever family holiday to France back in March this year. The location is the stunning Chateau de Pierrefonds whose beauty and magic persuaded the BBC to film the fantastic multiple seasons of Merlin. Our family are all the biggest fans of Merlin and were lost when the story ended. So when we decided to visit Paris we all agreed we had to visit the nearby location of Camelot, the real life Pierrefonds.

The town that lies in the shadow of the fairytale chateau and magical woodland is are what dreams are made of.  The following is one of many fabulous views from the chateau walls:

I couldn't believe real people were lucky enough to live there! So, two things I highly recommend: watch all of the BBC Merlin series (all available on DVD boxset and visit Pierrefonds in France. 

In other woodland related items...down at the bottom of our tree filled garden......

My children made a home for the hedgehogs who in the UK are being threatened with extinction. My kids watched a wildlife programme on Sunday morning & upset by the plight of the hedgehogs they spent three hours in pouring rain making the local hedgehogs their own house. You can't see it in the photo but there's a lot of attention to detail, or so they told me, in ways like the positioning of the house, the layers of mud, the choice of bedding material........oh and don't forget the flower decor to welcome them that can't be seen very well from this angle :-) They were very wet and muddy by the end but so happy and proud to show us, especially as they'd done it all by themselves. I think it represents a form of art and when I saw Maggie's challenge my son took a rainy photo so that they could also enter this week's IA challenge :-)
This is turning out to be a very long post. Only one last thing to share: at the beginning of September when the children were back at school I set myself the challenge of at least two hours of writing every weekday morning. So far I've achieved this and a little more. I'm not too proud yet because what I've written hasn't always been very good BUT I'm continuing in the faith that practice and routine will help strengthen my stiff writing muscles. I'll let you know how it goes!
  • What art has nature inspired you to create this month? 
  • How do the seasons and your scenery affect your creative output?
Please do visit the Inspiration Avenue Team blog and see what other people have created with the woodland theme. Hope you feel inspired to join in too.

Wishing you all a happy & creative week!

Kat :-) xx

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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

"Connected Through Art" (Kim- August's - Magical Journal Journey)

Throughout the month of August I had the pleasure of hosting and creating in Kim's journal. As you can probably tell from my photos, her colour theme was pink, red and orange. This colour combination is already a favourite of mine because it makes me feel happy and energised. This week's Inspiration Avenue challenge is 'joy' and considering this Magical Journal Journey & this vibrant colour combination bring me immense joy I felt it was good to share these pages for this challenge.

I created an angel from assembled finds, collage, stitching, beading, paper and paint. This magical girl's expression changes dramatically according to the position of her googly eyes. I should have thought to photograph these various expressions but its too late now because she is presently winging her way over to her next hostess Lisa W. I'm sure Kim can enjoy playing with these expressions when her journal returns home :-) 

The stamped phrases on the edges of this page are "Creating Friendship" and "Connected Through Art" - both of which seemed to sum up the essence of this wonderful art journal swap. 

I was going to paint a mandala for Kim but suddenly found myself creating one from layers of textured materials, stitching, ribbon and beads. Set against my two tone painted background it seemed to become a sunset. The phrases stamped on this page are "Circle of Friends" and "Joined Creatively" - both further musings on this Magical Journal Journey experience

On the third page, set on a painted background, is a mini book with a story I've written for Kim:

This is a piece of fantasy fiction that seemed real as I wrote it. It became even more real when I shared it with the other members of the group. Its a bit too long to share here and is quite personal to all the members of the Magical Journal Journey. But if you're a regular to my blog and intrigued, send me an email and I can always email you a copy to read.

I have the next journal waiting for me to explore and create in. I can't believe we only have a couple of months left of this swap. I feel sad to think that it is nearly at an end. Yet I feel sure we'll share a third magical adventure together next year. Every month we all seem to become closer as friends and further develop our creative selves through the shared inspirational experience.

  • Have you ever created something that seemed to come to life and become almost real? Or maybe its just crazy old me....
You can visit the other members of the Magical Journal Journey and see the pages they've been creating, by following the links in the right hand column of this blog.

Wishing you all a happy & creative week.
Kat Xx

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Saturday, 3 August 2013

"Dragonfly Bay" collaborating & connecting across the miles... (a Magical Journal Journey SPOILER for Stephanie's journal)

In July I had the pleasure of looking after and creating in Stephanie's stunning journal. Stephanie chose purple with metallics and blue-green as her theme for this Magical Journal Journey.

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it: being part of this and last year's art journal swap has been a blessing and joy. Being part of these swaps has inspired and comforted me with friendship, joy and learning.

Stepanie loves Dragonflies and flowers which I've tried to reflect in the pages I've created for her. Once again I've used a variety of media (various paints 2D & 3D, embroidery, collage, many textured papers, beads and embossing). To accompany this I've created a background story to tie in with the art: "Dragonfly Bay".

Here are photos of my finished pages:
Page 1:

Pages 2 and 3:

    Page 4:


Thank you Stephanie for letting me create in your journal and step into your creative world. I think that if we create with someone else in mind it influences our creations in a meaningful way. In these journal swaps this brings me closer to the person whose journal I'm working in. But it also encourages me to expand my skills, experiment and explore outside of my own mind. It is is a joy filled educational experience.

  • Do you create with other people's preferences in mind? 
  • Have you tried creating in the style or character of another person?
Of course we simultaneously bring our own perspective and approach to these pages which means that in this journal swap we are co-creating across thousands of miles. What a wonderful thought and way of  connecting with others!

Wishing you all a Happy and Creative Weekend!Kat xx

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Monday, 1 July 2013

The Book Tree - Purple Inspiration - Magical Journal Journey

I'm slowly emerging from the MS and virus induced fog and am blessed to be inspired to create for our Magical Journal Journey art journal swap. For the month of June Gemma Manzo's journal came to visit with its theme of Purple. Gemma is a children's librarian as well as an artist and this gave me the idea of creating a tree whose fruit is books. I attempted to share the idea by creating a mixed media tree with individually bound mini books and a story idea in a slightly larger book that introduces the story of The Book Tree and Violet. The following are photos of the three pages I created in this theme:

A tag coloured with a blend of inks, beads and paper cut outs
and adorned with a mix of wools and ribbon.
Then tucked into a pocket on its own page.

And here is a close up of the Book Tree:

Many hours of fiddly bits of paper and thread led to the mini books that 
grow on the Book Tree I painted. The background is then acrylic and 
stitching ensures the page stays attached to Gemma's journal.

The following is the adjacent mixed media page with a background that was created 
using a mix of ink and acrylic, brayering and stamping.
Added to it was wooden shapes I decorated, wool & ribbon.
In the centre is a mini book that tells the story behind
"The Book Tree"

Here is a close up of the book when open:

And the next couple of close-ups allow you to read the first part of
what is written inside the book. I'd like to write even more about Violet 
her Book Tree in the future. 

I wonder what book the Book Tree would choose for you today?

  • Has the right book found its way into your life at just the right time for you? 

I know I have found or been gifted books, without consciously seeking,  that offer me some wisdom or comfort perfectly related to what is happening in my life at the time.

Wishing you all a happy and creative week!
Kat :-) Xx
PS - I've also submitted this into this week's Inspiration Avenue Challenge: 'A Way With Words'

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