I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Monday 11 December 2023

Sunday Swatching

Just popping in very quickly to say that I'm starting to build more regular content on my YouTube channel, Words and Pictures.  The first step is a new series called Sunday Swatching, and the first episode went live yesterday evening.  Watch it here!

I'll be swatching various mediums in various ways, often watercolours but not always.  Sometimes they'll be new ones, sometimes old favourites in new combinations.  I'm aiming to post at least once a month... on a Sunday (who could have guessed?!).

In this week's Sunday Swatching, I'm playing with some brand new (to me) Art to Basic handmade watercolour paints.  You can explore all their beautiful colours here on their website.   I ordered six of these paints, and one came as a bonus... I wonder if you can guess which one was unexpected!  All will become clear in the video. 

I hope you'll pop over to take a look at the first episode, and consider subscribing to the channel. I won't always be talking - sometimes it will just be pigment, water and some musical accompaniment!  And in the New Year I'm planning other new series and one-off videos, so do come and join the new journey.

Also just a heads-up that if you're after some last-minute gift tag or giftwrap inspiration, I shared some tips and tricks with my new PaperArtsy Minis and the fabulous new Just Walnut Infusions in a special Festive Friday Fun edition on the PaperArtsy People FB Group.  

You can catch up with all the festive fun here and watch these grungy gift tags come to life on the craft mat.  You shouldn't have to be a member of the group, I think, in order to watch...

Thanks so much for stopping by today - I hope your preparations for the festive season are in good order.  I'm way, way behind... it's all this filming!!  Have a great week everybody.

Create your own visual style... Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable to others. 
Orson Welles

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Brand New - my first ever PaperArtsy Minis collection

I'm thrilled to be sharing my latest stamps designed for PaperArtsy... and they're Minis!  I've created a collection of festive words and pictures, with botanical sketches, ephemera backgrounds and carol lyrics.

They're perfect for as card toppers or focal points, for zhuzhing up your gift-wrapping, adding tags, and even for creating beautiful presents and gift sets.  But they'll also work through the year to celebrate nature, music, theatre, books, and good food and drink!

I hope you'll hop over to PaperArtsy to see the new stamps and some of the things I've been creating with them - there's a lot of inspiration there for the festive season.   And I've also been playing with some other new PaperArtsy products, so you'll get a sneak peek at those in action too.

And you can join me in the PaperArtsy People Facebook Group to hear more about the inspiration behind the designs, which is now available any time on catch-up.  

I can't wait to see what you think of them.  Happy crafting, all!

Oh, and while I'm here...  I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has left comments here recently... I've only just found them (I forgot I had to put comment moderation on because of a lot of spam), and have had a lovely time reading them - and they've all now been moderated, accepted, and published.  I also found over 100 comments dating back right to the start of the blog that had been marked as spam by Blogger for some bizarre reason - so my apologies if you've ever felt that I've ignored a comment of yours... sadly, I just didn't know it was there!  Again, all published now...

"He compounded some hot mixture in a jug with gin and lemons, and stirred it round and round and put it on the hob to simmer."

From A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Thursday 23 November 2023

Fodder Folders

Hello all!  It's all go round here at the moment, and it's high time I filled you in on some of this month's Fodder School 3 creativity.  We've had a great month of classes from Tiffany Sharpe, and several bonuses - including one from me - and here's some of what I've been getting up to with the mixed media folders and watercolour elements she shared with us.

I actually created two batches of the folders, as I was in a different colour mood when I painted my watercolour elements, so then they didn't really go with the first folder batch... so I needed to make some more!  Here's the first batch... don't get me wrong, I love them.  

The colours were what I wanted that particular day - and in fact, all these colours come from my Fodder School/PaperArtsy curated paint sets.  Mostly from the Background Blues set, but a couple thrown in from Botanical Basics and even one from the Berrylicious Brights.  (All those paint sets can be seen here, and are available from PaperArtsy stockists worldwide.)

I love the texture created by Tiffany's method, and it's great to be making good use of leftover packaging and junkmail... a really inspiring class for the first half of the month.

But then, as I say, when I did the second part of November's sessions, I was in a completely different colour frame of mind, and here are the watercolour elements I created...

I also felt that the blue green folders were done - I didn't really want to add anything extra to them - so now I needed to make some new folders to complement those watercolour botanicals.

I went with neutral tones, mostly greys, and again mostly PaperArtsy Fresco paints.  Because the colours were all much closer to each other in tone, I got a very different look to my folders.

But they were the perfect setting for my watercolour botanicals... and I provided a bonus class sharing how I created those twine closures (they're a little different from Tiffany's closures) as well as that 3D collaging.  

If you'd like to know more about how all of this was made, you can sign up to join in the Fodder School 3 journey at any time.  All the details are here, and I'm pretty sure you won't regret it!  

It works out as less than $20 a month for lifetime access.  You get several hours of mixed media teaching each month from the main teacher as well as surprise bonuses from the other Fodder teachers for the year - not to mention lots of additional inspiration, support and advice on various platforms.  

I hope you're all doing well.  Watch out early next week for some EXCITING LAUNCH news coming your way... I can't wait to share with you what I've been up to behind the scenes for PaperArtsy!  Have a great weekend once it gets here...  Happy crafting, all!

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.  To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul. Share the botanical bliss of gardeners through the ages, who have cultivated philosophies to apply to their own - and our own - lives: Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.
Alfred Austin

Friday 10 November 2023

Watercolour Playtime in my Fodder Journal

Hello all!  Given it's already November, it's about time I filled you in on the second part of October's Fodder School 3 classes... 

Having shared with us how to make the Coptic-bound watercolour journal in the Make Fodder classes of the month, Di Venter shared some ideas for watercolour spreads to go inside as her Use Fodder section.

I'm no stranger to painting the odd watercolour page or two, so I used her inspiration to nudge me into action in a few new directions, and I pushed the boat out colour-wise a bit!

I was inspired by some of Di's fruity pages, by the repetition she often uses in her spreads, by some of her colour playtime, and by her colour block page with doodles inside - though I went my own way with what I doodled!

Take a look and see what I got up to:

And here are just a few close-up details so you can see the gorgeous texture of the handmade Khadi papers I used in my journal.  They took a little bit of getting used to as they are really very rough, but I soon found how that texture could actually help with the watercolour effects (the plum page was the first break-through for that).

I'm already fully immersed in November's classes with Tiffany Sharpe, so I'll try to be back before December to share some of that creativity with you.  

Don't forget, you can of course still sign up at any time for Fodder School 3... all the details and registration are here.

I hope you're all doing well - I've been very busy getting the garden ready for winter... just as well as our first hard frost hit last night.  Off to get the gardening gloves on again now to cut back the roses for over-wintering!  Have a great weekend once it gets here... we've got some snow forecast (but not much).  A good excuse to stay in the craft room!! 

Because watercolour actually moves on the paper, it is the most active of all mediums, almost a performance art.
Nita Engle

Water colours are wet colours in water.
David Hockney

Sunday 1 October 2023

Coptic Fodder!

Hello all!  Today's the day... Fodder School 3 started today!  Yes, the first lesson has "dropped", and we're on the way with this year-long mixed media adventure.  I've just completed my first project, and I'm completely thrilled with the results... not only with the handmade book I've created, but also that I'm already using and exploring products in my stash in new ways.

I've been meaning to try Coptic binding for (literally) years, so I was delighted to follow Di Venter's brilliantly detailed instruction video.  And I was really inspired by the fabric painted covers too... but of course I went my own way design-wise!

I'm sure you won't be surprised to see my PaperArtsy botanicals in action here, but that wasn't my original plan.  I had wanted to do some freehand sketches to paint, but none of the pens I tested wanted to play nicely on the old sheet I was repurposing for my book covers.  I didn't want to risk unexpected ink bleeds, so in the end I decided to stamp with Archival ink instead.

The acorns are old favourites here from EAB25 Acorn Edition, one of the first botanical sets, and the hawthorn berries are from one of the newest - my special Fodder Berry Edition.  

All the colours of PaperArtsy Fresco paint that I've used here come from my specially curated sets Botanical Basics, Berrylicious Brights, and Background Blues.  (You can read more about the special PaperArtsy/Fodder School collaboration products here if you've missed all that.)

Obviously, I can't reveal a lot about how I made this - that would be giving too much away - but I was really happy to find a way to get the Fresco paints to work beautifully on the fabric without buying expensive fabric medium.  (Just google search for alternatives - that's what I did!)

And I'm so happy to have a beautiful home for some long-hoarded sheets of Khadi paper... they give the signatures inside a wonderful texture. 

All in all, I couldn't be happier with my first piece of Fodder-making... I'm looking forward to the mid-month class where Di shares how she "uses" this Fodder. I already pretty much know what I want to do with it!

I hope you all have a brilliant October.  The trees are just starting to turn here, so those autumn colours are definitely creeping in to my artwork now.  Expect to see more...  Happy crafting all!

You can of course still sign up at any time for Fodder School 3... all the details and registration are here.

Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.
Wendell Berry (he even has the right name!)

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.
Ralph Waldo Emerson