Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pages from my sketchbook

Practice, practice, practice. I am trying to draw and sketch as much as possible at the moment. The beauty of working in a sketchbook means that I don't have to worry about pages being finished or perfect - I can just play with whatever takes my fancy. Some of my drawings are from life, others from photographs. I am getting better at showing buildings, but I still find people really difficult.

2013 11 08 Wells

I guess that's where the practice comes in, but I am still not brave enough to post my pictures of people online! Once they start looking like the person they were meant to be, perhaps.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Scrapbook Sunday 5: scrapbooking my pets

I love my pets. Mostly they love me too, but my relationship with Pep the chinchilla is based entirely on tolerance - on a good day, he'll tolerate my presence. I love grid-style layouts and it's the perfect way to use a photo that really isn't good enough quality to print any larger, as it was taken at night on my phone. Normally I don't use elements with Americanised spellings (favorite, ugh) but this one was too cute to resist and I decided it was small enough to get away with. 

1113-64-Me and chinch

If we're talking grammar, then 'Me and the chinch' is wrong too, but it flows nicely and the ampersand balanced out the title. Don't judge me.

1113-64-Me and chinch closeup

Mum was a bit concerned that with all the small fluffies in this house, Morpheus was going to get left out. As if! He is still much loved and very spoiled, and sees all the other animals as there for his entertainment. When he's awake, that is.

1113-63-Little joys

Sometimes pages with white backgrounds feel too empty, but in the context of my album they make a nice counterbalance to all the bright colours and patterns. I was aiming for monochromatic here, but this is the best I could do - black, white, blue, beige, a few spots of red and some gold accents. Not very monochrome at all in fact. Never mind.

1113-63-Little joys closeup

I am on a self-imposed ban from getting any more pets now, because we simply don't have the space (don't forget the degus who live in another cage.) I dream of a bigger house and room for at least another couple of chinchillas. And maybe a puppy...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rounding up

This year has gone past so quickly, and it is with definite satisfaction that I am seeing my scrapbook albums build up. Now I am trying to round them all up - looking at the albums as a whole, seeing what gaps there are, checking through my photos to see if there's anything obvious I have missed. I never consider an album 'finished' because there are always other stories to tell, but I like to feel that there is a certain completeness to them.

1113-62-Beautiful Bath

One of my big projects that is still lingering is my album from our holiday to Somerset in August. I have maybe 500 photos lined up ready to go. I took lots of notes at the time, so even the things I have already forgotten won't be lost. To try and make progress with the album I'm trying a new tactic: instead of leaving the photos in envelopes until I'm ready to scrap them, I've put them all into divided page protectors into the album. No embellishment, no writing. This way I can see as I go what I'm dealing with and how much progress I'm making.

1113-62-Beautiful Bath closeup

I'll be honest, it sort of looks a bit of a mess right now. More than a few photos are stored sideways and there are lots of gaps. Apart from that, an unexpected bonus has been that this method has prompted me to pull out some of my favourite photos for enlargements - and that's what this one is all about. I just love this photo, and I love that Chris and I went somewhere I've been on wonderful family trips to in the past and it was still every bit as good. And the fact this photo was taken on my phone? Cherry on the top.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Scrapbook Sunday ~4~

Hello there folks. Another Sunday means it's time for me to catch up with my scrapbook pages. I'm a bit behind on posting them, mostly because it is so gloomy at the moment that it's really hard to take a decent photo. So here are two pages to make up for it.

When we visited a local animal park, they let us walk through a lemur enclosure and get up close and personal. The lemurs really liked Chris' feet! There's much less patterned paper on this page than I would normally use, but I enjoyed using the journalling cards as elements on the page. I don't really do Project Life or pocket-page scrapbooking (although I reserve the right to change my mind at any point) but I love all the cute graphic elements that are made for those style of pages.

Lovely Lemurs

These letters are blank for you to add your own colour, and I couldn't resist getting a bit carried away with the watercolour paints. I do like feeling a bit artistic on my scrapbook pages.

Lovely Lemurs closeup1

I've started doing more double pages lately, stretching my creativity and helping me to make sure all those photos get in my album. I find something about the format quite challenging but I'm always pleased when one works. It means there's plenty of space for lots of full-size photos as well as lots of writing. And there was a lot to write on this page about another epic walk.


That sentiment card is kind of ironic, because there was definitely no laying around in the sun on this walk.

Adventure closeup

I am so glad I put dates on all my photos, because even since August I am starting to forget exactly when things happened. Must be a sign of getting old ;) Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside

Continuing on the seaside theme of my last page, here are some more low tide pictures. Except these are a special low tide, when the sea goes out far enough to let people walk out to the fort and back. I've seen photos and heard people talk about it, but I've never taken part. It was definitely wetter than I expected - the water came over my knees - but well worth it and totally exhilarating.

Fort Walk

Still in the 'using up all my stash' mode - see that green sticker with a quote on it? I think that's been on my desk for about five years. Everything else is newer than that, in varying degrees. I guess sometimes it just takes time to be inspired.

Fort Walk closeup1

Even on a beach page, I can't escape pink and green. And glitter, it seems.

Fort Walk closeup2

Not quite as many embellishments as the previous page, but I am still using them up. I am really enjoying pushing myself to be creative, mixing products and colours while staying true to my own style. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Scrapbook Sunday ~3~

Now that we're having a few wet and windy days, it's the perfect opportunity to stay in and catch up on this summer's pages. I have already filled my first volume for 2013, so it's definitely going to be a two-album year. It feels strange to go back and scrapbook good things that happened before Gran died. I feel like I should write all my journalling from the perspective of the sadness that was to follow, but I know that wouldn't really be accurate or helpful. Besides, focusing on happy memories helps me get through. Shall we move on to this week's page?
We <3 low tide

Enough embellishments? I think so! What started off as a plain and simple page went a bit crazy...and I love it! I used all sorts of bits and pieces that have been sitting in my bowl of embellishments for ages and it feels good. Hopefully it reflects the flotsam and jetsam of the beach at low tide.

we <3 low tide closeup1

Buttons, baker's twine, stamps, stickers, chipboard, washi tape, wood veneer, sequins...I think I have every trend covered.

We <3 low tide closeup2

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Colours of autumn

2013 10 09 Autumn

Autumn is one of my favourite words. I like all the vowels in it. It's also my favourite season, so that's worked out nicely. This acorn and oak leaves was much harder to sketch than I anticipated it would be, but it's done now. The best thing about keeping a sketchbook journal is that if I don't like a doesn't matter because I can just turn to the next one.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Scrapbook Sunday (2)

1013-52-Cutest pickpocket closeup1

I don't often used 'themed' embellishments, but this deer was too cute to pass up. I bought it especially because I wanted to scrapbook our trip to the New Forest and then when I had it...I got stage fright. What if I used it and it didn't look right? What if I put it in the wrong place? Silly me.

1013-52-Cutest pickpocket

The thing is, if I have a beautiful embellishment sitting in a box, I'm never going to look at it. Eventually I might have a clear out and make an effort to use it, or I might give it away. The only way all these pretty things make sense is if I use them. I am gradually working my way through my stash and turning pretty things into records of lovely memories.

1013-52-Cutest pickpocket closeup2

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Making the best of it


Photos of a small fluffy thing moving quickly? In a cage, in poor light? Never going to be brilliant. But the story was far too important not to record. Little Waldy is one very persistent degu, and quite inspirational.
1013-50-Perseverance closeup
Loving layered embellishments, stickers and paint splashes. And life with the degus.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Scrapbook Sunday

Photos scrapped within a month of taking them? Yes, it's true. Sometimes I just have to go with what inspires me, and yesterday it was these pictures. I also have a new photo printer, which makes printing small photos for a collage like this so much easier. The photo grid inspired me to try a more streamlined design and instead of layering elements on top of each other, I worked to build a grid with different embellishments and journalling cards.

I've had that card with a sweetcorn on it FOREVER, so this was the perfect opportunity to finally use it. Everything else came together from that, and luckily I had enough elements to make the rest of the grid. The folded circles came from a discount basket somewhere, but they worked just perfectly for this, and I like how taking them outside of the grid adds a bit more movement. I don't normally do double-page layouts, or use 8.5x11 card, but for some reason it just happened with this page, and I like it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Preservation tactics

2013 09 23 Preservation

Life doesn't get easier. But if I have learned anything at all, it is that focusing on gratitude and action helps me through. So despite wanting to hide under the duvet most of the time, I am keeping going. Things that I am grateful for right now?

  • Wonderful love and support.
  • Small fluffy animals who depend on me.
  • Making things (both the jam and the chutney were delicious).
  • A sketchbook. I've just started a new one.
  • Cosy blankets on the sofa.
  • Autumn picnics after work.
  • Scrapbooking. There are still lots of happy memories to record.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Take a deep breath and carry on

2013 08 18 Steephill

Gran was the bravest person I knew. She never complained, never grumbled about life, never faltered in her determination to carry on. I am desperately trying to follow her example but I don't think I'm doing very well. There haven't been many new sketches in my journal lately so I thought I would catch up and share some I did earlier in the summer. Happier times.

You can see this sketch in larger format here. Flickr has increased their free photo storage allowance so I can upload there again.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Primrose Millicent Page
25.02.1926 - 14.09.2013

Much loved and much missed. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

Endless sunshine

The mornings are colder, the skies are greyer, and the endless sunshine of summer has come to an end. I've just had a couple of weeks off work and this morning definitely had that back-to-school feeling. The problem is, I just don't feel ready for it. Can we keep summer, please?
I'm still scrapbooking pages from early summer, so I can keep the sunshine feeling for a bit longer. These photos are from July, and I've just had 400-and-something prints of the rest of our summer adventures delivered  to keep me going. I am seriously considering a simpler style of album to get all these memories recorded, maybe with some fancier pages interwoven rather like my Christmas pages. 
Hope you have some happy sunshine-y memories to keep you going through autumn!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Whoops, I did it again

I hadn't realised it had been so long since I updated here...sorry! Strange to look back at my last few posts and see what a scrapbooking kick I was on. Since then, it has mostly been my watercolour journal that's occupied my time.

I am trying to draw everything, everywhere. My art teacher once told me I should be filling sketchbooks, but I didn't know how. Now I realise that I can just draw what's in front of me.

Having a small journal (this is the Moleskine Watercolour Notebook which is about 13x21cm) makes it easier to fill a page fairly quickly, and I can experiment with different styles:

Don't worry, I am still scrapbooking. In fact I finished a page this morning. This journal is just a different way of recording life, and I am really enjoying it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Opposite extreme

From the largest size photo to the smallest: a 4x4 print using one of my many photos from Instagram. There are various services out there that will print your Instagram pics, but I've found the best results when I upload them into Photobox on a standard size print and trim off the edges when they arrive. Simples.
Having a smaller photo leaves me more room for embellishment, and in this case also more room for the story of our second date. It's quite a long story, and involves me getting heatstroke and passing out in the middle of a field. Fortunately for me, it didn't put him off :)

I'm all out of enamel dots at the moment, so in a moment of inspiration decided to make my own using Liquid Pearls. This is the White Opal version, and I've discovered that if you put a good fat blob on the page and then flick the back of the paper really hard, the blob flattens out to become a lovely dimensional dot. Perfect for some subtle embellishment layers.

I haven't done so much scrapbooking lately as I've been busy filling my sketchbooks. Those photos aren't going to go anywhere, though!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Big photos

I like 6x4 photos. Or, 6x4.5 if I use the default proportion on a digital camera. One or two fit nicely on a page, leaving me plenty of room to write my story or add embellishment. Printing photos at a standard size means I can get them all done in one batch, without having to think about resizing or cropping or anything complicated. Easy. The vast majority of my scrapbook pages use standard prints.

Every once in a while I take a photo that I really like and kind of want to show it off. But I am decorating-challenged (two and a half years and the walls in this house are still bare) so I print big photos and stick them in a drawer and forget about them. I had this picture from one of our walks in the spring, and decided to make the most of it. It hardly needs a scrapbook page; it's all photo. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

162 days to go...

Inline images 1

Yes folks, 162 days is all you've got until Christmas 2013. In the middle of the hottest summer in the UK for the last seven years, some wintery scrapbook pages are just what you need to cool you down.

This bloghop is the brainchild of the lovely Ruth, who has put together an incredible list of ladies all joining to give you inspiration for those Christmas photos that you still haven't scrapped. You should have come here from Catherine, and after me you need to visit Tasha.

The challenge was to create a project that was Christmas-related. And so I turned to me Christmas 2012 album to see what gaps needed filling. Last year as always, I took part in Journal Your Christmas, this time choosing to mix up project-life style divided page protectors with standard 12x12 pages. It began well...using a mix of photos and journalling cards, I put together several layouts that I really love in my album:

Ah, see that there? That's the first gap. And that point around the 17th of December must have been when I lost my way with the project and everything kind of ground to a halt. It gets worse:

That is a divided page protector with two pockets filled and the rest empty, showing the page behind. Grrrrr. It looks unfinished - it is unfinished, and when I look through my album the story of Christmas is incomplete. So this is as good a time as any to crack on and fill in those gaps. I pulled out the stash of paper I was using for this album, and the envelope of photos that I'd had printed and then put away.

First things first. Sort the photos into the ones I want to use, and then start grouping these together. Most of these pictures are from Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and I'm not worrying about the JYC 'daily' format. Then I got to work putting this in to some kind of order!

(Sorry for the strange colours, the light had gone by this point.)

Photos from Christmas Day morning on the left - the back of the previous insert with lots of gaps. I've been using this alternate photos/journalling block layout throughout so I thought I would continue it. The page on the right is a new insert, using three photos I just couldn't choose between. I wanted to make a bit of an emphasis on 'eat, drink and be merry' so I separated each word from the phrase on to a separate insert. To create some repetition, I punched three hearts to embellish the photos, which also filled in the gaps as for some reason I'd had these printed at 5x3.5 inches so they don't quite fill in the spaces. 

One of the best things about picking up this project after such a break, is that I don't feel guilty about doing cards which are simpler. And yet, these are some of my favourites.

Maybe there's a lesson in this: work quickly and worry less. And it's amazing how having a kit can help my creativity.

Am I finished with my Christmas pages? No! I still have another couple of page protectors' worth to do. But now that I've got my stash out and found a working method, I shall probably carry on and do them all. Hopefully thinking about cold winter days will help me keep cool over the next couple of weeks.

Thanks for sharing my contribution to the Christmas in July bloghop. Your next stop is Tasha. Have fun!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On a roll

Lately, sketching and painting have taken up almost every spare minute. In the mornings, on my lunchbreak, as soon as I get home in the evening. I have stopped worrying about being good enough and I am just drawing, drawing and drawing. It's an itch I have to scratch, a hunger I have to satisfy, and every other cliché you can think of. I don't have any grander aims in mind other than I must do this. And I will see where it leads me.

I don't worry about pages being perfect. It's just play.

Making a conscious effort to try something different, use different media, keep going when often I would stop.

While the inspiration keeps coming, I will keep filling the pages of my sketchbook.