Welcome to my creative online journal

Sunday 27 November 2011

Journal Lettering and Winter Trees

Here is a snippet from my latest page of my journaling course with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer:

I love hand lettering so have enjoyed doing this page immensely.  (This is a double page spread, the journaling is on the facing page, not shown).   These letters were of my own creation, we could choose to do this or copy Julie's examples.  

 * * * * *

I went out today (to get some 35mm film for an underwater camera I bought from a charity shop yesterday - will show you those when I get a chance to play!)  and was surprised to see how few leaves are left on the trees now (maybe I need to get out more! ☺)
 I love seeing how dynamic trees look without their summer 'coats'
 They create such dramatic shapes that are just asking to be graphically enhanced.
Trees really are fascinating, whatever the season!

Thanks for looking, hope you've had a great weekend,

PS - A site seen in our local junk furniture shop window:
(New) Wooden boxes with all kinds of stamped pictures and writing on them, each costing £5

Saturday 26 November 2011

Fun 3d Christmas Light Viewers

You remember recently I showed you some of my photos from our town's christmas light switch on, well one of the photos I showed you had been enhanced - not with post camera manipulation, but with one of a set of four 3-d christmas/holiday viewers.

It was the shot I took of the shop window, this one:
If you look carefully you can see that all the places where there are points of light, you can see little images of stylised snowflakes.
This is a normal photo of the window before, so you can see the comparison:

The 3-d viewers are like really light opera glasses, as in they are plastic glasses that are suspended on a stick for holding up to the eyes. 

As they were for the eyes, rather than a camera, the effect was a little tricky to photograph (I had to photograph through the lenses of the glasses) but it is a really cool effect - for children and 'big children' (like me!)

As I said, there are 4 different types and I had a go at taking pictures of the lights over the town with some of the others:
 I love this one! Lots of tiny little snowmen
 and this one is of snowflakes

The other one is of an image of father christmas's face and that is cool too.
I was sent a set to review and thoroughly enjoyed doing so too, they are great fun.  

So, if you fancy a set, how would you go about getting yourself some of these?
They cost $20 for a set of 5 (there is a reindeer in the set that I wasn't sent)
and you can order them online at this site:

They are from America, so those of us in Europe would need to add a bit more shipping into the cost but they are very light so that wouldn't be much.   Shipping can sometimes take a while so allow for that if you would like to add them as stocking fillers, as in, order very soon!

As I said, I was sent them to review, but I wouldn't have put them on my blog if I wasn't impressed, and as you can see, I was! ☺

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Monday 21 November 2011

Julie Fei-Fan Balzer Course '30 Days in your Journal'

These are my latest pages:
This one is in progress.  A lot of us had to come out of our comfort zones to draw a face!  I haven't drawn one in years but I always like to apply eyeliner around my own eyes, so maybe that helped, lol!

The page on the left you've seen, the foam stamp page:
But neither of these were course pages, they were pages I made so that I could 'catch up' with the others when I got ahead of myself.

You saw me start this one about a week ago:
This is it complete.
(It looked liked a chalkboard so I added the picture of the girl from a 1960's girls annual)

All the sets of pages are so different!  I've never done quite so many different things every day for a month, come December and I'll be needing a rest!  lol.  Problem is with that is that I've got the journaling bug now, can't stop....

Thanks for stopping by and for any comments,
(swirly clicks on flickr)

Sunday 20 November 2011

Christmas Lights Christmas Card Idea

Has your nearby town switched on its Christmas lights yet?  Ours switched ours on tonight and it gave me an idea.  It's dead simple and all you need is your camera!

Take pictures of anything and everything Christmassy around.  You can do this any time of course, but it's easier to do it on nights when the town's busy because you aren't quite so noticable amongst the crowds.

This one is of the window of Paperchase:
..and these two were the window displays of House of Fraser:

The idea is to make them as photos to have on display in your home at Christmas (as mood photos) or, you could make them into Christmas cards. Just stick them onto a piece of festive coloured card with a suitable greeting.

You could also do the personalised type with 'Greetings from (Insert Home Town Here)' with a picture of the town lit up in lights.

(Just a small selection of the collection I took)

A nice simple idea and great for those 'last minute panic' cards too!

Thank you for stopping by and for any comments,

Saturday 19 November 2011

Making your own Foam Stamps

Two different kinds - one is the type that I used in the background of my journal page today and was created by cutting up some old children's alphabet foam tiles:

..and the other type are the kind you create using thick foam that you heat with a heat gun together with textural objects that you find around the house.

These are an example:

I spotted the second kind on the blog of Traci Bunkers earlier this week and thought I'd give them a try (full video tutorial on Traci's blog here).  I already had some of the 'real' moldable foam from years ago and had never tried it so today, for my journaling course, I decided to do a page showing my experiments. 

After creating my experiments, I needed to decorate my background page so after hunting out the alphabet blocks I set to work cutting them into pieces to use.  Here is a video showing the process I used:

(Sorry, video not working, it was made in Picnik)

and here is the finished page I made:
 And the beauty of these stamps is, if I don't want them any more I can just reheat the foam and make a different design. I really like the stamps with the little camera and the mug filled with art supplies (on the tag) though!

Thanks for looking and for any comments,
Have a great weekend,

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Epic C Post, Course, Christmas, Chocolate...

On the '30 days in your Journal' course with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer that I am doing throughout November, we have moved onto working on paper that has been black gessoed.  The page you see above isn't one from the course, it was an experimental page I made on what materials/pens I have that will show up well on black.  Wow! Got your sunglasses?  The colours are really vibrant and they are....embossing powders!  I bought a set from Woodware a while back and couldn't think of a way to use them. Has anybody got any bright (groan!) ideas on what I could create with them?  These are just try-out stamps and freehand writing.  

This was the Course page from today:
 The large numbers (stamps from docrafts) have been filled in using Neocolor watersoluble crayons - they are fab!

Yesterday's completed page was this:
Very messy 'grungy' - but fun!

Christmas craft?  Yes, a little one! ☺ In craft group today, I made some backgrounds for christmas cards:
White embossed snowflakes on blue card and card with distress stain.  The edges were distressed with white shoe polish!  (These would have been neater if I had remembered to take my glasses to class!)

Finally (phew), thought you might like to see a recent quirky purchase of mine:
My very own mini Cadbury shop! lol.  I got this stand for chocolate for 10p (not including the chocolate!) at our local community centre fundraising event.  I'd best not keep refilling it though!  (I'll probably use it for craft supplies).

Thanks for stopping by and reading this far,

Sunday 13 November 2011

The Craft Barn Blog Giveaway

Click the picture to find out how to enter the blog candy competition to win over £200 of crafting goodies (pictured above)


Prizes include:
 ".. products such as Tim Holtz, Sizzix, Cuttlebug, Impression Obsession, Cosmic Shimmer, Dreamweaver DVD, some wooden goodies to alter, gilding flakes, tissue tape, embossing folders, dies, inks, paints, embellishments etc. etc. etc..... "

I have been following their blog regularly for a long time.  It is full of step-by-step tutorials on how to make all kinds of fabulous creative items.  The Craft Barn shop is also well stocked with items that you  'just have' to have!

Good luck!


Saturday 12 November 2011

My 11-11-11 11.11am

...was spent Christmas crafting! Yes, you've read that right, I did a little christmas crafting whilst I was waiting for my lunchtime journaling video to come through from the course I am doing with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.

I made these card/tag toppers:

(Actually, I haven't given them a permanent home yet, I'm just trying them out as tags).

If you look quite closely you can see the texture behind each of the christmas characters and I found a good and simple way to get it.  What you (I) do is use an offcut of a roll of textured wallpaper.  Mine wasn't an 'offcut' it was a great big roll - that I got from a charity shop for 99p and cut out a small square.  Then you simply paint a bit of sky and a shadow and stick on a christmas themed sticker.  Distressing the corners is optional.   I love the way it looks like snow or even just a textured background (see gingerbread man and xmas tree).   Take a look in your garage or shed, maybe you have got some left over paper that's suitable?...

Oh, and here was the picture I took whilst experimenting with making these:
I took it at exactly 11.11 and 11 seconds but the camera hesitated! 
Apologies also for the fact its a little out of focus, part excitement and part camera phone fault.

I made even more mess in the afternoon with today's '30 days in your journal' course:
This is our third page spread.

All good fun! Have a great weekend.
Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Thursday 10 November 2011

November Journal

I did do a Christmas craft at my art group yesterday but it was very glittery and I couldn't get a decent photo of it (probably doesn't help that I've lost my camera cable and am relying on the camera on my phone for pics) to show you.  I have always found glitter projects tricky to show well on photos, they look great in real life but for some inexplicable reason, not on camera.  But, I will be showing you something christmassy soon, honest!

Enough of the excuses, what I can show you are some more of my November daily journaling pages, which I hope you are enjoying looking at.

As you probably know, I am working my way through an excellent journaling course called '30 days in your journal' with crafting extrordinaire, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  Her enthusiasm is very infectious and as I mentioned before, so funny, but also very motivational. 

We aren't told what things we should include in our journals, that is up to us, and, as was the case today, I found an old guidebook of New York from the 1960s.

All the pictures you see here were scans from the guidebook.  I love looking at vintage images and seeing how cars, people and buildings have changed over the years.  I bet there are a lot more cars on the streets of New York these days! (Not that I've been - sigh!- one day!...)

This page, despite its distressing and stamping, looks remarkably clean and tidy, especially when you consider what I did on the next page!:

Julie and some of the others in the class used misting sprays but I always get filthy when I use sprays so I chose something cleaner to use - these are...

...coloured nail polishes!

Three to be precise, in colours orange, yellow and blue.  They looked great when they mingled together and made different shades.  I am very much looking forward to seeing what we will be adding to this page tomorrow, it's such fun!....

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Online Journaling Course

Apologies for those of you waiting to see some more Christmas crafting, I will be doing some more tomorrow at my local craft group,  but in the meantime, I've been doing some more online art course journaling.

This is what I have done for my second page spread of my documenting November for Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's '30 days in your journal' course.

The gold ink is very reflective, it was a resist effect created by stamping the circles with gold on my blank page first and then spraying the blue glimmer mist on the top.  I used a brush with water to spread the mist out all over the page.  

Here is the close up detail shot of the tags from the left hand page:
Taken under my daylight bulb light.

This shot was taken at night using a normal tungsten ceiling light:
...which makes it look even more messy arty!

As the journaling says, I've ended up writing just about what I do each day on the course instead of my more meaningful thoughts.  This is partly because we are sharing our journals on flickr and partly because I didn't plan I started doing it on the first day when I had the masking tape problem and then carried on...  Ah well, I would love to start on another journal anyway as I'm really enjoying the freedom of trying different art techniques out.  

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Saturday 5 November 2011

Happy Bonfire Night

..to all of us that celebrate it in the UK.

I have been really enjoying the '30 Days in your Journal' course run by Julie Fan-Fei Balzer of Balzer designs and have changed the colours of my pages since you last saw them a couple of days ago.

This is my first double page spread finished:

I kept encountering equipment problems, pens that wouldn't write, rubber stamps that wouldn't give good impressions, crayons that wouldn't let you ink over the top of them...so consequently what you see here is about it's 5th edit.  As in a cover up, covering up a cover up, covering a.....  I've liked how it was looking at other stages but I'm still relatively okay with the completed first set of pages.   

As you know, I like my flourishes! ☺

I love the horse picture, I think it was from a youknowhich bank advert! 
We're onto a new page tomorrow, yay!

For bonfire night tonight, we had just a family do in our back garden.  My husband got some ultrasafe (as in tame) fireworks and we enjoyed our own little bonfire.  As I write this I can still smell the smoke on my clothes. 

I love the effect of sparklers, they are always such fun!

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Thursday 3 November 2011

Christmas crafting already?

As well as the Balzer Designs journalling course, I am also doing other crafts including my first preparations for Christmas.  I love decorating our house with homemade christmassy things and each year I like to find new crafts to do.

To make a start, at my local craft group this week I decoupaged a christmas bauble:
  (Apologies for the picture quality, taken late at night - in real life it looks much better!)
 It has lots of my 'christmas scraps' added to it and also some punchinella, sequins and washi tape.
Glitter glue was added as a final touch.

* * * * *

Onto day 3 of my '30 days in your journal' course and I am still having fun 'getting messy', despite the problem I have had with my masking tape (I have found a different brand to try on the next page).

Today we added an image, which could have been a photo of ourselves, but I chose to add this:

A background of orange with yellow flourishes and a magazine picture of a wild horse. It seemed to tie in with my 'Feeling the fear' theme.  The page is looking pretty full now but I do believe that we will be adding even more to it tomorrow....

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

Wednesday 2 November 2011

30 days in your journal Course

..by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer of Balzer Designs.

I would really like to do more journaling, I've done the odd page here and there, but never done a journal properly so I've signed myself up to Julie's online journaling course and I'm now on my second day.  I enjoy her style of teaching, so natural, and I love the way she laughs when she can't find things or spills paint on her arms!

Here was day 1's pages:
...and the strip in the middle is a 'technical problem' I'm encountering with the masking tape I've used.  It's quite a nice texture where the paint has formed but it's meant to be smooth and flat.  It looks smooth when I apply it.  Maybe I need to try a different brand...or live with it.   I've even written about it in my journaling for that day.

I won't describe everything I do because it is a paid for course, but you can see my pictures, day by day.

This was what I added today:

What I'm finding a little odd  whilst doing this course is that I don't know what we are going to be doing next on our page, and because of the time difference between the States and here, I don't find out until the afternoon of each day.   I'm getting keen to get on with the next stage and I have to wait!  This is an unusual way of working for me as I'm used to getting on with an art project once I start, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.  I'm thoroughly enjoying the 'splash paint around' side of it, it's fun!

Thanks for looking and for any comments,

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