Sunday, 23 September 2012

The learning continues...

As I face another madly busy week (even busier than usual in fact, due to some evening commitments of various sorts!) I'm so appreciating the chance to look around me, to observe, to reflect, to think, and to learn :) While I'm only including one 'lesson' each day in my art journal, my cute little notebook is filling up with all kinds of observations, from the daft and trivial to the meaningful and challenging - and I love that!

16th September: I followed Abi's tutorial and made myself a lovely map, which is on proud display in my living room :) I didn't add the stitching, just to make things simpler for myself, but I love how that looks on Abi's original! Here's mine:

(Not shown: after taking this pic, I also added the suggested punched paper heart to mark our location.)

17th September: I was reminded, though thankfully not by finding myself in this situation, that sometimes you can feel at your loneliest when you're part of a crowd. Have you ever felt that? I know I have, and I was thankful that I wasn't experiencing it - or indeed, watching anyone else experience it - at that time.

18th September: Sometimes you have the kind of day where you have to keep reminding yourself to keep smiling! (Gosh, I only just realised how different the lighting is in these two pics...)

19th September: My first papercrafts class of the new academic year, and (for various reasons) numbers are down a bit. There are many advantages to this though, and I chose to focus on those rather than feeling rejected and unloved! ;) (The two little characters illustrating these pages are left over decoupage designs, by the way - Professor Yaffle from Bagpuss, and Boofle the dog.)

20th September: I learnt that I like to be Little Miss Helpful. And I had a whole morning of being so!

21st September: Oh, isn't it just so true that it's impossible to stick to the shopping list when you go to Ikea?! The left hand page shows my actual list - four items, one of which was for a friend, and one was to have a free coffee in the restaurant, so I guess that's two items really! The right hand page lists what I actually bought.... And I didn't even find what my friend wanted, or manage to get one of the items for me as it had been discontinued!! (If you click on the right hand page to enlarge it you may also notice that I've felt the need to justify each purchase lol!)

22nd September: Time to get out a few neglected craft supplies! I'd never even used the Crackle Glaze from PaperArtsy, despite having received it some time ago and putting it on my 'to try' list! The first attempt didn't quite work out, but the second was much better :) I used the technique to decorate a couple of glass slide holders:

The right hand page shows an experiment with alcohol ink; you stamp a design on the front of the slide (or in this case, acetate), apply the inks to the back, and then remove some of the ink with blending solution. It went a bit skewiff on the acetate, but the slides themselves turned out better!

23rd September: Bleh, full of cold :( I became aware of how I can become very focussed on myself when I'm not feeling well - being constantly distracted by my symptoms can mean that I'm very much pointed inwards. The spiral and journaling go from the outside to the centre to emphasise this, and the arrows too, of course. The stickers came with a calendar and they just seemed to fit how I was feeling, somehow! The right hand page tells the story of how I want to try to focus outwards a bit more, and not get too caught up in self-pity, even when I'm feeling under the weather.

One more week of September! I wonder what learning this week will bring? :)

Saturday, 22 September 2012


Rats. And drat. I am an idiot. *sigh!*

OK, so it's not like it matters hugely in the big scheme of things, but you know what a completer-finisher, OCD type I am!

I loved doing Rinda's Photography Scavenger Hunt, it was such fun :) You may recall that I gave myself the additional conditions of (i) only giving myself a week to find all the items, and (ii) trying to find the two substitute items AS WELL AS the original 21.

Just because I am me!

You may possibly also recall that I didn't manage to find the four-leaf clover, and that I was a bit gutted about it? I'd decided that for that one particular item only I'd relax condition (i) above, in order to try to meet condition (ii) above.

But I didn't find one :( And the deadline was yesterday :(

Guess what happened this morning? Yes, this very morning, the very next day after the deadline?

I walked into The Tomboy's bedroom and spotted, on her windowsill, a good luck card she'd been sent by her The Grandparents to wish her well in a test she was doing:

And what is its design?

Four leaf clovers, of course!

And when did they send it to her?

Two weeks ago.

And when did she display it on her windowsill?


And how many times have I been in her bedroom since then?



Yep, I am an idiot. And drat. And rats. *sigh!*

And yes, OK, it doesn't really matter, I should get a sense of proportion, and I did find the original 21 items, etc, etc - but - well, because I am me, I am still a bit disappointed that I was so unobservant that I didn't spot it sooner.... *big sigh!*

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Another week(ish) of learning...

One of the things I've learnt this week is that this term is going to be VERY busy!! It's been my first week of doing the extra hours at school and also doing the 3-hour evening class where I get all the teaching input of the course I'm doing. I've learnt that I just won't have much time to keep up with blogs, and while I'm doing Learn Something New Every Day, I actually prefer to prioritise that and have a little bit of crafty and creative 'me' time each evening to help me to wind down. I'm OK with this, and accepting that I just need to find a new rhythm that works - maybe catching up at weekends, for example? So here I am! :)

8th September:  I learnt how to have some washi fun! I followed a tutorial on Carla Sonheim's blog after seeing Rinda refer to it. The idea was to make an animal but my washi clearly wanted to be a flower!

9th September: I learnt that I shall miss them both so - the Olympics and Paralympics, that is. Gosh, I've SO enjoyed watching them this summer! In fact, it's been a fabulous summer of sport altogether this year!

I stamped the Olympic rings with a milk bottle lid and painted the Agitos freehand; I was going to paint the lions too but liked them as pencil outlines so left them that way :)

10th September: I learnt that When you're 6, a wobbly tooth is The. Most. Exciting. Thing. EVER!! It was my first day working with Year 2 in my new teaching assistant role, and as the children arrived they all wanted to tell me about - and show me - their wobbly teeth...

My fairy stamp came to mind as soon as I chose the day's lesson! I paper-pieced it by stamping parts of it onto patterned paper scraps.

11th September: I learnt that after a tricky day when I was feeling a bit tired and headachey and slightly down, a bit of blue sky can cheer me immensely - and it was fun to photograph that blue sky with Instagram, now that I know I can get it on my phone!

I haven't used many photos in this year's project but this 'lesson' definitely needed the photo :)

12th September: I learnt that - oh dear, my shoes leak! Which made me think of some song lyrics, which led to the right hand page. It makes sense to me...

That's the outline of my actual foot (once it had dried out, of course!) Note how it doesn't actually fit ont he page?!

13th September: The left hand page was a photo in a magazine that I loved when I saw it and knew I'd use for something one day. It was perfect to illustrate that at this time of year I don't know what to wear!

I added quick bands of seasonal colour and doodles on the right hand page.

14th September: Not such a fun lesson; I learnt that my patience has limits, and having recently been congratulating myself on being calmer and more patient - particularly with The Tomboy - I was disappointed to discover that I can still get short-tempered and snappy with her. Yes, I was tired, and yes, she was playing up and being really quite rude that day, but I knew why she was behaving like that and I was disappointed that being tired made it so much harder to stay calm.

I painted the pages to leave small spaces for the title and journaling. I wanted to get across the feeling of reaching my limits, of being penned in and needing to burst out...

15th September*: Well, you can see what I learnt :) I had such a lovely afternoon out with The Fabulous One! We had a lot of catching up to do, we had some scrummy food and refreshing tea, and it was just great to spend time with my dear friend :)

The images at the bottom are added using stamps from a bag full that lovely Clair gave me - that coincidentally included some tea and cake themed stamps! Perfect!

*Bonus day! I was going to share a week's worth of pages but with September having 30 days it seems to make sense to share a couple of batches of 7 and a couple of 8 rather than have a couple of leftover days at the end....

Sunday, 9 September 2012

A week's worth of learning

My art journal for Shimelle's Learn Something New Every Day class is filling up nicely :)

1st September: I learnt that he's still got it - he being Doctor Who, of course! Oh my, what a fine first episode of the new series! I particularly loved 'eggs', 'reverse', and 'Doctor who?'

For these pages, I used orange ink to wash the background, doodled and drew the title and its frame, and sketched the Doctor's face in pencil before journaling here and there in the space around the page.

2nd September: I learnt that sometimes it's the most demanding challenges that are the most rewarding - a lesson which came from helping with Holiday Club all week, which was exhausting, but I did get so much from the experience :)

Another ink-washed background. On the left I added an inked book page background and punched clouds with an image and wording cut from a vintage magazine; the journaling lines on the right are stamped in paint using the edge of corrugated card (wish I'd realised it wasn't straight for the first line, but hey...)

3rd September: I learnt various details of my work for the coming year, including what I'll be doing with each class, my performance management targets, and info about the TA training course.

I love using black paint and white gel pen as an art journal technique, and it was ideal for today's page :) I also added a little stamped apple The Fabulous One had given me. I was going to journal in white on the right hand page too, but sadly my gel pen ran out... So instead, I went with a stationery theme with notepaper and paperclips.

4th September: I learnt that it's totally worth the hassle of making fresh pasta. It tastes soooo good!! And The Tomboy likes to help, bonus...

As we made farfalle and pappardelle, I decorated the pages with punched butterflies and strips of patterned paper secured at the top and loosely rolled. A few lines of paint added framing detail.

5th September: I learnt that I miss him :( The Doctor was on a work trip all week, and oh, how we missed him! (He's home now, yay!)

These pages were inspired by a Kirsty Wiseman class I took. The heart is torn pieces of book paper painted red, the lettering is cut from more book paper and likewise painted.

6th September: I was reminded to remember to be grateful. I think I am, generally, but the first 'lesson' I noted in my little notebook was tending towards the negative, so I was glad of a push towards focussing on the positives again.

More inky backgrounds, with an experiment with a mask that didn't quite come off!! The title was stamped with hand-drawn frames around the letters of 'grateful' and I added an accent of a heart cross-stitched onto plastic canvas; on the right hand page I stuck down lots of fitting words and phrases cut from a book, and added journaling in between.

7th September: I learnt that I'm an excellent procrastinator... but also a pretty darn fine multi-tasker!

The clusters of pretty blocks, frames and doilies are meant to represent the layers of tasks I can cram into my time. I haven't added any journaling for this one, I don't think the lesson needs it - or that the page does!

Heading into the second week, ready and willing to learn... :)