When you make a conscious choice to be happy, no one can take it away from you because no one gave it to you: you gave it to yourself.

A quote from April Green's - Bloom For Yourself Journal

Friday 30 March 2012

Zentangle & alterations

Morning everyone - well the sun is hiding a little bit this morning, peeking around the clouds but it's still there!

As those of you know who have popped by this week, you would have seen my garden bench crafty spot.  I've enjoyed many hours sat out crafting, reading and drawing in the sunshine this week. I've even caught the sun, freckles galore and white bits March!

Anyway I want to share with you the beginnings of some new projects.  The first is a box, meant to be a pencil case but I'm sure it could be used for many things. I'm going to decorate it to keep on my desk to store bits and bobs. So I thought I'd share the first stages, plus it'll be a record for me to remember what it looked like before!

Pretty boring - plain brown kraft like box which I then applied a coat of Gesso. I've seen many people use Gesso so decided I must need it......right?!

The next project I want to share is inspired by........You Lot!

Every week I snoop around your desk seeing art journals, Zentangles and amazing pages so I thought I want to do that too.  So I bought a boring A4 plain art journal;

The other sunny afternoon I took it outside with me and began to doodle or a more posh name for it is Zentangles. I first saw Barbara Grey doing this on her shows on TV and loved it straight away and more recently I've seen different people creating amazing art work using this technique. So I picked up a pen and started -

I didn't think about it, I just drew and went with what felt right. Then I looked up and saw my neighbours, bird table, table and plant pot stand, which have swirly legs and are decorative in a rustic way! SO I began to draw an impression of them in the centre of my page -

The plan is to portray the likeness but not capture it exactly and then continue to fill the page with dots, swirls, lines and shapes. I've even including my initial and that of my son. I've some beautiful dipping ink that I'm going to use to doodle around the main image to create a divide so the main image doesn't get lost as I fill the page. I will share the finished page once I'm done.

Recently my crafting has moved on from just cards and I am so enjoying playing with new products and techniques, I've even now got a book that I'm going to alter. Something I've always been shy of as I couldn't bear the thought of ripping pages etc, BUT my local library are running a recycle-old-books scheme where you can take a book to do whatever you want with, there's even a competition running, while I'm not sure I'll enter my piece, I do feel OK about using this book to play with, after all if the library are allowing us to do that then it has to be okay!

Thanks for popping by, I do love to read all your comments and appreciate each and every one.
Take care Zo xx

Wednesday 28 March 2012

WOYWW 147 - happy sunshine

Hello WOYWW-ers and, of course, everyone else who pops by!

I hope the last week has been kind to you all.  It sure has been lovely here in the West Country of England.
Right here's my desk today -

I took this tea time yesterday but it's the same this morning, well apart from the mug of tea which I drank after taking the picture, I spent the evening listening to the radio (football commentary) and working on my computer. You can see a Papermania Book-print pad, a Manga artist pad, plain art journal and 2 Promarkers (all new & dumped there ready to be put away), a distressed piece of that Papermania paper with WOW embossing powder and a dress form ready to be turned into........something, messy pile of envelopes full of cut up decoupage, pile of sheets not cut up and a neat pile of empty envelopes, oh and my scissors of course!

For those of you who popped by last week, I must Thank You all for your lovely comments. Many of you requested that I share the finished cards I made with my H2O and salt backgrounds, well, you can see them Here

I'm sure most people know all about WOYWW but if you don't, then I suggest heading over to Julia's place to check it out, but be warned it's definitely addictive.

For those of you who follow me regularly you saw that I was going to be crafting outside making the most of this wonderful weather and some of you wanted to see my outdoor craft space so here it is -

More of a What's on your Garden bench kind of crafty space!  It's a beautiful spot in my garden as you can see, a real sun trap, but as far as crafting is concerned, it's only OK if there's little or no breeze. I'd have decoupage chasing around the flowers beds if there was more than a tickle of wind. As to what's on it, well there's my book I'm reading and then there's a pile of sheets all waiting to be cut up into decoupage or card companions. A pile of envelopes ready for me to put the cut up pieces into so I don't lose them. The plastic wallet is what I carry the stuff out in and is where I put the rubbish. You can also see my blue and white stick I use to get around and my shirt on the arm because it was so warm  when I took this pic that I could sit there in my vest top.....crazy considering it's only March!

Enjoy snooping! Take care Zo xx

Monday 26 March 2012

H2O's & Salt

Good morning everyone - hope it's as beautiful where you are, as it is here. Am planning on sitting up the garden later, reading, maybe a spot of crafting, though that will depend on the breeze. Crafting outside is lovely only if there's no wind to blow your paper around!

Anyway those of you who visit me for WOYWW, will remember last week I was playing around with H2O's and salt to create backgrounds. Well here's what I did with them -

This first one I stamped a Creative Expressions stamp using Stazon, I used the secondary ink to stamp into the corners. I then matted it onto black before layering it onto the script paper which is from Papermania's Book print papers.

This second one, which I love, is again stamped with Stazon and Creative Expressions stamps, the paper is again from the Book print Papermania papers. Then I added my cute little buttons to the corners.

As you can see from this close up, there is still some salt on the surface. I rubbed off as much as would come away but didn't over scrub it. I like the texture the remaining salt creates.

This third card is made the same way as the others, using the same stamps and papers. However with this one I decided to spatter water onto the background before stamping.  I dabbed it off with a paper towel and must admit I love the effect it's created.

 This last one I kept simple. The butterfly is stamped with Dusty Concord Distress ink which I had to heat set, I then added the bug and bow.

Overall I'm really pleased with these cards, you'll notice there isn't a sentiment to categorise them, because I felt that these cards could be used for many occasions so I didn't want to restrict that by putting sentiments on to them. Hope you like them, let me know what you think of the effect, have you any ideas as how else I can use these wonderful paints?

Take care Zo xx

Friday 23 March 2012

Inspired by Peter Rabbit.

What a wonderful day we have here in Somerset - I'll hold my hand up and admit I've spent a decent amount of time sat up the garden, reading my book with a cuppa on the go. However I want to craft all the time and not be stuck indoors on beautiful days like today so I have purchased one of those laptop table things, that is like a mini table with legs that sit either side of your lap. Perfect to use up the garden when I'm sat on my bench! Crafting in the sunshine is fantastic.

Anyway wanted to share this card with you all;

I've been inspired by all of the Beatrix Potter shows on TV, and just had to get out my CD's again to craft with the adorable Peter Rabbit. A while ago I started taking decoupage sheets to bed with me to cut up while I watch the TV in the evening. I popped all of the pieces into envelopes not to lose them. This meant I could get on and put the card together fairly quickly.  I've done this for many of my CD's, I've a basket full of envelopes holding cut up decoupage! Planning of working my way through them.

I kept this card simple, I wanted the main image to be the main focus of course, but I couldn't resist adding that complementing red, along with my buttons! I added the PR initials but decided against a specific sentiment as I reckon this could be used for many occasions.

I used -
Coredinations card
Centura Pearl card
Peter Rabbit CD-ROM
Collall glue gel & all purpose glue
Bakers twine.

Enjoy the rest of the day, hope it's sunny where you are!
Take care Zo x

Thursday 22 March 2012

Post 101

I've just realised that yesterday's WOYWW post was my 100th and I never flagged it up! Perhaps I will when I get 100 followers...not long now.

Anyway I just saw this on Pinterest and thought I'd share it with you all. I'm a huge book lover with many books piling up all around the house so when I saw this it struck a chord with me.

So there you go, tell me what do books mean to you?

Take care Zo xx

Wednesday 21 March 2012

WOYWW 146 - Mess, salt and drying!

Hello it's WOYWW so I hope everyone popping by has a wonderful day and enjoys the rest of the week.

Well it's you'd never thought you'd find me on here at this time!  Well I've literally just got in from football, I've been away to watch Bristol Rovers play down in Plymouth. We drew 1-1. So thought I'd get on here and post as soon as I got in then I can have a lie in and not worry because it would just bug me until I got up to post, if I didn't do it now!

Right better get on with it then I can go to bed.

I've come to a conclusion - Wednesday's are my finishing-off-after-drying days, it seems lately that my desk is always showing things in the mid-stages, drying out, ready to progress and today is no different.  I took this yesterday before I left for footy, and this is what's on my desk now, and what will be there when I eventually get up!

I made all of these yesterday morning, as I reckon Tuesdays are my 'play days' when I have the time to just have a go and see what happens.  These backgrounds are the outcome of watching Sheena Douglas playing with her Luminarte products on Create & Craft at the weekend.  I've only got 2 sets of H2O's but boy did I have some fun using them.

All of these are on Centura Pearl card, it's lovely to work with and copes really well with water etc.

I took some pics while playing -

On some, I clear embossed some stamped images then painted over the top (resist technique) while others I just painted away, randomly choosing colours. I then added salt to some of them as I saw this on TV and thought I'd have a go!  So later today I shall be rubbing off the excess salt and seeing the effects, before using the background for cards/projects.  I'm planning to stamp on to them, distress some, die cut others. You get the idea.

Look what our wonderful host Julia from The Stamping Ground sent me......

It's now in pride of place on the shelf with the button collection. Thanks Julia!

Also adorning my shelf is this rather pretty Glitter-filled photo frame of me and my boy, Keagan. He gave it to me for Mother's Day.

Thank you all for your lovely comments last week - many of you asked about the transfers I had put into emulsion paint, well here they are - Sheena's transfers I really enjoyed playing with them, however I will 'fess up, I haven't manage to get one right yet! I think I was so excited to have a go that I rushed ahead and didn't take the time to read the instructions or watch the demo's again, I think I'm either not putting enough paint on, or it's drying out before I put the transfer on. Or I'm over wetting the dried piece at the end, whatever I'm rubbing off the transfer as well as the carrier paper! Everyone else seems to have mastered this technique perfectly except me - so come on Fusion-neers, if you pop by please give me some advice!

Thankfully there are 180 of these beautiful transfers in the pack so I have lots to get it right with!

OK it's time for me to go to bed but when I get up I shall be making a coffee, before sitting back to start having a good old nose around your desks, I will get there, it takes me a couple of days but I do visit as I love seeing what you're all up too.

Take care Zo xx

Monday 19 March 2012

Crafty Boots does Easter!

Good morning - well it's time for another challenge over at Crafty Boots and the theme this time is all about EASTER.

I so enjoy seeing your entries and am always so impressed by all of the creations, if you've never joined us why not have go, and see what you can come up with!

My DT project is a set of four cards using Forever Friend decoupage.

They all have embossed backgrounds done using my Cuttlebug. I love all of them but I think my favourite is the one with the Hot Cross buns!

Which one is your favourite?

Thanks for visiting, look forward to seeing your Easter creations.

Take care Zo xx

Friday 16 March 2012

Not quite an Altered book!

Good evening - unusual for me to post this late in the day, I shall be off to bed shortly but I wanted to share this little beauty with you all beforehand.

I've been really impressed with everyone's different versions of Altered books/art journals.  However I am a huge book lover and the thought of chopping up a book horrifies me! Saw a post earlier during my WOYWW rounds where a book printed in 1880 was being altered. 1880! Wow, am sorry to say I couldn't do that, but fair play to those of you who can. So the other day I went into one of the many charity shops we have here just to see what there was and I found this -

It is a photo album but the cover just grabbed me, that twig bound in string, all very arty to me so I thought right what's it like inside.......

Fantastic, that's what! It's all textured and Kraft-like. It has 10 actual pages, which are thick and board-like but with the covers I have 11 double spreads.

I've seen so many Altered books, art journals etc that have so inspired me to want to have a project similar, so this will be an ongoing project during this year. I'm hoping to use lots of different techniques, some may be simple like a scrapbook page with papers and photos while others may be stamped and inked. Am sure I will get the paints out too. So I hope this book will become a mixed journal of Zoe-ness!

It fits lovely on my shelf next to the button collection. It has that look of intrigue with the materials used on the cover and back.

 This is looking down on top of the spine.
 The back cover and here close up

What a find, if anyone has any suggestions I'd be really pleased to read them, what do you think would work well, any suggestions?

Right am off to bed, enjoy your weekend, me and my boy are off to football tomorrow, then I'll be crafting, no doubt, for the rest. Take care. Zo xx

Wednesday 14 March 2012

WOYWW 145 - look I made a mess!

Hello WOYWW-ers.

I set my alarm early again this week just so I could get up and get on here to post as soon as possible. Mad, I know.  Only to find my internet connection was down so I could've stayed in bed a little longer, oh well it seems to be working now, thanks goodness!

So here's the desk. I took the picture before the light faded yesterday, but this is what has greeted me this morning.

Pretty boring really so I had better show you the pictures from yesterday afternoon. Here they are:

As you know, I love Paint Fusion. Sheena Douglas's stamps are a huge favourite of mine so obviously I was thrilled when she brought out the new CD-ROM and the transfers to go with the fusion range.  I've recently bought these new transfers and decided yesterday to complete stage 1.

This involves paint, a surface, in this case, mount board and the transfers. You basically paint a good layer of cheap emulsion on to the surface, then lay the transfer face down in the wet paint, making sure it's stuck into the paint with your fingers before burnishing with the spoon. So far so good, but I'm sure Sheena never made as much mess as I did when I saw her demonstrate this technique on TV!

Before I can move on to stage 2 - the big reveal, I had to leave these to dry completely. I did blast them with my heat gun, but as advised I've left them over night to dry nice & crispy, as Sheena says.

Later on, I will be moistening the surface before rubbing away the carrier paper to reveal, hopefully, the image. Fingers crossed.

I want to show you my shelf - the button collection has now been fully re-housed .....well until I buy more buttons that is (mum will still keep the little jars for me!).

Look what else is now on my shelf.....

My new 2 sets of Twinkling H2O's - stored in the suggested method of using old CD's. I have kept the lids and have a couple of ideas of how to use them, but that's for another day.

Something else you don't see very often in my room, well, it's there, I just don't choose show you every week....

This is the usual state of my bin/floor! See, I do make a mess really.

Right head over to the wonderful Julia's The Stamping Ground to join up with everyone else who takes part in this fantastic weekly adventure of super snooping, desk-hopping malarkey!

Lastly I want to say a Big thank you to everyone who visited me last week,  I love reading your comments, they really do mean a lot. Take care Zo x