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 27 November 2015

Friday smiles 147 - colouring and new hair!

Hello all you lovely Friday people. I'm back to share my smiles linking up with Annie for week 147!

So after last week where I struggled with my conditions, this week has been much better. I've seen my friends (had to cancel plans last week) inc going to teach art/colouring to my friend's children who are homeschooled. I had my hair cut and have dyed it. I'm seeing another friend today and we are talking craft!

I also managed to complete November Kit and Clowders Create & Learn class. Here's the pics - 

 So my hair is now very red - believe me it's much redder than this pic shows!
 The cut is an asymetrical long pixie cut!! Longer one side with longer layers from the top while other side is cut short above my ear and the back is short too. Very easy for me to manage.
 Here's a before pic - hair was very long and untidy. The style had grown out. You can see the colour better. I took this the morning after it was dyed.

This is my complete November class finished. Am so happy with this. 

What are you smiling about today?
Take care Zo xx

Wednesday 25 November 2015


Hello desk friends and others.

I'm back to link up with Julia and all the desk dashers to share our desk.

Here's mine today - 
 So the right side is a bit of mess. I've just signed up to a monthly class with Kit and Clowder. So of course I've got a folder to put the theory stuff and my work as I go. Pens out everywhere!

 The window side is tidier. There's a WIP book art going on, then my pile of Spectrum Noir pencil tins and then my colouring books. I recently bought one that cost me £9.99. BUT...Tesco has started selling them.
 I bought this Animal one from Tesco for £4.
And this Lost Ocean one for £6. That's over half price each. Happy Zoe.
I do love these - the foiling makes them 'posh colouring books' as my mum called them!!

Keagan Update - he had a rough week last week as he had a fall and injured his ankle, thankfully a day's rest with ice pack sorted it out and he was back riding sooner rather than later. Then he got bit! Those horses are powerful. The bite went right through and broke the skin. Keagan says it was swollen and bruised. But I know it's better now. I spoke to him last night and he's had a few really good days riding. He is enjoying riding the bigger horses which are a challenge. But he's loving it! 
He's so happy, you can hear it in his voice. While it is long days and hard work he's coping with it all. Washing being done regularly and he's had no problems getting up at 5.15am each day ready to be in the yard for 6am! Am looking forward to seeing him when I visit in a couple of weeks.

Will get round to see you all by next Wedsnesday!! 
Take care Zo xx

Saturday 21 November 2015

A Christmas Colouring tutorial - red.

Happy Saturday! Today I'm going to share a simple tutorial to show how to colour red. It can be a tricky colour to do. Before I start I must point you all towards Alyce at Kit and Clowder I've learned so much from taking Alyce's classes. I've coloured for years but Alyce helped me to further my colouring, showing me how to add more depth and detail.

I found a free clipart image of a santa hat to do this tutorial - 

 So these are the reds - using Copics.
 I start by putting the darkest red. I want the hat to appear round. So putting the darkest in these areas will help to create this look. It'll make more sense at the end!

 I add the medium red going over the darkest and bringing this red further into the hat.
Then I use the lighter red to blend over the top of these colours leaving a white area where I want the hat to be the lightest.

This first layer is mapping out the areas of light and dark. I didn't even use all of my reds I just chose the dark, medium and light for this mapping layer.
Now the next layer - 
 I use the 2nd darkest red bringing it much further into the hat. The problem with red is that if you use more of the lightest it can appear pinker than you want.
 I used the medium red to blend this again leaving a small white area.
The lightest red I just used to blend into the white I didn't go over any of the dark areas this time as I didn't want to desaturate the red.

Okay so the hat looks good but I want to add more depth so I use a dark grey. Greys are fabulous for adding to any colour. If you choose a grey that is slightly darker than your darkest colour it will blend  nicely.
 I chose C7 and added it only to the very darkest areas being quite precise to only add it to the areas that will enhance shape.
As before I worked through my reds to blend the grey out. I'm left with a nice red hat that has depth and shape.

So now I want to create a fluffly bobble and trim.
To do this I use my greys & blender.

 So I use dots, don't press too hard as you want small dots. Adding the darkest grey first I go around the edge.
 I go over the darkest with the medium grey. Creating dots of different sizes working further into the trim and bobble.
 The lightest grey covers the other 2 blending. However I try not to blend every dot as I need the different tones to create shape.
 I use my blender to smooth out the lightest areas. As you can see the trim and bobble now look fluffy and have shape.
I usually add some sparkle too!! 

The ideas here work with any colour. If you map our your image using a dark, medium and light you will create shape. By adding further layers and depth creates an image that looks more 3D.

Hope this helps. I will be back with further ideas. 
Take care Zo xx

Friday 20 November 2015

Friday Smiles 146 - a bad week but family smiles.

Good morning lovelies. I'm here to join in with Annie and her Friday Smiles I confess I've not had much to smile about this week as I've had a bad week with my conditions. I've not put it on social media cos I don't want my boy to see it and worry. He doesn't read my blog so we're safe here!

My conditions are Scoliosis, Fibromyalgia and the main condition is Ehlers-Danlos Hypermobility. I get facial pain attacks - think of a sinus infection & a migraine together in your face not your head with sickness too. That gives you an idea. None of my pain meds help even taking maximum dosages and I'm on some strong stuff! 

Anyway I've been resting all week and haven't left the house since Saturday. Thankfully my parents, my brother and sister in law live close by so they've been checking on me and bringing me supplies. I'm feeling much better today thankfully!

This is what makes me smile. My family.

So here's some pics of them. 
 My brother Danny and sister in law Jennifer on their wedding day last November.
 My Dad with Jennifer.
My mum taken before my brother's wedding.

 Here's Danny, Dad and Keagan. Taken before the wedding.

My family make me smile! 
Take care Zo xx

Friday 13 November 2015

Friday Smiles

On Wednesday evening I listened to my football team Bristol Rovers commentary. They were away in a cup fixture. Now I wasn't smiling at the result as we lost but I was definitely smiling as I created these beauties!

Yes my very own Bristol Rovers daps!

I bought them for £3 in the sale. I grabbed my Sharpie markers and designed away!
 I took the laces out and used a pencil to plot my design.

 My team wears blue and white quarters so I recreated the design across the pair.

 I wrote Bristol Rovers onto the front of the daps and added UTG (Up The Gas) on the sides. Being a crafter I had to add a touch of sparkle! 

So these will be worn to footy when it's dry. I have sprayed them with waterproof spray but I don't want to risk ruining them so dry weather only!

Hope this made you smile today!

Take care Zo xx

Wednesday 11 November 2015


Good morning Desk dashers. We gather to share our desks, but we all know WOYWW is so much more than that. Pop over to see Julia - The Stamping Ground

So my desk looks like this today - 

 The right side shows my new colouring book and pencils on top of my typewriter - I shared a little tutorial for colouring leaves here thought it may help cos most of the colouring books has foliage!
 A close up shows a kingfisher image & outline. My friend has asked me for some custom notebooks so I'm starting. I will actually colour the kingfisher with Copics but will add detail with pencils.
 The main desk shows racing cars these are also part of the custom order. Another book project started just last night.

Had to share this pic of Baxter too - 
Not on my desk but I took this earlier. I was getting dressed and turned to find Baxter looking so sleepy & darn right cute! 

A Keagan update -  can't believe it's been over a week that he has been in Newmarket. He is doing okay; texts me daily and we've spoken and also video called. He's enjoying it. It's hard at times but he's coping. He also got to ride a hero of his - a horse called Our Vic. My dad and my boy followed this horse during its racing career. Now retired Our Vic is looked after by the students at The British Racing school. It is the one horse they all want to ride. Keagan has ridden him a few times now! 

That's it from me. 
Take care Zo xx

Sunday 8 November 2015

Sunday Show & Tell. Colouring green with pencils.

Like many of us, I love to colour. And yes, I seem to collect various mediums to feed my hobby. Now anyone who knows me will know my preference is Copic markers. And I promise I will share tutorials using them. But today I thought I would just share colouring leaves with Spectrum Noir pencils.

I started colouring the back cover of my new colouring book and thought why not take pics to show you what I do.

 So I chose these four pencils. I always choose at least 3 colours. A dark, medium & light but will often choose 4 or 5 to get a good effect.
This is what I've done so far and here's how I did it!

 So I start with the darkest. I don't over think it when doing relaxing colouring. I just put the darkest where I want the leaf to be dark!
 Then I use the next pencil going over the dark using small circular motion.
 Then the next doing the same as above.
Then I go over it all with the very lightest. To get a smooth look I use a blender pencil over the leaf to finish.

And that people really is all I do! 

When colouring with any medium I follow this same idea choosing 4 or 5 colours from dark to lightest. Some mediums like Copics I work light to dark while with pencils I work dark to light! There really aren't any strict rules. Go with what you feel suits you best.

Enjoy colouring! 
Take care Zo xx

Saturday 7 November 2015

Saturday share

I don't know where you are, reader, but here in Somerset it's pretty awful out there. Rain and wind. Yep full on auntumn/winter hitting us now.

As soon as Halloween has gone Christmas starts popping up everywhere. I love Christmas. But being a crafter has taken the gloss off somewhat. The last few years I've made my cards, feeling that my friends and family expect a handmade card from me.

Well not this year. Only my very close family and friends will get a card from me. In lieu of the rest I am going to make a donation to my fundraising. It's a personal thing that I've done throughout 2015. You can find out more and see my page for donations. My charity is HMSA.

I wanted to give back to the charity that has supported me with advice & information booklets all for free. I've already raised so much more than I thought. But to take the total over £500 will be amazing. I'm nearly there!

So those cards that close family/friends will get will be of the wobbler version!

 This card actually wobbles when stood up. I bought the kit ages ago but not used it. So over the next few weeks I will share my wobblers as I make them.

My Q & A daily journal asks - 

Who is your hero?

Well that's a huge question. I have many people that I hold in high esteem from many catergories -

Stephen King the author - always loved his work and would love to have a chat with him.

Darrell Clarke, Bristol Rovers manager - this wonderful man inspired my football/soccer team to promotion last season taking us back to the league from the non-league conference. 
 Yes I did dye my hair blue! This is my son Keagan and I with Darrell. Taken this May.

The Queen - I've always been fascinated by the Royal family but especially her majesty.

Most importantly My parents, my brother, my son and best friends - they constantly support me, help me and are always there for me.

So tell me who is your hero?

Take care Zo xx


Friday 6 November 2015

Friday smiles

Good morning! I'm back to share my Friday smiles as per our lovely host Annie declares.

Here's mine - 

 A Christmas wobbler card. I bought this kit years ago but haven't used it so this year for close family & friends I'm making wobblers!
I took this yesterday. Inky fingers from book folding. Again I'm making many Christmas presents this year and book art is my chosen gift!

My daily Q & A asks - 

What time did you go to bed last night?

Well it was actually 7pm, but I get into bed at that time and then I watch tv or boxsets on my laptop, I crochet too. I didn't go to sleep until gone midnight as I reduced my medication dose as I thought I was having a better day (I self manage my meds as per doctors instructions, reducing and increasing dosages as needed). However my body wasn't playing ball and wouldn't stop spasms etc. Luckily I didn't need to go anywhere this morning so I could sleep until I naturally woke up.

That's it from me. Take care Zo xx 

Wednesday 4 November 2015

WOYWW 335 & an update

Good morning desk dashers and other readers. I do hope you are well today. So as always on a Wednesday I'm here to share my desk as per the rules of our leader Julia, over at The Stamping Ground

My desk this morning looks like this - 

 The right side hasn't changed all those pens are still there so I'm showing the window side today.
A WIP book folding present for Christmas, a new colouring book and the parts of a santa wobbler card! I'm not actually sending Christmas cards this year as I want to make a donation to my fundraising in lieu of those cards, but I am giving close friends and family cards. I bought the wobblers years ago and haven't used them so this year I'm going to! 

If you only came to see the desk you may wish to stop now the rest is to do with Keagan and our trip to Newmarket!

I wasn't at the crop at the weekend as I was travelling up to Newmarket with my parents and Keagan. Keagan is attending The British Racing school (have a peek at the website it's an amazing place!) to start his racing career. It's been his dream since a little lad. 

We had a lovely weekend exploring the town and finding all the top racing yards. Beautiful scenary. 

 The bottom side of the high street -  there's a fabulous clock tower. We stayed just along from here.
 The famous gallops. We could see the horses warming up at the bottom of these from our hotel windows while eating our breakfast! The entire town is basically run by horses. Cars have to stop at the horse crossings. And it can take a long time especially in the morning to travel just a short distance.

On Monday Keagan moved in (he's up there till beginning of Feb inc over Christmas!). He was so happy and relaxed that it made leaving much easier than I thought! We also saw his friend Rhian who started up there last week. It was lovely to see her and give her a hug. It was funny as she came out of the common room and Keagan just put his arms out and gave her a big hug in front of everyone!

Keagan's room is great, he's sharing with a lad who is 18 which suits Keagan. He was worried he'd end up with someone who'd just turned 16 and was immature. Keagan is a mature 17 year old as anyone who knows me knows. Nice to know that was his only worry!

They've got their own en-suite shower room and each of them has their own desk and area within the large L shaped room. It's bigger than I thought it would be.

We left him to unpack and get ready for work as they were throwing them straight into it. I left with a smile on my face. Happy to see my boy so relaxed and happy to be there. As we left we saw many of the students sat with their parents in reception not talking to anyone. They gave us startled looks as if to say 'You are leaving already!' 

I've since had a few texts saying everything was good, he was enjoying it and already riding yesterday morining. Bless him. Texting without me doing so first. Lol. 

Take care Zo xx