Thursday, 26 February 2009

First signs of Spring

I know that snowdrops are really the first sign of Spring, but although I love them, they don't make me feel that Spring is on its way because they are so wintry. No, here in the countryside the sight that really gladdens my heart and makes me think longingly but hopefully of the warm, balmy days of Spring and Summer to come, is the beautiful yellow hazel catkins that festoon the hedgrows. Although we do have some hazel in our own garden hedge, we keep it closely trimmed in the winter which meanns the catkins do not have a chance to develop. I also have a Corylus Contorta ( Twisted Hazel) just outside the kitchen window, but this is slower to open its catkins. The place to see them for me and where I took this photo yesterday, is along a farm track which leads from my neighbours garden which we call "the concrete path" and which is a favourite place of ours to walk, cycle, pick blackberries...


I have just finished making 30 "Inchies" which is the first time I have tried any artwork on such a small scale. Inchies are, as they sound, tiny artworks just 1x1 in square. They are often mixed media, but can be any design, theme or media. I made these for a swap I am doing on
UK Scrappers and I enjoyed using a number of different techniques and materials, searching through my stash to find suitably small images, stamps, and text. My common theme was to use an image and some text and I made 10 sets of 3 different but related ones.

In the swap, I will recieve 3 inchies from each participant, meaning I will also get 3 back of my own, and 3 from my talented DD, who is also taking part. I can't wait to see the inchies created by the other swappers.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


I'm no good at photography. I have a Fuji Finepix F650 compact digital camera, which I mostly only use in auto mode and I usually find the results disappointing - I think this is more my ineptitude and the lack of light inside the house which is to blame for this rather than the quality of the camera. I often feel in my scrapbooking that my photos let down my LOs.

In a bid to improve my photography skills I'm going to try to do a photo a day challenge for myself and post (at least some of!) the results on here. I've decided to do inanimate objects only because A) My family are fed up with me photographing them, B) I'm on my own most of the daylight hours, at least in winter, C) Inanimate things at least stay still, so my chances of a reasonable picture are a little higher and D) I will get a record of some of my favourite bits of my home and suroundings.

So here goes with 1) - still taken on auto mode, but at least with plenty of light on a sunny windowsill:

I love jugs, I love blue and white "Cornish " ware and I love daffodils - so this picture speaks to me of a blissful glimpse, in the middle of winter, of spring days ahead .

Monday, 9 February 2009


This weekend I 've just taken part in my first-ever Cybercrop over on UKScrappers. The idea is that you follow on-line classes and challenges, some of which you can buy kits for and your work has to be uploaded to the gallery by certain deadlines to gain points for your "team". Some people manage to do most of the classes over the sweekend - I don't know how they do it. I did just 4 - 2 classes and 2 challenges plus 2 challenges which had been set in the run-up to the crop.

One of the classes was to make a house-shaped LO with opening doors and roof. I have adapted this to look like our barn and haven't finished it yet, but will post it on here when I have. The other LOs etc are here:

This minibook was made with a "Mystery" kit from Scrapshed - I loved using these papers and embellishments and love the book I made. Also I have loads left to make something else:

This LO was for a class called "Black and Blue":

The "FBI" challenge to use a file-folder, ink and buttons on your LO was the perfect oppprtunity to scrap these pics of DD1 and her favourite hat:

Monday, 2 February 2009

The Urge to Create

All children have the urge to create - as soon as they can hold a crayon they love making marks on paper and any other surface they can find! Later, their expressive drawings are an indication of where they are in their development. Many of us adults, however, have become too busy to give time to creating anything or think that doing anything creative is somehow something "childish" that they have, or should have, grown out of. The creative urge is repressed, buried deep down, but never, I believe, gone entirely.

As a child and a teenager, I loved to make things - I used to draw, paint, sew, knit, write and illustrate stories. I took Art at A-level and even thought of going on to study it in some form but I never felt I was "good enough". My father was an artist and I knew that I did not have his skills with drawing, so I went on to study an academic subject and get a series of jobs, finally settling on teaching. Through my twenties I kept going with my interest in art, took up pottery and kept knitting - I even made my husband a fair isle sleeveless sweater. With the arrival of my children, however, the time to do creative things was squeezed out and my creative urge was pushed still further down.

It did rise to the surface from time to time - in my enjoyment of decorating my childrens' birthday cakes and modelling little figures for them out of icing - and in my dreams. I had a recurrent dream where I would discover that there was one or more rooms in my house that I never knew about or used. My dream dictionary confirmed my feeling that this meant I was not "inhabiting" or using all the parts of myself. Yes, it was my creativity that was nudging me through my dreams, wanting to be used.

Then, about a year ago, I discovered Scrapbooking, by happy chance. Immediately I loved it and felt inspired. I also felt I could do it and didn't even have to draw! This has led to an awakened interest in other forms of art and crafts. As you have read in previous posts, I have got back into knitting and I am also experimenting with various mixed media techniques. And guess what ? Now that I am honouring my creativity, I haven't had a single dream about the unused rooms...

This layout, which I did at the end of last year is about my re-awakened urge to create:

And here is one I did about those birthday cakes...

Thanks for reading this long post