Merry and Bright

With December finally here, it’s time to start putting up our Christmas decorations and make the house Merry & Bright. This page is inspired by the colourful tissue paper that wrapped three beautiful felt trees that my friends from America sent us for Christmas last year.


I started by gluing the patterned tissue paper onto the whole page using Winsor & Newton Matt Gel. Then I drew and cut out three tree templates and a circle, and used them to mask off the tissue paper. I covered the background with white gesso, it took quite a few coats of gesso to cover the tissue paper and I soon realised that I had to be careful as the wet gesso made the dye in the tissue paper run. I really like how it turned out with the pattern just showing through which is just the look I wanted. I arranged four different stamps featuring framed festive images and also the words “winter wonderland wishes” onto an acrylic block, this allowed the spacing of the stamps to be consistent across the page. I then applied a different colour ink to each stamp on the acrylic block and stamped it over the background of the page in a repeating pattern. Next I added blue shading around the Christmas trees using ink and a blending tool so it looked like the trees are glowing with light. I removed the template masks and stamped a blue bow onto the top of each tree. Then I outlined the circle, bows and trees with glitter paint, filling in the trunks with the paint and left it to dry overnight as it smudges easily. The glitter paint really adds so much sparkle and shimmer to this page, which isn’t fully captured in the photo. I added a heart gemstone in the centre of each bow and also gem embellishments to each framed festive stamp. For the sentiment, I cut out a circle of white card and coloured it using blue ink and a blending tool so it was slightly darker around the edges. I then stamped the sentiment in the centre using two different stamps and stuck it over the tissue paper circle using double-sided foam tape. Then to finish I added gem embellishments and painted glitter paint to the edge of the sentiment and the light bulbs to add a twinkle effect.


Whilst decorating the house for Christmas, these three lovely trees and their tissue paper fired up my imagination. Here they are in all their splendour hanging in our hallway on the cloakroom door. I love how the different shades of green from the felt trees echoes some of our beautiful stained glass windows. Our house was built in the 1920’s in an Edwardian style and still has 10 of the original stained glass windows left. As we make our houses Merry & Bright with decorations for Christmas, I am pleased to be able to join Valerie over at Art Journal Journey, with her new December theme of “Light and Darkness”.

Thanks for joining me today! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of all the materials used to create this art journal page:

  • Winsor & Newton White Gesso
  • Dylon 3D Glitter Paint (Silver)
  • Hobbycraft (Assorted Ink Pads)
  • Kars cleat stamps (Christmas figures in window 18009/2037)
  • Hallmark Cards (Christmas stamp set)
  • Stamp sets free with magazines (Simply Cards and Papercraft Issue 142 – Winter Wonderland & Wishes, Quick Cards Made Easy Issue 146 – Festive Silhouettes Luxury Stamp Set)
  • Tissue paper
  • White card
  • Habico 3mm self-adhesive gem stones (Festive Assortment)
  • The Range (Shaped Gem Stickers CR0521)
  • Hobbycraft Self Adhesive Gems (Assorted Square 5666141000)
  • Winsor & Newton Matt Gel
  • The Range Double-sided foam tape

The Grand Theatre Blackpool

Last month for my hubby’s Birthday we went on a Heritage Tour of The Grand Theatre in Blackpool. It is such an interesting and magical place that I created a journal page.


First I wanted to re-create the plaster work that is a feature of the theatre so I applied Pébéo modelling paste with a palette knife in straight lines along the border of my page using a stencil. Then I applied more modelling paste using a wedding place card as a stencil which had a die cut design that I thought looked like the intricate and delicate plaster work we saw. Once the modelling paste had dried overnight, I painted parchment coloured Liquitex acrylic paint over the whole of the page.  Next I added the cherub and rose images which are torn pieces of napkin, they are stuck to the page using a UHU Stic. I painted Gold Size onto the page with a paint brush and applied some gold leaf, then added plasterboard/drywall tape over the top to mimic the patterned gold leaf in the theatre. I also applied gold leaf to some filigree cut outs, which are from a wedding favour box and added them to the modelling paste design. I used outline stickers to add the gold lines and small teardrop shapes to further compliment the modelling paste patterns and embellished it further with self-adhesive gem pearls. Our tour guide kindly allowed me to keep one of our tickets and the images of The Grand are cut from the Heritage Tour leaflet.  I adorned them all with gold leaf cut outs and pearls and stuck them to the page with double-sided foam tape. To finish I added two cameos that were in keeping with the Victorian Baroque theme. This page really reminds me of our visit; I was inspired by so many different design elements that we saw at the theatre which my hubby captured beautifully in his photos too.


The Grand was designed by architect Frank Matcham and was opened in 1894 after a construction period of seven months, at a cost of £20,000.


Matcham’s brief was to build the “prettiest theatre in the land” – I’m sure you’ll agree he achieved just that!


Matcham built over 80 theatres although now there are only about two dozen left. We feel very privileged to have been able to visit one of his stunning theatres and one in such good condition too.


We are also pleased to be able to support the marvellous work that The Friends of the Grand does, who were formed in 1973 to save the building from demolition. The first Friends were literally ‘hands-on’, painting the dressing rooms, repairing holes to the ceiling and getting the theatre into shape. Nowadays they raise funds towards projects such as the provision of new carpets, seating and technical equipment. The theatre is gradually being restored to its original Matcham splendour with the upholstering being changed back to its original blue English velvet, along with the plush curtains and draperies.


We also went back stage, which isn’t as glamorous as I thought it would be, very functional. This is the back of the safety curtain which is made from metal in case of a fire to prevent it spreading into the theatre. Over the years actors who have performed at The Grand have adorned it with their names, comments and the show they performed in.


Matcham designed seating on four tiers and you may notice that he thought of everything as all seats have a good view of the stage. This is truly a feat of engineering as there are no columns to block the view of the stage, the tiers being built on the steel cantilever principle.


The theatre is magnificent in every detail; the general scheme of decoration is in white, buff and pink. Alongside the intricate plaster work and gold leaf, there are many cherubs, flowers and spectacular paintings.


What better way to celebrate our tour than tea and homemade scones with clotted cream and homemade bramble jelly – my hubby requested these for his birthday and it was a delicious way to celebrate! I’m so pleased to say a big hello to the T Gang over at T Stands for Tuesday – Happy T Day!

Thanks for joining me today! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of all the materials used to create this art journal page:

  • Pébéo Modeling Paste High Density
  • Liquitex Artist Color Acrylic (Parchment)
  • Sharpie Permanent Fine Point marker (Black)
  • Ranger Claudine Hellmuth Studio 6×6 Stencil (Our Town HSC36920)
  • Magenta Style outline stickers (Daisy Gold 93326G)
  • Hobbycraft outline stickers (Gold Scenes 5934211001)
  • The Works (4 Cameo Embellishments)
  • Poundland (Pearl Embellishments U-80929)
  • Gold Leaf
  • 151Adhesives Plasterboard & Drywall Tape
  • Dunelm napkins (Grace 30220549)
  • Dunelm (Place Cards)
  • Tour ticket and leaflet
  • Liquitex Matte Gel Medium
  • Annie Sloan (Gold Size)
  • UHU Stic
  • The Range Double-sided foam tape

Winter Art Fair

Last weekend I went to Lytham Hall where there was a Winter Art Fair being held. There were over 50 different arts and crafts stalls and I had a great time chatting to the stall holders about their work. Most of the artists were local to this area and some of the money raised goes to help with Lytham Hall’s restoration.


I started by applying Winsor & Newton grey watercolour paint with a baby wipe, blending the colour so it was darker round the edges of the page. I toned this colour down by applying a thin layer of white gesso. Next I stamped grey snowflakes using London Fog Memento Ink all around the edge of the page to create a border in keeping with the winter theme. I used the same stamp to add small snowflakes intermittently around the border using blue Memento Ink. I then created a collage with the business cards that I had collected from the stall holders and a picture of Lytham Hall which I cut from a leaflet, sticking them to the page using a UHU Stic. I outlined them with a black fine line Uni Pin marker and then added the snowflakes which are stickers to enhance the winter feel. As the fair was busy I wanted to capture this by creating lots of things to look at on the page. I picked up a flyer advertising the fair, so I used this on the page too, along with “Hopeful and Glorious” who are the people running the fair. They are fussy cut, outlined with a black Sharpie and a Uni Pin marker then stuck to the page using double-sided foam tape. I also added some shimmer and shine to them using a Wink of Stella shimmer pen and glitter glue so they looked like the snowflakes had settled on them. To finish I added the blue glossy gel sticker dots and stars. I think this page captures the Winter Fair’s magic!


I particularly liked these 4 stalls, firstly a ceramic artist who makes fine porcelain and uses lace to pattern her items.


Secondly, an artist who uses a typewriter to create images – check out the video on her site, it’s an amazing way to create art!


Thirdly, a lady who makes laser cut wooden pictures of our town.


And finally, this lady creates beautiful art pieces from fabrics on which she has printed her own photos, so each piece has a wonderful back story.

I was glad to be able to help support Lytham Hall, which was built in the 1750’s and was the home of the Clifton Family, on whose land our whole town was built. The building and remaining grounds fell into neglect and has now been bought for the benefit of the town and is slowly being restored.

I am also delighted to be able to share our lovely day out with everyone over at Art Journal Journey for this month’s theme “No face, no wings, no leaves but COLLAGE”.  

Thanks for joining me today! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of all the materials used to create this art journal page:

  • Winsor & Newton Cotmann Watercolour (Payne’s Gray)
  • Memento Ink (London Fog, Bahama Blue)
  • Pébéo White Gesso
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush artist pen (Cold Grey IV 233)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Uniball Signo gel pen (White)
  • Sharpie Permanent Fine Point marker (Black)
  • Clear Impressions stamp set (Woodland Christmas)
  • Home Bargains Season’s Greetings (Wall Stickers 16221)
  • Home Bargains stickers (Mini Gel Stickers 30287)
  • Business cards, leaflets and flyer
  • Zig Memory System Wink of Stella Brush (GL. Clear 999)
  • The Range glitter glue (3D Glue Pen GLT 4321000)
  • UHU Stic
  • The Range Double-sided foam tape

All Things Pumpkin

As you may know I love all things pumpkin, so today my page gives thanks to this autumnal treat. I’m also pleased to say a big hello to the T Gang over at T Stands for Tuesday – Happy T day!pumpkin-spice-ajp

The background is inspired by a great technique I discovered on one of my blog friend’s posts and I just had to try it out. Her site is called Blending Colours and here’s the post. Although I didn’t have the exact same products I decided to improvise and give it a go using Colourcraft Brusho Colours and Liquitex matte gel medium. So I sprinkled two colours of Brusho Powders onto the page then painted gel medium over the top using a wet paint brush (as I found it thins down the gel medium). I made sure that I kept the brush strokes in the same direction and was rewarded with this lovely wood grain effect. I really like the colour variation and think this is because each Brusho colour is made of separate colour components. Once the gel medium had dried I added a border using ink from a Faber-Castell Big Brush marker and an old plastic gift card and added highlights using a Uniball Signo white gel pen. Next I applied the sentiments which are rub-on transfers by Royal & Langnickel and the label from a bottle of Pumpkin Spice syrup. As we had discovered the syrup in a Moose Coffee shop I cut a moose out of paper from a Craft Asylum Paper Pad, then I outlined it with a black Sharpie marker and stuck it to the page using double-sided foam tape. To finish I punched out some hearts from the same paper and stuck them to the page using a UHU Stic, outlining them with a Uni Pin black marker once the glue had dried.  This new technique with the gel medium and Brusho powders is certainly one I will try again, I think there are endless applications for this effect.


Last week you may remember seeing Linda’s delicious pumpkin roll that she had baked. I was so impressed I decided to try making one myself. This is the recipe I found and although it rose too high making it a little thick to roll, it was still light and fluffy and tasted wonderful. Definitely one I’d have again and it was perfect with a nice cup of tea. Thanks for the inspiration Linda, although I’d love to try your recipe as it looks so much more professional than mine!pumpkin-ale

Our pumpkin beer is finally ready to drink, so over the weekend we decided to try it. It came out really nice with a lovely hint of pumpkin and the smell of pumpkin spices. This is the 27th batch of beer that my hubby has brewed, it’s a nice coppery colour and came in at 5.78% abv (alcohol by volume). We first had pumpkin beer on holiday (vacation) in Maine at Federal Jacks bar in Kennebunkport where they serve it with a shot of spiced rum added, so to remain authentic, we tried it that way too. It’s so nice and warming on a cold autumn day, though I limit myself to only one as it’s quite potent!

Thanks for joining me today! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of all the materials used to create this art journal page:

  • Colourcraft Brusho Colours (Dark Brown, Yellow)
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush artist pen (Black 199)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Uniball Signo gel pen (White)
  • Sharpie Permanent Fine Point marker (Black)
  • Creative Rox Craft Asylum Paper Pad (Into the woods 480326)
  • Syrup label
  • Royal & Langnickel Rub-on Transfers (Thanksgiving Sentiments #ROY522 RUB-ON)
  • Tonic Studios Paper Punch Accent (Hearts Sider 830E)
  • Liquitex Matte Gel Medium
  • UHU Stic
  • The Range Double-sided foam tape


Thanksgiving 2016

Although we live in the UK we like to celebrate Thanksgiving, which is next Thursday, so I thought I would create a page to capture the holiday spirit. I also wanted it to tie into this month’s theme “No face, no wings, no leaves but COLLAGE” over at Art Journal Journey being hosted by Susi. I hope you like it!


To start with I applied patches of Liquitex white gesso to the page using a palette knife and left it to dry. I then diluted some Faber-Castell Big Brush marker ink and Distress Ink, and painted them in blocks across the page, alternating the 3 colours so they looked like tiles. I like the way the white gesso shows through when a thin layer of ink is applied on top of it, adding texture and a different colour tone. Next I defined the sections further using a black Faber-Castell big brush marker applying it to the page with an old gift card. I added the sentiments which are rub-on transfers and tore pieces of paper that compliment the colour of the painted blocks. I edged the papers with Archival Ink using a blending tool and stuck them in place using Liquitex matte gel medium. Once the gel medium was dry I used a black big brush marker to edge the page and tile sections, smudging it in places by using a baby wipe. I added the white flower stickers, hearts which I had punched from the same papers I used for the tiles and finally some buttons which are held in place using Ranger glossy accents.cakesWe like to start our celebrations early and enjoy everything pumpkin! We don’t get a great choice of pumpkin food stuffs here in the UK unlike America, so home baking is the order of the day. This is a picture of some of my pumpkin bakes – my hubby’s birthday cake and a yummy pumpkin pie in the background too! The cake I created is based on the wonderful pumpkin Dunkin’ Donut we had in America, it is a vanilla sponge, pumpkin butter cream and maple syrup icing topped with crushed Graham Crackers (these are also homemade as you can’t buy them easily in the UK). Delicious!

Thanks for joining me today! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of all the materials used to create this art journal page:

  • Pébéo White Gesso
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush artist pen (Black 199, Sanguine 188 B, Cold Grey IV 233 B)
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Brushed Corduroy)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm and 0.8mm)
  • Uniball Signo gel pen (White)
  • Craft Sensations Design Pad (Pastels & Whites CR0260/PW)
  • Poundland Design Pad (Changing Seasons CR0701/16PL1)
  • Paper Bundle
  • Royal & Langnickel Rub-on Transfers (Thanksgiving Sentiments #ROY522 RUB-ON)
  • Home Bargains Special Occasions (Mini Decorative Stickers 22740)
  • Tonic Studios Paper Punch Accent (Hearts Sider 830E)
  • Buttons
  • Ranger Glossy Accents
  • Liquitex Matte Gel Medium
  • UHU Stic

Kickin’ Leaves

We went for a walk in Duxbury Woods with some friends and it was a magical place. The ancient woods didn’t disappoint with the bubbling River Yarrow, autumnal leaves and spectacular fungi. I love to go on autumn walks as the fallen leaves crunch under your feet and you can kick piles of them into the air. Even though there were leaves everywhere, I refrained from kicking them skywards as it’s a nature reserve. So my page today is inspired by our walk and my imagination of kicking leaves into the air.


I lightly drew the trees and horizons onto the page in pencil, then I masked the trees using masking tape and created paper masks for the foreground and sky areas so I could keep the horizon line well defined. Covering the foreground with the mask I started blending different blue inks to create the sky, painted the low autumn sun using acrylic paint and then blended out the yellow with pinks to create the sunbeams. Next I stamped an animal print using blue and silver inks and acrylic white paint to the sky area to give a mottled cloud effect. With the ink dry, I masked it off and started on the foreground creating and blending bands of colour using assorted ink pads and a sponge, starting with green and finishing with light purple to define the horizon. I removed the sky mask and the masking tape from the trees then used a stencil to add modelling paste to the tree trunks to mimic the fungi we saw. Once it had dried I used brown inks to colour them making sure I left the right hand side lighter as the sunshine would hit that side. The little girl and umbrella is hand drawn on multi-media paper and coloured using inks, they are stuck to the page using double-sided tape. To enhance the umbrella effect I shaded the middle with a brown ink and then added a double layer of foam tape at its centre so that the crown stood proud of the edges to make the right shape. The maple leaves are cut with a paper punch from a selection of papers from a Craft Asylum paper pad.  Having punched out the leaves I used the paper the leaves were cut out of as a stencil to add leaves over the foreground using different coloured inks. The punched leaves are stuck to the page mostly with matt gel medium, although I did use double-sided foam tape for some of them to give a 3D effect especially the ones the little girl is kicking in the air.  I outlined some of the leaves, trees and the little girl using a Uniball white gel pen and black Uni Pin marker in order to add detail as well as the highlights and shadows. I added a gem stone to the middle of the umbrella, then applied glossy accents to it and to the little girls red welly boots, which I then left to dry overnight. The glossy accents gives a clear 3D effect so they stand out. To finish I added a leaf on top of the umbrella and a robin which I had previously made and found in my craft stash, we saw some robins on our walk and I thought it would be nice for them to watch her having so much fun!


The walk ran alongside the River Yarrow, which attracts birds such as the dipper, grey wagtail and kingfisher. With improved water quality and new fish passes (fish friendly steps around weirs) being introduced, Salmon have been recorded at Duxbury for the first time in over 100 years.


There are benches along the way so we sat listening to the water cascading over the rocks making a magical sound!


These magnificent roots were reaching down the bank towards the river below.


There were so many different fungi to see on the ground and trees – aren’t they stunning!


There were also plenty of tree stumps and logs for fungi to grow on – I think fairies must live in these little white dainty ones.sweeping-branches

The views across the woodland were spectacular; the trees were so tall with splashes of green and autumnal oranges and golds.


So when we got home, it called for a hot drink and some homemade parkin – yum! And like the wood, my parkin recipe has also stood the test of time and has been passed down through generations of my family. As T Stands for Tuesday, I’m delighted to say a big hello to the T Gang and wishing everyone a Happy T day!

Thanks for joining me today! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of all the materials used to create this art journal page:

  • Liquitex Artist Color Acrylic (Cadmium Yellow Medium)
  • Colvin & Co acrylic paint (Titanium White)
  • Hobbycraft (Assorted Ink Pads)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.8mm)
  • Uniball Signo gel pen (White)
  • Ranger Texture Paste
  • Hobbycraft A6 clear stamp (Animal Prints Background)
  • The Crafter’s Workshop Ronda Palazzari Designs stencil (Texturized 12×12 Template)
  • Creative Rox Craft Asylum Paper Pad (Into the woods 480326)
  • Leaf Punch
  • Hobbycraft Self Adhesive Gems (Assorted Square 5666141000)
  • Winsor & Newton Matt Gel
  • Ranger Glossy Accents
  • The Range double-sided foam tape

Beer Festival 2016

It’s been a busy few weeks and as members of CAMRA we can be found every year volunteering to serve beer at the annual Lytham Beer Festival. We had a lovely time meeting like minded people who visit the festival, listening to the live music and of course trying all the different beers.

As T Stands for Tuesday, I’m saying a big cheers to the T Gang and wishing everyone a very Happy T Day!


For the background I applied Spectrum Aqua markers to an acrylic block and holding the block over the page I spritzed it with water until it dripped onto the page, smooshing it in places to blend the different colours that I applied. I like the result and think it looks like the different types of beer we served at the festival, which ranged from blonde to black in colour. I then used a stencil called Past Times to add some black cogs using a blending tool to apply Black Soot Distress Ink. I fussy cut lots of images out of beer magazines that related to the festival such as hand pumps and arranged them on the page using a UHU Stic to adhere them. I also used our Festival Programmes that contained the tasting notes on the different beers we served, and picked out my hubby’s favourite (York Guzzler) and mine (Joules Slumbering Monk). I really like this addition to the page as we always write our own tasting notes alongside each beer we try, so that we can recommend different beers to our customers. To finish I outlined some of the collage elements with a black Uni Pin marker and using a sticker added a dot to the map of England to show where the Festival was held.

I delighted to be able to join Susi over at Art Journal Journey for this month’s theme “No face, no wings, no leaves but COLLAGE”.  


There were over 80 real ales beers to try at the Festival, as well as 15 ciders and perries and a selection of around 25 world beers.


Here is me and hubby enjoying the Festival!

Thanks for joining me today! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of all the materials used to create this art journal page:

  • Spectrum Aqua Artist Marker (Yellow, Gold, Dark Sepia, Chocolate, Terracotta)
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Black Soot)
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush artist pen (Black 199)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Uniball Signo gel pen (White)
  • Viva Décor Universal Stencil (Past Times 9002 703 00)
  • Hobbycraft outline stickers (Gold Harmony 5934031001)
  • Magazines
  • Festival programme
  • UHU Stic