Our Coastal Birds

We feel very blessed to live 2-3 minutes walk from the beach and once a week we meet up with one of our good friends to walk along the shoreline, she is a keen photographer and specialises in bird and wildlife photography. We have seen many coastal birds on our walks over the winter months so I thought I would share some of them with you.

The background textures and colours represent the sand, sea and pebbles of our shoreline. First, I applied Sea Green and Desert Spectrum Aqua Markers to an acrylic block, spritzed the ink with water and pressed it onto the page. I then stamped a Sketchy stamp by Kaisercraft using Tea Dye Distress Ink and a Serpentine Background stamp using Cracked Pistachio Distress Ink. Then I repeated the same process by applying Hickory Smoke and Blueprint Sketch Distress Ink to an acrylic block, spritzing it with water and dripping the ink or pressing the block onto the page. I stenciled dots using a Creative Expressions Mask and the Hickory Smoke ink with a blending tool. Next I secondary stamped (in order to give a lighter image) a compass stamp from the Steampunk stamp set by Docrafts, a feather stamp by Craft Sensations  and a binoculars stamp by Royal & Langnickel using Jet Black Archival Ink. This is to represent the North West coastline, the fact that some of the birds migrate to our shores, the feathers you find on the beach and the binoculars we use to see the birds up close. The bird images are fussy cut from an old AA travel book and show some of the different birds we have seen on our walks; they are stuck to the page using a UHU Stic. I also cut the Oyster Catcher image and information from the same book, as well as the blue paper square which I stamped with the names of some other birds that we have seen and also decorated it with a tag stamp using Archival Ink, and the same compass and feather stamps using the Hickory Smoke ink and the Desert Aqua marker. Both these pieces are stuck to the page using double-sided foam tape. I stamped the words “discover” and “explore” using Archival Ink and then I used rub-on transfers for the rest of the wording. To finish I added three pretty white and blue seashell beads using Glossy Accents to adhere them.

As we are “Out and About” exploring the shoreline and watching the birds, I’m pleased to be able to join Yvonne from Meggy’s Way over at Art Journal Journey.

Our walks along the beach are made even more magical by the wide variety of birds that we see. Here’s a view from the top of one of the many sand dunes, it shows the area of the beach and mudflats where we see many of the birds, especially when the tide is coming in.

We always have fun spotting the different birds especially those that over-winter here or stop to feed during their migration. Here I am all wrapped up at the foot of the dunes, looking for birds because I am normally allocated chief bird spotter and given the binoculars. We often see what is known as a LBJ (little brown job) which we think is a sparrow but turns out to be a Linnet or a Reed Bunting or even a special visitor to our shores – a Wheatear. My hubby and our friend are the photographers as they have the zoom lenses needed to capture the flying birds and those on the shoreline. As you will see from the following photos they have captured some wonderful birds on our walks. I’d like to say a special thank you to both of them for contributing their fabulous photos to my blog today!

This Turnstone was watching us and waiting to resume feeding on the muddy shoreline, it is well suited to our coast as although we have sandy beaches there are pebbles and stony areas too.

It was amazing to see the Curlews for the first time this year, aren’t they magnificent! I was surprised about how big they are, until my friend told me they are one of the biggest wading birds in Europe. They also have a very distinct call which gives them their name.

The Little Egrets have joined our shoreline over the winter months, they take refuge in the mud flats at low tide and tend to disappear at high tide. They are so elegant and as you can see look spectacular when in flight.

The Oyster Catchers stay along our shoreline all year round and are very noisy birds. They come closer to shore as the tide comes in and here they are on the mud flats at high tide. They are so beautiful with their black and white plumage and red beak and legs.

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 (Sea Green, Desert)
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Hickory Smoke, Blueprint Sketch)
  • Ranger Archival (Jet Black)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush Pitt artist Pen (Cold Grey IV 233)
  • Kaisercraft clear stamp (Sketchy CS878)
  • Art Impressions wood mounted stamp (Serpentine Background T-2773)
  • Royal & Langnickel Clear Choice Stamps (Journey MIN-CCS104)
  • Papermania Urban Stamps (All Aboard – Tags PMA907178)
  • Craft Sensations Clear Stamps (CRO274/16R1)
  • Docrafts Creativity Essstials A5 clear stamp set (Steampunk DCE907125)
  • Creative Expressions That Touch of Mica Masks (Distressed Dots)
  • Discover Britain AA Book
  • Royal & Langnickel Rub-on Sentiments (Summer #ROY505 Rub-on)
  • The Works (Seashore Beads)
  • Ranger Glossy Accents
  • UHU Stic
  • The Range double-sided foam tape

Music at High Tide

We always have fun when we walk along the South Promenade in Blackpool, and the last couple of times we have been lucky to have been there when the tide has been coming in. This is because we get to listen to the Hide Tide Organ, which is a sculpture that has pipes running through the centre and down to the shoreline, so when the tide comes in it makes the most amazing sounds. You can imagine my joy on hearing it so I had to capture this in my journal.

music-at-high-tide-ajp-new

I mixed blue, green, apricot, yellow and parchment acrylic paints to produce the background colours that represent the sea, sky and golden sand, and then applied them to the page with a baby wipe. I kept the paint strokes angled towards the right of the page so it looked like the tide was moving into the shoreline. Next I added strips of music note washi tape to represent the musical sound the tidal organ makes and merged them into the background using paint. Then I splattered white acrylic paint over the page, I did this by applying the paint to an acrylic block adding a little water and flicking the paint from the block with a paintbrush. This represents sea foam and I concentrated my splatters on the left of the page fading out to the right. The seaweed leaves are fussy cut from paper by Kaisercraft from their Rock Pool Collection, they are stuck to the page using Liquitex matte gel medium. I painted two wave-shaped paper borders blue and then added wavy detail with a white Uniball gel pen; they were easy to stick to the page as they are self-adhesive. To make my tidal organ sculpture I created a rust effect on a piece of card. Firstly, I stippled modelling paste onto the card to give a rough textured foundation and let it dry thoroughly. I then mixed yellow, red and black acrylic paints to produce brown and orange rusty hues, and then I stippled these colours along with black acrylic over the top of the modelling paste trying not to overwork the colours to avoid them blending together; the idea was to create texture and for it to look patchy like rust. Once the paint had dried I used a template which I had drawn to cut out my sculpture, then I coloured the cut edges with a Sanguine Faber-Castell Big Brush Pitt marker and I stuck it to the page using a UHU Stic. I stamped the words in an undulating pattern using a Docrafts Alphas Folk alphabet set and black Archival Ink. To finish I added a couple of seagulls, which are cut from white paper and stuck down using a UHU Stic; we often see a seagull perched on the top of the sculpture.

I’m so pleased to be able to join Yvonne from Meggy’s way who is hosting this month’s challenge “Out and About” over at Art Journal Journey.

high-tide-organ

The High Tide Organ is a sculpture which is 15 metres (49 ft 3 in) tall and is described as a “musical manifestation of the sea”; it is one of a few examples of a tidal organ.

plaque

“The sculpture was designed by the artists Liam Curtin and John Gooding, and was constructed in concrete, steel, zinc and copper sheet. The harnessing of wave energy, and the sculpting of the concrete and metals is said to produce a unique interpretation of Blackpool’s natural and man-made environments. The instrument is played by the sea at high tide through eight pipes which are attached to the sea wall. These are connected under the promenade to 18 organ pipes within the sculpture. The swell of seawater at high tide pushes air up the sea-wall pipes and causes the organ pipes to sound. The best time to hear the High Tide Organ is two to three hours before or after high tide. On very calm days the organ is silent for part of its cycle. The pitches of the pipes are based on the harmonic series in B flat” (Wikipedia). It makes quite an eerie sound, as you can hear for yourself on this link.

rust

Being by the sea, you would expect this metal structure to rust and it has a lovely texture to it as a result.

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 (Swedush Blue, Christmas Green, Ivory Black, Apricot, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Red Medium Hue/Lacquer Red)
  • Colvin & Co Artist’s Acrylic (White Titanium)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush Pitt artist pen (Sanguine 188 B)
  • Docrafts A5 clear stamp set (Alpha Folk DCE907115)
  • Kaisercraft Rock Pool Collection paper (Seaweed P834)
  • Hobbycraft Paper Borders (White 5895891000)
  • Hobbycraft Decorative Tape (Assorted Black & White 5971481007)
  • Pébéo Modeling Paste High Density
  • Cardboard
  • White paper
  • Liquitex Matte Gel Medium
  • UHU Stic

Asian Delights

With the recent Chinese New Year, our new Thai cookery books and shopping at an Asian supermarket, I was inspired to create this page.

asian-delights-ajp

The background is painted using Distress Ink which I applied like watercolour using a paintbrush and diluting the ink with water on an acrylic block. I was amazed by the texture I achieved just with my painting and I think the vibrancy of the colours ties into the Asian theme too.  Next I stamped ink from a Terracotta Spectrum Aqua marker using a Kaisercraft stamp, which merged with the background because Distress Inks are reactivated when they become wet, which I like. Next I tore pieces of black and gold card from the Eastern Promise themed topper pack from Hunkydory and edged them with a gold metallic marker, and then stuck them to the page with double-sided foam tape. I also added butterflies which I punched out of the same card using a Tonic Studios Simplicity punch. The oriental style dream tag, birds and red sun, flowers and butterflies are stickers by Penny Black. I really like the transparency of the stickers and added some shadow around them with an Aqua marker then doodled around them using a black Uni Pin marker to add further definition. The gold lines, flowers and dots are outline stickers which I outlined with a black Uni Pin marker to make them stand out more.  To finish I added some green rhinestones to add extra sparkle.

goodies

We love cooking and eating Chinese and Indian food and as we enjoyed our visit to The Giggling Squid Thai restaurant so much, we bought a couple of Thai cookbooks to add to our growing cookbook collection. Of course that meant a trip to our local Asian supermarket to stock up on ingredients as most of them cannot be found in our regular store. This included Thai basil, galangal, shrimp paste, chilli bean paste and a variety of curry pastes for our new Thai recipes, black beans and oyster sauce for our Chinese cooking and creamed coconut for our Thai and Indian curries.

fruity

Before you enter the Supermarket itself, you are greeted with a lovely array of fruit and veg. We always stock up on fresh herbs, Cyprus potatoes and fruit – this time we treated ourselves to lychee, yum!

spices

The shelves are full of goodies, this is the spice section where we bought our Kaffir Lime Leaves for our Thai recipes and on opposite side of the aisle are all the nuts and dried fruits.

tea

They have a wide range of tea and coffee, we always buy our favourite Chinese Gunpowder Green Tea.

teapot

Here is the green tea in our glass teapot from Japan, it makes two mugs of tea, just enough for hubby and me. As T Stands for Tuesday I’m saying a big hello to the T Gang – Happy T day!

I’m also pleased to be able to join Linda’s theme “50 Shades of Red” over at Art Journal Journey.

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 Marker (Terracotta, Slate)
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Peeled Paint, Mowed Lawn, Peacock Feathers, Chipped Sapphire)
  • Script metallic pen (Gold)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Kaisercraft clear stamps (Sketchy CS878)
  • Hunkydory Crafts Luxury Topper Collection (Eastern Promise EAST104)
  • Penny Black 2006 Stickeroos (Butterfly Party #10-181)
  • Tonic Studios Simplicity Punch (Flora & Fauna Butterfly 916E)
  • Magenta Style Outline Stickers (Daisy Gold 93326G)
  • Hobbycraft Outline Stickers (Gold Scenes 5934211001)
  • Hobbycraft Stickers (Green Rhinestone 5971511004)
  • The Range double-sided foam tape

Spanish Lady

My inspiration for this page was an image of a lovely Spanish lady that I saw in a local advertising booklet.

spanish-lady-ajp

I started by diluting Desert Spectrum Aqua marker ink and two Distress Inks onto an acrylic block with water and flicking them onto the page using a paint brush. Next I added more red Distress Ink using a homemade polystyrene stamp, and then I used a doily stamp with red Memento Ink and also a serpentine background stamp using black Archival Ink. Using the same two inks I layered more images and patterns this time using stamps of a music sheet, a scroll heart and rose, a single stemmed rose and a pretty rose border.

music-sheet-1For the picture, I cut an oval piece of music sheet from a Spanish song called “La Paloma” (the dove) by Yradier and stuck it to the page using a UHU Stic. As you can see I made sure I included the word Spanish and the name of the composer.  I then edged the oval with a black frame which is a sticker.collageThe Spanish lady is from an advertisement I saw in a booklet, and as you can see only the top half of the dress was included on the advert, so I got creative and created the bottom half myself. Luckily I had kept many copies of the booklets, so I cut the dress sleeves and bodices out and designed a flowing skirt for her dress and then some shoes. It was a bit fiddly cutting the pieces out and arranging them but I think it worked really well and she looks like she is dancing along to the music while playing her maracas. I added further detail to the dress using a Derwent Graphik marker to make the pieces flow together. To finish I added the red and gold gems to the page which reminded me of the colours of the Spanish flag.

I’m pleased to be able to join Linda’s theme “50 Shades of Red” over at Art Journal Journey.

sangria

As T Stands for Tuesday I’m keeping with the Spanish theme and sharing a sangria with you – Happy T Day! You may remember Bleubeard and Elizabeth sharing a journal page on Boston with us recently, so I thought I would share the sangria I had from Joe’s American Bar on Newbury Street when I visited Boston. Although you can’t tell from the photo I’d say it was as big as a goldfish bowl  – it was so delicious and very welcome after a day of sightseeing and shopping!

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 (Desert)
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Fired Brick, Black Soot)
  • Memento Ink (Love Letter)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush Pitt artist pen (Black 199)
  • Derwent Graphik Line Marker (Black 0.05mm)
  • Docrafts Curiosity Corner clear stamps (A5 Lace and Diole DCCS009)
  • Art Impressions wood mounted stamp (Serpentine Background T-2773)
  • Woodware Craft Collection Clear Magic Singles stamp (Sheet Music JGS111)
  • Royal & Langnickel Clear Choice stamps (Ornate Scrollwork MIN-CCS123, Fanciful Florals MIN-CCS124)
  • Unknown wood mounted stamp (Rose design)
  • Music of All Nations – Part 1
  • Fylde Local List booklets
  • The Works (3 Frames)
  • Poundworld (Scrapbook Accessories)
  • Ranger Glossy Accents
  • UHU Stic
  • Zig Memory System 2-Way Glue (The Dual Action Glue Pen)

A life of love and happiness!

I feel very blessed to have married my soulmate and to have spent many happy and fulfilling years together – our life is a simple one based on love and happiness!

life-ajp

I started by painting the page with Aquamarine and Yellow Spectrum Aqua marker ink which I diluted with water. I used a round blending tool to add circles of Peeled Paint and Cracked Pistachio Distress Ink and as this ink can be reactivated I then spritzed them with water so the colours merged into each other, this gave a lovely mottled pigment effect too.  I wanted to experiment so I made a large round stamp from polystyrene and used it to add lovely textured circles using the same Distress Inks; I think this stamp worked really well. Next I stamped the black flowers using stamps from Hampton Arts and Jet Black Archival Ink. To enlarge the bigger stamped flowers I drew stamen like additions using a black Uni Pin that I swirled around each bloom. As I wanted to add more texture and dimension to the page, I used a stencil to apply a mixture of Parchment acrylic paint and Ranger Texture Paste to add cream dots and wavy lines. To finish I added letter and sentiment cardstock stickers and embellished the page with some beautiful fabric birds, hearts and flowers by Little Yellow Bicycle.

liverpool

We like the same things so we can be found exploring new places or visiting old haunts to take in the architecture, history and culture – it was springtime when we visited Liverpool and took a selfie with the Eleanor Rigby statue.

glasson-dock

We are thankful for everyday and always enjoy the time we have together – here we are along the Lancaster Canal on one of our summer hikes, as you may know we like to go walking in the countryside.

ska-face

We find pleasure in the simple things and feel life is about making memories and having fun; here we are in the autumn watching one of our favourite bands at a local pub.

beach-1

We feel very blessed to live by the beach and still enjoy going for a walk even in the winter all bundled up against the cold.

I’m so pleased to be able to join Erica from BioArtGal who is hosting this month’s theme “Tell me a Story” over at Art Journal Journey.

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 (Aquamarine, Yellow)
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Peeled Paint, Cracked Pistachio)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Liquitex Artist Color acrylic (Parchment)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Ronda Palazzari 12×12 template (Texturized)
  • Dot Stencil
  • Hampton Art Doodlebug Design Inc. cling mounted rubber stamps (Borders ICO160, Thankful ICO162)
  • Hampton Art Bella Boulevard cling mounted rubber stamps (Sand & Surf ICO226)
  • Homemade polystyrene stamp
  • Little Yellow Bicycle stickers (Fabric Favourites PD-220, Cardstock Fresh Verse  PD-140)

Brush up your Shakespeare

Today my journal page pays homage to (one of) the greatest poets and playwrights of all time – William Shakespeare.

brush-up-your-shakespeare-ajp-1

To make the page look old and worn I used Tea Dye Distress Ink and applied the ink with a blending tool around the edges of the page and to patches of the page, blending the ink so the colour almost faded out. I stamped a script stamp over the page using black Archival Ink to suggest his writing. The image of the building is reminiscent of the era and I found the picture of William Shakespeare in an old magazine. I collaged these along with some torn pieces of an old family tree onto the page, and I used the same family tree paper that was leftover to stamp his name, the square script document and the crow using Archival Ink and then I fussy cut them all out. All of these pieces were edged with Tea Dye ink using a blending tool to make them look old and I stuck them to the page using matte gel medium or double-sided foam tape. To represent the clothing and costumes that were worn in that era I stamped the lace ruffle to the top right hand side of the page using the same Archival Ink. I also added cream lace tape and then flower outline stickers, which I coloured black with a Sharpie permanent marker and a Faber-Castell Big Brush marker before I stuck them onto the page. The information about Shakespeare’s life and plays is cut from a Pears Cyclopaedia and I drew a box around them using a black Uni Pin marker to make them stand out. To finish I added two postage stamps from my hubby’s childhood collection, the first of Shakespeare himself with Puck and Bottom from a Midsummer’s Night Dream issued in 1964 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the bard’s birth and the second of Queen Elizabeth 1 who reigned when Shakespeare was writing his plays, this is a commemorative postage stamp from 1968. I didn’t realise how much Shakespeare had been part of our lives until I started creating this page. I studied Midsummer’s Night Dream by Shakespeare when I was at school for my O-levels, so the postage stamp I used on my journal page is even more special.cottage-collage

When we visited Stratford-upon-Avon, we toured inside Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and stepped upon what is thought to be the only exposed original floor in the house where William Shakespeare and his wife Anne Hathaway had walked many times.

library-collage

We were also lucky enough to see a wonderful exhibition of his works to commemorate 400 years since his death when we visited Liverpool Library for my Birthday last year. The image of Shakespeare I chose for my page is a copy from one of the earliest books of his plays and we were lucky enough to see an actual second edition of the book which was printed in 1632 at the exhibition.

I’m pleased to be able to join Erica who is hosting this month’s theme “Tell me a Story” over at Art Journal Journey.

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:

  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Tea Dye)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush Pitt artist pen (Black 199)
  • Spectrum Aqua Artist’s Markers (Slate)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker (Black)
  • Kaisercraft clear stamp (Script CS752)
  • Hampton Arts 7 Gypsies cling mounted rubber stamps (Birdsong ICO151)
  • Eco Green Crafts recycled rubber art stamps (Petal Party #04309)
  • Docrafts Curiosity Corner clear stamps (A5 Lace and Diole DCCS009)
  • Docrafts Papermania Bellissima 4×4 clear stamps (Alphas PMA 907212)
  • Crafter’s Companion Vintage Collection acrylic stamp (Floral Sentiments VF-ST-FSENT)
  • Pears Cyclopaedia 2007
  • The Great Musicians Part Work
  • Magazine
  • UK Postage stamps (1964 and 1968)
  • Docrafts Outline Stickers (Fanciful Floral Corners Silver ANT 8101411)
  • Home Bargains Self-Adhesive Tape (Pretty Lace 22750)
  • Liquitex Matte Gel Medium
  • The Range double-sided foam tape
  • X-Press It double-sided tape

Dance of the Starlings

As the weather was so nice, we decided to go for a walk along the beach promenade in Blackpool to watch the sunset and the winter ritual of starlings roosting, which is called a murmuration. This magical event is captured on today’s journal page.

dance-of-the-starlings-ajp-2

As Spectrum Aqua markers are a water-based ink, I applied some of the ink onto an acrylic block and diluted it with water to paint the sunset background of oranges, gold and grey, gradually building up the layers to intensify the colour.  I drew the birds onto white tissue paper using a black Uni Pin fine line marker in a murmuration pattern and stuck it to the page using a UHU Stic. The pier silhouette and lamp posts are cut from Kanban background paper; I edged them with a black Sharpie permanent marker and used a UHU Stic to stick them to the page. The struts at the bottom of the pier are drawn using a thicker tipped Uni Pin marker.  To finish I added some nylon thread using a Zig Memory Glue Pen and I used Glossy Accents to stick on the little black beads to depict the strings of lights between the lamp posts on the pier.

As this page is telling the story of the dance of the starlings, I’m so very pleased to be able to join Erica who is hosting Art Journal Journey’s January theme “Tell me a Story”.

pier-3

The murmuration of starlings at North Pier was amazing to watch; they were dancing and swooping in unison. Clouds of starlings kept joining the throng and I found myself hypnotised by their splendour.

pier-2

Starlings perform their acrobatic dance just before they roost for the night. It is thought that they roost together for a number of reasons, there is safety in numbers and grouping together helps them to keep warm during the night. Here’s an interesting video if you want to know more (although the video was shot in Rome, not Blackpool!).

sunset

This is the fabulous sunset that we saw; I love the starburst effect my hubby captured on the photo.

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’s Markers (Peach, Spice, Orange, Gold, Yellow, Charcoal)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm and 0.5mm)
  • Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker (Black)
  • Kanban Mackenzie Background Card (Data Black CRD1756)
  • White tissue paper
  • Nylon thread (Black)
  • Small black beads
  • Ranger Glossy Accents
  • UHU Stic
  • Zig Memory System 2 Way Glue (The Dual-Action Glue Pen)