Coco’s Soul Food

As a special birthday treat we went to Coco’s Soul Food which is a restaurant in Preston that sells the most amazing Mexican, Caribbean, Cajun and Mediterranean food. Inspired by the colourful beach cabana style interior and the wonderful food I created this page.

I mixed up Liquitex Acrylic paints to produce the orange and blue green paints which I first applied with a baby wipe randomly on the page. Then I applied these paints with a sponge using a brick and also a wood design stencil by Creative Sensations. These colours and textures represent the blue green wooden panels of the interior and the orange brickwork from their menu, the orange also reminds me of the colourful and yummy sweet mango, chilli and lime sauce that I had on my salad too. I fussy cut the palm trees from an old magazine, which took a while, then I stuck them to the page using Liquitex Matte Gel Medium. Once the medium had dried I used a black Uni Pin marker to add more details and definition to the palm fronds and trunks. I printed the logo and image from the front cover of their menu and I fussy cut them out. I stuck the image down using a UHU Stic and the same matte gel medium along the edges, and then I enhanced the detail using a black Uni Pin marker and a white UniBall gel pen. Next I applied the glittery flower shapes which are rub-on transfers by Royal & Langnickel. I stuck the logo to a piece of card and edged it with a black Sharpie permanent marker, then I outlined the wording and dots with a black Derwent Graphik marker and adhered it using double-sided foam tape. To finish I added four postage stamps from my hubby’s childhood collection from Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and Greece; they represent the Mexican and Caribbean dishes that we had, the buildings on their menu cover which look similar to those on the Trinidad and Tobago postage stamp, and the delicious looking Greek Salad we saw which had us reminiscing happily about our holidays/vacations.

As this page provides a tour around this amazing restaurant, I’m pleased to be able to join Hazel who is hosting the “Magical Mystery Tour” challenge over at Art Journal Journey.

Coco’s Soul Food is an unassuming place, which is located in the University quarter of Preston and we had previously noticed it on our way to the Chinese Supermarket and have always wanted to try it. So we went for my birthday and I have to say we were not disappointed and plan to go back again and again!The interior was so cheery, this is the ground floor and it was like sitting in a tropical paradise. There was limited seating downstairs and although I managed to get a shot between people being seated, the restaurant was very busy.  They have more seating upstairs and do takeaway as well, the menu and specials board lives up to their strap-line “flavours from around the world” not only do they have Mexican, Caribbean and Greek inspired dishes they also have Cajun as well.

The food was absolutely amazing! I ordered the Tropical Mango Chilli Chicken with a side order of Sweet Potato Fries, which seem hard to come by in restaurants in the UK.

 My hubby ordered a BBQ Chicken Burrito Coco Style, and in actual fact we ended up sharing these dishes as we both wanted to try them and they tasted so delicious. As T Stands for Tuesday and we had a pot of green tea with our meal, I’m saying a big hello to the T Gang and wishing you 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 (Christmas Green, Navy, Cadmium Red medium/Lacquer Red, Cadmium Yellow Medium)
  • DecoArt Crafter’s Acrylic (White)
  • Sharpie Permanent Fine Point Marker (Black)
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush Pitt artist pen (Black 199)
  • Derwent Graphik Line Marker (Black 0.05mm)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Uniball Signo gel Pen (White)
  • Creative Sensations (Deco Stencil Set 154892)
  • Royal & Langnickel Rub-on Transfers (SYN1470G)
  • Printed copy of menu
  • Old magazine
  • Postage stamps – Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Greece
  • Liquitex Matte Gel Medium
  • UHU Stic
  • The Range double-sided foam tape

Visiting Paris

I have happy memories of visiting Paris in the springtime. It’s such a beautiful place and so romantic, it has many iconic landmarks and the most wonderful patisseries. So with Paris as my inspiration, I’m pleased to be able to join this month’s theme “Out and About” being hosted by Yvonne from Meggy’s Way over at Art Journal Journey.

I chose some of my favourite colours of green and blue to create the background using Chipped Sapphire, Peacock Feathers and Peeled Paint Distress Inks. I applied the ink pad directly to an acrylic block, and then I sprayed it with water and pressed the block onto my page. I filled in any white gaps with watered down Chipped Sapphire ink using a paint brush. I then stamped a Serpentine background using the Chipped Sapphire ink, some small script stamps using the Peeled Paint ink and some postage mark stamps using Jet Black Archival Ink. Then I added fine splatters of white and black acrylic paint using a paint brush. I stencilled Texture Paste using a Wheels Stencil from Ranger by Dina Wakley Media, and because the inks bleed into the wet paste and colour it, I had to paint the wheels with white acrylic paint when the paste had fully dried in order to give it a clean white finish. I used paper from a design pad, choosing two different designs which reminded me of French design wallpapers and cut them to the various sizes. I distressed the edges with pinking shears and applied Black Soot Distress Ink with a blending tool. The Paris images and postage stamps are Stickeroos from Penny Black, and once the stickers where in place I stuck everything to the page using a UHU Stic and double-sided foam tape. I embellished the papers and images with a black rhinestone frame border and then to mimic this frame effect and lighten the page, I continued the dots around the edge using white acrylic paint which I painstakingly applied with an embossing tool; I really like the 3D effect. I added the word “Paris” which is from the same Penny Black Stickeroo set; I stuck them to some card first before sticking them to the page, outlining them with a black Uni Pin marker and adding the white dots. To finish the page I added clusters of green gemstones on both the background and the images.

We visited Paris as a special birthday treat and I remember the magical Eiffel Tower with its wonderful iron lattice-work. It looks so spectacular all lit up and twinkling, apparently there are 20,000 light bulbs which are used to make the Eiffel Tower sparkle every night.  Today almost 7 million people a year visit the Eiffel Tower and it’s believed to be the most visited paid-for monument in the world.

The metal work is so beautiful and the tower stands at 324 metres (1063 feet) tall including antennas. I was amazed to find out that it comprises 18,000 metal parts which are joined together by 2.5 million rivets, it sways around six to seven centimetres (2-3 inches) in the wind, during cold weather the tower shrinks by about 15cm (six inches) and that it takes 60 tonnes of paint to repaint it every seven years.

The Arc De Triomphe is magnificent; it stands at the end of the Champs-Élysées and looks such a powerful structure. It is 50 metres (164 ft) high, 45 metres (148 ft) wide and 22 metres (72 ft) deep. We found out that it was built to honour those who fought for France especially during the Napoleonic wars. In fact, the construction was ordered in 1806 by Napoleon himself to honour the Grande Armee, the name of the French army at that time. It was completed in 1836, long after Napoleon’s death in 1821.

I remember standing under the monument looking up at all the amazing carvings; it was so ornate and pays tribute to the wars fought as well as those who fought in them.

You wouldn’t believe the number of patisseries that are dotted around the streets of Paris! They all sell the most amazing sweet treats – yum! There is so much choice and they had the most lovely chocolates and Easter eggs too!

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 (Peacock Feathers, Peeled Paint, Chipped Sapphire )
  • Ranger Archival (Jet Black)
  • Liquitex Artist Color Acrylic (Ivory Black)
  • Colvin & Co Artists’s Acrylic (White Titanium)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line Marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Ranger Texture Paste
  • Art Impressions wood mounted stamp (Serpentine Background T-2773)
  • The Works (Clears Stamps CR0274/TW3)
  • Ranger Dina Wakley Media Stencil (Wheels MDS45588)
  • The Works 12×12 Paperstack  (Vintage Experience)
  • Penny Black Stickeroos (Je Taime #10-199)
  • Hobbycraft (Rhinestone Stickers Green)
  • Hobbycraft (Black & White Frame Adhesive Gem Design)
  • Decorative Scissors (Zig Zag)
  • UHU Stic
  • The Range double-sided foam tape

Giggling Squid

When we visit our family down South we always go to the Giggling Squid restaurant to enjoy the yummy Thai food!

giggling-squid-ajp

I stamped a Hessian background texture stamp by Kaisercraft using Distress Ink creating two panels on the page, then to add more texture and contrast I stamped a grid design over the top using a homemade stamp and black Archival Ink. Next I cut our meal choices from a takeaway menu I picked up when we visited the restaurant and stuck them down with a UHU Stic. The different papers are from a Design Pad which are cut into various widths and stuck to the page using a UHU Stic; they remind me of the different panels, textures and natural wood and leather decor in the restaurant. I then added a strip of wood effect paper to the top and bottom of the page panels to frame them, a silver border to the dark grey panels of paper using outline stickers and the Giggling Squid signage using double-sided foam tape. To reference Thailand I used a postage stamp from my hubby’s childhood collection dated 1972, it matched the colours of the page beautifully. Then I added silver sequins and a Christmas bauble topper using Glossy Accents embellishing the centre with a flower rhinestone and to finish a pretty wooden frame.

I’m pleased be able to join Erica from BioArtGal who has done the most excellent job of hosting this month’s theme “Tell me a Story” over at Art Journal Journey. Thanks Erica!

food

The food is always amazing! For my starter I had the Tempura Vegetables and a side order of Salt and Pepper Squid to share, then for my main I had Pad Khing which is stir fried prawns with vegetables and ginger – delicious!  As well as the ice water I ordered a Tiger beer, which is an Asian Larger and was very light and refreshing. As T stands for Tuesday, I’m saying a big hello to the T Gang – Happy T day!

food-1

There is a lot to choose from on the menu and as we went at lunchtime, my hubby had his favourite – the ‘Two Giggling Squids’ Tapas Set which consists of Chicken Massaman Curry, Salt and Pepper Squid, Beef Salad and Jasmine Rice – yum! He had a Cranberry Crush to drink.

restaurant-collage

This small chain of restaurants can only be found in Southern England and is still family run. Their story is a lovely one and the food is always delicious and the decor is wonderful – both rustic and chic!

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)
  • Kaisercraft clear stamp (Hessian CS153)
  • Homemade wooden block stamp with Plasterboard/Drywall tape
  • Poundland Design Pad (Purple Paradise CRO701/PL3, Changing Seasons CRO701/16PL1, Urban Style CRO701/16PL2)
  • Takeaway menu
  • Postage Stamp (Thailand, 1972)
  • Silver outline stickers
  • Poundland (Assorted Sequins)
  • The Works stickers (Rhinestone Flowers)
  • The Works (Wooden Frame CRO282/TW1)
  • Ranger Glossy Accents
  • UHU Stic
  • The Range double-sided foam tape

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

BOO!

This page was inspired by all the questions and interest I had in my last post about Pumpkin Beer. As you can see these guys are having lots of fun in the pumpkin patch!

boo-ajp

I applied a very thin layer of light red Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolour paint with a baby wipe and then sprinkled Colourcraft Brusho Crystals powder over the top. I used three colours of the Brusho powders, dark brown, orange and yellow, and spritzed them with water, and then I watched the magic as the colours exploded on the page. These Brusho powders are amazing; there are so many different effects you can create with them. Once dried I stamped leaf images using Archival Ink, then re-stamped them off-centre using Distress Inks to give them a ghostly appearance. I added the ghosts which are rub-on transfers I bought in the sale at a local craft store. To finish I applied Faber-Castell Big Brush marker ink using an old plastic gift card and Uni Pin black marker to the edges of the page and some gold gem stones. This was a really fun page to create and makes me smile when I see the – BOO!

beer-glass

Thanks so much for all your interest in our pumpkin beer, we make beer throughout the year and pumpkin is one of our favourites. It’s subtly spiced and amber in colour with an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 5.2%. To answer some of your questions, it takes around 6 hours to make and 6 weeks until it is ready. This time we made 40 UK pints (that’s 50 US pints) and it will be ready in a couple of weeks, although it does improve with a little ageing – if it lasts that long! In the meantime I did manage to find a photo from last year, as you can see I always coat the rim of the glass it is served in with sugar and cinnamon – yum! Our inspiration for this beer comes from our holiday visits to America as pumpkin beer is readily available in the fall, unlike here in the UK. That’s why we get so excited when pumpkins are available in our stores as we can start to make our own pumpkin beer.

pumpkin-cityOne of the reasons we enjoyed our American holiday so much was the many pumpkins on display at farmers markets, farm stalls and just around town. It’s always such a lovely time of year to visit!

displayWith this month’s theme “Indian Summer – Golden October – Autumn”, I’m delighted to be able to join Valerie over at Art Journal Journey.

I’m also pleased to join the Halloween Party challenge over at Moo-Mania.

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 Crystals (Dark Brown, Orange, Yellow)
  • Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolours (Light Red)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Festive Berries, Spiced Marmalade, Fossilized Amber, Brushed Corduroy)
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush artist pen (Sanguine 188 B, Dark Sepia 175 B)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • BoBunny stamps (Falling Leaves #12105154)
  • Royal & Langnickel Rub-on Transfers (Bats, Cats & Ghosts #EDW355 Rub-on)
  • Poundland (504 Gems)

The Swallows Return

We really enjoy hiking in the countryside. Not only is it a good form of exercise but it’s a great way to explore new places, enjoy beautiful scenery and make wonderful discoveries! My page today is inspired by a line of swallows sitting on a telegraph wire in a farmyard which we discovered on a recent countryside walk.

The swallows return - Art Journal Page

The background is painted with watercolour paint in blues and yellows, and then covered in a thick layer of white gesso. I had some left over alphabet transfers so added these in random patches over the page, I like the way the letters have only partially transferred. The little birds sitting on the line is washi tape, which I tore along the edges so there were no straight borders making it blend into the background more. The music sheet is taken from a song called “The Swallows Return” which inspired the title for this page. I tore pieces of music sheet and stuck them to the page with Liquitex matte gel medium then doodled along the edges. The white mesh is plasterboard/drywall tape, which I cut into strips and distressed to get an uneven finish. The title of the page and the post marks are stamped using black Archival Ink, I also added some coloured post marks, cut from decoupage paper, which represent travel and distance. I stuck pieces of black decorative tape around the edge of the page and I think they look a bit like wrought iron. The swallows are fussy cut from a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) leaflet which I collected from the local bird sanctuary and also card topper images, which are stuck to the page using a UHU Stic. I added more detail to the large swallow image using a red Derwent Inktense ink pencil, a navy Spectrum Aqua marker and a black Uni Pin marker. As swallows travel back to South Africa from the UK, I added a South African stamp to finish.

New Image

To me, swallows signify summer and it is not surprising that we discovered them as we were deep in the heart of open countryside, alongside a river where they like to feed. We were also walking through a farmyard and were surrounded by agricultural buildings where they often nest. Swallows migrate during daylight covering about 200 miles (320 km) each day and from the UK their return journey South takes about six weeks. They travel down through western France and eastern Spain into Morocco, before crossing the Sahara Desert and the Congo rainforest – finally reaching South Africa and Namibia.

With this month’s theme being “Nature’s Wonders”, I’m very happy to join Gill over at Art Journal Journey again.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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

  • Pébéo White Gesso
  • Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolours (Cobalt Blue Hue, Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue)
  • Spectrum Aqua Artist’s Markers (Navy)
  • Derwent Inktense Ink Pencils (Poppy Red 0400)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line Marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Hampton Arts 7 Gypsies cling mounted rubber stamps (Birdsong IC0151)
  • The Works clear stamps (CR0274/TW3)
  • Docrafts A5 clear stamp set (Alphas Folk DCE 907115)
  • Letraset Transfer (Helvetica Bold Condensed 5mm RDC0251)
  • Hobbycraft Decorative Tape (Assorted Black and White 5971481007)
  • Poundland (Decorative Border Tape 15111867)
  • 151 Adhesives Plasterboard/Drywall tape
  • First Edition Deco Maché Decoupage Paper (D/M Postage FEDEC060)
  • Hunkydory Eastern Promise Luxury Card Collection (Eastern Promise)
  • Music paper
  • RSPB information leaflet
  • Postage stamp (from my Hubby’s childhood collection)
  • UHU Stic

The World’s Fastest Land Animal

Today my page is inspired by “Nature’s Wonders”, which is the theme hosted by Gill over at Art Journal Journey. The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world, so I thought it was fitting to create a page in tribute to this gorgeous feline!

The World's Fastest Land Animal - Art Journal Page

I started by smooshing diluted Spectrum Aqua markers onto the page using an acrylic block. Using a homemade mask I stamped circles of animal print using black Archival Ink, then splattered the whole page with Liquitex black acrylic paint. I cut out circles of decoupage papers and stuck them on top of the animal print circles using a UHU Stic. Once the glue had dried I outlined the circles with black Uni Pin marker and I doodled different African style patterns around each circle. The images and script are from old encyclopaedias and I highlighted information relevant to the cheetah – if you look closely you may see a cheetah sitting under a tree in the shade while looking out over the grassland. The cheetahs are from a doodle book that I painted using diluted Aqua marker ink and then cut out using scissors. I stamped some cheetah facts and added a beautiful postage stamp. To finish I added rhinestones the same colour as the postage stamp to highlight the text and balance the colours.

stamp

This postage stamp is from my hubby’s childhood stamp collection, it features a cheetah and her cubs and is from Nigeria dating back to 1965.

When I told my hubby I was thinking of doing a cheetah page to join AJJ, a happy coincidence occurred! My hubby told me he had recently watched a video on the cheetahs running ability and comparing it to the Greyhound. Here’s the link if you want to have a look. You can see why cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animal with their rotary gallop and it’s amazing ability to increase its strides per minute, spectacular!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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

  • Spectrum Aqua Artist’s Marker (Yellow, Terracotta, Gold)
  • Liquitex Artist Color Acrylic (Ivory Black)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line Marker (Black 0.1mm and 0.8mm)
  • Hobbycraft clear stamp (A6 Animal Print Background 50350HC)
  • Dovecraft upper and lower case alphabet stamp set (WDN Alpha Stmp DCVW0050)
  • Vivi Gade decoupage paper (Skagen 25561)
  • Poundland DécoTime (Patch Paper DS9454)
  • North Parade Sudoku and Doodle (Animal Kingdom)
  • Dorling Kindersley Illustrated Family Encyclopaedia
  • Pear’s Cyclopaedia 2007-2008 Edition
  • Postage stamp
  • Poundland self-adhesive gems (504 Gems)
  • UHU Stic
  • The Range double-sided foam tape