Dragonflies and Stars

This page is inspired by two things; firstly by some very magical water reflections under a bridge on a recent day out in Garstang and secondly by the most wonderful quote by an unknown author on one of my friend’s posts – so thank you Kristah.

“May you touch dragonflies and stars, dance with fairies and talk to the moon”

This page started with a background gone wrong, so I covered it in a thick layer of Pébéo white gesso and I rolled a clean brayer over the surface to create a textured effect. Once the gesso had dried, I scribbled Earl Grey and Caramel Faber-Castell gelatos over the top. Then I dipped my finger into some water and rubbed the gelato to smudge the colours. Next I dragged a Hickory Smoke Distress Ink pad over the page and also used a grey Faber-Castell Big Brush marker and blended them both onto the page with my finger. I like the way the gelatos and ink bought out the texture that I had created previously with the brayer on the gesso. Then I vertically stamped the rows of dots by Craft Sensations using black Archival Ink and I used the same ink to stamp a circle/heart design by Sugarloaf Inc. and also a small script texture stamp by The Works.  I used a circle stencil to add modelling paste to the edges of the page using a palette knife and when it had dried I painted it with white acrylic paint so it stood out from the background better. Then I used an acrylic block and a paintbrush to add splatters of white and black acrylic paint. I added the white circles by drawing round a tube of tape using a white Uni Posca paint pen. For the dragonfly circles, I used a circle cutter to cut three circles from some pre-stamped paper (this is the paper I create whilst completing other journal pages as I always test my stamps before using them on my pages). On each circle I stamped a dragonfly by Eco Green Crafts using black Versafine Ink and applied black Papermania embossing powder over the top. Then I shook the excess powder onto a piece of scrap paper and tapped the circles against the table to make sure I’ve removed any stray powder. Once the excess powder was safely returned to its container, I used a heat gun to melt the embossing powder. I swept the gun over the images, taking care not to direct the heat in one area for too long until the embossing powder changed to a glossy finish becoming smooth and dimensional. I used a black Faber-Castell big brush marker to draw black circle outlines and stuck the dragonfly circles over the top using a UHU Stic. Then I drew a dot border around the edges of these circles using the white Uni Posca paint pen again. I stamped the quote using black Archival Ink and I went over the wording with a black Uni Pin pen to make it stand out more. The stars are outline stickers which I coloured with a black Sharpie permanent marker. To finish, I coloured some paper flowers using a Red Violet Spectrum Aqua marker by liberally colouring the centre of the flower and then applying water with a paintbrush so the water spread the ink across the petals giving a shaded effect and once they had dried I stuck them to the page with Glossy Accents.

I’m pleased to be able to join Rosie who is hosting the “Circles” challenge over at Art Journal Journey.

Garstang is a lovely old market town in Lancashire, here you can see the view up the high street, and the gentleman in blue is sat under the Market Cross. The town is steeped in history and there has been a market here for over 200 years and we always enjoy looking around the weekly outdoor market stalls that wind their way up the high street.

We always go to The Royal Oak Hotel for lunch, which is a 17th century coaching inn situated opposite the Market Cross in the centre of the town. The pub is made up of several small rooms which are decorated in a traditional pub style with beamed ceilings, wood panelling and stained glass, along with china and brass adorning the walls. We sat in this little room off the bar which has a very cosy feel.

As T Stands for Tuesday, I’m sharing a beer called “Pint of Thrones” by Robinsons Brewery. It’s pictured with our usual choice of prawn sandwich with chips (shrimp sandwich with fries for my friends in the US) – so yummy!

After lunch we like to walk along the Lancaster Canal and also the River Wyre. We walked about 5 miles looking at the boats and scenery.  This white bridge is the Fylde Water Board Crossing and carries a water pipe across the canal which is so pretty and quite elaborate considering its rather mundane task (grin!).

There were quite a few boats along the canal as it was a hot sunny day. There were many narrow boats and we had just walked round a corner when we saw this one coming towards us – don’t worry though, it’s not going that fast, they are limited to 4 mph. I think my hubby secretly wants a narrow boat!

Then we made our way back along the canal approaching the Cathouse Bypass Bridge and I think dragonflies may well enjoy these reeds and iris.

We love the wonderful views and countryside in this area. At the Wrye Aqueduct, which is a bridge taking the canal over a river, we turned down some steps to continue our walk along the River Wrye. This aqueduct was first used in 1797 and is still going strong today!

As we passed under the aqueduct, we saw the most amazing circular reflections on the ceiling. These are caused by a few drops of water from the canal above dripping down into the river below.

The background of my page reminds me of these walls and the wonderful circle reflections that we saw. The circles were so magical, it’s as if fairies were dancing on the water – just like Kristah’s quote!

We then followed the path alongside the River Wyre through the trees and back into town. We always have such a lovely time in Garstang, it’s a beautiful place!

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
  • DecoArt Crafter’s Acrylic (White, Black)
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Hickory Smoke)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Tsukineko Versafine Ink (Onyx Black)
  • Spectrum Aqua Artist Marker (Red Violet)
  • Faber-Castell Gelatos (Earl Grey, Caramel)
  • Faber-Castell Big Brush Pitt artist pen (Black 199, Cold Grey IV 233)
  • Uni Posca Paint Pen (White)
  • Sharpie Permanent Fine Point Marker (Black)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.5mm)
  • Papermania Embossing Powder (Black)
  • Pébéo Modeling Paste
  • Craft Sensations (Clear Stamps CR0274/16R2)
  • Sugarloaf Inc. Anita’s wood mounted rubber stamp (26645)
  • The Works (Clear Stamps CR0274/TW3)
  • Eco Green Crafts Recycled Rubber Stamps (Petal Party #04309)
  • Dovecraft Essentials Alphabet Stamp Set (WDN ALPHA STMP DCVW0050)
  • Creative Sensations (Deco Stencil Set 154892)
  • Pre-stamped paper
  • The Works M&C Boutique (Mini Paper Flower Embellishments)
  • Outline Stickers (Gold Stars)
  • UHU Stic

Rock Factory

We went to visit a rock factory, where they make an array of yummy confectionery including sticks of rock, sweets/candies and lollipops. Rock is made of boiled sugar and is hard similar to a candy cane, it is an essential part of a British seaside holiday and is often bought by tourists for themselves or as presents. My hubby remembers as a child often receiving sticks of rock from people who had been on holiday. At the factory we saw first-hand how they made the confectionery and we had so much fun that I was inspired to create this page.

I started by stamping round circles by alternating Picked Raspberry and Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink on a circle stamp which was made from an empty tube from the roll of a sticky tape. Next I divided the page diagonally with washi tape to create four sections. I’ve had this tape in my craft stash for a while and if you look closely you’ll see it has tiny sweets on it. Then I used a mask to ensure the inside of the circles remained white and stencilled different coloured stripes in each of the four sections using Festive Berries, Cracked Pistachio, Spiced Marmalade and Seedless Preserves Distress Ink. These colours and stripes reminded me of the rock at the factory. To add more definition to the stripes I used a ruler to draw a line in a corresponding colour using Uni Posca paint pens (another new crafting goody, grin!). Then I placed a polka dot flower in the centre of each circle to represent the centre of the rock. The striped canopy, border, sticks of rock and wording are fussy cut from an advertising leaflet which I stuck to the page using a UHU Stic. The owners of the factory kindly gave me a copy of their logo to use for my page, which I fussy cut and stuck down using a UHU Stic. Once the glue had dried I outlined the logo with a pink and a blue Uni Posca paint pen. I also used the blue paint pen to outline the canopy, border and leaflet wording. Next I added the words “fun; trip; sweet; gobble; happy” which are rub-on transfers; they remind me of the great time we had at the factory. To finish the page, I embellished the sections with tiny sweets that I had cut from the washi tape and gem stars, and I added strips of gems along the edge of the washi tape, canopy and border.

I’m pleased to be able to join Rosie’s theme over at Art Journal Journey with my “Circles” of rock .

I thought you might like to join us on our tour. We arrived at the Coronation World factory which is the home of Coronation Rock just before lunchtime. We found out that they were established in 1927 and have always been a family run business; it is the largest rock factory in Blackpool being one of the only three rock factories remaining.

We went to the factory shop and were greeted by one of the owners, who very kindly explained the different processes we could see from the viewing gallery and answered our questions. As you can see the factory was a hive of industry, on the back wall behind the blue table is where they make the rock from the raw ingredients, which are heated in big copper pans. It is then poured onto the cooling slabs (the tables behind the blue table) and when it is ready it is then used in different ways to make either sticks of rock, individual sweets/candies or lollipops.

We found out that they have both a wholesale range and custom range of products and that they don’t need to advertise as they are always inundated with orders from companies and stores worldwide.

This was a HUGE stick of rock which was custom-made for a company! We also found out more about the history of Blackpool rock making – “How do they put the letters in the rock?” by watching the video they have screening in the shop. You can also steer the CCTV cameras to get a really close look at the action on the factory floor!

To make the sweets, they add colour and flavour when the rock mixture is on the cooling slab, then as it cools it is worked and once at the right temperature they form it into a design on the blue heated table. It is then transferred to the batch roller on the sweet line, which rolls the batch into a continuous rope. Once the rope has reduced to the correct size it is fed into the sweet wrapping machine, which cuts it into small sweets/candies and wraps them.

They were also making lollipops for a very famous store – Harrods! How cool is that, I bet you can’t guess what my friends are getting for presents this year, well if it’s good enough for Harrods it’s good enough for us (grin!).

As you can see from these moulds, they produce lollipops for some famous companies too.

We were kindly given a free sample to try; these are lime flavoured sweets and they were still warm from the machine and tasted very yummy! We were told that the three most popular flavours are traditional mint, fruit cocktail and aniseed. In the shop we also spotted blackcurrant, cherry, coconut, cola, pineapple, raspberry, rhubarb and strawberry as well stranger flavours like curry, chili, beer, whiskey and gin & tonic.

We had the most wonderful time and it was fascinating to watch them making the sweets and lollipops. If you want to see how they make the different rock products at this factory then take a look at this amazing video – I think the staff must have asbestos hands (grin!).

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 (Picked Raspberry, Chipped Sapphire, Festive Berries, Cracked Pistachio, Spiced Marmalade, Seedless Preserves)
  • Uni Posca Paint Pens (White, Pink, Light Green, Violet, Blue)
  • Ranger Claudine Hellmuth Studio 6×6 Stencil (Our Town HSC36920)
  • Circle stamp – tube
  • Logo and leaflet
  • Royal & Langnickel Rub-on Sentiments (Spring #ROY-506, Summer #ROY505, Thanksgiving #ROY-522)
  • The Works (Printed Washi Tape)
  • Wilko stickers (Flower Embellishments)
  • The Range Adhesive Craft Gems (Assorted Shapes CR0869)
  • UHU Stic

Peace, Love and Kindness

I started creating this page to join in with Rosie’s fabulous “Circles” theme over at Art Journal Journey and it turned into a wish for Peace, Love and Kindness.

I cut a couple of pages in half from a Pear’s Cyclopaedia book and stuck them to the page using a UHU Stic. Then I added some green dotty washi tape to the parts of my page where there was no text ripping the tape to soften its edges. I then covered the page with a thin layer of white gesso and used the small and large circles from a Dutch Doobadoo Mask to apply Hickory Smoke, Tea Dye and Black Soot Distress Ink with a blending tool. In the centre of the larger circles, I stenciled smaller circles using the black Distress Ink and covered them with a very thin layer of Lime, Margarita Mix and Mango Faber-Castell Gelatos. I used a baby wipe to blend the Gelato which removed some of the Distress Ink to give the grungy look that I wanted. I then added another layer of Gelato to these circles to intensify the colour which I blended using my finger. I used the circle mask again to stencil white gesso around the edges of the large circles using a sponge.  Next I cut different sized circles from green metallic craft papers using a circle cutter, I edged them with a black Sharpie permanent marker and stuck them to the page using a UHU Stic. I added some enamel dots and also some gold Glitterations circle frame stickers which I filled with Glitterations flowers. I then stamped the words using black Archival Ink and used the same ink to stamp the black dots masking the other circles as needed. I doodled more details onto the circles and dots using a white Uni-Posca pen, a black Dewent Inktense pencil and a black Uni Pin marker. To finish I stamped a heart and added a bee to signify the Manchester Worker Bee emblem – I ♥ MCR & I ♥ LDN.

Creating this page allowed me to play with two new craft goodies, a circle cutter which makes short work of cutting different sized circles and some wonderfully vibrant Faber-Castell Gelatos. The Gelatos are very easy to use and I’d like to thank Eileen for highlighting them on her post a few weeks ago, as you can see they didn’t stay on my “wish list” for long (grin!).

As T Stands for Tuesday, I am sharing my usual cup of green tea and to continue the circle theme my picture shows my tea with a huge round chocolate chip cookie that my hubby treated me to from the bakery whilst we were out food shopping (grin!). I’m saying a special thank you to Valerie for making those lovely cookies last week, I showed my hubby and he made it his mission to find one for me (grin again!). And in case you are wondering – yes I did eat this cookie all myself, it was so yummy!

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
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Tea Dye, Hickory Smoke, Black Soot)
  • Ranger Archival Ink (Jet Black)
  • Faber-Castell Gelatos (Mango. Margarita Mix, Lime)
  • Uni-Posca Paint Pen (White 0.7mm)
  • Derwent Inktense Pencils (Ink Black 2200)
  • Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker (Black)
  • Derwent Graphik Line Marker (Black 0.05mm)
  • Uni Pin Fine Line marker (Black 0.1mm)
  • Docrafts Creativity Essentials A5 Clear Stamp Set (Alphas Trad DCE907116)
  • Woodware Craft Collection Franciose Collection (Flower Style FRSW003-AA)
  • Hampton Art Studio G (Clear Stamps VS4911)
  • Dutch Doobadoo Dutch Mask Art A5 (Geometric Tiles)
  • The Range (Craft Decorative Papers CR0411)
  • The Works (Circle Cutter)
  • Royal & Langnickel Rub-on Transfers Designed by Roxanne Jarvis (Bee Mine Roses #JAR623 RUB-ON)
  • Anita’s Glitterations (Circle Frames – Gold ANT8181028)
  • Docrafts Papermania Glitterations (Flowers – Gold ANT8181020)
  • Poundland (Washi Tape 171854-MC16)
  • The Works (Pastel Enamel Dots)
  • UHU Stic