Archive for January, 2013



At the start of the year I finally gave into temptation and bought myself a Moleskine more out of curiosity and a want to see what they are really like. A lot of people say how wonderful they are but I have never dealt with one before and decided now was the time to give it a go. Typically since I got it it has been sitting around waiting to be used, a mixture of blank page syndrome and a fear of destroying something so lovely as an empty journal has been holding me back (weird I know but there’s something about notebooks and sketchbooks that are untouched that I like).

I have really wanted to try one however I specifically wanted something more structured to work on through it. I have my other journals, two that I’m playing with at the moment and both of which are far more loose in what I do in them, they have no general theme to them other than experimenting and how I feel. The play one comes with me when I go out with my travel kit and my big one stays home on one of my easels for slapping on all sorts of mixed media.

It’s time to get cracking and experimenting with the Moleskine. I’ve booked another trip in the spring for an arty centered holiday at Retreats For You in Devon again. Last year when I went I made a small sketchbook to take with me and while I could do so again I have been thinking about treating myself to a Moleskine specifically for the trip alone. The only problem with that plan is that I have no idea if I like them or if they work well as sketchbooks/journals for me. The last thing I would want is to take one and realise I hate it when I start working in it. So before I decide I’m going to play around with the one I bought earlier in the year.



As I said I wanted to do something specific and semi-structured in it so it had a purpose that was different to my other sketchbooks and a structure for me to follow and keep me actually using it. Sometimes I let things fall by the wayside but I find that I am more disciplined if I have a specific path to follow such as a course or set out plan. I had been looking around trying to figure out what I wanted to do when Journal Fodder 365: Daily Doses For The Art Addict came onto my radar. I downloaded it for my Kindle and will be using the Moleskine to go through the chapters and play with the prompts and ideas in it.

There’ll be more to come on this journey as I go so I daresay this ‘series’ will be both a sharing of my art and a bit of a review of the Journal Fodder book itself, though I expect it will be slow progress as I am in no way going to rush the sections unless I am unable to connect with them and be inspired. I doubt this will be the case as already from reading through the first chapter I am eager to begin exploring the starting theme.


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Prompt Box.

About a year ago I decoupaged a shoe box I had in the closet, a childrens size one so it’s nicely smaller than an average adults shoe box. I had no idea what I wanted the box for and over the months it’s had a few uses, now finally this month I have been inspired by the word inspire to use it as a prompt box which I mentioned I had planned in an earlier post.



Simply put it’s a box I find pretty and colourful where I’m putting slips of paper with inspirational words, quotes, songs, pictures, anything really that tugs at my creativity in some way whether it be very general or more specific. The paper pieces are folded a couple of times so that when I reach in to take one I have no idea what I will be getting.



When I am unsure what to do or need a push to create and stoke that fire I like to be given something random to think about and use as a starting point. There are days when I know what I want to make, what I want to say or what I want to do with it but other days when no matter how much of a creative itch I have I just can’t find the right spot to scratch and I draw up blanks.

Sometimes just playing around in my journal will help, slapping on some paint, adding a few background layers to pages for the future, other times this leaves me in just as much of a limbo with no way forward. I don’t see my art as an end piece until I say it’s finished, for me art is all about the progress and journey of getting wherever the hell it is my intuition is taking me.

It’s a simple idea and I know that everything in the box that I add does in fact inspire me in some form or another (which sometimes I find difficult with prompts given to me by others). I have faith that whatever it is I pull out will be beneficial to me at that time to think about and work with and when I’m done with the prompt it can just go back in the box because I know that when I tackle it again further down the line what it says to me and what it inspires me to create will be entirely different from any previous time exploring it.

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I finally got around to finishing off the base of thevision boards that I started last Autumn, I know, I know, it took me long enough. I have to add the pictures and words I want on them still which I hope to get done fairly soon, it helps that one of them is hung in my front room where I see it constantly and am reminded to do it. Sorting through all my photographs and the bits I want to include on it needs to come first.


In the living room we have the ‘dream’ board where I will be representing my goals, wants and dreams for the future along with my affirmations to help me get there, the felt hearts are padded and have a silver letter on each to spell out dream. The owl hanging from the bottom is a magnetic board I got before Christmas in town where I stick all my ‘to do’ list items relating to what I want to achieve and to help motivate me and give me small steps I can take to move forward even on the days I feel unable to because I’m in a mental and emotional muddle.


This one is for my bedroom and it’s my gratitude board. I have been trying to think of the main words I want to include on it, something along the lines of  ‘I am grateful for…’ or ‘I am blessed with…’. As it sounds this board is for all the things I have in my life that I am grateful for and a lot of the time take for granted. Recognizing such things has been a very good way for me to lift my spirits and remind myself gently that I have a lot and enough in my life so far. It happens often that I get days and moments of jealousy, of feeling like I have nothing compared to others because of it or that I should have more when that isn’t the case at all. This board reminds of that and helps to keep me grounded and happy with my present.

The charm hanging from the bottom is an angel that will dangle, when I have it up where it’s supposed to be in my room, over my little shrine by the bed where I read my ‘angel’ and ‘soul’ cards. I tend to pick one and leave it on my little card stand that I made a while back until I feel the need for a new message and my guides were quite adamant that the charm was meant to go there. Decoratively I made two paper flowers and leaves sets from patterned papers from my stock. A magazine I bought last year had some templates for paper flower making that I wanted to give a try. Having flowers on this board was really important to me as everything I have on it has already blossomed and brings me joy.

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The last couple of days I have been in a smash booking kinda mood and have finally cracked on with my big ‘eco – style’ smash book. This evening I finished the page for my birthday and I’ll share that one once I have done the corresponding day out spread as well but for today it’s the introduction/new years page.


In the green envelope is a card I’ve had for quite a while on display in my bedroom and now houses my list of goals for the year, the rest of the page is pretty self explanatory, covered in bits and bobs I’ve been holding onto as well as a new years card from my neighbour and a good few glittery pretty embellishments.



I wanted it to be simple and since I didn’t go out for new year or anything there wasn’t much to actually put in about the actual evening. I debated putting in copies of the cards I drew for my reading that night but decided against it in the end as something unnecessary. The reading itself was spot on as they always are with my faery oracle deck but it just didn’t feel right including it visually. I’m pleased with the pages and it felt good to finally get on with it and do a proper spread in there. It’s no longer waiting for the first bit to be done so that ‘new book’ fear has gone (I suffer from new book fear quite a bit), it’s a relief and one of those things that once I get started with it I’m enthused to carry on, in fact at times I have to rein myself in a bit so as not to overdo it particularly with all the sparkly things I have to add!

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I seem to be on a roll this evening, two posts so far. It could be because it’s my birthday and I’ve had an awesome day, or maybe I’m just in the blogging mood, who knows for sure? What I do know is I’m not going to question it!


When I bought my big eco style smash book for documenting this year I also purchased one of the mini smash books, I had no idea what I was going to do in it and for a few weeks after I got it it just sat there waiting for a point to it. In the end it became my little book of big events where I started smashing memorable events, in no particular order, that I had stashed away bits from such as the birth of my children, family events and firsts (my first family holiday with the kids, my first holiday on my own etc). You see I’m a terrible horder, like a magpie only I don’t just keep shinies and it was about time I sorted out the big box of all my treasures into something more manageable, birthing the little book of big events.

So here they are, all the pages I have smashed so far. It’s been a whole lot of fun though there is still a whole way to go before the book is full 😉


My Nan’s 80th birthday tea party, November 2012.


My Nan and Grandad’s Golden Wedding Anniversary, January 2004.

I didn’t even realise I still had the invitation for this one in the big box…


The birth of my first baby, my daughter, December 2004.


My first holiday alone, a four night trip to Devon at Retreats For You, March/April 2012.


School photos of the kids over the years. 2012 was the first time Ethan, my youngest, had one done at nursery.

The green page is ready and waiting for the next ones where the kids will be having them together as Ethan starts school this September.


Taking Beth to see The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre, December 2012.

It was her first trip to both London and the theatre.


Beth’s birthday surprise, a trip to build-a-bear, something she has wanted to do for ages, December 2012.



The birth of my youngest, my son, January 2009.




Momentos from the births of the kids, they have both been strung and hung like bookmarks from the spine into the two birth pages.

That’s it so far, I have more pages to add a couple already planned but not yet smashed, one I’m not really looking forward to but know I need to include, not doing so would be doing myself a disservice. My big smash book is still somewhat empty though I now have three pages in my mind ready and waiting for the smashing bug to bite gain.

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As I mentioned in an earlier post this year, my word for the month is inspire. The above picture is the tag I made for my 2013 smash book, over the area for January on my double spread of words for the year, an exercise designed to help me to get back into the flow, find my motivation and really just start thinking and acting on my dreams.

So far this month I have been taking time to really think about what inspires me, what gets my muse wanting to create, what is really part of the blend for the base of all I create. It turns out that there is a lot, I had forgotten how much and the more I think about it and have it in my ind the more I discover inspires me. The generalized topics can be segmented, my inspirations can be pinpointed into specific things, jump off points with a whole realm of possibilities open to my creativity.


I wanted to put this down into my art journal in an ‘inspire’ page. Originally I had planned on one page for the word and the second half of the spread for a kind of brainstorming thing, though it soon became evident that the whole double page would be the brainstorm. Under the paint, which you can’t see here, are pages from a Shakespeare compendium, the paper I have found to be very good for a base decoupage/papier mache and as it happens is a part of literature which also inspires me. I then layered blue, white and gold paints adding the inspire word across the double page in a kind of pop out design.

So what does inspire me? The items I added to the list are just a base, a starting point and already I have thought of more to add and cram into the available remaining space, literature being one of them! In no particular order the things listed are:

  • abstraction
  • organisation
  • crystals
  • curves
  • colour
  • the female form
  • patterns
  • mythology
  • drumming
  • mess
  • music
  • symbols
  • deities
  • energy
  • faeries
  • nature
  • elements

Just thinking about these things has given me ideas, a place to start, renewed that feeling of wanting to create, wanting to explore these themes in my own unique way to heal and let my soul say what it wants to say visually. It’s also given me a new idea, to create a prompt box or inspiration box using these themes, specifics from them and my responses to them in a way that’s random for days when I need and want a starting point but don’t know where to begin. It’s something that will come as part of my ‘inspire’ month and an exercise I will blog about separately when I set it up this week.

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Those that knew me from my previous blog years ago on blogger will know I’ve always had a very deep and easy connection with the faeries. As a child they were constantly around me, teaching me and keeping me company and as such I was never lonely. They have always been there in my life, an amazing spiritual source of information and fun though over recent years the connection (thanks to my depression and purposefully shutting it down on my part) has been strained and weak. When I fed my spirituality I would be inundated with information, inspiration and words from them again. I’d write poetry without a second thought and see them dancing and introducing themselves wherever I went.





Welcoming and embracing my connection again at the end of last year had me creating this mini journal for them. It’s been through a few changes with the closure and spine decorations but they are finally settled and happy with it as a little book for my poetry and symbolism for them. It will have a place on my bedroom altar next to the faery door and wooden carved mushrooms that are already there.

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