Tuesday, 30 August 2016


...is nearly here. Well, if you go by the traditional Irish start to Spring on February 1st, St. Brigid's Day, we're already well into it. But I disagree; I don't think we have four three-month seasons here. Winter is pretty much November to March in my book, Spring is April and May, Summer is June and  July, and Autumn is September and October. 

Anyway, whether it's meterologically, my chronology or the traditional Irish count, there's a chill in the air and the leaves are falling, so it was time to change out my summer sampler and put some autumn into it;  this is what I came up with. I was disappointed to find that I only had one small scarecrow stamp which didn't really work, there were three squares that didn't make the final cut when it came to assembling the 9" panel - it's a 12"  frame.

And sticking with leaves, a card I made recently for the Art Neko blog...I did some stamping with leaves to create a setting for my stamped owl. The little nutshell one came from my grandmother's house, so he is not just wise but ancient. 

I'll be back in a couple of days with more cards as I pick my August favourites - and some more memories of France as I continue to chip away at culling and editing.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Miscellany...

Given that this first photo taken in work is representative of yesterday (though it wasn't anything like as bad as the rain last week), it was an unexpected treat to be able to take the following photos today.
The Paris-themed umbrella, no prizes for guessing, is mine...

Today was sunshine and blue skies and warm enough to lie on a rug in the garden reading and watching the birds. We had a lot of bluetits today; at one stage I counted six. Some were a little more mature and blue, some still had very little colouring. And I think the blackbird is also a juvenile moulting into adult plumage.

I also marked the sunny day with a lizard coming to life in the sun.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Bug In A Box

I wanted to make something a little different for my Art Neko project this week.  The Whimsical & Kind Sayings set includes "Sorry You Caught A Bug" as one of the sentiments. Much as I love making cards which have bugs in jar, I already have two in my stash waiting to use and I didn't really need to make another. So I thought a little, and, with a little help from C who suggested the flower, came up with this idea:

(The little clockwork ladybird comes from Paris. It turns a somersault. We got it in the wonderful bookshop in the Tuileries, just beside the exit onto the Place de la Concorde. I don't think we ever go in there without buying something, often children's books.

I used my Sizzix matchbox die to create this, stamping the sentiment and ladybird before assembling the box outer.

I made a little insert with a tab and another of the sentiments. For my test piece I hand wrote the "lift here", but since I hate my handwriting, and happen to have black on clear tape for my Brother label printer, I did print a little label for the finished version.

And inside is the bug - along with a sprig of Cornus. That too is a Sizzix die from the Susan's Garden range. Lorraine - I think of you every time I use those nail-art styluses. whether it's for scoring details as here, or for adding tiny dots of paint.  The bug was stamped on watercolour paper with black ink and embossed with clear embossing powder. I used Inktense pencils to add colour, and went round the edges with a black marker after cutting it out. It's also shaped a little with a large stylus, and popped up on foam.
The flower stem is an ordinary piece of florist's wire wrapped round with brown florist's tape (although in fact both my supplies came not from a florist but from a cake decorating shop).

Here's the card I made to post to the Art Neko blog last week - if you want more details on the creation, they are on the blog HERE.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

France - part 7

Our first trip away from Eygalières was a shopping trip for food. We went to the nearby town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Before doing the shopping we took in a visit to the Antiques de Glanum, on the hillside beyond the town. It's located on the Via Domitia, the Roman road that linked Italy with Spain, running through southern France.
Glanum started out as a Celtic fortified settlement (featuring a sacred well) dating back to appxox the 4th ntury BC for the earliest parts. It prospered again under the Romans in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The town part of the site was paid access only and we didn't go in.

What we did visit were two of  the Roman contsructions on the other side of the road;  France's oldest triumphal arch, built towards the end of Augustus Caesar's reign (so before 14 AD), which depicts the Roman victory over Gaul, and the Mausoleum of the Julii, dating to 40 BC.

The Mausoleum, which was probably a memorial rather than a burial place, is 18 metres (60 feet) high,

Thursday, 18 August 2016

More Utility Box Art

The first one of these is just outside work - and I think the "gate" in the title must refer to St James' Gate...

The second one is very near my bus stop. I noticed it and stopped to take a couple of photos. It reminds me a little of some of  Escher's drawings, especially the tessellations with fish  - Tessellation 99 on the page I have linked to (it's listed alphabetically under F for fish).

 It was a nice sunny day ;-).

It evidently was still a work in progress, because the next day I was in work I noticed it had some further additions - but still no title. I'll check on that tomorrow!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

France - part 6

More photos around Eygalières...

Looking up to the old village on the hill, from the campsite gate

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Great Snails!!

Thank you, Lorraine, for the "rout of snails" group noun, which I didn't know. I think many of us wish there would be a rout of them from the gardens.

Simply three here today - the Silly Snails from Art Neko.

One was a mixed media card I made as a sample for the Splitcoast challenges, so it's not really a design team card, but I thought my garden needed something more than flowers in it.

The second one is more by way of being a design team card since the only other stamp I used is also from Art Neko - Whimsical and Kind Sayings.
When I was making this one, I was trying to decide whether to have the wall-climbing snail able to see the end in sight, and show some sky above the brick wall. In the end, I decided it was more graphic to show nothing but wall to climb and no idea of how much climbing was left to reach the top.

The Kind and Whimsical Sayings set is mostly sentiments, but comes with the bonus of a little ladybird and a bee. I used the bee for another Dare To Get Dirty card.

The background was an embossing resist with Brusho powders; I can't imagine using the black very often but it looked good here. It was very difficult for me to make a sentiment with no punctuation, but I have a very basic Dymo label-maker which doesn't run to either an apostrophe or an interrogation point, so I had to ignore my grammatical inner voice.  The mason jar die is from Sizzix, it came with a matching embossing folder and is great fun to use. (Thanks, Di!).

Monday, 8 August 2016

July Favourites

What with holidays, most of my favourite cards were made as samples for the week of Dare to Get Dirty challenges on Splitcoast, now over for another year.

I was very happy with the "What a Wonderful World" one. Normally I am not frugal - I don't have the space or system for storing a lot of scraps. But when I transferred my Brusho powders into squeezy bottles, I hated the thought of wasting even the tiny bit of powder remaining in each plastic pot - so I added water to them, and spattered the resulting drops of colour onto card, using the pots to stamp the circles.