Friday, 31 May 2013

Monthly Calendar

How did you get on with your May calendar?    I didn't fill mine in as often as I should so I may well have to doodle some of my birds!

And now it's time for June.

I sprayed the pages of my journal with blue, yellow and green.  I felt it was too bright to be able to write on (supposing that I do!) so I sprayed White Linen through a stencil to tone it down.

Then I stamped the month, the circles to write in and some cow parsley ready to doodle and add some colour.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Celebrating in May

There are many and varied celebrations during the month of May.  Some last a day, some a week and some a month.  This month is, amongst other things, National Duckling Month.  Although this may well have been set up by duck producers to encourage us to eat duck rather than to celebrate cuddly little birds.

Masking tape was patented on May 27th 1930.

So I thought it would be great to have a technique challenge based on masking tape.  Of course you could do something about ducklings but masking tape is more adaptable to crafting!

And part 2

Here's another technique video

And another

I look forward to seeing what you come up with using masking tape.   Don't forget to link your work below.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

[in Just-]

Here is a great poem by e. e. cummings who didn't always use punctuation and who made up lovely words.  I love the way this poem is written.

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and


balloonMan          whistles

And here is the poet himself reading the poem.

So, on to the challenge.

Using the poem itself or inspiration from the video make a page in your journal.

Or how about writing a poem about Spring yourself!

And don't forget to share your work via the linky below.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Pentecost Sunday

Carolyn has provided us with information and a meditation for Pentecost.

Pentecost is another of the main Christian festivals, although a lot less well known than Easter or Christmas.  There are connections in name with the Jewish festival Shauot, or the Feast of Weeks, (because of being seven weeks after Passover) which celebrates both the giving of the law to the Hebrews at Sinai and the grain harvest.  This was given the Greek name Pentecost as it was 50 days (Pente, relating to 5, as in Pentagram) after Passover but Pentecost in the Christian church is a completely different festival celebrating the events that took place at the first Pentecost (Jewish) after the resurrection of Jesus.

It was at this time that the New Testament book of acts talks about the first followers of Jesus being ‘Filled with the Holy Spirit’.  Since the resurrection and then ascension of Jesus into heaven they had been meeting quietly, praying and waiting, as Jesus had instructed them to do.  Their numbers had stayed the same and it probably looked to anyone watching them as if they would eventually drift or settle back into normal life.

Then the New Testament records they were praying together and there was suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Ac2:2-4 NIV)  When people saw this and exclaimed at being able to understand them, no matter what their native language (lots of pilgrims in Jerusalem for the Jewish festival) then Peter stands up and preaches to a large crowd resulting in the fledgling church expanding by 3000 who were baptised into the new faith.  This is why Pentecost is often referred to as the birthday of the church. With the coming of the Holy Spirit they changed from fearful followers to bold baptisers.

In Modern times there are lots of ways this is celebrated, and it is common in a lot of churches to have baptisms or confirmations at Pentecost. It is also a traditional time for ordinations according to Wikipedia.  In England, or certainly in the North of England it used to be common for churches to ‘walk’, or to parade around the neighbourhood at Pentecost, or ‘Whit’, Whitsuntide, Whit Sunday.  My mum still recalls having new white dresses for Whit Walks.  These walks could be any time in the week after Whit Sunday and the Monday was always a bank holiday.  This has now been changed into a fixed day not connected to Whit, Spring Bank Holiday.  The word whit comes from white and could be white clothes of those being baptised, as the term predates Whit walks.

On Palm Sunday I spoke a little about how I meditate on scripture sometimes by setting it to photographs.  I find it helps me to see what it is about a piece of scripture that is speaking to me at the moment if I think about how I want to represent it, what colours, textures and images will put that across without me adding any more words.  I can write at length, but when it comes to distilling it down into 3-4 photographs then I really spend time letting the scripture sink in.

For Pentecost I haven’t chosen the Acts2 passage that details the events of the first Christian Pentecost.  Instead I have chosen to use a passage from Romans, a letter written by St Paul, where he talks about how the Holy Spirit leads us to God as children to a father. (Abba is an Aramaic word that has both familiar and respectful connotations and was among the first words children learned, maybe similar to the English papa)

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again;

rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.

And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:14-15 NIV

I’d love to see your own meditations on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit or on another subject.

Please use the link below to share your thoughts.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Guest post: A Spring Tag

I am delighted to welcome my friend Nicola today.  She dabbles in all kinds of papercrafts and has recently become interested in quilt making.  Do have a look at her blog.  If you live near Solihull you can take classes from her.

A Spring Tag 
Ink a variety of flowers in seasonal spring colours – I used Peacock Feathers, Shaded Lilac and Squeezed Lemonade with either stains or inks.

Ink the flowers lightly around the edges with Tea Dye distress ink. Put the flowers to one side to dry.

Handwrite lightly in pencil ______spring_____ on your tag and then sew using the pencil lines as a guide, when complete rub out the pencil lines.

Add a couple of sewn lines vertically for the stem of the flower.

Place the cloud mask in position at the top of the tag and lightly ink around using Shabby Shutters and Tumbled Glass distress inks in big circular motions.

Remove the mask to ink the rest of the tag.  When inked replace the cloud mask and gently ink around the edges of the clouds with Tea Dye distress ink to define the edges.

Remove the mask and ink around the edges of the tag with Tea Dye distress ink.

Cut out two tattered leaves in glassine paper.  Stamp a Kaisercraft Secret Admirer Definition (or use a script) stamp onto each one, scrunch up the leaves, flatten them and ink with Mowed Lawn distress ink.

Cut out an On The Edge Picket Fence in white cardstock, using a black pen draw on some marks and knots to define the post then, very lightly, run a foam pad with Iced Spruce distress ink over the top to just tone down the whiteness.

Build up the flower petals in different colours and finish with a brad.

Adhere the elements to the tag – leave a bottom edge on the fence die cut to slightly extend the length of the tag, trim and finish with ribbon.

Take a 20” length of tissue tape and fold it over on itself, crumple and then use as a tag tie to complete the tag.

And here's the completed tag:

Thank you so much for the tutorial Nicola.

If you don't have the dies and inks that Nicola has, then use her tutorial for inspiration and come up with your own version. Don't forget to add your version of the tag with the linky below.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Technique Challenge

This is a fabulously easy, but addictive technique.

You will need some acetate, some alcohol inks and a straw.

Watch the video and get creating.  (The sound doesn't start until about 20 seconds into the video).

I hope you enjoy this technique.  I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Creative Date for May

Julia Cameron in The Artists Way suggested the idea of making time for a regular creative date.   This idea is also picked up by Matt Tommey in Unlocking the Heart of the Artist.   You can also find inspiration here: 101 Artist's Date Ideas.

I am suggesting that we should each make time for a creative date each month.  Ideally we will go out.  Go to a local museum, a local art gallery, go for a walk!  Whatever idea you have that will feed your creativity.

However sometimes it's not possible to physically visit those places.  So here's my idea for May.  Visit an online art gallery.

Do let us know what your favourite parts of the museum are using the linky below.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Hospitality – Movie [TV] Night

Here's Judy with a hospitality themed blog post.  She will be sharing her ideas every season.  Thanks Judy.

Hey y’all! I’m so happy to be a part of this WONDERFUL creative blog!!

Recently I’ve started some conversation in our facebook group about getting together with friends. I hesitate to call it entertaining because I think that sometimes gives us higher expectations… that we might feel are unattainable – sooooo, I want to share some easy, attainable ways to get together with friends. We love having friends over to the house, but we also love planning get-togethers outside our home as well, for instance, we coordinated a progressive dinner for 12-12-12 to three different restaurants [appetizer – dinner – desert] in an upscale shopping center to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime-date – fun!

Every few months I’ll be sharing ways we can enjoy the company of others by offering hospitality. Romans 12:10-13 says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love, give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” [NAS]

I love the notes in my study Bible: “… hospitality differs from social entertaining. Entertaining focuses on the host – the home must be spotless; the food must be well prepared and abundant; the host must appear relaxed and good-natured. Hospitality in contrast, focuses on the guests. Their needs – whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or acceptance – are the primary concern. Hospitality can happen in a messy home. It can happen around a dinner table where the main dish is canned soup. It can even happen while the host and the guest are doing chores together… Don’t hesitate to offer hospitality just because you are too tired, too busy, or not ‘wealthy’ enough to entertain.”

Hospitality can be as easy or as detailed as we want – and while ‘having people over’ does encourage us [me, personally] to clean up things a bit around the house, no one expects perfection. Our friends are there to visit with us – not inspect the cleanliness of our home [and if it’s the opposite we might need to consider some different friendships… just kidding. I think.] Living in an older home has given me great freedom in the ‘everything must be perfect’ mentality… I’ve often been told I have the gift of hospitality – and we do love planning to be with friends – here’s my guideline:

     I like to keep it simple.
     I like whimsy.
     I like time with my friends, and
     I like for others to feel ‘at home’ when they visit us.

Throughout the year I’ll be sharing some different ways we host friends and family; this month I want to share a recent Movie Night in our home…

What I did to Prepare: 
We have a little dog living in our home, and I know that everyone doesn’t appreciate animals – so the day of our gathering we moved her upstairs and gave everything a good vacuuming and sprucing up. 
We also moved the TV to the living room since our den is very small…and I added a bucket of movie candy to tie into the theme – [Popcorn buckets & candy from the Dollar Tree -]
Invite: I do enjoy making little invites, even for small gatherings, so a few weeks prior I searched the internet for free TV graphics and created this one. [There are so many cute ones out there that I used several for the evening!] Be sure to double check the dates – don’t be like me! LOL.
Welcome: I thought it’s be fun to have a little welcome sign by the door so I created this giant TV out of old cardboard – Just did a quick sketch of the TV, cut out the center and added a little paint [I used to do things like this for birthday parties when the kids were younger – once we had [cardboard] dinosaurs as big as them!] The idea was to add a little fun – I wasn’t concerned with perfection - 
Menu: This was a very simple gathering – just hotdogs and chili in the crockpot with mustard, ketchup, and mayo. We also had all the ‘fixins’: kraut, cheese, onions, and relish, as well as chips, cupcakes, and popcorn candy.* I created the menu board form another [free] TV graphic – just printed it out and did a ‘fussy’ cut around it before placing it on a sheet of paper and on a photo stand… [I’ll re-use the scrapbook paper later.]
Table: I enjoy setting a pretty [and fun!] table – something I learned from my mom, I think… so I picked up these different popcorn containers at the Dollar Tree and different thrift stores as I came across them. I used red plates and striped napkins and added in some white milk glass bowls. 
Details – I printed out a few more little TV graphics and used them for labels – I used packing tape to secure them to containers I already had [and yes, I use canning jars – lol.]
I also secured popcorn labels to the insides of the containers so friends could easily tell what was offered – I’d originally thought it might be fun to have a popcorn ‘bar’ with plain popcorn and lots of toppings, but – I went with the simpler plan of a couple of different types of easily prepared microwave popcorn. Ha.
Conversation Starter: I created little TV cards with the question, “What was your favorite TV show  in Elementary School - or Middle School – or High school?] as a prompt for us to share together. These were put on the cups with packing tape - It was fun to hear the different answers! 
Photo Op: And lastly - I’ve loved all the cute photo-ops I’m seeing on blogs these days and I wanted to include one in our gathering! And our friends know I’m a photo addict, so they are sweet to indulge my craziness!

I simply re-purposed the welcome sign to be a photo frame – easy peasy… and, again, the purpose is FUN not perfection [we had to hold up the antennae – ha.] 

We had a great time Watching Snow White and The Huntsmen – none of us had seen it and it wasn’t what we expected – but we were happy with our choice in the end… Have y’all seen it?
And we sent our guests home with boxes of cupcakes and popcorn filled containers! Here’s the popcorn candy recipe – found it on the web:
Melt a pound of vanilla candy bark [slowly] in the microwave and stir in popped corn [be sure and clear out any kernels that didn’t pop,] and M&M’s. Then spread it out on wax paper and cover with sprinkles. My friend Carrie makes a version of this during the Christmas Holidays with dried cranberries and pretzel pieces – it’s delicious! [We like to mix the candy corn with salted popcorn – mmm, so. good.]

So, that was our evening! – I hope it encourages you to think creatively about how you can host a gathering of your own – and I’d love to hear your ideas!

Thank you Judy.   
Don't forget to add your blog post about your ideas using the linky below.

Monday, 6 May 2013

May Zine

This month we only need to create our May double page spread.  If you haven't made your Zine yet then go to the tutorial from last month.  There's also the second part of the tutorial and the Zine that I made on my blog.

I stamped the flowers along the bottom of the pre-coloured page.

I stencilled some more colour on through some Punchinella.  Then coloured in the flowers.

 I cut out the verse and inked round it before sticking it down.

Our Spring Zine is finished.  If you are making this as a standalone zine then you will need to finish your cover.  If like me you are making all four seasons into one book then you need do nothing more except put it in a safe place!   And of course, remember where that is!

Don't forget to add your work via the linky.  Looking foward to seeing your finished page.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Photo Challenge

In March I introduced this monthly challenge.  Each month we take a photograph on the same day, at the same time, of the same place.  Can you believe this is the third month of this challenge.

You choose a day or date and a place to suit you.  It could be taken from your front door, your back door, a particular place on your journey to work or on the school run.  It could be where you walk the dog.  Wherever it is, it needs to be a place you are at or near regularly.

Each month we will take a photo and over the year we will build up a picture of the changes in the seasons.   If you haven't already, I suggest you have a folder on your hard drive where you keep these photos so you can find them at the end of our 12 months together.

If you upload them to the Facebook group please add the photo to your album or if you are new please make an album with your name and a suitable title.  Thanks.

There's also a Flickr group if you don't have a blog or a Facebook account.

I've added a linky for you to add your photo or blog.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Flower of the Month: Bluebell

In researching the bluebell our usual contributor, Susan, found a BBC video and so suggested that I take over this post this month.  So here goes:

From the BBC Nature website:
Common bluebell
Common bluebells are anything but ordinary, with a spring woodland carpeted in masses of bluebells a sight to behold. This spectacular botannical display is only found in northern Europe, with Britain containing more than half of the worlds population. Common bluebells are a protected species in the UK. The main threats to their survival is people picking the flowers and illegally digging up the bulbs. Hybrid bluebell species, because of crossing with the Spanish bluebell, are also a major problem. Did you know? Britain is home to more than half of the world's population of bluebells.
Scientific name: Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Rank: Species
English bluebell

It isn't possible to embed the video into this post but please click on the links:

Last year I went for a walk through a bluebell wood and here are some of my photos.

My father lived in Pembrokeshire and it was only a short boat ride to Skomer Island and we were fortunate to have the most fabulous day last year on the island.  The island is also famous for its Puffin colony and here is one with bluebells and red campion in the background.

Art challenge
Susan gave us a tutorial in March about drawing.  So why not revisit the tutorial and this month use the bluebell.  You can download a pdf of a drawing I found on the internet.

Or why not give this a try?  Make an origami bluebell.

Whatever you come up with, please share it with us via the linky.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

An Introduction to May

Can you believe we are in the third month of this year long challenge!  Here we are in May, the last month that we are looking at Spring.  Of course, here in the UK we haven't seen much Spring weather.

"Ah! my heart is weary waiting,
Waiting for the May:
Waiting for the pleasant rambles
Where the fragrant hawthorn brambles,
Where the woodbine alternating,
Scent the dewy way;
Ah! my heart is weary, waiting,
Waiting for the May."
-  Denis Florence McCarthy, Summer Longings 
"Spring is God's way of saying, 'One more time!' "
-  Robert Orben
"Winter is many months of the year
But now at last Maytime is here;
And birds sing from a leafy screen
In the trees and hedgerow freshly green;
And the wood-anemone is out in the shade,
With its blushing petals which too soon fade;
Once more the bracken is unfurling there,
And bluebells gently perfume the damp air."
-  Veronica Ann Twells, Maytime

You can find out more about the month of May by clicking on these links.

We are featuring the bluebell as our flower of the month for May.  I will be here on Friday with a blogpost about the bluebell.

Here is the May programme PDF for you to download.

Creative challenge
Use the information on this page or anything you have found on the linked pages to make a journal page or layout.

Please link your work via the linky below.