Saturday, 19 November 2016

A manly challenge

The November challenge on the Canvas Corp Brands blog incorporates a metals, rust and mechanical theme. Since I love all things Steampunky, this is right up my street!

I have a collection of old coffee tins that currently hold my brushes and tools and were perfect for a bit of altering.

First I glued some wire, die cut gears and keyboard keys to the tin to create the design and then used gesso to cover everything. I added some areas of crackle paste and grit for texture, then started applying the colour.

13arts Cinnamon Latte and Cardamon Machiato paints formed the base colours. Over this I sprayed Tattered Angels Red Maple glimmer mist. I added some 7 gypsies rub-ons on top of the keys and then highlighted some areas of details with turquoise patina paint. I finished off with a light spray of Chalkboard Chalk mist.

Now I just need to alter the rest of my coffee tins to match!


Sunday, 30 October 2016

Bits & Pieces

Now that the nights are getting darker, I like to spend the evenings sitting at my desk making a mess with paints and papers. And since I've finally got around to getting myself a proper desk light I can craft at night without having to squint and getting more mess on myself than on the page!

We've recently had a new baby niece born so I decided to make a keepsake box as a gift. I started with a plain box, painted on some wood grain texture and stencilled on a cherry blossom with modelling paste.

I used some pretty flowers, butterflies and chipboard in a nice peachy colour range and added some glitter for sparkle.

Sunday, 25 September 2016


I have a sort of obsession with octopus. Well, not just octopus but all things cephalopod. There's just something about their weird alien-ness, from their  tentacles to their intellect, there's just something a bit otherworldly about them.
I also adore the steampunk movement; the rich colours, the industrial imagery and the idea of an alternate twist to Victorian history. Plus octopus tend to feature quite heavily in the literature and aesthetic! So for the latest challenge on the 13artsblog, it seemed only natural to combine these two loves.

I made these covers for a new journal. The tentacles were made from tinfoil and 13arts wine red stain powder and glass beads. I also used fine grain grit to create texture on the background, various sprays and paints for the colouring and some 7dots studio stickers and papers for detail. 

I'd also like to enter this into the 7dots challenge for steampunk this month.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Ocean blue

I adore the sea. It is at the same time both tranquil and soothing, and wild and unpredictable.  From the waves lapping on rocky shores to the great unexplored deeps, it evokes such fantastic imagery and inspiration. And the creatures that live within the vast oceans! From the strange and bizarre yeti crabs and nudibranchs to the awesome majesty of the ocean giants like humpback whales and manta rays.

One of my favourite sea creatures however, is one of myth and legend; the Kraken. Whether the stories are of gigantic sea creatures rising from the black depths of the ocean to destroy unwary sailors or as a monstrous figure in Greek tales for sacrificing virgins to and as a tool of the gods' wrathful vengence, I love the thought that there may be kraken still, lurking in the abyssal trenches of the ocean.

The quote on the journal page below is from one of my favourite stories, Kraken by China Mieville. Here, the Kraken are ancient gods, worshipped by a cephalopodic cult in an alternative London landscape. The papers and tags are from 7dots  Destination Unknown collection, with some netting, pearls and metallic foils and paints, plus some texture stones.

I'd like to enter this page into the metallic colours challenge on the 7dots blog.

Saturday, 21 May 2016


Finnabair has a challenge on her blog about quotes and how they inspire us to be creative. There are lots of words that inspire me, but I think the ones that have stayed with me and stuck in my head and still make me stop and think, aren't really a quote. Infact, they're a piece of graffiti I first saw nearly 20 years ago- "this inertia that keeps me, hides me, kills me". It was spray painted on a car park at my old university building and I read them every day for the next 7 years. The words eventually started to fade and the car park has since been demolished but still the words linger in my head. They're not the most cheerful words and I don't fully understand what sentiment inspired the graffiti artist when they sprayed them. There's even something slightly uncomfortable about the words, but they drive me on: to understand better, to keep trying, to not give up and never let things get me down. I try to follow this idea through all things in my life, including creativity. If at first something doesn't work or doesn't turn out how I want, I start over and try again.
This is my page inspired by Finnabairs challenge.

Created using lots of paints, sprays, diecut cogs, flowers and a lot of mess!

Saturday, 14 May 2016


I'm generally quite laid back about things and don't usually get too stressed- except for when I'm waiting for big things to happen. I've just moved house and started a new job, and waiting for all the paperwork to go through and making sure all the necessary arrangements were in place left me feeling really strung out. I worried something would go wrong, I had a huge to-do-list that never seemed to get any shorter and what if I'd forgotten a really important thing?! Stress! But we're now settling nicely into our new home and my job seems to have gotten off to a good start so I can start to relax now and wonder what all the fuss was about.

This months challenge at Mixed Media Place is about being patient and well, it's something that I struggle with sometimes.

This journal page is about my IMPATIENCE and was created using sprays, crackle paste, seed beads, alpha stamps and a splattering of paint.

I'd also like to enter this journal page for the May Berry71bleu blog challenge. The colours and textures in their mood board are just gorgeous and really inspired my page details.

Thursday, 5 May 2016


The Dark Is Rising series is one of the first books I remember reading that has left an indelible imprint on my mind. The mixture of ancient magics, Authurian references and nature imagery always conjured fantastical pictures whenever I read it. My copy is now somewhat battered and falling to bits but still I devour each page as if I were reading it anew. The imagery of the Greenwitch book is particularly striking- ancient traditions combining with an elemental power that is renewed with each making.

For this journal page I used various patterned papers, spray inks and I handmade the frame elements from polymer clay.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Once upon a story

Sometimes, I admit, I find inspirational quotes a bit twee and overused. The words in my life that mean the most to me have come from the pages of books, stories that have stayed in my head for years and still have the power to move me and make me think, even after many years or re-reading the same pages many times. So I've made a mixed media journal where I can record these words and stories, where I can put pictures and images to the words in my head. This is the cover for this journal:

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Amazonian manatee

I fell in love with manatees a long, long time ago on a family holiday to Florida. They're not the most glamorous or adorable of animals but there's something about these big gentle creatures that just fascinates me. Fun fact- although they are fully aquatic, manatees are more closely related to elephants than they are to other marine mammals like whales and dolphins.

Amazonian manatee (the ones in the photo- you can tell them apart from the other two manatee species by the white splashes of colour across their bodies) have a conservation status classified as Vulnerable due to the continuing reduction in their population numbers. One of the problems with these manatees is that the cloudy, vegetation-heavy waters of the Amazon make them difficult to spot and a large proportion of their territory is challenging for conservationists to reach, so there are no accurate numbers of how many animals there actually are. Sadly manatee numbers continue to decline as they fall prey to illegal hunting, accidental capture in nets and the destruction and degradation of their habitat.

This little guy is for sale here and by weird coincidence, today is actually Manatee Appreciation Day so I'm going to spend some time just, you know, appreciating manatees. I'd like to hug one cause they look very huggable, but it's not really a good idea to hug wild animals so I'll just google some pictures of them and 'aww' to myself instead!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Playing with paper

I used to do a lot of scrapbooking and altered art, but then life happened and I drifted away from it. I've tried other crafts but there always seemed to be limits to what I could do with them, how creative I could be. Recently I started to dabble in polymer clay after being inspired by some fantastic artists, and it's a great medium to work with and no end to the things you can make with it (as long as you have the technical ability!). But I missed getting my hands covered in ink and paint, turning a piece of old junk into something amazing just by applying the right embellishments to give it a new lease of life. So I went back through my old blog reading list in search of something to kick my creative arse into gear and came across this site's Moodboard challenge:

In addition to the gorgeous colour palate, the 'Dream on' phrase really sparked something for me. I've spent the last year and a half chasing an old dream and things aren't turning out as I'd hoped. So maybe it's time to stop dreaming and awaken to the new possibilities that are out there:

Friday, 25 March 2016

Planetary horoscope determination device

The Hellenistic period of history saw the combination of the Egyptian zodiac with the Greek system of planetary Gods, sign rulership and the four elements. This device was inscribed with the zodiac symbols used during this period of history. It is available to buy here.

Antikythera-prototype ancient computational device

The Antikytheria mechanism is a fascinating piece of ancient technology- found on a shipwreck off the Greek coast in 1900, it was another 70 years before historians realised it wasn't simply a lump of corroded bronze but actually a complex computational device designed to predict astronomical postions and eclipses. If you'd like to find out more about this really amazing piece of ancient mechanism, have a look here.

This is my imagining of what a prototype Antikythera mechanism might have looked like- apparently such a prototype device might actually exist but I highly doubt this looks anything like it! If you would like to own it though, it's for sale here.

Astrolarium moon-phase pendant

This necklace has been handmade from polymer clay, swarovksi crystals, acrylic paints and die cut gears. The astrolarium piece itself measures approximately 6.5 cm across and the entire chain plus pendant measures approximately 56cm in total length. The pendant is attached to a silver style chain with a toggle fastening. If you like this piece, you can purchase it here.

Humpback whale

Humpback whales are one of the largest mammals on the planet and yet despite their size, they were once overfished to such an extent that they numbered only a few thousand individuals. Strict legal protections from whaling have resulted in the global population of humpbacks returning to healthier numbers although they are still vulnerable to the effects of climate change. To find out more info, have a look here.

This polymer clay whale has been sculpted and placed on a textured background to create the look of the deep sea. If you'd like to own this whale, visit our Etsy shop here.

Hazel dormouse

How adorable are these little dormice?! Although not classified as endangered species on a global scale, they are decreasing in number and vulnerable to extinction in the UK due to the changing of farming practices and the removal of hedgerows and wooded areas where they feed and hibernate. To find out more about hazel dormice, have a look here and here.

This polymer clay dormouse has been sculpted in his little nest, nibbling away at a blackberry before he settles down to hibernate the winter away. Here is the link to our Etsy shop if you'd like to own this cute little critter!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A messy new venture

This is my outlet for creative processes, frustration, general messiness, probably a lot of cat photos, some nature chat and just general all round waffle. It's a journey- where it's going I'm not quite sure nor if I'll actually know the end if I get there, but I guess it all needs to start somewhere!