Slightly Irregular Conformity

Archive for the category “Artsy”

New Year, New Art

Resolution time!  Only I’ve always sucked at them, so I’m not even starting.  What I’m doing instead is expanding my journal, and playing with the digital scrapbooking supplies I’ve got stashed away.

To help, I’ve signed up for a couple of weekly art journal prompts, which I’ll probably only do a few of before flitting off to something else.  That’s how I roll, and I’ve given up feeling bad about it.

In the meantime, the first prompt from Journal52 arrived in my inbox this morning: your word for the year.  Generally I draw a complete blank, but I had actually been mulling that over for a few days.  At any rate, this is what I’ve come up with:

2016-01-02 J52 Week 1


Embellishments include pieces from various kits:

  • Prompt tag is by Tempus Fugit, whose website has been locked down, so unfortunately this is a shout-out rather than a referral
  • Brushes include Typographic Grunge Brushes by Scully7491, which might just be my new favourite brush set
  • Splatter was created with a brush set designed by C130

I’m determined not to put any pressure on myself to stick with this challenge, so there may only be this one spread put together, but I had fun doing it.


Broccoli Soup

Another recipe that I have kept for years, and have no idea where it came from.  Why didn’t I think it was important to note sources?  This one is for Broccoli Soup, and I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds delicious:

This is built from pieces of a free kit by Wilma, who designs for Digiridoo Scraps.  I love the colour combination, and I’m going to re-use this one for more recipes.  For the font, I’ve used one of the linux system default, DejaVu Serif Semi-Condensed.

Vegetable Dip

Since I’ve decided to stop stressing about paints and collage materials, I’m drawn back to the digital scrapbooking supplies I’ve got, and my new cookbook.  I managed, in a moment of being a total moron, lose all of the files I had for scrapbooking and my old recipe cards, so I’m starting from scratch.  So the first recipe to go into the new cookbook is a dip one:

I can’t remember where I found the recipe, but anything with cream cheese in it is guaranteed to be a winner.  I can’t wait to try this, although I’ve found it at the wrong end of summer.  I’ll have to wait until a big sports final or something.

The kit I used for this is called Shhh, and is designed by the amazing Isa, who runs Bellisae Designs.  The two fonts are from MissTiina, which has a big collection of beautiful handwritten styled fonts for scrapbookers.

I’m hoping to get a few more recipes done soon, so I can start using the cookbook, so call back for updates!

To Artify or Not to Artify?

Seems to be more of an obsession than a question, at the moment.  I have not created any art journal spreads for a month.  Instead, I’ve been obsessing about why I haven’t been creating art, and putting more pressure on myself to hurry up and do something.  Which, of course, makes me less likely to get on with it.

Part of the problem is that I’m a graphic designer by day.  I spend much of my day organising spreads for other people, and believe it or not, it’s much, much easier to create something for a complete stranger than it is to create something from scratch just for me.  It also means that when I have a blank page in front of me, and I’m thinking of the possibilities, things start to feel more like a job than a hobby.

The other big reason is lack of a target.  I have no children, I have no big life issues to work through (except, maybe, my own unwillingness to do anything, haha).  I have none of the usual reasons that people create art for – including, it seems, making art because you would simply explode if you didn’t.

In short, I’m trying to justify why I haven’t been participating in the art journal group that I joined, and why I’m making a conscious move away from art and back to pure words.  I understand that art should be pushing your boundaries, but it shouldn’t be so hard that it’s demoralising.

No more art prompts for a while.  No more pressure.  I need to find my words again.

New Cookbook

I collect cookbooks, old ones especially.  There’s nothing quite like a recipe that calls for a pound of lard, especially in modern-day recipe compilations!  The problem is storing twenty-three cookbooks just for the use of thirty recipes, so I decided to compile the ones I wanted to keep, and pass the books on.

Originally I settled on 4×6 cards, kept in a photo album, and decorated all artful-like, but I ran into problems with the small size.  So I’ve upscaled!
Behold, the project that I’ve had on the backburner for at least six months:
Okay, it’s not much to look at like that, but here’s how it started off:
One plain, A5-sized lever arch folder.  I’d already decided that whatever I went with needed to be expandable, since I plan on growing it forever.  This one has an arch a couple of inches high, so it’s going to take decades to fill it (I can’t wait!).
First, a coat of paint:
I added the tape down the spine so that it won’t crack with repeated use.  I actually really like the effect of the white threads on the dark background… but there was a bit more to do.  After waiting around for the paint to dry (no risking any bubbles on this baby!), I ended up with this:
The colour is a bit off in this photo, but the ribbon is bright, bright green, and the letters are very blue.  The whole thing has several coats of mod podge holding it together, so hopefully I won’t end up with a RECI ES book in six months.
I made the dividers before I chose the folder, and they poke out the end, which is fine.  That’s what they’re meant to do!  I’ve got sections for Basics, Sauces & Dips (probably my favourite part), Veges, Pasta & Rice, Beef, Pork, Chicken, Fish, Dessert, Biscuits & Cakes, Drinks and Misc.  I’m not much of a sweet person, so I don’t need much space for cakes and whatnot – give me a casserole any day.  The Misc is already full of recipes for cleaning supplies and random things from Flylady that I intend to use (her deep cleaning lists, nicely laminated so that I can cross stuff off as I go).
Thanks for looking 🙂


This week’s challenge was Time.  Specifically, we had to incorporate some kind of time device into our page.  Well, with no way of escaping the pun, it was perfectly timed (groan…), since it was my birthday last week, and time has been on my mind.

Seriously, how can I resist using the ultimate time device??  It’s the front section of a cubee from DeviantArt, and it’s beautiful.  It’s also 3D, and inside are a couple of ATCs with some short thoughts on turning 30.  I put a watercolour wash over them, so they’re somewhat obscured, and I think they look awesome:
I trimmed the edge of each one before they had completely dried, so the cuts are a little fuzzy, but they’ve got slightly different patterns down each side.  I showed the Other Half the finished page, and mentioned that there was something tucked inside the Tardis, but now that they’re in there, I’m going to leave them there for discovery some time in the future.
And, of course, the text on the right is a quote from one of the greatest Doctor Who episodes ever, Blink.

My workspace

We have a really tiny house.  It’s two bedrooms, and the second bedroom has become a catch-all for the stuff that would normally be spread across bedrooms, garages and laundry rooms.  In spite of that, I’ve managed to stake a claim to one corner (although that’s now under threat, as you’ll see) and turn it into an art corner.

This is my desk, where I can stretch my creative muscles, and generally make a mess.  It’s old, and it’s banged up and a bit grubby, and that’s perfect for me – it means I don’t have to panic if I spill something.  Even though I use an unfolded box as a blotter 🙂
The star of the photo is the reason my corner is under threat.  The cat has decided that the chair is his spot, to the point where he’s taken a flying leap from the doorway onto my lap, just to get me to move.  That’s fine – at this time of year it’s too hot to be sitting in there for long anyway.
I love that I’ve got christmas lights up to help take away the shadows, even if they don’t actually produce much light.  I’ve got photos and paint chips up as well, to take away from the plain noticeboard.  I was thinking about covering it with fabric, but I get bored easily – this way I can swap things around as I want to.
The drawers to the left are filled with pens, pencils and markers.  The shelf above is for anything that will actually fit in such a small gap (turns out it’s perfect for glitter and spritz bottles).  I’ve got some jars that I have big plans for, and a cluster of dragons looking on.
The shelf above that is where the bigger stuff goes – the jar of brushes, when they’re not being used, spray paint cans and glues.  My actual paints are stored in a shoe organiser over the door (you can see part of it), and I’m still working on filling it up.  The cats hanging off the door handle were a christmas present from a friend.
Under the desk is an ugly box filled with precut ATCs, sitting on a computer that I’m supposed to be setting up for a friend (oops), and my small-but-growing stash of Neil Gaiman books.
It’s not a huge, sterile workplace – it’s the complete opposite, but I love it.  It’s my space, and my clutter, and it’s where I can make as much of a mess as I please.

Christmas challenge

Over the christmas break the Journal Challenge was for a page detailing a christmas memory.  I don’t really have many, as it’s not any particularly special day to me, so I thought I’d have a go at putting down why it’s not much of an event.

The green is actually holographic gift wrapping that I got for my birthday, but it fit the tree idea so well I had to use it.  I added gold acrylic as decorations, then ended up melting the foil slightly with my new heat gun.  Oops, guess I’ll stick to using it on paper only!
The white blobs are liquid chalk, which I haven’t used before.  I think the width of the nib is going to take some getting used to, but I’ll be getting the rest of the available colours anyway.
The background is watercolour paint – this is only the second time I’ve used to, and I’m starting to like it a bit more.
This is the first art page for 2012, and the first to go into my new journal box.  Let the ride begin!

Journal Box 2012

Christmas is well and truly looming – work is getting more frenetic and I can’t wait for Friday, which is usually busy until lunchtime, and then more or less dead.

With all the added stress and busyness, I’ve taken the opportunity to relax when I can, watching movies and reading books instead of journaling.  My entries recently have been recaps on what’s happened, with not much else going on, but I have managed to make a start on my journal box.
I’ve decided to keep the outside of it fairly boring, so that doesn’t scream ‘open me up.’  This is the top, and will probably not get much more decoration than numbers on the spine.  The numbers are watercolour, and had been a background that I’d done for a challenge.  I ripped the page out of my art journal though, so wasn’t sure what to use them for. 
I love the texture that the modgepodge gave it – it’s the first time I’ve used it as a sealant, and I’m really happy with the result.
Because the outside is going to stay fairly lowkey, I’m going to decorate the inside as the year goes on.  To start with, a zentangle that I did:
This is going on the inside as a reminder.  Maybe it’s my mission statement for the year…

Getting Grounded

My fingers are covered in paint, which makes it a good start to the weekend.  This week has been just as busy as the last month, but it seems I was finally able to make time for some art, no matter how simple.

The first was a challenge from JournalChallenges, and sounded nice and straightforward: fill a page with your favourite colours, to use a background later.  I decided to try out the watercolours I’ve got, and was so happy with the result that I did a second page.  Then I had a brain fart and for no apparent reason tore both pages out of my journal.  Of course, once I’d regained my sanity I wasn’t able to recreate anything near as good, so here’s a square of three colours, not mixed together very well:
I loved how muted I can get these colours, and will definitely have to start using them more often.
The next challenge was to create a page about what sort of queen I am.  After getting stuck on a hundred different negative ideas, I settled for the most honest, relative and obvious answer:
I like how bare this is – the words are all the matters, and there’s no distractions from the message, which seems to be more important the more I look at it.  The lettering is a new thing for me, so I cheated by having some gorgeous images on the laptop screen while I drew them.  It’s a step up from tracing, but I’ll be sticking to it while I figure out if I have a style of my own or not.

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