{21 Secrets} Doodling Our Way

As you know, this year I’ve been taking part in a number of online art workshops. I haven’t really blogged about them as much as I would have liked to, but there’s no time limit, so I will keep sharing my work even after the classes have finished.
Today I wanted to talk to you about…
21 Secrets

… the course hosted by Dirty Footprints Studio, that runs from March to December.

If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know that I did this course last year too – each cycle is a different 21 artist offering 21 art journaling lessons, and it’s a HUGE bargain. The one negative I have is that you don’t get to keep the lessons. It would be great if you could download the videos or something, in case you want to have another go later on.

The lesson I started out with was Doodling Our Way, by Cathy Bluteau. Essentially it combined a bit of collage and a lot of doodling (two things that I love). This was my first attempt:


It was such a nice, relaxing process. I love being able to sit down with a a pen, a blanket and a cuppa, and just let my hand do all the work while my brain has a good old rest. I currently have another one on the go:


And even more lined up for later…

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So tell me, have you been up to anything creative recently? If you’ve been taking part in 21 Secrets, I’d love to see some of your work!

D x

P.S. I’ve just set up a Facebook page for my blog – I’d love it if you would hop over and like it, or share it with your friends!


Heart Sight Heart Light

Hellooo! I’ve been a bit lax with posting my art journaling endeavours recently, and I’ve been even more lax about keeping up with the Life Book lessons… I’ll get more efficient I PROMISE but sometimes work and sleep and study just get in the way of everything! The good news is I’ve been given the spare room to turn into an art studio (yay!), and my Saturday tutorial has been cancelled this week, so very, very soon I’ll have a designated creative space with places to store my stash. I’m pretty damn excited, I’m not gonna lie! It’s so much easier to stay inspired if you don’t have to pack everything away once you’re finished using it. Plus, it will be really convenient having somewhere to leave things to dry!

Today I wanted to share the last Life Book page I completed – this one came from Effy Wild’s Heart Sight Heart Light lesson:



I have to say, I’m slightly in love with this background! As a lot of my art stuff is still currently packed up in boxes, I didn’t have any tissue paper to hand, so I had to improvise. I ended up using some paper napkins with a floral design to create the texture, and I really like that in some areas the printed lines shine through. The supplies I used here were so, so simple – my napkin, some glue, two felt tips, some charcoal and a bit of white acrylic (partially because the lesson didn’t ask for too much more, partially because even if it had, I wouldn’t have been able to find anything!) It’s not my favourite page ever, but I wasn’t in a particularly arty mood when I was working on it, so I wouldn’t expect it to be! I’m expecting to be back in my arty swing this time next week, so hopefully have some more pages to share with you then!

D x


{Lucky Dip} Book Tin

As you’ll most definitely know by now, I have big love for books. I also have big love for bargains, so whenever I find bargain books I kind of have to snap them up. Unfortunately my buying is much quicker than my reading and I’ve ended up with a pair of bursting bookshelves… but now I’m faced with the ‘oh my God where do I start?’ problem. So I decided to make a lucky dip tin, just something I can pull out whenever I’m stuck in a reading rut (and might help me with my resolution of reading every book I own!)


Here’s what you’ll need:

A lidded tin or jar (I used a Twinings tin).

Gesso and acrylic paint in a colour of your choice

A selection of different papers (I used some scraps I’d doodled on, a page from a Mandarin poetry book, a digital stamp from Robyn’s Fetish and a couple of pages torn from a colouring book)

Some sparkly embellishments (I used a selection of rhinestones, some glitter glue and some sparkly nail varnish)

A pair of scissors, some wet glue (my fave is Collage Pauge) and an old paintbrush

My free printable and a pen or two you love

Step 1

JpegCoat your tin with a thin layer of gesso. Once it’s dry, paint it with acrylic paint – this is going to get covered up, so don’t bother with anything too fancy.

Step 2


Chop up your selection of papers and start pasting onto the tin. I’d recommend putting a thing layer of glue both under and over each piece to make sure it doesn’t start peeling off. Overlap the different designs (or maybe colours in your case) to create some interesting patterns.


Step 3

Now you need to let all that glue dry. While your waiting, make the ‘lucky dip’ pieces.


Print out the free printable (by clicking on the link at the top) and fill each box with the name of a book you’d like to read. If you have as many is me, the cutting out might take a while, but at least your tin will be completely dry when you’re done!

Step 4


Paint around the edges of the lid with glittery nail varnish. Once this has dried, start sticking on your rhinestones.


Step 5 

I felt in need for a bit more sparkle, so I also added a bit of glitter glue. While this is drying you can fold up all of your book titles.


Step 6 

Stick in your hand and pull out a book name… then get reading!

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P.S. I made this book tin as part of my final Quirky Crafts challenge. The theme is ‘favourite things‘ and I used lots of my favourites here: I decorated a tea tin (my favourite drink), with reading in mind (my favourite hobby), using collage (my favourite technique), sparkles (every girl’s favourite thing) and Collage Pauge (my favourite adhesive). Check out the original challenge post for more design examples, and info on how to link up.

A Quirky Binder

Ever since I started secondary school, I’ve had a little tradition in the days before the Autumn term starts up again… I decorate my folder. I’ve always been a fan of having ‘one of a kind’ things, and it seems that one of the only ways to do this nowadays is to make or customise things yourself…

So for all those quirky stationery lovers out there, I thought I’d share a tutorial on how I made this:



These are the supplies you’ll need…

Jpeg  Jpeg


A ringbinder * A pair of scissors * Scraps of paper – I used a selection of book pages, leftover wrapping paper, painted card and a few other miscellaneous scraps I’d scrounged from under my desk * Some kind of wet glue (I use inexpensive PVA) * An old gift card or similar for spreading * A selection of stickers and decorative tapes.

First of all, start rifling through the papers you’ve collected, and pull out some pieces you like then cut them down to size. You have a couple of options here, you cut a lot of identical shapes or do what I did and cut random-sized, random-shaped pieces. Open out your folder and start playing with the composition of your collage pieces:


Once you like what you see, start gluing down the bits. To avoid bubbles in your paper, squirt a drop of glue straight onto the binder and scrape across with your gift card. Stick down the piece of paper, then run the card over it again to squeeze out any air. Keep going until everything is in place – if you stick anything over the joints of the folder, wiggle the covers a few times while the glue is still wet, and press out any bubbles. If you don’t do this then the paper will tear whenever you try to open your binder.



Start adding your second layer – I used a selection of decorative tapes, some previously doodled on tissue paper and a few stickers. I also added a digital stamp – Pumpkin Bird from Bugaboo, coloured with Prismacolor pencils.


At this point you could add a few doodles if you wanted to, just make sure you use pens that won’t smear (stick to biros, gel-pens and permanent markers). I decided to leave mine as it is for now (I might change my mind as the year goes on!). Once you’re happy with how it all looks, go over the whole thing with a generous layer of PVA, and give it a few hours to dry completely.

I had so much fun making this, I might have to give out a few as Christmas presents!

D x

P.S. The latest Quirky Crafts challenge is now live! This time the theme is ‘Pumpkin Time’ (hence the Pumpkin Bird), to link up, or see the rest of the fab Design Team examples, check out the original challenge post.

Playful Self Portraits

The page I’d like to share with you today is a response to Jane Davies‘ bonus Life Book lesson:



This one was quite fun to do as a ‘warm-up’, on an evening that I wasn’t feeling very creative. The background was a scraping of left over paint from quite a while ago, and the rest was a combination of collage, permanent markers and dimensional paint. Do I love it? No. Does it show any real artistic skill? No. Do I want a hat like that? Yes please.

To be honest the ‘collage body building’ is something I’ve done before, and I definitely prefer it when my face isn’t involved… and my fave lessons tend to be the ones that show me something I’d never have thought of on my own.

I’ll be linking this page up to Art Journal Every Day – don’t forget to hop over and check out the (much more gorgeous) artwork!

D x

Windows of the Soul

Has anyone else noticed how sweet the word ‘Friday’ sounds? I can’t wait to get out of the office and enjoy a little bit of this heat wave… locked in a room with lots of big windows but no air con is not bringing out the best of me!

Today I wanted to share another art journal page inspired by the Life Book course I’m taken. This page was a product of a bonus lesson from Kelly Hoernig (of the Game Board Page), called ‘Eyes Are The Windows Of The Soul’.

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the eyeball is actually made of teeny tiny scraps of paper, collaged together and painted to add extra detail.


I feel like this page is a little… naked. I’m not really a minimal journaller, I’m more of a ‘keep piling crap on there until there is literally no room for more’ kind of artist. Having said that, I enjoyed trying something a little bit new. I like that the eye really stands out (especially as it took so long to do… I think I’d be a bit miffed if it blended into the background!), and I like that I got to showcase my new favourite stencil (which is actually just a piece of lace paper).

I seem to have accumulated quite a few Life Book pages that I haven’t got round to blogging about…  I’ve also done a bunch of spreads inspired by 21 Secrets (which is on sale right now – check out the link for more info!), and made a little journal filled with juicy stuff as part of Doodle Camp 2013, so expect lots of arty goodness over the next couple of weeks!

D x


Going to the Zoo

I can never decide whether I love Sundays or hate them… on the one hand it is the day of lie-ins, roast dinners and general laziness BUT it is also the time bomb that ultimately explodes into Monday Mornings (and we all know how evil those are). One good thing about Sundays is that the new Quirky Crafts challenge goes live. This week the theme is ‘Daddy’s taking me to the zoo tomorrow’ (as in the song), so we want to see something with zoo animals on please! Check out the original challenge post for some design team inspiration, and instructions for how to link up.

As I’ve said before, I’m always looking for ways to use the digital images we work with in a new way. Here’s what I came up with this week, using ‘Chameleon’ from Bugaboo:


Step 1 – Trace your image.

As the lines are quite thick on this one, I traced along both edges.


Step 2 – Transfer the traced shapes onto coloured paper.

This is easy as pie, simply flip your traced image onto your paper of choice (I used a few scraps of hand painted paper left over from other projects) and go over outlines using a pen, pencil of bone folder.


Step 3 – Reassemble your image, and glue down.

Depending on the image you’ve chosen, you could adhere the pieces straight onto your background, but as I had lots of fiddly pieces I stuck them all onto my tracing and covered in a layer of PVA. If you use wet glue on tracing paper it is going to warp, but this can always be fixed later.


Step 4 – Stick the picture onto your art journal page.

I adhered my chameleon to a ready prepped background and weighted it down with a couple of heavy books to de-warp. The background was a page in my sketchbook that I’d used to clean excess paint off a couple of stencils and brushes, but I think it looks like it was designed with this little guy in mind! I outlined each collaged piece using a black sharpie, but I left the bulk of the outlines clear – I like that you can see the background through the tracing paper, it definitely helps this chameleon to camouflage! The final touch was a sharpie border (as I wanted to balance out the black outlines), and done!

I really love how this page has turned out, and I can’t wait to try out this technique with some other images!

Enjoy what’s left of your Sunday,

D x