Friday 31 October 2008

Art Journalling with Dina Wakley

We are in week 2 of Dina's class. I've been busy gessoeing and painting the background and collageing these pages. I love how they have turned out but not too keen on getting messy/inky/gluey whilst I made them.

Whilst I am not keen to embrace the inky fingers like Dina, I love her "I don't search for the perfect image, if I've got it, I use it, if I don't got it, I don't worry about it." So these five pages were very quick to collage. When I didn't have the perfect image, I drew it...the treble cleft, the castle and the aeroplane were all drawn quickly ( without worrying if they are perfect! )

I can't wait for next week to start filling up the pages with my story.

Neuschwanstein Castle

On our second day in Fuessen, we went really early to visit Hohenswangau and Neuschwanstein, about 5km from Fuessen. A was quite keen to walk there but I wasn't convinced. I am sure we can walk the 5km there and back but what about the climb to the castles ? I would have expired, I think!
When we arrived, there was quite a lot of fog/mist/low clouds around so I didn't get a good photo of Hohenswangau. In fact, Neuschwanstein wasn't even visible from below at that time. We visited Hohenswangau first on the 9.45am tour. This is definitely the best order to do them as it will be an anti-climax to visit a small castle after Neuschwanstein. Our tour at Neuschwanstein was second at 11.40am.

Here are some photos of Neuschwanstein castle.

The walls of the castle is undergoing restoration, unfortunately during our visit, on this side that you can view from Marienbrucke.

A photo of Hohenschwangau from a picture window in Neuschwanstein castle.

At the end of our visit, Neuschwanstein from below...the castle was obscured by morning mist earlier.

Ok, some background info for this wonderful castle. Neuschwanstein means 'New swan stone castle' after the Swan Knight Lohengrin, of Wagner's opera of the same name. In origin, the palace has been the Schwanstein, the seat of the knights of Schwangau, whose emblem had been the swan.
This castle was built by King Ludwig who visited Ch√Ęteau de Pierrefonds in France for inspiration. If you have watched 'Merlin' on tv, you might know that Camelot in Merlin is actually the chateau.

I know Neuschwanstein from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It is also the inspiration for the castles at Disneyland parks.Owned by the state, unfinished, inside decor reminds me of William Morris...wood panelling below and wallpaper above...although I think the "wallpaper" part is painted in Neuschwanstein.

If you want to know more about this amazing fairy tale castle, you can visit

Halloween is here

Are you doing anything tonight ? Are you getting dressed up ? We usually go to the village pub for a party but not tonight. J has a stinking cold, H and I are coming down with something. I haven't even carved a pumpkin!
Fortunately Halloween came early to Disney and I managed to get some excellent photos of pumpkin headed "workers" around Disneyland Paris when we were there in September.
Ok, off to keep warm and try some remedies to ward off the cold.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Happy Deepavali ( for yesterday )

I did this layout using the Deepavali kit from SnC. The photos are from our visit to Angkor last year. Whilst this particular temple was Buddhist, a lot of the carvings and statues have Hindu influence. I especially love the "dancing man".

A is away for work this week and I am missing him. I miss all the help he gives me when he is home so here's a layout to say we really appreciate you. I know it is not Fathers' Day but every day is worth celebrating, isn't it ?

Sunday 26 October 2008

October half term

Well, our two weeks of half term has been and gone. It was earlier this year, I know some schools have only just broken up this week. It was nice to have slightly different holidays to avoid the traffic jams and the crowded airports. Not so nice if you have children in different schools though.

We were in Fuessen, near Munich for a few days last week. I flew in with the boys and met A, who flew in from Dusseldorf at Munich airport. We had to wait for ages for the shuttle bus to take us to Thrifty rental car...this is one problem with getting rental car from a company that is not on-site at the airport! We missed the first one by a few minutes, later told we must have missed another whilst we waited at the bus stop ( can't quite believe this part ) and they are dispatching another shuttle bus right now. We got there almost an hour later.

On the drive to Fuessen, we drove pass a massive endless lake and were sooo excited to spot Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles from afar. H loved practising saying these names whilst I am useless at foreign words and probably spelt them wrong. If so, I apologise. This area is beautiful, with endless lakes, the bluest-green rivers and tall mountains; the autumn colours make the forest even more spectacular.
This is a photo of some houses in Fuessen along the river Lech.

Fuessen is bigger than we expected. We enjoyed walking around town and were bemused to see that a lot a lot of architectural features on buildings were painted on.
This is a photo of Fuessen museum. Can you spot the real part of the building and the trompe l'oeil. The coloumns, the ballustrade are painted on, so are the pediments above the windows.

Fuessen castle was spectacularly lit at night. We knew this because we went night-time geocaching in a nearby forest. It was fun following small reflectors to the geocache, I think we will probably set one up ourselves.

Well, that is day 1 of Germany, I'll tell you the rest later.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

My fabric CJ is home

My fabric circle journal has arrived home. This is a circle journal that I've been involved in on UKS with 9 other ladies. I've just been to pick it up from the PO this morning.
I am always excited to see what everyone has done and to be reunited with my "book". I made the cover and my entry back in November 2007 and almost did not recognise my own work. I am hoping to attach the pages and make these little work of fabric art into a book...soon. I have to confess though, even though I've enjoyed working on this circle journal, I don't think fabric is my medium. I prefer paper! BTW, my circle journal is titled "Colours of the Tropics" which is why everything is really bright. Thank you everyone for your beautiful work.
Theresa and MrsMcF
NettyB and Snipper

Fluffybee and Hillary78

Irboo and Lou

My cover and my entry.

Wednesday 15 October 2008


From time to time, H will look through his Dangerous Book for boys for new things to do. This week, he was inspired to try the suggestion for preparing conkers. H collected, baked and painstakingly prepared these conkers as shown in "the book". We managed to persuade him that soaking the conkers in vinegar will not add to the strenght of the conkers. He then tied them up in a bunch and I couldn't resist a photo.
He's had fun sharing these conkers with his friends but no such unorthodox preparation are allowed at the World Conker Championship in Aston, a village down the road from us. At the championship, you are issued with conker to fight with and it is all down to technique, apparently. What fun!

Thursday 9 October 2008

A happy accident

Well, here's the first of the Disney layouts. I had been worried that the boys might be too old for Disney but I needn't have, we all loved it, adults included! But meeting and seeing Mickey was still the highlights of our trip ( besides the sick-inducing roller coasters! ).
Ok, that's the story of the layout. But what was accidental about it ? I started the layout by cutting the scallop matting, stuck it down, stuck the lace paper down followed by the two photos. I then added a circle frame using the sewing machine. I then put it down to do school pickup, homework, dinner etc. H saw it and said, "If you add two small circles at the top you'd have a Mickey". I hadn't seen that at all and promptly cut out some templates to work out scale before adding the said ears on my sewing machine. What do you think ? I love it but more than that I am delighted my little boy took an interest in my work. Do you think this scrapbooking lark is rubbing-off ?

Wednesday 8 October 2008

Inspired by a comic book

This is a layout from Alnwick Castle that we visited in the summer...seems a world away now. You might better know Alnwick Castle as the Harry Potter Castle or Hogwarts from the film...not nearly as impressive in real life though. Where's CGI when you need it ?
The layout shows H in Knights School battling demons and dragons. He was really into it, picking up a (foam) sword to do battle so I decided to make a the layout in comic style to show the fight progressing.
I converted the photos to comic book artwork using Comic Effect Action by A90Six, a Photoshop action that I downloaded from the internet. To make the "Comic Voice", I printed the text using SF Slapstick Shaded font that I downloaded from, drew the spiky outlines and coloured in using watercolour. In true comic book style, I've also added some speech bubbles that I hand drew and wrote.
Most of the supply for this layout came from my Studio Calico kit including that very yellow piece of newspaper ( most probably not acid and lignin free! ). I use scrapbooking products mostly but do let a few "naughties" through. Are you strict about what supply you put on your page ?

Thursday 2 October 2008

Let there be music

I was summoned to go see J's piano teacher back in June. She was not happy with the progress he was making...he has been "sitting" on a single piece of music for a whole term. I was frustrated and coupled with the shame of being told my son was not putting in the effort at school, made this layout.

I think he was disheartened because he felt that the Bach piece he was given was sooo difficult. The piano teacher assured me that he's more than capable and he needed to up his game to make grade 5. Fortunately the long summer holidays arrived and we had plenty of time for music practise. Those paid off and this week, he was given his grade books. I am delighted and I think he is starting to believe.