Sunday, 29 October 2017


Hi everyone

Have you had a busy weekend?

We are in the process of having a some home improvements done so no time for crafting, well not unless it's in the middle of the night when my brain won't switch off!

I've used one of my large MDF tags and created a haunting rendition of the monochrome look, well with the exception of a little pop of orange. I came across the image in one of my files when tidying my computer - like you do! I'm not a big Halloween fan but love Autumn and old pictures, so their is my inspiration.

The background is Craft Core black cardstock, the edges are sanded and Gathered Twigs Distress Ink added. The next layer is Manila Cardstock, clear embossed with a vintage background stamp, Hickory Smoke Distress Ink on top and over stamped with Hickory Smoke and a text stamp. These layers were sewn together on my trusty sewing machine. The frame is an SVG file, cut out of black cardstock on my Cricut. This was triple embossed using Platinum Ultra Thick Embossing Powder. The amber embellishment was a clear cabochon, coloured using Rust alcohol Ink as were the beads hung at the bottom, another junk shop find! The leaves were cut from distress inked cardstock and cut using Tim Holtz Fall Foliage Dies.

I've attached the image here if you'd like to use it and the frame is an SVG file if you'd like to use it here.

I'd like to enter my monochrome Halloween tag into the following challenges-

Right I'm off to clean my non-existent kitchen, again - ready for the plasterer!! I've been told I'm  a compulsive cleaner and neat freak!!!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Creative hugs, J x

Friday, 20 October 2017

Happy Birthday to You...

Morning Everyone.

What are you doing today?

This is a quick stop to show you what I've made for my little sisters Birthday today. 

I haven't been sleeping of late - to be more precise the worst has been1 hour one hours sleep one night this week! Needless to say my brain isn't functioning on all cylinders but I've had to stay busy so decided to make a not so conventional card for my her birthday. At least I've managed to plan a few more projects so they should keep me busy for a little while!

I've shared a picture below. I hope she likes it! What do you think?

Now I'm off to do the mundane household chores before collecting my son and his dirty washing from university!

Whatever you're doing have a good day,

Julie x

Autumn with A Vintage Journey

Hello All

Today I am happy to be invited to 'A Vintage Journey' where I share a project for Jennie's October Challenge - Crazy for Autumn Colour. This is what I created and my inspiration for doing so...

Autumn is my favourite season so the brief was perfect! We live quite high up in Yorkshire. As I drive in the early morning, I often see the valley below shrouded in mist and the Keats poem ‘To Autumn’ sprung to mind. As a child we were made to learn it by rote!

I planned several designs and ended up doing something completely different but the introductory line of the poem was still my main inspiration - 'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'. Truth be told, I tend to work best when things develop naturally rather than working to a specific idea, I’m sure you know what I mean?

I have had an old board book which my son had thrown out from his first birthday. Well… it spoke to me on many levels; how could I get rid of it? I’ve had a plan for it from that day on and I felt it would be a great base to frame a verse or two from Keats and to frame an exploratory faux encaustic panel – an idea which has been buzzing around my head for a while.

Starting out with encaustics isn’t cheap so I decided to experiment with beeswax and soya wax, pastels, gelatos and distress crayons. I love the way pastels and wax combine to give a mellow and misty effect and felt they would work perfectly. 

I also love the tactile feel of textiles and decided to create a fabric cover for the book using various mediums and techniques, vintage lace, trims and beads. Throw in a favourite set of stamps by Crafty Individuals, distress inked cardstock cut with Tim Holtz’s Fall Foliage dies plus rusty wire and a few choice accessories and here’s my completed project.

I hope you like my contribution to ‘Autumn’? If you are interested in the many techniques included in this project, a lengthy tutorial can be found in the tutorial section above or simply click here.

Please leave a comment and thanks for stopping by

Creative hugs, Julie xx

I would also like to enter this into the following challenges:
Country View Crafts Challenges, Oct 2017- Mixed Media with Autumnal Hues .
Stamping Sensations - October 2017 : Autumn Glory 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Normal Service Resumes...

Hello everyone,

It feels like such a long time since I last posted, indeed it's been a while since I spent time in my little craft room. It's been a busy summer here in the Atkinson house. We've spent three out of six weeks in the sunshine, had babysitting duties as Miss Ava had her operation, prepared and packed one off to university and got the last of four children ready to enter year 9 of high school! So, as the title to this post states - life is finally getting back to normal.

I had some exciting news in the summer.... I've been invited to be Pinworthy Guest over at 'A Vintage Journey'. After years of teaching Art & Craft to adults and children, I must admit to having a few butterflies as I plan my contribution. I'm putting it down to having a few years out due to ill health but fingers crossed it is beginning to come together. As you will probably understand, I can't show you anything just yet but keep checking and I will post a picture and tutorial as soon as I'm allowed.

Are you enjoying the weather? We've had lots of rain here in Yorkshire but this has led to a few cool and misty Autumnal mornings. I love this time of year; the colours and smells take me back to childhood. I grew up in a rural village and this time of year was bustling with activity. As a child, we learnt the Keats poem ‘to Autumn’ by rote! For me it summaries Autumn perfectly (although I do like Mr. Cleaver’s version in Bridget Jones)!

Well, I had better crack on as the deadline is getting too close for comfort. I hope you’re having a fun day and manage a little crafty time too.

Creative hugs for now

J xx

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Sorry I haven't been around...

It's been a manic summer with one thing and another! 

In my last post I was working on a piece for a challenge about calmness and serenity - well that went out of the window more or less as soon as I had found my stride. I can't complain as I was taken away for a last minute week in the sun, Zakinthos to be exact. It was just what the doctor ordered but with only 18 hours notice it was a little manic to say the least.

One week later, all sun kissed and relaxed we land back in Manchester and the new silly automated passport system didn't recognise me - major embarrassment as everyone filed through without any problems. I'm sure the confusion was due to the fact I looked like I was auditioning for Charlie and the Chocolate factory with a very sun tanned face!

Fast forward 16 hours and Master Archie came to stay as little Miss Ava checked into Children's hospital for her adenoids and tonsils removed. A few slightly traumatic and action packed days later and I was ready for another holiday!

It has taken a few weeks but Ava is recovering well and enjoying the attention. However, she isn't eating well which is a worry as she's only a slight little girly. The summer has flown by and my poor little room of goodies hasn't been touched and now I'm about to go on my organised annual holiday with the youngest two of my lovely boys. 

This will be a holiday to treasure as Jacob has just got A* in his A levels and is all set to start his university life in September. I can't imagine life without him. Since I became ill he has been my company and support in the daytime. He is fantastic son but also an amazing friend. We are all so very proud of him for working so hard.

I've also have some very exciting news to share. It probably isn't a big deal to most people but to me, well it is. I entered a challenge over at 'A Vintage Journey' to motivate myself into creating again, nothing more. I've always had classes to give me a kick in the derriere so never lacked a reason to go into my room and create but that's not the case at present so I had to find the motivation elsewhere. I never expected it to come to anything, I'm very new to blog challenges but I've been chosen as one of the design teams top 3! I squealed with happiness for days until I realised I was getting on people's nerves and to them it wasn't such a big deal! A very BIG THANK YOU to all the lovely design team who voted for me, you have made me a very happy lady indeed. I shall wear my badge with pride.

So I won't be back until September as I'm going to enjoy the sunshine and the company of my boys before they return to school. I hope you're having a lovely summer where ever you may be and I hope to see you back here soon.

Much love, Julie x

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Striving for peace

 Hi everyone

I hope you're enjoying a week that is free of stress and strife? 

I'm currently working on a piece for the challenge over at Mixed Media & Art which is all about 'a world of tenderness, calm and flight of thought'. What does that mean to you? To me it's serenity, peace and quiet; pale blues, greys and variations of white. Even the weather is anything but calm this week and I'm feeling particularly fraught for no reason at all but lots of silly trivial things so I'm hoping this will restore calm to my soul. I will be back with my progress or the finished result.

An update on Miss Ava... she is slowly getting better after being diagnosed with a nasty case of strep throat. It's been a difficult week; there is nothing worse than illness in little ones you love and can do little to help.

Stay creative and I hope you find a little calmness in your week.

Creative hugs, Julie xx

Monday, 17 July 2017

Hello Monday


Well it has been a long weekend as my beautiful Granddaughter Ava has been back to hospital with another nasty bout of tonsillitis. Poor little mite is due to have them and her pesky adenoids out at the end of the month but they chose to cause trouble prior to her opp. She's had an awfully high temperature, sickness and headache.... she was so ill she couldn't bare to be touched and couldn't stand light - automatic panic stations. Thankfully she seems to be a little better today, day four of antibiotics - fingers crossed she will continue to improve. So, being creative has been the least of my worries this weekend.

Today I've finished a project I started last Monday and put down after completing the background. It is made up of an 8in panel of greyboard. I then wove strips of decorative paper onto the surface and sealed using matte medium. Once dry I applied white acrylic paint using a brayer and added texture paste through the Burlap Stencil by Tim Holtz.

The ideas has been swirling around in my head but I never seemed to be able to firm anything up. It is strange how some days the ideas flow and things just come together and other times you can sit for hours procrastinating and getting nowhere! Are you the same? If so what do you do to get your creative mojo in gear?
Today I've set about with my distress crayons, inks and stamps to finish adding detail to the background. The frames are Spellbinders Majestic Elements Die of which I cut the two largest frames and altered the largest using vintage photo distress ink direct to the card and followed by a good layer of distress embossing powder in the same colour. I love this product... unlike normal embossing powder, this dries with a gritty texture, ideal for  adding colour and dimension. After adding gilding wax in copper and green, I cut a few more layers from an old book and other scrapbook paper. The edges where distressed, the number from a Tim Holtz label added and then all sewn together on my trusty machine.

The squares where all layered together, vintage lace added and some beautiful roses which I've had in my stash for some time with a little netting and Tim Holtz foliage to finish the ensemble. The date is cut from an old book and a key with the word 'Memories' was added along with an old pen nib and the word 'cherished'.

Finally the panel was placed at an angle in a box which came as packaging - never throw anything away, it may have a use one day! I added some Tim Holtz feet and the handle is an odd decorative brad with a little handle on top, all metal embellishments were altered using alcohol ink in rust, espresso and raisin. 

This project was designed to enter into the 'All Squared Up' challenge at A Vintage Journey.

I would also like to enter the following challenge at The Mixed Media Monthly Challenge  # 38 'Altered Embellishments' 

I hope you like the project as much as I have enjoyed making it. If so, please leave a comment.

See you soon with more creative play.

Hugs, Julie x

Friday, 14 July 2017

It's Friday already...


Well it's Friday, where has the time gone this week? If I'm being honest I think I've spent a considerable amount procrastinating! Is it something you're guilty of? I hope I'm not alone.

At the beginning of the week I had two deliveries of goodies to play with and a stamp from a good friend who is in the process of setting up a new stamp and crafty goodies company (Rosie McStone Studios). To be truthful as much as I love the stamp, it's not something I'm used to working with so it threw me a little. As a teenager, I used to sit for hours drawing skulls of various descriptions in Art club but how does that translate into a card, surely skulls are for Halloween? Anyhow, I've persevered and come up with three creations to date, although one is waiting for a new arrival before it's completed. Truth be told I have another very special friend who I know would appreciate the colourful skull design for his birthday so I'll keep it in mind.

As for my delivery of goodies, I'm yet to start on those but I'm hoping to have a play next week. My desk is covered in another project which I began at the start of the week and put aside to play with skulls. I'll be back to show you how that progresses.

Have a great weekend and fingers crossed the sun will shine - it's raining here at the minute!

Creative hugs,

Julie x

Monday, 10 July 2017

More Blog Challenges...

Morning all

I hope you've all had a good weekend and made the most of the sunshine?

Here in the South of Yorkshire we have cloud and drizzle today, perfect weather for getting a little creative. I have a few ideas planned out in my journal so will be spending a few hours working on one of these.

I will be back with my progress but in the meantime I've decided to enter my 'Personal Colour Challenge Journal' into the following Blog Challenges

Stamps and Stencils - Colour/ Texture & Shape

Both of these sites are full of interest and inspiration, certainly worth checking out with a nice cuppa.

Hope you manage some creative play-time today. Whatever you are doing, stay happy and thanks for stopping by.

Hugs for now, J xx

Friday, 7 July 2017

Tando Goodies


The postie has just delivered my package of Tando Goodies... so excited.

Off to meet my lovely friend Hazel for coffee and hopefully a nice slice of cake. After that I hope to find some time to have a play.

I'll be back soon with what I create. Have a good weekend.

Hugs for now, Julie xx

Good morning sunshine

Good morning friends

What a beautiful morning.

I've enjoyed my morning coffee in the garden with my new friend. I can't think what to name him.
Do you have any suggestions?  He was made in Africa from upcycled washing machines. He wanted to come home with me after I visited the RHS Chatsworth House Flower Show last month. He has lived in my dinning room until last weekend!

My beautiful white hydrangea is loving the sunshine too. The blooms are humongous! How can you not smile, surrounded by such beauty?

Whatever you're doing have a great day.

Hugs, J xx

Thursday, 6 July 2017

First ever Design Challenge

Hello All

I hope you're having a happy day?

Addisons is such a fickle disease. I've had a good couple of days, seeing friends, nothing strenuous! Today I'm completely exhausted and can't move. Being determined that I will win, I've opted for a quiet day flicking through the Internet at all the fantastic projects out there. The alternative is sleeping the day away then feeling guilty that I gave in.

So.... flicking through the tinterweb and it seems design challenges are the in thing. It's something I've never done, firstly I was too busy with work and family, secondly too ill. So now, I have no excuses so thought I'd give it a go!

Please accept my apologies in advance if this doesn't work!

So here goes.... I'm entering my Colour Challenge Journal into the MMW#26: Anything Mixed Media Goes Monthly Challenge. The colour looks brighter than it really is but hey ho.

Enjoy your day, whatever you may be doing.

Hugs for now, J x

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

My heart melts

Hello friends

Just a quick post today, busy enjoying coffee, cake and cuddles (with baby Rowan) and friends.

My beautiful granddaughter Ava is enjoying her transition week at 'big' school this week and looks so grown up her dress. My hearts melts when ever I look at these two angelic faces, Mum doesn't agree with the angelic part when they're up to mischief!

Enjoy your day

Hugs, J xx

Monday, 3 July 2017

Experimental Monday...

Good morning crafty friends

I hope you've had a good weekend and managed to enjoy the lovely sunshine?

This is going to be a busy week catching up with friends. My long-term friend has recently had a new beautiful baby boy so I've booked some snuggle time for tomorrow morning and then I'm having coffee and inspirational chat time with my very creative grunge friend John Glossop (click here to visit his blog). Wednesday is a very much needed haircut and catch up with another old friend and Friday I will be meeting the lovely Hazel for coffee and possibly some retail therapy.

So, seeming I'm just back in my craft room after a long absence I thought I would try out some technique backgrounds for my new journal.

Many moons ago I taught a class in which we created a faux leather grunge paper journal cover. I can't find the said item and don't appear to have pictures but I will try and dig them out. If not, I'll cover the tutorial another week. It uses Glazing Medium. Basically, it extends your acrylic paint working time and prevents colour shift from wet to dry. It is quick drying so can be layered easily and is relatively self-levelling. It dries to a completely clear flexible film with a high gloss finish. Note: this is water resistant once dry.

As I was experimenting, I cut a piece of grey board the same size as one of my journal pages and the techniques is as follows:

  1. Prime your surface with gesso so it won't be too absorbing.
  2. Take two throw away cups and add two colours of acrylics mixed with a little water (It should resemble single cream in consistency). Add
  3. some of the glazing medium to each of the paint colours and mix well to combine (the consistency needs to be runny).
  4. Start by adding a swirl of the paint mixtures to your surface and begin to twist to combine the colours - if your consistency is too stiff, spritz the surface with water then add more medium to the remaining paint mixes.
  5. Continue to twist and turn, adding small amounts of paint mix at a time until satisfied with the finish.
  6. At this stage, the surface will still be wet so you can add other mediums, for example, micro beads, gilding flakes, mica powders etc.
  7. You can also press into the surface to add texture. Experiment, use lids sequin waste and stamps. Basically, experiment and have fun!

Once your piece is dry you can add a multitude of mediums but you need to remember that the finish will be relatively resistant. Use permanent inks and texture pastes, oil pastels, distress crayons and inks will leave a little colour behind but it will not be very intense. The medium will be flexible once dry; having used grey board my finished panel feels like grungepaper.

This picture shows a close up. Can you see the mica powder? In places it has left the surface pitted, giving an interesting textured finish.

I will be back to show you how I've finished my panel soon.

Please leave a comment if you've enjoyed this post or given it a try.

Have a good afternoon

Hugs, Julie x

Friday, 30 June 2017


I've been dabbling with green again. Feeling reassured after my panel I decided to go all the way and finish my Journal cover.

I begun by painting the MDF with the green paint, adding a little lighter colour to the middle. Once dry, I used my old favourite Tim Holtz distressed dotty stamp to add Ranger Distress
Paint in vintage photo. I worked on one edge at a time as I then sprinkled Ranger's Distress Embossing Powder (distress paint can be used for embossing along with many other uses). The texture is fantastic, especially when adding paint to give a rusty, vintage effect. This was repeated on all four sides  before adding Distress Paint in tarnished brass. With a little Decoart Media Paint from the rust collection, I tweaked the colour until satisfied it resembled the panel. To finish, I added gilding wax. This was repeated on the back and spine of the Journal.

The greyboard panel was then attached with permanent adhesive and a small name plate added, coloured with distress paint and more gilding wax.

I hope you like it. Why don't you challenge yourself to work with a colour you would usually shy away from? You may be surprised with the results, I was.

Have a good weekend, fingers crossed the sun shines.


Julie xx

Happy Birthday Anne

Just a quick post.

My lovely neighbour and friend Anne, has had a very special birthday this week and is sooo giddy. She won't mind me sharing her age as she's so excited. Anne you certainly don't look 70 and in the best possible way, you don't act it either. I chose to make a panel she could keep rather than a card, inspired by the MDF panel made for my MDF journal a few days ago.

Giving it her I explained it wasn't a conventional card to which she replied "you're not a conventional lady". I wasn't sure how to take that but she assures me that it's a compliment? Anyhow, a quick picture of her non-conventional card...

Enjoy the rest of your birthday week special lady, love and hugs

J xx

A personal challenge...

Hello all

I've felt rubbish this week so I've been in my craft room to keep my mind occupied. I have so many items waiting to be altered and a stash of goodies I've collected to use in my own work but just never got around to it. So, I set about a cover for an MDF journal I purchased from the MDF Man a few years ago

After sorting my blog gallery this week, I noticed my lack of colour in previous projects so decided to set myself a challenge and opted to use the colour green! As I'm feeling rubbish today (that usually means I'm not happy with what I create) I chose to work on a panel of heavy weight greyboard so if I didn't get it right I could bin it without feeling guilty!

I have a several chunky papier-mache hearts and wanted to use one in some way. Firstly, I decided to use some texture paste with my favourite 'Stripes' mask by Tim Holtz to provide some vertical direction (sorry it doesn't show very well in this picture).

Using some chipboard gears and a few odd die cuts I had hanging around I started to try various layouts. After much procrastinating, a decision had to be made or I'd be sat staring at it all day! So... I glued everything in place and painted it all green, arghhh.

Still not sure about the colour, I applied MORE green to the ensemble, albeit a shade lighter. At this point I must admit, I had no definite idea of where this was going but I was content to play on and see what happened. After all, its only card, paint and a few bits and bobs.

I wanted to add texture to the heart and decided to layer the paint a little thicker and applied direct heat to create raised bubbles of paint. You can carefully manipulate and pop these with the point of your brush. The thicker the paint, the bigger reaction you will get. NOTE: the heat tool needs to be approximately 1- 2 inches from your project to get the desired effect - take care as the paint will be hot and therefore a little sticky until it cools.

"Take a step back from your work and contemplate what is
missing"... the words of my old college tutor. A coffee (and a contemplative step back) and I feel the project is the perfect colour for rust - or rust coloured paint. Using Decoart's Media Paints - Rust Collection, I used a dry brush to stipple the various shades of brown, orange, red and umber to recreate the effect of rust. Finally, happy the colour contrast, I watered down the remaining paint and  enjoyed a good old flick to create the odd splatter (if you've attended my workshops you will know how I enjoy flicking paint around a room - the messier the better).

Following another contemplative coffee break and a sneaky biscuit I felt it needed a little gilding wax to brighten the mood. A few watch spares later and I think I'm happy for today. (the wings are even but this picture makes them look odd, I had my specks on honestly!)

If I still like the piece tomorrow I will look at painting the MDF Journal cover in yet more green and attach the panel. I will post a picture so you can see how it looks.

Hope you've enjoyed some creative play time today.


Julie xx

Monday, 26 June 2017

Feeling blue

Two post in one day!

I am trundling through my stored photos and can't believe how much I've missed evidencing. I've taught at a number of shops in the locality and provided samples for TV and magazines for the last 10 years and have hardly any pictures of my work!

Worse still, when teaching classes you have many restrictions, number 1 being budget. A good example is the Tim Holtz embellishments... I love anything Tim, anything Ranger but you can't provide a class of 15 people with loads of stuff or you never cover your cost. BUT, when making cards for family and friends it's no holding back and guess what... I don't have pictures of these either. Not happy is an understatement!

Is it possible to set a New Years Resolution half way through the year? Well if so mine is to start and photograph everything.

Rant to self over. Hopefully I will have more look finding pictures of the projects.

J xx

Good morning all...

Morning, morning....

Well after 24 hours of dusting the far reaches of my brain I have finally managed to drag out enough html to create a drop down menu for my gallery and have begun to add some images of the many projects and classes I've taught.

Please feel free to take inspiration from them but should you recreate anything could you please be kind and add a link back to my blog?

We had the pleasure of our gorgeous grand children yesterday. We had a barbecue (not the worlds biggest fan) and lots of cake for our daughter's partner's birthday. He has been working silly hours in a new job and we're all so proud of him so decided on a little get together. The children had lots of fun running around the garden and promptly fell asleep in the car home. Fast forward a few hours and a slightly distraught daughter rings to show us what their little power nap has led to...

After I had stopped laughing I explained these are the moments to treasure and remember as they grow. I'm biased but aren't they just adorable?

We will have to buy mummy a new lipstick when we go shopping this week... and new nail polish after Ava decided to paint her leg in every colour polish she could find in her mummy's top drawer (she was supposed to be sleeping and the safety gate was closed)!

We all remember nicking Mum's makeup when we were in our early teens, right? I certainly remember Lauren stealing mine and it was always the best stuff. I think a lock on mummy's door maybe necessary as this little diva is starting early.

Right, I am going to check on my son who is resting in bed (playing x-box) after he badly sprained his ankle in PE on Friday and then I'm going to carry on putting pictures into the blog as promised.

Have a good day and enjoy the sunshine.

Julie xx

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The journey begins...

Morning All

Well the sun is still shining here in Yorkshire. The heat is less oppressive today but the forecast is for high temperatures later this morning so I think I may stay in the shade and continue trying to get the gallery section of my blog up to date.

I've had to rack my poor brain to try and recall some html from years ago (you wouldn't believe I used to manage/ customise website for a job)! I'm hoping to manage to add a sub section as there's far too many images to just plonk into a gallery but we will see. Give me Dreamweaver any day of the week... I'm so new to blogger and since my adrenal crisis the old brain cells are refusing to wake up and work with me.

I'm also hoping to post some tutorials and projects from my teaching days. I had hoped to do this whilst teaching full time but never had enough hours in the week. One of the lovely ladies I used to teach got in touch and reminded me of the fun we had in classes and this has spurred me on to doing something. So Amy, in homage to you and all the crafty crew, this is for you.

Hope you are enjoying your creative journey.

Hugs for now,

Julie x

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Hi everyone

Even though I have taught mixed media art and craft for a many years for a number of companies I never really found the time to blog. After becoming very ill, I am adjusting to being at home and slowly getting back to messing around with my paint and inks.

Being at home is quite a lonely business especially after being at the centre of a busy life teaching vulnerable children and young adults and my mixed media classes. So, I hope if you're here in passing that you will let me know what you think of my designs. My resolution for this year is to persevere with blogging and to get back to my previous creative self.

Hugs for now

Julie xx