the Deepster's Dizziness

Exploits in art….
Browsing Life

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat. And I’m gearing up to do some big journaling in 2013…


Since I last posted, which was oh so long ago now, Christmas has definitely arrived at the flat!

My hubby has certainly decked the halls, although not with boughs of holly. He’s done a great job, although I can’t help thinking that he doesn’t really like doing Christmas decorations. He would have ended up decorating on the 24th! Ha ha…

And my carer Edilyn has wrapped some of the Christmas presents I’ve bought for other people. Some presents haven’t arrived yet (boo hiss), but the ones that have are all wrapped. I must say Edilyn has done a skilful job! When I wrap something, I just roll it in paper and tape it round the present!

Meanwhile, I’ve been on Willowing’s website looking at the blogs and stuff. It must have been ages since I last looked at it. I believe Tam now has two sproglets – so Tam, congratulations!!

And I’ve signed up to the Life Book 2013 mixed-media year-long art class! It’s going to be taught by 22 different teachers, and you get video tutorials and downloads every month. I think the plan is to make two journal pages a month and then bind them at the end of the year to make a big LIFE BOOK.

life book 2013

Life Book 2013 with Willowing


She also does a bunch of free courses, so head over to Willowing and sign up for one now.

I’m still reading a load of books about journaling and stuff.

Earlier today I was trying to work out the best way to sell my Quickutz Squeeze, but haven’t come up with anything over-exciting yet.

I’ve realised I can use all my Quickutz dies in my Cuttlebug machine, so I can pass the Quickutz machine to someone else, but still use all the dies. There are how-to videos on youtube.  Maybe some of the Quickutz images will end up in my Life Book…

The first class is on 1st January – I can’t wait. Hopefully you won’t have to wait til this time next year to see some of the artwork I’ve done!

Home at last…! The return of Sri Lanka


I’ve recently had my Sri Lankan Altered Book (AB) returned to me. I haven’t seen it in so long – it was started as a piece of collaborative art in 2006.

Each person in the art group would pick a book from a charity shop or junkshop. They’d choose a theme for it and start to alter the pages, covers, the spine…

Some people will paint, decorate, draw, embroider. Some will fold, tear, or insert pages. They might create pockets and pull-outs. Whatever they do, they’ll in some way be “embellishing” and altering the book.

Once you’ve started an Altered Book, members of the group will take possession of your book for one month, add to it following the theme, then pass it on. If there are twelve people in your group, you won’t get your book back for a year.  If you’re interested in AB’s then have a look at The Humument by Tom Phillips. It’s like the Bible for altered book artists.

I started a book on Sri Lanka, which is where I was born (I moved to London when I was 2 years old). It did the rounds, came back to me, then sat on the bookshelf.

Recently a Sri Lankan friend of mine and her daughter have added to the art in it.  It makes it feel (and smell) all the more authentic because Sandra has used various spices on her page – clove, cardamon, cinnamon and mustard seed. There might also be tea leaves, but I’m not swearing on that.  I’ve worked on several altered books, including a book I made myself. I’ll tell you about them next time.

PS.  Thank you to everyone who worked in my book, especially Sandra and Stephie for completing the book’s journey back to me.  Here’s to the next art session.

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I’ve been talking a lot about how long I’ve been away from art, creativity and actually having something to say for myself.

Digging back into the archive on my previous site, the Alchemist’s Musings, I’ve tracked down the last thing I wrote.  It was 9 July 2008, a day that went down in history for Cyprus running out of water, Iran test firing missiles and the Frome Cheese and Grain Festival.

This is what i said:

I haven’t posted in a while because I haven’t created much on the art-front, and I haven’t felt I had anything significant to share with you.

Today I heard something that lifted me up after a period of feeling quite uninspired and a bit flat.

A man was asked the question that if God really loved us, why did he make bad things happen to people? He was given the response that if a child was out walking with her father and fell over, the chances are that she would have fallen over whether her father was with her or not. He would not make her fall over. However, she could be sure that her father would pick her up and tend to her wounds and help her to feel better, she would know that his love for her was unconditional.

In the same way, God does not make bad things happen to us but we can be sure that when they do, we  he will be by our side to pick us up, tend to our pain and help us carry on.

I have often been asked the same question by people and have been at a loss as to what to say. I found this explanation to be a breath of fresh air and after I heard it, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders and suddenly started to feel, and I think that I don’t often experience that. It’s a bit like the sensation of being able to fully open my eyes after a period of my eye-lids being really heavy.

There you go, don’t say I never give you anything! :o)

That was nearly four and half years ago and a lot has changed for me since then and I’ve done lots of things I never thought I would do again.  But most of all I still believe in what I wrote then, and it’s still as relevant to me today as it was then.

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I seemed to spend the whole day yesterday setting up my new shiny WordPress site and I’m sure and I don’t need to mention how frustrated it left me because everything seemed to take forever, especially trying to choose from the 1500 themes available.  Oh, and did I mention how tired it made me?  I guess that was about not having had a website for years and forgetting how long it could take to  set up.

My husband was very patient – he’s a living saint!  Anyway, I’ve imported stuff from a short-term Blogger site I set up so I now have some content here.   The new site is about two thirds done,  and could probably do with a new theme that supports what I call “gidgets”, a cross between Blogger’s gadgets and WordPress’ widgets. It will do for now and since websites, like artwork, are never finished I’m launching the new site now and I’ll be making tweaks over the next few weeks or so.  And now, I’m a shiny, happy bunny!!

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Given up…..


Well, I’ve recently stopped smoking after 25 years, and courtesy of my iPhone app it tells me I’ve now stopped smoking for 22 days, saving me £33.

I started smoking when I was 16, shortly after leaving school for the local college.   It was some education, as I soon became very good at cards and smoking.  Although I stopped being good at cards some time ago, it’s taken me rather longer to quit smoking.

I’m still going though the smoker’s recovery phase – chesty coughs, wanting a smoke after every meal, and when I look out the window thinking it must be time for another smoke.

Aside from feeling better and saving money, the other benefit of giving up is that I don’t have to wheel out into the wind and rain, and that’s just summertime, let alone winter.  So no more fag o’ clock, it’s a new me.

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Blast from the crafty past

Today I met with an old friend of mine from my previous arting/crafting life. We first met through my old website, Express Yourself, but she reckons she remembers me from when I used to run a craft forum before that.
Paula is now teaching art to young people and older people in Hertfordshire, and she’s a real inspiration to me.  Listening to her talk about the work she does and the difference art makes to people, made me think maybe I could do something similar with young people nearer to home.  From the age of 18 I started working on youth projects, but it wasn’t untiI I qualified 12 years later as a youth worker that I could use my experience of working with young people. Strangely  enough that was around the time my  health deteriorated to the extent that I needed to stop working and really got into the whole artsy-crafty side of life.
It was lovely to see Paula again, and we spent the whole day chatting over lunch, tea and cupcakes.  I think I tired her out as well as myself.  We did get around to re-arranging my craft library.  We’ve taken it out of the room my husband uses as an office and moved them into the living room where I can now see all my art books in one place.
I’m looking forward to seeing Paula again, even though it won’t be until 2013, but hopefully I’ll be able to find some art inspired people who’d be happy to work with me at home.  In the past I’ve enrolled on art courses at the Mary Ward Centre, but I wasn’t much into what they were doing, and their buildings were largely inaccessible to wheelchair users.  So I wanted to find some like-minded people who’d be happy to come to me and work here. So HI HO, HI HO, its off to find some art minded mischief makers I go!!!
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With my own eyes


Along with the MS I’ve suddenly discovered I’m now partially sighted so I can’t read for myself much.

Up to now I’ve managed to cope with being partially sighted because I have hundreds of audiobooks.  But to actually read any of my craft books needs to be done earlier in the day before I get too tired and my eyes start hurting.

I’m trying to read the new Cloth, Paper, Scissors book and I’ve made it all the way to the third page, which actually feels like progress for me because I can’t actually remember the last time I read a book for myself with my own eyes.

And by the time I got to the second page I wondered if they did Audiobooks – but that kind of takes away from the pictures, which is probably the whole point of the book.

So, yes – reading with your own eyes is not to be underestimated.  And it bloody gives me headaches. But it’s worth it, so I’ll keep trying and being inspired by what I read and see.

You can imagine how “miffed” I am to not be able to read from my own artycraft library
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