Monday, 12 February 2018

Artline Monday - Valentines Day memory keeping

I'm a big fan of Valentine's Day, it is nice to be spoiled and to spoil someone you love so I really enjoy the 14th February.  This year I am documenting the day in my bullet journal using my Artline pens and a few bits and pieces from my planning supplies.

Valentine's Day spread created with Artline pens

I started off by adding some strips of washi tape to my pages and then I used my pink Artline Stix brush marker to write "Valentine's Day" copying a font I found on Google.  I left myself space on the first page to write the date and a couple of quotes and doodles too using the brush marker and Artline 200 fineliners.

Some of my favourite love songs

Then I drew a box, using the grid markings on the paper as my guide, with a pink fineliner.  This space is for a list of some of my favourite love longs.  I'm a bit of a soppy romantic and I love singing along with these while I am home alone.  In fact I have the Moulin Rouge soundtrack playing at the moment and have just finished a rousing rendition of Come What May!

Valentine's to do list & films to watch

On the second page I have space to record memories of what made me smile that day and my to do list of things I need to sort out before Wednesday.  I also glued in a journalling card at the top of the page and used this to list some love themed films I could watch while my husband is at work during the day.  

The last section is for me to fill in the details of what we did to celebrate Valentine's Day.  I wrote the heading for this part with a pink Artline Supreme highlighter and then went over the top of it with a black finelinerThis is one of my favourite ways to create headings and titles in my bullet journal, it is so easy!

If you are interested in starting your own bullet journal check out my previous post for details on how to set one up or if you are already using the system please leave me a comment telling me how you are getting on with it.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, 5 February 2018

Artline Monday - Making Valentines Day cards

Yes!  We made it through January!  February always feels like a much nicer month as it is so short and we have Valentines Day slap bang in the middle of it!  It is a month for love and showing people you care so for today's post I am sharing some ideas about how to make your own Valentines card for that special someone.

Card making supplies

I brought a really pretty book of patterned card recently and a set of chalkboard sticker labels so I thought I would use these to make my cards along with a selection of Artline pens. 

Folding the cards

I removed pieces of card from the book and folded them in half to give me nice size greeting cards to work with.  I added a chalkboard sticker to the front of one of the cards and wrote on it with my chalk marker.

Artline chalk marker & chalkboard sticker

Using a chalk marker on a chalkboard sticker is a great idea if you are worried about making a mistake.  The chalk markers are more vibrant than using regular chalk and provide a better coverage too.  If you do make a mistake or just don't like how your message turns out the marker is easily removed with a slightly damp cloth.  Once it is dry you can try again until you are happy with it!

Artline calligraphy pen

For my next card I wrote a message on a journalling card using one of my Artline calligraphy pens.  Then I glued the journalling card onto the front of my Valentines Day card and added a couple of heart stickers to it as well.

Making one last card

I used another calligraphy pen for my last card and some milk and cookies stickers I have had in my craft supplies for a while now.  Because the stickers weren't very big I cut down the card to make it a bit smaller and then wrote "We go together like...." across the top.  

Here are how my cards turned out, I think they look quite sweet!  

Finished cards

Will you be sending or hoping to receive any Valentines cards this year?  

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Waverley Genuine Tartan Cloth Commonplace Notebooks

A couple of years ago I met the lovely people from Waverley Books during my visit to the Spring fair and they introduced me to their wonderful line of Tartan notebooks.  I was given a Caledonia cloth notebook to review and I was really impressed, you can read my post about it here.  Anyway Liz got in touch with me again to say they had added more tartans and sizes to their range and would I be interested in testing some out so I said "Yes please!" and here we are!

First of all let me tell you a little bit about commonplace notebooks in case you haven't heard of them before.  These books were made to be used for compiling your thoughts, ideas and information.  They were small enough to fit in your pocket or bag so they were at hand when you were struck by inspiration or simply remembered something you had to write down.  I can imagine a poet feeling compelled to jot down a verse while watching a glorious sunset or a scientist sketching herbs and flowers while recording their properties and uses during the 17th century. Okay, so I might be getting a bit carried away now, let's get back on track!

Waverley commonplace pocket notebook

All of the Waverley notebooks are made using genuine Kinloch Anderson tartan which is the company who supply tartan for kilts for the royal family!  How swish! There are currently over 40 different kinds of tartan available for these books so if you are Scottish or have some Scottish ancestry you might be able to find the right tartan for your clan!  If you are not associated with any clan then the tartans I am showing you today are perfect for you as they have been created by Kinloch Anderson and can be worn by anyone.

The notebooks come in large (£14.99), pocket (£9.99) and mini (£7.99) sizes and I have some of the pocket and mini ones to show you today.  

All of the pocket size notebooks have coordinating elastic closures and matching stained edges.  They also come with a bookmark telling you about the tartan used and an information booklet about Waverley Scotland, commonplace notebooks, tartan and a clan map of Scotland.  

One side blank and one side lined

Both the mini and pocket size books contain blank pages on the left and lined  pages on the right so you have space to draw, doodle and write.  The 80 gsm cream paper is smooth and very nice to write on.  I would definitely say it is fountain pen friendly too as I have used a few different inks in mine over the last 18 months and none of them have bled or feathered. 

The notebooks also come with a ribbon page marker and eight perforated pages at the back which can be removed easily without leaving you a messy edge behind.  I hate tearing a page out of a notebook if I need a piece of paper for something so I love this idea, it's fantastic!

Business card holder & expandable pocket

The mini and pocket books also have an expandable pocket at the back to hold anything you want to pop in there and a space for a business card, bank card or loyalty card as well which is super handy!

The mini notebooks are the exact same design as the pocket size books but a little smaller and come with an elasticated pen loop that matches the colour of the closure and a coordinating pen.

The history of commonplace notebooks inspired me to take these books outside to photograph them.  They feel like they belong among nature instead of sat on a desk so I took one or two with me any time I went on an adventure or somewhere new......

Castle Grey mini notebook

Romance pocket notebook

Black And White mini notebook

Thistle pocket notebook

Heather mini notebook

Rowanberry pocket notebook

Hunting mini notebook

Dress pocket notebook

And after all that time outside there's nothing better than coming home for a nice, warm cup of tea and shortbread while spending some time journalling in my Dress tartan notebook!

Which of these is your favourite book?  Are you suddenly feeling the urge to buy one and take a holiday under the "luxuriant skies" of Scotland or to study the works of Thomas Campbell and Robert Burns?  Please say it's not just me!

I would like to say thank you to Waverley Books for sending me all these gorgeous notebooks and if you want a sneak peek at the new tartans which will be released later in the year you can check them out here!

Bye for now!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Artline Monday - New hobbies for a new year?

Are you thinking about taking up a new hobby this year?  I love to learn new things and keep my mind active but I also enjoy doing something relaxing or creative too. For today's post I thought I would tell you about some of my hobbies and you could decide if you wanted to give any of them a go.

Hand lettering

Stix brush markers

Last August I went to the Pen Museum for World Calligraphy Day, I attended a couple of workshops and got to try some fun new activities.  By the end of the day I had been completely bitten by the lettering bug and started to practice different kinds of writing with all sorts of pens and nibs.  I am no where near perfect yet but my handwriting has improved over the past few months.  This year I thought I would try my hand at brush lettering using my Artline Stix brush markers.  The letter formations are practically the same as calligraphy but using the brush nibs is a different kind of skill so I will be working on that whenever I get the chance to.  

Slowly improving

Learning something new

Study tools

In my spare time I love to learn, at the moment I am interested in languages and reading some English literature classics.  I make notes in the margins and underline important information with my Supreme highlighters.  What can I say, I've always been a bit geeky!  

Rock painting

Preparing our rocks

I only heard about rock painting recently but it really is a lot of fun!  My girls love to join in with decorating and hiding their creations so we get to spend some time together designing the rocks and then we get lots of lovely fresh air and exercise when we all go out to hide them.  It's the best of both worlds for a hobby!  If you want some more information about this activity check out my previous posts here.


Colouring book and Artline fineliners

There's something so relaxing about colouring in!  I don't know if it's just a case of revisiting my childhood or the act of concentrating solely on the page with no other distractions that calms me but I always feel better after I have spent some time with my fineliners.  This hobby is very flexible, you can fit it in when you have a spare 10 minutes or you could dedicate a whole evening to colouring.  It's completely up to you.  It is such a great feeling when you finish a picture, especially when you are using a book for adults that has lots of tiny fiddly bits and complicated patterns!

So how do you like my hobbies?  What are your favourite things to do during your free time?

Friday, 26 January 2018

Planner Friday - January

My first Planner Friday post of 2018 is now up on the Trendy Twine blog, please pop over and say hi!

So how is the first month of the year treating you?  I have to admit January is probably my least favourite month but I wanted to start this new year on a positive note so I decided to look for the good and concentrate on things that make me happy.  I wanted to create a spread in my travellers notebook to highlight some things that I enjoy about January so I dug out my Annie's Paper Boutique stamps and got to work!

My January spread

The start of a new year always makes me feel like I have been given a blank slate, the past is over and done with and I have a whole new year full of possibilities to look forward too!  The Choose Happy set sums up this feeling perfectly so I used a couple of these stamps to remind me to keep trying to achieve my goals and to make each day a little better than the one before.  

I added a  mini calendar to the spread to keep track of whether I reached my move goal each day (so far so good!) and I am using the little tick stamp from the Check It Off set to mark off the days I complete my goal.  

Products used: Choose happy stamps
Not pictured: Mini calendar cards

Goals and memories

On the second page I used a cute snowflake stamp from the How's the weather? set because I love snow days when you can stay at home in the warm or go out and play if you are feeling brave!  I also used a coffee stamp from the Drinks & more set because there's nothing better than a nice hot drink to warm you on a cold day.

You can read the rest of my post here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 22 January 2018

Artline Moday - Valentine's Day rock painting

Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away and I thought it would be a great time to create some love themed rocks for me to hide around my home town.  I wanted to do something a little different this time so I ordered some white stones to use instead of the random ones my children have been collecting.  These have given me a nice, bright surface to work on.  

Artline calligraphy pen

I love my Artline calligraphy pens so I wanted to try and use them on the rocks, surprisingly they worked even better than I could have hoped for!

Using the Artline 853 OHP marker for details

I then added some extra decoration using the Artline 853 OHP markers and wrote my message on the back of the rock.

Message I'm adding to the back of my rocks

I hope the people who find my rocks will share a photo or two of them online with the tag #ARTLINEROCKS so I can see where they end up!

All you need is love!

All you need is love is one of my favourite Beatles songs and goes well with my Valentines theme.  The calligraphy pen I used to write the word love is water resistant and the 853 OHP pens are permanent markers so this rock can go out into the wild without a protective coat of varnish! 

Little love bug

I turned my next rock into this cute little love bug.  What's a love bug I hear you ask?  She's a ladybird with hearts instead of spots!  

With the finishing touches

I used the red calligraphy pen to colour her in and added details with some Artline supreme permanent markers and a white paint marker.  Isn't she sweet?

Love you to the moon and back

I love you to the moon and back is a popular quote but as this will probably be found by a stranger I left out the word I and just wrote "Love you to the moon and back".  Again I used an 853 OHP pen and a gold metallic marker to colour in the moon, I also used a blue permanent marker for the eye and added a white spot to the pupil with my paint marker.

Valentine's heart

This stone was almost heart shaped so I drew one in the middle and coloured it in with pink and black permanent markers.  I added some extra decoration with the white paint marker once the ink was dry.

You are my sunshine!

This is the last rock I decorated.  I drew part of the sun and coloured it in with my Artline stix drawing pens, then I coloured the sky in with a blue supreme permanent marker and wrote "You are my sunshine!" using the black 853 OHP marker.  

Finished set of rocks

Here are my finished rocks!  I am going to be hiding them round Birmingham over the next few weeks so they will be found in time for Valentines Day.  I really hope they brighten someone's day and maybe encourage other people to join in with painting and hiding rocks, it is such a fun hobby! 

Which is your favourite out of my designs?  I have to say I am tempted to keep the you are my sunshine one but I will set it free and see where it lands instead!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Artline Monday - Getting organised!

Did you set yourself a goal this year to be more organised?  Do you feel like some people have everything together and are perfectly prepared for any situation while you struggle to keep on top of things?  I thought for today's post I would share with you some ideas to help you achieve your organisational aspirations.

The first thing you need to know is that most "organised" people aren't naturally prepared with no effort.  They have developed a system which works for them and you can too.  Some people use a planner, a computer or mobile phone, a diary, a simple notebook or bullet journal to organise their lives, they could even use a combination of these things!  You might have to try a few different ways until you find what works for you but it is worth persevering.  I put everything into my planner but I also use the calendar on my iPad and phone too.  This is because they sync between the each other automatically and I can set reoccurring events and reminders without having to input them separately each week, month or year. 

Planning tools - my Filofax, Artline pen & iPad

I used to feel like I didn't have enough time to do everything I wanted to but once I started planning my days I found that I just needed to use my time more efficiently.  Time management is a skill you can learn.  If you think about your day from when you wake up through to when you go to bed you can see how much time you have to work with.  Make a list of what you need to do each day and estimate how long each activity takes you to complete.  Include things like eating, getting ready, travel time, hours at school or work, errands, studying and house work etc, how much time do you have left afterwards and what can you fit into these moments?  You might find you have a lot more time available than you previously thought. 
Planning ahead

Planning ahead is also really helpful for keeping on top of things.  I like to have an overview of the next month or two at least so I'm not surprised by anything later on.  As you can see I have notes and reminders in my planner for right up to the end of June at the moment and it is only the middle of January.  Looking this far into the future means I am prepared for these events as they crop up instead of feeling like I am trying to keep too many plates spinning at once or playing wack-a-mole with lots of things popping up and needing to be dealt with straight away.  I know what is coming and what I need to do in plenty of time which is a lot less stressful!

All this planning and organisation might feel a bit overwhelming to begin with but with some practice you will find it easier to do.  Once you have gotten into the habit it becomes second nature to make plans, follow them through and to manage your time effectively.  

If you find that paper planning is the thing that works for you then Artline has a whole range of pens, highlighters and stamps to help you stay organised throughout the year!  If you would like to read some more of my organisation hints and tips check out this previous Artline Monday post for some planning basics.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Chameleon Color Tone and Color Tops review

The lovely people from Tiger Pens contacted me recently to ask if I would like to try out some Chameleon Color Tone pens for them and, of course, I said yes!  I had seen a few videos of people using these pens before and their main feature is that you can gets lots of shades from each colour pen and you can also use them to blend two different colours together which is fantastic for colouring books and all kinds of arts and crafts!

Tiger Pens sent me a pack of Pastel Color Tone Pens, two sets of Color Tops in Cool and Floral tones and a blender pen to test.

Chameleon products and my notebook

The Color Tone pens have two ends, one is a bullet nib and the other a soft Japanese brush.  They also have a mixing chamber to dilute the ink which creates the gradations of colour.  The longer you leave the nib in the mixing chamber the lighter the shade will be when you start to use the pen.  This gives you just a hint of colour and then all the shades in between until you are back to using the full strength ink.  

When I first received the pens and tops I was worried they were going to be complicated to use, mixing chambers made me think of Harry Potter and magic spells but after reading the instructions I realised it is a pretty simple process.  You choose which nib you want to use and then remove the mixing chamber from the end of the pen and take out the barrier.  Then you hold the pen upright with the nib you want to use pointing upwards and place the mixing chamber on top of it like a pen lid.  You keep holding the pen vertically for between 5 and 35 seconds (while the magic happens) and then you remove the chamber, put the barrier back in and then use the pen as normal.

Lots of different shades and blends

The first row in my notebook is the five Color Tone Pens used on their own in the mixing chamber so you can see all the different shades you can get out of them.  The next two rows are the pens used with the Color Tops to create a blend of two colours together.  Instead of placing your pen in it's mixing chamber you put it into the Color Top you want to use.  This transfers the colour onto your nib so you can start out colouring in one shade like Violet and then it will blend back into the original colour of the pen you are using like Cool Grey.

There is one small drawback which I feel I should mention, the ink in these pens bleeds through to the other side of the page.  It happened in my notebook, which has very thick pages, and the colouring books I tried them out in.  That's not a big problem for me, I love how they blend and create so many colours so I can live with it ruining the other side of my paper but it's up to you to decide if that would be a problem?  

As I said, I absolutely loved how these pens worked, in fact I was so impressed with them I hopped onto the Tiger Pens website and brought myself four more Color Tone pens to use in Grass Green, Crimson Red, Seville Orange and Hot Cocoa!  The last two rows in my notebook are the four new colours tested with the mixing chamber and then blended with the Color Tops. 

Trying out the Japanese brush nibs

I also tried the Japanese brush nibs with the Color Tops on another page, they are quite firm to begin with but as you use them they become softer and more flexible.  I think the colour blending looks really striking when it is used to do lettering like this!

Everything on the Color Tone Pens is replaceable. The bullet nibs, the Japanese brush nibs, the mixing chamber nib and the ink so once you have brought these pens you can keep using and enjoying them without having to buy yourself another set, so although they might seem pricey to begin with they are actually worth the investment.  A pack of five will cost you £18.95 from Tiger Pens. The Color Tops are £11.95 for a set of five and the nibs and ink for these are also replaceable.  The colorless blender pen is £3.75 and is perfect for an extra bit of blending, adding texture or patterns over the Color Tones and Tops or to erase small mistakes when you are colouring in.  Like the Color Tone pens the blender has both the bullet and brush nibs.  Individual Color Tone pens are available for £3.95 each so you can slowly top up your collection or buy a colour you need without having to purchase a full pack of pens.

Perfect for colouring in

This reindeer is the first picture I coloured in with the Chameleon pens.  In the past I have used pencil crayons in my colouring books because I liked to be able to blend the colours together which you can't do with regular pens but I also liked how bright and colourful ink looked on the pages so I alternated between pencils and fineliners.  Now I can have the best of both worlds, bright, beautiful, blended colours that really stand out!

Floral tea party using Chameleon Color Tones & Tops

I spent some time over the holidays colouring in this floral tea party scene, the second page is still a work in progress but I am really enjoying doing it with the Chameleon products.  My only problem now is stopping my eldest daughter from trying to use them every time she spots me!  I think I'm raising a fellow stationery addict!  

For more information about Chameleon pens and products check out the Tiger Pens website or ask me and I will try to answer your questions.

Thanks for stopping by!