Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Changed My Blog Name

You may have noticed a major change to my blog and it's that I've changed the name of it from "A Little Bit of This & a Little Bit of That" to "LoobyLou's Place". I did this for various reasons - one of them being, I thought my original title was a little long-winded - too much of a mouthful really:-). Secondly, LoobyLou's Place sounded more artistic - if you get my drift? Also, LoobyLou used to be my very first nickname in primary school (believe me I've had more after that!). Another reason was that when I first started this blog (very recently) I never took the time to chew around a few names before setling on "the one". I was too impatient to get blogging and "out there" - ok, I was rash - there I admitted it! In my reckless abandon and eagerness and impatience to start blogging and join the millions of others out there and share with them my ART and parts of my life and thoughts, I chose the first name that popped into my head - tho it sounded really good to me at the time.

But since I've been blogging and seeing that title bar appear it hasn't looked right or sounded right to me and then it came to me in a "Eureka" kinda vision - "LoobyLou".... LoobyLou's Place" - Yeah Baby! - that sounded good and most of all it was personal to ME. So Dear Readers, don't be worried I'm not about to chop and change after this - you can rest assured.

A little trivia on the name LoobyLou - Now this is going back a bit and showing my age, but what the heck:-D

In the 60's, when I was just a wee young slip of a girl, (and all our tv viewing used to be in black & white) there used to be a segment on TV called "Watch with Mother" and on this segment there used to be a show called "Andy Pandy" and for anyone in the know, Andy Pandy's best friend used to be called.... yes you guessed it! LoobyLou - that's how I got my nickname folks!

Friday, 25 April 2008

Birdcages ATCs

Birdcages ATCs- April 2008
Originally uploaded by

These are a series of bird related ATCs that I created today. I bought this sheet of u/m stamps from the BSSBS at Ally Pally a couple of weeks ago and now I'm just playing around with them. These were produced using just 4 of the 20 or so elements from that sheet. I've run out of Kling-on - that self adhesive foam backing for mounting stamps - so I can't use the other elements until I've bought some. You'd have thought the amount I spent and bought at the Ally Pally show, I would've bought more sheets of this stuff - honestly I'm hopeless sometimes!

Anyway, I'm happy with the results and colours and now they're ready for swapping - contact me soon before they fly away:-D

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


This weekend my family and I went up to Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, which is famous for its potteries. All the big names in pottery and china are based here and Stoke-on-Trent is historically rich in its potteries and big names: Royal Doulton, Royal Worcester, Wedgewood, Spode, Moorcroft - to name just a few. We visited The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery which was really interesting. The exterior of the building has a mural in relief depicting the history of the area and the Pottery Industry - it's very detailed and beautifully done.

Inside, the museum is sectioned into a Natural History Museum with information and artefacts on the local and surrounding areas and the rich history of the pottery industry. Then there is a World War II Spitfire plane on display as well as various exhibition galleries and the ceramics galleries themselves, which apparantly hold the finest collection of British ceramics in the world. What I saw certainly looked "fine" to me!

I saw some gorgeous ceramics and gazing at the various Clarice Cliff pieces made me purr like a kitten:-)

This is the Ephesus Jar -a storage jar excavated in 1883, from the site of the Temple of Artemis, in the ancient city of Ephesus (situated on the western coast of modern day Turkey). It dates from around 400BC!! It stands at 5ft 6in tall and has a circumference of 12ft 2in and weighs a whopping 737kilos!!

These were some of the old collection of earthernware and ceramicware that was housed in this museum. I saw some exquisite pieces and well known names.
for further info on Stoke-on-Trent and The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery:

Sun 20.4.08 - FORD GREEN HALL

This was another place we visited in Stoke-on-Trent. Ford Green Hall is one of the few surviving remnants of Stoke-on-Trent's pre-industrial past. It's an original timber-framed structure, built as a farmhouse in 1624 for Hugh Ford, a wealthy farmer. It was the family home of the Fords for nearly 200 years. Over the centuries the house has changed considerably, altering and adapting to suit the needs and fashions of each generation.

Today the house is displayed as the home of the Ford family, though none of the contents are original to the Hall they're similar to those that would've furnished the house in the 17th & 18th centuries.

We were free to wander round the house and a guide book was given to us upon entrance. This particular day the staff were all dressed up in period costume of the era and adults and children alike were invited to try on costumes and have their photos taken.

The interior of the house was exactly as I imagined it to be - beamed ceilings, wooden floors, crooked walls and rickety stairs - it was beautiful! Inside there was plenty of information about the house and all the rooms and on the ground floor there was a small quaint tearoom and gift shop where we sat for refreshments and I bought some souveniers of our visit.

At the rear of the house was a charming garden recreated in 1996 as no trace of the original garden survives.

for further information on Ford Green Hall: http://www.stoke.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/leisure/museums/ford-green-hall/

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Playing Catch-up

I go bookmaking classes every Monday evening , local to where I live. It's run by a really nice lady from New Zealand, Annalise. She has 15 years experience in making and binding books and is one talented lady. She teaches from home and the atmosphere and environment is relaxed and friendly. It's a small group with just 5 of us ladies attending - my sis-in-law - Uzma, 2 of my friends - Amanda & Lyn and another lady whom we've become friends with through this class - Terry. Well, on the drive to class this Monday evening I noticed the most glorious sunset and being the habitual photographer that I am, I just had to capture it. Really I could've bathed in the spectacular beauty of it all. Nothing moves me more than a glorious sunset and the serenity of a full moon.

Each week we make a different style of book (sometimes a particular book has a lengthier method of making and so spreads over 2wks). This week we tackled an A5 size book with cardboard cover and 8 signatures inside, with pages of plain white paper. The binding was a longstitch/chain stitch binding, whereby the pages are secured together by a running chain stitch at the top and bottom and in between there are 2 rows of double long stitch. I used a variegated thread to make the stitch more visible and effective.

Later that night when I was admiring my handiwork (big head that I am!) - I realized that it was too plain for my liking so I jazzed it up a little - well a lot really! I had this picture of a mermaid on a greeting card sent to me by my good friend Chantal and I thought it would look right at home on the cover of this book, so I laid it on some purple and white angel hair and then heated that onto some blue iridescent paper and stuck that to the cover. I then peeled off some vellum script and positioned that on top and finally embellished some plastic iridescent shells on the four corners of the picture. The end result was very pleasing if I say so myself! :-D (well to me anyway!)


Yesterday I met up with a few of my mosaic buddies (Amanda, Lyn, Cathy and Sharon) at Cathy's home and we had a day of camaraderie and crafting - is there any other better day! We were having a resin casting day, whereby we put tiny objects into greased moulds and then poured acrylic resin into it to set. But that's all in a nutshell - allow me to elaborate..........

Cathy and Sharon had had experince of doing this before so we had enough help and guidance on hand. Also just to add, whenever we have these kinda days we all bring some food to the table to share - which just adds to the camaraderie of the day. So, step one was deciding upon the moulds we'd use (that in itself is a laborious process but fun nonetheless). Amanda is a hoarder of very useful stuff and over the years had amassed a huge collection of packaging from cakes, biscuits, chocolates, fruit and other foodstuffs and it was these plastic innards of the contents that were going to be particularly useful to us.

We'd also come prepared with what I can only describe as a veritable feast of "bits" - little scraps, beads, shards, shells, lichen, dead insects, dried flowers, sequins, glass, mesh, string, paper, metal... infact anything that cold be embedded into resin and would fit into these moulds. Cathy, like the "hostess with the mostess" that she is, had displayed a selection of all the little resin pieces she'd made before, for us to see and to get an idea of what certain mould shapes would produce and the effects you'd get using different types of material - so that really inspired us and got our creative juices flowing.

After deciding upon the moulds we were going to use and greasing them liberaly with liquid vaseline (to stop the acrylic resin from sticking permanently to the moulds), we then began the fun bit of choosing from the huge array of goodies set out before us that we were going to put into our moulds. This is the bit where you can go as wild as you want - but aahh... therein lies the danger, as sometimes, the "less is more" approach gives better results . But, as "Yours Truly" doesn't know the meaning of "less" and is by quite extremes "more" I'll just leave it to your imagination as to what I filled my moulds with! :-D
Well, the above pic shows you exactly what I put in there but the end result will be blingier - believe me! Filling the moulds with all the lovely lovely bits took quite a while and Lyn, being the perfectionist that she is, was "talking her way through it" like she often does when she gets deeply absorbed in a project - it's very endearing to hear her - "Was this too much?" "did this go with that?" "does this look right?" "does my bum look big in this?" - no, no, she didn't really say that, I just couldn't resist throwing that last remark in:-D. Anyway she managed to fill all her moulds in the end. Amanda nearly died of shock as she was concentrating so hard on what she was doing and Cathy's cat George put his paw through the window and swiped playfully at Amanda's neck - she jumped and screamed with fright and we all burst out laughing when we realised what had happened.

By now it was time for lunch and we'd really worked up an appetite and Cathy had laid everything out so nicely on the table. There were quiches, salad, aubergine pasta, coleslaw and yummy choices for dessert. After that gastronomical delight we were ready and full of energy for the final stage in our resin casting.

The resin was a two part mix and had to be mixed together according to the ratio on the box and we had to wear gloves as the stuff is so incredibly sticky. Once the resin was ready we carefully poured a little into each of our moulds, just enough to cover the tops of the all the things inside. We had to be very careful at this stage as sometimes certain items in the mould would float to the top and we had to prod them back down again. That was it. After this all we had to do was wait 24hrs for it to set completely and then pop them out of the moulds to see the end result.

Well, since I have to wait for my resin pieces to dry so do the rest of you. I'll display my results for you all here in my next posting - so stay tuned folks!

Check out my Slide Show!

Monday, 14 April 2008

What's a Poor Crafter to Do?

Over the course of this weekend Alexandra Palace hosted the Big Stamp & ScrapBooking Show. There are two shows hosted here annually - one in the Spring and another in Autumn. I love attending these shows and always end up spending too much on things I could (if I was truthful) live without, but get tempted into buying. These shows do that to you and unless your will power is protected by re-inforced armour plating then you fall into that "shop till you drop" and I absolutely must have this" trap.

But, it's really not your fault you tell yourself when you get home and unpack your purchases one by one and lay them out till your table is groaning under the weight of tons of crafting supplies. You really did need all this STUFF! What's a poor Crafter to do when she's bombarded in every which way direction by the most delicious, tempting array of goodies that each company has to offer. The demos alone make my mouth water with anticipation of producing the same gorgeous art that the exhibitor has just shown you how to make - that's why you simply have to buy that specific stamp and that specific ink pad and that specific trim and card and embossing powder and doodad and that £30 gadget with accessories that does everything except wipe your backside!! - even tho you have all that stuff at home anyway!
But, like I said, it's not your fault - your defenses are down. That inviting smile from the Exhibitor and the friendly chitchat and most of all that amazing demo she/he's making especially for you! - how can you not give into their charms and hand over all your dosh with that starry eyed, glazed look on your face - it's only money after all and what's that compared to the ART you'll be able to create - bigger, better and MORE because of all the stuff you were persuaded to buy! (SUCKER!!)

Oh well, I tell myself again this time, that I definitely won't be attending the next show in September - no I really won't - honestly I mean it, believe me I'm not going - Really! Hmmm.... now where can I find me a blacksmith and a pattern for an armour-plated dress?

Ok, you really wanna see the total array of goodies I was "persuaded" to buy? Well, don't say I didn't warn you!............ (I've listed every single item beneath)

1. 1x gold Krylon pen
2. 1 x red Krylon pen
3. 4 x soft brushes for mica powders (2 were for my friends)
4. 3 x mini spritzers
5. 3pks button embellishments (for Meena)
6. 3 x Colourbox ink stackers
7. 1 x black Archival ink pad
8. 1x black Stazon ink pad
9. 4 x assorted embossing powders
10. 1 x Crop-a-Dile with accessories box
11. 6 x collage images sheets
12. 1 pk x 12 Jaquard Pinata alcohol inks
13. 1 k x12 mica powders
14. 9 x various plastic stackpots
15. 3 x Sakura Jellyroll pens
16. 5 x VersaMagic ink pads
17. 6 x various palstic storage boxes
18. 2 x Tim Holtz's alcohol inks
19. 3 pks polypropylene ATC sleeevs
20. 1 x mini brayer
21. 1 x Friendly Plastic
22. 6 x adhesive roller refills
23. 3 x assorted size clear greeting cards bags
24. 3 x white tag books
25. 2pks various Bazzill chip shapes
26. 4pks chipboard shapes
27. 1 x book -Handmade Clear Stamped Cards by Barabara Grey (Clarity Stamps) - signed
28. 1 xA2 cutting mat
29. 1pk A4 black shrink plastic
30. 1pk Kling-On for mounting rubber stamps
31. 1pk Cut n' Dry stamp pad felt
32. 1pk x 50 pearlescent cream greeting cards
33. 1pk x 10 red pearlescent greeting cards
34. 1pk ass. colours long skinny envelopes
35. 1pk small square buff coloured envelopes
36. 1 x mini book for altering
37. 2 x Paper Artsy gold trim
38. 2 rolls double sided adhesive sheets
39. 1m red/gold swirl design fabric
40. 1 set coloured metallic binder rings
41. 2 pks Paper Artsy rubber stamps sheet
42. 1 x Indian designs rubber stamp sheet from Avec
43. 2 x individual stamps from Artistic Stamper
44. 1 x Indian design rubber stamp set from Woodware Craft Collection
45. 1 x Oxford Impressions - "The Bird's Nest" rubber stamp sheet
46. 2 rubber stamp sheets from Invoke
47. 1 x dressmakers dummy stamp from Clarity Stamp
48. 1 x man's tie u/m stamp
49. Tim Holtz's Stampers Anonymous Swirl Stamp
50. 1 x paisley rub-on sheet ..........
and a partridge in a pear tree!!!! - couldn't resist, just had to finish off with that! :-D

Well, there you have it in it's entirety - amazing or what! The list looks more than the picture doesn't it? - which just goes to prove the old addage "a picture is worth more than a thousand words".

Now that you've got your breath back (hopefully), sit back and take in the pleasant views of Ally Pally (as we Londoners affectionately refer to Alexandra Palace as). Are you sitting comfortably? - then we shall begin.......

This is the South elevation of Alexandra Palace
The Western elevation - The Phoenix Bar entrance.

Beautiful Rose Window of the Great Hall.

The Great Hall of Alexandra Palace where they host exhibitions and conferences.

The foyer of Alexandra Palace otherwise known as the Palm Court - decor is based on Egyptian style.
This is the magnificent view from atop Musgrove Hill, North London where Alexandra Palace stands. You can see the London skyline in the faraway distance. To your far left is Canary Wharf and The Docklands and to the far right is the "Exotic Gherkin" building and the Financial District. It really is a breathtaking view and I never tire of it. For more info on Alexandra Palace go to: http://www.alexandrapalace.com/

Friday, 11 April 2008

Welsh Dresser

My Welsh Dresser takes pride and place in the corner of my kitchen and brightens it up cheerfully. It's an old pine dresser made from reclaimed timber. I've always loved dressers - be they Welsh dressers, French dressers or antique dressers. They have a certain character of their own, unlike any other piece of furniture. They're made to hold and display crockery on and I've used mine to display my collections on.

I've lovingly displayed my collection of teapots, salt and pepper shakers, plates, cards and other knick-knacks on it. Each piece has a sentimental significance to it and just by glancing at it I can remember who gave me which piece and also what was scavanged from flea markets myself. I love colourful ceramic ware and am drawn to objects that are warm and homey - cottages, fruit, flowers, vases, pots, jugs etc - not so much the cutesy cutesy things like teddy bears and bunnies tho'. It's a job to dust and I really get to it by starting at the very top and clearing each shelf systematically before dusting and polishing - yep I take great pride in looking after my Welsh Dresser and I 'm not ashamed to admit it!

Thursday, 10 April 2008


Some simple facts about me:

I love collecting postcards. I always buy loads whenever I go away - abroad or even within the UK. I take photos on my camera too, but postcards are something else aren't they? They're someone else's view - a more professional take on that place you're visiting, a different view from what you're able to take, from a greater height, a more panoramic view that you just wouldn't be able to achieve on your own camera - whatever the reason postcards just do it for me.

They're one thing I beg my friends to send me whenever they go on hols and I go ga-ga over them when they give me even one postcard (yeah I'm a really cheap buy!). I display them proudly on my kitchen wall. It actually started on the huge notice board but then I kept getting and receiving more and I've had to spread them over the wall and now they're gonna spread down the other side of the wall. My daughter thinks I'm nuts - but I tell her in a wise motherly, knowing way that she too will end up doing this when she eventually reaches my age (she shudders at the thought!) :-D
I love collecting fridge magnets - I know, I know, I'm a hopeless cheap souvenier collecter - what can I do! It's the kitschy side to me - but hey tasteful kitsch if you please! This is another one of the little things I must get whenever I go away. My friends all know it too, so if they're left with a couple of dollars, pesatos, lira, rupees, dhirams, yen, pesos, pounds - whatever the currency, wherever the country they think "oh good, just enough to buy Lubna a cheap fridge magnet!" Hey I'm not complaining - I even buy my own thank you very much!

So here they are all displayed neatly on my fridge and I look at them every day and I can name where they came from and who gave them to me - it makes me smile!
With my postcards on the walls and the magnets on my fridge I have a visual impact filled with memories at every glance - what more can I ask for?

The reason I put this photo here was coz I knew if anyone saw the postcard photo their eyes would've caught this colourful display (I know I would've in someone else's pics!) anyway, they're a collection of just ordinary, everyday bottles that you'd normally throw away (or recycle) after use. Some years ago I had access to a kiln for fusing glass and I put the bottles in there and they just slumped in the high degree heat and then whenI took them out I placed glass beads, broken bits of glass, millefiori, nuggets, stained glass - in fact any glass bits - and then it went back into the kiln and came out fused to the bottles. Some fused into the bottles and became part of the bottle itself, whilst others fused onto the glass and are raised and looked as if they're glued on but they're actually fused into the glass of the bottle.

I thought they'd make a nice collection for this space of wall - and they're a great talking point too!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

The Virtues of Blogging - according to Lubna

I've been reading the latest Spring 2008 edition of Artful Blogging, a visually stunning and inspirational publication from Stampington & Co - http://www.stampington.com/
Just flicking through the pages of this weighty volume makes you drool with anticipation of the temptation waiting for you inside and actually getting down to reading it.... well I tell you, woe betide anyone who interrupts me when I'm floating away in the land of Creativity Heaven (yes there really is such a place and you all know it!).

Stampington & Co Publications really wear the crown when it comes to this genre of magazine – there’s nothing that can match their superb articles, printing, content and quality – I really believe that and put my money where my mouth is by subscribing to Somerset Studio Magazine and their other quarterly and bi-annual magazines – Somerset Life and Somerset Home – each one enticing and delicious as the last!

Wow! just read that last paragraph back to myself and I sound like their Sponsor - may be they should give me commission for this write up! :-O

Anyway, this latest edition is packed with such inspiring stories from real life artists who share their passion of art and how they began blogging and after reading cover to cover I noticed a pattern forming in the experiences each artist had to say about venturing into Blogland:

  • they were scared at first

  • they thought they had nothing to say

  • even if they did have something to say, who would be interested in reading it

  • would it become tedious and tiresome

  • they weren't writers they were artists

  • they had no photography skills

  • they lacked confidence

  • they weren't computer savvy
There were lots more similarities - but you know what? - each of these amazing people, little by little, overcame their fears, inadequacies, lack of skills and by sharing their fears with friends and family they gained confidence and opened the door to Blogland and all it had to offer and those doors have remained opened for them ever since.

Reading their stories has inspired me and fired me up to enter the realms of Blogland myself and even tho' I'm a newbie to blogs I'm not a newbie to journaling - the big difference is that it's online and you're sharing! I've always enjoyed writing - whether it be keeping a diary/journal, scrapbooking, writing letters, poetry, writing short articles for newsletters - whatever it is I've always known that I could put pen to paper and string a line of comprehensible words together - but would what I have to say be interesting to other people - ahh that's where the crux of the question lies!

The blogs I've read online, well most of them are about ordinary people going on with their ordinary lives and what they do and create - but that's interesting to me and I like that kinda stuff - but most of, all they get read by hundreds of people who share the same kind of experiences with them and can relate to them and that's what does it I think - that's what opens them up to the world and everyone in it - the togetherness of the world - sharing, giving, receiving, playing, creating, seeing, watching, reading, posting, crafting, imagining, crying, laughing and loving!


Monday, 7 April 2008

It's Either Too Early Or Too Late

At this moment whilst I'm tapping away at my keyboard it's 2.14am GMT - I've still not gone to bed so I'm either too late from last night or too early for this morning - if that sounds confusing then forgive me it must be my sleepiness talking!

But no, I digress..... what I really wanted to say is that it's SNOWING!!! Ok, I admit while that doesn't sound like anything exciting to people in North America (especially the Eastern seaboard - New York, Chicago etc) to us in London, where we hardly get to see snow falling, it's a truly magical sight! I can see the snow whirling round and round from my window where I sit by my desk. The street lamps are casting a bright orange glow onto the beautiful big snowflakes as they come tumbling down. The first thought that came to my mind as I first noticed the snow was "I feel like I'm in a snow globe!" It's so magical and wondrous! It's only a very light snow and I can't see any of it settling yet, but Saturday night it snowed and we woke up to a blanket of snow covered ground and rooftops on Sunday morning, so it may settle - we'll know later on. Oops I spoke too soon - it's stopped! - how weird.

Well I'm going to bed now and when I wake up at a more appropriate time I'll put up another posting to give you the latest on the weather and more.
Sweet Dreams!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Something for the Weekend

Well, it's been a lovely Spring day here today. The garden is still quite bare but things are budding. I have one solitary red tulip growing, it looks so sad all by itself but it does add a splash of colour to an otherwise colourless flower bed - no, hang on I tell a lie, we have a beautiful young tree that has a mass of pink blossom on it. Actually don't know what sort of tree it is (my hubby planted it last year and has forgotten!) - but it is lovely. See for yourself!
This is my cat Smokey. He loves basking in the warmth of the sun and he actually catches a tan of sorts - his usually smokey grey fur gets tinged with red!

Friday, 4 April 2008

Yesterday's Accident

There was a terrible accident outside my house yesterday. It happened just as the kids were coming out of school around 3.20pm. I was upstairs on the computer and I heard a loud thud and I looked out the window and saw someone lying in the road and people had started to gather around. I immediately phoned the emergency services and they arrived amazingly fast on the scene. Apparantly a young boy had been knocked over. I don't know what his condidition was/is, I'll have to wait till the local paper reports it in a couple of days - I just pray he's ok. It was so hectic out there for about an hour with the police ariving on the scene and traffic being held up and so many people gathered on the streets watching intently - it's so sad.

Well, onto a more brighter note.... I've been busy busy busy creating these wraparound books. I'm like a whirling dervish producing book after book. I've made about 15 in all so far and they're so satisfying to make and easy too. They're pamphlet stitched with handmade paper covers and the covers wraparound twice - hence the name "wraparound books". They measure 16cm x 13cm approx and they're ideal for journaling. I'm planning to open an Etsy account and put them on sale there - it all takes time tho doesn' it?

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Art in a Carton

This is the carton I received from Jill. It was decorated really simply but effectively and the contents inside were just gorgeous. There was an Art doll (I think they're called), a butterfly ATC and a beautiful small square quiltie. You can see a lot of thought went into this and I really loved receiving it - Thank you Jill!

Well, I've completed my 3 cartons and have made the gifts to put inside and now they're all ready to be packaged and posted. Only thing I'm left with one carton that I don't know who to send to. If anyone's interested in taking part in this ongoing art sharing project then you can get further details from Susan J Letham's site

Here are my 3 cartons ready to be packaged and posted. Each carton contains a handmade book, an ATC and a ceramic hand with an incense cone. All items are made by me except for the incense cone.

These are just close up of each carton and their contents. The cartons look plain black, but I've actually painted them with balck gesso and them stamped them using the Brilliance range of inks, which have an irridescent quality about them and show up more when light is thrown upon it.