Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

Merry Christmas 2011

Welcome Back

Just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Cool Yule.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Thank you all for your wonderful comments and continuing support of this blog. It is you, who make all the hard work and long hours worth while.

Hope you all have a peaceful, healthy and happy holiday and here’s to 2012.

Best wishes and thanks for reading

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

I was just on Twitter and discovered that it is Dyslexia Action Week, who knew there was an action week for it? Any way thought this would be a good excuse to share some links to items and coping strategies that make living with dyslexia easier for me. Hope they help you too.

Perhaps dyslexia didn’t exist in the 1970′s and 80s, no one I knew had heard of it. School started ok, nice big print nice fat letters. The once you got a bit older you were expected to go onto the harder books, thing was the fonts used changed. No more thick letters, now they were thin and had little sticky out bits on? It was like learning a new language all over again. The font of fashion back then was like Times New Roman and I’ve since found out the sticky out parts are called Serif’s.

I found reading VERY hard, the new letters looked strange, had halos around them and they moved! No one would believe me, teachers had lots of pupils in the class and I just had to struggle on as best I could. Bad handwriting, took ages to complete tasks as I spent half the time trying to work out what I was reading and the rest of the time trying to understand what was meant by it. I was keen to learn but low marks and humiliation at the hands of teachers back then taught me to keep my head down and just do my time at school.

My parents knew I was trying so they didn’t give me a hard time, and encouraged me. They took me to the optician, where I explained the halos round the letters, the bright likes off them, the fact that every time there was a space between words my eyes would fall down the gap and play pin ball rally with the rest of the spaces. They didn’t believe me, not just that but I was told in no uncertain terms that ‘You can’t possibly be seeing that’. I gave up at that point, did my best and gave up trying to get people to understand what I was seeing.

Secondary school was worse, reading aloud was painful as I would lose my place and be embarrassed, add to that sarcastic comments from teachers and once again, it was just a matter of do your time till you can leave.

Remembering things, or not.

Life was different when I left school, I found I could teach myself how to do things, in my own way.

I knew I wouldn’t remember if people told me how to do something and experience had shown if you ask them to repeat it frequently they get annoyed.

Coping strategy. Write it down! Simple as that, if I need to remember something I write it down. This includes all kinds of things, I have recipes for most things in my life :) That way someone tells me once and when I forget, I can look it up.

Loosing things

I spend days or more looking for stuff! If I put it down, I will forget where it is and then spend endless amounts of time looking for things.

My strategy is to have dedicated areas for things. Labelled or see through boxes for storage.

I have a mug on my desk for pens pencils rulers etc. If it’s not in my hand that’s where it goes, otherwise I’ll put something on top of it or leave it else where in the house and spend ages looking for it. I have a box on the desk too, anything I’ll need goes in there, note pads, stuff I need to file that kind of thing.

People think I’m OCD organized, I’m not but without a place for everything and being disciplined about things only going there, things quickly descend into time-consuming chaos. Inks live in a particular box, all things art related live in a box and they all live in a particular cupboard. I’ll remember which cupboard and the labelling narrows down the search from there ;) As the meerkat says ‘Simples’.

Reading and Writing

The first time I found out about dyslexia was from a colleague at work, we had just returned from a company eye test because computers were being introduced. Once again I had told the optician about the reading issues I had and once again they couldn’t believe me or give me a reason for it.

My colleague asked me how the eye test had gone, I said ok but they never believe me when I tell them what I see. When he asked me about it and I told him, he said ‘That’s Irlin’s, I’ve got that’. He explained about having different coloured paper for work and he was the only other person I knew who also wrote everything down. I left that job and lost contact and couldn’t spell Irlins to search online but DH asked about it in his opticians once and they suggested reading rulers. I searched that online and sure enough you could buy coloured overlays and they were said to help.

Found Crossbow education and ordered a multi coloured pack of overlays. OMG the overlays changed my life! As soon as I placed the orange overlay onto a page of text, the change was immediate. The text stopped moving, the flashing lights reduced and pinball rally down the spaces reduced too! I ordered a pack of the orange overlays and haven’t looked back since. I print out onto green paper, which is less contrast than the black text on white and that makes it easier to read as well.


Found that if I use green pens I can read back what I’ve written more easily. Try different coloured paper and pen combinations till you find one that works for you. Its cheap, simple and easy to try out at home.


Using coloured overlays on the screen is good too. Crossbow education have software which lets you open an on-screen reading ruler, which you can set to your own colour choice. It also has the option of having a nice black line which you can vary the position and size which helps you keep track of what line you are on.

Acessability settings

Check these out on your computer, you can alter the background colours that boxes open on your screen, which makes a huge difference. I’ll borrow hubby and write a post soon for how to do that.


Life with dyslexia is like jogging with those strap on weights on your ankles. Not impossible, just time consuming and hard work. Thankfully now there is a lot more known about it and a lot more resources available. Here are a couple that I’ve found really useful.

I want to thank Crossbow Education for their excellent products, they really did change my life. Without their overlays I couldn’t see the words. Suddenly in my 30s letters began to make sence again. Not since I moved from the very young kids books had I made propper sence of words on a page.

There is an excellent project about a dyslexia font at Project Dyslexie I truely wish this could be  made available for home users. If my computer would display in that and I could print in that, life would be much easier.

People are suprised by the amount of detail I go into when I write my tutorials, simple thing is that I make notes to that level for my own use because I’ll forget how I did a technique by the time I come to use it again. So it frequently only takes a short amount of extra work to tidy those notes up into a tutorial.

If you or someone you know is struggling try different colour papers, different coloured pens and get a set of coloured overlays. It could change their life!

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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A time to remember

Welcome Back

My thoughts and prayers this weekend are with the people of New York. It is the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the twin towers.

To all those, around the world affected by those events ten years, ago my heart goes out to you. May you one day find peace with what happened; until that day, just know that you and your family are in the thoughts of people around the world.

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Yesterday I got the news that some of my words of wisdom are to be published in a new book by Seth Apter from The Altered Page. What a surprise! Seth’s book is being published by North Light Books next year and incorporates questions and answers from a wide variety of artists alongside artwork prepared especially for the book. I did not submit art but I did submit answers to the questions and those answers have been chosen for inclusion in the book. It is very exciting and such an honour to be included alongside so many other talented artists. No doubt more information will be forthcoming in the future and I will let you all know as I find out more.

Thank you so much to Seth Apter for the opportunity of being involved with your first book. Its has been amazing, I can’t wait to see the book and all the other artists work in there.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

PS: Thanks to Gillian for letting me ‘lift’ most of this post from her website. Mine was the same story but I’m in Tigger mode and i didn’t want to gush all over you all!!!!

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Welcome Back

Just a quick extra post to let you know that you can find out more about my art and craft over on Seth Apter’s site; The Altered Page.

Style File from Seth Apter's Pulse

I took part in his collaboration project  called The Artist’s Pulse. Head over there now to read all about it. Style File Chapter 10.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Daler Rowney System 3 Acrylic Paints 'Original'

Daler Rowney System 3 Acrylic Paints 'Original'

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Daler Rowney, System 3, Acrylic Introduction Set (Original)
  • Item number 129100015
  • RRP at time of writing: £15-17.50

Reason For Buying

I saw these demo’d on Create and Craft by Stephanie for one stroke brush painting. I love Sheena’s Paint Fusion Stamps but didn’t want to be limited to the Pebeo paint she uses with them. The System 3 meant I could explore many different techniques at an affordable price.


Student quality acrylic Paint. This set includes a set of 10 22ml tubes. These are the Original set which is a flow formula, as opposed to the Heavy Bodied set also available in System 3.



  • A great selection of colours
  • Can be mixed with each other for a wide selection of colours from a small pallet
  • Original is the thinner more fluid version of the acrylic paint
  • Student quality so more affordable than Cryla (artist quality) for getting started and trying ideas out.
  • Mixes well with a variety of mediums for different effects, can be mixed with Cryla the artist quality heavy bodied variant.
  • There is a heavy bodied version if you want a more dimensional effect
  • Works well with Sheena’s Paint Fusion style of painting.
  • Works well for one stroke painting too.
  • Cost effective way of starting out.
  • Easy clean up with soap and water
  • These are a great size to travel with


Just one the smell! I started getting a tickly throat, which turned in to a cough, then I realised it was the smell from the paint. If you have ever walked into a room just after someone used hairspray and caught the remaining spay in your face, that’s what they smell like.

Possibly not how they are designed to be used, but being used to ‘craft’ paint, I made the mistake of using a heat gun to speed dry a layer or two of paint. This made them smell so much worse! Don’t get them hot! Later when I read the technical specs on the paint, it does say avoid heating them and that they contain formaldehyde (in a very small quantity) as well as ammonia, hence the smell that gets to your throat. If you are less of a sensitive flower ;) and used them in a well ventilated room and avoid the heat gun, then you will probably be ok. My painting that I did on water-colour card, still smells strongly nearly a week later though :(

Build Quality

Excellent. Well fitting lids, superb paint. Daler Rowney are long-standing art company and a name to trust. The paint is also manufactured here in the UK. The flow formula is wonderful and real quality, superb if they call this a student range!

Value for Money

Excellent. This is a versatile paint that will mix with various mediums and paints within the Daler Rowney Acrylic brand. Ideal if you want to try acrylics for the first time and want to try a few varieties before you settle on one you like.

Would I buy it Again?

No but only coz of the smell! The performance, coverage and easy clean up make them wonderful in all other aspects.

Summing up

Fantastic paint to get your started or for quantity without melting the credit card. The smaller size of tubes in this set, are 22ml, which is a great core pallet and ideal for travel. They are also available in sets of six for just over £10 if you are on a tight budget but want to try them. This set mixes a huge range of colours from just ten paints, I added a tube of Titan buff to mix with them, for more muted versions of the colours.

They are a student quality paint (ignore C&C who keep saying its Artist Quality, the manufacturers quote it as a student grade). They are great for trying acrylics for the first time, for trying new ideas and give beautiful vibrant results. Try them on the System 3 paper also available to see the best results. The paint isn’t watery or oily, but super smooth, it blends and mixes beautifully.

There are 60 colours currently in the range, which are available individually in 75 ml tubes, or pots of 250 ml, 500 ml. See links at the end, for further details on colours and sizes available.

This is a lovely paint to use, (if you can get over the smell). It flows beautifully and brushes clean up in soap and water (never leave acrylic paint to dry on your brush or your brush will go permanently hard!) I tried these with Sheena’s Paint Fusion techniques and they worked really well. Definitely try those techniques on System 3 paper, it works a dream!

A great starter collection in Daler Rowney System 3 Original paint.

A great starter collection in Daler Rowney System 3 Original paint.

The System 3 Original, is a flow formula but it is also available in heavy body. They do mix well with Cryla which IS the artist quality heavy body paint.


Quote from Daler Rowney website:

Available in 75 & 150ml tubes, 250 & 500ml pots, the System 3 Original range consists of 60 colours with 16 of the most popular colours also available in 2.25 litre and 6 colours in 1 litre pots. There is also an assortment of sets made up of the key colours, allowing a comprehensive mixing capability.The System 3 Have Body range consists of 34 colours and is available in 75 & 150ml tubes, with 10 popular colours also in 500ml pots. An assortment of Heavy Body sets is also available, allowing effortless colour choices.

For more information and colour charts follow the link to the System 3 area of the Daler Rowney website.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

The Virtual Crafting Challenge theme for July 2011 is:


Great I hear you say, but now what? Well for those of you who would like a few ideas to get you started, here are some  colours, products and techniques to help you choose, where you could go with this month’s theme. Feel free to use your own ideas for the theme.


  • Try new colours or paint effects


How about trying a different type of paint than you usually use, or adding a different paint into your projects?

  • Water colour
  • Acrylic
  • Oil
  • Iridescent paint
  • Metallic paint
  • Florescent or neon colours
  • Glass Paint
  • Ceramic Paint
  • Watercolour Pencils (its only the ‘holder’ that’s different, it’s still watercolour paint).
  • Water soluble wax crayons (its only the ‘holder’ that’s different, its still watercolour paint).


How about using your paint in a new way or on a different surface?

  • Paper
  • Card
  • Ceramic
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Fabric


How about trying different techniques with your paints

  • Glass painting
  • Decorating a ceramic object, a mug or plate, perhaps a tile
  • There are lots of metal objects available to decorate.
  • How about painting on wood? There are lots of blanks available to ‘alter’
  • Mix your stamping and other types of craft with the paint
  • There are lots of fabric things to decorate and alter too. How about a t-shirt or shopping bag. Old jeans or jackets.
  • How about getting napkins and table mats and decorating those for the patio?
  • Decorating terracotta could really brighten up a dark area of the patio.


The most important thing about this challenge is that you have fun and explore. Don’t feel pressured to have a finished item at the end of the month. Explore different styles and techniques either in person, if you have the supplies, or through research, looking online.

You learn so much more when you take away the rules and just PLAY. Adapt this challenge to a creative style that interests you. Enjoy :)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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