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by Julie Brooks

Polite notice. All designs are copyright protected. I hope you will be inspired by my designs but please do not copy them. Thank you.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Online Creative Retreat fun

Hi everyone

I recently took part in an online creative retreat and had loads of fun trying different art materials, exploring different techniques, in a vain attempt to try to find "my style". Well, at the end of the weekend I knew what I'd enjoyed the most but I still don't think I have a particular signature style lol!

Here are the pieces I created, in no particular order!

My favourite piece, painted with acrylics


Meditation/Ispiration Mandala

Faces are not my forte!

Mark making using pastels, crayons and ink

More mark making, tried callicreative pens - they are water-soluble!

Loved doing this, although there's room for improvement - all acrylics

Just playing with shape and colour

Interesting - this appeared from some random scribbles

I love using blocks of colour in an abstract way

Mixed media collage - not entirely happy with this, but it was completed in only an hour!

My clay floral mandala drawings

Painting without thinking - no big idea, just paint what comes - love what I ended up with!

I may never finish this, it's a dark piece and I actually felt quite depressed
about it, which is why it never got further than this

My clay floral mandala decorations, ready to paint and varnish

A left-over sheet of paper which I'd used to remove excess paint from another
piece. I quite like this and will find a use for it!

So, it was interesting, sometimes intense, and overall a lot of fun. I enjoyed immersing myself for the weekend and feel there are things I can build on from this experience.

Kind comments always welcome!

Thanks for visiting!

Bye for now,
Julie x

Tuesday, 11 July 2017


Hi everyone, it's been a while. The months just seem to run away these days.

In a few future posts I will be sharing with you some of the pieces of art I created during a recent online creative retreat. It was fun, intense, emotional and both satisfying and challenging in equal measure. Before the weekend retreat began, all participants were sent a "Permission Slip", which I loved and which I printed out and still have at my work space now.

Words to live by if you're a creative soul.

So, watch this space for my posts sharing what I created - good and bad, ugly and beautiful. I won't leave anything out!

In the meantime, I have been contemplating things from another perspective, the perspective of the retailer, which I am, and here are some thoughts which came pouring out of my head earlier today as a result of some recent events:

What's on my mind, the Facebook posting thingy always asks, prompting us to type what's on our mind.

So, here's what's on my mind:

I am baffled as to why people in the UK would rather support and shop at online stockists in the States than UK stockists for products which they can just as easily get at UK stockists, which would help support UK businesses, and they would probably get them cheaper because the postage will be lower than buying from the States (unless there's free international postage on offer of course) and they don't run the risk of being hit by the Customs gremlins with an extra fee. Products manufactured in the States and sold in the States will of course look cheaper than they are in UK shops, because UK stockists have import costs to bear which retailers in the States don't, and these have to be added on to the cost of the product otherwise every UK retailer of anything not UK runs the risk of very quickly becoming bankrupt! But if UK retailers are going to the trouble of ordering in these much sought after products from the States, the least the UK crafting public can do is have the courtesy to support those businesses and make it worth all the hassle of placing the order, waiting for the shipment to arrive at Customs, waiting for the import bill to arrive (there are always admin fees if nothing else) and then finally taking delivery of these "holy grail" must-have crafting products. But people are seemingly tempted away from supporting their own country’s struggling businesses because of little incentives which amount to only a few pounds, which they would save on shipping if they shopped in this country in the first place.

I am baffled as to why it should be that a UK retailer can seemingly get a much better deal for importing certain goods from the States than a UK wholesaler can.

I am baffled as to why there is so much brand devaluation going on right, left and centre, prices being slashed to ridiculous levels, which then EVERYONE comes to expect, thus making it impossible to achieve anything other than break-even, and some UK retailers are seemingly doing everything they can to push out the competition, when we're all just trying to do the same thing - make an honest living, earn a crust to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads, selling products we are all passionate about.

Why has it all become so desperate and ruthless? It seems to me, in many ways, a very hostile environment, a battleground, where other people don't matter anymore, the only thing that matters is self. There is a lot of selfishness around, it permeates throughout all the layers of society. "It's all about me", seems to be the order of the day for many. Why? So sad. It's no wonder this country is in the doldrums, in every sense of the word, and it's no good for this planet as a whole, if things do not change soon and drastically. Don't get me wrong, there are lovely, kind, gentle, considerate people out there, doing what they can to help others without being asked. They give so much of themselves without expectation of any kind of reward. True heroes and angels, every one of them.

We need more heroes and angels. We should all be working together, for the common good, which is to help support and preserve UK businesses and make this country a strong trading partner in the Global marketplace. It should never be the “every man for himself” situation, which I am seeing everywhere I look now.

Thanks for listening and see you all soon.

Julie x