Happy Tuesday Friends!

I was inadvertently offline for most of last week, well not really inadvertently, I just had a break that was longer than planned – consequently I only just got last week’s commenting done yesterday and approved all the comments that were left on my blog last week.  I don’t really have a reason for it except that I think I just needed a rest. I watched two seasons of The White Lotus and the Under The Banner of Heaven mini series (based on a true crime story about a LDS murder in Utah – eyeopening!).  I also did some reorganising in my art room and other rooms upstairs which resulted in Miss Lily finding somewhere to nap that was very high up.  I don’t really know how she managed to get up there, but I was worried about her getting hurt trying to get back down, but she seemed to manage it just like a cat of course.

We have some things to celebrate this week, Lunar New Year, Burns Night and Australia Day, which I will get to later down the post.  But first… last week I mentioned that I had won the December challenge on Country View Challenges which came with a £20 voucher from the shop. I did some shopping, picked out some products and they arrived last week:

Sorry it’s a little blurry, I took it with my phone and it’s temperamental when it comes to photos.  All the products are by Aladine Inks, who are a French brand who have been making inks for 100+ years, and these products are a collab with Seth Apter.  The top row are all acrylic inks in little bottles like nail polish bottles and the bottom row are pouches filled with pearly or translucent gels which can add glazes or work like texture paste.  I would not normally be able to get this many for £20 but they happened to be in the January sale so that was a bonus!  I already have some of these products so I was just adding to the range of colours I already had as I like working with them.

Today’s Art . . .

Today’s art is actually two things, or maybe three things.   The first is an exploding book that I made last summer and then lost!  As I was moving things around in the art room yesterday I discovered a bunch of things that I’d forgotten existed.  I have some photos of it but to see how it works there is also a short video – BTW it’s not exactly “art” but the arm-warmers that I am wearing in the video are some that I made from a pair of old socks!

Art 1 – Exploding book
Last August I made a cat birthday card with some watercoloured cats, and since I painted way more than I needed, I thought I would turn the leftovers into an exploding book.  I was planning to write a little story or perhaps a poem inside along with the pictures but then it disappeared in the sea of stuff lying around in the art room and I only just found it again yesterday.

Here’s the video so you can see it opening and closing… (29 seconds)

Design by EOTC

Art 2 – #JunkJournalJanuary Day 24 Scenery
For today’s prompt I used this photo of Glasgow taken from a magazine.  Normally I would think of something else when thinking “scenery” but then I saw this photo today and it spoke to me and I wanted to use it.  Maybe it’s because I am thinking of Burns Night tomorrow or maybe something else entirely.  Since it has a photo on it, I am also linking this page to Art Journal Journey where the theme is to use a photo. (links at the end).

I took this photo before the paint was dry but I was running out of daylight and didn’t want to wait any longer.  Notice also the cup of tea from the tea packaging and the Pukka tea label which are my tickets to tea this week.

T Stands for Currently Reading . . .

book cover of How the Dead Speak

I’m currently reading this book by by Val McDermid.  Val is a Scottish author of crime fiction and this is book 11 in the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series.  This series was also made into a TV show a few years ago. Both are good, though can be a bit on the gruesome side.


TOTAL for 2023
8 books

T Stands for Lunar New Year – Year of the Rabbit 22nd January

AKA Chinese New Year.   Some years ago I studied Feng Shui under a Chinese master, along with a friend in Melbourne.  We completed 2 of the 5 levels on our journey to becoming Masters ourselves.  Level 3 involved a trip to China with the student group and my friend changed her mind and didn’t want to go and so I decided not to go either and so we were permanently stuck at Level 2.  At that time we did a lot of research into Chinese astrology because of course it has a bearing when it comes to consultations.  You can’t really give someone a feng shui consultation if you don’t know what they are.
I am a Rabbit, there are five different types of rabbit, as with the rest of the 12 animals:  The elements are in this order for these reasons – Wood starts a Fire; Fire creates Earth; Earth holds Metal; Metal carries Water; Water feeds Wood.  Although each animal sign comes around every 12 years, your own elemental sign only turns up once every sixty years. In 2023, people who are born in the year of the Rabbit, Rooster, Dragon, Rat and Horse are Fan Tai Sui (which means clashes with Tai Sui who is the legendary God of age). It is a year to be careful and cautious and something that is taken very seriously in Chinese cultures. It’s better to avoid big changes, like getting married or starting a new company. It is also suggested to wear red, especially red underwear and socks to reduce bad luck.  Red is not a colour that I care for but I am in fact wearing both!  I am also trying to take better care of myself, even just in small ways like drinking more water, being more healthy etc.  To that end…

Yoga with Kittens

I always start off really well in January joining in with Yoga With Adriene for the month of January every year, and so here we are again in January doing daily yoga.  It’s not all plain sailing though, I do have some obstacles to contend with on a daily basis…

T Stands for Burns Night 25th January

Tomorrow is the time when we in Scotland and other places around the world, celebration the greatness of our most famous poet – Robert Burns.  I live in the middle of “Burns Country”, he was born and lived just a few miles away.

Burns Suppers will be held all over Scotland tomorrow night where Haggis will be served and Burns poetry will be recited.  The Haggis is always piped in by a piper in traditional dress and then Address to a Haggis is read before it is eaten.  I have tasted Haggis but not for many years since I no longer eat meat.  I have also had vegetarian Haggis but also not for a long time as I don’t want to eat things that remind me of meat (may as well eat meat IMO).  From what I can remember of it, it tasted ok but it does need to be well seasoned with salt and pepper otherwise it is pretty tasteless.  So I will not be eating Haggis tomorrow but I may well read some poetry.
(click for bigger photos)

T Stands for Australia Day 26th January

Australia day is a public holiday celebrating the official national day of Australia.  It marks the 1788 landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove and raising of the Union Flag by Arthur Phillip following days of exploration of Port Jackson in New South Wales. In present-day Australia, celebrations aim to reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation and are marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new members of the Australian community.

Once upon a time in Australia, I used to collect stamps, in particular, I collected first day covers and special stamp packs.  Unlike the post office here, they made it really easy to collect the special commemorative stamps in Australia.  I thought I would show you some of the special ones that were produced for Australia Day.  As I mentioned above, Australia Day is now celebrated more about being an Australian rather than celebrating when it was colonised by the English, but in 1988, we celebrated the Bicentennial (200 years) anniversary of the First Fleet landing at Sydney.  In the above photo there are also stamps celebrating the original Australians and Australian flora and not just colonisation.  Just click the thumbnails for a better look.

And the following are various other First Day Covers celebrating Australia Day from different years….

And a joint issue in 1988 with the USA

Wow that took me such a long time to put together, I hope you enjoyed reading it.  Let me know what you think in the comments.   As always, thanks for reading and Happy T Day!  [edit: Mr Linky told me my URL was too long so I had to change my post title – what cheek!]


recycled stuff, junk, collage etc. food packaging, acrylic inks, pitt artist pens,


Altered Book Lover – T Stands for
Art Journal Journey – use a photo
Day 24

13 Awesome Comments (btw comment moderation is on)
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bleubeard and Elizabeth
January 31, 2023 4:50 pm

I hope you don’t hate me, Elle. I missed both you and Sharon for T last week. My internet was off from Tuesday through late Thursday. I tried to catch up, but still missed both you and Sharon.

Your kitty book is wonderful. What a great and clever way to use leftovers. I tried to make one of those books ONCE, and it was a laughing disaster. Congrats on winning those wonderful inks. You really stretched that gift card a LOT.

I have friends in Australia, so knew about Australia Day. However, I had never heard about Burns Day. I tried Haggis once many years ago and didn’t like it at all. And of course, I was in awe of your tribute to Year of the Water Rabbit. I also did a tribute to the five elements and 12 animals. I didn’t go into such great depth as you, even though I knew about everything you shared. I’ve been celebrating CNY for many years.

I can see why you might have trouble with Yoga. The kitties have a tendency to lay where you need to be (grin).

I like how you managed to include your drink this week. It’s a fabulous junk journal page. Thanks for sharing your Yoga kitties, Burns Day, Australia Day, and Year of the Water Rabbit, along with your Junk Journal page for T LAST Tuesday, dear!!

Erika N
January 26, 2023 12:02 pm

What an informative post Elle. I’m glad I stopped by even though I’m skipping out on T this week. ? And I’m can relate to your discoveries while cleaning. It is so amazing how much you can forget about. Well it is to me. I’m glad you had a page to share for Mia’s challenge at AJJ. Thank you. Scotland is on my travel bucket list so maybe one day I will actually see it. I hope you had a great T day, a good clean and skipped the haggis but read some poetry on Burns night. Who knew January could be busy and productive? Hugs Erika

Jo - Let's Art Journal
January 26, 2023 8:46 am

Wow, what a fabulous post! Glad you found Miss Lily’s hiding place and that’s so high up too ?. Your artwork is gorgeous, loving the folding book! We celebrated Burns Night yesterday too, I hope you had fun. Take care and Happy T Day wishes! Hugs Jo x

January 25, 2023 7:49 pm

Your post is great and interesting, very creative what you show here! The crafting is so beautiful with the cats in the video.
I wish you a beautiful week, hug Elke

Kate Yetter
January 25, 2023 6:55 pm

SO many wonderful photos, Elle. Loved the exploding book and your art journal page. I love studying about other cultural celebrations. The info on the rabbits and Australian day was very enjoyable. And that is crazy that your kitty fits in that space. Doesn’t seem comfortable to me.
Happy Belated Tea Day,

Carola Bartz
January 25, 2023 3:58 pm

I so enjoyed this post, Elle. I remember the cat watercolor card from last summer, and the exploding book is such a great idea to work with the “leftovers”. Such a neat little book. I can well understand that every now and then you need a break from blogging or just need to rest – I feel the same and then I do take the break. Since you said you want to take better care of yourself, that was a very good step. Oh I wish I could join in your celebrations for Burns Day – a Haggis sounds good. I had eaten Haggis when I was visiting Scotland several years ago and each Haggis was different. I liked them. Your arm warmers made from socks are cute and a very creative way to make them. I hope despite all the caution that the year of the rabbit will be a good one for you.

January 25, 2023 11:51 am

Great photos. Cats love to find out of the way places to sleep in (and sometimes not let you know that’s where they are, like they’re playing hide and seek).

Sharon Madson
Sharon Madson
January 25, 2023 2:46 am

I love the exploding book! Great way to use your extra cat painting. I love them anyway. Happy T day.

January 25, 2023 12:43 am

I hope you are enjoying all the many celebrations this week. Your exploding book is neat. I also like your repurposed sock warmers.

best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

January 24, 2023 10:11 pm

Elle what a lovely long interesting post! I hardly know what to comment on.. Had to laugh at Ms Lily’s sleeping spot.. Makes me think of my black cat thats passed.. Seeing your two lovely black cats so makes me want another one.. I even have a name picked out.. ‘ Ichabod’..lol Or Icky for short.. ahhh maybe one day.. Happy T day! Hugs! deb

GDPR Cookie Notice