Home of The Small Art Company and a bit of British all sorts about my family, kids, home, art, mixed media, craft, photography, illustration, travel, cooking, organisation, teaching... Good to see you:)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gelli Plate Art Journal Backgrounds

Although I've been creating mixed media art for a number of years now, I only really got into art journalling in January. It's always been something I wanted to do. It reminds me a little of a Judy Blume memory book I had when I was younger; filling up the pages with photos, stickers, tickets, drawings...

Anyway, I love looking at backgrounds for other people's pages. Some are so beautiful! I decided to purchase a gelli plate a while ago so I too could create lovely backgrounds! A gelli plate is basically a gel-like 'plate' (mine's 10" x 8") that you spread paint onto with a brayer, add some texture (see below), lay a sheet of paper on top, lift off and see amazing patterns!

So here are some household items I use to create the backgrounds:

You don't have to spend loads of money on proper stencils or stamps, there are so many things around the house you can use.

My first art journal was the one I started for the Documented Life Project (you can see it here), where I create the pages as I go along, following the weekly prompts. However, I wanted to make another with all the gelli plate backgrounds (boy, you really get through a lot of paper!), so I got some of my favourite pages together and bound them using stabstitch binding (handbound books was one of my many craft experiments!). This is the result:

I've only completed one page so far. It started off like this:

I think this is one of my favourite backgrounds. This wasn't actually created with the gelli plate, but was a cleanup sheet, where I rolled excess paint off my brayer and excess ink off my stamps, so I didn't really want to cover too much of it up. This is how it turned out:

I'm really pleased with it and think I managed to keep enough of the background as well. 

These are some other pages that I did create with the gelli plate:

Used the end of a paintbrush to create the swirls. Think there's a world map stamp in there too.

Used a honeycomb stencil and cutout foam shapes.

Stencil and a paper doily.

Large flowery stencil and end of paintbrush.

Used a texture roller for polymer clay and corrugated card.

My kids' lettering stencil and bubblewrap.

Here are a few more backgrounds:

Sometimes I cut them up to add collage bits to other pages. The blue strip you can see there to the left was created with bubblewrap. It's left over from a sheet I cut up to make this page:

I'll try and get around to doing a gelli plate tutorial soon. I'll also show you some ATCs I've made for a swap from the Art for the Heart Swap Facebook group. 

More coming soon:)


Friday, April 4, 2014

Bacon Lasagne Recipe

My lovely friend Sian and her friend, Anne (who I'm sure is also lovely!) have set up a blog and Facebook page called Egg and Chips where they write about easy, tasty family meals. I remember Sian always asking me "what are you having for dinner/tea?" when we used to work together and it seems she is still very much interested.

I thought I'd share my bacon lasagne recipe. It's probably one of my kids' favourite meals. I wouldn't say it's the quickest, but worth it. As with all my recipes, I usually find a basic recipe from somewhere, then add a bit of another one and then make a few changes of my own. I also tend not to measure ingredients, apart from when I'm baking a cake, then I am very precise!


Makes about 4 - 6 portions


     For the tomato and bacon sauce:

  • 8 rashers of bacon
  • onion
  • 2 cans of tomatoes (400g)
  • Basil (dry or fresh)
  • Oregano (I always use dry)
  • Pasta sheets
     For the white sauce:
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 50g butter or margarine
  • 50g plain flour
  • Cheese (Cheddar or Parmesan)
  • 600ml milk

(Used celery as well once. Could also add peppers and mushrooms)

  1. Chop the onion and fry in some oil, then add about 1tsp of oregano and the bacon (chopped). I have also added cooked ham in the past, if I'm out of bacon or it needs using up.
  2. After about 5 minutes add the cans of tomatoes, season with black pepper if you wish and simmer for another 5 minutes or so, before adding some basil (about 20 leaves if fresh or 2 - 3tsp dried).
  3. Meanwhile, for the white sauce: pour the milk in another pan, add the flour and butter and whisk over a moderate heat. Simmer until it thickens before adding some ground nutmeg. I sometimes add a little grated cheese at this point.
  4. In a large baking tray, pour the tomato and bacon mixture and add some pasta sheets over the top. 
  5. Pour over the white sauce and then another layer of tomato sauce. Alternate until you've used up your mixtures. I usually have 3 layers of 4 pasta sheets, but it really doesn't matter.
  6. You can sprinkle some Parmesan over the top if you like.
  7. Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes on 190C/170C fan/gas 5/370F.

And that's it! Serve with salad and chunky chips or crusty bread.