Halloween 'Ghosts & Ghouls' Colouring Page

The witching hour is here and the spirits from the underworld have been unleashed...take a moment for yourself with my *FREE* Halloween colouring page featuring ghosts, ghouls and vampire bats - spooky! I created this page using my own hand-drawn motifs and first turning them into a simple repeating pattern.

The vampire bat is my favourite:

Halloween Bat, free colouring page download, Dainty Dora's Inspiration Emporium

In fact, I think I've got a soft-spot for bats all of a sudden!

Halloween Bat, free colouring page download, Dainty Dora's Inspiration Emporium

Halloween Pattern, Dainty Dora's Inspiration Emporium

I'd love to see some creative colourings-in so tag me on social...if you dare...and Happy Halloween!

'Boo!' Halloween Pattern, Dainty Dora's Inspiration Emporium

I also have one from the archives to share - my Halloween-themed collage from a few years ago. So intricate and a lot more subtle, but still one of my favs. I love an enchanted forest, don't you?

Book Art at Lumb Bank

Last night I dreamt I went to Lumb Bank again... no actually, I really did.

I was trying to photograph the sunset before it got too dark, then chatting in the kitchen with the others in the group. We were doing the dishes together, leaning over the sink, and then I looked out of the window and it had started snowing. The roads were flat instead of steep. The leaves were gone. Everything was slightly altered and different, but also the same...

Sunset at the Ted Hughes house, Lumb Bank, October 16

It's only two weeks since I returned and it feels like a dream, like the dream I just had, but also so close and vivid in my head, like I'm squeezing it tighter and tighter for more inspiration.

Creativity in action on the Book Art course, Lumb Bank, October 16

The course I took was a mix of book art and poetry, both tutors (Rachel Hazell, travelling book-binder and Stevie Ronnie, poet and artist) working hard to ensure the two disciplines meshed perfectly.

We had been tasked with writing a short poem on our first night, inspired by the 'poetry fortune teller' that Stevie came up with (my 'poetry prescription' was to write a 7-line poem featuring the word 'spinning top' and the colour silver).

Poetry Fortune Teller, Book Art & Poetry, Lumb Bank, Oct16

The next morning was about making miniature books from a single piece of A4 paper, and filling them quickly with words or just the repetition of the word 'word' or 'text'. I used my simple 7-line poem for some of mine:

She spun/ silver in the night,/ her hair splayed/out; skate-blades/chiseling ice/ faster than rain off a/ spinning top

Next we got our scalpels out to cut windows, doors, mouths, secret compartments and pop-ups in our paper books (best viewed from above I think). It was starting to feel a bit magical!

Book Art, Lumb Bank, October 16

On our second day of book art-ing, we got to use 'the good paper', and make bigger books with more detailed covers.

We spent some time using different methods of lettering and typography to decorate our paper, techniques like: stenciling, calligraphy, letraset, cut-out words or phrases from books and magazines, handwriting, painting and stamping.

It was my first time using a calligraphy pen (real name: pilot parallel pen) and it was A-MA-ZING.

Word-art for a book cover, Book Art course, Lumb Bank, Oct16

We were working quickly and I used words that had popped up in our conversations and our poetry workshop on the second morning, as well as words connected with guest speaker Amy Shelton's work highlighting the plight of honey bees. (It was a revelation to find out that pollen comes in so many different colours - red, blue, green, yellow - many more than I had imagined.)

Placing the words at random created new phrases based on each word's proximity to another. I loved these new 'concepts' that I feel will definitely need to be exploited further:

Pollen Rabbit

Sleep Stanza

Porcelain Squirrel

Geisha Moon

Xerox Love

Kestrel Stitch

Star Geometry

Wow. So interesting. I would never have thought of these myself.

Later that afternoon I spent some time making a mini-book of my own imagining, to help reinforce the binding technique.

I used scraps of paper and cut-out shapes I'd saved in a tin from hole punches I used to have: stars, flowers, hearts and birds - I wish I still had them.

Book Art, Lumb Bank, October 16

I also experienced a big revelation while on the course: that I need to use textiles much more in my art. All my art as well as any book art!

I didn't want to leave without incorporating some textile detail into a book I'd made, so I stitched up some tea-steam that became the 'tea ghosts' of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath on the reverse. (I also wrote about visiting Sylvia Plath's grave in nearby Heptonstall.)

Book Art, Lumb Bank, October 16

Book Art, Lumb Bank, October 16

At first I wasn't going to invest in the tools of the book-making trade, because I wasn't sure if making books was going to be a big thing for me, or much more than an occasional hobby. As the course progressed though I found there was something quite magical about being in that space, with that group of people, and having the opportunity to buy the tools I was using to learn with.

Book Art tools, Lumb Bank, October 16

When I saw Rachel's stash of supplies laid out in the barn for sale, I knew I would be making more books and that I needed these tools: the bone-folder, the awl, the paper knife.

And then I had to make another book - from scratch, by myself (OK, with a little help from Rachel).

I hand-stitched 'Wabi-Sabi' on the front, some of it in low light on our last night so I missed a stitch, but hey, wabi-sabi.

The wool I used cost £1 from Standard Goods at Hebble End Studios in Hebden Bridge (creative capital of West Yorkshire?!)

I love the texture and the colour which matches the grey tinge of the paper. I might tie beads onto the ends of the strands I've used to bind the book.

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Finally, part of the tradition on an Arvon retreat is to contribute to an anthology of work that everyone on the course gets a copy of to take home.

Playing to the themes of the course - and the time of year - we were tasked instead with creating a 'leaf anthology' between us - our individual artistic interpretation of a leaf with words or poetry - x 17 copies!

Paper Leaves in the making of a 'Leafology', Book Art, Lumb Bank, October 16

It seemed fitting for me to use pages from my aged copy of Daphne du Maurier's 'Rebecca', and make art on the leaf: BOOK + ART.

I cut out my leaf shapes then used watercolour pencils to draw an autumn leaf.

I was surprised when everyone commented on and wanted the green one, because I thought it turned out looking more like a pineapple or a palm than a leaf

Paper Leaves in the making of a 'Leafology', Book Art, Lumb Bank, October 16

On the back of each I wrote the Japanese word KOMOREBI in gold pen, from Lost in Translation by Ella Frances Sanders (one of my favourite books):

'Leafology' inspiration, Book Art, Lumb Bank, October 16

The sunlight that filters through the leaves of the trees

I cut out little triangles to reinforce the idea of light slipping through each leaf and it felt like the perfect statement from me to my fellow book artists.

Let the sunlight filter through you. Find your unique path of light.

When we piled our leaves together, a length of gold wire at the ready so we could each construct our leaf -anthology garland when we got home, I was blown away (sorry) by how individual and intricate each leaf was. I've never had a leaf-anthology before and none will be as perfect as the one I've got.

What lovely memories I have from my week of Book Art and poetry at Lumb Bank.

Book Art, Lumb Bank, October 16

More about the poetry in another post, meanwhile check out Rachel's post to see the garland gifted to Arvon, hanging by the fireplace.

Cherry blossom joy inspired by Marie Kondo

This week I've been reading 'Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to Tidying Up' by Marie Kondo, the sequel if you like, to 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying' (which incidently, I have yet to read.) Cherry Blossom time & sparking joy with Marie Kondo

I'm late to the party on these books I know, and I'm also a bit of a hoarder; collecting bubble wrap and 'nice' empty boxes and 'things-that-might-one-day-be-useful-for-that-amazing-project-I've-yet-to-start...'

I expected the book to be all about discarding as many possessions as possible, being ruthless with your sentimental 'komono' items and keeping nothing if it wasn't of the utmost practical use.

There was an element of that (the part about her getting rid of her vacuum cleaner because it didn't spark joy was particularly amusing), but much more than getting rid of things, the focus was on what to keep, and most specifically, what to keep that sparks joy.

Does what it says on the cover. Good start.

But I didn't really think I had that much to learn about all this.

I love tidying and reorganising things and feel like I've been on a mission for half my life to do just that.

But then that's the problem too.

The point of the 'KonMari Method' is that once you decide to keep only the things that spark joy and allocate them all a space in your home, there should never be a need to undertake a big 'clear out' ever again. A hefty claim when you consider the modern crisis of fast fashion, perk-me-up purchasing and the Western culture for accumulating possessions as status symbols.

And it turns out I had a lot to learn.

Cherry Blossom

This week I've KonMari-ed the clothes I keep in drawers - basically folded them into squares and rolled them up, and it was pretty joyful KonMari-ing the kitchen. I will never again be defeated/deflated/deafened by pans and oven trays falling from the cupboard.

And I've started using things I'd almost forgotten about.

A beautiful pen, a roller-ball perfume stick, hot pink lipstick, a heart-shaped casserole dish and some bright, colourful dresses that I'd never had 'occasion' to wear.

Use the things that spark joy!

I also discarded about 15 pens that didn't work, didn't write well or were just cheap promotional pens I've gathered over the years and kept for no reason except maybe 'you can never have too many pens'. Except you can.

I've recycled manuals and papers and been able to part with things I've agonised over for years.

I'm not going to analyse the book in any further detail (and plenty of people already have), but I do want to share this anecdote that Marie Kondo gives in the book. I think it sums up the point of it all for me and I keep thinking of it because it's such an uplifting story:

Not long ago, I went cherry blossom viewing with my family for the first time in fifteen years. We didn't go anywhere special, just to a little park near my house. Despite the sudden notice, my mother had prepared a picnic lunch...but that was not all.

My mother opened another package to reveal a bottle of pink-hued amazake, a beverage made from sweet fermented rice, and small pink glasses with a cherry blossom pattern. When filled with the pink amazake, it looked like cherry blossoms were blooming in our glasses. 'How beautiful!'

The blossoms I viewed with my family that day were the best I had ever seen. The glasses that my mother had chosen showed me the precious piece I had been missing.

Her take-out thought after this wonderful day with her family was: I want to live my life in such a way that it colours my things with memories.

I love that so much.

I want to live my life in such a way that it colours my things with memories

Cherry Blossom time & sparking joy with Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo also suggest some changes that might occur when you start to tidy:

  • You gain a little confidence

  • You start to believe in the future

  • Things begin to go more smoothly

  • The people you meet change

  • Unexpected things happen in a positive way

  • Change begins to accelerate

  • You begin to really enjoy your life

I don't agree or disagree with these statements - I didn't feel shy or disbelieving in the future before I read the book (or before I started this special process of tidying to spark joy), but I think for some people the act of tidying up can become a deep psychological process because it forces you to analyse how you really feel about each possession and also why you are keeping it.

One statement I do agree with comes near the end of the book:

Tidying is contagious.

Yes, yes it is!

Do you have a special 'cherry blossom' memory?