I didn’t participate in this year’s Paper Trader’s round robin journal project. In one way I am sorry, because there were some GREAT topics (The DEEP Sea of Poetry!) & some fabulous artworks produced. In another way I am glad, because this year there has been more than a few hurdles that I just didn’t see coming, & I have had my plate pretty full & it was probably for the best. Through a number of drop outs for various reasons & some last minute cancellations (we normally do 12 participants for 12 months) – some of the 07/08 journals ended up with numerous pages still blank. I offered to do a page in one of those that was a bit light on, it is titled ‘In the Neighbourhood’, with a bent toward how the neighbourhood you grew up in used to be…….The housing estate that I grew up in was the first, in a newly developed outer lying area, & it was literally smack bang in the middle of fruit orchards & daffodil farms. The orchards with blossoms were so pretty, grove after grove of them, I used to MAKE my sisters (I was the eldest of 4 girls) walk with me slowly through the orchard & try to see if blossom would blow off the trees on to our faces like confetti on a bride………and convinced them that if we could catch the water falling of the flowers after the rain – that it would turn us into fairies (and we could fly away from our crap home life)…….. (while I am writing this – I have just had an AH-HA moment – perhaps that’s why I love pink & green in spring!) So that’s the story I have illustrated here – the surrounding area has been, for many years now, completely developed, with not a fruit tree or a flower (being commercially cultivated) in sight! But – It Used to Be Fruitful. I have created a double 8in x 8in spread (so 8" high x 16" wide) by scanning in street maps of where I grew up, then printing them out onto watercolour paper. Then I removed the pages of the book & stuck my watercolour paper to them. I wanted to do it this way so that I was able (to the best of my ability) work in watercolours using real watercolour paper, so that I could work ‘wet in wet’, a method that only really works well if you are working on cotton paper. I have used watercolour crayons, pencils & calligraphy inks to draw the fruit & flowers. The scallops at the top are representative of two things – the window awnings we used to have on our house & the awnings at the front of green grocer shops. (Fruit & Vegetable shops) I created these by painting & stamping book pages, (there are about 6 different variations on the paper pages. Then I stamped again with a different colour (first timber brown, then midnight white). After that, I cut them into strips & scalloped the ends. Then I mixed them all up & pasted them in random order.