Tuesday, 14 August 2018


I've reached the age and stage in life where I hanker after peace and simplicity - having retired we have fewer possessions (although we do keep adding books ...) and we like it that way.  Yet, despite trying quite hard not to take on extra commitments (will we run the church jumble sale, no) our days seem to be filled with things we don't necessarily want to do.  This week has two hospital appointments and one dentist, leaving little energy for the nice things in life.

However, even if I'm having to rest a lot in between, I can usually still find solace in my journal ... and my concern to simplify what feels like an over-complicated life naturally came out on the page.
As ever, my backgrounds are simple, just acrylic paint.  I never see any need to do fancy ones as I usually cover them up with doodles etc.  I see some lovely techniques on Pinterest and You Tube but mostly conclude that they are too nice to cover up.  Plus I'm lazy and they take a) too much effort or b) new equipment! 
My collage materials are mainly free - I often use copies of my old pages or bits gleaned here and there from catalogues or magazines.  Putting a simple border around a page like this is one of my favourite techniques for getting started when inspiration is slow to strike.
Adding black outlines and a grey shadow makes all the difference, as you can see, and you probably already know how much I love Modigliani ladies - also free from internet image sources.  Among my stash of collage materials I found the phrase "simplify life" which drew a resounding yes from my innermost being!
For me this is a relatively simple page, but it says what I needed it to.  I know I shouldn't complain about frequent hospital appointments because people are trying their very best to help me, but toxic medications mean constant checking of my liver function, and regular discussions about the balance of benefits with nasty side effects. 

Still, it would be nice to have a week which stretched peacefully in front of us and an empty calendar ... is that too much to ask? Probably yes!!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018


You know how you volunteer for or agree to do something even though you know its a terrible idea and you will almost certainly regret it?  Yeah, that.  Well, against my better judgement, I was persuaded to take part in an 8 week Pain Management course.  I had a shrewd idea that it would take too much of my limited energy, and after 27 years figured it was unlikely they would be suggesting anything I hadn't already tried.  I was right, but being too polite to tell them so have persevered hoping it would improve, with the result that I am now very very tired.  Last session tomorrow, thank the Lord, and then I can get my life back ...

So in the middle of the course it just wasn't working and I wanted to say so, but didn't feel I could, and anyway I was grateful that the NHS had provided it, and I did think perhaps I could make some useful contribution even if I didn't take much out.  This page is how I dealt with my mixed feelings ....
I just painted the page some of my favourite colours and took it from there, though I should have guessed in advance what I needed to get out of my head and onto paper.  Below you can see on the left how I put down some collage, and on the right you can see how the addition of a black outline and a grey shadow makes the whole thing come together as a unified whole?
These words below were the ones that just fell out of my brain and onto the page.  I really wanted to drop out of the course and say it was too much (it was/is) but felt reluctant to reject anybody's offer of help (so I didn't).  Sigh.  I used to be assertive but now I just don't have the energy.
But as ever it all felt a lot better to give expression to my feelings and acknowledge them, even if I didn't feel able to act on them.
And because I actually didn't want the helping people to go away (originally written down at the bottom right) I painted that part out.  I wanted to just say no, but that turned out to be hard.  Too hard.  So now its going to take weeks to recover, and its entirely my own fault.  Sigh.
Yours wearily

Sunday, 15 July 2018


The picture above has come out rather dark, but as you'll be able to see below the yellow is much brighter than it looks here.

I started out with a background of old gold/yellow (Anita's Caramel Corn if you're interested) onto which I dry brushed some mid brown for interest.
I'd bought an old book at a car boot sale, and used one of the pages for something.  In my rummaging in the collage drawer I discovered the remains of the page in my stash and so (not an original idea) I cut out lines of text to make random thoughts.  Quite like the effect of this.  It doesn't mean anything unless you think it does.
Then above, I put down the usual bits and pieces of collage, including my Modigliani lady, plus a bit of outlining.  You can also see on the large half moon shape at the top why I try to avoid using materials from glossy magazines, because you get an awkward reflection from it in photographs and I don't much like the result.  I go for matte finishes as much as possible, but free materials of this kind aren't always available.
I didn't know where this was going until I studied the figure and wondered what she was thinking about.  She seemed to be in an in-between stage of happy/unhappy ... which resonated with me.  We moved here 2 and a half years ago, and I am still lonely occasionally for the many friends I left behind.  Not getting out as much as I'd like to means it isn't all that easy to join things and make new ones.
But I'm working on it, and one or two special people have turned up lately who I hope will be sticking around, and (because knowing these things take time) I'm happy for that to be where I am for now.  Great oaks from little acorns grow (I hope).

Saturday, 30 June 2018


I've been sitting in the garden a lot because we have a heatwave at the moment - an uncommon event in northern England, so I feel bound to make the most of it!  However, I have done a little bit of journal work and this is the result.

Determined to address my tendency to work in shades of a single colour, I ruthlessly painted my background in not one, but three different colours!  I know.  Had to have a sit down after that.
Now I LOVE red and black so I grabbed black and white collage elements from my neutrals drawer and just pasted away, as you can see below.  You can also see the difference between the collaged page on the right, and the one on the left with black lines and grey shadows added.  It really makes a difference when you do this.
The reference to "brave girls" is because I've been a long-time member of the Brave Girls Club - google it if that sounds like something you should be part of!  For me, it is often about challenging myself to do things which make me nervous, or will hurt ... so its been difficult when in recent weeks two different friends who don't know each other have told me off (nicely) for not getting out of the house enough.  I've had to admit to myself that part of it is a fear of going out alone - as a wheelchair user I often feel very vulnerable, and anyway why wouldn't I prefer to go out with my Beloved instead?  A corner of my brain is also asking if they might have a point ...
I'm still working on that thought and whether its something I should take action on... do I have to?  Do I need to?  Is it worth the energy?
While engaged in this ongoing process I finished the page off with my usual doodles and drawings.  I still don't know the answers to the question, but a large part of me is going "so what"?  Is it actually compulsory to leave my lovely home and studio by myself?  Now is that fear talking, or me being pragmatic and sensible ... not sure yet.

Sunday, 17 June 2018


This was one of those pages that just "happened" because I sat down to play without any particular thoughts in my head.  That's normal for me, and its fascinating to see what comes out of my subconscious.

First I laid down a quick and easy painted background of lime green with a slightly darker green brushed on top, and then it was out with the collage scraps drawer.  OK yes, because the background was green guess which colour I went for?  I really must cure myself of thinking in terms of just one shade .... weird habit.
My pages never look much to write home about in their early stages, as you can see above.  But when I start to draw on them and add shadows it all begins to make more sense as the disparate elements join up into a whole.  I found this lovely swimsuit lady in my stash and she just seemed to belong there.  A spot of zentangle doodling crept in too.  Still no idea where I was going, but following the process is the fun part.
Then it stayed at the stage above for a whole day because I hadn't a clue what I wanted or needed to write on the page.  That's OK, sometimes (but not often) I never do figure it out and the page stays unfinished.

Then a day later I walked past the open journal and noticed that my female figure was wearing what I saw as Big Pants (OK a swimsuit really).  That set all sorts of mental hares running around "putting your big girl pants on" ... which in turn reminded me of the times when its a struggle to speak and behave like an adult, when your inner child is shouting "no, don't want to" or something very similar.
So that's what the page is about - see, I knew some inspiration would turn up. 

There's quite a big of stamping on this page - I usually just cut out patterns and images that take my fancy, but lately I've started cutting out scraps of plain coloured paper that I can stamp on, as in the green circle my figure is standing on.  I also used some stamps in the background spaces once the page was more or less finished.

As ever, if you have any questions about what I use or how I work feel free to ask in the comments and I will always answer.
Rosie X

Tuesday, 5 June 2018


I thought I'd already put up this post, but Blogger seems to have eaten it, so here we go again.  I haven't been journalling very much while we've been having lovely weather up here in northern England (untypical I assure you).  I've been doing a lot of day-dreaming in the garden, so forgive me if I don't always have anything to show you.

As always, the simplest of painted backgrounds, just two colours of blue acrylic scuffled around with a wet wipe.  I'm now concerned about my use of these and looking into alternatives - don't want to contribute to an ocean full of them, and apparently they take eons to degrade.  Might have to use real fabric scraps instead? 

Then I pasted all all sorts of blue bits and pieces together to make a border.  These are just free found items from catalogues and magazines, which make great

I wanted to put the pictures above and below side by side so you could see the difference adding a subtle shadow around the elements can make, but Blogger wouldn't let me.

I read a statement not long ago which impressed me, and it was something to the effect that we waste too much time worrying what others think about us, and what we should do is set our own standards and try and live to them without explanation or apology.
As somebody who wasted a lot of my early life being a people pleaser and worrying what they thought about me, I so wish I'd learned earlier that being authentically true to yourself (and in my case to God) are all you can do.  I've always tried to treat others in the way I'd like to be treated, but if someone else makes judgements about me because of this I shouldn't let it change me or the standards I try to live by.

I know what I mean but I'm not sure I've explained it very well.  The sunshine and the garden are calling me away ...
Rosie X

Friday, 18 May 2018


This page started with me painting the page pink (because its my favourite colour) and then (having no better ideas) I went and rummaged in my collection of cut-out words.  When I found the words "favourite" and "times" I knew where I was going!    It seemed like a good time to count my blessings really - well, when isn't?
And this picture below shows you how I work - having got down the words I wanted and adding some grey shadows, I was pulling out pink scraps of collage, such as flowers etc ... you can see further down which ones made it onto the page.  I have stuff all over the desk when I'm trying things out!
So here is the finished result - I'm sure there are many more blessings I could have recorded, but these were the ones which came readily to mind.
There were lots of empty spaces, but I think the white lines really add something to the background.  Part of the inspiration here was that I'd just received a beautiful bunch of roses from my man, and always feel amazement that after 40+ years together he still brings them!  I'd also just finished a really great book (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine) which I'd loved.

It makes you realise that its not the great big things that mean the most, but a whole host of little things that light up your everyday life.

Tomorrow my aching legs will be parked in front of the TV as I watch the Royal Wedding coverage.  I'm not much of a royalist, but I do LOVE a good wedding!
Rosie x

Wednesday, 9 May 2018


Having been somewhat unwell for a couple of weeks, I have sadly neglected my journal.  I know, not to be journalling must mean I'm REALLY sick, right?  It felt good to be working in it again, and even though I'm not 100% happy with this page its all I've done, so I thought I'd share it anyway.

Simple bands of acrylic paint form the background, and I had no particular idea of where I was going.  I just wanted/needed to get back to work!
Following my usual technique I then added collage and some black outlines - I nearly always do that but couldn't explain why.  I just like the result, especially in terms of linking collage elements together.  When you add the grey shadow as well something just clicks.
Then, as so often happens, words I didn't know were in there just fell out of my head and onto the page.  This reflects what's on my mind right now, and the message from my subconscious about not letting fear spoil today's joy is exactly what I needed.  How does my brain do that?
Anyway, the final stage, as ever, is the mad doodling and decorating part.  Normally its my favourite stage but on this occasion I was tiring and just wanted to FINISH.  Not like me at all where you often have to take something off me and tell me its done and to stop fiddling with it. 
Feeling so slow, stupid and post-viral I am rather wearily signing off - will this headache never go?  Also my apologies for last time's childish whinge.  It seems that I just really need to know you are out there and with me - it helps to make it possible to keep going.

Sunday, 22 April 2018


This is a page about just keeping going when life isn't exciting or much is happening, but you just keep on ... always hoping for that day of sunshine, those moments of insight, which in the end are the things that keep you going.

Haven't used my Neocolour II crayons by Caran d'Ache for a while, so dug them out for this.  When you scribble onto a gessoed page you get the look below, kind of like wax crayons ... its what happens when you touch them with a damp paintbrush which is magic.
And below you can see how they explode into life - I left one band of colour dry just to show you the difference!
Then it was out with my bits of collage, making a kind of border around the page, which I then outlined with a white Posca pen.  I love the intensity of the colours and shapes here.
Then my statement of intent - which is just to keep on going, to keep believing in what lies ahead.  That's me down at the bottom, doing my damndest to remain optimistic and half full instead of half empty.  I've added a grey shadow and some strong black lines, which always make such a difference, and you might also notice that I've doodled on some of the collage elements.  I like to do that to make them my originals instead of someone else's work or design.
 And having said what I wanted to say I just doodled away until it looked finished, which it does.
Struggled not to be disappointed that, although 2,000 people came by in the last month, almost nobody stopped to comment.  It  made me wonder why I was doing this.  Childish of me perhaps, but I do love to connect with you out there ... just to know I'm not talking to myself.  But then again, its about keeping on keeping on, even when it feels like you might be wasting your time.

Monday, 9 April 2018


A couple of things happened to generate the thoughts behind this page - two women of my acquaintance have been working through very difficult situations in ways that impressed me so much with their strength and courage.

There hasn't been as much time as I'd like to work in my journal lately, so it was special to finally sit down and paint a background and begin to collage.  I know some people are intimidated by a white empty page ... but I love the feeling of possibility and the adventure of starting something with no idea of where it will lead.
Somewhere in this process I had two telephone conversations with the people involved, which left me with the feeling that it was a wonderful thing to be a woman in the company of such sisters.  I was also trying to work with "vintagey" colours, something I've always loved - I prefer brights but sometimes softer hues are more restful to the brain and eye.
Once I found a slip of paper in my stash with the words "women of all shapes and ages" the message I wanted began to form in my mind and on the page.  Another Modigliani lady represents a universal woman here, I think the word "winter" is there because of the dark times we all go through, and "nature" makes reference to the very essence and nature of women.  It all made sense to me at the time, honest!
Then the last thing I did was let the words "women are amazing" explode out of my brain and onto the page.  I have been a lifelong feminist, and yes there is still so much more to do, even if we do now have women bishops!  Some of the voices telling me the battles have all been won have gone a bit quiet lately during the current row (in the UK at least) about equal pay?  Decades after the legislation of 1970 which hoped to ensure this, it absolutely doesn't exist yet ....
I suppose the bottom line here is that this is me making a bit of a speech on paper, letting rip with some of my deepest held beliefs, and above all wanting to focus on the positives, and celebrate all that is amazing about women everywhere - including you and me!