Thursday, 29 December 2011


Well I've just had lunch and nobly finished off the last of the clotted cream along with a large chunk of the yummy Christmas cake our daughter made. Very few leftovers now require consumption and the family have all gone home .... so there is once again time to think about my journal. The page above was made using one of my favourite background techniques, which is Distress Inks rubbed onto the paper (using a darker shade towards the outer edge) and then adding water splashes which produces this brilliant effect, particularly on this (Faded Jeans) blue.

After that I got a bit involved in what I was doing and forgot to take many stage pictures. Ooops. Anyway I can tell you that the next thing I did was stamp this message in the centre of the page. Don't you just love these words - I made last year's Christmas cards with this Penny Black stamp.
Then I used my gold pen to produce a random sort out outline around the water splodges. There was a particular reason for this, which is that I've always thought of my spirituality as the golden thread that runs through my life ... and this was a kind of representation of that. After that I wrote around the outer edges all the stuff that Christmas ISN'T about, not really, however nice such things may be.
Then I added the words from the Advent Carol - very special for me at this time of year, and apart from more gold lines and a few stars the page felt about finished. Very simple but it says what I wanted it to. .. and we HAVE to get beyond Santa, robins, tinsel and tat, even beyond the baby in the manger, to the real heart of the matter.

Hope your Christmas was blessed and special - mine was, so now I feel a bit flat .... Did we finish the sherry or is there a cheering drop or two left???

Just editing to answer these questions .... "I'd like to know what brand pen you use for the gold and white. They show up so vividly. Do you gesso first or work straight on paper?"

The gold pen (and their silver is great too) is Deco Colour extra fine liquid gold - widely available. The white one is the absolute BEST I've found anywhere, Uniball Signo broad tip. No I don't use gesso - have tried it but can't abide the chalkiness, although it is vital if you want to use paint on your pages, which I rarely do. I do work on two pages stuck together though for extra strength. Hope this helps?

Sunday, 25 December 2011


There really isn't anything that gets me in the Christmas spirit more than a mince pie - has to be a hot one, preferably fresh out of the oven. Absolute bliss, and because they are very much a Christmas only thing in our house, just the smell of them cooking brings a rush of rejoicing to my head! I started this page some time back .... I like to prepare the backgrounds ahead sometimes, and although it didn't start out particularly festive it just seemed like the right one to work on. The basic background is distress inks rubbed straight onto the page, with some bits and pieces from a Teesha Moore collage sheet added.
By the time I wrote at the top of the page, the smell of the mince pies I'd put in the oven was wafting through to the studio, so obviously I had to journal about it, especially since I was getting into a fever pitch of excitement about darling daughters coming home, and these were being made to welcome them. I drew the mince pie on a separate piece of paper and cut it out and stuck it on when I decided it was finished. You wouldn't believe the palaver I had trying to get one of the Promarker colours to represent golden pastry - that colour is unaccountably missing from their range, and I must have done about 11 layers before concluding that I'd achieved the best result I was going to. My Beloved said it doesn't much look like a mince pie - but what does he know?? He only eats them.
The holly just sort of crept in until there was quite a lot of it, although not before I'd rambled on in sentimental fashion. I admit it, I'm a complete softie and as for Christmas I love every flippin minute - from the shopping I start in September right on through. I get so overwhelmed by the joyousness of it all that I've been known to burst into tears quite randomly. Such a moment came to me this morning in church, but seeing as I was taking the service at the time I had to gulp it down. Anyway, Joy to the World and hope your Christmas is happy and blessed, and that your mince pies are delicious!

Monday, 19 December 2011


And a very good time to count them I suppose ... particularly when everyone is busy busy with Christmas and holiday stuff? This page began with my watersoluble crayons, and then because for once I knew what I wanted to write about I stencilled the numbers and added some Artchix pictures. As so often with my journal I then wrote the key phrase on the page, and everything flowed from there ....
This time of year always makes me feel all misty and sentimental - I think maybe that happens to a lot of people? The smaller writing was done with a fairly ordinary coloured pen but the deep purple was .... wait for it .... yes you guessed! Promarkers (again). I've got some of those nib attachments that make it possible to do a finer line.
The flowers are Promarkers too - I love how you can get shading by using closely related colours. I had carols going on the CD player and was generally feeling lucky and happy - not to mention the fact that I could smell mince pies cooking next door! Sometimes you need to remember to journal the good stuff and not just the negatives .... even if the latter seem to have the most impact?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Life Gets a bit SCARY sometimes ...

Anyone who knows me might well find it surprising that I should feel this way? I' could win an oscar for appearing to be fine when on the inside I'm a mess, with the result that most people tend to think of me as confident and sorted .... and just a few know how very far from the truth that is. Anyway, I've been a bit up and down lately, and this page was made in one of my bleaker moments. I'm pleased to say that I'm feeling much brighter and more optimistic now, but I had a distinct dip back there.

The background of the page had to be paper because the trusty Promarkers that I use on most of my pages had bled through (even though I stick two journal pages together) onto the other side, and anyway this page from an old ledger rather suited my dull brown mood. I actually felt so low I couldn't reach for the bright array of pens on my desk.
Then it seemed right to add the numbers along the bottom - well that's what you write in a ledger innit? The specs advert isn't there for any deep reason, it just appealed to me, so that went in as well, and then - not knowing what the page was going to be about at that point - I simply asked myself how I felt, and wrote the answer to the question at the top of the page. I do that a lot and its very therapeutic ... because sometimes you don't actually know you're feeling scared, and so you can't deal with it. I find that if I can name the demon tormenting me it loses some of its power. After that of course the words just came flowing out, and with them a kind of ease and healing.
The stitched (stapled?) effect is done with a Stampers Anonymous stamp that I've had for ages - it was just right for a time when I felt sort of only just held together with big clumsy stitches which might give any minute! You may know the feeling? The page was looking a bit too clean and it was about feeling vaguely grubby, and labelled as a scrounger, so I used my other favourite art material my soluble watercolour crayons to add some shading around the various page elements.

You will gather from the finished result that I was feeling very scared about changes to the Benefit system. I feel vulnerable enough sometimes without the support system which keeps me going being threatened. Most of the time I can trust in God that the things I really need will come to me, but some days its just not possible to hold onto that.

So don't be misled by those headlines about Benefit Scroungers living the high life off your taxes .... its not like that for the great majority. I'm incredibly grateful to live in a society which provides a safety net, but £80 a week doesn't go very far ... and for some even a modest percentage cut makes a difference in the most basic terms.

Here endeth the sermon ... more cheerful posts to follow!

Friday, 2 December 2011


Wild horses wouldn't drag the truth out of me in terms of who I wrote this page about - too incriminating! However, am pleased to report that sloping off and writing this did increase my tolerance level, if only briefly.

More trusty Promarkers (you must be bored of hearing about them) so I won't go on about it. In a chicken or egg situation am not sure whether I've just found the confidence to draw more, or perhaps its that PMs so lend themselves to colouring that it naturally evolved. Anyway, working like this does seem to be a truly natural way of working for me ... and lately I'm feeling as if my journal pages are truly my own, and not just a sincere imitation of someone else's style.

But back to the subject .... my get out clause if challenged is that (obviously) this page isn't actually about me and my reactions, because the person in the picture doesn't look like me, not one bit. Or is that a psychological ploy on my part to distance myself from negative feelings? Who cares? The page was therapeutic and that's all I'm gonna admit to ...
Maybe everyone has moments like this ... tell me its not just me, please!! If I was really assertive I would be able to say calmly "please stop doing that, I find it very annoying" but I wasn't brought up that way. Don't let it stop you coming round - its not you, honest!!

PS Please tell me if you think this font is annoying - I rather liked it!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


My name is Rosie, I'm 57 and a grandmother. There, I've said it. Lord knows how I got here ... time seemed to fly by (whether I was having fun or not) and now all of a sudden that middle aged woman I see in shop windows turns out to be me! How impossible that seems when, in my head, I'm in my early thirties. I've also noticed an increasing hardening of my attitudes (along with my arteries) that I'm not necessarily proud of, and do know that's something I have to work on. But equally there are some areas in which I've learned wisdom (I hope) and maybe these are some of them, or possibly I'm just growing old and lazy? You decide!
This page began with me writing the title, and then I just started to doodle the borders. The next stage was to list some of the things I saw happening in me, and to begin adding colour - once again the trusty Promarkers came to hand! I do love what I can do with these, and how vivid the results are. If you look closely you can see some of the shading I've achieved (although I have a lot to learn on that front) often just by adding a light grey OVER the colour. That's what gave me the grape shade around the black on the pink/purple panel at the top of the page, which was the effect of grey over the pink.
I'm still not entirely comfortable with too much white background, so then I began to add a colour around the writing - if I go over the writing I find it fuzzes a bit even though the waterproof ink doesn't actually run. Doodling away in colour on the borders was such fun - really relaxing and reflective!
And this is how the page finished up - it seems a shame now that its just a list, I might have written it more artistically, but I didn't. That's partly because when I began it I didn't actually know what would be on it! It may be that you recognise some of the symptoms I describe ... in which case welcome to the club! I've just noticed that some of the branches I've drawn look a bit like arteries ... but suspect that was subconscious.
Now I'd better go off and do some work on not being quite such a cranky old lady - or my grand-daughters will find me very boring indeed, and that would never do!!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

HAPPINESS ... or the lack of it.

Ever had one of those times when you woke up in the morning and suddenly the world had gone all grey? Yep, it was one of those. I did the usual cheering self up stuff - chocolate, counting my blessings etc, but the outlook remained resolutely cloudy, so I turned to my journal instead.
It's interesting that I actually journalled about my glum feelings in wonderfully bright colours isn't it? Not sure what was going on in my brain there. Anyway, this is pretty much all Promarkers again, except for the background around the writing, which was done with my trusty water soluble crayons.
Anyway, not much to say about this really - I guess it speaks for itself? It hasn't been a good week - haven't been sleeping, life seems pointless etc etc, you know how it is. This too shall pass.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


I swear I thought it was only about 10 days since I last posted, but when I came to look it was almost a month! Tut tut, but I'm here now, and I won't bother you with excuses .... Real Life overwhelmed me there for a while.

The background of this page was done with my trusty watersoluble crayons, and the borders are from a collage sheet I made some time ago. The clown image is a long-time favourite stamp from Invoke Arts, and the word "Art" is made by Hampton, and is one of the first stamps I ever bought years ago ....
I have these moments of doubt when I start to wonder if what I do is just colourful daubings of no particular worth or merit ... like you do. Then again, if the art journalling process helps me (and it does) and gives me pleasure (also true) then I guess it doesn't really matter why you do it, or how well, and its value is what it means to you ... not to mention YOU, if what I write about touches a nerve for you too?

Lord I am rambling something chronic today - which is because I'm tired, its been a busy weekend. The final decorative bits (you know I can hardly ever resist) and flowers are once again done with my Promarkers. What did I do before I had them?

Anyways - if you ever doubt that you're a true artist or that your journalling is important, then take it from me the answer is YES it is. It's just that sometimes we lose our way for a time and forget, but the main thing is that later it gets remembered! Like now for instance!

Yours ramblingly.,

Friday, 11 November 2011


This rather desperate appeal arose from a time recently when I just wasn't sure what I should be doing next ... and as you can see ended up making a heartfelt appeal for help from Above! The page itself is a background of Distress Inks with a border of Tim Holtz tissue tape (nice and quick!). Then I added a couple of quick pictures and the title, oh yes and a little touch of pink with my water soluble crayons, and some texture from a bubble wrap stamp ....
Once I started writing I sort of couldn't stop - it was a real cri de coeur (and I'm still not totally sure I've got the answer, but enough to be going on with)! As you can see this ended up being one of my less busy pages - having made my plea for help it sort of felt finished, so for once I didn't doodle endlessly all over it. But, as I said above, I did feel I was answered ... even if not with the complete road atlas I was rather hoping for, but then in my experience God doesn't generally work that way!

Thursday, 27 October 2011


Back from the Greek island of Rhodes - having had a pretty good time, and not fallen out with my sister (aided by the consumption of delicious blue cocktails)! I even managed a bit of art journalling while I was there ...

The above is a page made back in August, when I was NOT having a good day. You know the kind, you have them sometimes I'm sure. Anyway you can see how the page began below - this is a background done with Distress Inks onto which I dropped water. I stamped the rough stitches at the top and bottom, and added the picture before writing anything. She looked sort of spiky and cross, which is how I felt at the time ....
And from there the page grew really fast - I drew in lots of shapes and coloured them, and basically had a good ole moan while I worked.
And this is how it all worked out in the end - I like it, and didn't really know how much I disliked acidic yellow, but now I see that I associate it with that acid feeling when nothing is going right! For once I didn't try and fill every corner - I'd said what was on my mind and was happy to leave it there.

You may like to know that I WAS better the next day ... these yellow days don't come along too often, but when they do, watch out!

Thursday, 6 October 2011


I made this page in revolt after watching a resolutely gloomy news bulletin which left me wondering why good stuff wasn't being reported? My Beloved adores that "Extreme Makeover" TV programme because its all about good things happening, people helping their friends and neighbours, and lives generally being turned around for the better. There's a lot of it out there but you never hear about it ....
I began by laying down waves of colour using my water soluble crayons, and adding some stamped and coloured images. Don't ask me why these particularly wacky images - no real reason I just like them! Then I added the words "good news" in the middle of the page and began to write around them.
And it sort of just went on from there - I leave spaces where they seem to need to be, or draw things in them if not, it just grows really. Most of the colour apart from the background here is done with my Promarkers.
This will be my last post for a couple of weeks because I'm off on my travels again - to Greece this time. Yes I do know that I've just come back from Florida (and its not ideal to be go away again so soon, honest), but if you're thinking "lucky thing" stop right there! The downside is that I'm going in order to keep my sister company, and she is bossy. Very Bossy. Nuff said .... wish me luck and pray that I keep my temper!

Friday, 30 September 2011


I was pondering the other day ... you know how you do ... about my daughters treasuring these journals after I'm gone (I can dream) and thought about doing a snapshot of a day in my (not very interesting) life. I'd seen a comic strip used somewhere recently and thought - why not? A picture speaks a thousand words after all, but it actually proved harder than I thought!

The above shows my morning, which seemed straightforward enough, but it didn't feel right to just do a chronological progress as shown below although in the end that's more or less how it turned out. Please note that the cuddly one indicates just that - anything else would be deemed by blogger to be "inappropriate" content!

My other half asked me why I'd labelled this "postcards from an urban life" and I suppose its because after 23 years of living in the country, urban life is very different, so something of that escaped into whatever I was trying to say here! I know what I mean ...

Some of this day (which was a Sunday if you haven't already guessed) reflects the general pattern of most - which is quite a lot of time at the computer (sitting down is what I do best), soup for lunch, a bath in the early evening, tracksuit on and feet up in front of the TV. I seem to be brightest in the morning, fading a bit during the afternoon, and not at all with it in the evenings, so I tend to organise my life to take account of this!

The parts with the cat are slightly wishful thinking - she's a gorgeous princess, a totally black cat whiskers pads and all - but a bit aloof, so if she deigns to bless you with her attention its practically a historic moment! No way would Bibi have given me this much attention in a week let alone a day .... Likewise I don't get ice-cream every day, but wouldn't mind if I did!
You've probably also guessed that this was done with Promarkers again. I left the background white because I've seen a couple of journal pages with plain white pages behind the entries, and realised I shouldn't be so afraid of white space.

Saturday, 24 September 2011


Those of you still of an age to claim youth had better look away now - because you don't want to hear this! It is one of the less well known aspects of female ageing that you become increasingly invisible ... and you do notice that people don't seem to see you as a person any more, just another older person. I hate that, so I did a journal page about it.

Once again I began with a blank page on which I stamped, drew and wrote ... the figure is a Stampotique stamp, and you either love them or hate them! All the colour on this page is done with Promarkers.

I know I must have been guilty of this myself at a earlier stage in my life - lumping old/older people together as an amorphous mass, but life taught me to see people, all people, as individuals who matter, both to themselves and to others. It's incredibly painful for me to be treated as a person of no account - although whether that says more about my vanity than society I can't say! All I know is that it hurts sometimes ....
I keep thinking of that poem by Dylan Thomas where it says "do not go gentle into that good night; rage rage against the dying of the light". So I am ... not going gently or quietly, not drifting towards pensionerhood without a struggle. I'm a person not a statistic!

There's been a lot in the media lately about people living on Benefits (government assistance) basically suggesting that all such are lazy, feckless cheats and scroungers, who should be made to get off their backsides and work! I'm one of them, a person with a chronic illness rather than someone who can't be bothered to work. Most of us are.

So there you are, a bit of a rant really, but it gets it off my chest dunnit? It only struck me as odd afterwards that although the page has a negative topic, its actually quite bright and lively. I think that must be because I was also trying to celebrate everything that is real and alive in me and my life? I may be down, but am most certainly not out! Ignore me? Don't you DARE!!

Saturday, 17 September 2011


.... that I would be away for a while! Have legged it to Florida abandoning a distinctly cold and autumnal England. Am now too hot and very sticky - there's no pleasing some people ... but I'm doing my best to enjoy myself. After all the ice cream is very good (chocolate and peanut butter!!), the shopping isn't half bad (Michael's, Jo-Anns, all those yummy dollar stores). See you on about 24th September, or whenever I emerge from the jet-lag!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011


OK stand well back - because I was flipping STEAMING when I made this page! I've been getting increasingly cross with articles in magazines or items on TV suggesting that we should all be waxing or otherwise depilating practically every hair on our bodies. Add this to the nasty concept of submitting to surgery just to force our bodies into some kind of "ideal" standard, and I finally went off like a volcano. You just can't keep a good old fashioned feminist down!

So I began with this drawing of my entirely normal size 14 (UK) 56 year old body. I'm not ashamed of it, even though I have made it crinkly with over-use! I will not be bullied by body facism into feeling that normal is not acceptable. We come in all shapes and sizes and should be celebrating that, right?
You can see for yourself my thoughts on the subject, but I will apologise in advance to anyone who had to have a caesarian section for my comment "no need for surgery" because its in no way intended as any kind of criticism. It is meant to indicate that the wide pelvis which goes with my pear shape means that giving birth actually comes relatively easy to me, which is definitely something to celebrate right??
And then it was down to adding colour with the trusty Promarkers. I didn't go in for a lot of fancy decoration here because I wanted the message in sharp, clear focus. I do seem to be doing a lot of ranting lately, but I feel so strongly that our young women and girls are being given all the wrong messages, and we HAVE to counteract it.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Comfort Eating ...

This is a bit like "True Confessions". My name is Rosie and I'm a comfort eater ... even losing 4 stone with Weightwatchers hasn't cured me. I keep telling myself that food doesn't change anything, but inside I still think it at least makes me feel better! I began by feeling disgusted with myself over an encounter with the Ben & Jerry's the night before, and it all went from there ...
The blue background is painted and then I added colourful strips from a collage sheet, can't remember whose. The word "why" is a real cry from the heart - I'd really like to understand this trigger in my brain so that I could learn to fight against it! I drew the cake onto a separate piece of paper, coloured it using my Promarkers, then cut it out to stick down. Just looking at that cherry on the top made me smile and lick my lips ...
Maybe it is just greed - I grew up in a house where the food was dreadful, so once I discovered just how delicious it could be I was a convert .... and somewhere at the back of my head must be this fear that the good times might not last? One thing I did discover during my Weightwatchers time was that I have a low point at about 4.00 pm every day, and have learned to eat something then to boost my flagging energy. It seems to stave off getting the munchies later. Maybe I eat because I'm bored? Wish there was an easy answer. My beloved is a person who can have just one square of chocolate, but I say what's the flippin good of that? It's stuffing a huge chunk in that fills my mouth which does it for me, followed by another, and then you might as well finish the bar to get rid of the temptation for tomorrow when you plan to start over again? Aha, I see you recognise the scenario!
In the process of trying to work out the psychology behind it all, I sat down to draw my tub of Ben & Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie (my favourite) and so enjoyed doing it that I managed to talk myself out of seeing its consumption as a bad thing, and ended up hailing ice cream as the solution to all the problems of the universe!! By then I was feeling much better and a lot less guilty about my guilty pleasures ... so what the heck!