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!