Monday, 31 December 2012


But then you never really thought it would, did you?  Having studied the Mayan Calendar years back, I did actually know that it was just the end of a cycle, but the media had a bit of fun with it didn't they?  So I really wasn't expecting the end of the world, but it did get me thinking .... well "ye know not the hour" and all that?  Overall my responses to the possible challenge were a) if it ends then I'll have wasted money on all that Christmas stuff, and b) hey you know what, its been fantastic so far, and I'm actually quite excited to see what happens next!  After all The Second Coming has to be one helluva party doesn't it?

This page began with the headline "the world ends on Friday" which I couldn't resist cutting out, so I knew when I began what the page would be about.  I don't always, and most just kind of happen!  I took my colour cue from the orange lettering of the headline and used my Caran d'Ache crayons to do something vaguely end of the world ish ... I was thinking about a combination of a sun burning itself up and/or a great light in the sky.  Yeah, well I knew what I meant, and I have to point out that I was still lying on the sofa nursing my bad back a lot when I did this, and cannot guarantee that I was altogether doing joined up thinking, or writing/drawing all that straight either.
So I drew a border around the outside edge and added so Mayan(ish) patterns down the sides, and had a go at Mayan hieroglyphs (if that's the right word) on the top and bottom.  A very intriguing form of writing, having more in common with Egyptian picture writing than anything else.  I found the Mayan idol on Google so had to add that too.  (All the lying down would have been torture without my trusty ipad).  I also wanted to be sure that a long time in the future, I'd be able to remember what this page was all about, so added the date - which was a couple of days ahead at that point.,
And then I just proceeded to have fun with it, and left a space at the bottom to add a footnote later ...  I did photograph it at that incomplete stage, but the picture turned out blurry, so there's a bit of a jump between the photos above and below ...
I'm sure you will agree that it was on the whole rather nice to have Christmas without Armageddon getting in the way ... you have to admit it could have ruined the festive season!  I did read about people having End of the World parties, which seemed a very sensible way to proceed on the "just in case" principle, and rather wish I'd thought of it! 

Bad back is much improved, and although I still can't sit for too long  at least I can do it for some of the time now, for which I give heartfelt thanks!  On the other it did allow me to be quite lazy over Christmas, which can't be all bad ..... :)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


This is going to be another short(ish) post since although my back is improving, sitting down is the one thing I can't do very well.  My days are spent either pottering about upright, or lying on the sofa with my ipad.  Since all my photos are on my desktop computer, I have to sit down for this!

Anyway here I go again, worrying about stuff - but this time I think it likely that more than a few of you share this one?  This is a watercolour background, and then the border was stamped - its that stamp meant for making an impression into polymer clay again.
Then I did that thing with my box of bits cut out of newspapers and magazines - and what popped out was the red "on the web" piece, and it all kind of went from there.  I used another cut-out for the figure, but gave her this Stampotique face which I tend to use to represent myself (I've also got very short dark hair).

Then you can see above how the page developed, and it almost looked finished at this stage, except that I felt it needed more colour, not least to balance the red bit.  So then (below) I added red and white to the borders, and once I'd got the white pen in my hand I started drawing squiggly bits with it, and you know me, couldn't seem to stop.
So there you are - I'm a sad person much of whose life is spent online relating to people I've never met.  Oh you too?  Well then, that's not so bad is it?  Its a whole lot better than staring at the blooming walls wishing all my (real life) friends would come home from work .....  On the other hand you do have to remind me to STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER, and get a bit of fresh air and exercise, not to mention talk to some real people!!

Friday, 7 December 2012


Typing this VERY gingerly while recovering from a bad back - sitting down is a bit grim!

I forget now what started me on this page - except that it was to do with giving or receiving good advice.  So I wrote some ....
Paint background done with my new (from the £1 shop and meant for children) watercolour palette.  Stamps on top, then below cut outs from my stash.
I was sort of imagining my daughters reading this when they're older (am I kidding myself that they will treasure my journals?) and wrote for them, and also to remind myself of the wise things I know but don't always remember I know.

Lots more writing and doodling.  Done.  Back can't tolerate sitting down any more so off for a toddle about to ease things up a bit.  Never rains but it pours - getting over a tummy bug too. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Night Thoughts ...

 I believe the tendency to insomnia increases as you get older - apparently you just need less sleep?  Well its an occasional problem with me, particularly (and perversely) when I get over-tired.  That's what I was trying to journal about on this occasion .... and yes I was doing it in the middle of the night :(
 I had this blank background ready prepared, from a time when I'd been experimenting with painty effects.  As you know, I have a slightly uneasy relationship with paint - I know I ought to love it and splash it about liberally, but that just doesn't come naturally to me.
I'd even done blotches by adding paint with a baby wipe on this, so in the middle of the night all I had to do was write on the page - and you can see below what was uppermost in my mind at 2.30 am!  I cut this picture out of a newspaper, don't you just love it?  I liked the image of a grey-faced sleepless person, and this somewhat fed up looking expression really hit the spot in terms of how I was feeling.  As usual I just wrote the words in a simple print to begin with.
As you can see below I then went back to embellish the letters and add bits and pieces - not sure that I can explain the whys and wherefores of any of it (bear in mind it was the middle of the night) I was just sort of going with the flow and waiting to see if I felt tired ...
And this was the final version - that poor chap got more and more grey-faced and haggard looking, and the red eyes really finished him off!  Obviously there had to be some dotty embellishments there somewhere as well.
Still it was better to go downstairs and produce this than lying awake, tossing and turning, and wondering why I wasn't asleep wasn't it?  Things to do when struck by insomnia No.1 - go and play in your art journal :D

Thursday, 22 November 2012


This was one of those times when I just put pretty colours on the page and waited for inspiration to strike - which took some weeks!  I'd intended to use the page portrait wise, but it insisted on being landscape, and it was only when I turned it sideways that I was able to write on it.  I'd come across this quote some time back and written it down in the notebook of ideas I keep for journal inspiration.   I have a wheel stamp by Stampin Up which I was able to wiggle along the lower edge - the music couldn't have straight lines could it?
I deliberately took a picture at the stage above so you could see how I put the words down very simply at first, and then go back and sort of "fill out" the lettering, adding thickness and shaping.
The white parts above were done with my Posca Paint pen, and the finer details added below were done with a Uniball Signo pen.  These are the best of all for white coverage - and no they're not paying me to say that!  You know how I love doodling about anyway, so lots of it here.
You won't be surprised to know that I'm somewhat distraught at the recent vote going against Women Bishops, and deeply sad about the result.  I was angry at first - we've waited SO long, but I can't hold on to that.  However, this quotation seems just right for my attempts to understand those who opposed the Measure - they just can't hear the music.  We will find a way forward somehow, whether together or apart .... I just wish that the church didn't look like an outdated eccentric dinosaur, totally irrelevant to much of the world.  :(

Friday, 16 November 2012


I made this page some weeks ago, when I felt unsettled and uncertain, wondering if there was something I was truly MEANT to do, but not feeling that I'd found it.  I decided that what I had to do was open up my mind and heart to the possibilities that might be out there by doing something new with a journal entry.  So I drew this blob thingy.  I liked it - curved sinuous shapes always please me more than straight lines and boxes.  I gave it a stripey edge and attempted a bit of shading into the corners, but then I got stuck and left it for a while ...
When I came back to it suddenly I was off - with a vision for the orange and yellow centre kind of representing the side of me that's brave, bright and adventurous.  The patterns around the splash of colour represent the neat, obsessively organised side of me that needs to control everything in order to feel safe.  I know what I mean even if it doesn't quitemake sense to you - after all a person can be both of these things at the same time can't they?  The compulsively organised me tends to come to the fore if I feel a bit threatened I think, or insecure in some way.
I'd really like to be the kind of artist who can throw paint around with total abandon, but I'm not, although I do try to be sometimes.  I finished all the doodly drawing (which of course I loved) around the outer edge and the inside was still empty because I didn't know what to write in it, having no answers.  So what I eventually wrote some days later came from the heart - that perhaps in the end it is the journey which matters and not necessarily reaching a goal or destination.  Its taken me quite a long time to be comfortable with that - I'm a person who always wanted to measure progress, tick off goals as I achieved them, so its a huge thing for me to say that the journey itself is enough, and that it doesn't have to lead anywhere but home .....

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


I've often mentioned the Brave Girls Club of whom I'm a long time member and fan!  I did their original course Soul Restoration 1 a while back and loved it - it was a lot of time to commit to the process but so worth the effort. It was a lot about healing the past and  I often go back to the book I made as part of the course.  So anyway, I'm doing Soul Restoration 2 now (the time just seemed so right) which is about actively working for the life you want to live, rather than just plodding along dealing with whatever comes, and this is the book I've made for this one.  Its actually not so much a book as a ring binder (I've covered an old one) because Melody who runs the course anticipated that you might want to go on adding to it in the future, so I thought this format would work best.
I used stuff from my (large) stash of scrapbook papers to do the covers, and plan to cover the result with clear plastic eventually, because its so pretty that I don't want lots of handling (which I expect it to get) to spoil it.  One of the first parts of the course was to write your own mission statement - harder than it sounds.  You had to write a long one and a shorter version - my long one is in the envelope and the short one is written out below it.
I thought putting this together would take ages, but because of the work we'd done in Week 1, this week 2 exercise was actually easier than I'd thought.  The Week 3 exercise of setting some goals is proving MUCH harder than I thought, and is taking some time ...

So a bit of a change from my journal, but very much in the same vein of striving for personal growth and development.  I'm a brave girl and can cope with that, even if some of it is scary.   I am still working in my journal as well, but this project is in the forefront of my mind right now so  I thought I would share it.

Sunday, 28 October 2012


This began as one of my inky pages with water dropped onto it.  I drew the "tear" or crack across it, with me peeping out at the world, and wrote in big letters "I'm scared".  As you know, a lot of my pages begin with a single word or phrase like this ...

To appreciate where I'm coming from with this, the thing you need to know about me is that I tend to do this "good old Rosie" act, pin a big smile on my face, get everyone organised and be the one who cheers everyone else up.  My sister once told me (ages ago before I got ill) that I could be very scary in my extreme competence, and I gaped at her in amazement and said "but its all an act, I'm always frightened inside".  That's still true, although I'd rather hoped that when I got to be a grown-up (when does that start exactly?) I'd grow more confident with maturity.  Well I have in a way ... but my inner child is still in there and she's frightened of all sorts of things!  I suppose what I have learned is that most of our worst fears aren't realised anyway, and yet we waste so much precious time and energy worrying ourselves sick with our imaginings.  It seems to me that I'm more able to say "well I'll deal with that when, and if, it happens".

As you can see, most of my fears are just the normal stuff that haunts all of us - loneliness, bad things happening to people we love, and so on, but all of us have our really SECRET fears that we can't (or daren't) tell anyone about.  I'm certainly not writing mine down here!  These are the ones that come out in anxiety dreams, and tend to be at heart about being exposed for the fraud you really are .... yeah you know the ones.
I was trying to record these feelings in the hope that, by naming them, they'd lose some of their power?  It does work like that at one level.  So I also wrote about being brave, and what that means to me - I'm a member of the brave girls club, and I work very hard at being courageous.  Its that "feel the fear and do it anyway" thing I suppose.  I am a bit of a fighter for a cause too, but perhaps less so in my own defence, although I'll bravely stand up for other people, particularly against injustice.
I guess what I'm really trying to ask is ... how come a 58 year old grandmother like me can still feel such a lost child sometimes?  Still trying to conquer my fears, putting a "brave" face on, still doing my well-known impersonation of a confident woman who knows what she is doing.  Will I ever really become the Brave Girl I long to be, or is bravery really and finally about still being scared but not letting it hold you back? 

Saturday, 20 October 2012


I don't know about you, but my art journalling is how I work things out ... and often the process of making a page brings me peace on the subject.  Perhaps its being able to acknowledge the stress which allows you to let something go, or at least the bad feelings associated with it?  Maybe its also about not wasting your precious energy on keeping down the negative emotions you daren't let out.  Whatever and however, it works for me ....

So this page began with lots of orange and yellow - sometimes happy colours for me, but not quite in this case.  Perhaps I associate it with intense emotions, good or bad?  I think in some way I needed to contain those feelings before they could overwhelm me, and that's why this page HAD to have a border around it!
I've used these jazzy stamps before - they're big and black, strong and powerful, which I like a lot.  Actually they were a complete bargain because they were an Ebay purchase, very inexpensive, and are really intended for marking clay.  I cut them up and made border stamps - and I've used them in the post below as well .... strong feelings again!
As so often, I just wrote on the page what I was feeling, in this case "I feel stressed".  Writing around in a circle reflected my state of mind too - I felt as if I was going round and round in circles.  Having written like that, I realised what I was doing was pointless - that I might be beating myself to death against something I was more or less powerless to change.  Maybe you know that feeling?

It seemed to me that I had some choices - to waste energy stressing about the things I couldn't change, or to decide to calmly accept.  Not easy, but I'm working on it.  What I can do is gradually enact small changes which make my life a little bit easier in the meantime, and I'm working on that.
The "hope" part - another cheapy stamp found in a bargain box - is perhaps the key word here. You have to have hope that somewhere, somehow things will change/improve, as it may be the only lifeline you have.   The Brave Girls Club of whom I'm an enthusiastic and grateful member, tell us to  "go where the peace is", and that we can choose to find that place.  My peaceful place is in the knowledge that the situation we're in won't last for ever ....

If you're another Brave Girl feeling stressed out about something, write it down to work it out!  Then draw and/or paint all over it and through that process find your peace - it works, I promise!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Another painty background!  Heavens, its not like me at all, but I do try to challenge myself to try new things and so on .... Look I've used masks and things here too, and I struggle to love them if I'm honest.  That border down the side is a stamp I bought which is intended for shaping clay ... quite inexpensive and I love it!  The reason I keep trying new stuff (or techniques I'm not sure about) is because one thing worries me (and you must tell me if you think its true) and that is a tendency for all my pages to look the same?  I don't want that to happen, so I keep pushing the boundaries.
Anyway, I did rather like how slightly chaotic this background turned out, which reflected exactly how I was feeling after my darling grand-daughters came to stay for a week (for the first time ever)!  When they'd gone I didn't know whether to burst into tears, celebrate, or lie down for a week, so I settled for making a page about it.

It turned out pretty much as disorganised and chaotic as the week had been - which was probably the reason why my brain wouldn't work sufficiently well to do a visually well-balanced and thoroughly organised page.  It just sort of happened really as I poured out my feelings of total exhaustion and wondrous amazement at how lovely, wonderful and clever they are (take after their granny of course)!!
Just confirmed that they're coming again at half term - but fortunately bringing their mother with them too.  This means that granny's pathetic attempts at discipline (go on then you can read a bit longer, have another sweetie, etc etc .... ) will not be required, and I can just get on with loving them to bits.  I may however need two weeks in a rest home once they've gone!!

Sunday, 30 September 2012


Attempting to persuade myself that I really do love paint, I'd made the above page background.  I didn't like it (except for the colours) so I left it for a bit, until one day the urge to draw on it with a big black pen overtook me.  When I drew that curvy line above I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do or say ... but I quite like it that way, and its interesting to see what pops out!  On this occasion I was feeling out of sorts, kind of "scratchy" you know?
Anyway, I love zentangly stuff so one thing led to another and before I knew it I'd filled in all the left hand space.  Then quite suddenly I wrote the big words along the length of the curvy line.  Who knew that I felt like that?  I certainly didn't, but out it came.  Its amazing how this art journalling lark works isn't it?
So after that I just set to and wrote about how I was feeling, and although I know it sounds like a cliche, when I'd done it I felt better.  Simples.  So I suppose the lesson here is - if you feel all itchy scratchy and out of sorts, look inside your own head and ask why.  Sometimes the answers will surprise you ....
Obviously the mildly hypnotic activity of drawing pretty patterns had nothing to do with the achievement of zen-like calm ... well it probably did actually.  Maybe thats another reason why I like doing it?  A little bit of Promarker colour crept in here, not much - but I like how it turned out.

Just noticed that this is my second purple post!  Funny that, and its not a colour I use a whole lot.  Perhaps its my "not happy about that" colour?  I've cheered up now anyway  and my normal smiling self is back at her post :)

Saturday, 22 September 2012


There's nothing like a good old moan is there - clears the decks wonderfully so you can stop complaining and get on with whatever you should be doing.  In my case I'd seen an advert in a magazine which had prompted cries of "how could they?" and "its so unfair".  Well it is - very shortly after buying a boring beige car (and that was the best of a bad job believe you me) they brought out a purple model!!  Can you believe it?  Just thoughtless if you ask me.

So you won't be surprised to learn that I was sufficiently moved to record this gross miscarriage of justice in my journal ...
I don't have to explain why I chose the purple obviously, and yellow just sort of goes with it right?  As usual the background is done with the ever so versatile Caran d'Ache crayons, and I left that bald spot near the bottom because I'd already cut out a picture of the offending purple car to stick there.

Then I regret to say that I got so involved in indulging my inner child for a while, that I completely forgot to take my usual stage by stage pictures, so this is the final result.  The numbers and speckly bits are rubber stamps, and the rest is my usual doodly activities.
Quite a simple page for me, but I like to think I've made my point and that there's no more to be said.  After all, there's no point in going on about it is there?  It only makes my nearest and dearest say things like "give it a rest".  However, I do feel that the very least the manufacturers can do is apologise profusely and deliver a purple one to our drive without delay, or I shall be stuck with the beige one for another 2 1/2 years - not a pleasing prospect.

Friday, 14 September 2012


Back from our travels but still slightly jet-lagged, my brain seems to have holes in it into which certain words keep disappearing .... I hope its temporary!   Anyway, a while ago I saw a journal prompt to make a page about stuff you like - so I did, and this is it.
As you can see below, the background is done with my trusty Caran D'Ache crayons.  I never get tired of using these and they go such a long way that they represent very good value for money.  I am not being paid by the manufacturers to say this, but will accept graciously if they like to offer me some ...!
I was trying to draw shapes which might encourage me to write other than in straight lines - a besetting sin of mine - and as you can see below it did work.  I was quite struck by how simple the things that make me happy are - nothing expensive or difficult to find, just fairly ordinary everyday pleasures.  I guess that makes me a very fortunate woman?  I am however willing to try the champagne lifestyle if ever it comes my way ... just to see how I like it.
The rather jolly sunburst shapes I added next are from an unmounted set of rubber stamps that I've used such a lot.  It isn't easy to find interesting non-commital stamps to use for journal decoration - they all seem to be pictures of something, so I'm always on the lookout for this kind of thing.  I can't actually remember who makes these but they're mounted on green foam if that helps to identify them?
Another in the same set was used to stamp the orange shapes - which look a bit like fruit slices but aren't!  This is one of those pages I really like without really being able to explain why - it just pleases me somehow ....

Off now to eat some chocolate and persuade a cat to sit on my lap for a bit .....

Thursday, 23 August 2012


Everyone needs to pace themselves - and its particularly important for me, but you know what?  I never learn, and if I feel good I try and do too much.  Hey ho - anyone else think they're bomb-proof and the rules don't actually apply to them?  Welcome to the club ....

Anyway, this means that I frequently have to remind myself that my energy (mental and physical) is limited, and that means sometimes I just have to take time out.  It applies to everybody really.  So I made myself this reminder ...

Its another Caran d'ache crayon background, and my new favourite colour combination of pink and orange. 
 Again you can see how my lettering starts off as quite simple lines, and then I go back over each letter and thicken it, adding curly accents.  I'm no calligrapher but it works for me!
I do worry a lot about "letting people down" so when I have to say no, or back out of something, I always feel bad about it.  This was one of those days.
And then you can see how much fun I had fiddling about and doodling.  The Uniball Signo white pen is absolutely the BEST - I get through dozens of them (and am not being paid by them to say so)!!

Sorry I don't have much to write about this - I'm about as tired as I was when I made the page, all sorts of stress, not to mention going on holiday Tuesday 28th and having to organise not just ourselves but animals and mother in law (going into respite care) as well.  I'll be a stretcher case by the time I get on that plane!  Back on the 12th September, and will post again once my brain catches up from the jet lag ....