Free Video! Paint Your Own Bullet Journal + Tips To Combine With A Sketchbook

Free Painting Tutorial - Bullet Journal Cover 2

Hi everyone, I hope you've all had a nice Easter and in a couple of days, the school holidays will have come to an end and 'normal' routines will pick up once again; at least we have two Bank Holidays in May to look forward to.  

All In One _Bullet Journal & Sketchbook.png

Anyway, over Easter I began a new bullet journal (yay!) and decided to again, film the painting of the cover.  I used a really pretty image of flowers in a vase (Sarah Raven) as my inspiration and then loosely followed it adding my own touches throughout. 

To watch, just click on the video below or follow this link if it's not viewing correctly below.  If you'd like to see the first bullet journal cover video (see image above) that I created, just click here

Supplies used:

Daler & Rowney A5 Artist's Sketchbook 150g

Clear gesso

Acrylic paint 

Paintbrush/Water

Sainsbury's 'fancy' paperclips

Ribbon

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I hope you enjoyed the video and hopefully it might inspire you to give this a go yourself with one of your sketchbooks or, even have a go at combining a bullet journal with a sketchbook like I've done.  

Please leave any comments on your thoughts or suggestions on bullet journaling, I always love to hear from you. 

Take care...

Jane xo


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Identity; Loss Off + Collage 8/50

Looking Back...

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.
— Unknown
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I still find it astounding to think, that one day I was ‘me’ and literally the second my first baby was born, I was never the same again (or, after my second and third babies).  My 28 year-old-self would’ve been very skeptical if someone had told me this - ‘I’m only having a baby, how much can I change?’  Well, a lot, yes?   

The same can be said for all big changes in life, right?  A bereavement, marital breakup, job change or, serious illness, even a house move.  Truly though, when I became a mother, that was by far the biggest shift for me and continues to shape me day by day.  I've accepted this gift now but the loss of 'myself' was quite profound for some years - it felt like I was mourning my 'previous life' for the longest time.

I chatted about this topic here and now again today because it’s showed up in my latest collage - called (you guessed it) Identity. It features the female form holding an infant baby.  The figure is of a darker colour than the newborn because she’s holding a brand new, pristine life in her arms ie. the baby that she’s carried in her body for nine months but she’s also lived a life herself prior to baby.  She’s weary for now; she’s been changed - she’s ‘older’ somehow.

Identity - 8/50 #HeadsUp50Project

Around her are flowers - they’re part of her everyday and their beauty refreshes her and reminds her that life is the same, it’s just her experience of it that has changed.  Everything is as it should be - the sun rises and sets and the stars are held above us, as always.  She’ll never be the same but she’s also softer, more malleable and kinder somehow.  She’s felt and seen things that have made her mark both physically and spiritually and she can't and wouldn't want to go back. 

In time, she forgives herself for not being perfect - (actually, it's an ongoing process, I find).  She does the best she can and slowly a new woman emerges.  She's wiser and not as quick to think she knows what life's all about...  

 The one and only, Brene Brown writes about 'Motherhood Shame' here in a brilliant pdf relating to her book, 'I Thought It Was Just Me'.  While I'm sharing, here are some other truly inspiring and noteworthy downloads that are free via Brene's site. 

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The Collages

As with all my previous headsup50project collages, this work is focusing on depression, my journey and the bigger 'picture' of mental health awareness and stigma.  You'll see in these collages that there is glorious imperfection, no neat edges with an accompanying deep love, appreciation and an inner knowing that I am many facets, not only a mother, a wife and daughter - I hope you feel this too when you look at this series of collages.  

Finally, this piece is available here (with 10% of the proceeds going to the charity, Mind) and others collages are on their way… Yay - 10 of 50 now completed, another 40 to go ;) 

Jane xo

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In A Rut - HeadsUp50 6/50 Collage - Expecting Change But It's Not Happening?

Change won't happen until there's a shift...

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
— Henry Ford

Yep, the quote above is so true isn't it?  Agh!  I first heard this quote in the mid-90's when I was seeing my doctor for post natal depression with my first child. Those words really clicked with me and it was like I'd never really considered how my thoughts could inform the present and future - this was a time before self-help genre became a 'thing'. 

I think we all can experience this reality in life - doing what we've always done but somehow expecting a different end result.  I know, it seems so silly to expect a change but somehow we do and when it doesn't come we can end up feeling sad, angry, confused, frustrated and if we're already feeling depressed, it can just make you feel worse.  It's like you're banging your head against a brick wall and there seems no way to break the cycle.   

For me, I have various triggers and some are more bothersome than others. Overwhelm, timekeeping, getting distracted and not having enough quiet time, are all potential situations that can trigger unwanted reactions and behaviours for me.  

My latest collage is called 'In A Rut' and in the video below, I chat about what helps me and my 'behaviours' whilst piecing together and finishing off my latest collage 6/50 from my #HeadsUp50Project.

 Please note, 10% of the proceeds will go to the  Mind  charity.

Please note, 10% of the proceeds will go to the Mind charity.

I hope the video and my collage are helpful for you and if this resonates with you, it might be time to get your journal out and have a little ponder and reflection on this over ten minutes or so with a lovely cup of tea. Take things slow and remember to be easy on yourself... 

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Shame + 5/50 Collage - Postnatal Depression + Mothering

Self-Compassion

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I've been introduced recently (thanks Lisa) to a new podcast which I'm really enjoying called Goop.  It's headed up by Gwyneth Paltrow (yes, the actress) and some of her staff.  Goop is Gwyneth's wellness/lifestyle website.  

It turned out there was mega synchronicity at work because my latest collage (5/50) is about Post Natal Depression and that is the very topic that was being talked about on Goop. 

The guest is psychiatrist Catherine Birndorf and they discuss the difference between postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety which was interesting.  Looking back, I think I experienced PND and anxiety after all three of my boys.  I actually chat about my experiences in my video below along with finishing my collage (click on the video below or, use this direct link.)

Of course hindsight is a wonderful thing; my 'boys' are now 23, 12 and 14.  I only wish I could sit down and have a chat with my younger self and give reassurance that I was doing a good job, that motherhood takes time to adjust to and to not be afraid to ask for what I needed both in practical and spiritual terms.  

I'm learning a lot whilst creating these collages; it feels like peeling the layers of an onion.  Each layer has its own story, it's own wisdom, some sadness, some joy - it's all been necessary to bring me to this place today.  

If you're interested in looking at my other collages, please go here

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Prayer and Paint Workshop Afterglow

Photo slideshow from the workshop...

Below are some photos from the Prayer and Paint workshop that I held on Saturday at Summerbridge (take a look at the new website---->) church that we are a part of.  I was thrilled that so many came and in the end we had around 20 people approx.! 

The workshop's aim was to explore the idea of using the medium of paint with prayer and reflection.  This is really close to my heart and has been so for some time now.  I really care about this aspect of my personal creative/reflective time and so wanted to offer this personally as a 'way in' for people that wouldn't necessarily paint or consider themselves 'creative'.  

I began by encouraging everyone to write out in pencil, without censoring, their worries, fears, anxieties; however small and to let them just pour out (side note: I ran out of paper).  I absolutely love this process and find it cleansing and such a relief to 'get it all out'. 

We then covered over our writing with gesso (white primer) and let that dry.  The idea being that by covering over our 'junk', we can 'start again', refresh and re-boot with Jesus' help.  We continued with another layer; this time with willow charcoal sticks.  I like to sketch out imperfect faces and encouraged others to do that or, to find their own way.  Some examples of what came out of this stage were: flowers, portraits, buildings, pattern, a wall, shapes and lots of mark making.

 My piece from the workshop - a bit psychedelic, I think...

My piece from the workshop - a bit psychedelic, I think...

I really enjoyed having people of all ages present.  We had a few men, younger children, teenagers, mid-life and older adults and it felt lovely to combine this experience with them all.

Next, we got out paint and began to add colour - it was akin to bringing light, warmth and 'nourishment' to our pieces.  Again, this idea of covering over the heartache/worries and lighting everything up with technicolour - so great.

Some people covered over their charcoal layer with something new, whilst others 'coloured-in' with the paint and added lots of vibrancy to the charcoal underdrawing.  All of it was just right.

I recognised that this could be challenging for people because putting the 'logical' side of the brain to one side is foreign to so many of us and can feel counterintuitive.  However, as the workshop went on, I sensed that more people were managing to do this and to appreciate the process rather than the end result.

We then finished the workshop by eating together and enjoying our shared buffet that everyone had contributed to.  A perfect way to spend a few hours on a Saturday. 

I think in a smaller setting it would have been lovely to have had a mutual time of prayer and reflection in a way that felt right for that individual.  I also think doing this at home would be fabulous with a few additions: lighting a candle, putting on some soft music, making a pot of tea and lastly, opening up your bible. 

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Lastly, I think this would be a beautiful practice to do as a family, with your children, your church, with a special friend, prayer partner or perhaps your spouse (maybe??? lol).  

Anyway, I hope this inspires you to give this a go and please let me know how you get on... 

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Collages Now Available + #MentalHealth Young People + My Progress

Updates and Some Mental Health Statistics

Yay, I'm excited to say that my first two #HeadsUp50 collages (see below) are available via my online shop and so far I'm finding the process of creating these collages really cathartic and stimulating both from an artistic point of view but also it feels really good to be able to 'give voice' to some of what is on my heart from a visual perspective. 

I've been feeling pretty good (see here for a background) and would say that so far, I'm coping well and not noticing any particular changes to my mood.  Since the topic of mental health is very much on my mind as I'm actively working on my #HeadsUp50Project I would say that there have been a couple of occasions where a memory has popped into my mind and it's floored me, making me think that under the surface there is quite a lot buried and probably needs to have the light of the day shine on it at some point.  

As I'm reading and researching more on the topic of depression and mental health, I came across the fact below (UK based research):

Suicide is the most common cause of death for boys aged between 5-19 years, and the second most common for girls of this age.
— www.youngminds.org.uk

This is a big wake up call I think for society and our young people.  This statistic shows just how much our children are struggling and that the problem is growing.  Unfortunately, the majority of young people don't seem to be able to access the support they need due to NHS cuts etc.  In addition, a new survey tells us that more than a third of young people have self-harmed and as we all know, cyberbullying seems out of control. 

Listen, I don't have the answers to this scary reality but all I can offer is a little bit of hope from what I know:

  • The obvious but love your kids.  Accept them for who they are and don't dwell on how you would like them to be.
  • Talk to them openly about your challenges, difficulties and how you were when you were their age.
  • Help them to look after themselves and mirror to them how to do this.  If you struggle with this, learn some strategies yourself.  
  • Don't be afraid to say that you don't have all the answers but that you'll be there to help them discover their way through, bit by bit.  
  • Let them know that this isn't their fault - there is so much guilt and shame with mental health.  
  • If you are struggling to cope as a parent with a child who suffering, don't forget your own needs and seek professional help if you find yourself struggling.
  • Remove devices from their rooms whenever and wherever possible.  Encourage a healthy sleep routine.
  • Encourage your children to invite their friends over and try to get to know them.
  • Keep the line of communication with your spouse/partner open and talk often.
  • Know your family's boundaries and what is and isn't acceptable behaviour for your children.  
  • Sometimes you don't have to say or do anything, just be with them.  Watch a dvd together, go for a walk, make a meal together, go out for a drive or start a hobby together.
  • Remember, we all make mistakes, don't be afraid to admit that you don't always get it right but that you're trying and that you too are learning along the way.
  • Give your child the gift of self-expression.  If you can encourage your child to let out some of their feelings through art, journaling, poetry, writing or music etc. it will be a step in the right direction and give them a really worthwhile and safe way to 'let it out'. 

So, that's it from me and I do hope you have a wonderful weekend and Mother's Day if you live in the UK.

Much love and thank you for being here...

Jane x

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