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Welcome Back

Today I’m going to share my research on alcohol markers. I have seen others get wonderful results with this kind of pen but when I tried to use them some years ago, the fumes from the alcohol gave me such bad headaches, that I gave up on them. The brand I had been using was Letraset Promarkers. That brand is now owned by Winsor and Newton. I have been drawing some chibi style charcters and its going so well that I wanted to give alcohol markers another try, so lets have a look at the options I was looking at.

Typo Markers

Given my poor results in the past I didn’t want to go for a large set straight off. I had an email from WHSmith with 3 for 2 type stuff and had a look at some markers there. Typo was one listed a set of 36 pens for £30. https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/typo-artists-dual-nib-marker-pen-36-pack/9357067236486.html (correct at time of writing 2021) but no mention of what type of nibs they have so off I went to You Tube to find out more. The video I found was

Jasmin O’Grady’s Typo markers vs Copic markers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqkH8PBJWSY

Ohuhu Alcohol Markers

Makers site: Ohuhu https://www.ohuhu.com/ USA site but for the most up to date info check here first. Looks like on their own site there are now individual markers available and a colourless blender.

Buying hints, at the time of writing I found sets of Ohuhu on Amazon UK, not individual pens. (keep an eye on the description on your set of choice, there are different nib options so check carefully to get the nib combination you really want. Some sets are BRUSH and CHISEL others are Fine and chisel.

Review, this video is by DrawingWiffWaffles, called A big bucket of 120 Ohuhu Brush markers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCAG3ctMxKg its a good one as it also has a review of a sketch book by the same brand. Keep an eye on the dates listed on the videos, information correct at time of creation but over time, the range available has changed and what nib types and the makers site in 2021 lists individual pens as now available.

Review, The Fruigal Crafter Lindsay Weirich has a video form 2019 called New Ohuhu Brush tip alcohol Marker and she also describes how to refil them with ink from other brands https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMgfJ2KZIvk

Tutorial for how to blend alcohol markers by Lucid Neema https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbZQFRE8wCk

Alcohol marker comparison, Kasey Golden shows 10 brands of alcohol markers compaired here. title Which alcohol marker is the best, testing 10 brands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OG8RNbUt8c Useful comparison for price, colour (number of colours available) brush nib, refillable, single, availability, swatch, smudge, layer, blend. Products compaired Ohuhu Markers Arrtx Markers Illo Hue Markers Spectrum Noir Markers Artist’s Loft Markers Spectra AD Markers Prismacolor Markers Master’s Touch Markers Winsor & Newton Promarkers Copic Markers Strathmore® Marker Paper.

Copic markers

I didn’t research this in depth, due to the cost, but Im aware that these are loved by many alcohol marker users, so I have included some information here.

Copic official site in Japan https://copic.jp/en/

Where to buy Though they are available in many high street retailers and online art stores too. I link to MAIN makers site as information on blogs n forums and review videos can date and no longer be the current information, so going direct to a makers site, will allow you to find out what is currently true whenever you read this.

ALL about Copic, Here is a 2014 video from Pop Sketcher visiting the Copic marker stand at Comicon. Lots of useful info about choosing paper type based on what you are creating and your style and so much more. MUST SEE Copic markers mega product tour by Pop Sketcher https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgMhTvuSLNo This really was a well titled and well made video. Id definately recommend you start here, and then research out from there for what is available in your price budget once you understand all this a little better.

Wow really learnt a lot from that video by Pop Sketcher, I like that Copic’s are from Japan, coz Japan KNOWS ink and paper. I’m gonna have to try these at some point. Ciao are same ink, same nibs as the sketch but just smaller barrels so they are a little cheaper to try out, but the smaller size means you will need to refill them more often. but so much to learn on here. If ur brand new to markers even if you don’t go with this brand, this video is amazing for all the technical info to help you choose and understand the products n numbering system.

Which did I go for?

I have tried Spectrum Noir products before and personally I didn’t love the material used on the nibs, I don’t have the funds for Copics, though Im not ruling out trying a few if I get on ok with others. The cautious within me was very tempted by the Typo but not sure on the nibs on those and felt I would be repeating the not enough colours to blend so well. The ohuhu is very tempting and my inner magpie wants ALL the colours, but sensible me also not wanting a million pens; cost plus storage issues, plus not having tried them before to know how intense the smell will be with these.

So after watching a lot of videos I went back to Amazon for another look round. Then I found a brand I hadn’t remebered as somewhere that did markers, Sationary Island. https://stationeryisland.com/ Now if you read this blog a lot you will know I LOVE their journals, I have lots of their dot grid ones and a plain paper one too. The quality has been amazing.

I had a look on You Tube and the only video review I found on the Stationary Island Alcohol Markers, was from Coby Coxen Marker from April 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AkCumNz9sY

Why did I choose them, firstly as I just said the fantastic quality of their journals, leads me to believe they aren’t gonna put their name on a rubbish product. Also the price, as someone wanting to try this kind of marker out they have just 11 greys for £7.99 and you can really customise which colours you are interested in, with the smaller sets, just skin tones, just the brighter colours, or go all in for the 96. Wish I’d waited till morning. I bought on amazon for £42.99 but on their own site is £34.99 and free delivery over £5. Well there u go, that’s what happens when u research late at night instead of waiting till morning!

Another reason for choosing them is that on Amazon reviews they said they were less smelly than other alcohol marker than the review had from other brands, and for me thats a real big selling point too as I get headaches from the ones I had from Letraset. DOn’t think there is a blender pen in the set so I ordered a Tombow blender pen for alcohol markers and a Ohuhu sketch pad for the paper, because if I have learnt anything with crafting over the years, sometimes its YOU and you need to practice and learn a new skill but it CAN also be about using the right product with the right surface for it.

One last thing, if you are going to use alcohol markers protect the surface UNDER the paper you are working on, Im going to use the teflon sheet that I use for ink blending, its thin and will catch any bleed through to stop it going on the table or the next page on the book. Just know its gonna bleed through to the back of the page you are working on pretty much whatever you do, so if that is gonna bother you, either choose different markers to be ready to paste the next journal page to it to hide that, or glue in some other ‘thing’ to hide it. If you have a look at my video ‘how to make alcoholic baubles, the Ranger Alcohol blending solution will clean up marker residue from glass surface and off the craft sheet. I got my non stick sheet from Lakeland as its same stuff and cheaper on a roll than the art branded ones.

Lakeland magic liner sheet, its non stick so stuff wipes off it and perfect when using alcohol ink place a piece of this under your project to stop the ink bleed through going on your table or the next page in your book. I also use this for papercraft for ink blending with foam with ink applicators works a treatwith this. The one available now is 33cm x 100 cm for 10.99. https://www.lakeland.co.uk/5571/Magic-Reusable-Non-Stick-Baking-Tray-Liner-Sheet-33-x-100cm so you can cut it to any size you need. Its heat resistant so great to use under projects like heat embossing and triple embossing but because HEAT will go THROUGH it, you will want to protect from the heat from your heat gun. When you want to store it either leave it FLAT or ROLL it, don’t fold it or you will break the fibers within it.

Alcoholic Baubles https://billiescraftroom.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/video-tutorial-alcoholic-baubles/

Links

You Tube channel shout outs for videos I’ve linked to in this post.

If you want to know my fave places to buy art supplies check out my

Art tab https://billiescraftroom.wordpress.com/art/

Look for art supplies and retailers https://billiescraftroom.wordpress.com/art/art-supplies-manufacturers/

best wishes and thanks for reading, sorry for lack of pictures but my new markers haven’t arrived yet. So I’ll pop a picture in after they arrive.

Stay safe and make art, or what ever makes you feel softer and safer in times of challenge

Billie.

Welcome Back

Wanted to share some pictures of my new crochet pals, that I bought from Rues Bears on Etsy. There is Oscar the bear, Mr Bamboo the panda, Rae and Cooper the puppies and well I call them; Lilli and Lavender, the grey mice but Rue calles them Sebastian mouse in case you are tempted to buy any of these for yourselves after reading this and seeing them here.

Mr Bamboo the panda and Oscar the bear. Rues Bears
Mr Bamboo the panda and Oscar the bear.
Crochet puppy dogs, made by Rues Bears
Rae is the chocolate brown puppy dog and Cooper is the one in the copper coloured jumper. Hand made by Rues Bears on Etsy
Two grey crochet mice
I call these two Lilli and Lavendar. Lili wears the pink jumper and Lavender the lavender col jumper. Hand made by Rues Bears.

I have a very busy brain, its hypervigilant and over thinks everything which is hard work but I also notice that sometimes words start to rhyme and thats when the poems happen. I think I posted previously about the crochet mice I collected from another Etsy seller and had been writing stories in verse about them. Later I found someone else and bought a tiny crochet girl and an tiny crochet elephant. THEN I found Rues Bears and now I have a box full.

Crochet animals
Some of my crochet companions for creative writing.

I call it my story box, its been really good for my mental health, as on days when the words flow I write story in verse about an adventure one or the other of them has had. Other days I draw little illustrations along the side, which is making me very very hapy as I’ve always wanted to be able to draw and my drawing is getting a lot better, with the practice. Other days I ink in the drawings and another time I colour them in. On days when my body isn’t playing or I feel awful I can go to the journal and read the stories.

Box of crochet animals
This is the story box, filled with crochet animals from Etsy. I use this to inspire my writing and drawing.

I was the person at school, who loved when you were given a picture and asked to write a story about it. I admired people like Beatrix Potter who would draw from nature around her and write her stories. I also grew up watching the programes from Small Films studios; Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine and of course not forgetting the Clangers. I have no desire to get into stop motion filming but thanks to online drawing classes with Jane Davenport, I’m please with how my confidence in drawing is getting better and being able to draw and colour them in on days when I can’t write and on the good days when the words flow write the stories. Its pure joy. Its also good as it takes so few supplies which is good when my energy is so low.

I’m glad I grew up in an era before the internet, where you made up your own games your own entertainment from imagination. Now tech is great, but it can be a mixed blessing and some time away from it can also be a good thing. I’m thankful my parents gave me pens and pencils and paint as well as books handed down from around the family. We didn’t have holidays or spare funds but they made up with that with TIME, and you can’t buy that in any shop, and it means the world.

At times though the world gets so swirly, too fast, too loud to spikey and I fall off in overwhelm, then can’t process anything. I need to take time away from all that sometimes and be still, meditate, cry, it all out. Then after enough rest maybe on good days create. Life sure is a roller coaster of challenges and emotions and sometimes NOT trying to keep up, when it gets too much is a kind thing to do for yourself and your sanity. On those days I turn to the dolls and the crochet animals n just play.

I’ve also found some new channels on You Tube and a few more self help books have come home. But I’m guessing people are on this blog for creative stuff, so I hope you enjoy this post and the photos.

If you are in love with these characters too, here is RuesBears on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/RuesBears and you can choose your character and its choice of jumper colour. Rue is a wonderful person and I highly recommend her, and no I’m not paid to write this, in case any one wonders.

Best wishes and thanks for reading. I’ll write again when I can. stay safe

Billie 🌈🙏🦓

Welcome Back

I’d like to share a video I made a while ago, where I share the books that I have found good companions for self care when I am struggling with anxiety and depression.

What helps each of us is as unique as we are. What helps me moment to moment varies too. Sometimes a gentle story on a Kindle reading it outloud to me helps, other times I’m looking for an activity, like the art, journalling and so on. I adore the Kate Allan books they have been wonderful for when I can’t process thoughts feelings and emotions and just want to hear words of ecouragement that one day it will be ok, even if it isn’t right now.

Links

Books mentioned in this film are;

I have included links to these books on Amazon UK, but I am not sponsored in any way for this.

And the one I forgot to add in the film is by Johanna Basford

I also enjoy Johanna Basford books, her drawing inky wonderlands is brilliant here is her video walk though of that book. I forgot to add that one in the video I made, this video is JOHANNA’S.

Check out her You Tube channel as she often does video tutorials for drawing and its also soothing to watch her colour in. Johanna Basford on You Tube

I hope you find something here that is helpful, for yourself of someone you know. Please share it so others can find it. If you too, are struggling with your mental health, please look at the post I put up yesterday which has links out to sites of support. Some days we can, some days we can for a little while, and somedays we just can’t. Its not great, its not fun, its not a fad or fashion and for a lot of us its not all over in a month or so. Be kind to yourself when you are struggling. The media says a lot and not all of it helpful. Take in what helps and walk away from the rest. Its such a personal thing as to what each of us find helpful in the moment. This post isn’t trying to tell anyone what to do, say or think, its just sharing what was holding me safely in the moment I wrote it or filmed it.

I own the fact its an opion NOT a fact, and not dummping this opinion on anyone. I hope you find what helps you feel softer, safer and makes this moment feel a bit more possible for you. Stay safe and I hope the day is as kind to you as possible x

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie x

Welcome Back

Continuing the theme of Mental Health Awareness week, there used to be a site called Elefriends. Elefriends was the online community for peer support for mental health issues, run by the charity Mind. Its had a rebrand to Side By Side now. I missed the old elephant logo, and there are a few other features I miss on the new site but they are working on them. My new writing companion Ethan the elephant, is a reminder to do things that take care of my mental health and the creative writing journal is one of them.

Here is todays poem.

Stationary Island A5 journal and Ethan Elephant from Rues Bears
Here is Ethan the Elephant from Rue’s Bears on Etsy next to my A5 Stationary Island journal, where my stories and poems live.

Ethan the elefriend

.

Ethan is my elefriend

He helps me feel alright

I like to hold him close

When I worry or at night.

.

He listens to my worries,

He listens to my woes.

And I know he wouldn’t share them,

With anyone we know.

.

So if your’re feeling worried,

If you’re feeling scared,

Go and look for Ethan

And know he’s always there.

by @billiescraftroom.wordpress.com

Links

If you are struggling with your mental health here is a link to a page of support sites; https://aspacetoheal.wordpress.com/healing/mental-health/

Being honest I’m regretting the titling of that blog, as I’ve since learnt that for me its more about learing to live WITH stuff rather than the constant search for a ‘fix’. But there is a lot on there that could offer support and options for mental health and grief support links to https://aspacetoheal.wordpress.com/healing/peaceful-place/ It was a place to gather information from around the web, so it was in one place. As when you are feeling most unwell, is when you can be least able to search and scroll for assistance.

If you are looking for the new peer support site Side by Side, formally know as Elefriends and run by the Charity Mind, here it is https://sidebyside.mind.org.uk/ For anyone wondering why I’m showing the whole link, rather than making it pretty by hiding it under just the names, its because not everyone feels safe clicking links and this way you can type it into your browswer yourself.

If you can’t do phones, the Samaritans does offer email option and there is another place called Shout who offer text support via mobiles. Text SHOUT to 85258 https://giveusashout.org

Blurt https://www.blurtitout.org/ have wonderful newsletters of support, they sell a Buddy Box which is a monthly subscription box full of a range of items to excite your senses, great for TLC. If you are not into surprises and perfer to choose your own content you can buy many of the items individually to to make your own box, you can also buy them as a one off thing. Or if you are feeling flush and want to do a random act of kindness, how about sending them a donation to help their work or to gift one of their boxes to someone who may not otherwise be able to afford it.

If you are wondering about Ethan the elephant, check out my previous posts and if you would like one for yourself please visit Rues Bears on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/RuesBears

For clarity this crochet elephant Ethan, is nothing to do with the charity Find or the previous elefriends brand. He is adorable I love him and I made that association in the poem so he reminds me to take care of my mental health.

Please share this page with anyone you know who may be struggling. If you are wondering what to say if someone opens up to you about their mental health, please know the best thing you can do is LISTEN, to BE THERE and although its ok to offer suggestions. PLEASE please ask them first if that is what they want. When you are feeling most unwell, the last thing you have is the energy to fend of suggestions, that may have come from the best of places but you just don’t have the energy to process that. If you find yourself starting a sentance with ‘you should, you must, why don’t you’. JUST STOP. Your opinion is YOURS just like mine is mine and they are based on our OWN experiences and not always helpful to others.

Just saying.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie x

Welcome Back

Grab a cuppa and settle in, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, so as someone who struggles with a number of mental health issues, I’m gonna share some things that have helped me. Most important of all, is to remember, what helps or doesn’t help us, is a very unique thing.

If you are someone who struggles but keeps quiet coz you don’t have the capacity to fend off all the ‘ideas and suggestions’ when you have either tried them all or can’t access them, then I am totally with you. Often if you find the courage to speak your truth, it goes one of two ways; they look at you as if you have a lurgy and they are afraid they will catch it OR you are bombarded with a list of sentances that start with ‘You should… You must.. Why don’t you…’

My post it not trying to fix anyone, coz not all of us can be fixed or are on a page where advice feels right and I totally resepct that. My post is simply sharing something that is helping me at the moment. What feels possible and impossible is variable moment by moment, no such thing as a straight line for chronic pain n health here.

I live with anxiety depression and chronic pain, and ‘Keep calm carry on’ isn’t helping!

I feel a lot of my anxiety and depression come from chronic pain, which impacts my life greatly and not in good ways. I’m not gonna bore you with the details but its about trying to live WITH stuff, as the condition I have isn’t fixable. Which is a tough one to live with. Its one of those that won’t kill ya just makes your life hell.

Gee this is a cheery post isn’t it! Anyone still reading? Please do, I’ll share happier stuff too but I’m not gonna fake like everything is fine, dandy and sorted coz its not. #justsaying

Stationary Island A5 journal and Ethan Elephant from Rues Bears
Here is Ethan the Elephant from Rue’s Bears on Etsy next to my A5 Stationary Island journal, where my stories and poems live.

Creativity is the nemisis of Depression

Now a long time ago, when I was in primary school, I used to love to write stories and poems, and in recent times I have got back to that. I used to love, when you could go choose a picture and then just write a story based on it. I could write pages and pages from that.

As my physical health has suffered, I find it too much to get a load of supplies out to paint or rubber stamp, though high five to Tim Holtz for the stamping platform or I wouldn’t be able to do it at all. But these days its all about minimal, coz if it takes all my energy to get all that out, then I don’t have energy to create.

Art

I got back into drawing thanks to Suzi blu (she’s back on You Tube and is putting up her old videos and ones that used to be her classes so I’ll put a link in if you haven’t seen them yet. Totally awesome) I bought some Jane Davenport online classes some years ago and they really have made the world of difference to my art.

My dream of it being just me and a sketchbook has happend. I got a bit stuck tho and wanted simpler figures too, and found Kawaii (Japanese for cute) like clouds with smiliy faces on, omg so cute! Kawaii is simple to draw and then I found Chibi, its part of the manga style of drawing. I love books that show me the building blocks of how to draw. and these got me doodling away happily in my various journals.

Creative Writing; the poems and stories just flow

Have you found Etsy? Its kinda like Ebay but full of wonderful handmade things by artists of all kinds of genre. I wanted a figure, I could have next to me to draw. To help me with perspective, and found Amigurami.

Amigurumi is cute crochet so I found both Chibi styles and Kawaii within it and was delighted when I found some cute cute mice. The crochet mice came home and from there I got a journal and started writing stories and poems about their adventures.

Here is a picture of the current crew

Crochet animals
Some of my crochet companions for creative writing.

The cute crochet creatures, that inspire my writing and drawing

This is what happens when u can’t sleep and are up late scrolling on Etsy, you find wonderful things. I’ve named each of them and for some reason when inspirations strikes it comes in verse. I have an idea, maybe a line or two then I have to get a pencil quick and start writing before I loose the words.

This was so much fun, I could do this with just a journal and a pen/pencil. Then I started drawing the figures in the book too and another time colouring them in and on days when I can’t hold a pen to write or pencil to colour I can read through the journal and enjoy the stories.

Then I found Rue’s Bears who I was talking about yesterday and that’s where Ethan the elephant came from, he was so wonderful when he arrived that I’ve ordered some more characters from her. (see links at the end of this post).

Next came something I didn’t expect. Sylvanian Families! Now as someone with a collectors kind of nature, I can see this could get addictive so I’m gonna have to sit on my hands. The characters are more affordable than some of the artisan hand made charcters and my reason for getting The Elephant Family, was because they are posable and I’ve been enjoying drawing and want to get the hang of a range of angles for the characters so the Sylvanian fam’s will help me do that.

Confession ‘the milk rabbits also came home, sorry not sorry’ shh I am repeating the mantra ‘Not gonna get lots, not gonna get lots, not gonna get lots!’ But they are SOOO cute!

How is this helping my mental health?

How is all this helping my mental health and not just the fix of ‘buy stuff to feel better’ which only helps short term as today’s happy post is tomorrows, there is nowhere to put this, I should get rid of it but I don’t want to’.

Well, when I look at these characters, all these stories and poems fill my head and it helps me forget the pain in my body. It helps take my mind away from the fears and worries that keep me up all night. It takes me to a softer, kinder gentler place where I can imagine what they are all doing. Its very calming, one day I might write, another draw in the margins, another colour the pictures I drew in. It really is a dream come true.

For me the bottom line is, its not what you choose but how it makes you feel. If its not hurting anyone (including yourself!) and your bills are paid first so you don’t get into debt, then go for it.

FUN matters, play matters, no matter your age. Not all of us can get out and about, and for us life is really small and so the little things become the big things.

Start where you are, use what you have.

If you want to try this, you don’t need a fancy journal, or fancy pens, use what you have to hand. Images are everywhere, just pick one that calls to you and then pick up your pen and write. You don’t have to tell anyone, you don’t have to show anyone. Just see where it takes your mind.

Maybe its a seasonal image, perhaps you enjoy a certain time of the year, see if you have a photo at home or in a book or online, perhaps from a magazine. Stuff rules, just start to write and see where the words take you. I fyou like it keep it, if you don’t, you can shred it, rip it up whatever feels right for you.

This was a way of meeting myself on the page that I’m on, and just trying to make it feel a bit softer, safer and more possible.

Links

Where the characters you see above came from, I didn’t make them, I don’t have the fine motor skills for that.

Etsy shops

  • The mice and bear in this photo were from Eliza Like (check back for when more stock is available)
  • The elephant is from Rues Bears

If you want to know more about Ethan the Elephant, see my previous post Meet Ethan the Elephant

Come back soon and I’ll share the books that have been companioning me on the dark days too.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie x

Welcome back, today I’d like to share with you a special little someone who is inspiring me to write poems and stories in my creative writing journal. His name is Ethan the Elephant and he is from Rue’s Bears on Etsy

Crochet Elephant
This is Ethan the Elephant from Rue’s Bears on Etsy

Here is the poem he inspired me to create.

Ethan the Elephant comes home

Ethan the elephant, came across the sea

Rue Yates made him, just for me

He doesn’t smell of dogs or cats

Or logs upon the fire,

No perfume smells to make me dizzy

I did ask first and she’s no liar.

.

He’s here to inspire poems

And stories that I write

If you are still on the fence,

Just know that, all will be alright.

.

Her creations are amazing

Adorable its true

You can’t stop, just at one

You’re bound to want a few

.

Buy them quick, they do sell fast

And made so well, they’re bound to last.

.

I hope you like them,

Just like me.

When you see them

You’re gonn go, ‘Squeee!’

.

So adorable, they’re here to cheer

They’ll bring joy, to loved ones near

If you can’t go there, to hug

Send a bear hand made with love.

written by Billie @billiescraftroom.wordpress.com

So I feel I need to clarify the smell thing. I have THE most sensitive nose/body ever. Perfumes, washing detergents, pet smells all send me dizzy and queezy so before I buy anything handmade, I always have to message people and try to find a delicate way to ask, if items are made away from animals n other scents. Not always an easy task. Rue was amazing and was not at all offended by the question and reasured me though there were animals in the house they had no contact with what she creates.

Later I read her bio on Etsy where it mentions the cats and dogs she cares for and how she creates by a log fire, so then I worried he’d smell of wood smoke but I had asked if it was smoke free home and she’d said yes.

ALL WAS FINE, beyond fine, amazing, wonderful perfect.

Ethan arrived today in a sturdy box all wrapped in tissue and was amazing. Not a whiff of anything at all, just like Rue said he would be.

I don’t think Etsy lets you write LONG essays in reviews, so my poem would be too long, so I write it here instead. I love her work so much I have ordered Delilah duck and Sebastian mouse too. The size is written in each animals listing but here is Ethan next to my A5 Stationary Island journal, for comparison.

Stationary Island A5 journal and Ethan Elephant from Rues Bears
Here is Ethan the Elephant from Rue’s Bears on Etsy next to my A5 Stationary Island journal, where my stories and poems live.

I really love Rue’s work, her Etsy store only opened in December so I do hope you will go over and see what she creates. If you like her work do share it and this post. I’m hoping to interview her for being an Artist of the month, so pop back soon for more details.

Links

RuesBears on Etsy UK, her shop is based in Ireland.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie

PS. For clarity and full disclosure I did BUY Ethan, so this is an independant honest review, just my opinion of how I found Ethan and Rue. I wasn’t sent anything free to review. I didn’t set out to write a full on review, it just kinda happened because he was so amazing and Rue was so amazing. Soz fan girling a bit aren’t I, oops

Welcome Back

Just wanted to thank everyone for visiting this blog, and for all your kind comments. The topics have been evolving this year, my limited dexterity means it affects what I do how much and when, so I have been exploring new areas. Like the ball jointed dolls and recently starting to share my poetry and interest in card decks. I still love all the hobbies that I started this blog to talk about, its just that my body isn’t allowing me to do them as much any more. I wanted to keep this blog rather than starting new one, so I hope you will stick with me and see where the coming years take us with the creativity. Here is a card I made, its so rare for me to make cards now I thought you might like to see it.

Seasons Greetings
Seasons Greetings

The card features a Santoro Gorguss stamp which I coloured in with Faber Castel Polychromos pencils. Around the edges I used Adirondak inks by Ranger and Rubber Stamp Tapestry stamps to create the Christmas tree foliage and baubles.

Times are difficult for us all, hunkering down and doing our best to get by moment to moment has been the underlying theme of the year. When so much is uncertain and uncontrolable, turning back to simpler things like reading books, listeing to music, making art with the supplies we have can make a big difference.

This year I started to draw more, I discovered Kawaii art style cute faces on everyday shapes or objects and there is a You Tube channel called Pic Candle who has some wonderful illustrations on to draw along with. I got several of her books. I am finding Kate Allan books very reasuring in scary times too. Her books feature sweet animal sketches and then quotes of encouragement. I love her to the moon and back for not only ‘getting’ what is like to have anxiety but that she is owning the fact its a work in progress and something she walks WITH rather than having fixed. There is a lot of pressure from society to ‘fix’ but access to help was very difficult before the pandemic and its not getting easier now. Some books that are all ‘rainbows n butterflies’ have felt like its dismissing the reality that yeah on good days u can get by, butignoring the fact that on other days the reality is very different and Im NOT failing when I need to stay under a blanket with the curtains closed ‘just to stay alive’.

The other books in a similar encouraging ‘holding your hand with this’ kind of style are You are positivley awesome by Stacie Swift. Everyday Calming Rituals by Tania Ahsan. I have bought 356 days of Art by Lorna Scobie, too. I know my hands won’t let me create every day, but its nice to have a book that I can dip into and just doodle along to whatever prompt or part done image is on the page. SLeep Tight Card deck by Sunny Present has some great tips for getting to sleep.

I’ve also found journalling specifically re mental health has been very helpful. I got a stationary Island dot grid journal and wrote about the panic attacks, what helps what doesn’t, the triggers when I know them and the thoughts n feeling that come up. Over the years I realised that there is a pattern, like I react in certain ways and I started a crisis card to help me remember what helped. As time when on I needed more room so I got the journal. Now when things go wonkey, its very comforting to go get that journal and know what helped me through that situation before. I’ve learnt I have about 6 kinds of panic attacks, no wonder I don’t recognise them, the different triggers side slam me. I think of it as the book of life kinda thing.

I was fed up of buying self help books which had stuff that didn’t help, and were either ‘smug sorteds’ (sorry I wouldn’t wish this on anyone and if you found a way to dig out, all hail to you, but some books come across very ‘you’re not trying hard enough’ if you don’t ‘get over it’ and there is more than enough of that attitude in the world already. I’m a bit marmite on mindfulness, it has its uses but isn’t for everyone and isn’t the one size fits all it is sometimes claimed to be. In the right hands, in the right moment its brilliant, but again, some people have made it sound like, if its not working for you its your fault and back we go on the blame game. Im not bashing anyone just being honest that working out what works for you is a very personal thing and there is a lot of blame, shame correction and gaslighting around anyone ‘not making it’.

Gee I was trying to be supportive n seemed to have slipped into ranty soap box sam moments sorry.

Please be as kind to yourself and others as you can in the moment. Just know if you need to hide in a toilet, cupboard or under the cover for a bloody good cry THAT IS OK!! Its your body’s way of letting out the stress, stopping it or trying to keep going holding it in and you end up with aches pains n all sorts. So you do you, and let others do them. We’re all just trying to muddle along without an istruction book aren’t we.

Sending u so many hugs of support. Do pop over to my You Tube as I’ve been sharing some poetry there, as writing too much or too often hurts the hands. (essay girl today eh!) Billies Craftroom You Tube https://www.youtube.com/user/BilliesCraftRoom

Hunker down with your books, art supplies and what ever makes the moment feel softer safer and more possible. We can get through this, but its not gonna be quick, so forget the sprint finish and plan for the long game and pace yourself taking one day or 5 minutes at a time. All we have is right now, and we are doing the best we can with the skills and energy levels we have in that moment.

When u need a hug n there is no one to hug you, grab the softest nicest blanket you have and wrap it around you closely. Imagin its your fave person, holding you safe. If you don’t have a blanket, maybe you have a favorite jumper or cardigan that might work for this too. If it all gets too much, drink a glass of water n go somewhere as quiet as you can find, rest up and know you can try again another day.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie xxx