Archive for the ‘Card’ Category

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

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

Just popped into wish you all a Merry ‘whatever’ and may the season be as kind to you as possible. Please know its always OK to say NO especially if your health or sanity depends on it. The expectations of others are THEIRS, not a to do list….just saying.

Christmas or Yule card 2019

Winter wishes, you choose your celebration.

To all those I forgot to send cards too ‘Sorry, brain fog’.

To all those I have lost contact with, I send you love, wish you well and hope the coming year is as kind to you as possible.

Thank you to everyone still reading this blog, even though it gets neglected. I have plans for some more videos, taking that You Tube channel in a new direction in the coming years. Expect Crystals and card decks and maybe some bullet journalling as I figure out ways to cope with high pain levels, anxiety and depression etc.

I started a new blog for the crystals and card deck stuff its called The Willow Tree Retreat, I had hoped it could have the same layout as this one but this theme has been retired now and I need to spend more time tidying it up and adding more stuff but its a work in progress and like this one, dependant on health limitations but I’m doing the best that I can, like all of us.


The Willow Tree Retreat

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you when I can

Billie x

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

Today is World Calligraphy day, I used to letter before my hands got too sore but Amy Latta has a fab book which helps me make regular writting look like brush lettering. Thanks to Amy’s book; Hand lettering for Relaxation and an Anna Griffin stamp, and Tim Holtz stamp press, I was able to create this card.

Hand lettered card

My first lettered card.

Better than a thousand words card, inside

Inside of my first hand lettered card

Back of the card; Better than a thousand words

Here is the back of the card, Anna Griffin Rose

Base Card: Creative World of Crafts: The essential collection Kraft brown card 280gsm

White card: is WHSmith Sketch pad 135 gsm, its super smooth n lovely for lettering, but it not a fan of water 😉

Lettering: by me (Thanks Amy)

Stamp: Anna Griffin a clear stamp from a collection on QVC years ago.

Fabulous Flowers n Leaves

As well as Amy’s book I am also really enjoying Botanical Line Drawing by Peggy Dean, which has doodle style of flowers and leaves and is a perfect companion to Amy’s book. I seem to remember seeing excepts from this book in magazines and the book is really brilliant, rather then buying LOADS of stamps I look forward to a bit of free hand drawing once I’ve had more practice.

Lovely lettering

Expect reviews of these books when I’ve had them a bit longer but so far LOVE THEM, go buy them. If you can hold a pen n write your name then you are totally qualified to give these books a go, for SO long I’ve wanted to be one of those ppl who can pick up a pen n a book n just create, the stamping and inking was a way in, Jane Davenport classes have helped massivly but these two books don’t need lots of supplies, you can use what you have but also give me a reason to get some of those lovely pens I have out of the cupboard n play.

I struggle with high levels of pain n low levels of dexterity so needed a diversion n something that didn’t need me to get lots of stuff out. These books have been wonderful. I highly recommend them. Especially for everyone who loves that whimsical style of flowers n all that lovely brush lettering that is around but doesn’t have the dexterity, the video Amy made and her book, will let you turn your own handwritting into something magical.


  • Here’s how to create lettering like this from your reguar handwritting, this video is by Amy Latta: Faux Calligraphy
  • Amy Latta Blog: Amy Latta Creations
  • Amy Latta book Hand Lettering for Relaxation on Amazon UK
  • Peggy Dean book; Botanical Line Drawing 2018 edition, on Amazon UK This version has the names of the plants you are illustrating, earlier version of the book doesn’t have those names included.
  • Peggy Dean blog The Pigeon Letters
  • WHSmith sketch pad A4 wire bound and A4 glue bound. There are other sizes A5 and A6 so choose what suits you. I have both kinds. If you are quick with it being summer holidays n all, there is an offer on these, see online for details. I’ve loved these for lettering with microns. Best for pencil n dry media but ok for just lettering if you don’t have super juicy pens, don’t dawdle tho of the ink might soak through too far.

These books are for everyone who wants some time away from screens, with minimal supplies and to create something beautiful, or just fun, just for themselves with just a pen or pencil and a journal.

Best wishes and thanks for reading






Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

Today a review of; Yoga for the Brain Zentangle cards original Edition. I liked the relaxation mentioned about Zentangle but the book I had just wasn’t fun, nor inspiring. I’d seen these cards on TV so thought I’d try them instead. If you want to learn to Zentangle but don’t have a lot of time and space, these cards might be for you. Here is how I got on with them.

Yoga for your brain, Zentangle cards

Yoga for your brain, Zentangle cards

Product Details

  • Yoga for your Brain Original Edition Tangle Cards
  • Manufacturer/Brand; Design Originals
  • Item number: No 3479. ISBN: 978-1-57421-356-0
  • RRP at time of writing: £7.99



  • Compact and portable.
  • I like the size; 6.3 cm W x 8.8 H
  • Self storing within the box
  • I like each design has its own card
  • There is space for you to add a number or letter to the design so you can organize them in a way to suit your needs
  • The design desire is a personal thing, but I really liked the designs on these cards


  • Haven’t really got any, a niggle perhaps; see Build quality below

Build Quality

The box is superb, sturdy card and glossy. It would last well if you were carrying it around with your or giving it to younger members of the family for them to try Zentangle. The cards are also printed on a sturdy cardstock, I’d have liked rounded corners to be kinder on hands but that’s being picky.

As has been mentioned in reviews on Amazon the cards are not laminated or glazed. This reduces eye strain but given they are a deck of cards, they don’t easily slide over each other like decks of cards usually do. Making them a little tricky to get hold of, but my dexterity isn’t great.

Value for Money

Good. You get 40 designs to copy around the same as in books, there is a book of the same title but I haven’t seen it to say if the content is the same or different. There are about 9 cards at the front with some tips for basic steps for how to Zentangle but nothing too heavy that would put you off.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes, I really like the card deck layout for patterns and would favour collecting designs this way rather than a book.

Summing up

These really worked for me. They are catchy, addictive, portable and the sort of size you could have next to you as you copied the design. I liked them a lot. After my experience with another Zentangle book, I had thought it wasn’t for me, yes the creation of the patterns was very relaxing but I wasn’t in love with any of the designs in the OTHER book and it put me off a bit.

The patterns in this deck I liked, which got me hooked and I can see why people get so excited about it. It IS very relaxing and meditative to create the patterns. If you don’t enjoy the whole ‘card has to be x size, draw dots in each corner, doodle a line then fill in with a different pattern in each section’ rules n regulations that Zentangle has around it, then these cards liberate you from that.

Life’s too short for too many rules, just grab a notebook and copy the patterns on these cards, in a comfy chair with some relaxing music on and you will be a chilled happy bunny in no time. Its engaging enough to stop your mind being distracted by stress and worry and repetitive enough that you quickly get in to the swing of the pattern and just draw. Several of these designs would make great boarders or for bookmarks not just all over page designs.

I highly recommend these cards, even and especially if other Zentangle products haven’t done it for you. Great for long car journeys or while waiting in a waiting room etc or on holiday when  you don’t want to be carrying too much stuff but want to create.

The only other thing you need is a 0.1 micron pen and some decent paper, but if you haven’t got that a decent fine-liner and a notebook and you are away. For younger kids I’d use a regular pen as the 0.1 pen is so fine they are likely to snap it off with too much hand pressure. If you get into it, add a soft lead pencil and paper stump to add more dimension to your designs with shading.


Yoga for your Brain Amazon UK great price as ever.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

For the first time in ages I made a card.

A simple card with a garden theme

A simple card with a garden theme

  • The stamps were from Creative Stamping Magazine the Garden Collection.
  • Inks: Tsukeniko Versafine in Grey, Sepia and black
  • Colour: was Polychromos pencils
  • Card: Plain white card and Hammered card in cream


Sometimes you don’t want to go overboard, just get back to basics. It woke up my love of stamping after a year of doing so little of it. The stamps are lovely and can be combined in so many different ways.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share a birthday card I made using Serif Craft Artist software.

This was the card with some Polychromos highlights in areas

This was the card with some Polychromos highlights in areas

The image is from the Hearts and Roses collection, which has become a bit of a favorite of mine. Hope you like it. I’ve added some highlights to the shadows with the Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils, which worked well over this card-stock.

For comparison, this was the card before I added the highlights, I think the highlights help the design, what do you think?

This was the original card before the Polychromos highlights were  added.

This was the original card before the Polychromos highlights were added.

Best wishes

Billie 🙂

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

Just wanted to share another Christmas card I designed using Serif Craft Artist and Hears and Roses digikit collection. Simple but elegant 🙂

Created using Serif Craft Artist software and Hearts & Roses Digikit

Created using Serif Craft Artist software and Hearts & Roses Digikit

Best wishes and see you soon

Billie 🙂

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »