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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

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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

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Welcome Back to another Dolly Wednesday

I never intended to get quite so into dolls on this blog, but they have gradually arrived, and then I found My Doll Best Friend website, n lockdown happened, I was feeling low and they are a welcome escape from the real world for a while, so here we all are. Today I’d like to introduce you to my Lottie Brown, who is a Vestida de Azul doll.

Lottie Brown

Vestida de Azul Carlotta

Vestida de Azul; Carlotta or as I call her Lottie Brown

  • My name for her; Lottie Brown
  • Brand: Vestida de Azul (translates from Spanish as Dressed in Blue).
  • Sculpt name: Carlotta
  • Height 11″/28cm (there are other dolls in this brand in other sizes)
  • Material: Vinyl
  • Articulation: arms and hips move on circle joints not balls. So arms and legs can go up and down but not out to the side. The hip joint means she sits with her legs wide apart, so if you wanted her to sit across a toy horse for example, these aren’t the joint that let you do that.
  • Head side to side.
  • Colour: she has a warm skin tone without being too sun tan orange! There are other ethnicity options of dolls available in the brand too. (I hope that’s thr right way to put that. really sorry if its not)
  • Features: soft gentle looking face, blue grey fixed eyes (they don’t close) and attatched eyelashes.
  • Hair: rooted hair, this doll is blonde with a fringe, but there are a lot of options on the website, different styles and hair colours.
  • Value for money ***** Excellent
  • Price: At time of writing this Carlotta dressed 11″ doll on My Doll Best Friend is £36.98 plus p&p.
  • If you are into sewing you can also buy some of the dolls in this range wearing only pants and the 28cm ones are under £20, today they are on the site at £15.
  • Stability: she stands really well, though its wise to put her hands slightly forward to allow this. Persoanlly I wouldn’t leave her for a long time standing, without support, though this could be the hairstyle unbalencing her a little. She sits perfectly too, so great for posing for photos.
  • Measurements: Doll measurements are on MDBF Blog, shown further down in this post. Here is a side by side picture of her next to a made to move Barbie.

Vestida de Azul Carlotta next to Made to Move Barbie

side by side size comparrison Vestida de Azul Carlotta 28cm/11″ next to Made to Move Barbie

This is a fab little doll, and could easily be a handbag doll if you wanted to take her out and about with you. I love my bjds but with my minimal dexterity they are hard for me to sew for with the machine, and they are heavy to hold. This little lady dressed weighs 247g out of the box.

My reasons for getting her

  • She’s so pretty
  • She was instock (sorry, but as a bjd collector used to waiting many MONTHS for dolls to arrive, this is a big thing). There are a few outfit options to purchase.
  • I want to make her some clothes myself. (hands currently wrecked, don’t hold your breath)
  • I wanted a smallish, light doll
  • Price, she is fantastic quality for a high quality of build and material used.
  • Her size means making clothes for her won’t take that much fabric
  • I want to practice making doll clothes (when hands allow me to)

Links

Please bear in mind that I’m writing this as an adult collector, and make no personal recomendations for child use, as I don’t have kids.

Please do visit My Doll Best Friend site as they have far more information on the various dolls they sell and if you are choosing for a youngster, they also have recommendations on there too.

Scroll down a bit, most of the dolls they sell are shown on this page but its a handy reference if you want to sew for them or see if clothing you may already have will fit them. Please note carlotta is 28cm/11″ doll, as there are different sizes of doll in the brand.

Final thoughts

This is a wonderful doll, great price, doesn’t take up much space to store, her box is little more than shoe box size, so not much space needed if you want to put her away.

I love the colour tone and feel of her vinyl, its also slightly soft on the hands. she’s not at all shiny like some dolls can be. Her hair feels nice and is long enough to offer different styling options. I’ve enjoyed having her on the desk, on the table next to me and so far have created a block pattern to start designing some clothes for her, when my hands allow. I never thought I’d be a dolly collector, I’m still trying to resit but there are so many lovey dolls around and when you are feeling sorry for yourself, if funds allow you to treat yourself to a little pal to raise a smile for yourself or someone in your life, why not. Id love to be doing so many crafts but my health and dexterity make that impossible, these dolls are something I can turn too, imange stories about and take me away from chronic pain, anxiety and depression. They help.

If you think she’s nice, go on, pop over to the site and choose one for yourself, there are many to choose from, and if you like sewing at under £20 for a undressed doll to be your next model, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it.

As the site says ‘Its good to have something to look forward to’.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie x

 

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Welcome Back

With the help of my pal Hope (Wichtel doll Mona Muller), I would like to share with you  some wonderful self help cards made by Blurt. The Blurt Foundation is fantastic, they have the most supportive email newsletters and sell Buddy Boxes which are great for self care when you are feeling stressed or anxious. Blurt also sell lots of items individually. The self help card pack I’m showing today is ’54 Ways to Ease the Anxious Mind’.

Blurt 54 Ways to Ease the Anxious Mind

Hope shows you one of the cards from Blurt’s self help card deck; 54 Ways to Ease the Anxious Mind

As the title suggests, the deck has 54 cards, each with an idea to try, to help ease anxious feelings. You can use them anyway that feels right for you. Shuffle and see which card falls out of the pack. Perhaps you want to use one card a week or one a day, as a thought for the day kind of thing. For me, when anxiety is getting bad, I also find them useful to just sit with and flip through the pack reading each one slowly. Just doing that, even when you don’t feel you can do more, is also calming.

The cards are printed on sturdy cardstock with a linen feel, they are pastel colours which is soothing. As someone who has dyslexia, I find the font style is one I can read as the letters are quite thick, which makes them easier to read. The cards were designed by Fern Choonet and measure 63.5mm x 88.8 mm, which is great, if like me you have small hands. Making them small enough to pop in a pocket or in your bag to take around with you.

***In case you are wondering the doll is MINE and NOT included with the cards 😉 ***

If you are creating a Self Care box, to have a collection of calming things to look at, listen to or read, then these cards would be the perfect addition to that.

Links

If you would like to get hold of a pack of your own, please visit Blurt. There are also other card decks available and during the lockdown, those wonderful people at Blurt have reduced the card packs to half price, less than £5!

Come on, you deserve a treat. A little drop of happy post is good for us all. You can also choose have them shipped to a friend.

  • The Blurt Foundation This is their home page, do pop by they have so many helpful resources there.
  • Self Care Card Packs Here is just one page from their shop, showing the range of card packs. If links change over time, go to Blurt site above, look for button ‘shop with purpose’ then ‘self helpful’ and under that ‘card packs’.
  • 54 Ways to Ease the Anxious Mind This is the card pack featured in todays post.

I can also highly recommend signing up for their newsletter, they are such encouraging supportive things to read.

As a child I enjoyed playing with dolls and I’m finding them great companions now too. What was it you loved as a child and might want to do again right now?

Hope and I are sending you the biggest and gentlest of blanket hugs.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, stay safe and I’ll see you again soon

Billie x

PS Sorry our picture today was a bit flashed out, its gone dark n wet here, there just isn’t good photography light anywhere in the house today and its set wet all week, so I didn’t want to miss posting and went with what I had.

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Welcome Back

Do you have a Filofax? Like to design and make your own pages? In today’s post I will be reviewing; Rapesco Diary Punch 66-P its just what you need for many sizes of Filofax organizer.

Punch for Filofax organizers; Rapesco Punch

Punch for Filofax organizers; Rapesco Punch

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Rapesco Diary Punch 66-P
  • Item number
  • RRP at time of writing:

Reason For Buying

I invested in a number of organizers over the years, in different sizes but I wanted to make my own pages so needed a punch. This one was great as it will let you punch different spaced holes for more than one size of binder.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Adjustable spacing for the 6 holes. They are set in two groups of three holes.
  • Respect the number of pages it wants to cut and it will last for years. Don’t force it to do more than its designed for.
  • Punches holes for Pocket, and Personal size Filofax organisers.
  • With a little practice will punch A5 Filofax pages too.

Cons

  • Haven’t got any

Build Quality

Excellent. Metal body and has lasted very well I’ve had mine over 14 years and although its had light use it still works fine.

Value for Money

Superb, the fact one punch will work for multiple sizes of page is brilliant.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes

Summing up

This punch has done everything asked of it, you can punch several 80gsm weight papers at a time and I’ve also punched 220gsm card with it. It happily punches holes for Pocket sized Filofaxes and by widening the gap between the sets of three holes you can also punch for Personal size pages.

Setting for Pocket Size Filofax page punching

Rapesco Punch 66-P; set for Pocket size Filofax page punching

Rapesco Punch 66-P; set for Pocket size Filofax page punching

Setting for Personal size Filofax Pages

Rapesco Punch 66-P; set for Personal size Filofax page punching

Rapesco Punch 66-P; set for Personal size Filofax page punching

With a little experimentation you can also use if for A5 Filofax pages, by tracing though your pre punched page and making a card template. You need to punch three holes at a time only for the A5 then turn you page over to do the other three but its possible, making it even more versatile. Because its punching 6 holes you could NOT use it for MINI size Filofax as they have only 5 holes.

Links

If you would like to see a video demonstration of this product for the A5 page leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can do. Any questions just leave me a comment.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Staedtler Triplus Pens

Staedtler Triplus Pens

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Staedtler/ Triplus
  • Item number: 323 SB20
  • RRP at time of writing: £24.50 but cheaper on Amazon 😉

Reason For Buying

I wanted some colours to use with Doodling and struggling with my dexterity I wondered if the triangle-shaped barrels of these pens would help.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Good selection of colours
  • Triangle shaped barrel comfortable in the hand
  • The caps fit very well but are easy to remove
  • The plastic case is robust and folds back on itself to act as a stand as you use the pens
  • Case stays closed for travelling with your pens
  • 1.0 mm fibre tip pens, work well on cartridge paper and cover well

Cons

  • The option of more colours would have been nice, but the range is still good for general doodle style of art

Build Quality

Excellent! The nibs are robust and seem to last well. The firm fitting caps mean if you travel with these pens there is much less risk of the caps dropping off. The case being able to be used as a stand is a nice feature and like the lids is a secure closure but still easy to open.

Value for Money

TBH I would be a bit tight and not want to pay £25 but these were a bargain at just over £11 on Amazon and at that price I am very happy. They are quality and are worth their higher price, I’m just on a tight budget at the moment.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes, they have a finer nibbed version of these pens and I’m looking to get a set of those for working in smaller areas and for lettering.

Summing up

Superb pens, love them a lot. Great for bold lettering or doodling. Bear in mind they are water based so not ideal for mixed media if you plan to use wet media over the top but that a niggle. Great pens, try them see if you love them too.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Gelli Arts; Gel Printing Plate

6x6" Gelli Plate by Gelli Arts

6×6″ Gelli Plate by Gelli Arts

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Gelli Arts
  • Item number:
  • RRP at time of writing: £20 for 6 x 6″ plate

Reason For Buying

I had been on the fence about this product since I first saw it. I loved the art being made with it, I just had some concerns so I waited to see how people got on with it. Then the temptation got too much and I HAD to have one.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Versatile, each piece of art is unique so you don’t get board.
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to store
  • Doesn’t smell
  • The 6×6 is an affordable price to try it out.
  • Available in a range of sizes to suit your pocket or your project.
  • As of 2014 also available in a round plate

Cons

  • A downside is that I would like the larger plates to give options of making book covers, but they get expensive in the larger sizes.

Not a real con, just a warning that it is addictive and you will want to collect vast numbers of stencils

Build Quality

Excellent, neither greasy nor slippery, it’s a joy to use and the fact it has resealable packaging to store it in, is superb. Treat it nicely as per instruction on the packing and its said to last years. At the time of writing they have been manufactured for two years and they have had no reports yet of failures. (I asked this question directly of the makers).

The makers have an excellent video tutorial on how to use/clean the product and were very helpful when I contacted them for advice.

Value for Money

For the versatility, and ease of use excellent.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally. I would replace my 6 x 6″ plate if it expired, and would love a larger plate for using with larger prints to turn into book covers.

Summing up

As I suspected this plate is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. If you love mixed media art and have seen the prints created using these plates, then you are likely to love this plate. My advice is get a 6 x 6″ one if you work A6, or ATC sort of sizes or just to try out the concept to see if you like it. If you are still on the fence, how about taking a class in your local craft shop, so you can get some hands on experience to see if you like it.

One thing though, if the class plate has a smell, it is likely to be from their paints, not the plate! Certainly in the UK the plates are sometimes bundled with Daler Rowney’s System 3 Acrylic paint. I found System 3 smell overpowering to the extent it gave me a headache. It was also the reason I didn’t re-home a used plate from Ebay.

I took a leap of faith because I loved the art being made with these plates and I wasn’t disappointed, LOVE my Gelli plate and wouldn’t be without it now. Just try it, it’s so much fun!

Links

To find out more product details, and size options, please visit the Gelli Arts website below.

Gelli Arts Website

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂

If you were wondering what my concerns were, prior to purchasing, I’ll be writing a separate post relating to that.

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