Planning Out Loud: June 2018

Hi! Welcome to my June 2018 Bullet Journal Plan With Me video in which I set up and talk you through all my monthly trackers for June. Thanks for watching! xxx

If you’d like to financially support my channel please visit my online shop, StonetableDesignsUK, and buy one of my unique, handmade cards, bookmarks or sticker sets. Thank you!

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The A – Z of Artful Journaling: Q is for Quotes

If you’ve read much of this blog, you’ll know that I’m a collector of quotes. Some people in this world just seem to be able to capture the human experience in a succinct, memorable and meaningful manner. There are two places I collect quotes. One of them is my bullet journal (see left). As I come across a quote I want to collect, I write it down – usually on my current daily page, although, sometimes I set aside pages specifically for jotting down the wisdom of others. Eventually, though, most of these quotes find their way into my artful journal too, where I often make them a focal point on the page. Below, I’m going to share some of the ways, I’ve added quotes to my artful journal. You can click on the images in the gallery for a closer look if you like.

  • On other people’s journal cards such as this one by Ali Brown (Picture 1)
  • Sentiments stamped in ink (Picture 2)
  • Sentiments stamped and heat embossed (Picture 3)
  • Stamped words – one letter at a time using alphabet stamps (Picture 4)
  • Typed onto my own journal cards using my typewriter (Pictures 5 – 7)
  • Typed onto stickers using my typewriter (Picture 8)
  • Typed onto envelopes using my typewriter (Picture 9)
  • Typed by me and printed onto sticker paper
  • Typed by me and printed onto card (Picture 10)
  • Typed by me and printed onto acetate (Picture 11)
  • Punched using my motex label-maker (Picture 12)
  • Hand-written on post-its and stuck in (Picture 13)
  • Hand-lettered directly on the page (Picture 14 – 16)
  • Hand-written on napkins and paper tablecloths (Picture 17)
  • Cutouts from magazines (Picture 18)

So, that’s how I’ve been adding quotes to my journal. Have you been adding them to yours?

Thanks for reading! Back soon. xxx

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

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The Little Paper Tree: Rainbow Birthday Balloons Card

Hello, again! It’s me, Natalie, back with a simple but fun rainbow birthday card. When Jeni and Janet set the design team the challenge of creating something on the theme of rainbows, I knew I’d have to make a card for a seven year old because there are seven colours in the rainbow, and I knew exactly what stamp set I wanted to use: Avery Elle’s Numbered Balloons. Imagine being a child again …

To read the rest, please visit The Little Paper Tree

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Mental Health Monday: What Is This Thing Called Recovery? Part Two

Hello! and welcome to another Mental Health Monday post! Last week, I shared some of the recovery concepts I’ve embraced over this last year. In this post, I’m going to talk about some of the details and how I’m manifesting recovery in my daily life.

First-up, there are a few posts that have already addressed some of this, so I’ll link them here and you can have a read if you like.

Probably the simplest thing would be to tell you just to rummage through this blog, but I want to try to distill it down for you! This week, I’ll talk about some common recovery themes and add a little detail as I go.

Hope is a central aspect of recovery and, the Recovery Movement goes so far as to say that recovery is probably not possible without it. Hope is what sustains motivation and supports the idea that an individual can live a fulfilling life even with the limitations caused by illness. I find hope in the everyday – in birdsong and blue skies, in the sound of the sea and the smell of fish ‘n’ chips, in the laughter of my loved-ones and the paint in my pallet, in the rising of the sun and the setting of the same. I keep a gratitude log and, every day, I write down a few things I’m grateful for. I surround myself with sights, sounds, smells, sensations, colours, work and people that nourish me, and I remind myself that I’ve made it through difficult times before, and that God is with me. This too shall pass, and I’ll be all the stronger for it.

Agency is another aspect of recovery. It refers to people having a sense of control over their lives and their recovery. It’s about people taking control of their own problems and the service they receive. It is about self-management, self-determination, choice and responsibility. Realising that I could be in the driving seat of my recovery was a big turning point for me. My wellness wasn’t solely in the hands of the medical professionals – I could make decisions for myself and direct my care. This has manifested itself in a number of ways, from telling my doctor and pharmacist that I wanted two months’ supply of medication at a time, rather than one, to feeling okay about resting and not doing things that I know will tire me out thus making me more vulnerable to unhelpful thinking. I don’t go to church every Sunday because sometimes I need to just be on my own and recharge. I don’t often go out in the evening because staying home and journaling is more nourishing and revitalising than going to a connect-group or the pub. If I’ve had a busy day, I write ‘rest day’ in my planner on the following day and then stay home. I say yes when I want to say yes, and no when I want to say no. Having a sense of agency is empowering – it says that I am the expert on me, and I know what I need, and I don’t need to feel guilty about making sure that my needs are met.

Opportunity is the third main aspect of recovery. It links recovery with social inclusion and people’s participation in wider society. As a general rule, those of us with mental health issues want to be part of communities: to be valued, to contribute and to have access to the same opportunities as everyone else. I realise that what I wrote about Agency makes me sound like a bit of a recluse, and in many ways I am, and always have been. I’m your classic introvert: likes people but finds interacting with them draining and needs a lot of post-socialising down time to recover. However, there are times when I want to stay home, but know it will do me good to get out, so to maintain a balanced life, I go to church most weeks, I try to get to my husband’s gigs once in a while, I go to parties with the proviso that I might only stay an hour, I meet friends one-to-one or in small groups for coffee and a chat. And I enjoy it! I’m always glad I went. I feel included and part of the world around me.

As far as contributing goes, I’ve cut back. Before I was ill, I was a busy bee. I was heavily involved in church: co-running a monthly craft club, administering the church website, occasional preaching, delivering all-age talks, teaching Sunday school, leading an Alpha Course small group, singing in the music team, co-leading the youth group and running a toddler group, and while all of those things were enjoyable and fulfilling in their own way, my life was very skewed. What with looking after my home and family as well, I didn’t have much time or energy for what figuring out what it was I actually wanted to do with my life, let alone actually doing it. If one good thing came out of my recent episode of mental illness, it’s that it made me stop, drop all my commitments, and take stock. And, very, very slowly, I’ve taken back some of my church-related jobs: I still help with the craft group, I still manage the church website, and I sing, once a month, in the music group. That’s it. It’s a healthy level of contribution for me at the moment. This last year has also given me the time and energy to figure out how I really want to contribute to the wider world. Right now, that’s arting, crafting and making greetings cards – spreading a little joy – creating papercraft projects for a couple of design teams, and sharing about Recovery on my blog, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. I feel as if God, through the gradual unfurling of my creativity and recovery, is slowly unfolding new meaning and purpose in my life.

So that’s where I’m at the moment. I hope you’ve found something helpful here. Next week, I plan to write on some more recovery themes and how they’re playing out in my life.

Thanks for reading! Back soon. xxx

You can read more of my Mental Health Monday posts here.

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Planning Out Loud: W/B 21May 2018

Hello! Welcome to my weekly Plan With Me video in which I get the coming week all decorated and set-up and my appointments, events and tasks planned out in my bullet journal. Thanks for watching! xxx

If you’d like to financially support my channel please visit my online shop, StonetableDesignsUK, and buy one of my unique, handmade cards, bookmarks or sticker sets. Thank you!

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Design Team News: Recent Makes

So, now that the excitement of seeing some of my Mama Makes cards on Hochanda is over, it’s back to business as usual …

This week, I’ve been continuing with my #100dayproject efforts and have been making at least one card a day for #100daysofcraftingoutloud – you can follow the hashtag on Instagram if you like!

 

 

The card above one I made with the new Nuvo Mica Mists sprays and the Lawn Fawn Stitched Kite Die that I bought from The Little Paper Tree. I’m really enjoying the sprays. They have gorgeous colours and have a really lovely shimmer to them, and on cold-pressed watercolour paper, they blend well and dry to leave a nice crackle effect.

I also used them to add colour and shimmer to the mixed media piece (left) that I created on the back of an old piece of packaging. The gold spray, especially is good for adding that vintage sheen.

 

In a completely different style, I created this round card using the Catherine Pooler Swoop Stencil, also available from The Little Paper Tree. I spritzed through it with water to distress the inked bottom half of the card, and then used a foam applicator to apply the same Distress Ink (Faded Jeans) through the stencil to create the top half. The swoop is such a lovely stencil – really bouncy and joyful. I can see me getting a LOT of use out of it! Don’t forget: you can use my coupon code TLPTNATALIE10 for 10% off your next order at The Little Paper Tree.

I’ve also been using sentiments from the Mama Makes stamp sets to create some of my #100dayproject cards this week.

The ‘so lucky to have you’ stamp I used on this floral card is from the Forever Friendship stamp set. I really like it because it can be used for almost any occasion and is beautifully simple.

 

 

For this last card, I chose the ‘feel better soon’ stamp from Mama Makes’ LotixChrly Sending Hugs stamp set.

Sometimes it’s not always appropriate to send a ‘Get Well Soon’ card. Sending a ‘Feel Better Soon’ card might be a good alternative.

So those are some of my recent Design Team Makes. What have you been creating lately?

Thanks for reading! Back soon. xxx

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Bible Journaling Out Loud: We Live and Move and Have Our Being

Hello, and welcome to my channel! In this video I talk about my recovery from mental illness and the part my faith is playing in it. I invite you to watch as I create an entry inspired by Acts 17:28. If Bible Journaling is not your thing, feel free to skip this video and come back for usual my Plan With Me, Journal With Me and Crafting Out Loud videos. Thanks for watching! xxx

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Crafting Out Loud: Cupcake Card Tutorial(ish)

Hello! In this video I create a birthday card using die cut cupcakes and distress inks. Thanks for watching!

If you’d like to financially support my channel please visit my online shop, StonetableDesignsUK, and buy one of my unique, handmade cards, bookmarks or sticker sets. Thank you!

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The A to Z of Artful Journaling: F is for Fine-Liners

As well as being great for colouring in, fine-liners are great for adding art marks to your artful journal pages. They come in all sorts of colours, all sorts of nib sizes and tend to last a pretty long time. Some of the Stabilo fine-liners in this picture have been in my collection for over three years, and they’re still going strong!

Below you’ll see some of the ways I use fineliners in my artful journaling. Click on the images for a closer look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can can use fine-liners to add delicate little marks in the gaps between colour, or add darker marks on top of colour. These add interest and depth to a page. I often like to cluster my marks within boundaries, but you can also spread them out all over the page. You can also choose colours that compliment your background or colours that blend with your background. Dark marks can have a particularly striking effect. One of the advantages of fine-liners over gel pens, for example, is that you can journal right over them without your pen skipping or your ink smudging. One thing to think about though when choosing fine-liners is do you want your marks to be waterproof or not?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another thing you can do is draw borders and messy frames around your pages and any ephemera you may have stuck in. You can also doodle with them. Above, I have added a bunch of messy flowers in two colours that go well with my watercolour background.

As well as doodling in your journal, you can also write quotes with fine-liners. You can write them in bold colours and make them a focal point of the page, or you can write them in pale colours to make them part of the background.

So, those are a few ways I use fine-liners in my artful journals. What marks do you make with them?

Thanks for reading! Back soon. xxx

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Mental Health Monday: What Is This Thing Called Recovery? Part One

What springs to mind when you hear the word recovery? Perhaps it’s that room they wheel you into after you’ve had an operation. Perhaps it’s getting your breath back after you’ve run a race. Perhaps it’s a road rescue truck, towing a conked-out car.

Recovery is one of those things we usually don’t think about until we need to, until we’re ill, exhausted, broken.

When I had post-natal depression in 2005/6, it was all about getting better and getting back to my old self again. I never really considered that there might be more to recovery than that – maybe that’s part of the reason I was so vulnerable to depression this time; I didn’t make any real changes to my life once I was better the first time. But thanks to the mental health unit I was admitted to in 2017, and to The Recovery College, I’ve learned that recovery is about much more than just getting back to the way I was before, and it’s not about being rescued.

What Is This Thing Called Recovery? was the third Recovery College course I attended. As it happens, it was almost a year ago to the day. Over the course of three-ish hours, we dug into the concept of Recovery and what it means with regards to mental illness. We looked at what clinical recovery is – the amelioration of symptoms – and we looked at what personal recovery is, and that’s what I want to focus on in this post: personal recovery.

With illnesses such as depression and anxiety, you might say that someone is clinically recovered when they no longer feel depressed or anxious, but for many people with long term mental health issues, some or all of their symptoms may never go away completely. And even depression and anxiety can linger in lower levels for years. Does that mean that all these people can’t recover or be in recovery? If so, what hope do they have? Well, one of the many turning points in my recovery was realising that personal recovery is not about the the amelioration of symptoms; instead:

A person with mental illness can recover even though the illness is not ‘cured’. Recovery is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributory life even with the limitations caused by illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness.

– Bill Anthony, the father of the Recovery Movement (1993)

When I first heard that, it blew me away, and I knew that my recovery had to be about growing beyond the catastrophic effects of depression and anxiety, about developing new meaning, new purpose, and about living a satisfying, hopeful, contributory life, even though I might still be experiencing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. I realised I didn’t have to wait to be cured or fixed before I could get on with my life – I could start living again right away!

Moving on: one of the actvities we did on the course was to come up with as many words as we could to describe recovery. I jotted them all down in my bullet journal. (Click on the image for a closer look.) See how positive, exciting, hopeful those words are? And they were all suggested by a bunch of people living with mental illness. I think that’s pretty amazing!

Anyhoo … throughout the course, many more quotes about recovery were shared, and you know how I love my quotes, so here are a few more:

 

Recovery is …

… a journey, not a destination.

… about having a satisfying, fulfilling life as defined by the individual.

… not fixing what’s broken; it’s finding wholeness, meaning and purpose.

… a reconnection to self, others, nature and spirit.

… a willingness to forgive, openness to reconciliation, a search for peace.

And here’s the biggie, the one that this blog is all about, the one that’s defining my recovery:

Recovery is not managing illness; it’s discovering wellness.

I know this post is a bit thin on details, but I just wanted to share the concepts I’ve embraced over this last year. In my next post, I’ll talk a bit more about how I’m manifesting these concepts in my life.

Thanks for reading! Back soon. xxx

You can read more of my Mental Health Monday posts here.

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