#BohoBerryChallenge Day 31: Lessons Learned

I have learned so much this year; it would be impossible to put it all in one blog post, so I’m just going to quote some quotes that sum it all up. If I’ve not listed the source, it’s because I don’t know it. Here goes:

Accept personal responsibility. Achieve personal freedom. (The Recovery College)

Responsibility is the ability to choose your response. (The Recovery College)

You are the architect of your own recovery. (The Recovery College)

Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark. (The Recovery College)

Hope is the small lump of coal that starts the fire burning again. (The Recovery College)

Hope shines brightest in our darkest moments. (The Recovery College)

Hope springs eternal.

Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk it, it comes into existence. (Lin Yutang)

A hopeful person surrounds herself with people, colour, sounds, scents and work that nourish her. (The Recovery College)

The mind and soul are affected not so much by the relative beauty and grandeur of what is seen, but by the depth of engagement with it. (Maggi Dawn)

Recovery is not managing illness; it’s discovering wellness. (The Recovery College)

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Your illness does not define you; your strength and courage does. (The Recovery College)

You are not your thoughts.

There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in. (Leonard Cohen)

Action conquers fear.

Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s courage. (Anaïs Nin)

Growth takes time.

Only look back to see how far you’ve come.

Storms don’t last forever.

This too shall pass.

You are not alone.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

#BohoBerryChallenge Day 30: Top Three 2018 Goals

I’ve had a think about this, and have come up with the following goals for 2018. My aim is:

  1. to maintain my physical and mental wellness habits, and add new ones as appropriate,
  2. to spend time in prayer and meditation every day, and
  3. to love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind. And to love my neighbor as myself.

As I do these things, I will be underpinning everything else I work toward this year.

(Image Credit: Pixabay)

The A – Z of Artful Journaling: Brusho Part III

I didn’t think there would be a Brusho Part III just yet, but I’ve been playing around with one of the techniques listed on the product information sheet and have decided it’s definitely going to become part of my artful journaling arsenal. It’s just so pretty!



You will need:

  • Brusho
  • a small, very dry paintbrush
  • bubble wrap or other textured material
  • a water spray
  • your journal
  • a hairdryer or heat tool

First, spray your bubble wrap with enough water to make it dripping wet.



Next, using your dry brush, scatter Brusho over the wet bubble wrap. I’m using turquoise and purple.



You can spray extra water on, to get the Brusho to dissolve even more.



Click on this image to see how beautiful the Brusho and water look together!



Press your journal page face down onto the bubble wrap and gently smooth it out. I used a variety of papers, rather than my journal, so I could test how it worked with each one.


Peel back the paper to reveal the pattern. I think it’s best to dry it with a hairdryer or heat tool as quickly as possible to reduce bleed-through.



And here’s how each of the papers turned out. Click on the images for a closer look. The way the different colours separate out and mix is simple gorgeous!

So, what do you think? Are you tempted to try this in your journal? What other textured materials would be good for this technique?

Thanks for reading! Bye for now.

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

The A – Z of Artful Journaling: Digital Stamps

I’m new to digital stamps; in fact, this is the first one I’ve ever owned, but I can already tell that I’m going to enjoy incorporating them into my journal. (See Sad Cat Makes Me Happy for more about this particular stamp.)

Below are all the ways I’ve used it so far:



I printed this one on mixed media paper, painted him using watercolour, then fussy cut him out and glued him onto the page. I really like this look, although I might give him a wall to sit on.



This next one is also printed on mixed media paper, but this time I coloured it in using Akashiya Fude Brush Pens. For now, I’m going to use it as a bookmark, but eventually, I’ll journal on it and turn it into a tip-in.



I printed this one on sketchbook paper and watercoloured it, but instead of fussy-cutting it out, I used my paper trimmer to make a 3 x 4 inch journal card and stuck it into my journal with a washi tape hinge, so I can flap it over and write on the back. For a closer look, click on the image.


I admit this next one is a bit weird: I printed kitty on a piece of acetate and stuck it in with a washi tape hinge down one side, then I used highlighter tape to create the bright yellow area in the middle. I think it actually looks quite cool because the tape is transulcent and you can see the stamp through it. Lastly, I stamped the date using StazOn ink.

And finally, I printed the image directly onto a sheet of 52gsm Tomoe River Paper, but it came out a bit smudged and wrinkled as my printer struggles with such thin paper. I’ll have to rustle up some 68gsm and give that a go.

So, those are all the ways I’ve used digital stamps in my artful journaling so far. How about you? What ways have you used digital stamps in your journaling?

Thanks for reading! See you soon.

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

(I received this digital stamp for free, as I am a member of the Bloobel.com design team.)

#BohoBerryChallenge Day 28: Career

I currently have no desire to have a career, and I can’t remember ever having a career plan. I’ve really just floated in whichever direction the wind has blown me.

I remember wanting to be an archaeologist once, but that was only because Indiana Jones made it look cool. After that I wanted to be an architect, but I abandoned the idea when I discovered how long you had to study for. At some point, I also wanted to be Prime Minister, and I’ve always fancied being a rock star or a novelist.

Education wise, I focused on science because I was good at it, and I loved learning about how the universe works. I studied Biology, Chemistry and Maths at A-Level and Biochemistry at university. I worked in that field for a bit, with vague dreams of winning a Nobel Prize. I started a PhD, dropped a PhD and finally went to work in a candle shop. After a year of that, I trained to be a secondary school science teacher because I remembered that I’d once caught my Biology teacher enjoying her job and had thought: I’d like to feel about my job the way she feels about her job. After completing my training, I taught for a few years, then got a bit bored and frustrated, so took my honourable discharge and became a full-time mum.

Whilst mumming full-time, for the last 16 years, I’ve done all sorts of other things that have mostly involved the voluntary teaching of children and young people in various educational fields. I’ve also enjoyed some success as a short story writer and photographer. Now I’m getting into art again – Thirty years ago, I opted to study art at GCSE, but it was over-subscribed, so I had to do Craft Design and Technology instead! I’ve always been arty and crafty, but it’s only ever been a hobby. Now that I’ve found my creative side again, though, I am open to whatever might come my way. Currently, I make pin money selling my handmade cards, but who knows what the future holds?! Maybe I will start thinking in terms of a career, but for now, I’m happy (and lucky to be able) to just float in whichever direction the wind blows me.

(Image credit: Pixabay)

The A – Z of Artful Journaling: Brusho Part II

As promised, here is my second post on how to use Brusho to create beautiful backgrounds for your journaling. For those who haven’t read my first post, it tells you what Brusho is, and shows you one way to use it. Now, without further ado, I’ll tell you about this one.

You’ll need:

  • Brusho
  • a small, very dry paintbrush
  • a larger paintbrush for spreading colour and water
  • a water spray
  • two pots of clean water
  • your journal
  • a hairdryer or heat tool

First, using a clean bush, spread some clean water onto your journal page, or spray it on if you like. (See Background Basics for more information.) Next, using your small, dry paintbrush, pick up a few granules of your chosen colour. I’m using Purple first. Tap your brush over the wet area, and let the granules fall onto the page.

And now I’m adding Scarlet. Click on the image for a closer look. You can see that the purple is made up of different colours.



Next, use a wet brush to help the colours spread around, or to dilute areas of overly-intense colour.



You can also remove excess paint and water by dabbing the page with a rag or paper towel. As with the first Brusho background, it’s best to dry the page with a hairdryer or heat tool to prevent bleed-through.


And this is what it looks like when dry:

With this method, I think you get have less control over the intensity of the paint, and the granules don’t dissolve as thoroughly – once they hit the wet page, they tend to stick where they are – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! It’s also worth noting that it will behave differently on papers of different absorbancy.

Brusho can be used in other ways in your journal. You can:

  • spray a textured surface (like bubble wrap or a stamp) with water, sprinkle a little Brusho over the top and then press your journal page face-down onto it.
  • paint using diluted Brusho as you would with any other watercolour.
  • mix unique colours by mixing the granules either before or after the addition of water.
  • mix Brusho with acrylic, gesso or texture paste to create different effects.

So, are you tempted to give Brusho a go? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading! Until next time …

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

#BohoBerryChallenge Day 27: Education

My mum has been known to refer to me as a perpetual student because I’m always taking a course of one kind or another. This year, I’ve been a student at my local Recovery College, where I’ve learned an incredible amount about mental health, recovery, wellness, resilience, hope, agency and opportunity. I’ve learned a lot about myself there too. I plan to continue being a student at the college throughout 2018 and have already enrolled in a bunch of Spring courses.

I’ve also learned a tonne of new things about arts, crafts, creativity, planning and mental health from watching YouTube, so I’ll definitely keep watching those videos too. In the summer I went on a couple of mindfulness and meditation retreats as well as a watercolour workshop. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for similar events next year.

One thing I’m really looking forward to in January is the Life Drawing course I’ve signed up for. I really want to master drawing the human figure, so this will be a great place to start!

Cooking Out Loud: Emergency Soup

So, today we were supposed to be visiting my mum who lives 75 miles away, but this morning we woke up to snow – the first of the year. Mr Bowers is poorly, so I was going to take the kids, and leave him at home to recuperate. This would have been my longest drive – 150 miles in one day – since starting to drive again in July. I was kind of looking forward to it, as I now feel ready to attempt longer journeys behind the wheel, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to attempt such a journey in heavy snow. All that’s bye-the-bye though – we’ve stayed home. The kids took themselves off to the park to build a snow man, so I thought I’d make soup for lunch to warm them up when they returned. This is my emergency soup recipe, as it’s made from frozen vegetables, which I keep in the freezer – obviously – for days such as this. It’s a real winter warmer. To make it, you’ll need:

  • 700g frozen butternut squash cubes
  • 150g frozen sliced mixed peppers
  • 8 frozen shallots
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1L hot vegetable stock
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC (400F, 180ºC fan, GM 6)
  2. Spray a non-stick baking tray with a little oil, then spread the vegetables on it. You can give them a spray of oil too if you like.
  3. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until cooked and starting to brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and place in a non-stick cooking pot with the vegetable stock.
  5. Using a hand blender, carefully puree the mixture, making sure the stock and vegetables are thoroughly combined.
  6. Serve immediately with bread and butter, or let it cool for reheating later.

Let me know if you try it!

The A – Z of Artful Journaling: B is for Brusho Part I

Hello and welcome to this post on creating beautiful backgrounds for your journal using Brusho, highly pigmented watercolour crystals made in the UK by COLOURCRAFT.

Brusho comes in little pots containing 15g of powdered pigment. You can buy them individually, or in sets. I have the set of 12 which costs about £20 depending on where you buy it from.

Top Row: Scarlet, Bright Red, Orange, Yellow

Middle Row: Lemon, Leaf Green, Emerald Green, Ultramarine

Bottom Row: Turquoise, Purple, Dark Brown, Black.

Once you start using Brusho, one of the first things you’ll notice is that a little goes a VERY long way! I created these puddles of colour with water and just a few granules of each of the powders. I think the most controlled way of getting the powder out of the pots is to gently lift it out with a very dry brush. The instruction leaflet suggests using a pepper pot or poking a hole in the lid to make a shaker, but I think this would lead to adding more than you really need.

Before trying these paints in my journal, I swatched them out using the puddles I’d created above. You can see how vibrant and saturated they are – click on the image for a closer look. Obviously, if you want a more intense colour you just add more powder, or less water. (The black came out more of a grey-purple, but that was because I only used a few granules.) I did wet-on-dry and wet-in-wet for all the colours, and they took beautifully to the watercolour paper, producing lovely washes. Another thing you’ll notice about Brusho, is that some of the colours are made up of a mixture of pigments, the greens, purple and brown for example – when they first dissolve you can see all the colours dispersing.

Now, onto using Brusho to make a background.

Obviously, you can make puddles of colour and simply paint them onto the page however you’d like (See Background Basics for one idea.), but you could also try this blotting method I learned from Marta at Maremi Small Art. You’ll need:

  • some Brusho
  • a craft mat or something nonabsorbent and non-staining like a non-stick reusable cooking sheet
  • a very dry paintbrush
  • a water spray
  • your journal
  • a hairdryer or heat tool

First, spray your mat with some water – just enough so it beads up.

Next, using your brush, pick up a small amount of powder and drop it onto the beaded water. You will probably need to tap the brush to knock off the pigment. Be careful not to get your brush wet, or the powder will stay stuck to it. You can spray the mat again if you need to dilute your colours further.

Use as many colours as you like. I chose turquoise and emerald green. You can see that these two pigments are made up of more than one colour. The green is made up of multiple greens and also has yellow in it, and the turquoise has at least two shades of blue. (Click on the image for a closer look.)


To get the colour onto your journal page, just press your page face-down onto the mat. If you’re using thin paper, like 52gsm Tomoe River Paper, don’t press too hard. If you press too hard for too long, you can actually force the colour through the paper and out onto the next page!


Now, lift up your journal, and take a look!

If you’re not happy with the distribution of colour, you can press it down again and again until you are.


I’ve found it’s best to dry the page with a hairdryer or heat tool to prevent the paint bleeding through the page.



And here it is, the finished page. You can see how the paint has run and dried and spread and mixed, and you can still see some of the individual pigment granules dotted about. I love the variety of colours and effects the Brusho has left on the page.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting about other ways you can use Brusho in your journal. What about you? Have you used Brusho or similar powders in your journaling? What effects have you been able to achieve with them?

Thanks for reading! Bye for now.

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List