Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Thursday, 30 October 2008

An odd experience

Taken in Brockenhurst, the New Forest, April this year.

I've been doing "rapid cycling".
No, this doesn't mean I'm entering the Tour De France.
It means I had a seriously low low patch 2 weeks ago, which lasted about 5 days, then straight up into a height of energy and creativity, and now I'm levelling out....

I've never known such a fast turnaround. And I had got so low it surprised me- no matter how many years of it, you always forget what it feels like down there. Then the big burst of energy and creativity...

I'm going to record here what this was like, because I shall forget! Whenever someone mentions bi-polar, the impression is that, hey, if you're going to get depression, this is the type to get, cos at least you get the "up" side. Hmmm....

OK. It's easy to imagine the low part of the roller-coaster being bad. Everyone has off-days, so everyone can imagine bad ones. This time around I sank into a place where I had to cut my own forearm with my sharpest nails, so as to feel something. ANYTHING. Anything other than deadness and fog. It all seems perfectly logical from the inside at the time. When I realised what I was doing I showed my partner- not attention seeking- I showed him so that I'd stop. Self-harmers hide their wounds. I know that. So the first thing to do was to show him. Then I bit off the offending nails(!)

My head felt like it was in a brace, being pulled tighter and tighter. I couldn't handle anything. I just wanted to scream. The best thing was when I went to bed with only a low light and pulled the covers over me. Rest your head.... rest your head.... stay for hours, quiet, safe.

So that was the low. But how could an "Up" possibly be unenjoyable?

OK. When I was in my teens I had a (insert swearword here)boyfriend who was so tight, when he drove down hills he would turn off the engine to save fuel.
Imagine this on a grander scale. You are in a roller coaster, you are in the car at the front. The train has come off the rails and you are riding through the air at top speed with everyone screaming in your ears, faster faster faster.

If you relax you might enjoy the ride, but it's scary, isn't it? NO CONTROL. That's the point. On and on. Not knowing when it will stop.

You have 36 hours straight, no sleep, tons of energy. Then you might sleep for 4, maybe 5 hours, and then you're off again. You feel like a kid who wants to go and knock on everyone's door and shout "COME ON! COME OUT TO PLAY!". Your heartbeat is racing and you are ALWAYS aware of it. You can feel it. Even when you do try to sleep, because your body aches and you feel sick and dizzy, you can't- your heartbeat feels like a butterfly in your chest, and your head is full of ideas, tumbling over and over like multi-coloured socks in a tumble-dryer. All you can do is lie awake and watch them.

I got a lot done in my spurt of energy. But I'm glad to be levelling out again. Now I feel more like me.

The p-doc recommended a "mood stabilizer" drug. I refused lithium. But she suggested carbamazepine or sodium valproate.

Look them up! The main, most common side effects are weight gain, acne and nausea. Great! What is the point of giving someone with depression something that will make them a fat, spotty muldoon? Especially as I am already overweight and partial to the occasional spottiness.

So I've ruled them out. Till next time. Already the memory of it is fading. You can remember words and actions, even intentions and thoughts. But you can't accurately recall pain. Good thing too, really.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Madonna & Child - end result

.... scroll down to the next post to see what I found at the book fair :) ....

Here's how the Madonna & Child drawing turned out:

..... in the end I drew it again for card use, simplifying the lines even more. I got the idea of putting her inside an arched window from a design I saw somewhere in parchment craft.
I am *really* happy with this one!

Bookfair- bargains and a surprise!

The book fair was great fun. We got there at the opening, 9.30am., and joined an already quite long queue! I think we stayed about 2 hours.

We were restrained this year. In previous years we have had to go out and buy new shelves to put the books on, sort of negating the bargain effect :) Ha! This year we had 4 carrier bags' full, which I sorted into one box when we got home.

My Luvbug is away for a few days, and I've set myself the challenge of finding a new place for this lot by the time he gets back. I need to be able to see them in order to remember them and actually read them. On the other hand, I want them tidied away. Hmmm. Not. That. Easy.

If you're interested, click on the photo and you might be able to see some titles...., I think a few are missing... I have a couple next to my bed already.... anyway, I fess up to the history and art books. Luvbug chose the accounting and puzzles. We both wanted the language books and erm, guess who wanted the cat book? :)HA! Look at all the pencil sharpenings on this carpet! I promise I will vacuum, ok? I promise. Soon. Hahaha.

OK. We went through to a smaller hall to pay, and had to pass through the children's section on the way. Look what I spotted on the games table....

"Anita's Art Stamps: Rubber Stamping Starter Kit"

The box is in a bit of a state, yes? Looks ancient. So, I wasn't expecting too much on the inside. In fact, if a crowd of people coming through hadn't blocked my path I might not have stopped to investigate further.... glad I did! Look....Everything on the inside is in pristine condition! 3 unused stamps (including a cat! Hurray!), an unused stamp pad (on its own this would have cost more than the kit), stickers, pencils, cards and envelopes. All for £3. Oh! And that booklet is really good, too.

*** *** ***

I haven't heard back from the second card shop yet re the ones I handed in on Friday:

Cards batched up with some all new, singing, dancing, letter-headed paper and business card, all thanks to a free Print Shop cover CD, and a patient partner who lost me to playing on it for hours.

BUT! I have acquired a spot in a new indoor craft market in town. They have only a short lease. They will be there till Christmas, definitely, and possibly Easter.

Anyway, I've paid £10 for my spot- that's a one-off payment- and after that they take 20% of what I make.

Now I have to supply a small table, take it in there and set it all up.
It has to be only about 2ft x 2ft. Is that 2ft square or 2 square foot? I can never remember. Me and Luvbug had this conversation a few weeks ago and both confused each other. And he has A level Maths, but still couldn't remember. This is what talking to me about anything mathematical does to your brain. And I used to work in stockbroking. Aren't you glad I got out before the current problems? You think it's bad now, but you have no idea what the world escaped from at my last redundancy...

There are already quite a few cards there, but I shall put some of mine on the stall. I am also doing notecard sets and needle-felting.

I want to try out those new stamps, too, and get into the book on colour-pencil drawings. Oh! And my two weekly challenges.... and I have two appointments in town this week... and the washing is building up.... oh yes. And vacuuming. LOL!

Whilst my other half is away (till Wednesday night) I'm going to be busy busy!!!

(if you want to get a free signature like this, click on it and it should take you to the website that does them- try it! Even if you decide not to in the end, it's quite fun to see them do your name in about 100 different fonts- on screen in just a minute or two!!!)

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Vogueing Madonna

Ha! Yep still about at 1.40am.... oh dear! And I have to be up and out in the morning, as we are off to an enormous book fair, one that only takes place annually- they spend the rest of the year collecting books!!!! All the funds go to the NSPCC and we usually come home with bags full......
anyway, look what I've just drawn....
I drew this, then scanned it in. I plan to trace it onto card, go over the lines in pen and ink, then watercolour it as a 'stained glass' picture for another card....

.........but while scanning and cropping, I accidently switched it to this way round: I've saved both versions and I'm going to use them both, but I think I actually prefer it the second way round, not the way I drew it! Haha!
Someone arty once told me that if you draw a picture and think that there is something wrong with it, but you just can't work out what, have a look at it in a mirror- then whatever is wrong jumps out at you. And this really works! I wonder what they would say about preferring the version in the mirror!
Do you have a preference?
btw, if you want one of these fancy signatures, click on my name and it links to the site where you can make one!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Hullo! Thanks for all your comments on my last post... wow! And it was a Post Of The Day on David McMahon's site, too. THANKYOU!! I'm very honoured :)

Please bear with me re. getting round to visit your blogs - Bob and Dilly want me to help them update their blogs this evening; I understand they each have some photo's to put up.

Also, I am busy trying to do some paperwork, a decent typed letter with a nice letterhead- as there is a place interested in looking at some of my cards to sell and I want to take them in tomorrow. I want to do it right this time, so I'm not just doing a written note with my contact details, I'm doing something a wee bit more professional. Ha! Or trying to....

What this has amounted to so far is playing about in Print Shop and printing out free backing sheets from various crafty websites- simply beacuse my ink cartridge keeps telling its empty and wants changing, and I refuse to until it has spat out its last drop of every colour ;)

Oh Look! Roz of Rozie's Mumblings has given me an award!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I have to pass it on to 7 others. It's going to be tough to choose but I shall work on it and do another post for it soon.
Right! Imust get on and do some work- and then cook dinner..... chicken in cream and chorizo sauce, I think.... mmmmm....

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

And NOW I have SAND in my pants.

Note to USA readers: by pants, I mean underpants, shorts or panties, ok? ;) (LOL)


A few years ago I was listening to a Saturday morning show on Radio 4, one headed up by the late John Peel. A theme had been forming over the previous weeks, on family sayings.

It had started out as different names for the remote control. For example, I call it the bodger, as did all my family. My partner calls it the yolk, which meant remote in his family. You get the idea. (What do you call yours?)

OK. This particular morning produced the weirdest saying of all: "And NOW I have sand in my pants."

The listener who had written in with this one explained that, as a youth, he had been dragged off to a Venture-Scout Outward-bound weekend. Everything went wrong, starting with having to go against his will in the first place.

When they went for a run, he tripped. When they climbed, he fell over. He forgot to pack his lunch. When they went canoeing, and had to tip over upsidedown, his glasses fell off. He followed them down and crawled about trying to find them. Crawling up the riverbank, spluttering while his friends all laughed, he said, with complete seriousness and utter venom, "And NOW I have SAND in my pants!"

And so, among his family and friends, from that day on, this was the phrase people used when they meant that they had met the very last straw. The final insult. The cherry on the cake of blah.

Good, isn't it?

Anyway. That news I got yesterday was the sand in my pants. I've had a bad week or so and the effect on my brain has been to shift into a lower gear. Those out there who've been there will know what I mean. If you don't, imagine when your computer goes wrong and will only open up in safe mode. This means only the very essential processes will function. (Oh, and they throw it into black and white, too. You never thought you'd long to see that microsoft blue did you? But in safe mode it's like when you've missed a period- Oh God, please, no, I promise to be good from now on, just make it come back, pleeeeeeease!)

Sheez I just remembered my partner's mum visits here. Ooops. Hullo!

Where was I. Oh yes. Here's another saying: I used to know someone who would call the week I'm having "a week to throw sh*t at". And she wouldn't have used the star.

But maybe things are changing. I checked my email and my little brother (little as in 10 inches taller but 9 years younger) has got a job. Horray! He had been looking for a few months and was getting sooooo depressed.

I think it may have been a desperate call from him last week that started all this actually. He sounded so low, I was seriously worried about him and begged him to see a doctor. He said, "What for? Pills? No! That's YOUR way of dealing with it. Not MINE." It knocked me back, it really did. Antidepressants have been a necessity round here for a long long time. I won't accept any stigma about it. If I had diabetes I'd have meds. If I had a heart condition I'd have meds. I have depression, I have meds. Big deal. Move along please, nothing to see here....

I went to bed earlier but my head was too busy. So I'm up sipping tea and eating crunchy nut bars and watching Law & Order with the subtitles on. I wonder who does those? Maybe I could get a job doing that. Maybe I wouldn't have to leave the house then, and I could lessen the danger of getting sand in my pants ;)

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Update on The Art Cafe....

After a week and a half and still no feedback on the cards I handed in, I rang them just now-

basically the answer is no-
after the "we don't seem to have any space for them at the moment" (Hmmm... that's odd, with all that empty space upstairs....!!! Besides, if this were the case, why offer to look at any?)
she said that "it was thought that the images used weren't all your own" ....so I explained about rubber stamps and water-colouring, and pictures/images/materials/papers etc. sold specially for craft purposes. Seems they have never heard of the Angel Policy used by craft companies, meaning that you can use their rubber stamps/papers/images etc for reselling. Seems the idea was completely new to them! Hey ho! Pity they didn't think to contact me and let me know. Perhaps then I could have explained to them about the materials used. Besides, I didn't use rubber stamps on them all....

Obviously it would be better to sell a piece of cardboard that someone has stuck one piece of paper and wire on and charge £3 for it. (That seems to be the standard of handmade cards sold round here....!)

What riles me is the way no one answered my emails or rang to let me have a decision.
BUT WHAT REALLY GETS TO ME is the patronising implication that I don't know what I'm doing -when they are ones who don't know what they're talking about! Instead of giving the cards a quick look and deciding, "oh, these aren't original!" why not contact me and ask me whether they are or not?

Take a look round the other blogs that do crafts- start with the ones on my link list. No two cards look the same. Unoriginal? I think not! There are dozens of crafts companies designing and selling products for us to use in our projects- all with an Angel Policy that states we may resell them. Get yourselves informed before you judge, please!!!!

This week's layout challenges

First of all, here is my pen & ink & watercolour "stained glass" pic from last week, made up as a card at last :)I thought it best to keep it simple. The papers are all DCWV.

OK! Now on to this week's challenges....

The challenge over at The Secret Crafter is simply "Blue, white, and a little bit of snowflake." Hmmm... didn't have much in the way of blue, can you believe? I had to download some papers and get my thinking head on. This is what I came up with:....can't get it to photograph very well.... click on the photo and you'll see it a bit bigger...Close up of chain stitch round image (I haven't done this for years and I'm really chuffed I remembered how! LOL!):


Blue stripe paper and background paper downloaded FREE from Medleyblog.com.
Image stamped onto cotton paper from Paperchase and coloured with wate
rcolour pencils & a waterbrush.
The little snowflake stamp was a free gift from Crafty Individuals. -See link in the left hand column of this blog. (Have you ordered from them yet?! Every time I do I get unmounted red rubber stamps free!)
I've stamped the snowflake with a ColorBox Fluid Chalk inkpad in French Blue
Embossing is with Heat It Up! in Snowflake Tinsel. (bargain- bought yesterday from the ex-demo basket in my local craft shop. Horray!)
Crochet Flower from Angel Crafts- £1.75 for 5, lots of different colours.
Little crystal tag in the crochet flower is from

Now for the Sketch Saturday challenge.

Here is this week's layout sketch:Here's my attempt! As I had lots of blue out I decided to stick to the colour scheme!
Again, trouble photographing it this week. Maybe my camera just doesn't like blue :)
Sources mostly as before, except for the background paper which is a free download from Crafts Beautiful. You have to sign up for their email newsletter, but it doesn't become bothersome or bring junkmail; and once you do you have access to free downloads including papers,motifs, patterns and project ideas.
I love the effect of the fluid chalk inkpad embossed with the snowflake tinsel powder:I enjoyed doing these. I might stick with this colour scheme for a while.....

I want to get on and do some more original drawings, take a break from rubber stamps. Here's the rubber stamped/water coloured/embossed work-in-progress at the moment though. I did these last night!......imsomnia, & nocturnal phases, have their uses!
It was my 2nd Blogoversary yesterday, and I have some Blog Candy to put up. I have to go out this after noon though, so check back!

Bye for now!

Friday, 17 October 2008

First concertina card & first pop-up

I'd seen people do these but these are my first...

I had lots of small images ready to go, so I decided to combine them into one big card.
Here is the front:
Here's the concertina opened out:Some close-ups of the images (all stamped and watercoloured):
And here is the back:
Over to the first pop-up card...
Here is the front:
....and here is the inside:***

STILL no answer from the Art Cafe. It's a week since I dropped my cards in to them. I emailed them yesterday too. Waah. Getting so I just want to no, yes or no, now. And I want my cards back if the answer is no!!! Starting to have panicky thoughts: like, what if they lost them??? Oh Help!!!!!

Special Offer!

This might be of interest to crafters and would-be crafters alike. I've signed up for it and thought I'd pass it on.

There is a special offer at the moment on subscriptions to a magazine called Cardmaking & Papercraft . You can sign up for 5 issues for £5. That includes postage, too. There is a free gift with every issue of this magazine which is usually worth more than £1 on its own!

Here is the link to the website with the special offer: ... Cardmaking & Papercraft...

Here is the link to the magazine's website. (The offer is open to UK residents only, but you can still have a good browse round their website!)

Here's how it works:
You need to set up a direct debit. After 5 months you can stay subscribed and pay £17.70 every 6 months, which is still about a 5th off the normal shop price- OR, if you don't want any more, just cancel when you get your 5th copy. I've done this sort of thing before with magazines, newspapers, insurance, etc., and have had no trouble cancelling. They just hope you'll forget to!

If you'd like it for Christmas ideas, order it soon, as it says it takes up to 14 days to get your first copy!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

More "stained glass"

Here are the cards I made from the little stained glass pictures from my last post:I quite like them!

Give it a go! Painting them is so relaxing. I did them on a laptray, in an armchair, in front of the telly with a cup of tea:)

Here is another beautiful stained glass-affect stamp. It was up for auction. I did bid, but didn't win. So saved a picture of it, printed this out, and had a go at drawing it. Obviously, because of copyright, I wouldn't be able to do this a lot, not without substantially changing the design. So this is isn't something to sell. But I think the result might make a lovely card for someone special.

Print-out of saved stamp photo, left; my drawing, middle. Trusty water-colour pencils and water-brush-pen on the right :)

Here is a close-up of the stamp:
....and a close-up of my drawing:
The expression on mine isn't so graceful, but never mind. I think I'll go over the hair a tad more to make it browner. Otherwise, I'm really pleased with this :)

Monday, 13 October 2008

Creative "cheating"

I saw this little stamp online ( at Charmed Cards & Crafts) and thought, well, maybe I could draw that....
If you click on the photo, it should come up larger.
The circles are hand drawn so a wee bit wobbly. That almost-oval was done by drawing round my computer mouse!!!! I coloured them in with my trusty old watercolour pencils and water-brush. The waterfast black pen was one for writing onto DVDs and CDs :)

OK on to my second "creative cheat"....

Look at this amazing card!!! It was made by Kristin.She achieved the brilliant sky by using a brayer, which is a special little roller that you can ink up from your inkpads or refill bottles.

I loved this image but don't have a brayer. I did experiment with a few substitutes but in the end went back to the watercolour pencils :)

Here are my results. Nothing like as great as Kristin's, and I think a brayer will remain on my wishlist. But I did really enjoy doing them. They took about 10 minutes each. The trees are drawn with that DVD pen again!I put these here because I wanted to say that if you see something you like, have a go at something similar- even if you don't have the tools.

I've discovered these last few months that building up a supply of craft tools is potentially very expensive- so you have to look for sales in the online stores and hunt for bargains on Ebay. The search is part of the fun. And finding other ways to do things is, too.

Thanks for the inspiration, Kristin!

"Blog Candy"

Ever heard of Blog Candy? Before I got into the Crafty side of blogging, and the Crafters' community in Blogger, I hadn't heard of this! Maybe they are all just a really generous bunch!

Anyway, it simply means that someone is putting up a load of stuff -blog candy- FREE to one of his/her readers.

Bunny-Zoe is generously giving away these two Dragon Stamps in celebration of her birthday. To be in with a chance of winning, please visit her blog and, after you've enjoyed your browse around at all her clever crafty stuff, leave a comment on the Blog Candy post there, then put a post about it on your own blog.

The names of everyone who leaves a comment will be put into a hat and one name will be drawn at random 6pm today (GMT). She will post worldwide- so go for it!

This is the first blog candy draw I have taken part in- Dilly told me that if I didn't at least join in she would get me with her pointy stick!!!!

It's my birthday 8th November- maybe I should look around and see what I can put together for some Blog Candy of my own to give away :)

Sunday, 12 October 2008

This week's layout challenges

Click on the logo to go to the Sketch Saturday Site for more examples!

Here is this week's layout sketch:and here is my attempt, although it took ages, lots of changing and fiddling, and, as always is the case when that happens, I'm not pleased with the end result!
Those large flowers are cut from cork! I like them- so different! For the moment, I'm afraid I can't remember where I got them from. If you want to know, I'll see if I can root around and find out for you. Just let me know.... they come plain, I doodled the 'stitches' in, and added silver brads.

The dragonfly and text stamps are from Crafty Individuals. See left-hand column of this blog for a link. They have lots of nice stuff, and always seem to add a free gift to your parcel :)

The ovals are hand drawn and cut as I don't have any fancy cutters! And I couldn't find any of the Sakura Stardust pens that lots of crafters out there are raving about, but these Glitter Gel pens from WH Smith are made by Mitsubishi and flow really well. They were also half price so that makes them extra good. You have to buy them individually so I picked up half a dozen. I used an orange one here to doodle some arches and circles on the green oval, and a blue one on the dragonfly.

*** *** ***

I thought I'd try a second challenge this week, one from The Secret Crafter's Saturday Challenge.

Here's their layout sketch:
and here's my go:
the "thank you" stamp is from the same Crafty Individuals set as the dragonfly one above. The sparrow picture is from them too, actually! The papers are K & Co, I think. I'm not sure as the front cover has come off the pad :) but it's the one with all the owls in!!! I've drawn swirls with another glitter pen.....added a few sparkly Papermania flowers top left.

Those other four flowers are real, pressed pansies:I quite like this one but wonder if it would have been better on a smaller card.

Hope they made you smile :)

the cork flowers are from Bubblyfunk!! See the link in the left-hand column of this blog.