Time for Tea!

Teatem Pole

Hello friends!

I hope all is good with you, we are currently enjoying some lovely spring weather here, a bit of sunshine and warmth makes everything look and feel pretty good.  It probably won’t last so I’m making the most of it while I can.

I’m now a third of the way through the radiotherapy treatment and I can’t wait for it to be over.  I think my head must be expanding because I swear that mask gets tighter every day!  I really hate being encased in it, but I’m a good patient so I don’t make any fuss about it, I try and keep calm while it’s on and breathe a mighty sigh of relief when they come and release me from it.  Still I’m sure it’s worth it and it will soon be over.

This is another page from my Tikis and Totems journal.  I decided to do something completely different and I made a Teatem Pole instead of a Totem Pole.  I’m British and we are famous for our tea drinking so I think it’s appropriate that we have a Teatem Pole to honour our heritage 🙂

I didn’t do too much penwork on this page, here is the before and after images:

Teatem Pole before and after

Take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love AJ 🙂

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2015 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Totems

Totems

Hello friends!

How are you doing?  I am doing well and all is good here.

The page above is the first page inside my Tikis and Totems Journal inspired by the Artstronauts Club.  You have to be a member of the club to see the full contents of the website, but it’s not expensive to join and it’s mega-value for money 🙂

I have started with the radiotherapy treatment now, I’ve had three sessions so far and now I’ve got the weekend off.  Next week I have 5 sessions, then the week after 4 sessions and in the final week 3 sessions.  Each session takes about 20 minutes, but I am away from home for several hours, because of the travel and the inevitable waiting around, but that’s OK.  I am doodling at every chance I get 🙂

Having the face mask on is REALLY claustrophobic and I have to concentrate on my breathing (and silent chanting) to stay calm.  It’s just about bearable because I know that it will soon finish, but it’s definitely not pleasant.  That mask fits my face REALLY tight.

I have had so much time off work that I am finally going from full pay to half pay this month. That’s a bit of a blow but fortunately I do have savings so we will be able to manage until I get back to work.  It must be really difficult for people who don’t get sick pay, who are self-employed or who don’t have savings.  Dealing with cancer is difficult enough as it is without having to worry about money as well.  I am so lucky that I don’t have to worry about our finances at the moment.

It looks now like I will be returning to work in the second week in June but we are going to get away for a week before that.  I have booked us a self contained chalet on a hillside somewhere on the south coast of England and not too far away from home, for the first week of June,  I’m really looking forward to a week off-line and away from normal life before I start my gentle and phased return to work.   We don’t really have anything planned just a week away with just the two of us.  Luckily a good friend is coming to house/cat sit for us so The Boys will be looked after while we are away.

I am guessing that even when I return to work I will still be monitored to see if I am and remain clear of the cancer, but I feel pretty good so I don’t think I have too much to worry about on that front.  I am looking forward to getting a normal life back though, it’s been pretty tough this last 6 months.

Here is my page with just collage compared to finished page:

Page 1 before andafter

 

Have a good week and I’ll see you soon.

Big love AJ 🙂 xxx

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2015 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Weary…

You got this, Keep going

Hello friends

I hope all is good with you, I am doing fine, but I am really weary.

I had my second round of chemo 4 days ago and it has surprised me just how extremely tired I felt afterwards.  It is pretty tiring just sitting in a reclining chair for 7 hours while various drugs are dripped into my system, but let’s be honest many people have to endure far worse things than that and it’s all for my own good.  I knew that chemo would make me tired but after the first round I was OK until I stopped taking the steroids but this time the fatique hit me almost straight away.  So I’ve been doing lots of resting.  I spent most of Friday (the first day after the chemo) just wrapped up on the sofa, either sleeping or watching tv.  On Saturday I ventured out for a walk in the town and tried to do some shopping, but by the time I got home I was shattered.  Later my brother and his wife, Mu, who came over from France for the weekend, came to visit me.  It was lovely to see them and we had a good chat.  They gave me some really lovely hand and moisturising cream which is good because I’ve also been told that chemo dries out the skin.  After they left I spent the rest of the day resting.

Yesterday we all had lunch at my parents house, that is Mum & Dad, Mike & Mu (from France), Dave and Jen (my other brother and sister-in-law) and T and me.  Mum did a good job of creating roast dinner for 8 especially as 4 of us don’t eat meat and we had to have something different from the rest.  Mum never thinks her dinners are good enough, (but honestly Mum it was good and) all the plates were empty by the end of the meal.  I was so exhausted though I didn’t really participate too well in the socialising, but I think they all understood.

Today I’ve been feeling a bit better but I stayed off work to have more rest.  I did go for a short walk this afternoon because it was cold, but dry and sunny and I felt like I needed to move my legs and later I did a bit of easy sorting out of papers.  I’m not sure how it will be tomorrow as I’ve no more steroids to take so I may be even more fatigued, but I’ll just have to wait and see how I feel when I get up.  I would like to get back to work before the end of the week though if I can.

The good news is I haven’t felt ill just tired and a few other minor side effects but nothing serious.  Being tired means you have to rest and that’s all right. It does mean that there are lot’s things that are not getting done, but that’s OK too – apart from the Christmas shopping which is beginning to cause me some anxiety.

So rest is good and sometimes it helps to quiet everything down and just centre on the moment.  That happens mostly for me when I just sit and doodle in my journal.  This Warrior Women journal is really special to me it’s really helping me focus on how I can best look after myself and learn from this journey.

The image above is from the warrior women journal and I currently have about the same amount of hair as the girl in the picture.  My hair came out really fast but I’ve been left with a very thin layer of stubble, maybe that will come out this week?  Do you know what? Even having no hair isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, it’s just strange, a new experience, not exactly fun yet, but I’m working on that 😉

The quote says “Sometimes the strength within you is not a big fiery flame for all to see, it is just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly “You got this, keep going'”

I hope all is good and wonderful in your part of the world.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The love you make

The Love you Make

Hello friends

I hope all is well with you.

The Arts Festival is over now for another year and it was a great success, I really enjoyed it this year.  The artwork, created by a local artist and local youth groups was outstanding and the opening concert was very moving.  All week there was stuff going on.  A really great effort by the team.

Since then I finished a journal I started over a year ago and the image above is the back cover.  It started out it’s life as a child’s board book that I picked up in a charity shop for a few pence.  I peeled off the plastic covering from all the pages, gave them a coat of gesso, then coloured them, added collage and penwork.  The book had a pocket in the back cover but I sealed it up completely and just left the flap.

I’ve covered the outside of this journal with strips of clear packing tape so, hopefully, the collage elements won’t lift.  You can see where the tape overlaps and I realise that might bother a lot of people, but it doesn’t bother me, the tape gives the cover a high gloss finish that I like.

Here is what’s under the flap.

The secret under the flap

 

And here is the finished journal.  I started this journal over a year ago in Teesha Moore and Jane Davenport’s Mermaid Circus 1 online workshop, but I only did one page and the rest of it has been completed as part of Teesha’s Artstronauts Club.  There are only 12 pages in total including the front and back covers, but I usually have a number of different projects on the go at the same time so that’s why it takes so long to complete anything.  I always get a great sense of achievement when a journal is finished.

Finsiehd journal

Have a good week and I’ll see you soon (ish).

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Getting Away With It

Getting Away With It

Hello friends

Thank you for your kind comments after my last post.  To be honest I am still feeling conflicted about the whole blog thing and I need to give it some thought.

In the meantime I have finished the front cover of my board book.  Just got the back cover to do now, but that could take a few weeks at current rate of progress.  I sealed the collage with clear packing tape, so it has a gloss finish.  You can see the lines where the tape overlaps, but I don’t mind that.

I hope you are keeping well and happy.  I’m really enjoying the sunshine and long hours of daylight at the moment.

See you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Universal Force

Universal Force

Hello friends!

Another Sunday and that’s another week flown by!  Everything here is fine. T is recovering well but his doctor is insisting he takes another week off work, just to be on the safe side.

Tomorrow is a Bank Holiday anyway so we are both off work and we will probably try to get a bit more of the tiling done.  In a day it’s unlikely that we will finish it but it will be good to move it on even if it’s only a little bit.

I had a busy week, I had to go to a team meeting on Monday which took up all day and the rest of the week was spent catching up.

On Thursday I began to feel unwell at work and when I woke up on Friday I had a sore throat and aches all over my body.  I phoned in sick and spent the whole day in my PJs and most of the time in bed although I did get up several times for short periods.  I felt pretty rough all day though which was a bit worrying as on Saturday I had to make an early start and, with my friend, take our exhibition boards to a one day conference of the IW Family History Society.

Fortunately I did feel better when I woke up on Saturday and I dosed myself up with medicine before I left home at 07:30.  We had a good but tiring day.  Our exhibit was one of many local history displays and it was good to meet up with old friends and chat and meet new people.  Some people gave us information and others we were able to help. There were a number of talks throughout the day at the conference but sadly we didn’t get to hear them as we were ‘on duty’.  We were both really tired when we finally got home at about 7pm.

Today I’m feeling better again so I suppose I only had what is known as a ’24hr bug’, phew!

The page above is in my 16-page journal, I like this page, it’s zingy and fun!

A good friend of ours is currently in Nepal at Boudhanath Stupa, it’s a very wonderful and powerful place.  T and I went there way back in the 1970s. It’s pretty special to know that a good friend is there right now.

Boudhanath Stupa, Nepal

Public Domain Image of Boudhanath Stupa.

Our friend is doing 108 circuits of this magical place and performing a healing ceremony at a given time tomorrow.  All I have to do is be in a quiet place, relax and focus on my heart for 15 minutes.  I know, this could sound really crazy, but “There is force in the universe, which, if we permit it, will flow through us and produce miraculous results”, so said Mr Gandhi. 🙂

Have a great week.

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Live, Love, Laugh!

Live, Love, Laugh

Hello friends!

I am sorry I’ve been missing for a while, but things got crazy and difficult here for a few days.

So who was it that had the brilliant idea of putting in a new kitchen!????

It’s supposed to be finished by now isn’t it, but it’s not!

Last weekend (Easter) we spent three whole days tiling, but were making very slow progress.  T was clearly struggling all weekend and by Sunday afternoon it was obvious he was becoming very unwell.  He has Bipolar disorder but it is controlled by medication and he has been well for several years now.  I think the stress of the never-ending work in the kitchen, and the mass of other jobs that are being left while we are doing the work, triggered an episode. Things got really difficult for a while.

On Monday I let him rest and carried on tiling on my own.  I would say that now two thirds of the tiling is complete and it looks great, but I’ve no idea when the last third will get done. The last cupboard has been built but still has to be hung on the wall.  So not a great deal of progress since the last time I wrote.  I am going to be busy with other stuff now right up until the end of May.  So perhaps it will get done in the Summer now, or perhaps we will just live with an unfinished kitchen?

By Monday afternoon it was obvious that T needed more than rest so I phoned for medical help and I was lucky that someone from the Mental Health team agreed to come and visit us at home and bring some medication.  After that things began to calm down and T’s mood (which had been deep despair and agitation) began to lift.

So that’s why I’ve not been around and haven’t had any time for making art either!

The page above is a page I did at the Art Journaling workshop I taught on 29 March.  It didn’t come out quite as I expected.  I had spent most of the day trying to reassure the workshop participants that you can’t really do anything wrong in art journaling and if you make a mistake it can usually be fixed, Everyone was quietly working away happily.

My page originally had a black and white image of the face of a pretty girl cut from a magazine and for some reason I decided to colour it in with Copic Marker pen.  Big MISTAKE!  it looked truly horrible.  Oh No!  what to do now???  I’ve told everyone you can’t make mistakes and I’ve just made a massive one.  In the end I picked up a white Sharpie poster paint pen and completely blanked out the ruined face and restarted from there.  At the end of the workshop when we did our ‘show and tell session’ I had to explain what happened to my page.  I guess it was a good example though to show people that when things do go wrong the ‘golden rule’ is Don’t Panic just find a workaround.

So that’s how things are with me, I hope all is well with you and I’ll try and be more prompt with my blogging in future.

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.