See what happens

See what happens

Hello friends

I hope all is good with you.

I have been doing well since my 5th round of chemo three weeks ago, I’ve had much more energy and I haven’t been watching day-time television.  I’ve even managed to do some more of the de-clutter of my room (still lots to do though), I’ve thrown out lots of stuff and taken several boxes of more useful, but unwanted, things to a local charity shop.   At the moment I am de-cluttering a big box containing 10 years worth of local magazines.  I bought some scrap books and I am in the process of cutting out anything relevant to the town where I live and sticking them in the books.  They will become reference books for the local history group.  I reckon I will have 4 or 5 scrap books of cuttings rather than a big box of magazines at the end of it, so that will free us a bit of space for me.  It’s taken a week so far and I’m only half way through.

I’ve been doing little bits of art in the meantime, but not much.  The page above is from my latest 16-page Teesha Moore styled journal, all the collage and much of the penwork was already done but I managed to finish the page this week with the quote.

Today I have been to see the consultant at the hospital and my final round of chemo is tomorrow. It should have been today but I wanted the specialist nurse to come to the meeting with me for support and she does not work on Mondays so last week I changed to appointment to today and the chemo to tomorrow.  I phoned the nurse (she wasn’t there) and left a message on her answerphone asking her to be there today.  I needn’t have bothered because when we arrived this morning there was no sign of the nurse and we were informed that she is off sick today (just my luck)!

I really hope I don’t need any more chemo after this because it has been pretty difficult over the last few months.  I didn’t realise just how bad I had been feeling until I started to feel better.  I just hope I don’t get ‘knocked out’ by the chemo again tomorrow.

The consultant told me that I will now be referred to the oncology/radiotherapy specialist in Southampton Hospital and he will decide if I need to have radiotherapy.  I asked if I could speak to this doctor but she said in a rather cross tone “No! I will speak to him.  If he wants to see you, you will go to Southampton and you can speak to him there in his clinic”.   Well that’s really all I wanted so she didn’t have to snap at me, I am so fed up with just being the subject of the treatment, not being involved in any of the decision making, getting contradictory information and being made to feel like a nuisance every time I try to ask questions.  I just want to have a conversation and explanation from someone before I agree to any more treatment.  I have had absolutely no indication from my consultant as to whether or not the treatment is working.  Maybe she doesn’t know but I’d have thought that as the cancer is in my blood then they might be able to tell from the blood tests I am having every three weeks.  When I asked the other consultant about this she said in a rather irritated voice that that is NOT what the blood tests are for, she didn’t say what they are for though.

Fortunately I still think I am going to be OK at the end of this, but it would have been nice to have had some feedback and encouragement from the team looking after me.  If I ever have to go through this again I think I will ask to be referred direct to the specialist cancer team in Southampton as I have not been inspired the consultants or care at the local hospital.

However I have no complaints at all about the chemo suite which is at the local hospital. All the people who work there are very lovely and professional and, although all my visits have been about 7 hours long, they have been very kind and nice to me and have done their best to make sure I’m comfortable while I’m there.  There have been a couple of times when my treatment has taken longer than it should and they’ve had to stay beyond their normal finish time, but it didn’t alter the way they treated me.

So, one more visit to the chemo suite tomorrow and then … wait and see. I didn’t get a blood test form today so it looks like I don’t need any more blood tests and I’ve got no appointment to see the haematologist consultant again so I guess I just have to wait to hear from the doctor in Southampton.  She did tell me that after our discussion three weeks ago she wrote to the Maxillo Facial unit and told them that I would like to see them to discuss what needs to be done about my degrading jaw bone and the tooth that was almost pushed out by the tumour. She said they should be writing to me direct with an appointment.

Gosh, I’ll be glad when all of this is over and we can just talk about art and normal life again.

Following on from my last post here is my 2nd journal video, it’s an early journal I made in 2011 and was inspired by watching Teesha Moore’s YouTube videos on her journal process.

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

Big love

AJ xxx 🙂

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2015 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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My Kind of People

Crazy People

Hello friends

How are you all today, I hope it’s good.

I am fine, I had my first round of chemotherapy on Thursday, it took over 7 hours because I had a slight reaction to the antibody (that’s the bit that locks onto the cancer cells and flags them up as targets for the other drugs), so it could only be dripped in very slowly. When the antibody was finally in it took just over an hour to get all the other stuff in. Because of this reaction it means all the other treatments (another 5) will also take that long.  The plus side of this is that I’ll have plenty of time for doodling and that’s never a bad thing 🙂

So far I’m feeling OK and I went in to work on Friday. I am still taking meds that I bought home with me, they finish in a few days time and I’ve been told I might feel a bit unwell for a few days after that, then I’ll start feeling better, then I see the doctor for a check up, and then on November 20th we start round 2.

I have a feeling that the problem with my ‘none’ treatment on Wednesday was due to staff shortages and overwork in the NHS so I’m not going to complain.  I think someone just overlooked my paperwork because they had too much to do.  I know it’s shocking that it could happen, and fortunately for me the consequences were only upset and inconvenience, but I don’t want anyone being ‘hung out to dry’ for that. They know it’s happened and it is being investigated but I don’t need to add anger to the equation.

I’ve had a really good day today, the weather has been warm and sunny and early this morning I received a package from my FB friend Iain ‘Oli’ Oliver containing this wonderful limited edition print by artist Jamie Reid:

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I took the photo under artificial light so the colours are not true in the photo, but it’s bold, bright and uplifting and I LOVE it, thank you ‘Oli’ ❤ It brought me JOY 🙂

I had a slow and lazy morning pottering about – making sure I took meds at the right time, doing some washing, making a batch of smoothie, having breakfast, taking more meds and getting showered and dressed.  Then I wandered in to town and did some shopping and when I got home there was another package waiting for me.

 

This time it was a the book Dizzy Spells by the artist David Shillinglaw:

Dizzy Spells

I ordered the book about a week ago I think and I was so happy to receive it today.  I love David’s art, especially his wall murals, they are so colourful and cheerful.  There’s lots of symbolism and repetition in his art that just speaks to me at a deep level.

I had made tentative enquiries about getting him to come to Ryde, the town where I live, to paint a wall for our local arts festival next year.  We have a perfect wall that is in desperate need of a piece of wonderful artwork but I have to be honest I’m not really sure how I would get permission from the owners to have it painted (maybe just ask?) or raise the funds to pay for the project, but I’m sure it would have been worth the effort.  Then I got hit with the cancer so now everything is on hold until I recover in that regard. Never mind I can still go on enjoying his artwork even if it’s not here in my town and Dizzy Spells is a little gem of a book, full of black an white illustrations from David’s journals.  He is very clever with his use of words too, it makes me smile.  Thank you David 🙂

And that brings us neatly to my little offering of art at the top of the page, it’s a page in my journal inspired by ‘Teesha Moore’s Amazing 16 Page Journal‘ and the quote says: ‘Life is about finding the people who are your kind of crazy’.  And I reckon that Teesha Moore and her husband Tracy (both of whom I’ve met), Iain ‘Oli’ Oliver and David Shillinglaw (who I haven’t met) are definitely my kind of crazy people. 🙂

Take good care of yourselves and I’ll 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.

 

 

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.

It’s finished!

Global Psychedelic Soundsystem

 

Hello friends!

I hope you are all well and happy.

Here I am again after a long absence, I’ve just been busier then usual and had no time for blogging and little time for art in the past few weeks.

The page above is in my Amazing 16 page Journal. T asked me if I could make a flyer for his Global Psychedelic Soundsystem and here it is.  There will be another part to this page but it’s not finished yet.

However the kitchen is now finally finished – phew!  And as promised here are some before and photos:

Looking from dining room to end of kitchenBEFORE – Looking from dining room to end of kitchen – AFTER

 Looking from back door to dining room    -    AFTER

BEFORE    –   Looking from back door to dining room    –    AFTER

It probably doesn’t look a lot different but there is more space to move about in now and much more work-surface and storage space.  The style is more in fitting with the age of the house AND, although T is quite scared of colour and always wants everything painted white, I did manage to get a teal coloured wall and multi-coloured tiles, so it looks much brighter now.

The pink sign above the arch to the dining room says ‘MIND YOUR HEAD’ as it is lower than normal door height.  It’s fine for T and Me as we are both short and can walk through without ducking, but we do have some taller friends and we don’t want anyone knocking themselves out when they visit.

This weekend has been busy Ryde Social Heritage Group hosted two Open Days at Ryde Cemetery, where we had exhibitions, guided walks and talks and a ‘Meet the Residents’ event.  It all looked fantastic and was a great success, fortunately the sun shone on both days and we had lots of visitors.  It took a lot of hard work by the team to get it all together – researching, writing up display sheets, collecting items to display and sorting out costumes, but it was definitely worthwhile.  Today is a bank holiday in the UK so I’ve just been having a quiet day resting, the weather has been wet and miserable today but that’s OK as I was still in my PJs up until 3pm.

That’s all for now folks, I have a stack of ironing to do before work tomorrow and various other bits to sort out.

Have a great week and hopefully I’ll be back 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.

 

Travel the Universe

Travel the Universe

Hello friends

I’m back!  I hope you are all fine, happy and following your creative flow.

Finally on Friday we had the water and gas reconnected in our new kitchen (we were almost a month without that luxury) and things are slowly getting back to normal again. Prior to that we had a few set backs and problems which we thought were going to cost a lot of money to sort out, but eventually our fantastic plumber worked it out and managed to do the job fairly quickly so hopefully his bill won’t be too huge when it arrives.

Still to do: build one more cupboard and hang it on the wall, sort out a back for the cupboard under the sink and finally buy tiles and fix them to the wall, then bring all the kitchen stuff that has been stored in T’s room since February back into the kitchen, oh and there will be several trips to the local landfill site to dispose of rubbish and accumulated stuff. I think we are coming to an agreement on which tiles and which colours to use. The kitchen is already looking pretty fabulous but the tiles and backsplash will complete the job. I don’t know if you will be interested but I will show you before and after photos once it’s finally complete. I am NEVER going to do a big job like this again, it has been really hard work and we will both be glad when it’s finally completely finished and actually now that it is almost done it’s a bit of a struggle to keep going and finish it.  Fortunately when things have gone wrong we have managed to keep each other’s spirits up.

The page above is another in my Amazing 16-page journal.  I had loads of fun with this page which is good, because I’m really not sure about the end result. but it is what it is. The quote is by Andre Robillard, a French artist I only discovered recently and whose work I absolutely love.  It may be a little difficult for you to read the words so here is what they say: “An artist is like an astronaut, with your mind you can travel the entire universe”.

I need more time, there are ideas forming in my mind for new projects, but I have too many other projects and commitments at the moment to bring them to fruition.  I guess I’ll just have to write the ideas up in my note book for future reference.

That’s all for now folks, have a great week and I’ll 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.

 

Balance

Balance

Hello friends!

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

It’s bright and sunny here today, but still cool. Nice though 🙂

The clocks went forward last night and this always confuses T and me, still at least we got the right day this year!  It will be lovely this evening when it stays lighter for longer.

Yesterday I delivered my Introduction to Visual Journaling workshop (which was completely inspired by Teesha Moore) to a group of lovely women at Ventnor Library, it was a really fun day and everyone produced great work. It’s lovely to see how different people, using the same instructions, produce completely unique pieces by the end of the day. My sincere thanks to the Friends of Ventnor Library who invited me to deliver the workshop and to all who attended, I really hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and, more importantly, that you have been inspired to start your journey into the wonderful world of art journaling.

It’s been almost three weeks now that we have been without gas and water in our kitchen, it’s going to feel so good when it’s reconnected and we can start using the kitchen properly.  In the meantime the worktop has been cut and fitted by someone who knew what he was doing and it looks very professional 🙂  It was well worth the money it cost to get someone else do to it for us. We just have a few small jobs to do ourselves, well they appear to be small jobs at the start but usually turn into long and difficult jobs!  There are two more cupboards to fit some doors to go on (once the plumber has been to reconnect the pipes) and then the last big job will be tiling the walls.  At the moment we can’t quite agree on the colours for the tiles but I am sure we will work something out.

The page above is one that I used as an example at my workshop yesterday.  I purposely started with a background colour that I didn’t like.  I wanted to show people that you can work with things that are maybe not ideal and still produce something you like at the end of the day.

OK I have to go now, as it’s a sunny day I have decided to mow the lawn (or more accurately the ‘weed patch’), it will be good to get out in the fresh air and sunshine for a while.

Have a good week and I’ll 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.

Good things are going to happen

Good things are going to happen

Hello friends

I hope all is well with you.

We are still living without kitchen sink or cooker, it’s been a week and half now, but we are coping OK.  Things have progressed with the kitchen and tomorrow (weather permitting) someone is coming to cut, join and fix the worktops for us.  We thought about trying to do it ourselves but decided to pay someone to do it properly.  When that is done we can have the sink and cooker connected.  Yay!  We still have the kickboards, some doors and handles to attach and a couple of cupboards to fix to the wall and the last job will be tiling the walls and fixing the splashback at the back of the hob.  I reckon we are still some weeks from completion but it does feel like we are getting near to the end now and the bits that are done are looking good.

The page above is the second page in my Teesha Moore Amazing 16 page journal.  I did lots of penwork on this page, some of which I like and some not so much, but that’s how it goes 🙂  I do like the bright colours.

If you haven’t checked out the Artstonauts Club I recommend it.  The Facebook page is an open group so you can see on there much of the work produced by members.  The website is members only but it’s an absolute bargain to join, really there is just so much inspirational stuff on there.

Next weekend I get a whole day off from DIY as on Saturday I am running my Introduction to Visual Journaling at Ventnor Library, I am so looking forward to it, it’s going to be a great day 🙂

Have a great week all and I’ll 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.