World Suicide Prevention Day 2019

World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

The artwork.

I wanted to try to create a series of templates that could be used as frames for quotes. This is my first one. I remembered to save it as tiff file in layers so that I can easily change the background.

I didn’t start with the intention of creating waves filled with zentangle-type patterns, but that’s how it intuitively flowed from the tip of my Surface Pen onto the screen of my Surface Studio. So, I went with it.

It’s a very comfortable kind of art to create, whether you call it zentangle, zentangle inspired, entangled artwork, line art, doodled art. It’s just about filling space with patterns and lines, using them to add depth and dimension.

It was an enjoyable process that I could complete in a few sessions in-between a hectic few days.

The saga of the keyboard.

Saturday my Bluetooth keyboard decided to not connect to the Surface Studio. It had been finicky for a few days. I changed batteries, I tried disconnecting it and reconnecting it and following all the trouble-shooting processes I could find. All to no avail. This is why I’ve not done any blogs and been quiet around social media, along with life being a bit busy too.

It also worked out that the warranty on my Surface Studio and all it’s attendant bits and bobs had run out just over three weeks ago. Yes, I do have software I can use the Surface Pen with or a keyboard that pops up on the screen that I can tap with my fingers or mouse or pen, but they are so slow and frustrating to use in comparison to the speed at which I can type. I do love to handwrite, even on the screen. However, as I can’t turn the ‘paper’ or ‘writing window’ to an angle that makes it comfortable for me to write at I don’t do as much as I could.

Of course, I’d forgotten I still have, and use my Surface Book. However, when something goes wrong, my mind goes into instant ‘oh my gosh, I’ve got to sort that out as there’s no other way to get things done’ overwhelmed and panic mode. It’s only after I have solved the problem and calm down that I can see that I had alternatives open to me.

So, my brain told me my only option was to buy a new keyboard. Then I had a decision to make. Should I go for a wireless one or a wired one?
I decided on a wired one as that should always connect to the ‘puter. I also was beguiled by a keyboard that has pretty rainbow lights beneath the keys. Sparkly and colourful always attracts me.

So, I now have a keyboard and can email and write and do everything else that requires words from me quickly once again.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2019

Warning – this may contain emotional and mental health triggers.

The World Health Organisation says that one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds. 

In the UK, two people take their own lives every day.

In the UK, men account for approximately 75% of all suicides.

In the UK, suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20 to 49.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says suicides are a serious public health problem. They also say that suicides are preventable and give a list of some of the measures that can be taken on their webpage about suicide – https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/suicide

They also say that one of the biggest obstacles to overcome in suicide prevention is the stigma and taboo that surrounds suicide and mental health problems.

The stigma and taboos that surround talking openly about suicide leads to a lack of awareness about suicide, and also about mental illness.

I am a champion for Time To Change Wales, a campaign whose aim is to get people talking about mental illness to break down the stigma that surrounds it. This also includes suicide.

As a champion, one of the things I do is to go to organisations and other groups to talk about my experience of mental illness and the stigma and discrimination I have faced. This includes self-stigma. 

Thanks to self-stigma, I was in denial that I was experiencing mental and emotional ill-health for many years. It led to me not seeking help until I had nearly broken my mind. I ended up being off work as a teacher for almost a year. I went back to work for just eight months before I had another ‘breakdown’ for want of another word. 

What I don’t often mention, and what I think also needs to be discussed here, is suicidal ideation or suicidal thoughts. These are thoughts about wishing to die, wanting life to stop, hoping that one would not wake up in the morning. Not actively planning suicide, but wishing that life would end to bring the mental and emotional pain to an end.

For a long as I can remember, right back to being young, I can remember wishing this upon myself. I often wanted to die in my sleep and not have to face another day like the one I just had. I didn’t feel loved or valued in any way, and the constant bullying, name-calling, being ignored and neglected. I felt a burden, a bother, a nuisance, an irritation, a problem to my family. I thought they would be happier without me. That the world would be a better place without me. I never thought of actively taking my own life, but I certainly wished to die.

That belief about myself has followed me throughout my life. Sometimes it would be quiet, at other times it would be shouting through a megaphone in my head.

I remember driving to work most days in the last few years of my teaching career wanting to just keep driving and never come back to my life as it had become so very, very painful for me and I could see no way out of the pain.

I never did drive off towards the horizon as I didn’t actually know what I would do. Also, the thought of my cat and how he’d not cope without me would pop into my head. And so I would get myself to work so I could look after my cat.

At the time, it felt my cat was the only living thing that was consistently and unconditionally there for me, sharing love and affection with me. I still miss him now, a bit more than a year when I had to say goodbye to him.

I owe my life to my cat, and to the one friend (now my brother of the heart/choice) who kept nagging me about getting help, and the GP who knew the right words to say to me to get me to understand I needed help and a break from work and also from my mind. Now, I am also so grateful to my EMDR therapist for persisting with me.

I have tears flowing down my face as I write about this. The tears represent the sadness that I feel that I was ignorant of what good mental and emotional health is and of the stigma I held about it in regards to myself. Oddly, I never had those thoughts about others who were experiencing mental illness, having helped others during their own crises. I feel sad that I have lived most of my life with poor mental and emotional health, thinking that was how everyone else was. I feel sad that only now am I learning what it is like to have a touchstone of contentment and optimism to hold onto when times get tough.

The tears are also ones of gratitude that I’m still here. I have come through the darkest days of my life. My career has changed, and my life is gradually changing for the better, as is my mental and emotional health.

I rarely have suicidal thoughts now. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I did. That says something about how far along my healing journey I have come.

If someone had told me in my darkest days that my life would be as it is now, with that contentment within me, an optimism for my future, I might not have believed them. In fact, I most probably wouldn’t have.

However, I am here to say that I made it through it all. Through my childhood and adulthood and now into middle age. 

I wish I’d known what I know now as a child. Maybe I would’ve sought help sooner in my life.

What I wish for everyone is that every person on this planet is given the information about what good mental and emotional health is. I want mental and emotional health to be seen as important as physical health with the links between them fully recognised, and support is available to all who need it.

No matter how bad life seems, there are always options to improve it. This is something I’ve had to learn. In fact, I’m still learning about it. When I get overwhelmed, or something goes wrong, I tend to slip into the black and white thinking mode.

That’s what the black and white borders to today’s art is about. The complexity shows just how crazily my mind was working during the darkest days.

For the space between them, the background on which the quote sits, I chose colours that remind me of a sunrise. A new day, with a fresh mind and eyes always comes with new options, if only we can see them.

My story has not ended. It will not end until my life is naturally completed. For the first time in my life, I have a feeling of optimism for my future. It may have taken me two severe episodes of mental ill-health and several years of EMDR therapy and counselling to get to this point. But I’ve got there. 

No matter how much of my life I have left, it will be lived with some contentment, peace and hope for my future. I wish the same for each and every person.

September Colouring Template

 Template for the Angela Porter's Coloring Book Fans facebook group, September 2019
Template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group, September 2019

The first day of a new month means I add a colouring template to the “Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans” Facebook group. I make the template an exclusive freebie for members of the group. The group is free to join. Why not pop over get access to this and all other group templates.

I drew the template on Winsor and Newton Bristol Board using a couple of Uniball Unipin pens. I scanned it in, cleaned up some smudges overruns.

As it’s September, my mind is on the changing seasons; we’re heading into autumn here in the UK. The rowan and hawthorn trees are laden with red berries already. The sycamore helicopters and ash keys are turning golden and are visible amongst the still-green foliage.

It is my favourite time of year. I love the comfortably warm days and the chilly nights. It’s a delight to snuggle down in bed with a warm body and a cool head. I sleep so much better too. Mind you, I think my weighted blanket is helping with that.

I love the change in the colour and quality of light – the golden hue delights me. I’m also looking forward to seeing the relatively rapid colour-changes that happen as the dull, dark greens of summer give way to the fiery conflagration of autumn.

So, my September template has autumnal motifs in it, though they’d work for any season no matter where you are in the world.

I will continue to add colour to this template throughout the month, hopefully. Then, at the close of September, I’ll show the finished coloured version.

I always look forward to seeing how different people colour the drawing. I love to see the different colours, media and techniques they use.

Entangled Cards and Envelopes

Entangled Cards and Envelopes © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Entangled Cards and Envelopes © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve woken to a grey, wet, fresh day here in the Welsh Valleys. The coolness is actually quite delicious on my skin. The rain is freshening the air and world up, clearing the dust away. What a way for the weather to see out August!

It’s a perfect morning to do some artsy crafty stuff. For me, that meant finishing off a pair of cards with coordinating envelopes.

Making the larger entangled seed pods card.

The top panel measures 3″ x 3.75″, mounted on an A6 card (UK sizes). 

I coloured The envelope, top panel and the border of the middle panel envelope and the edge of the middle panel with Crushed Olive, Forest Moss and Shabby Shutters Distress inks. I used a mini foam blending tool to achieve a gradient. 

I sprayed water onto the top panel. Distress Inks react with water and results in some interesting textural patterns. I didn’t spray water onto the envelope; the paper is too thin to take such treatment.

My next task was to draw the entangled designs; I chose to go with some seed pods, leaves, a geometric pattern and some little flowers too. I added some ‘sparkle’ patterns around the main elements to give the illusion of little things floating in the air.

Next, I added some sparkle and shine with some gold and copper ink. I placed ink inside the sparkles, the seeds inside the larger seed pods and the flowers too.

I used a brush and Distress inks to add some depth of colour to the design on the card. I decided not to do this on the envelope, again because of the quality of the paper.

Once I have someone to send the card to, I will address the envelope and seal it with Distress Micro Glaze so that moisture won’t damage the envelope.

The colour choice on this card is unusual for me, but it’s worked out nicely, particularly with the gold and copper accents.

The tiny floral card.

This card is tiny, measuring just 2.25″ x 3.25″. It’s envelope is a little larger than needed, but the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board didn’t have measurements on it for a card this size, so I just used the closest available.

The panel on the card measures 1.75″ x 2.375″. It is one of the panels from the Foursquare background frames I messed up while making yesterdays cards.

I used one of my ideas from yesterdays musings on the cards I’d made. I drew a simple design on both the card panel and the envelope front and flap using Uniball Unipin pens and then coloured it with Copic markers. I added some gold glitter dots with a Uniball Signo gel pen.

Once all was dry, I used a Versamark Pen to colour over the flowers, leaves and gold sparkles. Versamark ink is colourless and sticky and is made by Tsukineko; it comes in ink pads but also in double-ended pens – a bullet point at one end and a brush tip at the other. The ink takes a little while to dry. 

I covered the sticky areas with WOW super fine clear embossing powder and used a heat tool from Ranger to melt it, giving the design elements a glossy, protective and slightly raised finish. It also intensifies the colours somewhat, which I rather like.

So, I could now colour the background and envelope with Distress Inks without affecting the colours of the flowers, leaves and gold dots. I used a mini foam blending tool along with Pine Needles, Mowed Lawn, Tumbled Glass and Salty Ocean Distress Inks.

The final task was to glue the card panel to the card blank as well as the envelope flaps.

Again, once I’ve addressed the envelope, I’ll use Distress Micro Glaze to seal the inks and prevent any damage to the artwork while journeying to the recipient.

Reflecting on the cards.

I enjoyed making these cards. I particularly like the simplicity of the small card and the effect of the embossing powder. There’s something about teeny-tiny cards that really pleases me. I think it’s that their size makes them just so darned cute!

The larger card I am also pleased with, particularly in my use of colours that are unusual for me. I’m glad I added colour to the seedpods on the card; it helps them to stand out. I do love the copper and gold ink on this darker background too and how well they stand out.

Making envelopes that coordinate with the card is also something I enjoy doing; hopefully, the recipients see them as something a bit special dropping through their letterbox.

So, what’s on the cards for today?

It’s the last day of August, so I need to get a wiggle on to create a September colouring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. I feel the need to include some autumn imagery in this one as we are in the dog days of summer for sure.

Tell me, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m tired but feeling quite content and optimistic again. I slept well last night; the weighted blanket really is working wonders for me as far as sleep is concerned. One problem is that I don’t want to get out from under it in the morning, so it must be comforting or soothing me.

I seem to have turned in a magnet for people who have escaped narcissistic abuse of all kinds. It’s nice to be able to help others by giving them space where I will believe their experiences, and I can help them, hopefully, to understand that they are not at fault but are victims.

Synchronicity pointing out to me how much I have learned and understood and healed and am now able to help others, perhaps?

Dangle Design Greeting Cards

Dangle Design Greeting Cards © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Dangle Design Greeting Cards © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Today I have two card designs for you, both featuring dangle designs, but in different ways.

If you like dangle designs and you’d like to give drawing them yourself but need a little help or inspiration, then you may find my book “A Dangle A Day” of interest. In the book, I take you, step by step, through how to draw over 100 dangle designs, along with some ideas of how you could use them. 

Love Ya and With Love Card.

I started by using the Foursquare Backdrop: Portrait die from lawn fawn to cut the frames and panels from a piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. I purchased this die, and the one in the second card, from Seven Hills Crafts here in the UK.

Next, I used Stormy Skies and Broken China Distress Inks to add a subtle colour gradient to the panels.

My idea was to draw four different dangle designs for each small square panel. I also wanted to include some hand-lettering, which I did.

So, I used Unipin pens from Uniball to do the drawings and lettering. I did use pencil outlines for the ribbon banners and lettering to make sure their placement was just right.

I coloured the design elements and charms using Copic markers. As the individual design elements were so small, I just used two colours to achieve shading in the bigger ones.

I also added a drop shadow around the designs using a BV marker that is a greyish-violet. It’s a very subtle drop shadow.

I had to add some sparkle and shine to the card, so I used a clear Spectrum Noir Sparkle brush pen along with a gold glitter Signo gel pen to do this.

To assemble the card, I glued the frame to the card base using Tombow Mono adhesive. Then, I glued the square panels into place.

I managed to get glue onto the front of the card and trying to rub it off while wet just left a dark, dirty smear. I’ve ordered some Tombow Sand erasers to see if they’ll remove the mark. If not, I’ll have to either work out another way to cover it up or just consign the card to the pile of things not to do again!

Black and white floral card.

Again, my first job was to cut out the frame and panels using a die. For this card, I used the Foursquare Backdrop: Landscape die from lawn fawn along with Winsor and Newton Bristol Board. I also decided to use this die in portrait mode.

To draw the design elements, I used Unipin pens from Uniball. I hung dangle designs from the top of each card to fill in some of the space that was there. I wish I’d used a slightly thicker pen than the 01 though. They look almost like an afterthought.

Anyway, once I finished the drawings, I wasn’t sure whether to add colour or not. So, I’ve left the pictures as black and white line art for now.

I used Tombow Mono glue to attach the frame and panels to a 5″x7″ piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol board. I did this as I realised that the dies are made to fit card blanks made from half a sheet of US letter-sized paper folded in half. In the UK, we use A4 sized paper, which is different enough in size to make it awkward to cut the paper to fit the card. I have ordered some 5″ x 7″ card blanks with envelopes, and then I can finish assembling this card. I’m likely to trim the foundation panel down a little and maybe try to carefully add some colour around the edge. Maybe.

It’s at this point I’ll decide whether or not to add colour and to see if I can thicken the lines around the dangles without messing it up. Mind you, if I do mess it up, it’s another experiment I can learn from, hopefully remembering not to do this again.

Things I’ve learned and techniques I want to try.

The lawn fawn dies work great! They come with smaller dies – heart, cloud, small star, large star, sun, small sun and speech bubble – which may be useful in the future. I had made my mind up that I’d limit myself to die sets that are simple in shape to for cutting out panels to draw on and maybe for layering. 

I rolled my eyes at myself when I worked out that dies from an American company would work best with American sized paper for card bases. However, I can work around that now I’ve realised that. I’m comfortable working with inches; most of my craft tools have both inches and centimetres on them. However, the inches are visibly the most dominant measurement system. 

Glue. Me and glue. Not sure how I can avoid smearing in the future. Hopefully, the sand eraser will help to remove my gluey, sticky, dirty-looking mistakes.

I like using Distress Inks for backgrounds. However, the pale colours of markers that I prefer to use are translucent and so combine with the background. I could use other media such as coloured pencils for colouring. Or I could use distress inks or water-based marker pens with a damp brush to add colour. I could also use a damp brush to remove some of the distress inks. In that case, I may have to use watercolour paper instead of Bristol Board.

I could also use a Versamark pen – which contains transparent, sticky ink – to colour over my design elements once coloured and then use clear embossing powder and a heat gun to protect the colours. I could then add the distress inks after heat-setting the embossing powder. The embossing powder would add some dimension and shine to the cards. If I used a sparkle pen or gold gel pen, for example, the embossing would encase it and highlight these embellishments Ieven more, I think. I need to try this idea out!

So, there are lots of possibilities for going forward with this.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m feeling the more content and optimistic than I have for the past two or three weeks.

I’m still feeling out of kilter; changes are happening in my perceptions around my emotional/mental wellbeing. I’m also aware of shifts that are happening in other parts of me.

I’m still poop-scared about what is going on in the world. I can’t see that ending anytime soon, however. This, and the rest of the emotional rollercoaster I seem to be on, are still upsetting my digestive system, so I’m not feeling too well much of the time. 

Yesterday, I was so unsettled and scared that I couldn’t settle to do much art, and I became so dissatisfied and frustrated with whatever I did. I couldn’t settle to anything else either – not crochet, reading, nothing. 

As I’ve said, today I do feel better, so I need to turn my attention to trying out Affinity Publisher to create some materials I’ve been commissioned to do (the artwork and inserts for a CD by a band!). I’ll see about setting the templates up first and go from there. I’ve not tried to do this the past couple of days as I know my head and my emotions weren’t in the right place. I’m not sure that they are today; it’s only by doing that I will find out whether they are or not.

Entangled Parchment Craft Cards

Entangled Parchment Craft Cards © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
Entangled Parchment Craft Cards © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Entangled in blue – a greeting card.

Yesterday, I mentioned some things I’d like to try out after my experience creating a greeting card using vellum and Distress Inks along with some die-cutting.

So, rather than take the nap I’d said I was likely to, I endeavoured to make another card in the same kind of entangled art style. This time, the two Distress Inks I used were Peacock Feathers and Mermaid Lagoon. 

I used these inks to colour the reverse of the vellum and to add colour to the card base – Mermaid Lagoon at the top, Peacock Feathers at the bottom and blending them in the middle.

I used the piece of card I’d cut the frame from as a stencil for the addition of colour, so I was sure it wouldn’t bleed out of the edge of the frame. 

After dry embossing the design on the vellum, I passed it just once through a hot laminator. The vellum became flat without losing too much of the definition given by the dry embossing.

I trimmed the vellum panel so it would fit neatly under the frame. I adhered the vellum to the frame using strong double-sided tape.

I wanted to lift the vellum above the card base. I doubled up some double-sided foam tape, using thin strips. In hindsight, I would’ve been happier with just one thickness of the foam tape. 

By applying the Distress Inks to the card base the colour has been intensified, and the dry embossing stands out better. I’m quite pleased with the result of this card.

I do wish I hadn’t added the gold dots around the frame though; I thought I needed some to complement the gold dots that I added to the entangled design. 

On the whole, I’m much happier with the entangled in blue card. 

I’ve just thought that it could be relatively easy to turn that panel into a shaker card by making sure the space beneath the vellum is completely sealed by the foam tape at the edges and then adding some sequins and/or glass beads — something for me to try another time maybe.

Comfort art.

The drawings in both of these panels are an example of me slipping into ‘comfort art’ mode. I tend to draw this way when I’m feeling emotionally vulnerable or fragile. Entangled art like this is familiar to me, like a comfortable pair of old slippers, and it soothes me somewhat.

Entangled art is very much my ‘style’ of art. Digitally, I’m pushing my boundaries with it by not using black outlines or outlines in any colour. When I feel the way I have in the past few weeks, it can be tough for me to settle into art that challenges me even a little bit and digital art has been doing that. That’s why I’ve started many projects and not finished them; I get dissatisfied with what I’m doing and just stop it. That’s a sign that I really am not feeling as balanced as usual. 

In the past, I’ve mentioned that redrawing my favourite patterns and motifs in a zibladone ( a mixture of journal and random notes or interesting things) is comforting, soothing to me. I have only just noticed that drawing in this way is also so.

The challenging thing in these cards is the die-cutting and the use of various adhesives. And scissors. Scissors always cause me problems. Although I’m mostly right-handed, I use scissors in my left hand. I use right-handed scissors, and I find that problematic, but left-handed scissors are even worse for me! Craft knives have their own added issues for me.

A little more of a challenge.

Today I received two die sets in the post, both from Lawn Fawn and from Seven Hills Crafts. They’re the foursquare landscape and portrait backdrop die sets.

I want to try to make a pair of dangle design cards with these for tomorrow. So that’s one of my tasks for this afternoon.

So, Angela, how are you feeling today?

I’m OK. I’m tired; I drove for over four hours yesterday, and when I got home, I was not only exhausted but cold as well. I didn’t sleep all that well as I didn’t warm up until around 6 am and I kept waking up shivering.

I’m experiencing a lot of anxiety and even fear about the current state of the world; I feel tearful about this a lot of the time and not very optimistic. 

Other than that, I think my life is settling down into a new kind of ‘normal’ after spending time with my friend and his partner last week. I still have lots of things to sort out that were stirred up from the pandora’s box of trauma within me. But now they’ve been identified they can be processed in EMDR.

Being tired makes me a lot less resilient to all this.

Entangled Vellum Greetings Card

Card Making

Today I thought I’d make a little greetings card.

Card Dimensions.

The card measures 4½” x 5½” (approx. 10cm x14 cm). The outside of the frame measures 3″ x 3¾” (approx. 7.75cm x 9.5cm).

The vellum panel.

I started with a piece of vellum die cut to the size of the frame. To add colour to the vellum, I applied Twisted Citron and Pine Needles Distress Inks with a foam ink blending tool to what would be the reverse side of the vellum panel.

This was something new to me and a bit of an experiment to boot. The inks blend very smoothly on vellum, though you do have to be extra careful not to bend the vellum. That leaves a noticeable crease in it that can’t be removed or easily disguised. I managed to bend a corner; however, as I was going to trim the vellum down later, I wasn’t at all concerned.

I was surprised at how quickly the inks dried on the vellum, and I was soon able to work on adding my embossed design.

To do this, I used some ball ended embossing tools on the reverse side of the vellum. I drew an entangled art design with them as I would when using a pen on paper.

Once I’d drawn my design, I added some shading using a Pergamano shading tool as well as some dots in the upper part of the image.

Dry embossing on vellum causes the vellum to curl somewhat. So, I passed the piece through a laminator. That corner that I’d creased while ink blending got firmly creased during this process. However, I knew I’d be able to hide it with the frame I’d planned to make.

At this point, I added some gold dots to the ‘sky’ part of the design. To do this, I used a Uniball Signo gold glitter gel pen. I can’t resist adding sparkle when I can.

My last step was to trim the vellum to ¼” (7mm) smaller than the frame.

Making the frame.

To make the frame, I used some stitch edge rectangle dies from Gemini by Crafter’s Companion along with a Sizzix Big Shot machine along with some white card. I cut three frames out, doing my best to centre the inner die to the outer die.

I used some Tombow Mono Liquid Glue to stack the three frames. It was then I noticed I’d not centred the inner die precisely the same on each frame. I can see where they don’t quite perfectly match up.

I decided to use them and learn from the process. I’ve never made a frame like this before, and this card really was, in many ways, an experiment.

Assembling the card.

The next task was to attach the vellum to the frame. I carefully applied a very thin layer of the Tombow glue just inside the inner edge of the frame. I carefully added the flattened vellum to it.

The vellum, though, had started to curl again and try as I might to flatten it out, it just wasn’t going to play ball. In hindsight, it may have been better if I’d trimmed it and run it through the laminator just before attaching it to the frame. Then, to keep the vellum flat on my worktable and apply the frame to the vellum.

The last step was to use glue to attach the frame to the card base.

Thoughts on the card.

Even though I’ve bungled a couple of things, I’m quite pleased with how the card has turned out.

Flattening the vellum through the laminator has decreased the intensity of the white embossed lines. However, I didn’t pass it through once, but a few times to see if I could get the corner to stay down. When the vellum got stuck in the laminator, it took me a while to dig out a pair of tweezers to pull it through. That introduced a bigger curl in the paper than I had to start with! I decided then that the only way to flatten the vellum this way was to use a folded piece of paper to act as a carrier for it.

It was a good idea in principle. In practice, I made mistakes and will learn for the future.

Die-cutting and stacking multiple frames. How to get the inner die centred the same as the others? I don’t know. Maybe I should try washi or craft tape the dies together. I will work it out as I like the look of the frame!

I do like the look of the embossing on the coloured vellum. The white lines are quite soft, though less prominent than I wanted them to be as I reduced them by trying too often to flatten the vellum through the laminator. It’s a rather ethereal looking design, and I like that. Sometimes I find my usual black line-art too stark against colour.

The white background of the card doesn’t help the white to stand out. Maybe I’ll try to add colour to the card base and then apply the coloured vellum over it. That’s an experiment for another day, perhaps. Or maybe soon when my mind is still on it. I think I have time before I need to head off out this afternoon.

So, Angela, how are you today?

I’m feeling tired and a bit spaced out, yet contented.

Therapy yesterday was emotional and distressing. No EMDR was done as I was too emotional for it, and I needed to talk about somethings that I’ve touched upon in recent blog posts.

My weighted blanket arrived yesterday, and it is rather lovely. I don’t know about making you feel you’re being hugged; I’ve only laid down under it so far. However, it feels so lovely that I just wanted to stay there this morning. I will try wrapping it around my shoulders and so on to see how it makes me feel that way.

I mention this as I slept in the evening under it, and through the night. Although I still feel tired, I know I had a good sleep. I may get in another sleep before I need to head out later today, depending on how lost in art I get. I do have a relatively long drive (around 2 hours) to where I need to be, and another 2 hours home, so a good sleep is perhaps in order.

Despite some good sleep, I’m still quite tired. The emotional rollercoaster of the past two weeks or so is taking it’s toll on me, even though I’m making sure I’m practising self-care and self-soothing.

Doing a short art project this morning – the greetings card – is a self-soothing activity. The style of art I created – my entangled art – is familiar enough to me that it is comforting to do. It’s comfort art, which is healthier for me than comfort eating.

Talking of eating. The emotional upsets of the past few days have taken their toll on my digestive system too. I had a badly upset stomach yesterday, and I’m still feeling quite tender in my abdomen today.

This is not an uncommon side-effect of either therapy or emotional rollercoasters for me. As I feel emotions so much in my abdomen, particularly fear and anxiety, then it’s no surprise I end up with sudden trips to the loo!

As I settle down, so my digestive system does, and things return to normal, eventually.

I’ve said this before, and no doubt I’ll say it again, this is part of the healing journey. Events sometimes seem to conspire to shake up the next layer of trauma from the past so it can be processed and I healed.

A few days or a few weeks of painful emotional turmoil is a small price to pay for the eventual years and years (I hope) of a life untroubled by and not held back by my past. A future where I can form those healthy relationships of all kinds with others that I yearn for, a yearning that has recently been reawakened, along with its attendant traumas.

The dos and don’ts of self-care.

The do-s and don't-s of self-care © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
The dos and don’ts of self-care © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Dos and Don’ts

Yesterday was a quiet yet busy arty day. I worked on some projects, but by the evening, I had a hankering for ‘comfort art’ to soothe my fragile emotions. I’d seen a similar list on facebook and thought it would be nice to do one of my own. Naturally, I just had to add some embellishment in the form of my style of drawing. The drawing then needed some colour. So, I started to add colour.

After typing out the list using Affinity Publisher and printing it out, I used a 08 Uniball Unipin pen to add the drawing. Next, I scanned the design in and then started to add colour in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using my trusty Surface Pen and Surface Studio, both from Microsoft.

My lines are a little less than perfect in the drawing. I’ve noticed a few tiny smudges and some places where the lines have overrun each other a little. I’ve left them as they are, this time.

I thought it might be a good idea to make the colouring a little less than perfect too; so I added a background texture.

About my art and my emotional state.

I seem to have started a lot of projects and not finished them of late. I’m not quite sure why that is. I know I’ve had a really tough time of it emotionally speaking over the last couple of weeks. I think that has a lot to do with it.

I have managed to settle down to get work done for a commission. The main artwork is now done, it’s just doing all the other stuff to go with it. Today isn’t the best day simply because I’ll soon have to sort myself out to go off to EMDR therapy; that’s likely to be emotionally distressing as there’s been a confluence of events in my life that have all triggered emotional reactions. I’ve also not had that much time to let the emotional waves calm. There have also been changes that need to become familiar too.

Today is the first time in a few days I’ve felt anything like settled. Yet I’m not settled fully. I keep having waves of fear followed by tears rising up for no apparent reason.

I think I know what the fear is about. The way I think and feel about a part of my life is changing. It had started to change before the experience, but now it’s really settling in. A yearning in me to ‘belong’, to have that sense of companionship, has been awakened once again. I’ve been given a taster session of what it’s like. So, I’m grieving the lack of that in my life, and fearful I won’t find it going forward. Kindred spirits are few and far between.

This is all part of the journey towards releasing trauma and healing from cPTSD. It’s also about replacing old, unhealthy outlooks with more positive and healthier ones. Grief is involved; even if the old beliefs are harmful, they have been a part of my life, and it’s still a loss. But go they must so something healthier can replace them.

Change is never easy, but it is necessary; for growth, for healing, for a better life.