Saturday, 25 January 2014

Happy Bright

It's such fun to be on the Design Team at Color Stories Inspiration CSI.  Every week Debbi provides a colour challenge, a mood board, evidence and journalling prompts to stir the creative juices and inspire us to use colours we would not normally be drawn to.   I struggled a bit with the brights  until I altered an older photo of mine and I had a light bulb moment.

The spotty paper is from Prima The optimist collection, "Perfect" 
The watercolour flowers are fussy cut from the same range, "Happy"
and the words from the reverse of "Happy"
Tim Holtz stencil and gelatos to make the harlequins
A Prima stencil to make the raindrops 
and the "Think Happy" brad is from Simple Stories
Love this quote
Diamond shapes
Wet medium
Mini brads
Harlequin pattern

I used KNOW as my inspiration word. The journalling is on the back and it reads:-

There was a time in my past, when I trudged through each day in a grey fog. A muffled, distorted sound track accompanied the grainy film of my existence, as the listless weeks dragged by.  With the benefit of the retrospectoscope, it’s easy to identify some of the contributing factors.  But back then, society, church and family of origin, had imprinted a “stiff upper lip” approach to life.  “Don’t complain, don’t explain,”  “Least said, soonest mended.”  

What I didn’t know, was that grief, loss and anxiety can be buried and denied, but it eventually erupts in a purulent mess.  It can be cunningly disguised as major illness, headache and depression.   It was possible to function, to strive for perfection and to succeed, yet what was missing was the delight in achievement and the joy in everyday moments. The darkness of despair, lapped at the edges of each day, weakening the eggshell defence of my psyche.

Limping along with ever widening cracks, eventually I had to break down or break through.  A remarkable counsellor, tenderly unpacked the layers and scars, delicately exposing them to the nurturing sunlight of her wisdom. Through to a new knowledge of self and an acceptance of events which can not be changed.  I now know, that sometimes it’s O. K. to be sad; to speak of loss; to be the one in need.   I know that seeking help is not a sign of weakness and talking about things does help.  I've learned to identify and name the squirmy feelings in my gut, to expose them to the air and defuse their power.  

It was my good fortune to find some one when I needed her and the difference in my life is profound.    I don’t look back with regret.  I read somewhere that the greatest theft, is that which I perpetuate on myself; the waste of days given to me.   Each morning, I look forward to the potential in every new day and try to live in glorious technicolour.   



  1. I'm speachless. your journaling is so profound, meaningful and powerful. We come from different cultures, but reading your journaling made me think how similar we are. same voices, calling 'be strong, don't show emotions'.
    I'm so happy for you that you found that lady to take your hand and help you. I'm sure you helped, and still helping, others with kind words, understanding and empathy.
    I wish you many years of enjoying the glorious technicolour of your life.

  2. Ah Helen...isn't the stiff upper lip thing so very overrated? Your page is so beautiful and your arty background amazing bt the most beautiful, the most touching is your words. Thank you for sharing your journey in such an intimate way. xxx

  3. Purulent mess, eh? LOOOOVE that phrase......your word craft, as always, packs a purulent punch...& this page is soooo 'in synch' with your journaling...the bright, the un-bright [yeah, my word craft is more......well...anyways....] fave bit is the harlequin bits...dunno why....but well done for struggling through with this one....another metaphor for life, eh???!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. fabulous background and take on challenge.... love the altered photo too, pretty cool I think :)

  5. WOW!!!! A truly wonderful layout in every way. xx

  6. Helen, your writing is so beautiful! i am so stunned behind my computer, lovely artsy LO.

  7. Such inspirational truths in your journaling, Helen. I love the artsy feel of your layout but as usual, it's the journaling that steals the show. Beautifully composed layout.

  8. HI.. Love your layout and love your altered photo too.. and your journalling is heart felt and honest, and I do hope things are much better now...

  9. This is a fabulous layout the sentiment on the page, the stencilling and clever altering of your photo! Love all the elements.....
    Then reading your journalling, it was such a familiar story, in many a regard. I had a "mid-life" crisis at 30 and was lucky enough to also meet an amazing lady, who changed my life forever. She was just what I needed and help me mend many a scar and also helped me through momentous changes in my life! If it had not been for her, I don't know where I would have ended up! I know that she was an angel sent for me and even though she is now in heaven, I still believe an angel watches over me.
    I am so pleased that you have found freedom in your life and the freedom to also share it with us, in this page!
    Blessings sent to you.....may each day find you happy and blessed beyond measure! xx

  10. This is such a FAN FAB U LAS layout... your background looks AWESOME!!

  11. Beautiful layout Helen! Love the fun background you created! The harlequin design and splash of color looks fabulous!

  12. Helen, I have been back to this layout and journalling so many times over the last week and each time I read it the feeling is the same. I am so glad that you found someone as insightful as the one you did... I am glad that you have found a little peace and a way to deal with the pain and loss. It never goes away but we do learn to live with it and find joy once again. I think for me a big this is/was that the layout seems to be completely at odds with the words which is a very clever thing because of the outcome and how I see you :) That photo treatment is perfect and your background is amazing. (I still have not played with my gelatos. :( ) It is such a HAPPY layout. I love it but it was the words that turned me inside out. Thank you for sharing this painful time... <3

  13. Helen, thank you so much for sharing your story. As someone who suffers from profound depression and anxiety, it means the world to me that I'm not alone. And that we can live and prosper.
    P.S. I had to look up the word "purulent" :)

  14. Oops, Helen, I posted as momster but I'm Beth Swartz. You have sweetly commented on my layouts at CSI. :)