Saturday, 6 September 2014

Not Happy Days - DT page for CSI 138

The colours this week were quite challenging for me, but I guess that’s why it’s a called a challenge, huh!    Some weeks much more than others.   Because my topic is a bit bleak, I wanted a pared down, austere look for the page.
What do you think?
Ready for this week's challenge?
Grab your forensics kits, CSI members,
and get ready for some serious sleuthing as we open 

I used the current sketch at  
Sketchabilites as a base for my design. 
Why not check them out, they have inspirational scrappers on their team.
 I started with a Maja patterned paper background.
The little pink heart paper is by Prima - All about me collection, 
“Celebrating Me”
The brown woodgrain paper is by Simple Stories - “Wood/tablecloth”
The small blue piece is from 13@rts; a remnant of a background page
which I botched and abandoned in disgust.
My journalling is tucked inside the Kraft envelope from Maja
Chipboard title and peacock feathers are from Imaginarium designs
The tiny stars are by Studio Calico
Tim Holtz provided the pen nib

Wood - Stars
Woodgrain - brown card stock


I chose to document something about school, in the form of a letter from my adult self to the little girl in the photo.  I was about five years old, still safe at home with my Mother, unaware of the terror awaiting me.  The letter says:-

Know in your heart, that despite what the Nuns tell you, your brain works perfectly well. 
When they stand you in front of the class and belt your legs with a ruler; understand that it is more about their own inadequacies than yours.
Try not to be humiliated by their snide remarks about your home made uniform and when they send you home in disgrace for not wearing a petticoat.
Be aware that your school experience will equip you with the gifts of perseverance and tenacity.
Rejoice in the thirst for self directed knowledge and the love of books and reading; one of the escape routes you will use to block out the trauma of toxic schooling.
Delight in the gift of empathy for the marginalized; perhaps a result of the oppression you endure. 
Use the experience of being force fed facts and figures learned by rote, to question the veracity of the curriculum, especially Australian history.
Know that there will come a time when ink splats are not summarily dealt with, by a crack across the knuckles. That objects placed randomly on the page will become an art form and that you will become the keeper of the stories for your family.
Believe in yourself and reach for the stars, you will achieve all your goals.



  1. First of all love your page and gorgeous photo and Love the ink splatters, I am guessing you added them as rebellion to being wacked over the knuckles for it , you go girl :)
    Your journalling is so powerful. It is sad you had such a sad time at school, but like your journalling said so beautifully it made you strong and thirst for knowledge and your love of words and books. So you showed them :)

  2. See, now the tears are welling up.....dreadful experiences, but all to make a more compassionate person outta you, I guess is the positive way of looking at it:/ And the stars & how you tied them in with your journaling, oh! It gladdens my heart:):) I like your 'pared back' look & I think it looks in the Goldilocks story 'Just Right'......I DO think, myself, that the experiences we went through meant we sort of spoiled our kids a bit & maybe a TAD [just a tad!] of 'harshness' would not go astray. Not tooo much. Just enough to stop the spoilt brattish-ness that is creeping in with some of those youngsters!!! I may be being unrealistic there....want my cake & eat it too, eh???!!!!!!!!

  3. Oh no that journalling is heart wrenching.. I am so sad to read of your school days.. I really dont know why some nuns were so cruel and your story is not alone, I have heard others.. Please know they had a problem NOT you.. I hope you have found forgiveness in your heart for these people and know you are a wonderful creative person and your scrap pages delight and inspire many.. You have risen above those horrible words.. hugs...

  4. Oh Helen, I really love your work, and your tales are a delight to read, I only wish I had the way with words that you have, I always look forward to seeing latest creations and reading about the story behind the pic!!

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  6. Beautiful page...I used the same sketch for my page but you would never guess it. Reading your letter to your 5 year old self caused all my seams to become leaky. Experiences like those could have broken you...I thank God that you chose that it would make you stronger, a woman of compassion and empathy. You are a very special woman xx

  7. (Sorry if the comment comes twice as the internet connection was having troubles...)
    You could never guess what a strong journaling is hidden in the page - it looks peaceful and serene from the top. The dark details emphasize the topic, though. You have once again showed how a strong person you are and you have a magical way with words. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Fantastic layout Helen! Great photo! Love the little stars scattered about!

  9. I am kind of having goose bumps. cant say much. Thanks for sharing your life with us through this beautiful work. Sketchabilities.

  10. oh wow, thank you for sharing. Thanks for playing along with Sketchabilities.

  11. Very well done!!! Thanks for playing along with us at Sketchabilities!
    xoxo Zoey

  12. such a heartfelt piece of journaling Helen, always love reading your words .absolutely loving your layout and I love that you write about all layers of life ... some of the young people today do not realise what went on in those years ... I write in my own personal journal about my childhood but have not shared any yet . wonderful work Helen, you are a treasured friend of mine xoxooxo

  13. Wow Helen - what a moving page. I'm sure many of us can relate to parts of what you mention. Thanks goodness we grow into adults that are hopefully sensible enough to prevent these times from happening again. I think you're very brave to tackle this subject and admire you for it.

  14. Such a stunning page, colour, theme and journalling! Love the grey blue colour, which certainly depicts the emotion of the page! I really felt for that little girl and can imagine that she must have been so unhappy! Looking back I am sure you still feel that pull at the heart, especially creating this page, but hopefully now healing it that it can be a chapter that is remembered but is now closed! .. Very special page!! xx

  15. You are an amazing strong person Helen and very courageous to share your story. When I read stories like yours, I always find it so hard to comprehend that there are people like those nuns, who misuse their power to belittle others. More so, because they were suppose to protect you. :( Lots of love to you. A truly magnificent layout.

  16. My gosh Helen, this is such a beautiful, personal page. I completely understand as I was also educated by nuns...some good, most not so good :( I love the simplicity of this page but it has such a strong message. I still haven't written a letter to my younger self because I really wouldn't know where to start....but your page is so inspiring. Thanks for joining in at Sketchabilities. Cute photo btw :)

  17. Sounds dreadful. Those schools are the worst. We were forced to send our older daughter to one & she hated it. Beautiful layout - love the austere look...