November Art Journal Pages

I’ve just been flicking through my junque journal and realised I’m close to finishing it, and will soon need to build a new one. However, I am miles away from being finished showing you the pages! I started working on this journal in October 2014, and I’m only just now showing you the November pages!

choose happy art journal page

Reading through, you can see I was starting to get really concerned about my health and this was about the time I was gearing up to go and see the doctor.

100years art journal page

The tiredness was a really big clue to my illness (but I didn’t know that until months later). I was, and still am, falling asleep a lot during the day for an hour or two, sometimes more, every day. It feels very much like my eyelids are made of lead and I get really freezing cold and then it feels like my body is starting to shut down and I have to sleep. I wish I had known I had Hypothyroidism before it got this bad!

barriers art journal page

Language barriers: Five of my cousins are French and don’t speak much English, while I’m English and don’t speak much French. So that makes things quite interesting when we try to converse on Facebook. Thank goodness for Google Translate. But that’s no good at slang or getting across true meanings, and on the occasion I journaled about above, I had to enlist the help of a French-Canadian friend! Thank goodness for her, because I got really stuck and it got embarrassing.

silly cat art journal page

Silly cat: Our cat, Oscar, is 3 years old and very, very silly. He does such funny things! I’m so glad we rescued him from the shelter because he has brought untold amounts of joy to my life. We had cats when I was a little kid, but then I wasn’t able to have one again until Oscar. From now on, I will always have a cat.

At least one.

Preferably two. Or more.

I’m well on my way to being a cat lady and I don’t care.

clarity art journal page

I really like the lettering on this page (above). Someone told me something once, and her words are the single-most important words anyone has ever said to me. They brought such amazing clarity and fundamentally changed me as a person. Sometimes I can get quite worried about specific things, but then I remember her words and it really does make me feel relieved of a heavy burden.

quote art journal page

Here’s a page (above) with a quote by author Stephen King that I really love:

“The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there… and still on your feet.” Tweet this quote!

doodles art journal page

Lots of personal stuff blurred out in the spread above. But the best part is where my daughter told me she had witnessed me laughing in my sleep :D She used to do that herself when she was a baby (and grew to walk, talk and watch TV in her sleep…but that’s a whole other story!)

zendoodle art journal pagesAnd here we have the last page spread of the month and the beginning of December. Behind the ’04’ is a flap, and underneath it are our tickets from that day when we took ourselves off to the zoo for my husband’s birthday. I swear, winter is the very best time to go to the zoo because there’s hardly anyone else there and it’s like you have the whole place all to yourself (well…apart from the animals!)

I have to say…I love that zendoodle on the left there.

Come back soon for December’s pages!

Zoe Sig


On Health & Art

zendoodle zoe ford

A month ago I received the news that I have autoimmune thyroiditis which has caused hypothyroidism. Basically, this means that for a number of years, my immune system has been attacking my thyroid gland and I’ve gone into thyroid failure. Since diagnosis, I’ve been taking medication to replace the lost thyroxine hormone which is responsible for keeping your metabolism on an even keel. Unfortunately, it’s not working yet, so I will be going back for more blood tests in a couple of weeks and then my doctor can up the dose.

Cerulean Flow WM 539 x 756

‘Cerulean Flow’, acrylics on canvas board. AVAILABLE at

Really, this news has been an eye-opener for me. I’ve had a ridiculous number of seemingly minor symptoms for years now. None of them seemed connected and on their own they didn’t seem worth wasting the doctor’s time over. However, I did take a list of symptoms to him in 2011, where he diagnosed me as having severe depression. It turns out, depression is one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. What that doctor should have done, perhaps, was to have taken blood tests. But he didn’t and I struggled on for another 3 years, with things gradually getting worse.

2015-02-23 02.36.18 pink wm

During 2014, my symptoms started getting worse a lot faster. I thought I might be going through premature menopause and went to my (new) doctor about it. He agreed that might be what was happening and ordered blood tests, which ruled out menopause and instead showed the thyroid failure. More blood tests followed which confirmed it.

'Tribal Dance', acrylics on canvas. Available as prints at

‘Tribal Dance’, acrylics on canvas. Available as prints at

The treatment for hypothyroidism is supposedly quick and easy (although life-long), but I’m not finding that to be the case at all. I would really like an immediate fix. But that’s not going to happen. The Thyroid UK website lists 111 possible symptoms, and of those I can check off 75. The most bothersome for me are:

  • extreme fatigue (I have to nap a lot)
  • feeling so cold (deep in my bones, which makes me sleep, like hypothermia setting in)
  • and yet, insomnia (difficulty getting to sleep at night)
  • mental slowing. I get confused and I struggle to English!! ;)
  • multiple pains (feet, legs, hips, back, arms, wrists)
  • wanting to be solitary
  • not wanting to go anywhere
  • extremely dry and itchy skin
  • severe depression / dark thoughts
  • oh, and hello there, extra 75lbs in weight! It’s exhausting carrying that around.

top floor treasures zendoodle

You know what has happened though? My artsy mojo has come back. All of these images are things I’ve done in the last couple of weeks and there’s more not shown here. I can’t remember when I was last this productive. It’s like a fire burning inside, an urgent need to create. I’ve missed that.

art journal zendoodle zoe ford

Hypothyroidism affects 1 in 50 women and 1 in 1000 men. If any of this sounds familiar, go and see your doctor.

*Disclaimer: as mentioned above, there are an awful lot of symptoms that can affect different people in different ways and I can only write about it in the way it affects me. I don’t claim to know how it affects other people.

Zoe Sig

15 Books to Inspire Creativity

15 Books to Inspire Creativity

{This is List #1 in my ‘52 Lists‘ series}

Here are 15 of my favourite creative books, listed as they appear in the photo. All of them inspire me in different ways and if I’m having one of those days where I just can’t seem to get started, I know I can pick up any one of these books to get the creative spark I need.

1. ‘The Mindfulness Colouring Book‘ by Emma Farrarons

2. ‘Everything Is Going To Be OK‘ by Chronicle Books

3. ‘Wreck This Journal‘ by Keri Smith

4. ‘Art Doodle Love – A Journal of Self Discovery‘ by Dawn DeVries Sokol

5. ‘Cultivating Your Creative Life‘ by Alena Hennessy

6. ‘Finish This Book‘ by Keri Smith

7. ‘Listography – Your Life In Lists‘ by Lisa Nola

8. ‘Print & Pattern‘ By Bowie Style

9. ‘No Excuses Art Journaling‘ By Gina Rossi Armfield

10. ‘20 Ways To Draw A Tulip‘ by Lisa Congdon

11. ‘Taking Flight‘ by Kelly Rae Roberts

12. ‘Carve Stamp Play‘ by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

13. ‘Journal Spilling‘ by Diana Trout

14. ‘Paint Mojo‘ by Tracy Verdugo

15. ‘Creative Doodling & Beyond‘ by Stephanie Corfee

Do you own any of these books? Are you tempted to read any of them? Which ones do you think would be your favourites? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading!


Zoe Sig


Junque Journal Pages

My daughter, the award-winning-teen-blogger-extraordinaire, told me she is ashamed that I haven’t blogged since November. She was joking (I think) but with my butt well and truly kicked, I decided I would show up today and let you into a few more pages in my Junque Journal.

Last time I showed you the ‘befores’ where you could see how I put the pages together in Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s online class, but today I’m just going to show you the ‘afters’. Still very much Juliefied work though! Love her ❤

If you like to read other peoples’ diaries my rambling writing, you can click the images to see them bigger; the most private stuff is blurred out ;)

art journal page zoe ford

art journal pages zoe fordart journal page zoe fordYou are good enough‘ is from a stencil by Tamara Laporte.

art journal pages zoe fordMy favourite page from these four is the last one because of the face. In Julie’s ’30 Days In Your Junque Journal’ class, she gave me the confidence to try sketching a face using a paint marker rather than a pencil. The whole point is that it gets you waaay out of your perfectionist zone because you can’t erase any perceived mistakes. So, she is drawn completely in paint pens – black, white and yellow Uni Posca pens. There’s something about this face. I like looking at her.

I also love the Max Ehrmann quote from Desiderata on that page:

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence” Tweet this quote!

Thanks for reading!

Zoe Sig



2 Weeks in my Art Journal

For the past few weeks I’ve been working on two online workshops run by one of my favourite people, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. In ‘Make Your Own Junque Journal’ she has taught me how to make my own art journal, with sewn pages and hardback covers, with end pages and a solid spine.

junque journal

The reason it’s called a Junque Journal, is because literally the whole thing is made out of ‘junk’ that’s just laying around.

junque journal

Each page is made out of scrap pieces of various kinds of paper, and washi tape. One of my covers is made from chipboard while the other is an old canvas board that I had painted on but was unhappy with.

junque journal art

In ‘Thirty Days in Your Junque Journal’, Julie shares her art journaling techniques which I’ve loved learning about! I feel like it’s really improved what I do and how I think about what I do on my art journal pages. It’s also made me write more and that’s a really good thing. Sure, it’s nice to have pages that just feature a quote or an image, but what’s even better is if you write about why you’re including those in your journal – what they mean to you.

So, do you want to see some of the pages in my junque journal? OK! I’ll give you ‘before and afters’ so you can see how the page was originally put together out of paper scraps I had laying around, and how it looked after it got ‘Juliefied’ ;)

#1 Before: a piece of an encyclopedia page, painted and Gelli-printed paper scraps and scrapbook paper…

1 before

#1 After:


#2 Before: more paper scraps as before, with the addition of some stenciling…

2 before

#2 After:


#3 Before: 

3 before

#3 After: The only thing that remains from the original page is the inside of the lettering up the left side…


#4 Before: A very bland page, nothing there that I particularly want to keep…

4 before#4 After: …so let’s just cover up the whole thing!


#5 Before: A cut-up acrylic painting of mine on the left – hated it, hence the cutting up!

5 before

#5 After: I kept that sideways heart from the painting on the left and used it as a motif in other places on the page to bring it all together.


Well that’s all for now folks!

Thanks for reading,