Even the best of intentions often times get tossed out the window when REAL LIFE happens. I finished my “fun” art journal in early spring (they are all “fun” but that one was just for fun with no particular theme or message), and started my new one right away. I finished the covers and decided on a color scheme and theme / message and then OOPS! Everything had to be picked up and stashed in a storage box because we finally had the time to paint the sewing room / art studio. All of which I am so grateful to have almost finished, BUT while we were in the midst of all that mess, the art journal was hiding in a cupboard, away from the paint and sawdust.
So this week, after getting everything out in the sewing room cleaned up again, I now have a place to organize and store all of my sewing and art supplies, and I even have room to work on different projects without having to pick everything up when I’m right in the middle of something. We still need to figure out what to do with that yucky old concrete floor, and we want to paint the ceiling and do a bit of trim work around the furnace and AC units, but HOORAY! I can work out there now.
One of the first projects I wanted to do now that I have room to work was to finish painting the rug that I started a week or so ago. It took several coats of paint to cover completely (of course I would start with a rug that had a dark design on it . . . but it is small and old and really UGLY so I decided to experiment on that one before I move on to the bigger rugs – if this one turns out OK!). While I was waiting for the last coat of paint to dry on the rug, before I paint some kind of a wild and crazy design on it, I decided to get back to my art journal project that has been on hold now for a couple of months.
One of the things that God has put on my heart the past several years is the importance of story telling. We all have stories, and we all need to share our stories with others, but sometimes that is quite intimidating. Instead of sharing our stories, we often hide the true message of our lives and unfortunately, lots of important stories are lost forever if we don’t tell them – somewhere, somehow, to someone. For me, the safest place to start telling my story is in the silence. Because I don’t want to hear anyone’s opinion of my story, or have someone tell me that my story is “wrong,” or that it’s not an important story . . . . so I have written bits and pieces of my story in poem and short essays that are completely and totally private. Maybe someday –
For now, I’ve decided to create an art journal in which I can have fun decorating and creating artistic designs on each of the pages, but THIS art journal will be a silent place of safe-keeping for my stories. So this art journal has lots of pockets and envelopes (which are always fun no matter what you put in them!) where I can write out some of the stories and poems in my heart and hide them in the little pockets of my journal. Then, maybe someday, if anyone is interested in my story, they will be able to discover my words. I’m telling my story, sometimes in the silence, and I am really having fun with this little project.
After I designed the covers (I just used plain old cardboard from the backs of scrap book paper packs), I decided to use scrap book card stock for each of the pages so that some of the pages already have images on them. The backs of each of those pages are plain white so I can add all kinds of fun stuff to them, and I included several altered envelopes and pockets in between the pages. One way to create an art journal is to use a blank book that is already bound, but for some reason I really like to start from “nothing” and make my own books. So in case you would like to make your own art journal with just a bit of scrap cardboard, paper, envelopes, paint, glue, ribbons, and buttons, here’s just one approach to telling your story – sometimes in the silence – in the event that you are like me and you’re not quite ready to tell the whole world what is in your heart. This is a great way to express your heart in a creative and fun project.
If you would like to follow along on my creative journey of storytelling through art journaling, I am documenting the process through a step-by-step tutorial so you can give it a try, too. My ongoing journey of discovery can be found HERE. Would love to have you join me. In the meantime, please join us for this week’s Favorite Things Blog Hop and Linky Party. Hope to catch up with you and see what you are up to this summer!
Please join us this week for the Favorite Things Blog Hop!
Please take the time to get to know ALL of your hostesses
Sometimes I just have to tell you about the inspiration I discover from other bloggers, especially when I’ve been unable to come up with my own creative inspiration. That happens when I have a week where the rain just wouldn’t stop so I couldn’t get out and work in my own garden, and I went on a field trip with 400 eighth graders which was great fun but exhausting, too. I also find myself running out of time, energy, and motivation to create my own new “stuff” when there are just so many other demands on my time with writing, editing, parenting, house cleaning, yard work, and spring school events.
This is the last week of school for my girls, but then we start all of the summer running from one thing to another, but in the midst of it all I remain hopeful that I don’t lose sight of some of my own goals for the next couple of months. One of my goals, and I am pretty determined to accomplish this even if it takes me ALL summer, is to paint my work shop / design studio / sewing room. It is really big for which I am grateful, but it was a woodworking shop before we bought this house so it was really not very . . . . “girly.” The walls were painted white at some time in the distant past, and there were wood stain splatters on the walls where the previous owner finished his projects.
There is lots of counter top space, with a whole bunch of cupboards and drawers, but they are painted a dismal blue (some places not painted at all just bare wood), and the floor is unfinished concrete. When we moved in we cleaned it as best we could – washed the walls, swept and washed the concrete floor, cleaned out all of the cupboards and drawers and added pretty shelf paper – but it is still rather drab and lacking in a bright, cheerful, inspirational atmosphere.
We started painting this past weekend (right after I returned from the field trip with 400 eighth graders, so I was still pretty wiped out), and we managed to finish one wall. ONE WALL. It is a lovely soft, light sage green and I am painting all of the cupboards white and painting the cupboard doors to match the walls. So we’ve started, but we have a long way to go. I hope we can make more progress this coming weekend. And I’m really hoping that it does not rain all weekend like it did this past weekend, because we have so many projects to work on outside, too.
In the meantime, I took a bit of time to visit some of the bloggers from last week’s Home Matters Party for some inspiration to keep me focused and motivated since I tend to get overwhelmed when there are so many projects that need my attention. Here are a few that I found that have given me a renewed sense of determination that I can actually do some of these things on the To Do list. They are quite random, as I usually find DIY and craft blogs to be where my attention is drawn, but this week I found a couple of other things that I want to try. I hope you have a few summer projects and goals – and that you won’t get too overwhelmed with all of the amazing things out here that we can do on a summer day!
Of course I was immediately interested in the article 6 Ways to make the Most of a Small Gardening Space from Premeditated Leftovers – even though we have a rather large yard, we just don’t have the time or energy to have a large garden, so we are working on cleaning out and reorganizing the smaller garden spaces we have around the house. This article offers ideas for making the most efficient use of a smaller space when gardening, so I am definitely interested in finding out more.
from Little Girl Designs
As a creative who LOVES to design and make art journals, I was intrigued by this post from Little Girl Designs. She has posted a “beginner friendly” tutorial for making a sweet art journal cover using a spiral notebook. I love the way she walks you through each step and keeps it so easy that anyone can get started, even if you’ve never tried making your own art journal before. I tend to over-think everything, and I love to make my art journals so complicated that it just might be way too overwhelming for someone just getting started. I know there are lots of different ways to design and create journals, and my way is just one way, but I love this tutorial to help us stay focused on the FUN of making art!
from She Saved
We don’t have a Chic Fil A near our house, but when we go into the city, we sometimes have stopped there for lunch. The girls love it, and the food is great . . . so a couple of weeks ago we stopped in I think while we were out of town for the weekend. I remember seeing the Frosted Lemonade on the menu and decided that whatever it was, it looked yummy and beautiful, so I tried it. Wonderful! So when I came across this blog post, it was definitely something that I wanted to check out. We will be making our own Frosted Lemonade this weekend when we have burgers on the grill (if it doesn’t rain again!). It looks like a pretty easy recipe, so if you love Frosted Lemonade, too, be sure to visit She Saved and check out her Copy-Cat Frosted Lemonade recipe.
from Crafts ala Mode
Meanwhile, back in my garden . . . this time of year, I am always thinking about ways to make our yard and garden “pretty” but since I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on all of the beautiful yard and garden decorations available from the store, I love to find ideas for decorating with inexpensive stuff. This bird bath is made from a thrift store plate with marbles or glass stones in the bottom – not only inexpensive and pretty but super-duper simple to make. We have a bird feeder outside of our kitchen window and those silly finches argue and fight just like my kids over one tiny little area on the perch when there is a WHOLE feeder filled with bird seed and plenty of room all the way around for them all to hang out. But they nag and scold one another, knock each other off the feeder, then swoop off when they have conquered their territory. I think back in that corner of the yard would be a good place to add another bird bath, so I’ll be on the lookout for a pretty plate the next time I stop by the thrift shop.
from Six Figures Under
I’ve recently read quite a bit about the potential dangers of using commercial, store-bought deodorant with aluminum and parabens. Although I’ve not ever been overly concerned about every little thing that we hear is “bad” for us, I do tend to research these things and this one certainly seemed worth learning more about. I was looking for a natural deodorant without aluminum and actually found one at the store, but I was still thinking about how to make our own. When I was visiting some of the different blogs this past week, I came across this post with the recipe for making your own natural deodorant on the Six Figures Under blog. I’m going to give it a try and see if it works for us – my girls were talking with me about the aluminum, too, so they will be interested in helping me try this out. If you have been looking for a natural alternative to over-the-counter deodorant, you might want to visit Six Figures Under and check out her recipe for Homemade Natural Deodorant.
Well! I feel like this was my lucky day! When I came across THIS blog post, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t thought of this myself – I LOVE window boxes, and had them on the house we lived in for a long time in Michigan, but the house we live in now doesn’t have window boxes. After debating what to do about that distressing situation, my husband and I talked about seeing if we could find a few free-standing planters to put under the windows. Attaching the window boxes directly to the house is challenging, and they are so heavy that it puts a lot of extra stress on the siding, so we were hoping to find a different way to achieve the same look. Some houses have wide window ledges where you can put a planter, but not this house. I looked online to see if I could even find free-standing window box planters, and sure enough you can find them. But they are pretty expensive so I was rather discouraged, thinking that perhaps I could do one or two this year and a couple next year. Still might do that, but here is an idea that might work, too. Off we go to the thrift store, garage sales, and auctions to see if we can find a few old magazine racks to upcycle. If necessary we can set them on leg extenders to make them a bit higher, but I love the look of the upcycled magazine rack so much better than the brand-new (expensive) ones. I definitely discovered a TON of creative inspiration this week!
I hope you are finding ways to make your life creative and fun – I would love to see what you are making this spring, so leave me a comment and I’ll pop over to your blog for a visit.
Here’s your FREE printable JUNE 2017 calendar from RUBY. To use this beautiful calendar on your computer, phone, or lap top, or to print it out and use in your art journal or day timer, simply right click on the image and “Save as image” to your hard drive. You can then upload it wherever you want it or print it out.
This has been a very BUSY week, but I’ve been busy doing so many things that I have wanted to tackle for a couple of months and just couldn’t. Now that I’m back out in the studio working every day, I’ve been trying to be really good about doing the “fun” stuff and then alternating with the “necessary” stuff. Oftentimes the “fun” stuff wins out, and I find myself completely immersed in the project at hand, and suddenly realize that it is time to make supper. Or pick up a kid from tennis practice, or fly off to piano lessons, or any number of other “necessary” tasks. All of which I love (well, except for the “making supper” part) and have great fun watching a tennis match or listening to a piano lesson, it is really easy for me to get so focused when I am “making stuff” that I lose all track of time.
One of the “necessary” tasks this weekend is to clean up and start painting the studio . . . . more than just getting paint on my design table, all over my hands, and usually on my clothing. We want to paint the walls in the studio this spring, and I think this is the weekend that we can finally get started. We had to be away last weekend so we got nothing accomplished – and this weekend is Mother’s Day so my little family just might be enticed to do something special for this mom and get that studio painted.
As I’ve been researching and learning about updating my Etsy shops, one of the things that keeps coming to my attention is that I need to add pictures of my work space and of me, actually working there. Well, that’s all fine and everything, but when it still looks a bit like a converted wood working shop, I’m not quite ready to put those pictures out there just quite yet. So, off we go to the paint store!
In the meantime, I’ve been having great fun going back and forth between my computer work and my art journal . . . and here is the next stage in that process! If you are joining me on my journey to seek and find that which I lost a long time ago – through the healing and therapeutic activities of journaling – here’s where you will take YOUR next steps.
After the outsides of both the front and back covers are painted, you will want to paint the inside covers, too. What is really amazing about taking these steps of painting both the inside and outside of the covers (even if you are later going to cover them with other “stuff”) is that the paint on the lightweight cardboard creates almost a “faux leather” feel. It makes the covers flexible and resilient so that you can work with them much easier than if you just start to glue paper and other stuff on them right away. I know it takes a bit longer, but trust me, it really makes nice covers for your art journal.
PAINT THE INSIDE OF BOTH THE FRONT AND BACK COVERS
EMBELLISH THE COVERS WITH PAPER, LACE, RIBBON, OR ANYTHING YOU WANT!
I like to stitch some of my embellishments on my designs so that I get added texture, but gluing everything on works, too.
Once I have the elements stitched on that I want, then I add more “stuff” like buttons, charms, or other little things. Glue things like buttons, beads, vintage keys, braid, or actually anything at all that you have in your stash.
Because my art journal this time is going to be filled with some of my experiences, feelings, thoughts, and ideas about finding my voice, I used a lot of musical designs on my covers – also based on the stash of little collages and tags that I discovered hiding in the back of on of the drawers in my studio, my color theme throughout will have black, gold, and pink acdents.
Then I just printed out a short saying that is part of one of my poems about this journey, ripped out the words and glued them on top of everything, added a few vintage buttons, and my front cover is done! I also added a couple of strips of scrapbook paper that I ripped the edges and glued one on the top and one on the right side of the front cover. More tomorrow about the back cover!
I hope you are having a good week and that you are making your own discoveries along your journey, and that perhaps you will also discover that art journaling is an amazing way to think through all those things, thoughts, and events that have caused you pain in your life. It truly is a fun and healthy adventure, and I REALLY hope you will join me!
Today, however, you are invited to join us for the Favorite Things Blog Hop –
Please join us this week for the Favorite Things Blog Hop!
Please take the time to get to know ALL of your hostesses
As part of the “Find your voice, tell your story” series, I’m going to start with a step-by-step walk through everything that I do to create my own art journals. Now, I realize that you can buy journals, or blank books, or sketch books, or note books, or composition books, or any other number of ready-made books that you can use for an art journal. All of those things work great!
However, if you want to start right from scratch (so to speak!) here’s one way that has worked for me. I also realize that there are professional artists out here, as well as profession book designers and creators, who probably have easier, better, quicker, or faster ways to make your own art journal – you know, the “right” way. But since I am none of those things – actually by vocation I am an instructor in the fields of writing, Medieval history and theology, and philosophy with absolutely no professional training as an artist – so my way of doing this project is just that – my way.
I’ve experimented with lots of different techniques, tried this one and that one, and will continue to try different things as I discover them, but this is what I’ve come up with that has worked really well for me so far. Feel free to add your own creative twist to your art journal and then be sure to tell me how it works out!
I’ve received several emails from readers saying that they really want to start an art journal . . . they have been planning to start an art journal . . . they realize how peaceful and therapeutic it can be to create art, especially during times of stress, or anxiety, or turmoil in life . . . but for some reason they haven’t started. It seems they just don’t know WHERE to start or HOW to get started. So that’s what we are going to do in this series of blog posts. We’ll get started, at the beginning, of a simple art journal project, and walk together through each of the steps, until we have created your very own book about you and your story, whatever that might be. So let’s get going and kick-start our creativity this spring!
Starting from (almost) nothing
One of the reasons I like to make my own journals is because I can use up stuff I already have here at home, and I don’t have to go out and buy MORE STUFF to clutter up my house. Actually this is a good way to recycle some of the stuff that would either pile up and make a mess or get tossed in the trash or in the recycle bin. Here I have the back covers off of a couple of scrap book paper packs that I’ve had for a long time. I had used up almost all of the paper in these packs but the back cardboard was still hanging around and I really didn’t need them any more – in fact I decided to use up the few odds and ends of paper that I had left over from previous projects.
You can make your front and back covers from almost any kind of cardboard you have on hand. You can make them any size or shape you want, but for this journal I liked the square shape, so that’s what I’m going with this time around. You need one cardboard shape for the front and one for the back. I always lay my projects out on wax paper to keep the mess from getting all over my kitchen counter, but even if some paint or glue gets on the surface of my counter tops, it will wipe right off.
What’s Your Theme?
Sometimes I like to start with a theme or idea in mind . . . . but usually not. The last art journal I created, I had no clue what I was going to do. I just started out with colors and papers and embellishments that I like, then scrounged around until I found other stuff that would look good with what I already had. I did start that one with kind of a color theme of turquoise and red, but that did not find it’s way through the entire journal. The front and back covers were painted turquoise with red and white accents, ribbon, braid, buttons, etc. and then the inside pages were whatever I felt like gluing or stitching in to my journal that day.
This time, I happened to come across a bunch of tiny collages and tags that I made a couple of years ago. I can’t even remember what I made them for back then, but obviously that project never was finished. The color theme of these little treasures is light pink, black, and gold AND since there is already a music theme running through all of them AND since this is the first step in my journey to find my voice that was stolen from me through fear and unkindness, it seemed like the perfect start for this art journal. So here’s where I am going to begin: music, light pink, black, and gold. We’ll see what happens next!
Base Design for Covers
If you design and create your covers in the beginning, that will give you a really good starting point for everything else you will do with your art journal. Once the covers are ready, we’ll put them together with the pages inside and then you can start the fun of designing each new page to express your voice, your thoughts, your joys, your sorrows, your peaceful moments and your unhappy moments, and through that expression you will begin to tell your story.
I decided to use black as a base coat for my covers and use the pink and gold as accents . . . I chose to paint my covers with basic craft paint that you can buy at Walmart or Hobby Lobby. I like the gloss finish, but you can also find matte finish or even neon and glitter paints. If you don’t want to use paint, you can glue on a piece of scrap book paper in whatever color or design you like. It really looks good if you use different mediums to add texture and interest to your covers.
Just swirl some paint on both the front and back cover pieces you’ve chosen. Don’t worry about getting it perfect, just squeeze some paint on the cardboard, and swoosh it around until the whole piece of cardboard is covered. Or, glue on a piece of scrap book paper to cover the entire surface of each piece of cardboard, and then trim the edges.
Then let them dry for a while . . . oh, about long enough to fix supper, or fold the laundry, or sweep the kitchen floor. You get the idea. Go do something else while the paint is drying. This is one of the reasons I love doing this project! I can work on it for short periods of time, and then while the paint or the glue is drying, I go do some of the other tasks that I have to do in life, and then it is so fun to come back and see your progress! Keeps me moving through my day with anticipation.
Add some pizzazz!
If you are using paint, one way to jazz it up a bit is to drizzle paint in coordinating colors all over the base coat. If you are using scrap book paper, you can move on to the steps where we layer papers and other embellishments for the covers and pages – OR you can add paint to your covers at this point in the process, too.
First I swirled strings of gold metallic paint around and around on the black painted base of my covers. If you have the wax paper down on your counter or work surface, you won’t mind just swirling and twirling that paint all around until you get a design that you like.
Then, once I let the gold swirls dry for a few minutes (picked up the trash, checked my email, put laundry in the dryer), I added some pink drips. Be careful that your drips / drops are not TOO big or it will take a really long time to dry. I always experiment on my wax paper first (see in photo above) to make sure I have the right amount of pressure on the paint bottle to get just a fairly small blob of paint. I got one of them too big and decided to let it go . . . it actually turned out pretty cool when the paints smooshed together!
When the gold and pink paint was dry, I decided I wanted a bit of a splash of white, so I drizzled some gloss white paint all around in scribbles and swirls, right on top of everything else.
Don’t move your covers off of the wax paper until they are completely dry. Leave them overnight or all afternoon, but when they are completely dry, you can peel them off of the wax paper and trim off the excess paint with scissors.
All trimmed and ready for the next step!
The fun part of the journey begins . . . .
Now it is time to begin the process of making the front and back covers represent whatever it is you want to express through your art journal. Again, since mine focuses on music, and finding my voice, I chose to use some left over paper that I had on had that has musical notes on it. It is vellum so it is translucent and the background paint design will show through behind the music on my paper.
I don’t have any idea how I am going to use all my pretty little pink, black, and gold collages and other stuff yet, so for now all I’m going to do is tear off a corner of the vellum paper and glue it on to the top left corner of my front cover and the bottom left of my back cover. When I’m using glue, I almost always will spread a thin layer of glue all around the back of whatever I’m gluing on to another piece of cardboard or paper, then using my finger or a Popsicle stick or even a small ruler, push the glue all the way out to the edges to make sure they are securely glued down.
Then, I cover each piece I’m working on with wax paper and weigh it down overnight with heavy books. This will keep everything flay while it is drying, and the wax paper will keep it from sticking to the books. This is a good stopping point, and tomorrow we will finish embellishing the covers, and put them together with the pages. For now, I hope you have found a reason to get started creating your own art journal. It is time to find your voice and tell your story. Hope you’ll come along on my journey!
I have a secret . . . very few people know this about me, and it is something that I’ve struggled with my whole life. It is still scary to me, even this very minute, to talk about it.
You see, I’m pretty good at a few things. Just like you. We are all good at something, even when we think we aren’t. I had no idea that I was good at anything for a very long time. For many years I lived in a world where girls were only allowed to smile and nod, be silent and agreeable, never have an opinion of their own, and (Heaven forbid!) if a girl did actually have a thought of her own, the absolute last thing she would want to do is speak that opinion out loud. Where I came from, “good girls” just don’t do certain things. They don’t say certain things, and they never, under any circumstances, speak a disagreeable word. I learned my lesson well, and it kept me silent for many, many years: “Good girls don’t get angry.”
And so I didn’t. Well, on the outside I didn’t. But the sad part about that kind of world is that there are lots of “good girls” out there who are really and truly sad, lonely, discouraged, defeated, and depressed. All that along with a monumental load of grief and anger because it appears from everything they are being told, that their contribution to the universe is at best irrelevant, and should they step outside that little “Good Girl” box, they are to be pitied and avoided because they surely will lead someone else astray. Usually an unsuspecting young man who hasn’t a clue about all the stuff that “Good Boys” should know about.
But I digress . . . . here’s my secret. I can’t find my voice. Literally. It has been fascinating to me over the past couple of years to discover that my physical voice has been so disguised, distorted, hidden, and frightened, that now when I am no longer in that world where “Good Girls” come in a one-size-fits-all box, that I simply cannot find my voice. There now you know. I have struggled through vocal therapy for many years, and it has been such a gift to me to find a voice teacher who seems to understand why, when I open my mouth, often times nothing comes out. No sound. At. All. NOTHING. Silence.
Well, actually I’m not sure she truly “understands” because she has never seen anything like this before . . . but she is a loving, compassionate, and patient teacher and friend. Just the other day we were talking (I can usually find my voice for talking, but even that sometimes is scary!) and she tried to get me to make a sound as if I was trying to have a conversation and the other person kept interrupting me. She would say, “Try this . . . say, ‘Wait! Wait! Wait! I’ve got something to say!” I guess it was about just jumping into the stream and hoping I learn how to swim before I drown.
And that’s when it dawned on me . . . I would NEVER, NEVER, and I mean NEVER do that. I am so well trained that if someone else has something to say, it surely must be way more important than what I might have to say (especially if it is a man; since I am a woman my words are never as important as a man’s words – but that was in my other life). I have learned that silence is so much safer than speaking and putting my words, thoughts, ideas, and opinions out there in the world where they will, again, either be ignored or ridiculed. Fortunately, I no longer live in that world, but the scars remain.
So my friend, I am beginning a journey (or actually continuing a journey, just with different tools to help me) to discover and hopefully FIND my voice. And I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone in this quest. No, your story might not be exactly the same as mine. But God has impressed upon my heart that I must share this journey, and so I begin. The task of finding my voice has been about saying what is really in my heart, and the safest way to begin is with baby steps. That is how this project of my art journals began – small steps of expression that felt “safe.” If anyone else happened upon my “words” they still would not know for sure what they were seeing. Or hearing. Or reading. I’m getting a bit bolder, and with age comes a certain amount of “I’ve lost my give-a-darn” bravado.
As I embark on this new project of finding my voice and telling my story, I invite you to join me as we work on learning new ways to express our creativity through journaling. With words or not, journaling is truly therapeutic and healing for anxiety, stress, fear, sadness, grief, and so many other emotions that hold us back from experiencing the life that God has for us. So, off I go on my adventure, seeking that which has been lost for many years. I hope you will come with me!
Oh good grief! It seems like no matter how fast I go, the behinder I get! That’s an old saying (well, kind of) that my mother used to exclaim on days when she couldn’t seem to catch up with everything that needed to be done in a day. I think it actually goes more like this: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get!” I was close. But some days it really does feel like that. This has been kind of a week like that so far – not in a bad way, but just all of the normal mom stuff that needs to be accomplished, plus a few last minute “OOPS! Sorry mom, I forgot . . . . ” – so last night after sitting at the tennis courts for over two hours, I came home with two very tired and very hungry teenage girls. But on the way I decided to stop and treat the girls to a strawberry lemonade, and “OOPS!” sorry world . . . I was so busy with other stuff that I forgot to check the bank account, and apparently I thought I was good but forgot that the utility bill was coming out this week, so there we were.
Fortunately, I was able to fix the oversight rather quickly, but not before I was ready to give up on life (really?????) because I made a mistake. I’m sure that never has happened to anyone else, so I’m embarrassed to admit it, but that’s life. So this morning, I decided (after making sure all was well with my bank account) that this is a new day and I’m going to keep on moving. I decided not to give up on life after all, because I have this beautiful little art journal that needed to be photographed (which I thought I was going to do yesterday, but oh, well) – so here is my finished little book. I’m so excited to start on the next one!
I’m planning to take pictures as I go along with the next one, or if I can figure out how to do it, maybe I’ll do a little how-to video. Seems like everyone else knows how to do that, so I guess I better figure it out. I’ve been encouraged by the kind words I’ve received from some of my writer friends about my art journals, and even one of my friends offered to write an article about me and my sweet little journals. I guess we’ll have to discuss that possibility!
Anyway, I’m off to a bunch of other pressing deadlines (no tennis match today – not until tomorrow!) so hopefully I’ll get a lot accomplished before I fall asleep. Many miles to go, as a famous writer once said. So let me leave you with a few pictures of my finished art journal and encourage you to think about starting your own creative journey and make your very own art journal.
Remember you can use whatever you have on hand to get started – you should see the box of teeny-tiny scraps of paper I have out in my studio! I keep every one because you never know when you might need a quarter-inch square of scrapbook paper. As my mama used to say (I remember all those things now that I’m a grown-up): “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.” So in that case you never want to waste anything. That has come in handy upon occasion – especially on those (very) rare occasions when I mess up my bank account. Fortunately I had some funds “stashed” away so I could take care of that little slip up. Be wise, and don’t waste anything!
I’ll be back tomorrow for one of our weekly blog hops and linky parties – hope you can join us, it’s lots of fun!
In the end, “She saw every ending as a new beginning . . . ” is one of my favorite reminders to keep moving, one day at a time, even when I mess up my life!
And so, my love of “little books” inspires me to make “little books” that fit inside a little bit bigger “little book” – those tiny note books fits perfectly inside the pockets on these pages, that are decorated with a banner with pink tags and vintage buttons stitched onto a yellow polka dot background.
More pictures tomorrow of my finished art journal, April, 2017!
I’ve always been in love with books. When I was a little girl, we did not have books in our home, and we lived in a rural farm community that did not have a local library. So when I discovered the library in the old school building, on the second floor with really tall windows, black and white tile floor, and wide window ledges, I fell in love. And I’ve been in love with books ever since! It’s not just the words on the page, or the pictures, or the design on the cover. I’m not sure what it is, but there seems to be such a sense or peace and order that just makes sense, in a world filled with confusion, chaos, and (for a little girl) uncertainty.
Some of the first books I remember were the Ant and Bee series by Angela Banner. They were on the bottom shelf of those huge wooden shelves, back in the corner where I could sit on the floor and look through them all. I still remember the smell of those old wooden shelves and the books, books, books everywhere! Of course, we were only allowed to take out two books at a time, so I would check out my two little Ant and Bee books and hurry home to discover what Ant and Bee were up to that week. One of the things that I found fascinating about those books was their size. They were small, not like all of the “big people” books, or even like most of the “big kid” books. Just the right size to fit in a little girls hands!
Later on I discovered that I could “write” my own little books, and even draw my own pictures inside. Well, if that wasn’t an amazing thing for this country girl! So I would take bits and pieces of leftover notebook paper or wrapping paper or paper from brown lunch bags, and doodle and draw and write little sayings down and then punch holes in the sides and tie them together with string, or ribbon, or whatever might be on hand. It almost made my mother crazy, I guess, because she was always asking me, “Why do you have so many little tiny bits and pieces of paper all over the place?!?!” I guess she didn’t understand my determination to MAKE something, and at that time, my experiments with making little books. Like Ant and Bee.
So when I found blank books for journaling . . . well, I guess I thought that was just the most amazing thing (after Ant and Bee, of course) that I had ever seen in this wide world! For years I kept a journal. I would fill up one blank book after another, all with my thoughts, my joys, my sorrows, and my prayers. I still have those journals from years ago, all tied up neatly with a ribbon – mostly because I’m still not ready to read what I wrote so long ago, but maybe one day. Or not. But when I look at them now I realize that I didn’t know how much MORE could be done with a blank book!
Some of my old journals have pretty flowers on the front, or sayings, or other interesting stuff, but some of them are just plain old composition books. How boring can THAT be? Hard to believe I didn’t make an effort to decorate the outside in some way, but I guess back in those days I had a few other things going on in my life that didn’t leave a lot of time for decorating things like a blank book. But none of them are completely blank anymore – some of them are blank after a few weeks or months of writing, but that’s because sometimes things are just too hard to write down, because once they are in “black and white” they must be real. And I just wasn’t ready for that to be so.
Now, however, I have found that not only making and writing in journals is an important part of my life, I have also been experimenting on creating and filling up (to overflowing usually!) little art journals. I get to put anything I want inside those little books, and I can even “hide” things that I know are there but if anyone else happens to look through my journal, they won’t realize what they are seeing – it’s kind of a mystery!
And I’ve discovered that I’m not the only one who loves to create these fun little books – so just in case you have come across my blog and want to create your own art journal (or junk journal, or whatever it might be to you), here are a few pictures of the journal I’m working on now. I actually finished this one the other day and will post pictures of the finished book tomorrow, but for now here are some of the pages I created for my book.
Here’s a secret: if you want to make your own art journal, don’t worry about making a mistake. I made several pages in this journal and then after a couple of days of looking at them, I realized I didn’t really like them all that well. I don’t know why, but they just didn’t seem “right.” If that happens to you, there are a couple of things you can do. First you can just leave a page that you aren’t completely happy with, and realize that is just like life. Sometimes we have days that just don’t seem “right” or don’t feel like everything came together the way you anticipated, but we have to move on, turn the page, and keep going. Or, you can do what I usually do, I just either rip it out and start over or I cover it up with something else. Either way works! The main idea is to have fun, be creative and make something that reflects who you are. Art journals are very personal, so do whatever you feel like doing!
These pages have several little “fold outs” or “flaps” with other interesting stuff hiding underneath!
These pages have a double “fold out” so that the left side opens out to reveal another page underneath!
On the right side is an envelope where I have tucked away a few little notes
Lots of places for fun little “bits and pieces”
Sometimes I stitch on pieces of fabric along with the ribbons and lace – and there’s another little flap on the right side with a little envelope underneath . . . .
I like to use leftover pieces of scrapbook paper, with scraps of lace and ribbon, and buttons that don’t have any place else to go, but you can use any kind of paper or fabric at all. Even junk mail works really well, and it gets rid of all that paper that seems to show up when I’m not looking!
because on the right side I have a note card I received from Katherine, one of my treasured friends. Here it will be safe forever and I will always be able to look back and remember our friendship.
After I finally finished all of the pages, the binding was not wide enough, so I had to figure out what to do about keeping the pages together . . . and I’m sure there are videos and tutorials out there that would have helped me solve that problem, but I wanted to experiment and see if I could figure it out myself. And I did! It turned out beautiful so I’ll post pictures of the final pages and the binding tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you will be inspired to create your own art journal.
In the coming days I will be creating a video of step-by-step instructions for constructing your own little art journal from materials you probably already have on hand. So if you are ready to start journaling (remember it is good for your health!), I hope you’ll stop back and join the fun. We might even have an art journal challenge coming up for the summer so be watching for new, creative inspiration for your life.
Everywhere you look there are articles and blog posts on how to relieve stress in our lives. We seem to be overwhelmed with stress, busyness, sometimes chaos and turmoil, anxiety or tensions, or mostly just “too much.” Too much of just about everything! Too much noise, too much stuff, too much activity, too much busyness, too much expectations and demands on our time and energy. Most of us fly through our days just barely getting from one exhausting event to the next.
For women, we are always running. Running through the hours, multi-tasking, trying to keep everyone alive and make sure everyone gets where they need to be, that they all have something to eat, clean clothes to wear, all of the homework done . . . . or any number of other responsibilities that we all have, just because we are women. And if you are a woman who has a family AND has employment away from home, it feels almost impossible to get a few minutes just to relax and dream. All that stress eventually causes a strain on your body, and your health suffers. I know because
I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve had all this miserable stuff going on almost all winter.
Of course, when I talk to my neighbors or friends at church, everyone tells me that whatever this stuff is that’s been going around this year just seems to hang on and hang on. I heard someone say just the other day that they felt like they had been sick with this stuff for the past three months! It seems to come and go . . . and unfortunately, it then comes back again, and again, and again. So perhaps all of this has nothing to do with being too busy, not getting enough exercise, not getting out in the fresh air and sunshine, and running from one event to the next, from one end of the county to the other on a pretty regular basis. But just in case, I decided to re-evaluate the role that stress plays in our daily lives and what I’ve discovered in the past that has been helpful. Just because it might be helpful to you, too!
One of the things that I learned a long time ago is that, even though we are all different, most people can relax and unwind a bit by being creative. Even if you don’t think you are particularly creative, you might surprise yourself and discover that you enjoy making things. Here’s a simple, fun, inexpensive, and really easy-to-fit-into-your-schedule kind of creative project. JUNK JOURNALS! Now I know that might sound kind of silly, but the truth is that just taking random bits and pieces of stuff and organizing them into a tidy little book actually has therapeutic benefits.
If you have ever put together old photos into a scrapbook, you might have found that just getting all of those old memories organized gave you a great sense of satisfaction. Not only did you get those photos organized, but now you know that they are stored safely for future generations – and one of the best parts for me, especially when I was working on OLD, old photos was that I was in charge! I could put those people anywhere I wanted them, and they couldn’t talk back! Well, maybe you don’t have those kinds of memories or issues with old photographs, but I’ll tell you that it was great therapy for me to tell all those people what to do!
But even if you aren’t interested in creating scrapbooks for your old photos, it is still fun to put together these pretty little junk journals. If you have even a little corner of your house where you can keep things available for cutting and gluing, that’s about all you need to get started. I made this journal back in January so the first few pages have a winter theme, but I’m working on new pages to celebrate the changing of the seasons and different experiences that I have throughout this year. Mostly I just use junk that is left over from other projects, including junk mail, old tags and receipts, bits and pieces of ribbon and lace, vintage buttons, and scraps of pretty paper.
If I am looking for something specific, I can always go online and find images for just about any season or subject I am working on – many websites have images that are free for personal use, and they are great resources for finding pictures of pretty much anything in the whole wide world! Here are the pages I worked on this morning while I was waiting for my girls to get dressed and ready for school. I just took a few things from my sewing room, some scraps of paper, and a couple of images I printed off the internet (and of course, a few vintage white buttons!) and cut and glued everything together to make something beautiful
You might want to try journaling for your health. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but even a few minutes each day to sort and organize through some tangible “junk” might help you navigate through the other “junk” in your life. I’ll be posting the pages of my journals as I create them, and even adding some free printables in case you want to make your own junk journal. I would love to hear how journaling is good for your heart!
Tomorrow I will post pictures and step-by-step instructions for making these two pages of my JUNK JOURNAL!