I seem to be either in full experimental mode with my gel plates or fumbling about, unsure what to do. I have had a ton of fun playing with various things lately, but I am never seeming to get from paint to project, IYKWIM.

I was looking at my Roben Marie journal (you know I have mad love for that) and trying to decide what to do. I really really wanted to make a page in it. Life has been super crazy on many levels, none of which I am going to bore you with. I also signed up for a handful of free sessions and bought a couple of smaller classes, so keeping on top of all of that is difficult. I really hate that so many of the taster sessions are kinda all at the same time. ANYWAY, I had made a little journal for a freebie class called Flower Magic (more on that at some point) and I had my book-binding cradle out. I was looking at the squidgy foam and my brain went Huh. I mean don’t we ALL have what is, I think, technically known as a shit ton of this stuff hanging about? It comes in about 70% of the packaging we get.

I cut a bit off and used it to stencil thru a stencil previously used to do an alcohol ink technique. And I really liked the results:

It has a really textural effect on the paint, and the rough surface seems to catch and transfer the alcohol ink from the stencil. When you run your finger over it, you can really feel the nubbly effect in the paint.

I also had a bunch of stuff hanging about on my desk, so I decided to pull it all together into a page. I had printed out a bunch of gothic arches on my laser printer (from a free image I found) with the idea to maybe have a go at the Art Journal Journey prompt before we roll over into August.

and planned to have a go at transferring that onto the page, but instead I flipped forward to a B&W page, stenciled that same stencil on it in the background, cut a bit from the stencil and covered it with gold paint. I added a bit of stamping and some Stabilo black for a shadow (I think it really worked to make the arch look very dimensional) then grabbed my pot of printed quotes. I altered the quote with a one word exchange, and that got me where I wanted to be.

It was just good to finish something really, and while it won’t ever win any prizes for great colour choice or perfectly balanced composition, it really made me happy. The fluorescent red. The contrast of that with the gothic arch. The shiny gold. The Stabilo depth. The damask. The altered quote. It is all just very me, in all my weirdness.

I really love using the free resource for stenciling and really love the effect so much. I will play with this a lot more. I know. Will you? Better than buying make-up sponges right? Cause guess what? You can wash it!

me, doing the happy dance…


Finally managed an art journal page!

I saw the challenge on the Art Journal Journey and decided to have a go. I do have a few fish stamps, so, why not?

I am working in a different small journal, one where is used up bits of paint and ink from past pages.

I am also using up some bits of gel printed deli paper from my circle curtain

I was really struggling to get a clear stamped image from my old red-rubber fish stamps, then had an idea. Remember me talking about using nano tape as a mount for unmounted stamps? I wanted to use my stamp platform – it’s a bit of an odd one, as the top can either hinge, or totally detach, and I made a second hinge from tape. This lets me attach even a wood mounted stamp to it. The mounts on these are pretty thin so it worked a treat to use the nano tape to stick the wood mount to the flap of the stamping platform!

I stamped the other fish all over the background and added some colourful sea grass lines with an old hotel keycard

I added a quote and my Copic coloured fish and:

I do sometimes feel like what I want to be doing in my art journal seems a bit like swimming upstream so, yeah, this works for me.

Oh and that circle curtain? I cam up to find a few of the bottom most circles, the ones right above the open window, had fallen off! I re-attached them with stronger adhesive and they have survived the breeze. Note to self for the next one. Spot the difference from the photos of yesterday?


An actual bird!

Busy, busy day. I just managed to squeak in a page using the birds I had already dragged out. Thanks to Helen (H) for the stamping session at that long ago crop! I do love the funky birds. I made them by stamping on various plain and patterned paper then paper piecing the birds from cut elements.

I got my little pot of printed words and short phrases (rather than my pot of long phrases and quotes this time) and pulled three. Sometimes the pulls don’t in any way match my challenge goal and I feel like I would struggle to use the words.

I mean maybe Hidden, maybe Madness, but I had an idea for the phrase. I had stumbled across a scribble of paint I made AGES ago. I blogged (in 2013!) about using the white version of this, from a Jane Davies tutorial (yep, still a good link) and when I found it during my grand tidy I felt I could use it somehow. and today was the day!

Sticking it to the page was a bit tricky – I feel like I would maybe do my rolling-matte-medium on the gel plate trick next time. But yeah, it stuck fine in the end with just a dot at each intersection and at the free-floating tips of the scribbles. In the end it got to this:

The left image is the page with the journal flat the right is it standing up. Hard to see but the page sort of floats over the tabletop, as it is shorted than the ones that surround it. I do love this journal.

I also spent some time musing about AJ pages. I have come to the conclusion they don’t always have to be this crazy work of art, with a million techniques and supplies. Sometimes it is just the making of the page, doing something, ANYTHING, that is the thing that makes it a “great” page. Overcoming the chaos of life to carve out a tiny sliver of time to get your art on is what lifts the art to a higher place. Or at least it is for me. I would rather make a page, any page, than not do a page at all because I let my desire to create a “masterpiece” when I know I can’t find more than a few minutes to work on it stop me from my desk.

So another for the AJJ challenge and a more legit bird this time. Now I might wait for the June one. Super busy day today and I need to find time to prep for WOYWW. Will I manage it? I hope so.


IS it a bird? Maybe….Art Journal Journey page

I mentioned the fact I was hoping to manage a page for the Art Journal Journey challenge for May but had not been able to so far. WELL. I grabbed some birds I had made from some stamps, actually from a long-ago WOYWW crop (so that dates them as the last crop I was at was eons ago!) pulled a quote and was about to make a start when, clearing off my desk, my eyes fell on some leftover unused bits from my WOYWW ATCs.

In the interest of making use of debris I think my brain looked at them and said BIRD!

You can see the stamping was less that stellar on these two so they didn’t make the final cut. I felt like I could still use them and also commemorate the 13th anniversary in my journal. And I had the quote I used on the ATCs printed on vellum as well that I could add. There was an extra space in the first part of the quote and I decided against the [ ]s where I changed HAD to HAS, for aesthetics but it was useable. AND I even found my hoarded vellum adhesive and while the first bit was a bit dry, the rest was still very much invisible under the vellum. Win!

The real decider came with the pulled quote, which didn’t really work with the other birds at all but worked amazingly well with these and the whole WOYWW theme. I shuffled things about a bit

And the final design also used the roll of tape measure tape that I used to close the envelopes I mailed my ATCs in. Now tell me, isn’t the quote a good’un for this?

So yeah. The little figure is a BIT bird-like don’t you think? I mean it does have wings and is flying…. That’s my story and I am sticking to it LOL!

Another busy week, but I will hope to do an ACTUAL bird page for AJJ before June rolls around and I think I missed out a few of the tail end of WOYWW so must get back to finish the list and check out the AJJ pages from THAT list as well. I totally need more hours in the day! Bet you do too…..


On a roll. A timely art journal page.

So there is a lot of stuff swirling around in my head. I saw a clip of a Ukranian woman confronting a Russian soldier that made me want to cry and applaud at the same time. Have you seen it?

The language might offend so if not hearing a naughty word matters more than the simple power of her actions, against invaders trying to take over her country, well, don’t click to play the clip. I make no apologies for sharing it.

I am trying to do some challenges to keep me working in my journal. The one I do most often is the AJJ challenge. I am also challenging myself to use some quotes I printed. Usually I draw one at random, but I remembered this one and picked it quite specifically. I’ll share it in a bit.

Another challenge group is one at Jenniebellie‘s ning journal site. I have been a member for ages, but to be fair I am not overly keen on the format so don’t go there super often. I did end of last month, and did again on the 1st. The challenge for the month is called A Prayer for Ukraine. And with all that stuff roiling about in my brain, a page emerged.

The clip is of a woman who offers sunflower seeds to a Russian soldier. Not the peace offering or an acceptance of the violent occupation of Ukraine. No. She wants him to put the seeds in his pocket so when he dies there, occupying her homeland, at least the seeds will sprout and sunflowers will grow.

I wanted to use the sunflower, so I stamped and embossed it then coloured it in with Neocolour crayons. Getting close to the colours of the Ukrainian flag limited the media I could use.

I cut it out and browsed thru my journals to find an appropriate page. As the image is not a huge one, the journal I picked was also one of the smaller ones. The sunflower is adhered flat to the page at the stem end, but pop-dotted under the bloom, I hope showing it bursting out from the confining stamped frame.

I added a bit of stamped mark-making in the flag colours. and then added the quote. It’s maybe all a bit chaotic, but then that may also just be apropos. Spring is planting time, but as all gardeners know:

The destructive seeds that Putin has sown may not bear fruit today, but they will bear fruit. And I believe they may just be the seeds of his destruction. And when he is gone from power, and when his soldiers are gone from Ukraine, maybe sunflowers will grow. That, then, is my prayer for Ukraine.

See what I mean? My poor brain is just too full. And I always forget just how useful making art journal pages are to process stuff that you just don’t know what to do with. and, yeah, I have no idea what to do with all the feels….so I’ll keep processing in my own way.

Darling Daughter has a skating comp this weekend. Hopefully they will do well. It would be great for them to have competition from another Mixed Ability group but I am not sure how many of them there are out there! Sad to see there will be no live stream but they do say they will upload it to YouTube shortly after, so I will be able to link that for the US relatives.


Another Art Journal page – making the jump to a big journal, finally

Well then. I finally moved from my quite small journals into a more full size one. I have them laid out for comparison, which you can see at the end. The desk shot from yesterday shows why this journal. The quote I pulled was Some days you just have to create your own sunshine and this swipe of bright sunny yellow was the perfect start! I did my best to really try to capture the page in stages. I used to be really good at that but lately, not so much. I blobbed on some other yellows and brayered them across a two page spread.

I added some text stenciling with a neon orange and some red with a rock-painting guide. I have a set and I just love them for adding background interest.

A bit more red, by way of a texture plate made from wallpaper mounted on a bit of fun foam, for both structure and flexibility.

So many layers! I love this kids PlayDoh tool for rolling on wavy lines and the chevron stencil with some bright turquoise for a pop of contrasting colour.

I added more stenciling with Archival Ink, because I wanted the numbers from my handmade stencil to meld into the background rather than sit boldly on the top, like paint would have. Likewise Archival Ink in brown with the random writing stamp, both scattered about.

I am loving the richness and depth of the layers. Yum. I used a very old stencil and heavy white paint to add the “sun”

and tweaked the quote a bit, as the theme for the AJJ challenge is SPRING and I wanted to reflect that in the text. While I was at the computer, I made myself a list of the participants that I can comment on with Open Id rather than needing to sign in to Google to comment. Broken record, I know, I will say no more on it after this, I promise. I saves me the time of clicking on the COMMENT button only to then realize only commenting with Google is allowed. I still look, I just don’t comment.

So the final page all done:

You can maybe see I added some yellow doodling over the white paint sun, but that is it.

Whew. A lot different from working in the smallest of my journals!

The two-page spread in the big journal is 10 x 12 inches while the pages of the small ones are varied but about 6.5 x 4.5 inches. They each have their place but the big one allows for more play!

Now, what next?


Going a slightly different way with my journal picks – single words and options

Well, rather than pluck a long quote for the next AJ page, I pulled out a bunch of single words. OK, one of them is a phrase, but so shout it is in the little pot of words. It would get lost in the deep pot of longer quotes.

I had to shuffle them about, with the idea I would select at least three of them for the page. I thought at first I might use them all but in the end I limited myself to just three,

The journal is another quite small handmade one, so I ended up sketching out the word on a scrap paper to make sure it would fit – usually I am not that forward thinking LOL!

In the end I opted to use RANDOMNESS because it perfectly filled the space.

And then all that was left was to add the words and some random numbers to reinforce the theme. The stencil is one I cur on my ancient Cricut and the stamp is one I assembled from some tiny number stamps from a printing press set. I feel like adding a “to” (as in unconditional surrender to randomness, no questions asked) might have made it clearer, so I might allow the addition of some small words in the future. I might even make a sheet to print for those, not sure.

WOYWW tomorrow! Best day of the week….


Another quote, another art journal page

Still pulling my text when I feel the pull of my art journal and it’s working. To be fair I am mostly working in my lovely little Roben-Marie journal, or sometimes the other small one, but I am pretty sure one day soon I’ll want to do a page in one of my larger ones.

I split the quote bins into longer quotes and single words. I can pull one word or many words as I like, when I draw from that pot.

I also am working on using a lot of my scraps, or collage fodder, from a basket beside my desk. It’s quite full. I dragged out these bits:

because I really liked the bright colours, but in the end I only used the cooler colours, since they worked with the background on the page already:

The shapes were very undefined and they worked perfectly to fill the open areas of one of my favourite letter stamps. And those worked well on the page.

The quote is altered from the original, which was From the outside, it often looks bewilderingly trivial, by inserting MY ART instead of the vague it. And it’s true. Often the art we make is considered trivial or pointless or even bad. But what is always worth remembering is that if you are driven to create art, whatever art you make is not trivial or pointless for YOU. And bad is in the eye of the beholder. If you think it is good, it is. If you think it is important, it is. If you think it had merit, if you think it helped you, if you think it gave you wings, it did. And at least you did it. That in and of itself is something. And maybe, even something big.

Be proud. And keep doing it.

I’m gonna link to the AJJ although not sure if I will link it or not – I’ve done quite a few this month and I don’t want to overstay my welcome LOL! At least this is going up on the last day of the month so maybe tomorrow, a new challenge limit me.


More words for Art Journals (or ATCs) – not overwhelmingly positive

Hands up if you work in your art journal to help you process things in your life that aren’t all fluffy bunnies and rainbows…. Yeah. Me too. In exploring all the pages I see here there and everywhere, I am struck by how many times I see a page with what appears to be a totally random word plunked down on it. I’ve done it too, plenty of times. Not so much recently but I have been guilty. Well, maybe not, actually. Scrolling back thru my pages I am hard pressed to find single word pages. The only one I found was this one, in all of my finished pages:

I do find some ATCs with things like ART and CREATE and BELIEVE. But positive words are not always the thing you need. Sometimes, I make a page and maybe the right word is PAIN or SCREAM or BOREDOM. And it is both a waste of time and a hassle to create a single word to print and add, or grab my stamps and stamp it out. Since I have been on a bit of kick, making words for my art journaling that I can draw from randomly, I decided to make a couple of pages of not very positive quotes and words. No up-lifting, not artistic really, some have a slight positive spin, but most are depicting ambivalence in the best case, or real anguish in the worst. You might find them useful, unless your art journal is more about the pretty and the positive. Print ant cut, but grab the actual 2-page PDF not this image!

I did them in two styles, the ones I generally prefer, which is blackout or typewriter. I hope you find a use for them.

As a side note, if you recall I mentioned some fab paper that I use for printing.

When printing my words to cut, I grabbed the wrong paper. As I had both, I thought the side-by-side comparison might interest you all.

I know which I prefer! I’ll add it to the AJJ more for the download than the page. The custom cut stencil is very much part of my style so I guess that works!


Another quote, another Art Journal page

Well, in the end I DID go back to the page I had flipped to in my small art journal, because the quote I had pulled was the right size for it:

This was one of those cases where the page was so highly decorated that it didn’t actually need much. I loved the bold black circles, and honed in on the word contained so I could focus on them. I used an old stamp I created, with numbers that make up all the birthdays in our family, to incorporate the paper tape binding a little bit:

I die cut a little bubble die and trimmed it into two clusters:

then smudged some Distress Oxide ink on it to make it stand out a bit better and placed them within two of those circles. I felt that went nicely with the quote.

Overall, I like it. At this point it is still all about getting into the habit of making pages regularly. I am happy to be making use of these long hoarded quotes, and I love that they are printed out and ready to go. I think I need to explore my saved files of quotes a bit more fully and prep some other sheets as well, some with different fonts, maybe some white writing on black, just to mix it up. Of course that sort of thing takes a bit of time to do so we’ll see if I manage it. It might make sense to do that first, so I don’t get tired of the same font and size as well, so making the challenge a little more … challenging!

We’ll see. If I do I’ll share.

And, yeah, one more for the AJJ! My style is still evolving and hard to pin down, even for me. LOL!