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Tired of waiting…inching towards GOOD

I am tired of waiting for the toddler-in-chief to stop his silly games. I decided I am going to inch towards Good as Hell. So I began a page. I had already done some collage and a little gesso and am slowly adding colour with a small brayer. Starting with warm tones. Yellow:



Then some neon orange that I made into a spray.

I just added a bit of the paint, some glaze medium and some matt gel medium. Threw in a few beads to the bottle to help mixing. It works OK.

I’ve got a few bottles that I mixed up like this and they all work pretty well. Over time they may clog but not there yet! I am keen to get on cause I have a plan and I think it is going to be a good page.

Just freakin’ CONCEDE already, will you? {sigh}

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Book done!

Finished the book from Roben-Marie’s free class. I am sure I will use this binding method again in the future! Very simple and effective. I love how the pages open up so flatly and fully.

This is the inside cover on the left, the first signature on the right.

The binding is clever, although I would make a small change next time. Rather than creating the signature (made up of a folded sheet filled with loose-leaf sheets, not additional folded sheets!) and sticking it into the spine, I would stick all the loose sheets in and complete the “signatures” THEN stick them in to the spine. You may just need to sign up and watch the construction to get what I mean – it’s hard to explain!

It is only the outside wrap of the loose pages that gets stuck into the book. The rest of the binding is all tape. Strong, reinforced tape, but tape nonetheless. On one page I did cut the tape in half, thinking I didn’t want to obscure too much of the page, but then forgot to keep doing it. I would def. try that next time. Don’t think I photographed that smaller tape strip either – but the tape is 2.5 inches so cutting it in half lengthwise will work, I’m sure.

Just a few shots of the various junk pages…

The one on the right below is a sheet from the Waitrose newspaper, a desk cover to catch over-spill, with a gesso stamped image or two to brighten it up. I just stuck the two sides together to make it more sturdy – I really like how it looks!

I didn’t add the tape between the stuck signature wraps. I might still go back and do so, not sure yet.

Now the real question is what to do with it? It feels like maybe a Gratitude journal, full of uplifting quotes, might be an idea but frankly, as the election results drag on, and the psycho toddler-in-chief refuses to concede, and my Good As Hell journal page gets delayed again and again, I kinda feel like a RAGE journal is more likely. But there are dozens of pages in this book, and I am just not sure I can sustain my rage for that long.

Who am I kidding? I have FOUR YEARS of pent up rage to let out! LOL!

Time will tell….

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Gotta love a free workshop!

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for a free workshop from Roben-Marie. I used to see her videos on YouTube eons ago and she popped into my feed. I wandered down a rabbit hole and found this free class she was offering. I thought Why not? and signed up. It was really fun.

Now, to be fair, her style is fabulous but I could never emulate the artistic restraint she has. All of her pages were bordering on minimal, with plenty of space to add extra tiny little bits of collage or daubs of paint. I would have had to work so hard to make pages like that. But the CONCEPT of the album, and the BINDING technique really appealed to me.

Next problem? The whole thing focused on a gutted book cover. I didn’t have one. I had some really BIG books, but no tiny likkle diddy one that would work. What I DID have was more of the canvas boards that I used for my recent mini art journal. So I MADE a book to use in the same way Roben-Marie used her gutted actual book.

I oriented the canvas boards portrait style rather than landscape, as I did for the journal, and it worked really well!

Lots of clips to make sure I got a good bond. Then I covered the outside with a cover-my-desk mop-up sheet of paper and covered the spine with heavy kraft tape stamped to tie it all together.

How long did I dither about which should be the front and which should be the back cover? Don’t ask!

I collected a bunch of things to use for the pages. There were some old Gelli prints, more mop-up sheets, sheets where I brayered off paint when Gelli printing, spray ink and Brusho over-spray sheets, even some newspaper that I stamped some extra gesso images onto then folded and stuck the two sides together to give them a bit more stability. There were some old collages sheets for a project I abandoned, some brush-off ink splotches and heaven knows what else. I took four of the brayer-off sheets and added some stamping and stenciling to what was there, to unify them more colourwise and used them as the folded signatures that the loose pages fit within. Here are some of the bits:

Now all that is needed is to bind it using Roben-Marie’s clever gummed tape binding. Watch this space!


Filling my journal – and word stencils

The first, not very good journal I made from Amazon packaging is one large tri-fold page from being finished. I am holding out for that much mentioned Good As Hell page! It may take till January 21st but I will make it one day LOL! Here is my last page, but one:

I haven’t completed any journaling on it, and am on the fence as to whether or not I will. I’ve never used such thick. dimensional letters (chipboard, old scrapping supplies, and not very nice ones at that) and I wish I had split the chipboard and made it thinner by doing so. This journal was always meant to be a bit experimental, not really filled with deep thoughts or intended to have strong emotions poured into it. It was a way to loosen up and try things out, after years of doing nothing artsy fartsy at all. So doing this page and thinking Next time I will thin those letters... really is what it was all about. It’s about learning what I am good at at what I am NOT good at.

What I know I am good at is making things for my journals that are unique to me. Like the word stencil in the background. Last month when cleaning up I found a stash of transparency sheets. They make good word stencils. I had done a couple of pages of typically British expressions, many that totally made me go Huh? the first time I heard them, and have been considering how best to use them for a while. The title came first, from the classic SciFi novel, then the rest flowed from that. Here are the two sheets of words and phrases:

A few things you can’t see, like upper case letters in the event I want to capitalize a word, and ! and ? so things like Alright become, as they should be, Alright?

So, back to the journal….while there are a handful of pages I really like a lot, like these two:

it also has some with techniques I tried that I am pretty sure I won’t do a lot more of cause I am NOT good at them. I don’t think magazine collage (as much as I love it when I see it done by, say Teesha Moore) is ever something I will do a lot of, for example. And the overly stylish, cohesive and pretty pages that people like Kate Crane seem to be able to crank out at will are unlikely to ever come naturally to me. If a page ends up being pretty, it is more often by mistake and not by design! Sometimes things look…forced. Like I am trying too hard to achieve a style that is not natural for me. So I’ll just carry on. Let my stress levels melt away for the few hours I am playing and hopefully the pages will please me, and if they don’t, I don’t have to share them, do I?

I’ll sign off with another phrase that always makes me smile:

Cheers, Big Ears!


Saving a page in my art journal

It is totally heartbreaking when you make a background for a page that you LOVE and then have a so-called brilliant idea that you think is going to do justice to that background and instead it totally bollocks it up. Remember this background?

Love it. almost just left it as it was for a bit longer but I got a new stencil I was DYING to try and I was pretty sure it would look stunning over this. Yeah, not so much….

Maybe you can see that I tried to salvage it by drawing around the stenciled areas with a white paint pen, hoping that might make it pop out from the background a bit better, but it didn’t help. What to do but weep.

I had seen various videos about salvaging a page by masking off an area then painting out the whole background black, so just a bit of the ugly page showed thru, but that wasn’t really what I wanted – I loved every inch of the background, it took ages to do over multiple days, and I didn’t want to sacrifice any more than I had to. I considered painting the whole image area black them stenciling over it with white, but wasn’t sure that would look like I wanted. Then I had the idea to cover the stencil with one of the colours from the background and then stencil over it with black again.


I wish the pink, which I mixed, was slightly warmer, to better match the pink in the background – it is more obvious in the photo than in real life, I think. I already know 100% that I need better lighting in my craft room. The combo of it getting dark early, my aging eyes, and the rubbish lighting means no crafting after dark if I want anything like a good colour match LOL!

Still slightly obsessed with the election, and trying to hold the words on the page to heart….

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Art Journal, cover decorated, mostly

I have finished MOST of the decoration of my art journal cover.

Not the best photos today, but the weather is miserable and the light is rubbish. It is just the usual conglomeration of stamps, stencils and mark-making that you will see on pretty much every art journal LOL! I am very happy with my Rubbermoon stamps, however (most notably the large yellow flowers and the turquoise spirals) and I am sure they will appear a lot. The inside is maybe even better. I was a little more restrained and limited the blue on the spine to a smaller area.

The signatures are sewn in, and I was limited by the number of sheets of watercolour paper I had to create them. Because the holes for the sewn signatures are slightly farther apart than ideal, I think I will be able to fit two or maybe even three more signatures in if I am careful with my hole-punching. It would have to be a simple pierced hole rather than a punched one, lest it compromise the structural integrity of the spine. See the gap? But then, do I actually WANT more pages?

The closure is a simple one, just a bit of elastic and a button.

I punched a couple more holes in the spine and threaded the ends of the elastic to the inside then knotted them securely.

Oh, and I did use my deckle edge blade to cut the pages. Thanks for the reminder Shaz!

So now the dilemma…do I give it a title? ART JOURNAL yet AGAIN?? Title it with a quote, that might feel like it limits me? Just Art Journal #(whatever) or AJ 2020? BAH!

Here’s a weird thing. I like the making of the journals, a lot. So I am pretty OK with making ones that are not huge, with 60 pages to fill. This one (and the little one from the offcuts) have four signatures of two folded sheets each, or 8 single pages each, for 32 pages (which can be done as double-page spreads if wanted) and that suits me fine. So deciding on a theme or a technique maybe, or even a colour, might be a fun way to do it. At least I will know there are only that limited number of pages to do and not 60+ pages!

I already have a couple others that appeal – a twine binding, that allows for slipping pages in so they could be worked flat before adding them, and one from Roben-Marie that has an odd tape binding, also for small, loose, multi-texture and varied paper type sheets, that fits within a small gutted cook cover. There is a workshop for that – I’ll find the link and add it when I start. I’ll ponder the title a bit longer….

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Art journal from Amazon mailer

Not my idea. I get frustrated by the YouTube algorithm cause unless I save something after watching, I find it hard to find it again, especially if I watch a video in a blog post and not on the platform. My problem, I know, but it would be nice to at least link to the original one I saw. Anyway, I do know my take on it is a bit different so here we go…

I took the basic Amazon book mailer (mine is the 6 inch wide one) and did a minor surgery on it.

VERY minor – I removed the tear-open strip LOL!

The original I saw utilized the flaps that secure the book as pockets. For me, I saw no need for pocket – this journal will not have loose pages and it isn’t a planner style journal. I glued them down flat to make a more solid cover. I cut the little triangle to fill the notch.

This is very much a departure. What I learned from making the first one of these is that the cardboard is more flimsy than you expect. I also think adding layers over the area that becomes the spine to reinforce it makes it pretty stiff and bulky. So I began by lining all the larges areas with cardstock. I used white, but I could have been frugal and used large scraps of scrapbooking cardstock (of which I have PLENTY) instead.

I left the spine area free. In the end I cut out the area I will use to sew in the signatures and replaced it with mat board. I get that this is no less work than creating a journal from plain bits of heavy cardboard (and may be more) but it IS reusing something instead of trashing it or recycling it in a way that requires more resources.

Then I covered the whole of the covers with collaged book pages a PVA. The final coats are first gesso then mat medium – I prefer to use the cheap, strong PVA where it really doesn’t matter!

I also used a circle cutter circle to round flap nicely.

I then covered the spine area and a bit onto the covers with canvas, inside and out, both the replaced spine AND the small area for the flap. That makes it both strong and flexible. A winning combination. I had an old, stained and damaged pre-stretched canvas from The Works that I used for that.

I used both PVA and a bit of the old tape runner to make it really secure!

One thing to check is that the smaller spine, where the flap folds over? Make sure it allows for the thickness of the added signatures. The first one worked cause the pages were very narrow. This one the pages were pretty much the full width. I used watercolour paper from an old pad, A3 size, cut down. You will see I already made a small journal with the offcuts produced by cutting down the full sheets to the right size for THIS journal. See that here. It looks like this:

It’s diddy, only 5 x 6 inches, but I think it will be fun.

So the last bit is the decorating and adding a closure but cause this is super long already and my patience with the stupid new WordPress editor is at the very end I’ll stop here and show that in another post!


WOYWW 597 – still left wondering…

Happy WOYWW once again!

<sigh> While virtually all networks (in the USA and around the globe, even Fox News) have called the election for Biden, I still am unable to exhale.  I really wanted to be posting a Good As Hell page but am not risking a jinx.

As I mentioned in a reply to a comment, there is still A LOT of unifying work to be done.  4 million more people voted for Biden, but a HUGE number voted to keep the status quo.  That is a problem.  This art journal page is on my desk, and it pretty much sums up how I feel:

I have a couple of in process shots. The background is basically alcohol inks dripped and blown across a gesso-ed page.

And a slightly better close up of the stencil

I first did the stencil on deli paper and stuck it on, but eventually added another stencil over the top to darken it. I may have to do another layer to really make it pop. I think I wasn’t brave enough to risk the background. You will see how that went wrong on a different page in a day or so, if I manage to fix it!

I also made another stencil which is there but out of shot, that I am calling Stacey Tha’ Goddess! Rather than roll over and give up when voter suppression in Georgia let the guy who was overseeing the election for Governor WIN the election, Stacey Abrams mobilized people like never before. When Biden was called as the winner, she barely took a breath to celebrate, but instead IMMEDIATELY reminded people of the upcoming Senate run-off for two seats. You can bet she is working hard today, tomorrow and EVERY DAY till the election to not let people rest on the win, but to get out and vote AGAIN.

I will be thinking how I might work this into a page one day soon.

I will be meandering round the desks this morning and try to keep up my visit every desk goal for another week!


In limbo…

Well, the election results are still up in the air. Nothing else to say till they count all the votes.

To keep my mind and hands occupied, I made a little art journal. I have finished the basic construction of the Amazon packaging one, and made the signatures. The watercolour sheets I had were too big, but with careful planning, I was able to get the signatures for that larger journal (pages are 6×10 inches) AND signatures of 6 x just shy of 5 inches so I decided to make a smaller journal too. My plan is for this to be a use-it-up journal , where I can offload extra paint, stencil-stamp, roll off a brayer, etc.

The construction of the journal itself was prompted by some little 5×7 inch canvas-covered boards. I suspect I bought them eons ago for my daughter to paint on and I had a few unused ones. With a bit of canvas I was able to make a cover.

The canvas sheets I had were not big enough so I had to overlap them.

Lots of clamps of many different kinds held it in place – I used strong PVA as the adhesive. 

I used the bookbinding cradle I made for punching the signatures and I have to say I am super happy with how it worked. 

The cover ended up looking like this – really, there are no amazing techniques here, just paint and water and stencils and stamps.  OK, well there was ONE thing, my substitute for nickle Azo gold, which I don’t have, that worked out pretty well.  I’ll explain in another post.

The little skull beads are from knitting stitch marker making – I have loads of them. The inside looks like so – the first signatures is full of paint leftovers so I never have to begin with a blank page, and all the colours are the same as the cover.

The deli paper prints  on the inside of the covers are from that other page in my big journal.  Still love them! The back cover gives a hit that I am not yet successful in pushing the election out of my head!  The phrase is a riff on the thing they say at the end of campaign ads in the USA, My name is XXX and I approved this message. I thought it was pretty appropriate.

My stamping of single letters wasn’t too bad – ever so slightly wonky but overall pretty good. 

I guess I will have to make more of that deli paper – really, I can’t even say how much  love it and how many ideas I have for how to use it.  And it was so easy too! 

What I used up that was old or has been languishing in my stash:

  • the canvas boards
  • the canvas sheets
  • Pearl-ex in Aztec Gold
  • stamps bought on sale for about £3, never used
  • little skull beads
  • black baker’s twine
  • a Gelli print from at least 5 years ago
  • and used up the last of my deli paper prints from last week
  • needle tip bottle still filled with black paint, still flowing freely

All in all that was pretty good! I have managed to resurrect my bottle of crackle paint, and tested it – it still cracks!  I have four more bottles, all but one still factory sealed, and all dry as bones in the desert.  I will perform the same operation on them and then share how I did it.  I will def. use that on my next cover or page!


WOYWW 596 – am I good as hell?

Happy WOYWW y’all.

Well, I am pre-typing this cause it is likely I am going to be up all night watching election results, just to get an idea of where things are heading. The election isn’t over until all the votes are counted, so unless the results are overwhelmingly obvious, by the time this posts I’m not sure I will know if I am, in fact, Feelin’ Good as Hell or not. I prepped a stencil just in case.

and closer – can you tell that is actually Lizzo?

The only difficult part was adding all the bridges to ensure the text didn’t have big open areas – which I like for some things, not for this. I am in process, testing a few stencils. I have about three stencil books – this one was a tip off from a WOYWW desker, but I’ve forgotten who now. This stencil might be the other option if things go the wrong way… 

I am testing the image on deli paper so I can lay it on a page to check for size, etc. and also testing a stark white and subtle shading effect. I also cut a few other stencils – cause I am still on the look out for the best face.  This one is stark and simple and might fit the bill:

I have had this next image for a while and at this point have no idea where it came from – it might have been from a now defunct stencil site or just some random image I liked.  But I do like it – a lot.

Not sure if I will add them on the deli paper, or book paper or if I will stencil directly on a page.  I also snapped a photo of the deli paper page from the other day, all stuck down.  I almost hate to cover it with anything, it’s so pretty!

And very lastly, I have some stamps I ordered from the USA.  Sadly, no UK seller has them and and no one was willing to order them for me.  Luckily the seller, Rubber Moon, does ship internationally.  It took about a week or maybe 10 days to get here.  I can’t wait to use them.  I add the ink pad so you can see they are actually pretty big stamps!

So that’s me for this week.  Hope you are all weathering the lock-down OK and are keeping your spirits up and still making art.  I’ll be making my visits, as many as possible, today.  Looking forward to both the distraction and the inspiration in equal parts!

(and ps. At the moment I am most definitely NOT feelin’ good as hell…)