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…..


Finally, and Art Journal page – woohoo!

Easing back in to it a bit. I went back to my own pull-a-quote challenge, where I pick a trio from my little pots of printed and cut quotes. If you want to print your own and challenge yourself, you can find some here and here.

I pulled only one, from the pot of longer quotes, and it was very appropriate for what is going on in the world, both the ongoing war in Ukraine and in the USA, with the leaked Supreme Court decision. Because, yeah, now is not the time to remain silent.

I have been missing the AJJ challenges, but this month it is BIRDS and this page, with the best will in the world, is never going to be about that. I mean, I could randomly stick a bird on it, but that feels too much like cheating, so I’ll have to make another page with an intentional bird on it LOL!

I had an image, can’t recall exactly where from now, that I liked so I decided to cut it as a stencil. {shudder} That meant going back to my old Mac mini, running the last operating system that works with my ancient Cricut (1st gen) and SCAL.

Yep. The one with the mini-Japanese keyboard and the right-only monitor. I had to have The Hubster remind me how to access that. Such a numpty, and a forgetful one at that. But it worked, thankfully, and as I had unearthed a mostly full pack of laser transparency sheets and my stash of new (sharp) blades, I cut it in a flash

And it stenciled like a dream. I did have to add a few lines to join things up but yeah, I love it and can see using it again. I don’t mind cutting a stencil that I need only once or twice when the resources are cheap. I only pray I NEVER need the Great Cheeto Coloured Git’s stencils again. But I digress…

I always love working in my very small journal from a Roben-Marie tutorial. It is by far one of my most favourite ones. especially when I have been away from journaling for a while and need to ease back in to it gently. The pages themselves are bright and colourful (mostly) so I need only add a focal image and a quote for the barest minimum page to feel that all important sense of accomplishment we all need. And…

There we go. Challenge success. Now, about those birds…

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Yarn issues so Art Journal instead!

Yeah well, I knew I was going to have an issue with running out of yarn! The yarn I used for the sweater was actually bought for a different project so the amount was always going to be a problem. It’s yarn only found at HobbyCraft and I will (hopefully) be able to visit in person as part of an (annoying) trip down to Southampton for a visit to my consultant. I think it’s been about 3 or so years since I’ve seen him in person so I suppose it is overdue, but the two hour trip (one way) for a 30 minute chat is less than welcome, really. But seeing the colour of the yarn and trying to match the dye lots can only be done in person.

SO, I turned my attention to my little arty journal instead. I always have a LOT of samples floating around on my desk. I get an idea. I try it. It works – or it doesn’t – and the bits hang about until I figure out how to use them or I bin them, usually only in the case of extreme ugliness.

The neuro-art bits were from a while back, intended to be ATCs but I never really found the right link. The word I pulled from my pot of small words, rather than the larger one of long quotes that I have used before. I wanted to figure out how to make it all work as an AJ page.

Now, what I struggle with, sometimes, is the overwhelming desire for order that causes me to want to work on the NEXT PAGE in my journal. Sometimes I can skip a page, working on a right page rather than a left, but I really have to feel the pull of a specific later page in order to flip forward. I bypased the left page when I made the support for Ukraine page, and at some point I flipped forward to make a few pages, but since then I have been working in between so I could fill the gap.

I really didn’t think the skipped page worked, and I don’t really know WHY. So I flipped thru all of the remaining pages (a LOT) to very nearly the end until I found this page:

It was exactly what I wanted!

I grabbed some of my oldest supplies (those Permopaque markers are vibrant and wonderful and at least 25+ years old) to both edge the neuro-art block and to colour one of the white die cuts

and then it was just shuffling stuff about till I got the right placement! The TRIVIAL bothered me, because I feel like there is the tendency for people who don’t art journal to think the work is trivial, that it isn’t real art nor real journling. But if you DO art journal you probably know how beneficial it can be to help process life’s ups and downs. So after I spattered on a bit of white Gloss Spray (and momentarily considered what I might do with that lovely over-spray sheet from my spray-box)

I ended up here.

I really liked how the die cut flowed from the neuro-lines on the block and as this is very nearly the last page (except the inside back cover) it will feel like a fitting finish, when I get to it. I might even just stick the back of it to the back cover and make it so.

And so my butterfly mind flits off again, but only because of the yarn issue. I will have to flit on till I either get more or decide to make my sweater more of a patchwork of colour for the rest of it. Time will tell….


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!