How to Start Art Journaling

I began doing art journaling on a regular basis about 1 year ago. I like it because it is therapeutic, and because I’m a bit of an art supply/paper hoarder. Art journaling gives me an opportunity to use my supplies and keep them from gathering dust in a closet. 

Starting a new art journal can seem intimidating, so to a certain degree, it’s good to just dive right in. Just remember that there are no mistakes when you are art journaling. Feel free to doodle, glue, paint, draw, stencil, stamp, stain, color, or write in it. Basically, you can do anything your want with it! 

Here are some tips for art journaling if you think you want to get into it. 

1. Find a book to use as an art journal: You can really use any book you want. Use a traditional sketch book, or an old hard bound chapter book, or even a picture book if you want. I would recommend that if you use a book with thin paper and you intend to do mixed media work in it, you either glue every 2 pages together with mod podge to make the pages more sturdy and thicker, or coat each page with gesso.

One of my favorite art journals was actually a chapter book that I bought at a book sale my local library held.I used all the pages in this book. I actually loved the look of the text in the background, so I didn’t cover over it with gesso. Below is a simple page I did in it.

Another recommendation I have for a more traditional art journal is the Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Art Journal. The pages are sturdy enough to withstand many different mediums without getting warped. It also comes in different sizes. Below is an example page from the one that I have.

2. Buy these basic supplies

  • Glue medium (I suggest Mod Podge)
  • Cheap paint brushes (to apply the mod podge) 
  • Scissors
  • Stronger glue medium (I suggest E6000) – You only need this is you plan on gluing heavy things – not just scrapbook paper. I have used it to glue everything from metal embellishments to seashells onto paper. It holds up well, but note that it smells very strong.
  • Your art medium. Anything that can be glued or used to color or add texture to the page can be considered an art medium. Feathers, scrapbook paper, colored pencils, your kids crayons, sponges, dried flowers, magazine cut outs, anything goes! 

3. Have all your supplies on hand when you start, in arms reach

4. Look for inspiration. If you want to find inspiration, it’s everywhere! Here are some of my favorite places to find inspiration. I usually just use search word “art journal” or “art journaling” to find a treasure trove of ideas on each of these sites: 

  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube – two of my favorite people to watch on YouTube are Vicky Papaioannou and Toni Burt Artist.
  • WordPress

5. Don’t be afraid to have multiple art journals! I personally have 3 going right now, each of them fills a different purpose.

  • A 9×12 Strathmore Mixed Media spiral journal – this is a large journal, in my opinion, and it is mainly used when I want to do a more magazine-inspired work… I also use it as a scrapbook of sorts… I tend to use it for more personal projects- like my last work, which contains a Letter to my recently deceased cat, Lily (see my previous blog post for that example). It’s much more like a journal, and has more words in it… I keep personal and emotional or opinion based art journal pages in here… It’s my art journal that I’m not showing to my acquaintances or even extended family. The beach picture posted earlier is one that’s in this journal. Below is the journal page I did of Lily: 

  • A hand made art journal with different textures of paper (but mainly white): this is my”everything” art journal. It’s where I experiment, and do my “sharable” work. I keep pages in here pretty, and not too personal, or text heavy. I mainly just keep collages in here. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is the one I’d pull out to show to people. See my example page below.

  • The last one is my least structured one, and is much less “formal” in that, it’s for when I want to expend the least amount of effort… In this one, I will literally use it to take notes, maybe do some really simple doodles, or do a 1 minute sketch. This journal was also hand made using different paper. I stuck a bunch of pockets and fold outs in it in case I want to save any loose notes I may have taken… I tend to draw, it make lists on loose sheets of paper. I made this journal with the intention of sticking these loose scraps in the pockets for safe keeping. This is the journal I generally go to when I don’t feel like getting my hands dirty. The doodle below is an example of how I intend to use this journal. Like I said, nothing fancy. Just for my random notes, and sketches; maybe some collaging if I want. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, I hope that this post inspires you to try art journaling, and makes it less intimidating. There are so many different ways you can do this! 

If you do art journaling, do you tend to have different journals going at a time? I’d love to see your work! If it’s your first time, let me know! I’d also love to see your work. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Letter to Lily

Last weekend my husband and I lost one of our best friends. She’s been with us for almost as long as we’ve been married. 

As a way to memorialize her, I made this journal page. 

The poem on the left hand side is one that the emergency vet clinic sent us with a card later this week. 

The background paper behind Lily is actually a letter that I wrote to her. It pulls out. I drew a set of wings behind her image that reveal themselves when the letter is pulled out.

Here is the letter. 

I don’t want to go into too much detail, but she has a seizure Friday (Friday before last) night, and has to be rushed to the emergency clinic. They thought she had pneumonia, but when her breathing worsened, they said it might be something wrong with her heart, so we went to see a specialist. She was transported in an oxygen tank because she couldn’t breath outside of it. 

 The specialist took more x-rays and determined that there was air leaking from her esophagus into her chest cavity, and her chest cavity was infected, causing pressure on her heart. They said that she would need open chest surgery to get better with only a 25% chance of surviving the surgery. And that was with her being optimistic.
My husband and I had to make the excruciating decision to have her euthanized that day. It was one of the worst days of my life.

Our other cat, Meatball, had been acting differently since she passed… We know that he’d has been lonely since she’s been gone. 

Partially due to this, and partially due to the house feeling more empty, we decided to get a new kitten. 

We went through a breeder and got a Ragdoll kitten because we wanted to make sure we got a cat with a good temperment. We really wanted another cat that would follow us around and lay in our laps like Lily did. 

This bundle of adorable energy is Snowball. He’s a blue bicolor ragdoll, and he’s super fluffy and soft! He and Meatball did not take long to become friends. Meatball has been a great big brother. Here he is fluffed up after Meatball jumped on the couch.

A few fun facts about him: 

1. He has dewclaws on his back feet 

2. One of his ears is half white, and it’s adorable, but disqualified him from being a show cat. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just look how cute!

He will never be able to replace Lily, and we would never try to do that. She was really special. 

She taught us both just how much we can love a cat, and we want to continue to share that. 

Snowball has taken to us very quickly, and he has been a pure joy to have in our house. He is so playful, and wants to get into everything – As most kittens do. He’s also very loving and gentle. He hardly ever bites, and hasn’t used his claws on us at all. When he wants to be picked up, he paws at your ankles, and meows. It’s really cute.

I’m looking forward to spending many happy years with him. 

Journal 4 of 4: Mermaid Journal

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I ended up making 4 journals as Christmas gifts โ€“ Each of them were made for some of the women I love the most. I want to share each of them, but I’m breaking up the posts into 4 so that each journal can be shared in detail without making the post stupidly long.

The fourth journal Iโ€™m going to share is the “Mermaid” journal for my little sister. My little sister is one of the most awesome people you could ever meet! She’s really bubbly, creative, and sweet, but also really wise. It’s fun to have somebody that I can be my ultimate goofy weird self with, and out of everybody I know, she is the most spontaneous person to hang out with. It’s no wonder that she has so many friends!

Anyway! To the journal! As mentioned, I wanted each of them to reflect their ownerโ€™s personalities. My sister has been really into mermaids lately, and her favorite colors are pink, purple, and aqua. I gathered my supplies based on this information… Her journal was by far the easiest to come up with, because she and I have similar tastes! I would love to keep her journal for myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

All of the necessary supplies I needed came from Hobby Lobby with the exception of the cardboard box and magazines and vintage paper that I recycled.

For the front of this journal I used scrapbooking paper that looks watercolor stained in pink and purple. The mermaid scale spine wraps around from the back to the front. (Funny thing: My sister actually got me this scrapbooking pack from which I found this paper ๐Ÿ™‚ ) The corners are accented with gold photo corners. I attached a sparkly purple and blue ombre ribbon that runs under the paper at the back of the book, and ties in a bow at the front. The “S” was done with a sparkly purple calligraphy pen and a gold gel pen against a pearlescent scrap of paper (hence why it’s reflecting the light). The “S” is framed in an antiqued white metal oval frame.

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This book was stitched using a metallic embroidery thread with a really pretty color shift. The thread seems to shift from blue to purple to flecks of sea green depending on the light. I hammered in an eyelet, and used multiple charms for this book. One is a little antiqued metal medallion with the portrait of a mermaid nestled in it. I also used a faux leather aqual colored tassle, and a tiny vial of whitish glitter that shifts to pink and blue. The vial says “Fairy Dust” on it.

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The back of this journal is pretty simple. It’s this watercolor print paper with a scale print on it.

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I wanted each journal to be a bit eclectic and mis-matched to make them more quirky. For the inner book cover, I used a flamingo and floral print. Since the sheet I used for this print was kind of short, I added some rose gold alligator print wrapping paper to the outer edges of the front and back of the inner cover. The first signature I set in the book is a pink marbled print.

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For the quote, I used a sheet of parchment paper set against a quilt background in purple, pink, and orange. I’m not sure who or where the quote is from, but it was hand written in a calligraphy pen. It matches the theme of the journal, and is a really good quote to use for my sister since she has always kept her warm and pleasant attitude and outlook despite any challenges she may endure. She is a very strong person, despite her cuddly and warm exterior. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Each journal that I made is a bit different from a traditional journal. Most of the pages are white and unlined, but I threw in some scrapbooking paper, envelopes, pockets, etc. to make it a bit more colorful and less traditional. The papers and patterns I chose correspond with the theme of the journal as a whole. I found this see through pink paper on clearance and had to have it! I used corner punch to make the pretty corners, and added a gift tag that I bought in the dollar section at target.

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Each journal that I made was made with the same template. 6 signatures containing about 3 pages folded in half a piece.

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Hereโ€™s a picture of it getting ready to be boxed up and wrapped! Side note: I love the pink cellophane paper that I’m wrapping this in, because it matches the journal perfectly. Maybe I’m projecting, but I hope she saves it to use in her journal. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I hope she enjoys it, and I hope you found this post entertaining. (I also hope that she doesn’t read this blog post before Christmas when I give it to her, but if not… Hi, Sharon! Act surprised anyway! :p)

I know that Iโ€™ve mentioned it before, but if you want to learn the basics of bookbinding, Check out Sealemon on youtube. She has a bunch of unique, entertaining and inspiring tutorials for people new to bookbinding.

Basic bookbinding, in my opinion, is one of the easiest, cheapest, and most rewarding hobbies to get into. You generally have the materials needed to make a basic book around your house, and even if you mess up a bit the first time, the end result still looks good and is usable.

I hope you enjoyed this post! This concludes my 4 part “journal tour” entries. I hope that you enjoyed each of them!๐Ÿ™‚ If you’d like to see more posts like this, let me know! I had a lot of fun making each of these posts.

Party Dress Woes

A few months ago, I found the most amazingly perfect night-out dress at Goodwill for $10. 

When I say perfect, I mean it was absolutely perfect – the pattern of the dress was so flattering, the material was thick enough to conceal any flaws or underwear lines, and it was stretchy enough to be comfortable. Everything was perfect. I mean, just look at it!!!(and ignore the socks- this was in the dressing room).

So after a few months of not having an occasion wear it my husband mentioned a Christmas party that his office was going to be throwing. This was my chance! I was so excited! 

When I put the dress on that night for the party, it looked great! 

But gradually, things began to change… At first I thought it was my imagination… Is it just me, or does the dress seem a bit off center on the bottom half?

Turns out, it wasn’t just my imagination, but I didn’t find that out until we got to the restaurant. 

As I walked to the restaurant arm in arm with my husband, I could feel the dress slowly but surely rotating around my hips. I kept trying to re-adjust it, but the thing fit like a glove, so it was nearly impossible without making a big show. :S.

By the time I got home, the skirt portion of the dress was completely sideways! Imagine my disappointment…
So, if you understand sewing basics, you would understand that fabric contains grain lines. In other words, fabric is generally constructed in a grid-like shape. It’s vital that the pattern be cut very carefully so that the grain is straight. Otherwise, the garment will warp like this one did. Unfortunately, this dress was not constructed properly . I believe that the black side portions were slightly off the grain when they were constructed, so they ended up warping.

In its present state, I would feel terrible to sell it on my Poshmark site due to this defect that – although not immediately noticeable- renders the garment unusable.

So, this would be a sad story – especially due to how much I adore this dress, but I still have plans for it.

I plan on eventually deconstructing it and using it as a pattern for a new dress. That’s one if the many blessings of knowing how to sew. I will need to find the fabric, but hopefully I’ll be able to post an update in a later entry!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this! Have you ever been really disappointed by a garment that you bought? have you ever used an existing garment to make something new? I’d love to hear about it!

Journal 3 of 4: Sparkly Fantasy Journal

And these names have officially gotten crazy. ๐Ÿ™‚

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I ended up making 4 journals as Christmas gifts โ€“ Each of them were made for some of the women I love the most. I want to share each of them, but I’m breaking up the posts into 4 so that each journal can be shared in detail without making the post stupidly long.

The third journal Iโ€™m going to share is the “Sparkly Fantasy” journal for my friend, Bianca… The name is dumb, but it describes it pretty well. Bianca and I have been friends since the sixth grade – so almost 20 years. She, I, and Alexis โ€“ one of the others I made a journal for (Journal #1 if you’re interested) โ€“ are commonly known as โ€œThe 3 Musketeersโ€, and โ€œA, B, and Cโ€ because we were always together, and still continue trying to meet up as a trio. She and I are very different personality-wise, but the dynamic of our 3 relationships is awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚ Bianca is what I’d describe as the “Girl Next Door”. She’s super funny, sweet, and passionate. She can also be direct like my friend Alexis, and she can talk very easily to anybody. She has a natural charisma.

Anyway! To the journal! As mentioned, I wanted each of them to reflect their ownerโ€™s personalities. My friend Bianca is also creative, and a bit of a dreamer. She and I used to exchange stories that we wrote in high school. Although she doesn’t write much anymore, she still enjoys stories. I wanted her book to look a bit otherworldly – like a journal that somebody in a fairy tale would have, but a bit more quirky. The sparkly paper that I found was the starting point and I found all of the other materials to go with it from there. ๐Ÿ™‚

All of the necessary supplies I needed came from Hobby Lobby with the exception of the cardboard box and magazines and vintage paper that I recycled.

For most of the book, I used this sparkly damask print scrapbook paper in taupe and gray tones. I used a silver frame with gold linen paper in the middle. The corners are accented with antiqued gold photo corners.

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Pretty from all angles. ๐Ÿ™‚

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This book was stitched using a metallic silvery-taupe colored embroidery thread. I hammered in an eyelet, and used multiple charms for this book. One is a sea green faceted stone, the other is a small lavender colored stone, and a little pearl. I also used a gray faux leather tassel and a gold anchor.

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The damask paper wrapped around from the front, and was met with the gold linen textured paper.

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I wanted each journal to be a bit eclectic and mis-matched to make them more quirky. The inside of this one is definitely brighter and more playful than the outside. I used a purple floral and swirly patterned paper as the inside cover, and used a blue toned scribble patterned sheet of scrapbook paper as the first page you see. I used a distressed looking piece of scrapbooking card-stock printed with bird cages and butterflies as the border for the quote I chose for this journal and for my friend. I did my best to find quotes that match each person, and this one fit her the best. The quote was done with a calligraphy pen, and is a Dr. Who quote.

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Each journal that I made is a bit different from a traditional journal. Most of the pages are white and unlined, but I threw in some scrapbooking paper, envelopes, pockets, etc. to make it a bit more colorful and less traditional. The papers and patterns I chose correspond with the theme of the journal as a whole.

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Another page for good measure. I like throwing in some nontraditional paper in different sizes to break the journal up and give it some visual interest.

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Each journal that I made was made with the same template. 6 signatures containing about 3 pages folded in half a piece.

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Hereโ€™s a picture of it getting ready to be boxed up and wrapped!

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I hope she enjoys it, and I hope you found this post entertaining. (I also hope that she doesn’t read this blog post before this weekend when I give it to her, but if not… Hi Bianca!!! :p)

I know that Iโ€™ve mentioned it before, but if you want to learn the basics of bookbinding, Check out Sealemon on youtube. She has a bunch of unique, entertaining and inspiring tutorials for people new to bookbinding.

Basic bookbinding, in my opinion, is one of the easiest, cheapest, and most rewarding hobbies to get into. You generally have the materials needed to make a basic book around your house, and even if you mess up a bit the first time, the end result still looks good and is usable.

I hope you enjoyed this post! As mentioned, I will be making 1 more โ€“ I’m making one for each journal. Keep an eye out for that last post if youโ€™re interested!๐Ÿ™‚

Journal 2 of 4: Antiqued Attic Journal

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I ended up making 4 journals โ€“ Each of them were made for some of the women I love the most. I want to share each of them, but I’m breaking up the posts into 4 so that each journal can be shared in detail without making the post stupidly long.

The second journal Iโ€™m going to share is the Antiqued Attic journal for my Mom. I never really thought about it much until I became an adult, but my mom and I are extremely alike. We are both worriers, and do our best to make the people in our lives happy – sometimes at the expense of our own sanity. We are also both very creative, and try our best to be organized. She used to draw and paint,  She is extremely giving, and caring, and I’m truly blessed to have her as my mom.

Anyway! To the journal! As mentioned, I wanted each of them to reflect their ownerโ€™s personalities. My mom is very religious, so I loosely based my design and color choices on antique bibles.  I decided to go with an antique look for her book, also since she tends to love and seek out antique style items to decorate with.. Hers was the first journal I made, and was the hardest due to the added flap… Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out as nicely as the others did, but I hope that she will still like it.

All of the necessary supplies I needed came from Hobby Lobby with the exception of the cardboard box and magazines and vintage paper that I recycled. Also, the gold fabric was a scrap from my autumn dress that I bought from a large fabric store in Houston.

For most of the book, I used this damask print scrapbook paper in brown and metallic gold. The edge near the spine is trimmed with faux leather ribbon. The flap portion is made from a metallic fabric scrap that I had from a costume that I made, which unfortunately stained when I was in the process of gluing it to the cardboard.

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I used an antiqued metal closure for the book… This was really tricky to add and took me a while to figure out, but I eventually figured out that if I use some stitching through the entire front of the book and gluing using E6000 it seems to be holding pretty well.The wooden flowers were stained lightly with a water based antiquing stain, and details were added using gold acrylic paint.

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This book was stitched using a metallic copper colored embroidery thread. I used gold metallic photo corners on the corners of this spine. I hammered in an eyelet, and used 2 charms for this book. One is a coin looking gold and silver charm with a tree in the middle, and the other is a tiny glass vial that is corked off. In it, there is a gold acorn and a tiny faux evergreen twig. Cream colored lace is tied around the rim of the vial in a bow.

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The back of this one makes me cringe, unfortunately… As I mentioned, the glue bled through the fabric and made it darker… This is especially visible on the left edge… Anyway, the damask paper wrapped around, and was met with the gold fabric. As a trim between them, I added a gold ribbon that was seethrough in the middle.

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I wanted each journal to be a bit eclectic and mis-matched a bit to make them more quirky. The inside paper is wrapping paper that I had in a gold and black art deco inspired printed wrapping paper. Using wrapping paper was another unfortunate mistake since where the paper folds it ended up tearing a bit… Luckily it’s not very noticeable… I made the first page a scrapbook page covered in roses, and used a distressed looking piece of scrapbooking card-stock printed with bird cages and butterflies as the border for the quote I chose for this journal and for my mom.

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I did my best to find quotes that match each person, and this one fit her the best. The quote was done with a calligraphy pen. I relate to this quote myself as a people-pleaser, and I really think that my mom will relate as well. This is a very good reminder for those of us that are apt to sacrifice our own personal needs for those of others. We all need to remember that it’s okay – and necessary – to put ourselves first sometimes.

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Each journal that I made is a bit different from a traditional journal. Most of the pages are white and unlined, but I threw in some scrapbooking paper, envelopes, pockets, etc. to make it a bit more colorful and less traditional. The papers and patterns I chose correspond with the theme of the journal as a whole. My mom is a musician. She plays the piano so I chose to use paper with musical notes in her journal as well.

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Each journal that I made was made with the same template. 6 signatures containing about 3 pages folded in half a piece.

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Hereโ€™s a picture of it getting ready to be boxed up and wrapped!

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This was actually the first journal that I made out of the 4 and I definitely learned some things… First, if you decide to use fabric, do a test on a little portion to see if the glue bleeds through. Also, it may be best to not use such thin paper on the inside cover since it can tear.

Despite the mistakes, I hope she enjoys it, and I hope you found this post entertaining. Iknow that Iโ€™ve mentioned it before, but if you want to learn the basics of bookbinding, Check out Sealemon on youtube. She has a bunch of unique, entertaining and inspiring tutorials for people new to bookbinding.

Basic bookbinding, in my opinion, is one of the easiest, cheapest, and most rewarding hobbies to get into. You generally have the materials needed to make a basic book around your house, and even if you mess up a bit the first time, the end result still looks good and is usable.

I hope you enjoyed this post! As mentioned, I will be making 2 more โ€“ I’m making one for each journal. Keep an eye out for those if youโ€™re interested!๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

Journal 1 of 4: Woodprint Journal

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I ended up making 4 journals – Each of them were made for some of the women I love the most. I want to share each of them, but think it would be best for me to break up the posts into 4 so that each journal can be shared in detail without making the post stupidly long.

The first journal I’m going to share is the Woodprint journal for my friend Alexis. Alexis has been one of my best friends since the sixth grade. So we’ve been friends for close to 20 years. She, I, and Bianca – one of the others I made a journal for – are commonly known as “The 3 Musketeers”, and “A, B, and C” because we were always together, and still continue trying to meet up as a trio. She and I are very different personality-wise. She is very direct, and curse words are a regular part of her vocabulary. ๐Ÿ™‚ She is also very directive, and just really funny! She went to school for Criminal Justice, and fits into that environment perfectly. ๐Ÿ™‚

She lives a few hours away with her husband and an adorable little baby, so I don’t see her as much anymore, but we are still very close and I still consider her one of my best friends.

Anyway! To the journal! As mentioned, I wanted each of them to reflect their owner’s personalities. My friend Alexis is very “western” – I’m not sure if that’s the most accurate word, but she loves the idea of living on a ranch, loves country music, and got married in cowgirl boots. She is also an amazing cook. I decided to use these traits as inspiration, and here is the end result:

All of the necessary supplies I needed came from Hobby Lobby with the exception of the cardboard box and magazines and vintage paper that I recycled. Everything on this page. The brown crinkly material on the back and near the spine is actually paper that looks like leather. The gold portion in the middle of the metal label is gold linen. I used faux leather ribbon to separate the spine portion from the weathered turquoise woodprint paper, and antiqued photo corner accents.

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The back of this one is less detailed.

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On the side, I used a metallic gold embroidery thread for the stitching and added 3 charms in an eyelet at the top – One aqua faux leather tassle, a metal antiqued turquoise cowboy boot with gold and ruby rhinestone details, and a gold horse charm.

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I wanted each journal to be a bit eclectic and mis-matched a bit to make them more quirky. The inside paper is a print that reminded me of a farmers market. I made the first page a scrapbook page covered in Kiwis, and used a quilt patterned paper as the border for the quote I chose for this journal and for my friend.wp-1481044861656.jpg

I did my best to find quotes that match each person, and this one fit her the best. The quote was done with a calligraphy pen.

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Each journal that I made is a bit different from a traditional journal. Most of the pages are white and unlined, but I threw in some scrapbooking paper, envelopes, pockets, etc. to make it a bit more colorful and less traditional. The papers and patterns I chose correspond with the theme of the journal as a whole.

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Each journal that I made was made with the same template. 6 signatures containing about 3 pages folded in half a piece.

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Here’s a picture of it getting ready to be boxed up and wrapped!

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Hopefully she enjoys it, and I hope you found this post entertaining. I

know that I’ve mentioned it before, but if you want to learn the basics of bookbinding, Check out Sealemon on youtube. She has a bunch of unique, entertaining and inspiring tutorials for people new to bookbinding.

Basic bookbinding, in my opinion, is one of the easiest, cheapest, and most rewarding hobbies to get into. You generally have the materials needed to make a basic book around your house, and even if you mess up a bit the first time, the end result still looks good and is usable.

I hope you enjoyed this post! As mentioned, I will be making 3 more – one for each journal. Keep an eye out for those if you’re interested! ๐Ÿ™‚