Art Journal Walk-Through

Here is a quick tour of the art journal I’ve been working on.  Currently there are 86 individual pieces which are removable.  They are tags, ephemera, art tiles, ATC’s, etc.

The book is thick and heavy.  I will be finishing the covers and adding beads and metal pieces to the ribbons on the spine.  A couple of the ribbons are long enough to be book marks when flipped over into the inside of the book.

The signatures were originally 6 or 8 pages each, but after I removed them and redid the book there are 4 pages per signature.  That’s 8 pages for art per signature.  There are six signatures so that’s 48 pages in the book.  I tried to add something to each page, even if it was just stamps or a piece of lace.

I’ve included tons of stuff in this art journal.  I have envelopes filled with things, pockets and tuck spots stuffed full of all sorts of ephemera.  There is plenty of places for art, photos and journaling.  I’ve included lots of tags for photos or art work as well.  After the cover is complete, I hope to use chain with beads to secure the book.  I need to add some of the finishing touches-a metal piece on the fabric pocket, a closure for the fold out, a few more stamped images, but then it’s finished.

This one took way longer than usual, I think because of the first signatures.  It took me awhile to get my groove back after that horrible day.

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What Is An Art Journal and

what do you do with it?

An art journal is a piece of artistic expression in book form.  It holds pages which you can decorate with paints, ink, stencils, modeling paste, textures, pictures, words and whatever else you can think of.  It is your canvas on which to create whatever it is you want.

The art journals I sell contain tags, fabric tags, mini-jounals, ephemera, ribbons, lace, metal, art tiles, and lots more.  You can gather all the tags from throughout the book and make a mini-journal with them holding pictures, journaling, memorabilia, anything.  You can use the ribbons, which decorate the tags, in your book.  You can use all the stuff you discover in the pockets, tuck spots and envelopes to embellish the pages of that journal or another one you may be working on.

Stamp sentiments and images on the ribbons, add photos and journaling to the pages, add your own touches to the book-it’s just background for your personal items.  And when it’s filled to your satisfaction, you have a work of art unlike anything you will find anywhere else.

Completely and totally unique.  One of a kind.  And all yours.

Many art journals are sold already filled.  While I understand the reasons for this-not everyone wants to make something, they just want to buy it already complete-I struggle with it because it is not personal to the purchaser.  My journals are made for the person who buys it to add their own stamp on it.  Their own ideas and creative inspiration…

Next up, a tour of the nearly completed art journal.

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Scrap Embellishments: From the Scraps of Your Scraps

IMG_1341 (2)

I’ve been making things like crazy and, as usual, I ended up with a 4″ square on my table that wasn’t crammed full of stuff.  So I stopped and began cleaning up.  I gathered my tiny slivers of paper left from cutting out tags and things.  I had quite a handful.  I noticed they looked sort of interesting like that and made these embellishments with them.  Here’s how:

Gather your slivers of paper and fabric.  Stitch across the top of the bunch with your sewing machine to hold them together.


You can use then like you would a tassel.  Add to tags, journal pages, journal covers, slip in art journal pockets and tuck spots, use on cards, as a “bow” on gifts, use several to make a garland, use on altered art projects, there are lots of possibilities with these little embellishments.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of this-I’m never the first person to think of anything.  I’ve just not seen it done before so I thought I’d share it with you.



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Alcohol Based Markers

work well as inks in your projects.  I mentioned in a previous post how Lindsay the Frugal Crafter re-fills her pigment ink stamps.  Today I offer another option which requires nothing but a bit of water and your alcohol based markers.  Here’s what you do:

Use a ceramic tile and scribble your marker all over it.  Dip your paint brush is a bit of water and add that to the scribbled marker to liquefy.  Paint or smear the marker ink where you want it on your project.  I’m using mine for distressing my tags and art journals.

I have a set of Artist Loft markers, which were dirt cheap when I bought them many years ago, and have been using those. You can mix your color on your craft mat, a piece of plastic from your recycling, a styrofoam plate, etc.  I am using the tile because it’s white and I can see the color well.  My craft mat is an oven cleaning mat from Walmart for 8 bucks and is dark gray.

Here are some quick ideas you can try with the ink puddle:

I may put a couple different colors on the tile and mix them all together with my water, making new colors.  Or I might leave the puddle of color on the tile and lay the tag onto it, absorbing the color.  I might use a stamp, pressed into the color, and stamp images on my pages.  I might dip tissue paper or coffee filters into the color puddle, let it dry and use that on a page.

This isn’t a new idea by any means, but I thought there may be folks out there who don’t know about it.  The purpose of supplies is to use them, and this is just another way to use what so many of us have in our craft stash.

You can also color your stamps with your markers.  Just “huff” on them with your warm breath to moisten the colors before you stamp the image.  Works great.  There are so many things you can do with your supplies.  Not just the usual, expected things, but some really unique things which will expand your creative possibilities.  If you’re interested, I could do a series on common supplies and materials and some of the lesser known ways you can use them in your art practice.

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When Making

flowers with a hot glue gun, do not put your gun down your dirty brush water rather than the glue gun holder.


That is all.

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DIY Pigment Ink. Game Changer!

As I’ve mentioned countless times, Lindsay the Frugal Crafter is a genius and has saved me so much money!  Here’s her brilliance for today:

Make your own pigment inks.

All my stamp stuff came to me second-hand.  I have purchased two black ink pads, a sepia color, the mini-distress inks and that’s about it.  Maybe a few from Dollar Tree…

So, the ink pads are drying out.  I was at Hobby Lobby with Laurie and searched for re-inkers but was unable to find any.  It seems they only sell the pads.  I was becoming quite desperate last night/this morning…I knew Lindsay had a tutorial for refilling ink pads but one type pigment and the other is dye based and I figured (because it’s me) the do-it-yourself version would be for the kind I don’t have many of.

Wrong!  It was how to refill pigment ink pads, I had everything I needed at my desk, took minutes to do and the best part is you can make this ink in any color you want and use a Dollar Tree make-up sponge as your stamp pad.

Here’s how our gal Lindsay saved my day:

  1. You need glycerine.  I use this stuff all the time.  Seriously.  All the time.  I buy mine at Walmart in the pharmacy section.  Last time I did I think it was just over 3 dollars a 6 fl. oz. bottle.
  2. You need Gouache’ paint.  This is a type of opaque watercolor paint.  My favorite brand (not that I’ve tried that many, I prefer either the translucence of water color or the rich colors of acrylics) is Reeves brand.  They are part of Windsor and Newton and the quality is excellent.  The price is cheap.  I have two or three sets of Reeve’s Gouache’ paints for the classes I teach.  It is pronounced gaw-sh.
  3. You need rubbing alcohol.  Not the denatured alcohol, but the kind you can pick up at Dollar Tree.

Now, you have your dried up ink pad in what ever color it is.  Put your Gouache’ paint on a ceramic tile and mix your colors to the color of your ink pad.  Add a drop of two of glycerine and just a mist of alcohol.  Mix very well.  I used my gift card scraper, but you can use a palette knife if you prefer.  Make sure all the lumps are out of the paint while it’s on the tile.  You don’t want lumpy stuff in your ink pad.

When you have mixed the color, smear onto your ink pad working it in well with your gift card scraper.  (Another Lindsay tip:  if the pad is coming loose, use just a drop of gorilla glue to secure it.  You don’t need much because that stuff expands like crazy.)

Because the sepia colored ink pad is the dye based ink and not pigment, I was not able to re-ink it.  Here’s where the “this is going to save me so much money!” part comes in…You can make the ink in whatever colors your little heart desires.  You can store the ink in a little plastic tub with top from dollar tree.  Put the ink onto your stamp with a Dollar Tree make-up sponge.

Lindsay is a huge stamper-thousands of stamps in her collection, or was.  Maybe she got rid of some during her Konmari organization, I don’t know.  Nevertheless, she is a stamping guru.  Lindsay says she doesn’t even buy re-inkers anymore and just always mixes her own.

My excitement is that I can make any color ink I want for any project and I don’t have to buy the expensive stamp pads.  Since I didn’t care for the color pink my stamp pad was, I changed it to a color I liked better.  I made several shades of red, a couple greens, two purples, a white, a gorgeous brown, and several shades of turquoise.  When I’m finished with all my Art Market items I’ll be making lots and lots of colors.

I love DIY projects I can accomplish with stuff I already have in the house.  Makes my day.



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Another All Nighter

I’m still working on my art journals for the Art Market.  All I can say is these things are crammed full of stuff.  Each page will have something.  I have tuck spots, pockets, fabric, trims, tags, ephemera, ATC’s, “inchies”, art tiles, wood pieces, doilies, a few of my boho feathers, ribbon, lace, pearls, envelopes, metal pieces and beads.  Since each page has a pocket, tuck page or belly band I have many, many more tags to make.

This has been a great deal of fun.  I have just let myself do whatever I wanted, not knowing exactly what I wanted to do until I did it.  Just playing around…

And I have an art journal injury to report.

My friend Laurie gave me the Silent Setter, which is supposed to quietly set eyelets on your projects.  Since I was working through the night and everybody else was sleeping, I tried really hard to get that thing to work for me…Unfortunately my arms aren’t like normal people’s arms and I was unable to set eyelets that way.  After many, many attempts at this I finally grabbed my hammer and set them that way.

While brushing my teeth, I felt some oddness in my wrist.  Looking at it, I noticed there is swelling, bruising, and some other weirdness going on.

It’s an eyelet injury, people.

Stuff like this only happens to me…LOL.

Well, looks like the tags are dry enough to work on now.  I’ll post pictures of the finished art journal later today (hopefully it will be finished today).


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