Create

The Velveteen Journal Series – a fabric-covered junk journal series

A little look down memory lane and then a peek at The Velveteen Journal Series – a fabric-covered junk journal series. In this blog, I will explain my thinking behind some of the materials used in the Velveteen Journal Series, how I made them and what you can use them for.

As you most probably have surmised I have recently created this website with an online shop. I have always had a love for books, writing, and art. Then I discovered Bullet Journaling and Junk Journals. I fell down the proverbial ‘rabbit-hole’ and started creating my own Journals. After a couple of friends who I have gifted my journals too, said that I could sell them, I thought ‘why not’, I love making them and if you are a fellow crafter, you know that we have a tendency to hoard all things pretty and book-related.

An online shop was born

So if I wanted to carry on creating journals and not have them sitting on a shelf, or in a box I needed to do something with them. So the online shop was born, and others out there can enjoy them as much as I do.

I usually make Journals from old book covers that I have thrifted, but I have a stash of fabric from 6 years of belly dance costumes and thought that fabric covers would be something different.

It was great fun scrounging through the box with all the fabric, trims, beads, and old jewelry bits to pull together this series.

A love for velvet

What I discovered was that I seem to have a thing for velvet. So the Velveteen Journal Series was born. I started with 3 creating color schemes based on the pieces of velvet that spoke to me at the time.

So I ended up with a Turquoise and Silver, Black and Silver and Pink and Blue Junk Journal cover.

Collage covers and vintage pages

The Junk Journals are a Regular / Standard size (11x21cm). The covers are a collage of fabric, lace, and trim with an unbleached calico backing (inside cover).

They each have 2 signatures with a whole heap of delicious vintage and tea-dyed papers inside. They are stitched to the cover with a 3 hole pamphlet stitch, so they are pretty sturdy. This is not how I usually bind books, I prefer a hidden spine or Coptic stitch (if I am making art journals) but I thought the pamphlet stitch would suit this style of Journal better.

Plenty of secret pockets and tuck spots

I tried to keep the pockets and tuck spots in the Journals kind of matching the colors of the covers, so selected ephemera and scrapbook cardstock from my stash for each journal before I started putting things together.

The inside of the journals are pretty much identical in the placement of the pockets and tuck spots but the paper clusters and fabric ephemera are unique to the journal. I also made paper clips and dangles that will be unique to each journal and was super excited at how great they looked. Making some more beads and fixings so that I can add some to the shop might be a good idea.

I love using pages that are different sizes and textures because it gives the journals so much more interest. Previous journals I have created were quite plain and to be honest I don’t know which I prefer more.

The ephemera and book pages range in age from music pages from 1910 to poetry from the 1930s, stamp catalog pages from the ’40s, and diary pages from the 1950s. I can’t go past a thrift store / 2nd hand shop without stopping to see if they have any books…..and I running out of space on my bookshelf now.

These Journals are perfect to use for everyday journaling as there is plenty of space for writing. I love using them for Gratitude or Memory Journaling.

I did a flip through of the Pink and Blue Journal which I have linked below if you would like to have a look inside the journal.

A Flip Through of the Pink and Blue Journal from The Velveteen Journal Series

I intend to make a couple of additions to the Velveteen Series, as I still have a couple of other fun scraps of velvet and other sparkly bits that are screaming for me to make them into collage covers. I might even try my hand at matching pencil cases for the journals. What do you guys think?

I hope you enjoyed looking into the creation of these Velveteen Journals. I really enjoyed making them.

Keep a look out on social media for updates on further additions to the series.

Happy creating!

Blessings

Jacqui

XXX

Art Journaling is Good for you. Its benefits and why I love it!

Art Journaling is good for you! In this post, I want to share with you the benefits of regular art journalling and why I love it!

I have always been a dabbler in art, an artistic dabbler, putter of paint on paper. But only recently, in the last 5 years or so and with YouTube becoming ever more popular I have found so much inspiration between the pages of some of the most amazing Art Journalers on YouTube, that it has become an almost daily ritual for me. And I, to be honest, I think I am a better person for it. I will give you links to some of my favorites at the end of the Blog, so keep reading.

For the absolute beginners, what is an Art Journal you may ask? Well, it is very much like your traditional journal where you would write your thoughts, emotions, memories, daily reminders, free thoughts, etc, just in an art journal you can do this with paint, pencils, inks, pastels, paper cut-outs. Basically whatever takes your fancy. It can be as plain or as complex as you want to make it.

Magazine Art Journal – 2018

There are so many known benefits to Art Journaling, so the list below and my thoughts on them are definitely not an exhaustive list.

Art Journaling is good for Stress Release.

Think of it as an automatic un-wind and calm down button. The act of being creative in whatever medium tickles your fancy, falling down the rabbit hole of putting paint to paper, sketching, cutting images that speak to you out of your favorite magazine and putting them on a page, takes you away from what is occupying your mind and brings you to the present. You drift off somewhere between your breaths and just let go. I guarantee you, you will feel your shoulders drop from where they were hunched up to your ears and you will be smiling.

Art Journaling is Therapeutic

For people that have a little more on their plate than just everyday stresses, art journaling is a wonderful way to express your emotions, work through things that have you anxious, depressed or overwhelmed. Art Journaling is safe, it is just for you. You can literally let it all hang out on your journal pages. You can fill your pages with written journaling, get it all out and then cover those words up with layers of paint and pictures. It is an amazing way of turning something negative into a positive. It can be as dark and brooding or as light and airy as you want it to be. Your pages will never judge, they will never criticize, there are no limits in your Art Journal because it is yours. Only you see it.

Art Journaling is good for cognitive brain function and memory

No matter what age we are as adults we have those days where we walk into a room and have no idea why we are there…… this happens to me far too often.

Research has shown that regular art practice benefits fine motor skills, creativity, and emotional balance. It increases the serotonin levels in the body, it helps you with focus and concentration, but I think the biggest thing is that it gives you a platform to learn new things, to experiment and play. It makes you excited about life because you start seeing things differently, through an ‘artists eye’ and those inspiring images you see have a direct impact on your health and well-being.

Art Journaling can re-acquaint you with your Inner Child

Remember the days when you could play, run around, make friends and do things without a care in the world. Far too often nowadays we either self-criticize, or we worry about criticism from others. Gone are the days of doing something just because it brought you joy!

Well, you can be that 6-year-old kid again in your art journal. Finger paint, paint funky make-believe animals, draw unicorns, create imaginary worlds from cut out magazine images….and why not, it’s your journal! Remember the freedom and joy! You can keep a visual diary of all your best moments

Keeping a record of your memories is a wonderful way of connecting back to how the memory made you feel, who was there, what you were doing. ‘But I can’t draw a stick figure!’, you say. It’s your art journal, stick figures are great too! You can print out some of the millions of photo’s on your phone, cut them out and stick them to a painted background. You can experiment with actually drawing something from scratch and adding a quote that reminds you of the day. Whatever it is, however you want to record the memory, every time you look back at that page it will take you back to that place and time.

Hand-bound Art Journal – 2019

Here are some of the reasons why I Art Journal (besides and maybe in addition to the reasons listed above)

Practice

Yup, as clichéd as it sounds ‘Practice makes perfect’, okay maybe perfect is not the aim here. But practice definitely makes you more comfortable with the act of creating. You will definitely improve, you will find your style, you will experiment and try new things. There is nothing better than if you have found an artist you like and you take inspiration from them and with practice, you can honestly say that you like what you have created. Practice also build a habit and a creative habit is ALWAYS a good thing.

It’s Simple

I’m hearing that ‘But I can’t draw a stick figure!’ again. Art Journaling is simple. It’s about being imperfect, it’s about making a mess, it’s about turning the page on something you really don’t like because you can. It’s as simple as taking a piece of paper (any paper) and a pencil and making marks on it. Whatever marks you want to, however they speak to you. This flows nicely into my next reason.

It’s cheap

Let me re-phrase that. It’s as cheap as you want to make it. Don’t get me wrong nice art supplies can seriously make a huge dent in your bank balance, but they don’t have to. For those of us that are either starting out or are just doing this because it brings us joy, inexpensive is just as good. One of my first Art Journals was two Home Décor magazines that I bound together and put a cool cover on – ala Dede Willingham, and what I loved about that journal was that there were no blank pages. You could cover over them, you could add to them, whatever took you fancy.

The other books I use for Art Journals are Thrift Store books / Vintage Books that are on their way to being thrown out. A little gesso on a page and you are good to go. I started with inexpensive craft or acrylic paints, colored pencils and a set of brushes. Sometimes have less stuff is better, because you don’t get stuck trying to figure out what you want to play with today.

It’s Non-Judgmental

Face it, a lot of us have never considered picking up a paintbrush or pencil to paint or draw because we have never thought we were good enough. You see all these amazing artworks on social media and think, ‘there is no way I can do that!’. Well, you don’t need to, just the act of putting a mark on paper or canvas can be considered art.

We are all too caught up in having to be perfect that we forget to have fun. Art Journaling is just that, FUN! There should be nothing serious about art journaling, it should be messy and imperfect.  And because it’s your safe space, you can do anything you want.

Anything Goes!

Literally anything goes. Art Journaling is not just painting or sketching, it can be collage, mixed media, slow stitching, fabric art, you name it, you can do it. I can see some of you reading this and going….collage…..mixed media…..huh! The beginners’ version of collage is cutting out pictures you like from your favorite magazines and gluing them down in an interesting way – lookup ‘Glue Books’ on YouTube. (Some of my favorites are: Gayle Agonstinelli, KagedFish) and mixed media is mixing all sorts of art mediums in one piece, so you can use acrylic paints, pencils, magazine images, and fabric to name a few. One of my absolute favorites for mixed media is Tiff from SouthernGalDesigns. I just love her way of playing in her Art Journals with whatever she has on hand on the day. And she is never scared to try new things or make a piece that turns out not how you imagined it but it’s beautiful anyway.

So I challenge you to find an old notebook, a reading book, get hold of your kids paints and colored pencils or buys some really cheap ones, a stick of glue and some scissors and start creating!! I can promise you that once you have created that first page, even if it’s just a couple of random scribbles, it feels so amazing that you will want to do another one and another one.

Just let yourself be six years old again and do art because it’s FUN!

I promised a list of my favorites, so here they are –

Blessings

Jacqui

My Sanity…..My Bullet Journal

My Sanity…..My Bullet Journal

I have an addiction to Pinterest, I will not lie. I love looking at and saving beautiful images. Usually relating to Bellydance costuming, Decor, Gardening and Art. During one of my trawls of all things ‘Artsy’ relating to Art Journalling last year April, I came across an image that changed my life and my delinquent brain forever….Kara from BohoBerry’s Blog post on her Notebook Collection.

My current Notebook collection

My SO said to me a while back, “you don’t have any addictions”. Well, technically no I don’t, – don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t eat chocolate (yes, that is a thing) – but…..I have an obsession with blank notebooks (especially ones with beautiful covers), is that the same? So you can see why this post caught my eye. And boy does Kara have some beautiful notebooks. But what really piqued my interest were her ‘Bullet Journals’ and the pictures of her current journal. It looked so pretty – like an Art Journal but so much more.

In her blog ‘BoHo Berry’ she referenced Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal website when I watched his video on the basic Bullet Journal or ‘BuJo’ I had one of the ‘AAAAAAAAAH!’ moments (you know the whole choir singing thing). Here was a way for me to keep track of everything I normally wrote on scraps of paper everywhere or forgot to write down, AND a way to feed my Notebook obsession.

I’m going to leave this little video from Ryder’s website here because he explains the system so much better than I ever could. And it’s only 4 minutes long…..so short and sweet.

Boy, was this an epiphany!! And to make it even better I could journal, doodle, plan, draw, colour in, stick pretty pictures and customize it to my heart’s content. So, of course, I went out and bought a new notebook and dove into my 1st Bullet Journal. This was in May last year. Has it helped, a hundred times YES!, if you get into the habit of actually writing everything in it. That is definitely the only catch with this system – you can make it as pretty or as plain as you want to but you actually need to write everything in it.

The spread I think I love the most and use almost every day is what most BuJo’ers refer to as a ‘Brain Dump’. You sit quietly somewhere and literally dump everything that is currently taking up space in your head down onto paper. You can do it as bullet notes or you can write is as you would a journal. And I don’t just mean your shopping list and what you need to remember to do tomorrow (well obviously that too), I mean things like what your kids did today that made you smile, the dog that dug up your favourite roses, your car that needs a service, hubby that doesn’t put the toilet seat down. Every joy, frustration, happiness, sadness and just things……E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!

Once its’ on paper the brain tends to think “Okay, I don’t need to remember that anymore, it’s now in a place that we can go back to, to remember it if we need to.” Making space in your head for new things, helping you remember, getting rid of frustrations, keeping cute memories. It’s cathartic for me. It’s almost as if, once you write it down, the brain can file it away correctly so that you can retrieve it a whole lot easier. I find that if I have ‘dumped’ it in my journal, I will remember even if I don’t refer back to where I wrote it down. I just remember it more easily…Go Figure. And for me, that was a BIG thing! Yes people, after 40 your brain does forget stuff a lot more often than it used to…..get used to it.

My first BuJo was a cute notebook I bought from a local ‘newsagent/stationery’ chain store. And I actually filled it – yup, that was a first for me – I filled it up in 6 months. At the time I was using it for personal and work stuff but realised that I needed to start keeping these separate so when it came time to migrate over to a new BuJo, and after hours of research on my ever faithful Pinterest I decided to go with an A4 Ring Binder for Work stuff and a Traveller’s Notebook which I made my own inserts for. For those of you that have no idea what a Traveller’s Notebook is, or TN for short. It is leather or fabric cover with elastic bands in the spine that hold notebook inserts. A TN can hold up to 6 / 8 notebooks at a time. Which is what I liked about the setup. Instead of using the index of a traditional Bullet Journal where you basically have all your collections, projects, notes, dailies etc. spread throughout your BuJo as you create them. I could separate my daily planner from my Brain Dumps / Commonplace book, from my Budget Planner, from my Collections. Each having their own space. As you fill one up, you replace it with a new one. Easy Peasy.

My current Bullet Journal

I must say that this system has been an absolute lifesaver. It has been a way for me to spark my creativity again, keep track of everything that is happening every day (which with my brain is a good thing) and to journal memories.

Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have a wealth of inspiration and tutorials on every aspect of Bullet Journaling, in all its various forms. I have created a list of favourite IG accounts for you to peruse. All these lovely ladies can be found on all the social media platforms and also have wonderful Blogs too. It was just easier to list the IG account names. If you get bitten by the BuJo bug like I have these guys will give you all the help you need.

@bohoberry                                     @tinyrayofsunshine

@theplannersociety                       @decadethirty

@makememoriestoday                  @thefoxyfix

@theinkyhand                                  @scrubs_n_coffee

@cursivebird                                     @sixtyninejournals

Like I said before if the bug has bitten you, it’s a bit like Alice down the rabbit hole. Welcome to the Madness, a sudden unexplained obsession for notebooks, coloured pens and pencils, fountain pens and pretty ink, washi tape….oh washi tape…., stickers, etc, etc. Make sure you put aside a large portion of your budget for your growing stationery stash, that you WILL have to explain to your SO because to them it just does not make any sense…..lol.

Well, I have given you a whole lot to ponder on. I think I may go into a little more detail on the workings of my BuJo’s in a future blog, so watch this space.

Happy Journaling!

Jacqui

Agapanthus 2016

Hello Again…..

Agapanthus 2016

Hello again…..its been a while.

Okay, I know. If you want to do thing Blog thing, you actually need to Blog, right? You actually need to show up and publish something, right? *Sigh* I know, I know…..Life happens when you are busy making plans.

And that ever present ‘no-body will ever read it’ reared its ugly head again. But yesterday while reading BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert, she addresses that exact point.

And you have treasures hidden within you – extraordinary treasures – and bringing those treasures to light takes Work and Focus and Faith and Courage and hours of Devotion and the clock is ticking, and we simply don’t have any more time to think small.

So I have decided that I will bring my ‘extraordinary treasure to light’ and share them with you. If just one of them bring joy or inspiration to just one person I will be happy.I’m only one third of the way through the book and it has been inspirational to say the least.

So on that note, I will be trying to post something here weekly. Whether it be Dance related, a Creation or just Life in general. And hopefully you enjoy my musings, rantings and other stuff.

See you all again soon,

Blessings

Jacqui