• Karen

Updated: Jul 14

For a while now, I've had the hankering to making a journal from brown paper bags....the larger type that you use for grocery shopping.

I have lots of journals laying around. A small portion are finished, many are mostly finished and a large percentage have only a handful of pages completed. What can I say....I'm easily distracted by the next best thing. Lol.

The point is... I just couldn't stop this journal until it was full. It was so satisfying, and it needed to be completed before I could bind it...so it got finished...in record time!

It was a great place to include a lot of art that was laying around on loose pages (I have a stack of those, slipped into books and hidden away under piles of journals) and also the, new to me, large square format was inspiration for new ideas.

The whole idea for the paper bag book came from a workshop with Jeanne Oliver

"Storytellers and Mavericks" is the full workshop, but she has very generously listed the journal creation part of the lesson, Dye + Stitch Journal , for free.

I used Jeanne's ideas and ran with my own twist. I particularly liked the idea of including hand-dyed cheesecloth and parchment paper. I also made patchwok pages from parts of vintage books and different types of papers. Watercolour, pastel, sketch and mixed media papers, they are all in there.

I used the lead part of a pianola roll for my front cover and bound it all with a wooden ruler that I distressed with sandpaper and stained with brown shoe polish.

Pianola roll cover

Left:Found shapes from abstract painting. Right: "The Universe" Original poem

Left: Fabric, trims and paper graphics. Right: Bee Stamp graphics (My Porch Prints. Etsy) and base page created with Momigami.

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  • Karen

It's something that I've wanted to do for so long.....and now....it's done!

A fabric book is making me ridiculously happy in it's completion.

I discovered the beauty of sari fabrics a few months ago. From there I found a beautiful, inspirational Facebook site called Bohodaydreams where, from Sheila Gingerich the owner, I can purchase the most amazing fabrics and trims. I've never seen anything like it and they are certainly not available over here in Australia.

Sumptious fabrics adorned with sequins and motifs, hand dyed silks and velvets... all the colours of the rainbow. She really puts together the most gorgeous bundles of luciousness.

She has also renewed my love of beads. Putting together colourful dangles of beads is a quick and fun pastime. I just adore storing them in a glass jars...even the noise they make. is satisfying.. can you just hear it? Glass beads againt the glass jar ....clink, jiggle, clink ;)

The Bohodaydreams page is full of lovely supportive women, all with amazing talent and it's a great site for inspiration. Scrolling through the page gave me the push, and inspiration, to utilise some of the digital files that I had been creating. This first journal is the result of that.

From there, I gained the confidence to start my fabric journal. I've never made this type of journal before, so there was a lot of 'wingin it' and also some 'finagling'......but I did it!

This book is just so lovely to hold and, while not a journal as such, is comforting to flip through.

The construction of the pages is supported by thick felt....this has made them strong, easy to hand-sew through and gave them a sturdiness that a soft center just wouldn't have had.

The book contains fabrics from my old clothes, vintage laces, sari fabrics and motifs, vintage printouts and some beautiful glass beads.

I would do some things different if I ever attempt one again. Everything has a learning curve and that is what makes it even more interesting to us. It's probably why I flit from one type of art to the next...always seeking a new experience and to learn new skills.

It's so satisfying to get out of your comfort zone and pick up that inspirational, 'want to do' idea that's been floating around in amongst all our 'must do' thoughts.

Are you starting, or thinking of, a new idea/art project? Enjoy the process and stretch those creative muscles...but most of all....enjoy!

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  • Karen

Updated: May 23, 2020


To say I'm not the most consistant of bloggers might be a bit of an understatement. It's a big commitment, this blogging thing.

Coming up with new ideas, recording the video or composing the posts, can all take a lot of time. Working 4-5 days a week in my day job and then...life...it just doesn't leave that much time for blogging.

But then came CO-VID19!

Not being an "essential worker" I've been in lockdown for awhile now.

During this time, I've completed a decent amount of art projects and also finished some major household chores. Chores that are put off because it's just too big a job. Ones like taking off the kitchen ceiling fan blades so that I can clean them properly, or organising my linen cupboard...fun stuff, like that. Ha!

Then I remembered my poor neglected website.

I've been gone so long that the platform has changed so much. My old blog was outdated and I had to transfer everything over to this new one!

So here I am again. Bright eyed and bushy tailed and raring to post some art.

Today I have three videos where I prove that it doesn't cost a lot of money to start an art journal practice. If you switch things around, you can achieve many different looks using very minimal supplies. So here are my suggestions for Art journaling on a budget

Happy Journaling to you all.

Take care and stay safe.

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