And NOW, I will stop changing the themes and share this…

LOL.  I’ve also joined a journal swap at Willowing, am taking the Strathmore workshops again (sooon—Starting March 1, go sign up now and join me in anxiously waiting it out!!), and am finally following through on some artist/sketch journaling that I hope will lead to some stand alone art pieces.  I gave up painting and knitting about the time my youngest opened her beautiful little peepers because her vision is great and her hands are quick!! The great thing is she is quite the artist herself, like her big bro but he didn’t take to it quite as much and has entered that self judging stage where his art is concerned *SIGH*.

copyright 2013

Stately Lady–my journal cover to honor those strong ladies who inspire us.

Rockin' Robin--journal page

Rockin’ Robin–journal page

So you’ve wondered where I’ve been…here’s a few more…

Infectious Smiles--my first attempt at a portrait of a real subject

Infectious Smiles–my first attempt at a portrait of a real subject

Think the house is headed to bed.  Thanks SO much for visiting!!


Quick Tutorial for my experimental art journal

VOILA'!! Lying open on its belly

BIND: Knot over center cord & trim ends.

BIND: Tails on both sides of center cord!!!

Starting to BIND

SPINE: 2.5"by 6.5". Place 3 parallel columns of 3 holes, matched to those in signatures to use for binding.

Punch 3 holes in middle fold of signatures thru all layers

Making Signatures: Trim the ends off 12 paper sacks just above their fold

trim the corners

The original project

You may remember about a month ago, I completed this “experimental art journal” for a DT project for Smeared Ink. I had some interest in how I assembled it, so I have tried to create a tutorial here. I am hoping the pics will place where I want them to be ;). NOTE:: I think if you look at the pics in REVERSE order, they will make more sense.  LOL
I began with a corrugated cardboard piece that a book shipped in & today I am using newspaper, rather than the textured paper towel. Terra did a great tutorial at SmearedandSmudged group site under Mixed Media University so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. The quickie version is: aluminum foil, coat with gesso, add paper towel, coat with gesso, DRY. Crumple, flatten, dry brush with acrylics as desired, dry & adhere.
1. Cut two pieces of corrugated cardboard to size (mine are about 6.5″ squared). I am using 8 lb. paper grocery sacks as my pages, so you will need to size to your pages, adding at least 1/2 inch to height and width over page size. Also cut a spine from the cardboard, same height as your covers & mine is 2.5″ wide. (If you think in metric, there are 2.54 cm to each inch.)
2. Adhere “skin” to front & back cover (newspaper here) with your fave adhesive–I used ModPodge but a xyron or even spray adhesive might work better. Smooth & trim to about 1″ extra all around, maybe a bit extra on the spine side edge to help assembly. Let adhesive dry, trim the corners on an angle so that the “skin” only extends about 1/2″ past each corner on a diagonal. Add adhesive to the outside edge and fold over to inside, smooth & secure. Add adhesive to the top & bottom corners, fold to inside, smooth & secure. Add adhesive to top overlap, fold to inside & smooth & secure. Leave spine edge free. Repeat for “back” cover.
I made a book with 3 signatures of 16 pages ( 8 sheets). To do this, take 12 paper sacks & cut the ends off (you don’t have to—you can use them to make pockets or extensions but I wanted my pages to be flat). (SEE PIC) Layer 4 paper sacks to make one signature, fold in half & poke/punch 3 holes in the fold for binding. (Repeat twice more). (SEE PIC) You will attach the signatures directly to the spine as you bind so poke a series of 3 columns of 3 holes to attach the signatures to.
Take thread equal to 2-3 times the length of the signature’s height (I am using Mason’s twine here to demonstrate) (waxed linen is recommended, I have used waxed dental floss & crochet thread as well). Layer spine & one signature (set of 4 punched bags), aligning holes. Insert thread in center hole (numbered 2 here) & pull thru all 4 bags & spine, leaving a 2-3″ tail for tying later. Come up thru hole 1 (or hole 3, it doesn’t really matter) and then down thru hole 3 (or 1, you get the idea), then back up thru hole 2, taking the thread to the opposite side of the long thread from the tail you left earlier. Trim, leaving a 2-3″ tail & knot tails over the center cord/thread. (NOTE: This will make my binding & knot show on the inside of my signature. If you want it to go on the outside, you just go out/up where I asked you to go in/down and so on.) SEE PICS. Repeat for 2 other signatures.
Take spine with attached signatures & front cover, placing them side by side. leaving about 1/8 inch between. Adhere tab left on front cover to back of spine. Repeat with back cover to spine. Here I added two more layers of newspaper running from front cover across spine to back cover for strength, then layered another piece of newspaper over the whole thing by opening the book flat & adhering. Use paper trimmed to about 6″ square to cover insides of front & back cover.
I used some red & blue acrylic craft paints to drybrush over the covers & spine. WIll go back in later & add my Mad Scientist & label. Considering taking Duct Tape to cover the spine for strength & fun effect.
1. The covering is newspaper vs. the paper towel surface, which seemed sturdier. Remember too that I had layered two paper towels, rotating the second 90 degrees before & with the gesso, it was much sturdier.
2. The covers & spine are now corrugated cardboard where the other was chipboard, which seems to make this one a bit sturdier, but I might layer the two next time to see what happens.
3. The decorative elements which I will add later.
Clear as mud, huh?? Hope this is helpful. I can’t get the pics in the order I want them, so I am trying, esp. with the later ones, to label the captions to help, maybe. Please—I welcome your feedback & suggestions. Would love to see what happens when you try this.
Happy Crafting!! Paula

PS> Be sure to head to Smeared & Smudged Ink forum for SMUDGEFEST happening this week—a week of daily challenges to kick off the new DT challenges format that starts next week!!!! There are prizes to be won—a mega prize!!

Experimental art journal

The Mad Scientist at work---flameworthy

I created an art journal using the techniques from the Rustic Journal Class at Green Isle Crafts to make the covers. It has 3 signatures bound with dental floss (couldn’t find the waxed thread!). The surface is prepared as Sculpture Paper as found in the Mixed Media University class by Terra at Smeared and Smudged Ink Forum. The digi is the Mad Scientist by Smeared Ink. The sentiment/sign is computer generated with Stencil Font in Works. I hope to do another with a step by step (camera battery conked on me). I just love this mad scientist! He reminds me of the love child of Carrot Top and Dr Doofenschmirtz (from Phineas & Ferb on Disney!). Have fun & experimental a little today but have the fire extinguisher handy.

Check out this “Rustic Journal” class at Green Isle Crafts (and blog candy!!)
IF you’ve been listening to me along the way, you know that I LOVE the daily prompts and tutorials that Tee offers at Green Isle Crafts. (AND if you haven’t been listening to me, SHAME on you!! LOOK what you’ve been missing!)  Now she has what promises to be this amazing online class to make a Rustic Journal with (I think) 5 videos and some bonus material—most of the items used to make the journals are recycled/repurposed too but she does such a FAB job that you don’t realize it by looking!!! AND the blog candy is…you can WIN this class for FREE. The details are right there at the link but, even after I win :), the course is very affordable, right there waiting for you to hop right in!!! Go. Go now. (Yes I am posting to promote because I want to win :), but soon I will be posting because I am SO EXCITED to be taking the course, so why not give you a chance to win too??)

Sharing an Art Journal Page I made last night

Proud of my scars

Tiddly Inks ( is sponsoring the “Oh the Horror!” challenge at the Smeared & Smudged Ink this month. They created this cute “Frankenhottie” digi for the design team to play with. I haven’t worked her into a card yet but I did print her out & color her, then added her to my journal page. She’s colored with Staedtler Triplus color markers, then the cutout is outlined with a Black Sharpie pen and a black China marker. It’s an Aquabee sketch book 9″x6″ of heavyweight drawing paper. The background is a violet stazon, red chalk ink, multicolor pigment, homemade teal spray, and pewter glimmermist. The journaling is supposed to look like scars written with Elmer’s paint pen in yellow and says “My scars are my passport, symbols of where I’ve been. I’ve earned every one.” Have a crafty day!

As promised—my artist’s journal cover to date!

The journal was constructed from a pad of watercolor paper that was originally 9×12.  I cut the pages and the covers in half, then punched and bound them with my Bind it All, 1″ brown Orings.  Then the fun began–I painted with this gorgeous blue/teal acrylic craft paint–I think it is Caribbean Coast and just began to stamp directly onto it.  The lady and the panel on the right are on beige cardstock and adhered with Modge Podge.  The flowers and brad are Hot off the Press.  The sparkle flowers are Darice, self adhesive flower gems.  The word “ART” was chipboard letters from K&Company.  The inks are Stazon Jet Black, Archival (Ranger) Sepia and (Ranger) Adirondack Eggplant.  (Doing this from memory with assistance from my 4 yo so it might get an edit soon;)!)  What do ya think? 

I’ve been working on an Artist’s Journal

I took a pad of watercolor paper and cut the paper and covers in half. Punched and bound with my Bind it all and now need to work the cover and start journalling. This is a rework —I had an old unused dateplanner that I was going to use but the pages weren’t working for what I wanted it to do so it’s put aside for another day now. Do you journal? Do you use prompts? I’ll share pics of mine this week (just gotta get the memory card clear of the holiday pics) but I’d love some ideas!

Oh and let me pass along–the Artgirlz are closing up shop as we know it.  The journal kit from my blog candy came from their website.  Just an FYI.

IF I could grant you 20 wishes

My 20 wishes journal

My 20 wishes journal

what would they be? In the Debbie Macomber( book, Twenty Wishes, from her Blossom Street series, a group of ladies decide to write down their own 20 wishes on a lark. They are at different areas and ages in their lives but begin to discover some of the deepest desires of their hearts have been suppressed. The amazing thing is that once they decide a wish is important enough to make the list of 20, they also find that it is important enough to pursue and some amazing & some amusing things happen. The magic of writing down the wishes helps them move from “if only but that would never happen” to “but why couldn’t it happen?” They begin to focus on their goals and discover many surprising things about one another and themselves. Like many other readers, I was inspired to create my list of 20 (it’s still a work in progress). I wanted something really special to write it down. Then I discovered this kit on the ArtGirlz site and using some of the components plus some other items I had around the crafting area, this is what I came up with. Hope you enjoy it! There are lots of other goodies from the kit that you’ll be seeing later but meanwhile… what would you wish for? What’s standing in your way from getting it? WHY? Happy crafting! P

GeckoGalz Design Team Member July 2011-July 2012

Smeared Ink Design Team