Thursday, 27 May 2010

More experimenting

small handmade journal (6in x 4in) showing front and back covers 
(front, right and back, left)

Last night I posted a picture of my latest experiment on my gardening blog - simply because it had to do with the journal I had been making whilst we were visiting the Malvern Spring Gardening Show. But the journal was more significant than its content or the location where it was being made, and as few bloggers will yet know of my embryonic venture into blog gardening, this is the place for explaining my latest experimentation.

I have been working on methods for more easily creating travel journals when we are away using the minimum of materials that can quickly be packed into the confines of our motorhome. As we are always working when we are away, the journals have to be something I can dip into whenever I have the time. Usually, I write far too much text - in a blank travel diary - and it ever gets transferred. In other words, I begin, and do a few pages, but never catch up with myself. And so in my roof space, I have a collection of jute bags lined up, each devoted to a particular location, with materials stashed away relevant to that particular project.

Well all that has to end. And so, for those who are interested, here is what I am now experimenting with - to facilitate the away-day journaling. First I still prep the papers and create the structure of what I will use. In this case, the pages were 180gsm watercolour paper stained with koh-i-nor dyes which I have just discovered. They don't show much on the covers as I knew I wanted more decoration but the inside pages are much more vibrant and colourful. 

The decorations are paper napkins: I separate the layers and iron the top layer onto heat-n-bond lite. As needed, the motifs are cut out and ironed to the page background - I keep any white portions of the cut-away napkin as they are marvellous for adding texture at a later stage and can be coloured with neocolor crayons and gel medium, both of which do not take up too much space. For this journal, all the page edges were prepared at home with strips of flowers down the outside edges of each. The text was stencilled using pen and neocolor. The disadvantage was that the rough surface was difficult to journal on; finding a suitable pen has proved almost impossible. Photos can be easily added; I have a template for positioning and will fix them in with photocorners. I want to take the decoration one stage further so have trialled another technique for our next venture - a trip shortly to Ireland.

This is a page from a blank artist's sketchbook which has lovely smooth paper in a pale tobacco colour (I am addicted to brown paper and brown paper bags!). It is perfect for writing on and here is my first trial of how I could add text to the rough coloured pages of a larger book. My Irish journal has 8in x 8in pages, which I have already prepared in marbled shades of pale green. Bearing in mind to keep supplies to a minimum, I tried spraying with dye overstamping whilst still wet with a fern-leaved stamp and an ordinary stamp pad which allows the ink to run a little. (top of pages). Pieces if this paper can be torn into small panels and added to my journal pages using bits of dyed masking tape. The stylised 'leaf' below is created using cat's-eye chalk-stamp pads quickly drawn around and over with a pen - easy on the smooth surface, and these can be cut out and added with a glue stick. My aim is to be able to create highly decorated pages with the minimum of fuss in the tiniest of spaces (I use the motorhome cab as a studio). There will not be time to add napkin motifs before we leave so today I will experiment with some I have already adhered to the fusible web and will try ironing them onto the page surface with a little Clover mini-iron that we can use in the motorhome.

This post is all words when it should have been so much more visual. I'll post the results at some later stage. Meanwhile, enjoy my little foray into further experimentation. (Oh, and if you click on the images, you can see them at enlarged size; colours are a little weird due to my scanner capabilities.)


  1. you are the master or should i say mistress of journaling on the go. wow. Tell me, how many of this sort of journal or any journals do you have from your years of journaling? (approximately, no need to count them.) have fun in Ireland.

  2. Good wishes, hope it goes beautifully.

  3. I am new to understanding this style of journaling and I need the explanations and ideas. I got a lot out of this post.