The “Why” of Journaling

My journal is moving along.

I am one happy camper as far as that’s concerned. I have kept a diary and wrote long hand since I was child. Even when I first arrived here in 2000, I would write in those elegant journals – pouring my heart and soul into every word. At the same time, I was sort of writing online but in a very spontaneous way.

I still have a blank journal from years back – a holiday present from someone who used to answer to “Husband of Pinay New Yorker,” (now answers to “ex”) – I haven’t shaken off the urge to write and chronicle what happens in my life, what I feel and think about – be it in a dozen words, a picture or page after page of entries. Somehow writing those things longhand was always my preferred mode over typing, despite my typing speed of 90wpm.

Not too long ago, I discovered art journaling and that opened a new channel of expression for me. I found that I did not have to relay every single thought or feeling or memory in words– I could represent them with my own version of art.
Decorate a Journal for Swap-Bot I have always loved writing. The spoken word, to me, has always been about expression. Writing is a means of memorializing my day to day. I like that I’m able to do that with words, with color, and express so much with just one photo.. or two.

I journal like I blog– principally for my personal benefit, so that I can capture the day or a thought. Because at the end of the day, we tend to forget. During some moment in the future, remembering might actually help us.

I know that it has helped me to move forward remembering what happened so many years ago. It has helped me to reflect on how far I’ve come when I go back to those days and moments I had already forgotten. And sometimes I do need to be reminded. I need to go back to that “once upon a time” moment to remind myself to go in a certain direction to avoid the pitfalls of yesterday.

I like going back to those moments when a word or a phrase I read now brings me back to memories of “onion soup”. I like going back to both the dark and happy times because it lets me see how far I’ve come. In my weakest moments, remembering helps me to move on. During those moments of triumph, I feel grateful as I read about how I was in a very different place, not too long ago.

I journal because I want to learn from the mistakes of the past and cherish the happy times that have come after. My journals remind me I have time and again overcome, and whatever comes my way, I will be able to handle.

Why do you journal?

Related post: The “How” of Journaling

Art Journal Reboot

For starters, I managed to draw and assemble a new section avatar. Yay! And rather than aim for a masterpiece, I settled on what I came up with on the first try. I was thinking of spraying it with ink. But then I was afraid the sign pen ink would end up bleeding. I could also take a snapshot of the black and white logo and color it digitally. (just like my Friday Five logo.). Somehow I didn’t feel quite okay with that. Then I remembered my flower collage– and that was that.

Before the weekend, I started working on my first multi-page layout. But first, I finally decided I will pull together these sheets of paper I had cut out of binder dividers, assembling them into a 9×15 inch spread. I will pull sections bit by bit so I can work on the layouts without carrying the entire book with me. At the end of the year, I will bind the final project into a solid book.

I am optimistic this one will get off the ground, unlike previous attempts after I did my altered book.

So back to my multi page layout. I used a lot of multi page layered layouts in my first art journal and I really liked how those gave my art journal a two dimensional feel.

I just really love the idea that I’m finally doing another book. There were many things that I failed to do in 2018. Continuing my art journaling was one of them.

I am not an artist by any means. I am creative and crafty, but I need to watch a dozen videos teaching me how to draw and practice many hours to come up with a passable sketch. But as personal as any journal is, it’s your own art that matters. It can be stick drawings, purely collage, or a hodgepodge of pre cut or preprinted kits. If you ask me, anything beyond simply writing down a journal entry can be an art journal.

I first heard of art journaling from Julie Fei Fan Balzer’s Art Journal Everyday project many years back. (Read more about here.). Then I got into journaling swaps as well which showed me how journal prompts could help you keep writing. For the most part, I preferred to journal day to day about what was going through my head or what I was feeling in my heart at any given point in time.

I did the backgrounds ahead and worked on each layout as my entries moved on. I like that pace and hope to do the same with this one. I’m hoping it will be as fulfilling an experience working with an altered book before and shifting to a “create as you go” journal as I assemble this one along the way.

Friday Five – Three out of Five off the list

I had actually written and finished this Friday, but I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I slept without hitting publish.. so here it goes..

I am proud to report that I am ticking off three of the five on my list last week.

1.  Write on the postcards I meant to send out to friends in Manila.

2.  Work on the hem of at least one pair of pants.  

3.  Report on my progress with the THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT.

4.  Create a pair or two of earrings from my polymer clay discs.  

5.  Create a non-polymer clay piece.

Save for the pants, I might even be able to belatedly take no. 3 off soon, too.

Not bad.

This week’s Friday Five:

1.  Finish the pieces for posting to the shop.  The polymer clay disc pieces and the non-polymer clay ones are just up for finishing, photographing and posting.  Target for the weekend: at least one.

2.  Work on the hem of at least one pair of pants.  Still trying to get this done before the fall is fully present in NYC!

3.  Write a post in the other blog, THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT.  I’ve been working on this and there is much to report.  If only I could find the time to sit down and write.

4.  Begin the next multi-page layout I started planning last weekend.  I love doing multi-page layouts which I fill in as I go on with my art journal

5.  Create one of my Marian necklaces.  About time, considering the request from Lou came a while back.

Let’s see how far I get this time…

Friday Five Progress

I’m seriously thinking of renaming this the Saturday Five because I always end up doing them on a Saturday.  But it doesn’t sound quite right.

Some progress this week:

1.  Write those letters.  will still try.

2.  Post those earrings!    I actually managed to post five items and these are now available in the shop.

Fotor_20140726094922899
Available at Gothamchick.etsy.com

3.  Work on the Thank You Postcard Project page.  Been working on it but not the the site itself iwhich s private for now and I have it as a separate blog from this, but I have started uploading to its Instagram Account.  Below is one of the first few I’ve uploaded and you can search for it via hashtag. (#thethankyoupostcardproject)  These are also available on my Pinterest account.

The Thank You Postcard Project - #theyhankyoupostcardproje ct

4.  Send some test postcards out.  I’m pulling back on this for now because I want to make some specifically to test with.  I don’t want to touch what I already have in the 200+ postcards with backgrounds ready to be worked on.

5.  Bake some polymer clay pieces this week.  I’ve been pouring a lot of work into polymer clay and so far I’ve managed to make maybe half a dozen beads and molds, but my major polymer clay experiment fell flat.  But that’s what experiments are for, so I’m glad to report that I am at least working on it.

So here goes this week’s Friday’s Five:

1.  Write those letters.  will still try.  I am working on some handmade cards and might even come out with a tutorial in Gotham Chick (my craft blog),  so at least one card, I think will go out.

2.  Post the almost finished bracelets and necklaces in the shop.  I have some mother of pearl bead bangles that are ready for posting but need some finishing because of the extender chain with charm I wanted to add.  That should be done this weekend, and he posts up before next Friday.

3.  Finish at least one more background at the end of my altered book.  I’ve gone back to art journaling and was just finishing one layout for an entry, but I have around 20 spreads in the book that are still plain book pages.  The idea is to create journal ready spreads as I go along.  One or two more entries in the back of the bok would be nice.

4.  Destash more magazine by going through them and getting what I need.  I have been cutting out letters connected to the Thank You Postcard Project and hope to do that with the other magazines I mean to throw out.

5.  Create more polymer clay beads.  I worked on some molds last night meant to help with textures and I hope to create more this weekend.  (Has to be this weekend.)

It might seem like I’m rehashing the previous week’s list but that’s the whole point of this.  I created this list to help me focus on deliverables that are achievable, and I like that it’s kept me committed to ticking off something each week.

It was beautiful yesterday but the clouds are back.  Not a happy morning outside but I’m not complaining because the sun is going to be tolerable.  Hope everyone is having a good Saturday!

Back to Art Journaling and saying thanks

Art Journal Every dayI was hoping to be halfway done with the altered book I’ve been using for my Art Journal Every Day entries by now, but the problem is that I haven’t been too good with the “every day” bit. Weeks to even a month between posts have practically ground the art journaling to a halt. But I have picked up the Art journal again, so there is hope.

I thought I’d do a “Thank you” post, more so since I’ve been trying to kick off a project. It’s something that I’ve been playing around with in my head and something I’ve been doing some mail art to prepare for. We just don’t say those two words enough. On the other side of the spectrum, a simple thank you in our hands can make such a world of difference.

I’m pulling together a Thank You Postcard Project by repurposing old advertising free cards into mail art with a visual “thank you.” I’m using my stash of decorative/fancy table napkins, subway (and other) maps and other background materials to cover the original print. I’m even using some of my original photography in some. I’ve probably pieced together close to a hundred of my doodled flowers and I just can’t stop.

It’s not about me thanking you. I want to give you the medium to say “Thank you.”  It’s about saying thank you with a postcard.. more to come.

Art Journal Every Day: My little guy turns 10

I’ve been struggling a little with getting on with the art journaling. It’s mostly been sitting on my bedside table untouched the last couple of days, so I had quite a bit to catch up on. The weekend somehow gave me the chance to do an entry and a half (the other one still in progress), and I’m happy to be art journaling again.

This page had a totally different background before I started working on it again. I wasn’t quite happy with a white page I had stamped on primarily because the pigment ink was “staining” the opposite page.  Gesso to the rescue!  I put on a thin layer to cover the previous watercolor/stamping, and although some of the blue on the right hand page seeped through, I think it covered it pretty well, allowing me to use ink spray to create a totally different background.  It was “muted” by the gesso and the direct application, but I like the effect after everything had dried.

It made the masking tape holding the page together more obvious — I needed to do some book first aid with the binding falling apart on me, but I think that added to the layout’s charm.

Art Journal Every Day: Celebrating my boy’s 10th birthday by doing a spread with his traced hand on one side and mine on the other. Still a work in progress. I haven’t been too good with the “every day” part of the project but trying to catch up.

With my little guy turning 10 last Thursday, I’ve had a very busy week.  Goodie bags had to be packed, the cupcakes bought, and then I hied down to school for a 20 minute appearance that saw him beaming.  As we walked home together, he proudly told me it was a good birthday.  That was precious..

His birthday will always be very special to me because it marked a very big change in my life.  While I wasn’t even aware until the last couple of months of how much more profound that change actually was, I cannot be more grateful for the blessing of having this little guy as my son.  He truly makes everything worth it.

I’ve tried to make it a habit to do outlines of his hand through the years just to show how he’s growing, and I journaled within the outline of his, and zentangled mine.  (Yes, all patterns were taken from official patterns for zentangling.)

I have only a few copic markers which I used to write the text around the actual journaling,    and while I was reluctant to “fill up” the page, it felt quite bare without the other text.  I wanted it to be busy and “full”…An entry all about my little boy who isn’t so little anymore. The palm of his hand is almost the same size as mine — but I like the feel of holding his tinier hand because it still makes me feel like the mom holding that hand in mine.

Time flies, indeed! I keep telling him I wish he wouldn’t grow up so fast. I feel like the passing of time will see him drift away as he grows up and joins the world out there. That is both frightful and terribly exciting for me as a mother.

He has been such a gift to me. Every day, I thank God and I pray He keep him safe.
Art Journal Every Day- in sequenceMeanwhile, here’s the half-done (not quite) page I’ll be working on next.  There was a three-inch gash tearing through the binding, so I thought I would remedy that by pasting these paper pieced doddled flowers I had inserted into the back of the book for use somewhere within the journal.  And here they are. More on this journal entry later.

Mother's Day layout

 

Daily Prompt: Never been mellow? Me?

DAILY PROMPT: After a long day at work or school, what are your favorite ways to wind down and decompress?

I work 5 days a week, and I usually don’t end my day until closer to midnight.  I do get a chance to unwind an hour or two (if I’m lucky) before I finally go off to bed after the dishes and the food left over from dinner have been taken cared of.  It’s Friday and I’m trying not to overthink the prompt, so let me just enumerate the things that I do to wind down, spend some “me” time, and just chill.

1.  I catch up on my favorite shows, and actually stop whatever I am doing to watch if I can.   From its inception to last night’s episode, SCANDAL has been a staple of my Thursday night.  It’s just about the only show I can watch an episode of over and over again, one after the other.  (Think about repeating a song on your playlist over and over again like one extended loop.)  I love Shonda Rhimes, what can I say.  And I love Olivia Pope and Kerry Washington who plays her all the more.  Criminal Minds, Elementary and Grey’s Anatomy along with NCIS (who doesn’t love Mark Harmon?) can be watched on demand.  (Thank you Time Warner Cable!)

2.  I pick up my tools and I try to create a piece or experiment with my beads.  I know, I’ve been talking about this a while now.  And while I haven’t quite picked up the pace, I’ve started to re-organize, expirement again (project of the moment is wire-wrapping which I am having a ball with!), and I’ve relisted some items in the shop.  (Even managed one sale.)

Art journaling: zen tangled face3.  I write/draw an entry into my Art Journal, or do a background further on in the altered book I’ve been using.  Two projects in one.  I try to write a sentence or so everyday although sometimes, I don’t have the energy even for that.  Last night, I scribbled a line.  It’s a line a friend had shared with me.  Gives me pause to think even when I’m just doing the lettering or fonts without actually scribbling an entry.

I like the way my art journal has evolved because now I dare to draw faces, and I am getting more disciplined in doodling — so much so that I actually make an effort to stay within the rather strict zentangling guidelines of sticking to “official patterns”.

But it’s the daily exercise of actually getting something down on the pages of the journal that provides me a release.

4.  I play slots online — but only for free, never for pay.  There’s something about the rolling of the slots that I find relaxing.  Maybe it’s hypnotizing me into playing some more?  I never click on the purchase credits, though, and I wouldn’t dream of gambling.  I just like going through the motions even if there is actually no monetary reward involved.

I’m not really a highly-strung type of person except when I’m upset.  No matter how busy life may get, I coast along and take life as it comes.  Emotions are a different thing, though.  When it gets rough and I am on the verge of whatever, I pray.

Happy Friday, everyone!