Journaling in 2022

My Art Journal 2022

I returned to Art journaling in 2020 as a means of keeping my head straight in the thick of the pandemic. I let the juices flow and did sections instead of filling out the pages chronologically. Although I have yet to bind the different sections together and there are some unfinished layouts, in my mind and in my heart, those pages encapsulate what my year was all about. For all the challenges that the opening salvo of covid dealt us, I know I came out with more than what I lost that year.

I began 2021 by working on the first layouts starting with the fold out pages of the year which I traditionally do. And that was that. The year flew by and no art journaling for me. While I’m not too happy with that, all I can say is “Life happens.” And it did.

Towards the end of 2021, I heard from a friend from far away who is nevertheless always close at heart. Many years my junior, she and I shared a passion for art, jewelry making and postcards. She is one of the few people on my very short list who I try to see whenever I land in Manila. Long story short, she proposed a journal exchange. Many years ago, I left Manila with a mini journal from her which is now tattered and all worn because I used to carry it in my purse. I was more than willing to do this with her.

So that makes for two journals I will be working on this year.

For my main personal journal, I have decided I will keep my 5″ x 7.5″ page format from 2020. As one of the more challenging tasks was deciding on the format, I think I’ll keep to the recycled folder or card stock I used, more so since I’ve drifted more towards painting my backgrounds. And it was simple enough to cut other paper to size to fit in it. Settled. Like I did in 2020 where I did a summary of 2019 at the start, I will use the 2021 fold out for this purpose.

My shared journal 2022For my shared journal, I’ve decided to use this handmade paper and journal from Nepal which I have several of. I absolutely fell in love with this journal when I stumbled upon it at Barnes & Noble. I liked it so much that I bought 2-3 more besides the one I had started a gratitude journal on many years ago. (Which I actually rediscovered when I was looking for my spares..). So the idea is she’s writing on a journal I will reply to later, and I am starting mine. I will leave space or pages for her to write on later, after we exchange journals– whenever that may be. It’s like a conversation in our heads on paper, with a longer response time intended. And the next time we meet or sooner, we exchange journals again.
My shared journal
Journaling is a very personal thing to me because there, I can chronicle my day and my feelings and thoughts freely. I have often gone back to my questions and musings at a later time, usually finding a different and better insight into either what I had gone through or what I am going through. It’s a journey in words and images.

I’m starting the year with a determined effort to set aside time and focus to actually get back to this — and I’m hopeful that I will be able to do more than I did in 2021.

My One Sentence Journal

One sentence journalI’ve been busy drawing letters of the alphabet after joining the Instagram challenge from @handetteredABCs to write the entire alphabet a letter a day this February.  (You can learn more about it at their website here, and jump into my Instagram account and click on any letter you see..)

I jumped in at H and am currently at O.  It’s been a fun journey but I’m in such great company!  I drool over the calligraphers who can create such beauties in literally a stroke of their pen.  I wish I could do that.  I can render lettering but I draw them.  Like most art, it takes practice to improve one’s craft and inspiration hit me last night to start this new journal.

 Just one sentence.  Any other blurbs or write up will have to be elsewhere like here.

Strictly in pen.  I have my art journal for the fancier stuff.

In a small enough size that I can lug it anywhere.  I want to be able to carry it with me easily without lugging a tome.  The page size is also key if I am to do a page without devoting a day to it.  My art journal is always a work in progress because I do the page layouts and then decided on embellishments and then do the actual journaling.  This one is much, much more abbreviated than that.

Should be a notebook I can tear pages off and later pull together into one journal.  I must’ve rendered one line over 20x last night, tearing off the mistakes out.  I will have to grab another one soon. I have these freebies I grabbed from a conference at work from a sponsor which was made of recycled paper.  Perfect.  No expense, and more importantly, the paper takes the ink from the pen with ease.

This is as much to practice my lettering as it is to memorialize words and thoughts that might mean something to me at any given point in time.  Self explanatory.

I have been journaling since I was young, and I still have my handwritten journals  which I began when I arrived in New York almost 18 years ago.  I’m almost done with my first art journal in an altered book, and I’m beginning a new one.  This is both simple and not simple, but it works the same way in giving me a channel of self expression.

In one sentence.


My Gratitude JournalI’ve long meant to write in a Gratitude Journal, but as always, the “form” was always much too much of a hurdle. This time around, the process was somehow reversed and I fell in love with the paper and the journal then I decided this would be my gratitude journal.

It is always good to think of our blessings, in good times and during the bad — more so when we are emotionally challenged because it helps remind us that life is not always “against” us. We often neglect to take the everyday joys we come across forgranted, because they don’t move us to jump up and down for joy or to swoon or gush — yet these little joys help to bring us to a good place.  “Ordinary” blessings from day to day, no matter how small they may be, are never insignificant in the bigger scheme of things.

We often fail to give thanks because that same feeling of contentment leads us to a sense of entitlement. And yet sometimes, admittedly, I know I come across a lot of good I have not earned a right to — but which are thrown at me out of the natural goodness and generosity of a higher being.

We are constantly in search of happiness, yet we fail to recognize that little things like a sunny day, or a warm greeting from a stranger as we walk towards our place of work — things that help make our day a little brighter if not easier — are things that we should consider blessings or things we should be thankful for.  I realize that “blessings” tend to have a religious meaning, and for the many who don’t recognize the existence of God or a higher being in some shape or form, then these blessings are ordinary things or happenings that come into our lives plain and simple.

If only we recognized them for being what they were, then the challenges we face might yet turn out to be not as big a challenge as we thought them to be.

It’s not a novel idea.  Many people like Oprah have their gratitude journal.  This is the journal that only lists what you are thankful for — it’s a little book of treasures of what you consider good in your life.  A fellow Pinay Swiss I used to follow used to list Five Things to be Happy About in her journal.  (Where art though, Jayred?)  And who says we have to stick with five?  I had started doing that at random but have not done the list in while.  (It has been ages!)

Gratitude Journal 00

I wrote: “I’ve always had a love affair with paper, and everytime I looked at the shelves withe the journals over at Barnes, I can’t help but pause and browse.  I’ve always been so impressed by these handmade paper journals which always stood out.  I’d always make it a point to open the sample and leaf through the book just to feel its pages.  The rough texture of the handmade paper has an elegance to it which I can’t help but admire.

Made in Nepal.  I remember the holiday bazaars I’ve been to in the Philippines which shocased similar products.  Can we actually come up with something like this and find it ont he shelves of Barnes, too?  I wonder.

I haven’t even made up my mind about what kind of journal this will be.  A gratitude journal… I can certainly use that.

Thank you. — Dinna”

Journals in Barnes and Noble

It was on this shelf that I spied my journal.  Sometimes we feel a pair of shoes or a bag on the shelf beckoning us.  This one, I felt, had my name written inside it already.

The handmade paper seemed thick enough to take on ink and paint — but the thickness of the paper made for a few pages only.  Somehow that didn’t bother me.  Besides, at roughly $10.00, I can easily get another once this runs out.   This is the one that swept me off my feet.

Handmade paper journal from Nepal

I like that even if it’s a little bit chunky, it’s lightweight.  I wouldn’t mind getting exactly the same book next time.

After two posts I’ve come to realize that paper is paper and the ink will seep through.  I’ve decided to do some stencilling for the next entry to “cover” what little did bleed through to the next spread.  I have also decided there will be no collages in this book. The binding won’t be able to take it, and I’d hate for it to get ruined.

My first entry started like the picture below but has now progressed to being colored in some places and written on in some.  I am thankful for having found my journal.
Gratitude Journal 01
Time to start on the next layout.  No pressure.  In between cooking dinner for the boy and catching up on my favorite TV shows, I have plenty of time.  It comes when it comes.

What are YOU thankful for?

Journal on a Journey: A Progress Report

If you’re reading about my Journal on a Journey project for the the first time and you’re interested to find out what it’s all about, please go to this page where I have the mechanics and will regularly post updates.

I have realized that my composition notebook is not going to go very far or will not hold up too well through the wear and tear that this journal(s) is(/are) supposed to go through.  So I have scrapped the idea of using composition notebooks.  The paper was also too thin that writing with a regular fine point signpen caused some blotting to bleed through to the back page.  I’m not a fan of that.

As an alternative, I’m actually creating several decorated pages I will reproduce randomly in the different journals I’m creating for this project, printed/drawn on good paper stock legal sized paper which I will sew into a journal of around 100 pages.  (Ambitious, yeah!)  I guess the stitch piercer tool I bought two weekends ago has inspired me to be brave and makes me think it’s going to be easy.  (We’ll soon find out, won’t we?)

I’m cutting magazines and doing collages.  There are some catch phrases, quotes and others I will literally draw.  This will make each journal unique and different from the next.  It also gives me a chance to use some of my stock art work like previous letterings, doodles, ATCs, etc. and it will also give me a new excuse to create more — not that I need one.

I know there are a lot of text journalers out there who would welcome the chance to participate in this project.  Our goal is to see how far the journals can travel before being filled and what kinds of entries find their way into its pages.  I will write one journal entry somewhere in each journal, not necessarily as a starter entry.  Art journalers are also welcome, or even photojournalers.  It’s very free form with only a few rules, the most important of which is that you are committing to write an entry and return the journal to me. 

Any ideas on what you would want to see in this journal?  Email me at or leave a comment here.  Let’s see what we can come up with together.

Not quite on its journey yet

Random shots around New York CityI’m combing through the pictures in my memory card and came upon this which I had taken weeks back while in the car driving through the village. and I just felt compelled to put it up here.  For no reason at all. 

Friday is almost here.  Happiness.  Relief.  Another weekend.  The thought made me smile.

I’ve also been trying to get my JOURNAL ON A JOURNEY going by trying to decorate the pages of my composition notebook which is proving to be a challenge.  The pages are too “thin”.  So I’m probably going to have to create the journal from scratch yet again.  It’s been the most difficult part of journaling — choosing and getting the right journalI have written some people I’ve traded journals and done similar swaps with on Swap-bot and the feedback has been more than positive.  It has gotten me all the more excited.  I’m getting there. I was hoping to send the first journal to Manila this coming week, but it’ll probably have to wait another week or two more.  .Decorating my Journal on a Journey

I’m all set to go to Chicago next weekend for Cousin M’s wedding and I’m all excited. It’s just a weekend, and Angelo and I are flying to the windy city for the first time.

I managed to snag half the trip through miles and paid for the return.  Angelo’s flying on miles both ways, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed we can go first class both ways (doing that already on the first leg we’re flying on miles) but the return is full.  My date will be dapper in his suit and I found the perfect dress last week.  I’m actually more excited about going to the reception with him and dancing with him for real on the dance floor.  Lou and I have already made arrangements to meet up.  Unfortunately, it’s a very short trip so the only sightseeing on my list is the Pier.

A journal and a trip ahead… getting there.

Friday Thoughts on the bus

I’m trying to get the hang of using the wordpress app for Blackberry, multitasking while on the bus home. I can close my eyes to nap but I’m all energized after trying very hard to stifle laughter as I watched some really crazy funny videos online. One brought me back to the days when I was a newscaster for a local FM station and when I deejayed occasionally. The other brought me memories of when I first watched “Mamma Mia” here on Broadway more than a decade ago. Wow… I suddenly realized how long ago that was.

I’m still trying to think about my dinner. Fog is descending upon us and rain threatens from above — picking something up from the corner restaurants is out of the question, more so since I’m umbrella-less after depositing my humongous golf umbrella into my coat closet in the office. (The boy will have his home-cooked fried chicken wings which he swears by as better than KFC!). Maybe I’ll have pizza.. (Ooey-gooey cheese-filled crust pizza…).

I have Grimm, Blue Bloods and the other shows I missed over the past couple of days to catch up on. A journal to finish (almost there!) and postcards to write. I’m all excited to go over my craft stash from the craft fair last weekend and try them. (Talk about delayed gratification..). Somewhere in between there, maybe I’ll get to pick out a dress to wear to the wedding mid-May. (Hotel reservation done, flight on hold.)

I had lunch with bride-to-be Cousin M earlier. She wanted to treat me to a fancy restaurant but the wait was kind of long and so I voted for the B&N cafe where we spent an hour or so talking about another solo trip for me, and how we were going to take her Mom and Dad around NYC after the wedding out Midwest. That made me smile. Tita Fannie and Tito Rene are very special to my family. I would also love to see Tito Mar who will fly in from Bangkok. (Family always gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling.). Cousin M is a relative on my father’s side, and although we are quite distant from each other in the Samaniego-Tolentino family tree, they are dearer to us than some of our closer relations.

The wedding is a month away, but I can’t wait!!

Meanwhile, I’m 10 minutes from the house and think I’ll treat myself to the pizza. =). (Pigging out again..). I’m looking forward to staying up out of choice. I struggled to sleep last night as I found myself still awake in bed at 1am…I’ve always had a tough time heading off to la-la land, but it’s not that bad when I can stay in bed a tad later like I do on Saturdays.  (Just remembered I have penne in the fridge.. Penne it is!)

Happy Friday, everyone!

Gorgeous Day In New York City and Other Happy Thoughts

It was a little chilly and grey when I walked out the door, but I left without a coat or a jacket. 70 degrees by the end of the day with the sun up high, and 70 degrees is what I got when I walked out of the office late this afternoon. Just gorgeous! I like it just this cool because a sweater will keep you toasty and a light scarf will do the job nicely.

I’ve been working on some quotes for a journal swap I’m sending out over the weekend using freehand lettering over watercolor backgrounds. While I’m using the originals for the journal, I’m photocopying the finished work on cardstock and high-quality paper for other uses. (Cards, my “Font Love” folio, and maybe as embellishment for future journals.).

Watercolor and Ink: Quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne on Happiness

I enjoyed painting the backgrounds ahead and then writing freehand, then drawing the letters as I shaded in and defined the alpha individually.  It’s part of a “Happiness” ensemble I’m creating for the “Decorate a Journal” swap over at

Yesterday was a rather interesting day, but I was too tired to write about it.  I’ve been fortunate to have had a nice past couple of days, and I have to start writing about it before the news gets old and I get lazy again.

The Ink PadWell, for starters, I went on a “craft-day-for-me” field trip last Saturday to Allentown, Pennsylvania.  (Typing that actually literally made me smile.)  Angelo and I had taken a trek to The Ink Pad over at 7th Ave and 13th Street on our birthday date last April 2, and not only did I finally lay eyes on stamping/papercrafting heaven this side of town, but I found out about the bus trip being organized by the store to join “Heirloom’s Allentown Rubber Stamp and Paper Arts Festival“.

It took me a while to make up my mind about going, and when I finally called to reserve my seat ($69 for a round trip ticket on the bus including fair tickets, raffle drawing both on the bus and at the event, and a goodie bag..!), I ended up grabbing the LAST ONE before the trip closed out.  It was on the 13th, Saturday, and my biggest problem was hauling myself downtown to meet the 8am bus departure.  It meant waking up at the crack of dawn and getting to the bus stop in time for the first weekend bus run at 6:30am.   To make sure I made it to the store on time, I hailed a cab right by the Empire State Building on 34th and Fifth Avenue.  I made it to the bus with enough time to spare.

It was a bus full of ladies and a man.  (Mickey, who goes by Scrapamale on Youtube was quite a breath of fresh air and humor — and now, inspiration.  Check out his Youtube Channel here.)  I sat next to Pam who was a retired housewife from whom I learned a lot about classes and offerings, including a craft retreat she is suggesting I attend.  We all went our separate ways when we finally got to Allentown — and we didn’t meet up again until we returned to the bus.

Allentown Rubber Stamp and Paper Arts Festival, April 13

There was much to see and learn about at the craft fair — and it was such an experience watching products and techniques being demonstrated live by the various vendors who were participating.  I ‘oohed’ and ‘aaahed’ over the art tools, many of which I had seen for the first time.  (I am still a craft novice at this point!)

I’m not a heavy stamper, really.  I’m just starting in that department.  I have always tried to get interesting clear stamps but I left much of them with my sister, Ofie, when I went home in December 2011.  I’m just beginning to see their use as far as paper crafts are concerned, and I’ve incorporated them into my artist trading cards and handmade postcards.  I am trying to use more of them in my journaling as well.

I browsed the stores from one end of the hall to another.  There weren’t that many, and the “experts” were saying it was a smaller venue and less vendors — but it took me close to an  hour to do my initial “ocular”.  Then I went into each store to see what was of interest.  Each store seemed to offer something different, so you had something to buy in each one.  Stores from as far as Ohio were participating.  (Little wonder there was a mini-RV section in the parking lot.)

There were samples galore showing what you could do with all the tools around.  I was too busy learning about the products to pay attention to many of the works of art displayed, and I had taken most of my photos really to document what I was putting on my mental wishlist.  It was crafting heaven!

The craft fair experience itself deserves a separate post with all the photos I took — hopefully posted here by the weekend.  Lunch was out in the parking lot where I had earlier seen a cheese steak, hotdogs and burgers concessioe.  I picked through the meat and the fries with a fork and had quite a meal.

Italian Cheese Steak and Cheese Fries in Allentown, PA

There was a Farmer’s Market across from the hall where the craft fair was, but I had to restrain myself from walking in, saving that for the end of the day just before I went back to the bus.  (Grabbed a whole gourmet pecan pie that was totally worth dragging my aching feet through the huge indoor market for… yum!)

I was exhausted by the time I settled down.  I drifted in and out of sleep and was pleasantly awakened in the middle of a snooze because I won a prize.  (I have a video I will post later of the goodies I won.)

I am actually seriously considering doing the next one near me which will be in West Springfield, MA on June 1 and 2.  I need to plan my logistics because it won’t be worth staying over, but there are buses that head to Boston.  Hmmm..  I am keeping my fingers crossed that The Ink Pad will organize another trip.  Maybe.. We’ll see.

The boys went around the city and picked me up in Midtown at the end of the day, saving me the longer commute home.  My feet were almost numb from all the walking.  (Craft shopaholic!)  But it was SO WORTH IT.  I’m glad I spent the money I did to get there.  The things I saw and learned are worth so much more.

I haven’t really had the chance to unpack the stuff I bought because I’ve been working earnestly on my journal.  I can’t wait to try the new materials I haven’t tried yet.  In time.

Down at work, things have been pretty light because the boss is on holiday.  Still, it only meant a lighter work load, but not the absence of workload.  I have been trying to catch up with the filing.  The meeting requests never end.  I’m already scheduling into June.

Meanwhile, I have a trip to plan in May for Cousin M’s wedding.  Do I really want to fly out and get dressed?  YES!  =)   I wish I could shave off the fat and lose the equivalent of my two thighs but that is not happening in the next couple of weeks.  LOL.   I fly out on the 17th, back on the 19th.  I haven’t even picked out my dress.  But — I have the dress shoes and bag and shawl to go with it, and I already have the pearls I will string into a necklace as my main accessory.  =)  I’m going solo so that’s another “me” trip.  Never been there… that should be interesting.  Oh, and I guess I should book the flight and the hotel this week.  (Panic time!)

In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, the universe asked a question, I answered, and I got an answer back.  Someone once told me that “everything will eventually fall into place.”  (My friend failed to tell me, though, that they won’t always fall where I want them to.  Ha!)   Sometimes, things work out in the strangest of ways.  Sometimes little acts of kindness can be so precious.

I have e-mails to write but I was given a new blackberry today, so I have to reconfigure my e-mail settings again tomorrow.  The e-mails will have to wait.  I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday.  It feels as if the weekend was already here.  Not quite, I know.  Maybe it’s the exhaustion talking.

Watch out for my craft fair post.  I have a couple of videos for editing so watch out for that, too.  I just need to figure out a way to shoot my tutorials from above my hands.  I finally found my video cam (tucked in one of the drawers of my credenza at work — forgotten for non-use.) — I’d need to be able to snap it onto something to do the tutorial, though, and it will need to be plugged into my laptop or PC.  Dilemma there — I can’t do the video at my desk.  I usually sneak away into an empty office or conference room to do my videos.  Plus, it’s quite a production to lug my laptop to work.  (I can, though, if I want to.)  Ipad?  Still have to figure out how to suspend it above me to take an overhead shot.

Midnight creeping up on me in 6 minutes.  Almost there yet my stomach is debating on whether or not to go for a slice of pie — and maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream?  (Hungry tummy, simmer down!  LOL)  A yawn just slipped out and there goes my answer.  Time to tuck in.  The pie can wait until tomorrow.  Maybe for breakfast?  (Oops.. just remembered, I have to grind some coffee beans for tomorrow’s breakfast.  I guess I’ll just have to do it right before brewing.)

Watercolor and Ink: Quote from Fyodor on Happiness

Between swaps

I’m almost ready to wrap up my Blogging Prompts for 30 Days Journal Swap — happily.  Meanwhile, I’m editing the first video of a minibook I had sent out last week.  I thought it would be a good way to document what I had made as pictures won’t do them justice.  I will wait for until the recipient actually gets them because I’d hate to spoil the surprise. 

So with my birthday week over, I’m officially 47.  Birthdays are a double-edged sword in many respects.  They bring both good and bad thoughts and memories and I can understand why some people opt to just let the day pass without a celebration.  That might just be the case the next time I hit another birthday.

I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time playing Angry Birds these days.  Most nights, I even end up staying way past my midnight bedtime because I’m trying to clear a level.  With all the updates, I’ve actually had to brush up on my pig-smashing skills and I kind of like it.  =)  I think I’m going to lay low with the swaps after I complete the ones I had signed up for already.

Meanwhile, I have my Book of Treasures to finish tonight.  (If not tomorrow, hopefully.)  Another video to make once done.

Window to my soul (30 days of blogging prompts 27)

What is your favorite part of your body and why?

My eyes.  Although they usually have huge eyebags under them, I think they are the most expressive part of my body and the one least susceptible to attack from my fatty cells.  (HA!)  I have also been fortunate to have had an actual crease in my lids although most Asians have straight eyelids.  (Difficult to describe but some people actually undergo plastic surgery for them to have the same effect.

End of story.  That was quite easy. =)

I’m on the homestretch of my 30 days of blogging prompts and can’t wait to send off my book.  I’m just adding the titles and tags and pictures to accompany the posts.  I’m hoping to start writing the last prompts tonight and finish tomorrow so I can wrap it all up.  I’m also almost done with my Book of Treasures.  I think I’ll take a break from the swaps for abit after this.