On with the happiness journal

My Altered Book: Work in Progress - Happy and Hysterically Happy

One of the problems I’ve had with the altered book is that I cannot drench it in too much water so watercolor has to be applied sparingly from here on, and not without protecting the spine by adding a layer of masking tape.  But I like working with watercolor.  So here’s the work around.

Last night I experimented on painting watercolor on some adhesive labels, printing the outline of letters and cutting them out.  (Yes, letter by letter.)  I actually liked how it came out.

It takes some effort to cut each letter but it was worth the effort.  I also plastered them onto the page without any lined guides or anything.  I like the casual “feel” of the piece.

I am actually thinking I’ll be journaling soon.  Up to this point, I’ve been creating journaling pages and journal prompts by plastering happiness quotes on the various layouts in the book.  The idea is for me to have a book to write about happy thoughts, memories and occasions.  This book is supposed to serve as an anchor during those times when challenges come my way, and I need a ‘reminder’ of the good and all that I’ve been blessed with.

Writing in a journal used to be a means for me to air out my mood or thought of the moment, but this journal is special because it focuses on the positive.  Working on its pages has actually afforded me a daily exercise of browsing for quotes on happiness, which in turn have brought a smile to my face and to my heart.

In the every day struggle of life, we often forget that we have been so blessed, and I am only human to admit that I need a reminder every now and again.

My Altered Book: Work in Progress Cut Out Letters - HAPPINESS

Meanwhile, my multi-page layout is “getting there”.  I’m still “repairing some pages, but I’m actually seeing the word “pop out”.  I’ve sort of stopped a layout or two after this and have concentrated on sprucing up the pages before it.

Another day ended, and another week ALMOST ended. Friday. (That made me smile.) I just wish this headache that’s crowding my head would go away. I’m glad I have a ride home — although it means a stop at the Filipino restaurant for dinner and maybe some supplies from the Filipino store — the car as against a nap on the express bus when I’m feeling like I’m feeling is a welcome respite.

Back to my altered book. I am going to do some “repairs” on the pages I’ve been working on. I completed another multi-page layout today (the set with the tags) by putting a quotation on each spread. They came out rather nicely and made the pages “journal entry ready”. (Pictures tomorrow.) I also love the set of quotes I grabbed from my now favorite quotations webside, The Quote Garden.

My swaps have been put on hold for the moment, but I will be busy writing a few postcards tonight. The Artist Trading Cards will have to wait until the weekend.

The only thing I don’t like about the evenings is that I usually get the urge to work on the altered book as I wind down closer to midnight. So sometimes when I start painting at 11:30pm perhaps, I don’t finish until a few minutes after midnight. I usually just let the layout dry anyway until the next morning.

Working on the altered book has really helped me to focus on the positive. There are moments at the start of the day when negative or heavy thoughts threaten to crowd my heart, and all I have to do is reach out for the book and open to the page of quotes and read two or three of them for a nudge to think about upbeat thoughts. It’s like an extra shot of espresso on the morning commute or anytime during the day.

Art Journal Every Day: Just Be

Art Journal Every Day: Just Be

Sometimes even I surprise myself.  No zentangling!  But still doodling wordart and all…

I like this Art Journal Every Day entry because I was able to do so many things with it — and I like that I wrote a ton of journaling as well.  I had the general idea of what I wanted it to be — I wanted it to be about just being quiet, just sitting still, not doing anything, and letting the thoughts, messages and feelings just come.  And come they did.

It’s not something that I often choose to do out of my own choice — but I often wander off, just leave everything blank, and just sit… or just be.  Sometimes, even as I get ready for bed, I just stare at the ceiling, listening to the humming of the airconditioner.  I will admit there was a time when I was afraid of the silence because I was afraid of what I would hear then — but these days, I wait, I listen.  As I wrote in the journal entry, sometimes even when I do something routine like washing the dishes, I lose myself into listening to “being”.  And those are the times when I hear my happy, sad, painful, joyful and silly thoughts coming out.

At times I can be sitting down in my work area with my beads and my tools, or painting in the kitchen with my watercolor and creating backgrounds.  Even in doing that, I’m really not doing anything. Or perhaps I am doing something but I am listening.


I am sharing my how-to not because I consider this a real work of art, but rather because I did these pieces in a basic, non-artistic way.  I want to show those of you who, like myself, admire the works of the real artists and wish that we could come up with those works of art ourselves that yes, IT CAN BE DONE!!

– I painted the swirls background using regular watercolor, starting with the swirls, then filling it in with a lighter color. (Orange swirls with a yellow filling) and chose a darker but muted color like sienna for the background.  (I have to admit, I found it rather childish and too playful, I just didn’t imagine I’d be able to create this layout with the background I originally had!)

– Found this great photo in a magazine supplement which was in heavyweight glossy paperstock.  The back of the cover adhered easily using Elmer’s glue.  But the word art in front was a problem.

– Had some spare color copies of a previous work where I had put in Angelo’s scribbling, and I used that as background paper for a plain watercolor painted “JUST BE”. Cut it out, and since glue would probably not adhere permanently to the glossy cut out, I taped over with clear packing tape.  You don’t even see it!

– Painted the outline of the figure in crimson, red orange and orange progressively.

– I did “No rules” journaling, so if you look closely, some words are broken with no hyphens.

– I rendered the word art in free style lettering and colored them initially with Country Twill which is a khaki-like shade in matte, then chose three words to paint over with Pearl White.  Then I decided to fill in the spaces with more word art in plain black using my regular signpen.

If you want to see more of my Art Journal, please click here, or you can always choose my Art Journal Every Day page from the list on the top left of the blog page.

I invite you to view the Flickr Group dedicated to this endeavor by clicking here, and be inspired to create your own art journal. (Artistic talent optional.)


Reeves Assorted 12-Milliliter Watercolor Paint, 18-Pack

Pilot Extra Fine Point v5 signpen
Folk Art Acrylic Paint 602 Country Twill
Folk Art Acrylic Paint 675 Pearl White

Art Journal Every Day: Love and Crayons

Art Journal Every Day: Love and CrayonsThis started out with scribbling which didn’t quite work for me, so I had to “repair” it by creating something to put on top of the word art I had written. I had to scribble the caption before the crayons because it would’ve been difficult to write over with text or additional drawings.  I think the word art I put on top of it worked quite well, and I’m still thinking of other journaling to add on strips of  kraft paper to be pasted onto the heart.

This makes the third of my heart series for our Art Journal Every Day Project, inspired by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.

I’ve been raring to use crayons on kraft paper which, much like construction paper which is supposed to be a good medium for the wax to stick to, makes the color float in a more vivid fashion.  I love the way it came together, after which I decided to doodle in black ink to create the background.

The wordart was created using the “Miserable” font in outfline form, then I enclosed it in a square in random fashion and then doodled the background again.  I was torn between coloring in the letter or just leaving it blank, but in the end, my red sharpie pen called out to me.

I’m already getting ready to start the next one, although I am still not positive I will get to my 28 hearts by the end of the month.  Then again, never say never.. right?  Not all the journal entries will involved actual drawing anyway, as I am thinking of doing some hybrid scrapbooking somewhere along the way.

After days and days of not being able to start anything for my art journal project, it’s coming a bit easier now.  I’ve come to accept that art journaling per se does not require all that much journaling because the work is supposed to speak for itself.  The words will come later.

In time.