The A – Z of Artful Journaling: D is for Dobbing

Hello, lovely friends! This is a quick impromptu video to show you how I created the dobber that I use to make watercolour backgrounds in my planner and journal. Also starring: Brusho. Thanks for watching! x

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

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Planning Out Loud: March 2018

Hi! Welcome to my March 2018 Bullet Journal Setup video in which I show you how February turned out and talk you through my monthly spreads and trackers for March. I reflect on this time last year, when I had just come out of hospital, and I show you how I decorate my pages with a Spring theme. Thanks for watching!

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The A – Z of Artful Journaling: M is for Masking

Masking is a great way of adding texture and shape to your journaling pages. Masking is simply to covering an area with something to prevent paint or ink colouring that area. Here are a few ways I use masking in my artful journaling. Click on the images for a closer look.

 

 

 

Spray paint or ink through a stencil, remove the stencil and then dry it with a hairdryer or heat tool.

 

 

Use craft punches to punch out shapes from card, place the shapes on your journal page and spray with paint or ink. To prevent smudging and smearing, it’s a good idea to use tweezers to pick up the masks afterward.

 

You can use art masking fluid in your journal. (Test it on a sacrificial page first to make sure it’s not going to ruin your paper.) Masking fluid often comes in pots, bottles and pens. Each one has its pros. With pens and bottles, you can draw and write freehand or using a stencil. With the pots you can dip in paint brushes (Not your best ones!) or even toothbrushes. You can then paint or splatter onto the page.

 

 

 

 

Once the masking fluid is dry, you can paint over it with watercolour or other water-based media. And once the paint is dry, you can remove the masking fluid with an eraser or just by gently rubbing your finger over it.

 

 

 

 

For a really crisp edge, you can use tape as a mask – masking tape and washi tape are the best, as they are designed to peel off without damaging the paper. This method is ideal for applying ink as you can simply smooth it over the tape as if it wasn’t there. You can also cut or tear bits of card or paper into any shape and place them on the paper before spraying with paint or ink. Again, use tweezers to pick up the mask.

 

 

 

 

Wood-chip shapes make excellent masks. Obviously, the darker the spray you use, the lighter the un-sprayed area will appear.

 

 

 

 

Peel-off stickers also make great masks and work especially well with ink applicators. Again, test this method to make sure it won’t tear your paper.

 

 

 

 

You can make a mask out of all sorts of things. Take a look through your recycling bin and rummage through old food packaging. I used a piece of cardboard from a packet of lasagna once!

 

 

 

 

So, how about you? What do you use as masks when you journal? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading! Bye for now. xxx

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

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Mama Makes: Friendship Card Tutorial

Hello there, and welcome to my first card tutorial post as a member of the Mama Makes Design Team. To create this card, I used two stamps from the Mama Makes Forever Friendship Stamp Set, which is available from their shop for £9.99.

If you’d like to recreate this card you will need.

  • the Forever Friendship Stamps Set
  • a Black ink pad (I used Stazon)
  • a Stamping platform or acrylic block
  • a black permanent marker
  • a 5 x 5 inch kraft card blank
  • a 3.5 x 4.5 inch piece of white card
  • a small piece of white card
  • a slightly larger piece of black card
  • acorner punch
  • a paper trimmer or scissors
  • stencil (mine had a snakeskin pattern)
  • Distress Inks in Victorian Velvet and Picked Raspberry
  • Ink applicators
  • a water mister
  • Paper towel
  • Washi tape
  • Double-sided tape, glue or tape runner
  • Nuvo Drops

To begin, I used Stazon black ink to stamp my sentiment and image onto the piece of small white card. Once the ink had dried, I used my corner punch to round the corners. Using my tape runner, I mounted this onto the slightly larger piece of black card, which I cut to size using my trimmer. Finally, I rounded the corners with my punch.

For the background, I taped the larger piece of white card down on  a clipboard and then taped my stencil over the top. With my ink applicator, I applied Victorian Velvet distress ink through the stencil varying the intensity of the colour to create interest. After removing the stencil, I added a layer of Picked Raspberry around the middle area. To ‘distress’ the ink, I misted on some water and left it a moment before mopping it up and leaving the card to dry. You can use a heat tool or hair dryer to reduce the drying time.

Next, I lined up three strips of washi tape across the card about a third of the way up. I chose this tape because it went well with the distress inks I’d used. I attached the sentiment piece to the front of the card using foam squares so that it stood out and added dimension. After taping the whole piece to the front of the card, I decided it didn’t quite pop enough, so I ran a permanent black marker pen around the outside to create a border. To finish the whole thing off, I applied dots of Nuvo Drops in a swoosh around the sentiment piece. This added some glitter and shine and a little extra dimension.

So there you have it! Do pop along to the Mama Makes Store and have a look at their stamps. They’re lovely. I can’t wait to make some more cards with mine!

Thanks for reading! Bye for now. x

The official bit:

I received the Forever Friendship stamp set for free, as I am a member of the Mama Makes Design Team.

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Planning Out Loud: Half-Term Holiday Habits

My current wellness tracker is looking a bit patchy. For the first half of the month, I wasn’t doing very well with not eating any junk, but I’m okay with that – what’s done is done. I wasn’t eating loads of junk anyway, just the occasional packet of crisps or ice cream. I do need to rein myself in though, so I’ve given up junk (crisps, cake, chocolate, ice cream, popcorn, biscuits etc) for Lent. I use Lent as a time to prepare for Easter, so giving up junk is not just about healthy eating, it’s about reorienting myself toward God and taking care of the body that he gave me. For this very same reason, I’m going to do better with exercise too, but it’s tricky at the moment as my back is very painful when I stand or walk for more than a few minutes. I know that the first step to increasing my exercise level must be to go back and see the doctor – it’s one of my goals this month.

The other area where my tracker is looking a bit patchy is in the Headspace and Pray as You Go app rows. There have been a few days already this month when I’ve just forgotten to do them, and I’ve only remembered when I’ve got into bed. Usually, Monday to Friday during term-time – I never forget to meditate and pray using these apps. It’s part of my routine. I get the kids up, fed, washed, brushed, dressed and on their way to school and then I spend half an hour or so in prayer and meditation. It’s the weekends and school holidays that are when I forget. I’m out of routine, and the house is full of people, so it’s hard to find a quite spot where I’ll be undisturbed. I know it’s not a big deal if I miss one every now and then – after all, I am far more mindful than I used to be, and I speak to God far more often during the day – but it’s easy to fall out of the habit of spending focused time just listening for that still, small voice of calm. I really don’t want that to happen.

So, what to do about it? Well, this morning, I was woken up by my alarm at 7.30am, and after a few minutes of waking up properly, I decided to have my Headspace and Pray as You Go time before getting out of bed. It wasn’t just a box-checking exercise; it was so that I started my day right, and didn’t just launch myself into it without a second thought. This was a much better way to begin the day – I’ll do it again tomorrow, but what about future weekends and holidays?

Towards the end of each month, I sit down with my planner and look forward at the coming month to see if there are any events or issues that may cause me stress or anxiety. I then write them in my Hazard Plan and jot down ideas for how I can manage my stress levels. I’ve realised that I could add things that may simply derail my routines too. As well as having a Term-Time Routine, I need to formulate a Weekend Routine. I could also do with having a School Holiday Routine, so that when I write my monthly Hazard Plans and see that I have a school holiday coming up, I can refer to my School Holiday Routine collection, so that I don’t forget to do what I need to do to maintain my wellness. Now, I just need to figure out what routines will work best and when …

How about you? How do you handle change of routines when it comes to wellness habits?

Thanks for reading! See you soon. x

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Speed Art: Mixed Media Birthday Card

Hello there! In today’s video I make a mixed media birthday card using embossing, watercolour, metallic accents, a slicci pen and glitter drops. Let me know in the comments if you want more information. Thanks for watching!

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The A – Z of Artful Journaling: I is for Ink Pads

It’s February Half-Term, which means my children are off school and at home with me for the week. They’re 16 and 12 now, so we don’t go on the same kind of adventures we used to when they were younger – they’d much rather spend the days doing their own thing than visiting farms and museums with their old mum, but we’ll still go out together for a few trips I’m sure. To record our frolics – all the more important now that they are older and will be leaving home and school in a few years – I’ve set up a double-page spread in my journal. The main media I used was Distress Inks, but you can use any water-soluble inks for this. Click on the images for a closer look.

To create this spread, you will need:

  • your journal
  • three ink pads (in colours near each other on the colour wheel)
  • a craft mat
  • a spray water bottle
  • a hairdryer or heat tool
  • a paper towel
  • a stencil
  • babywipes
  • ink applicators
  • alphabet stamps
  • a date stamps
  • a snowdrop stamp
  • acrylic block
  • metallic blue brush pen

 

 

 

 

To begin, stamp your inks directly onto your craft mat. Spread them about and overlap them as desired. Next, spray the ink with a little water, so it forms small coloured droplets.

 

 

 

 

Smoosh your journal down onto the droplets of watery ink, and then dry this first layer. To add more colour and some depth, smoosh more ink on top. You can apply the journal to the mat, or the mat to the journal as above.

If any areas of colour are too flat, you can spray them with water, leave them a moment and then mop up the water with a paper towel. This will give the flat areas a speckled look.

 

 

 

 

 

To add more texture you can wipe a babywipe over a stencil. This will lift the colour from the exposed areas of the page – don’t be too rough though as it could damage the paper. You can also apply ink through a stencil using a foam applicator. If you use the same colour ink for this as you did for the background, the colours will harmonise nicely. If you want the stenciling to stand out, choose a colour from the opposite side of the colour wheel, but make sure you apply it carefully so as not to make mud. I used Peacock Feathers Distress Ink with my stencil, which reminded me of my peacock feather washi tape, so I added it down the outside edges of both pages.

 

 

 

 

I bought some new stamps yesterday, one of which was a snowdrop, which is a February flower, so this spread seemed the perfect opportunity to test it out. You can obviously stamp whatever image you wish. I used Faded Jeans Distress Ink for this image. Again, this was one of the colours I’d used for the background. This made the image recede rather than stand out, which is what I wanted as our half-term souvenirs and photos are to be the focal points of this spread. Finally, add the date and title using the alphabet stamps and the date stamp. This time, I didn’t used Distress Inks; I used a metallic brush pen to colour the stamps before stamping because I wanted this to stand out a bit from the background and have a little shimmer.

Now it’s finished and waiting for me to record our half-term frolics. How do you record your family adventures?

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

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Bloobel: Birthday Elephant Card Tutorial

Hello! For my digistamp card tutorial this month, I’m sharing how I made this card using the Birthday Elephant stamp from Bloobel. It’s available as an instant download for only $3 (around £2.17 at the current exchange rate).

To create this card you will need:

  • the Birthday Elephant digistamp
  • a laser printer
  • an A4 sheet of hot pressed (smooth) watercolour paper
  • watercolour paints
  • a small watercolour brush
  • a hair dryer or heat tool
  • white gel pen
  • a paper trimmer
  • double-sided tape
  • a piece of scrapbook paper
  • a square kraft paper card (mine was 6 x 6 inches)
  • a piece of black card
  • an embossing ink pad
  • a sentiment stamp
  • gold embossing powder
  • a black fine-liner and ruler

First of all, I downloaded the stamp and imported it into word, where I dragged it to my desired size. I then printed it onto paper. My printer will take 300gsm hot pressed (smooth) watercolour paper, but you’ll have to experiment with yours to find out what works. To colour the elephant, I used Spectrum Noir Aqua Tints in purple and green to paint the floor and the elephants clothes, flag, hat and eyes. Next, I used Daniel Smith Moonglow to paint the elephant himself. (Moonglow is a beautiful grey with hints of pink and teal.) I added shimmer to the card by painting the circles on the hat and the pole of the flag with a light gold from the Prima Metallic Accents pallet. After I’d dried everything with a hairdryer, I used a black fineliner to give him pupils and a white gel pen to add catch lights to his eyes.

After trimming the watercolour paper down to size – the size you choose will depend on the size of the card you’re making – I mounted it on a square of scrapbook paper. The pink and green of the flowers and leaves went well with the colours I’d used for the elephant. I then mounted this on my kraft paper card with double-sided tape.

To create the sentiment, I used the ‘CELEBRATE’ stamp from the Altenew Label Love set available at The Little Paper Tree. I stamped it onto a piece of black card using an embossing ink pad, then embossed it with gold embossing powder and a heat tool. I love the contrast between the gold and the black and it goes well with the rest of the card. Once the embossing had set, I trimmed the black card to size and glued it to the card using double-sided tape. To finish off, I used a black fine-liner and a ruler to draw a box around the scrapbook paper.

And that’s it! Do you have any birthday’s coming up that the Birthday Elephant would be perfect for? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by!

The official bit:

I received this digital stamp for free, as I am a member of the Bloobel.com design team.

From Bloobel.com:

This printable digi image is available for instant download and measures 1500 pixels wide, 300dpi. It will be delivered as a printable transparent PNG or JPEG … You may use our digital stamps to make and sell handmade cards and other creative handmade items, but they are not to be used to mass produce; only handmade items up to a maximum of 500 items per digital stamp purchased.

For more detailed Terms and Conditions please visit Bloobel.com.

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Mental Health Monday: Gottman’s Tasks

I don’t know much about Gottman, but I know he came up with some pretty good tasks! I first learned about them in hospital last year, when I attended a workshop called ‘Taking Control’. It was all about distress and how to manage it. Distress manifests in different ways in different people, but it basically impacts us in three areas: our minds, our bodies, our actions. When I’m distressed, I find my thoughts racing and becoming more irrational; I can’t concentrate; I struggle to make decisions; I’m self-critical, and I could ruminate for England! My heart-rate goes up, my blood runs cold, my face flushes; I have palpitations and become short of breath; My hands shake and my tummy does somersaults. My actions speed up too; I pace and fidget, and I withdraw from whatever is causing my distress. At my most ill, I was suicidal – the ultimate withdrawal.

When we are distressed, it can be difficult to make effective or helpful decisions. Our Emotional Mind can take over. We find ourselves in a maelstrom of explosive feelings, and end up trying to manage those feelings by doing things that are ultimately harmful to us (and sometimes others). Sometimes, though, we can retreat into our Rational Mind – where we don’t feel emotion; we process everything factually and logically. It’s an avoidance strategy that blocks out feelings to help us cope. Sometimes this is useful – it helps us keep a clear head in an emergency – but as a long-term coping mechanism, it too is ultimately unhelpful as we become like robots. So what else is there? Well, there is our Wise Mind, where our Emotional Mind and Rational Mind overlap. When we think with our Wise Mind we can experience emotions without being overwhelmed by them, and we are able to respond appropriately and make good decisions. Gottman’s Tasks help us to move from the extremes of our minds into a place of balance and wisdom.

Gottman’s Tasks have helped me learn to respond with my Wise Mind, rather than with my Emotional Mind. They’ve helped me establish a plan of what to do when I’m faced with stresses and triggers. (In fact, I’ve stopped calling triggers ‘triggers.’ I now call them ‘challenges’ as I feel the word gives me a greater sense of agency and empowerment, but that’s another post.) It wasn’t easy to integrate these tasks into my life, but I regularly remind myself of them and review them, so they’re there when I need them. As with a lot of wellness strategies, Gottman’s Tasks are habits that are best formed when we are calm. When we are in a place of distress and desperation, it’s really hard to learn new skills, so it’s really important to get support while we try to do so. I’m not a psychologist; I’m just sharing my experience, so if you want to try these tasks, seek advice and help from someone who can support you.

Gottman’s Tasks:

Step One: Calm the Body – because distress effects our body, it’s helpful to start by calming your physical response. You can relax tensed muscles by doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation. You can steady your breath by breathing out for longer than you breathe in. If you feel hot, take a cold drink or splash some water on your face. Burn off some energy by going for a brisk walk. Calming the body, helps to calm the mind.

Step Two: Distract the Mind – just as calming the body helps to calm the mind, distracting the mind, helps to calm the body. Try naming five things that you can see/hear/touch. Count backwards from 1000. Think of animals whose names begin with every letter of the alphabet. Do something from your To Do list. Sing along to music. It just needs to be something that is not too complicated, but that will actively occupy your mind.

Step Three: Block Unhelpful Behaviours – this is about consciously stopping yourself acting in destructive ways. Whatever your destructive urge is, do the opposite. If you want to shout, sing. If you want to hit something, stroke something gently. If you want to give up, persevere. This is very challenging – simple is not the same as easy. You might need a lot of support with this, but that’s okay.

Step Four: Do What’s Helpful In the Long-Term – move yourself forward in a positive direction. Once you are calmer, think about what you need to do to make the best out of the current situation. Engage your wise mind. You might need to talk things through with someone. You might need to make a written plan about something. You might need to encourage yourself with some positive self-talk. You might need to make some progress toward a goal. You might need to do something that is good for you.

As I said above, these habits are best formed when we are calm. It’s virtually impossible to think of these things when you’re in a state of distress. Maybe make yourself a hot drink, sit down with pen and paper and write out a list of things you could do for each step and then keep the sheet somewhere where it will be easy to find when you need it: on the fridge or noticeboard, in your diary or bag, even as a photo on your phone. Regularly revisit the list and tweak so that it accurately serves your needs.

So now it’s over to you? Have you found any helpful strategies for managing distress? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading! See you soon. xxx

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The Little Paper Tree: 16th Birthday Card Tutorial

Hello there! My name is Natalie, and I’m thrilled to be part of The Little Paper Tree’s first ever design team. I live in Hampshire with my husband and two children and love making unique greetings cards and mixed media projects. I’m also an avid journaler and planner. My son will be turning 16 this month, so, for my first tutorial, I thought I’d make him a birthday card from some of the goodies available at The Little Paper Tree.  Visit The Little Paper Tree to read the rest …

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