New Stickers In My Etsy Shop!

Last night, as I was typing the date on a piece of card that I wanted to use in my journal, it occurred to me that not everyone has access to a typewriter, and there may be some planners, card makers and journalers out there who would like to include some typewritten words, phrases or quotes in their work. So … I made a new listing on Etsy. You can now order A4 sticker sheets (one large sticker per page) with the typing of your choice on them. If that’s something you’d be interested in, please pop over to StonetableDesignsUK on Etsy, and take a look. Thanks!

For those who are interested, my typewriter is a 1970s Imperial Signet.

Planning Out Loud: January 2018 Part I

It’s a new year, so it must be time for a new planner!

Mine is an A5 dot grid Leuchtturm 1917 in my favourite colour: turquouise. Every time I see it, it makes me smile! It reminds me of that quote I love:

A hopeful person surrounds herself with people, colour, sounds, scents and work that nourish her. (The Recovery College)

This particular Leuchtturm 1917 is the bullet journal edition which means some of the pages are pre-printed, such as the Index and the Future Log, plus there’s some ‘how to bullet journal’ instructions in the back. At the moment, I’m using a Uniball Unipin 0.2 black pen to write in it. It’s my all time favourite fineliner as the nibs are durable and the ink is waterproof and fadeproof. It doesn’t bleed through the paper either.

Even though it’s only the middle of January, I’m already a fair way into this notebook because of all the collections that I’ve started. At the time of writing this post, I’ve actually reached page 35. Future months won’t take up as many pages as I won’t need to add so many collections.

I do like having the Index printed out like this. It looks neat and tidy.

 

 

This is how I’ve filled in my Future Log. I don’t normally use a paper future log – I use the calendar app on my phone – but as this notebook came with the page headers already printed I thought I’d give it a go. There are four sides dedicated to this section, so I put three months on each. I actually quite like it as it has a spacious feel, and I can quickly add dates as I need to. Each month, as I set up my new spreads, I’ll refer back to this and transfer the relevant information to my monthlies.

 

I’ve not really used watercolour in my bujo before, but as I was given some lovely new paints for Christmas I thought I’d use them for January. This is my cover page. The paper took the paint really well and dried with a lovely crinkle! There is very little ghosting and definitely no bleed-through.

 

 

 

This is the monthly layout I’ve been using for a while now. It’s got just the right amount of room to manage everyone’s home-life. I keep the ‘evening’ column thin because we don’t do a lot in the evenings. My husband plays in a band a few nights a week, but he’s big enough to keep his own diary. I just need to know what time he wants his dinner! The ‘all day’ column is the widest because there’s a lot that goes on in my life that isn’t time specific. Keeping track of things and planning ahead like this is a big part of what keeps me well. Looking at this layout doesn’t overwhelm me. There’s lots of space on the page even during busy times. If it was all bunched up on one page I’d feel as if my life was all bunched up too. Does that make sense?

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll be back before the end of the month to show you the rest of January.

Thanks for reading! Catch you later. xxx

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

Writing the date is a fundamental part of journaling – we all like to know what happened on what day – but there’s so much more to writing the date than just chronological accuracy; adding the day, date, month and year can be done artfully and can really add to the joy of journaling. Below you’ll find images of the various ways I’ve added the date to my journal pages. You can click on each one for a closer look. I hope you find something useful here!

 

Here, I simply used pens to stylise my writing and make the date stand out.

 

 

And here, I used a Dymo label maker to print the date in white on transparent tape. I then stuck it over a block of colour I’d made by blending water-based markers together.

 

 

This date is a mixture of different elements. I used a stencil to draw the ’23’ and then doodled within the lines. I wrote the word ‘november’ in pen and then embossed the word ‘thursday’ on black tape using my Motex label maker. I then stuck this over some layered washi.

 

 

 

 

 

I love using my Motex label maker. It comes with two wheels: one with uppercase letters and symbols (including hearts and stars), and one with lover case letters and numbers. It’s great because you can use different colour tapes and stick your dates onto anything including acetate and paper tip-ins, like this printable journal card by Ali Brown.

Another favourite tool of mine is my office date stamp. You can stamp the date on just about anything, including acetate if you use Stazon ink. I only have one of these date stamps, but you can buy ones with different layouts in different sizes. I love these little kraft paper flags too. They’re just the right size for stamping on.

There are all sorts of other stamps you can use too. I like my little ‘calendar’ stamp. I can write the month on the top and then ring the date and write the day in the gap at the bottom.

 

I love to use stencils too. I often stencil on large numbers like those below. I’ve even been known to use my massive stencil to stencil the number on the middle of the page and write my journal entry on top of it.

 

 

 

 

You can colour your numbers in a variety of ways, including with pens and pencils and wiping ink or paint through the stencil using a dobber, brush or baby wipe. You can foil them too or add a bit of glitter with glitter glue.

Stencils can be hard to find and are often expensive, but I wrote the date on this page using a stencil I happened upon in the stationary section of my local Home Bargains. It only cost 79p!

 

 

I used three different stencils to date this page.

 

 

 

Another technique is to add a date to your photos before printing them. You can also add the location or other details too.

 

 

Well, I think that’s enough for now. So, how do you record the date in your journaling? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading! See you again soon. xxx

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

Planning Out Loud: Menus and Meals

Hello and welcome! In this video I move my meal planning pages from my collections insert to my Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal. I also decorate the pages using watercolours and metallic paint.

My aim is to post a video on Youtube every Wednesday, but I’d like to know what topics you’d like to see me cover. Planning? Mental Health? Wellness? Arts and Crafts? All of the above? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for watching!

The A – Z of Artful Journaling: W for Washi Tape

Washi Tape is a wonderful way of adding colour, texture and even words to your artful journal pages. It can be used for more than decoration though; it can also be used to repair and reinforce. It’s both useful and beautiful. I reckon William Morris would have loved it! What follows is a catalogue of all the ways I’ve used Washi in my journaling. You can click on the images for a closer look.

So what is washi tape? Washi tape is high quality rice-paper-based masking tape that is tearable and repositionable, making it great for arting and crafting. It usually comes with some sort of pattern on it, but you can also buy blank washi tape to decorate yourself. There are also similar tapes made from plastics, such as glitter tapes. It doesn’t really matter what it’s made of these days – it’s all known as washi tape, although sometimes it is marketed as craft tape.

Washi tape comes in different sizes. Below, you can see that I have tape ranging from 6mm wide to 50mm wide, but most washi comes as 15mm-wide rolls. You can, however, use a craft knife, metal ruler and cutting mat to cut your washi into any width you desire.

 

 

 

 

I often use washi as a backdrop for my dates. It creates a nice layering effect. I’ve even been known to write the date straight on the tape. The tapes are usually waxy, so not every pen will write on them.

 

 

 

 

Washi tape can be used to decorate and reinforce the edges of pages and tip-ins. You can fold it over the edge if you want a narrow strip of the same pattern on both sides of the element or paper, or you can just run it along the length of one side. To add a bit of depth, you can layer embellishments on top of it – as I’ve done in the first photo with an Ali Brown printable tip-in and the kraft paper date banner. You can also pick colours that blend into the page or that stand out from the page – whatever takes your fancy.

 

 

 

 

You can cut or tear your washi to make different shapes and objects. Over Christmas, I made candles, gifts and trees from washi.

 

 

 

 

I also stuck glitter tape onto paper and then used circular punches to create these bauble shapes for sticking on another December spread.

An easy way to add tabs to your pages and tip-ins is to simply fold over a piece of washi and stick it to both sides of the element.

 

 

It’s great for sticking down the corners of ephemera and photographs too.

 

 

Washi tape can be used to repair pages and cover up messes and mistakes. Here I used it to cover some bleed-through in the centre of the page and a tear at the edge of a page.

This washi, is a ‘colour you own’ tape. I used gel pens to add a bit of pop to a couple of the flowers.

 

 

Some of my favourite washi tapes have words and phrases on, which make a nice edition to special spreads like this one.

 

 

Combining tapes with different colours and patterns can add a bit of interest too.

 

 

So that’s how I’ve been using washi tape in my journaling? How do you use it in yours? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading! See you again soon. xxx

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

Mental Health Monday: Self-Compassion Part One

A few weeks ago, I began planning what I wanted to blog about this month, and today was the day I planned to post about self-compassion. It’s funny how things work out because this weekend was pretty tough, and I had to be compassionate toward myself in a way I’ve haven’t had to be for quite a while now.

Nothing bad happened. Quite the opposite; we went to a family party and caught up with people we haven’t seen for a couple of years. It was lovely, but it was also exhausting. All that talking and smiling and having the same conversation over and over again – I haven’t had to work so hard in ages, and it wore me out. I went to bed at 6pm on Saturday and didn’t even get out of my jim-jams on Sunday. It took me be surprise. I’ve been feeling pretty bright and bouncy lately, fueled by my creativity and all the work I’ve been doing on myself, but expending all that social energy knocked me for six, and yesterday I found myself feeling down and frustrated. I started criticising myself: come on, girl, it’s been a year, you should be back to normal buy now … pull your socks up, woman  … get in the shower, you lazy moo. That kind of thing. It look me a little while of thinking like this to remember that being hard on myself doesn’t do me any good. In fact, it’s bad for me.

Anyhoo … On to what I was planning to write about. The picture at the top of this post is another page from the bullet journal I was using last Spring. It’s part of the notes I made from a workshop called ‘Compassion Focused Skills’ that I attended while in hospital. It consisted of two three-hour-long sessions, so I won’t go into all the detail, but we talked about compassion, what it is and what qualities people who are compassionate have. We learned about the brain, about or ‘old’ brain and our ‘new’ brain and the roles they play in our thinking and our responses to threat. And we learned about the three emotion systems that influence our behaviour and motivation: the drive system, the threat system and the soothing system. We also learned how we can identify what system we’re in at any given moment, particularly, how we can activate our soothing system to regulate our threat system. It’s pretty cool stuff.

Being self-compassionate can play a big part in regulating our threat system, the system that’s triggered when we sense a threat and that sends adrenaline and cortisol coursing through our body, making us feel angry, anxious or scared. It’s our flight, fight, freeze and appease system. Being compassionate toward ourselves can trigger our soothing system which helps us manage our distress via the release of oxytocin, sometimes called the ‘love’ hormone. It makes us to feel safe and protected, cared-for and contented.

So what does self-compassion look like? Well, for me I try to think about how I would talk to my best friend if they were experiencing what I was experiencing. I wouldn’t say things like: come on, girl, it’s been a year, you should be back to normal buy now … pull your socks up, woman  … get in the shower, you lazy moo. I’d say: you’re doing so well … it’s only been a year; it can take a long time to recover from such a severe depression … don’t forget you’re still taking medication, so you’re not completely well … and don’t forget the medications have side effects too … they can make things hard work. I’d say: why don’t you take a bath, lie back and relax … take it easy for a few days … just do something nice … something that nourishes you … light a candle … have a hot cup of tea … an early night … meditate … visualise your happy place … listen to music … watch some TV … doodle in your sketchbook.

It can be hard to be compassionate toward ourselves. We may worry that we’re really just making excuses or being lazy. We may worry that we’ll become less resilient and weaker. We may worry that being kind toward ourselves will open some floodgate of emotion that we’d rather not wash over us. I think it’s important to get support when we feel like this. There are times when I only start being self-compassionate after my husband has given me a pep-talk. Somehow it feel okay to believe myself if I hear it coming from him first.

I think it’s important to identify ways of being self-compassionate when we are in a well period, because in some situations, it could be easy to choose the wrong things to soothe ourselves with. I know that I’m a ‘comfort eater’ and I know that I over-indulge in unhealthy foods to try to activate my soothing system, but I also know it’s a short-term solution that has long-term health implications, so I’m trying to soothe myself in other ways, such as doing something creative that will occupy my mind and body until the threat I’ve sensed has passed. I’m also very mindful of the way my mind works these days and can spot when I’m getting into a negative thinking loop or unhelpful thinking habits. Through self-compassion, mindfulness and creativity I’m starting to retrain my brain and even though it gets tired and overwhelmed sometimes, I know it’s more resilient than it was a year ago.

Gosh! This has turned into a long post. I’d better stop and save the rest of my thoughts for another day. I hope you’ve found this helpful. Have you any experience with self-compassion? What do you do to activate your soothing system?

Thanks for reading! See you soon. xxx

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

It was a beautiful winter’s day today; the sun streaming into my conservatory was a lovely warm, gold. Inspired by this, I chose to go with metallics for my journal spread. Metallic paints, pens and flakes are a great way to add an air of lightness and joy to your journal pages. Here’s how I made it:

I used:

First, I wet my paintbrush and picked up a the red metallic paint (No. 56 Flare) and painted around the edge to create a messy frame. As I wanted the colours to stay roughly where I put them, I didn’t wet the paper first. Secondly, I used one of the gold metallic paints (No. 53 Glaze) to fill in the empty space, then finally, I plopped in a few spots of the copper metallic paint (No. 55 Coppered). After that, I dried the pages with a heat tool. For a closer look, you can click on all the images in this post.

 

 

 

 

Once the paint was dry, I used my thick Posca paint pen, to roughly draw a few lines from the top to the bottom of the outside edge of the left hand page. Then I used the pin-type Posca pen to splatter white spots on the page – I did this by giving it a good old shake. After that, I dried everything again.

 

 

 

 

To create some larger circles, I smeared a small amount of white gesso onto the pages with my fingers. I did this in two layers, drying the first with my heat tool before adding the second. This allowed me to lay down paint more evenly – I plan to write over these circles, so I didn’t want any lumpy bits! I scribbled around the large white circles with three gel pens containing sparkly ink. This added a nice bit of shape and depth to the circles.

 

 

 

 

To finish, I used my glue pen to spread a little glue on the top and bottom of the pages and then applied some gilding flakes and swept away the excess with a dry brush. These look amazing in the sunlight! (More on these in a future post – they deserve a post of their own.) I also drew a few squiggly black lines down the left hand page to give the whole spread a bit more depth.

Here are some close-ups. Click on the images for a closer look.

 

 

 

 

What about you? How do you use metallics in your journaling?

Thanks for reading! See you again soon. xxx

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

The A – Z of Artful Journaling: G is for Gelatos

Gelatos? In a journal? Are you mad, woman? Nope – not at the moment. The Gelatos I’m talking about are not Italian ice creams; they are compact acid-free pigment sticks made by Faber-Castell. They come in tubes like chap sticks and blend together with or without water. I have a set in metallic and regularly use them in my journaling to add a bit of shimmer to my pages. I also have a set of Hobbycraft Watercolor Pastels which have the same creamy texture as Gelatos and work in the same way. They are great for creating colour on journal pages and for adding details too.

The one warning I would give about them though, is this: before you commit them to your journal, test them on a piece of paper to see if you can write over them with your regular journaling pen. They can be a bit waxy, and not every pen likes to write over them.

“So, how do you use them in your journaling?” I hear you cry. Well, keep reading, and I’ll tell you. You can click on all of the images below for a closer look.

I created this spread using the following:

  • metallic Gelatos in purple, blue and lime green
  • watercolour pastels in two shades of green
  • a stencil
  • baby wipes
  • a butterfly stamp
  • silver stamping ink
  • water spray
  • a chisel-shaped brush (mine came with my gelatos)
  • a small detail brush
  • a craft mat
  • washi tape and
  • a black pen
  • my journal

First, I used a light green pastel to scribble across the top of the page. Then I scribbled a darker green over the top. After that, I used a wet chisel-shaped brush to blend the two together and drag them down the page.

 

 

 

 

To encourage them to swim about more, I sprayed them with water and then stood the journal up to let the colour run down the page. After that, I dried the page with a heat tool.

 

 

 

 

Next, I scribbled some lime green metallic Gelato straight onto my craft mat to create an area of colour. I then used a baby wipe to pick up this colour and apply it to the page by gently rubbing it through a stencil. I did this with several colours.

 

 

 

 

Once the stenciling had dried, I created another area of colour using a blue metallic Gelato and then picked up the colour with a wet detail brush and painted on some swirls.

 

 

 

 

Next, I scribbled some purple metallic Gelato onto a clear butterfly stamp and gave it a squirt of water. I then stamped it on the page several times. This gives a lovely watery effect.

 

 

 

 

After the stamped butterflies had dried, I stamped over them with silver in to give them sparkle and a bit more definition. I wasn’t precious about getting the stamped images to line up perfectly, as I wanted to create a blurry feeling of movement. I also added a strip of silver flowery washi tape down the side of both pages.

 

 

 

 

The last thing I did was to stencil on the number 7 using a the green metallic gelato and a baby wipe as above. I then scribbled around it  and wrote ‘sunday’ with a fine black pen.

I’m really pleased with how the whole spread turned out. It’s kind of light and abstractly gardeny.

What about you? Have you used this kind of pigment stick to decorate your journal? What other techniques do you use?

Thanks for reading! See you next time. xxx

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

Bloobel: Patchwork Heart Valentine’s Card Tutorial.

With February fast approaching, your thoughts might be turning to Valentine’s Day and what you might give to those you love to mark the occasion. Perhaps you’re thinking of making your own card. If you are, here’s one to try. You don’t need to be good at drawing to make it because you can buy the patchwork heart digital stamp from Bloobel.com for only $1. You can then download it to your computer, print it off at home and colour it in with whatever media you like. Here’s how to make it.

You will need:

  • the patchwork heart digital stamp
  • a piece of card for printing your stamp on
  • something to colour with – I used watercolour paints
  • a 4 x 8 inch blank card
  • a black fineliner
  • a black felt-tip pen
  • scissors
  • washi tape – I used 6mm
  • kraft card for writing your sentiment on
  • something to write your sentiment with
  • double-sided tape or glue
  • a heat tool or hairdryer

First, print off your patchwork heart. As I’d decided to use paint to colour my heart, I printed the stamp onto hot pressed Bockingford 300gsm watercolour card using my laser printer. One of the nice things about laser printing is that the toner repels water and acts as a bit of a resist on the card which helps me to stay within the lines!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s time to colour. I painted the patches one at a time, using the wet-on-wet watercolour technique to achieve some lovely blending. If, like me, you are using wet media, move around the heart and colour patches that are only next to dry areas so that they don’t bleed into one another. You can always dry the paint with a heat tool or hairdryer to speed up the process. If you’re using coloured pens or pencils this will not be an issue. Click on the images for a closer look.

 

 

 

 

When you’re happy with your heart, carefully cut it out. Then, take your washi-tape and tape along the long sides of your card and trim off the excess. Now it’s time to audition your heart on the card. By this, I mean: move the card around the heart to decide where you would like to place it. I put mine slightly off-centre and overlapping the right-hand piece of washi to create a sense of depth and movement. Once you’ve found the right position, stick it down. I used double-sided tape so that the heart wasn’t completely flush with the paper to give it a slight 3D effect.

 

 

 

 

Next, use a fineliner to draw a bow and string. To create my sentiment, I typed the words on a piece of Kraft card, cut out the strip and then darkened the edges with a black felt-tip pen. If you don’t have a typewriter, there are plenty of fonts that have a similar look. You can find them at Dafont.com and download them to your computer.

 

 

 

 

Finally, audition your sentiment then stick it down. Now you’re done. All you need to do is give it to someone you love!

 

 

 

 

I hope this has given you an idea for a simple, inexpensive Valentine’s card. Do let me know if you give it a go.

Thanks for reading. See you soon. xx

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.