#BohoBerryChallenge Day 26: Contribution

For a long time, I’ve described myself as a professional volunteer. Partly because I’ve done a lot of stuff that I’ve not been paid for. (For example, efore I fell ill, I was serving on 15 different ministry teams at church!) Partly because I try to do everything I do in a ‘professional’ manner, whether it’s running a youth group or baking a cake. This year, because I’ve been ill and in recovery, I’ve stripped back my commitments to the bare essentials: looking after my family. I’m ready to branch out a bit now, but I’m going to be careful not to overload myself, and I’m going to think carefully about whether or not I’m the right person for the job and whether or not the job is the right job for me before I take anything on.

(Image credit: Pixabay)

The A – Z of Artful Journaling: O is for Outline Stickers

When creating backgrounds for your journaling, there are lots of things you can do to add interest to your page before you lay down paint. One of these things is to mask areas using outline stickers. These stickers are mostly used as embellishments in their own right, but I prefer to use them to create interesting shapes on my pages. A sheet usually costs about £1 in craft shops, but I get mine from my local haberdashery, where they sell partly-used shetts for 10p each. Can’t say no to that!

You’ll need:

  • your journal
  • two pots of clean water
  • watercolour paints
  • a brush
  • outline stickers
  • a pair of tweezers and
  • a hairdryer or heat tool


First, use your tweezers to remove the stickers from their sheets. Dot them about the page on the areas you want to mask. Press them down so they’re firmly stuck to the paper – you don’t want paint sneaking under the edges!



Second, use a clean brush to spread clean water all over the paper. (For more details about creating simple watercolour backgrounds, see Background Basics.)



Third, splodge your watery watercolour around the page. Have fun! Let the colours play together.



With this technique, it’s probably best to dry the paint with a hairdryer or heat tool because the page needs to be bone dry before you remove the stickers, or it might rip. You can also dab the stickers with paper towel to pick up unwanted beads of paint.


Once dry, carefully remove the stickers using your tweezers. This will reveal the white of the page below. Top tip: one of the advantages of using heat to dry the page is that it softens the adhesive on the back of the stickers and makes them easier to peel off.


And here’s the finished product! (Click on the image for a closer look.) I left a few of the stickers on the page to act as sparkly highlights. Before I journal on this background, I might draw some outlines around the white shapes, or I might even doodle over and around them and turn them into flowers with stems and petals. I quite like the look of them as they are, though, so I’ll probably leave them.

How about you? Have you used stickers to mask your backgrounds before? What other things make good masks?

Thanks for stopping by! See you soon.

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

#BohoBerryChallenge Day 25: Self Care

This year has been all about self care. I’ve really started paying attention to what keeps me well, what helps me cope with stress, and I’ve finally stopped doing a lot of the things that I was doing just because I thought they were expected of me. (It’s only taken me 44 years!) And you know what? The world didn’t stop turning and the sky didn’t fall in. Not to mention the fact that I’m healthier and happier than I’ve ever been, now that I spend my time and energy on this things that really matter to me.

(Image credit: Pixabay.)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

To all my lovely friends, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for your love, support and encouragement this year. If you’re struggling right now, at what we’re told is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, please know that you are not alone and that this too shall pass. I’ll hold the hope for you, and I’ll hold you all my prayers. Wishing you every blessing. Love Natalie xxx

#BohoBerryChallenge Day 24: Something New

I feel as if I’m on the cusp of something new. Not entirely sure what though. I think it may have something to do with sharing all I have overcome, and all I have learned this year – perhaps some sort of marriage between my art, my cards, my photography, my writing, my recovery, my prayer, planning meditation and mindfulness …

This challenge has had me reviewing it all, and I’ve started feeling connections forming, something taking shape. The dots are being joined. The pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. A few nights ago, as I prayed, I laid it all at God’s feet and asked him to help me be open to what he wants me to do with all this. Now I just have to listen and be prepared to walk through the doors that open in front of me.

(Image Credit: Pixabay)

Sad Cat Makes Me Happy!

Say ‘hello’ to Sad Cat!

Sad Cat is a digital stamp, downloadable from Bloobel.com for the very reasonable price of $1.50. (I received it for free, however, as I’m now part of their design team.)

I often incorporate old-school-stamp-and-inkpad images into my creations, but I’ve not used a digital stamp before, so this was a new adventure for me! Suffice to say, I’m hooked. Digital stamps seem to be a great way of achieving clean, crisp images which can be resized very easily. Sad Cat in the picture to the right is sitting on a piece of A4, so he’s pretty big.

After I downloaded this 12.5 MB digital stamp, I used my HP Colour LaserJet to print it onto a variety of papers (mixed media, printer card, sketchbook paper, tomoe river paper) as well as a sheet of acetate, so I could test it out with different media. I’ll be doing that over coming week, but what I did today (and what I’ve never done before) is I printed it onto an A4 sheet of 300gsm Bockingford hot pressed watercolour paper. I’m pleased to say that the stamp came out beautifully. (Click on the images for a closer look.)

I then used my Prima Pastel Dreams watercolours and my Winsor & Newton Professional watercolours to lay down a wet-in-wet wash of orange and red which I then dried with a hairdryer.


After that, I added watercolour to the eyes, nose and created some stripes in the fur. Then I used a WHSmith dual-tip brush pen to colour the pupils black, leaving white catch lights to give him that little spark of life. Finally I gave him a carpet to sit on.



I’m really pleased with the way he turned out. I can’t wait to play with him on the others papers and find ways of incorporating him into my journal!

Thanks for reading! Catch you soon.

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.

The A – Z of Artful Journaling: B is for Baggies

You don’t need fancy watercolours to create fancy backgrounds in your art journaling. Believe it or not, the background in this photo was made using cheap felt-tip pens. You can achieve beautiful watercolour effects using nothing more than felt-tips and a few household objects:



You will need:

  • your journal
  • a spray bottle of water
  • some water-based felt-tip pens
  • a clear plastic baggie and
  • baby wipes or a damp cloth (for cleaning up)


Firstly, scribble some colour onto your clear plastic bag. Use the side without the writing on. You can use just one colour or mix a few together.



Next, spray your scribbles with water. Not too much though; you don’t want the ink running off the bag.



Now for the fun bit! Place your hand inside the bag, turn it upside down and then squish it over your journal page.



And there you have it. You can either leave it to dry or use a heat tool or hairdryer.



The background in the photo at the top of this post was created in much the same way, except that I laid down the three different greens one at a time. Starting with the lightest green, I scribbled, sprayed, squished and dried each colour one after the other. (Click on the images for a closer look.)





This is a simple, fun, quick technique and can be used on all sorts of papers. Do let me know if you’ve tried it before. What pens have you used? Have you tried anything other than felt-tips with this technique.

Thanks for stopping by!

Artful Journaling Blog Post Master List

#BohoBerryChallenge Day 23: Setting Intentions

I have decided there is no going back.

Although I’m not fully recovered (and I’m not sure I ever will be – in the strictest sense of the word), I love the life I’m living now: slow, quiet, creative, hopeful, purposeful. I know there are no guarantees that I won’t experience mental illness again, but I intend to keep up my wellness habits so that I become more aware of my mental state and more able to catch myself slipping before things get too bad.

A is for Acetate

Hi there! Welcome to our third and final (for now) A is for … Today’s ‘A’ is for Acetate.

Are you old enough to remember the days before video projectors? If you are, you’ll probably have seen an Overhead Projector (OHP) and will recall the acetates (aka transparencies) that were used with them. Acetates are basically A4 sheets of clear plastic that you can write on with permanent markers or print on using an inkjet or laser printer/copier. What’s that got to do with journaling? I hear you cry! Well, these clear plastic sheets can be turned into nifty little embellishments for your artful journal. See that blue rectangle in the picture above, the one edged in purple washi tape with the words ‘joy to the world’ on? That’s a piece of acetate onto which I printed the blue patterned background and then cut up to fit in my journal. I’ve attached it with a couple of mini staples so it can lift up, and I can write underneath it. (The technical term for this is a tip-in or tipped-in element, and we’ll look at those in more detail in a later post.)

So, how else can you use acetate in your journal?

Firstly, there are loads of things you can print on them:

  • free images from sites like Pixabay
  • digital stamps
  • your artwork
  • your photos
  • your writing
  • inspiring quotes
  • quotes from songs, prose and poetry

If printing isn’t an option, you can write or draw on them with permanent markers like Sharpies or OHP pens. You can even paint on them with alcohol inks and acrylics. But be warned: acrylics do tend to scratch off acetate once dry, but this isn’t usually a problem if you’re keeping it in a journal.


You can stamp on acetates with a permanent ink such as StazOn. Take care though: the stamps have a tendency to slip about on the acetate. Working on a firm surface should help.

You can punch shapes into them using craft punches.

You can cut them into different shapes using sharp scissors or a craft knife.

You can stick things to them such as photos, drawings, notes, tabs, numbers and words – anything sticky or stickable really. This acetate tip-in has a Sprocket photo of one of my journal girls stuck to it. The acetate itself has a purple pattern printed on it which you can just see around the edge. When you flap the acetate down, you can see the pattern clearly against the white backing of the photo.

Finally, you can make little bags or pockets out of acetate. Just sandwich two pieces of acetate together, tape around three of the edges with washi tape, leaving the top edge open, then pop in bits and pieces you want to keep: ticket stubs for example.

There are a few different ways to attach acetates to your pages:

  • staples
  • washi tape
  • glue
  • paperclips

Different papers will stand up to different methods so choose carefully.

What if you don’t have acetates? You can use any plastic sheeting, from laminating pouches (more on those in a future post) to the plastic windows in packaging like the boxes that cakes often come in.

The other day, I added some crinkly cellophane that had stars on it. It was the wrapping from a chocolate Santa.

I love adding acetate tip-ins to my journals because they’re visually interesting, tactile and fun to create. How about you? Do you stick acetates in your journal? What other ways have you adapted them?

That’s all for now. See you next time!

A to Z Master List

#BohoBerryChallenge Day 22: Out of My Comfort Zone

This year, I’ve really not known where the edges of comfort zone are. Or rather, my comfort zone has expanded and contracted with the progress and setbacks of my recovery. For much of the year, my thoughts and feelings have been in flux, so that one day I might be totally okay with something, but the next day I might find that same thing to be incredibly anxiety-inducing.

However, it’s been good for me to gently nudge myself toward edges of whatever size comfort zone I might currently be in. For example, every time one of my supporters has encouraged me to do something I’ve not felt wholly ready for, I’ve still done it. I might have done it hesitantly, and broken it down into tiny steps, but I’ve done it. And most importantly: it’s been okay. The sky hasn’t fallen in.

I’ve collected quite a few mantras this year; one of my favourites is: ACTION CONQUERS FEAR. It’s true, at least for me. By facing my fears (with the support of my family, friends and care providers, I hasten to add) I’ve been able to overcome those fears and move on. There are still a couple of things that I’m avoiding because they make me anxious, but they’re not effecting my everyday life, so I’ll face them when I need to.

(Image credit: Pixabay)