Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Art Journal or December Daily

I became intrigued with a concept called an art journal recently. I wasn't quite sure what one was until I used my favorite tool, Google, and looked at a number of them. They seem to range from a collection of art techniques to art + traditional journaling and many things in between.

At this blog I found a concept I liked. It was a mix of the traditional scrapbook with the art journal. December generally gets away from me, and it's easy to lose sight of what Christmas is meant to celebrate. So, I thought I would do an art journal to help me slow down and focus on each day in December. Not every day will be specifically Christmas related, but I thought if I had to document the 25 days of December, it would help me focus. And I've always loved the Twelve Days of Christmas as a Christmas theme, and this journal reminds me of that.

The first principal is to build the foundation of your journal now, before the rush of December is on you. Then all you have to do is take your photo or jot down your memory and finish off each of the pages. I made a start on that this weekend.

I bought an acrylic cover from Etsy much like the one at the blog I linked to above. It helped me visualize (now that I've done this and made some pages, I can see what I'd like to do next time). Once I find some letters I like, I will add 2009 and possibly some more...I'm looking for some metal letters and numbers. The contrast with acrylic and chipboard will be nice I think.

The idea for me is to make mostly simple pages with some more labor intensive ones. You can see a brown craft paper edge on the lower has no design on it yet. I'm waiting for a package of Christmas ephemera to arrive from Etsy (I'm excited, it's vintage). The Joy page was made with card stock, photoshop and an HP printer. I'll add a small photo and journaling above. One page I think will cover traditions that I look forward to: nativity scenes, the caroler figures I put out, things like that.

This is some paper in the soft aqua color I'm in love with right now. There's a vintage combination of red and aqua that is my all time favorite - do you remember seeing it?

And below are two pages: one is a recipe card that I thought would be a cute way to note holiday baking that I can recall. My grandmother used to make fruitcake cookies every year, even though I can't think of anyone who liked fruitcake (besides me - I liked hers). And her favorite cake was a Lane cake - it only appeared a few times and always at Christmas. Then there was ambrosia (orange + coconut only) and my mother's fruit salad.

Behind the recipe card is a baseball trading card page that has been cut down to fit. It will let me put 4 2.25" x 3.25" photos in the sleeves on both sides. That one would be good for holiday decorations at home, or perhaps city decorations.

This last page is a canvas. I've painted it with sky blue acrylic paint and while the paint was still wet, stuck on a piece of acrylic. On top of that I sprayed something called Glimmer Mist which gives it a faintly pearlized appearance. There's a little drop of it on the bird, at the end of the wing. I will likely journal on some cardstock and then attach it to the upper front, and attach a corresponding photo to the unsightly back of the canvas.

Above are bits and pieces I have in a stash to use with the ephemera I ordered. The cardboard pieces I will probably paint white and then go from there. I loved the shape of the piece and cut in half to have two pages for this book.

Working on this book just this little bit this weekend has had the effect of making me look forward to the holidays more. And the art is a nice balance to the hustle and stress at work.

Already it's doing what I hoped. I'll share more with you when I make the rest of the pages.

Is there anything you do to help you slow down and focus on important occasions or holidays?


  1. Good Golly Miss Molly,
    What a wonderful, beautiful creative idea. I was thinking you'd been a little quiet lately, but now I see how busy you've been.

    I wonder if I'm getting a less than subtle message from the universe. Yesterday I read another blogger used a perfectly stunning fall day to hang Christmas lights around her house so she doesn't have to do it last minute, helter skelter in the cold. I thought that a brilliant idea. And unlike shopping early at Walmart it seems practical not frenzied.

    Perhaps if I start now I can find all the boxes full of "ephemera" (??) that I have left unopened in the past few years. Who knows ... maybe this will be the year of the Christmas tea I've been imagining.

    Thanks for the good ideas. I can't wait to see how your book progresses.

  2. Molly- You have the greatest ideas and projects! And you're off to a great start on this one. Eagerly waiting for the next installment.

  3. I have one of these, though no where near as lovely,!
    I started it when the man child was born. And it has seen flood and fire, so it's a bit tattered...
    but it is a treasure to be sure!

  4. Molly, I am doing an Advent box for Days 1-24 in December. A blogpost will go with what is given each day. All very small items but fun to look forward to getting something new each day. I LOVE your idea! Thanks! :)



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