"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Want to See my New Chunky Art Journal?

A few months back, I learned all about Artist Trading Cards (ATCs), which is basically creating a piece of art the size of a baseball card. From there, I learned all about art journals, soul journals, chunky books, zines, and junque journals.

I've never been a scrapbooker, but the idea of art and junque journals caught my interest. These journals are in essence, books that an artist has free reign to paint, doodle, collage, sketch, the sky's the limit. There are no rules. After researching them, I decided to try my own. My art journal is created using a 6 x 4 3/4 inch child's "Winnie the Pooh" boardbook that I recycled.

The cover is a picture that reminds me of my parents. My father was a paratrooper, which I'm secretly sinfully proud of.

When completing my very last page, the boardbook's spine finally gave out due to the thickness of my embellishments. To hold it together, I glued vintage ticking around the book then adhered big buttons with ribbon so I can tie it tight.

I'm not someone who cares for abstract art and have a hard time just doodling. Instead, I prefer a method and theme. The theme for this journal is "Seasons." I chose to celebrate the seasons, holidays, and special days, starting with the beginning of the year.

Like my ATCs, I prefer using people in my artwork and creating scenes. Happy New Year is created using a vintage card and sheet music. I used tin foil for the backing to give it some shine. The card had a picture of a safety pin holding the baby's diaper, I chose to use a real, rusted one.

I had used this bunny girl image in one of my ATCs and really liked it so decided to use it for the Valentine's Day page. Of course, All the love goes to Ted.


My "No Irish Need Apply" was also used for a laundry-themed ATC. I just love the look this woman is giving! I put a calendar is the back and circled the 17th to represent St. Patrick's Day. I scorched the edges with a lighter and distressed the background in green.

April holds a few celebrations, the first being Mary's birthday. This picture was taken of her when she was just a little baby. Since it was done in sepia, I used brown fabrics and antique lace and appliques to enhance the old-fashioned look. On the bottom left are 2 wee finger prints.

Ted's Birthday and Easter...

Ted's birthday is also in April and he gets another risque woman! That's what I love about old cards. Even the risque women are cute! The background is actually 2 pieces of original wallpaper from our 1939 home.

Next to the woman in her unmentionables, is an angel celebrating Easter. I wanted to keep this simple so the focus would be on the angel. The background is Laura Ashley wallpaper left over from my mom's house and vintage velvet pink and white leaves give a hint of spring.


"Mother's Day" "Relax" were typed on my new antique manual typewriter! So much fun! I took a room from a Country Sampler magazine that I loved, added some stacked buckets from another picture, and the vintage girl cleaning.

Some of my favorite vintage pictures are of little girls taking on roles of the homemaker, like sewing, cleaning and cooking. I also love pictures of sweethearts and mommies.

"Happy Father's Day to the man who brings home the bacon, from the gal who fries it up in a pan."

My Birthday and 4th of July....

My birthday was the last page I completed because I found it hard to envision. Then I found this vintage picture of the little girl eating cake and the rest of it was well....cake!

This is one of my favorite pages. I really like the way it came out. Using vintage words from sheet music and old world pictures, I have Santa dressed like Uncle Sam holding a little girl and two flags. Originally, Santa was holding a basket of toys, but see what some scissors and a little imagination can do? I used little bump squares for a 3D appearance.


August 9th Ted and I will celebrate our 15 year Anniversary. The veil the bride is wearing on this page is piece of my actual wedding veil.

In September, my little Nicolai was born. Like Mary's picture, I used old fabrics to decorate. On the right, are 5 little fingerprints, one for each year he was born.


Since I had extra pages, I was able to celebrate both the Harvest and Halloween. Last October, we had a "Fall Harvest Moon Party" where everyone brought a hearty meal and dessert that fit the fall weather. We had a bon-fire, hot cider, and lots of fall decorations and games for the kids. I used this picture as an invitation. For the art journal, I added vintage Eureka Halloween stickers. I also took a lighter to this and burned the edges for an older look.

My Halloween picture has Mary and Nic sitting on jack o'lanterns next to a witch. Despite her being a friendly witch, their facial expressions show some concern.


I love the scrumptiousness of the picture of the mom cooking with the little girl by her side. The picture of grandpa holding the turkey came from an entirely different children's book. I just LOVE fall colors.

Encircled by vintage pipecleaners, this Christmas picture came from different cards that I pieced together to make the scene I wanted. Again, a mom baking is a very comforting look to me.

I ended the book by celebrating the new year, 2012. And who are these little babies? My mom and her twin brother, Joe, who's holding the balloons!

Using sepia-colored scrappaper, I covered the last page and overlapped it with the vintage ticking. By gluing the edges together, I made a pocket, which now holds a small envelope detailing certain aspects of this journal I don't want to forget.

Now that I've done my first chunky book, I'm sure I'd love to do another. It's very freeing to create a piece that is ALL for YOU. You can do whatever you want, which is the pure beauty of art. For me, it was a nice way to destress and keep my spirits up during the winter blahs. I also got to spend some art time with Mary as she sat next to me creating her own journal. Next time, I'll try using a spiral notebook, which will give more more freedom with embellishments.

Have you ever tried one? If not, don't be intimidated. The price for a book was 25 cents at the thrift shop and all the scraps I already had, so the price was right! It also gave me more freedom than ATCs because I could work with more space, but still kept it relatively small so as to not be overwhelmed.

Lots of fun! Give it a try!


  1. Jill your journal is Fantastic!!! I love all your personal touches, even a piece of your wedding veil! Wonderful job!!!!

  2. Awww, Jill I wish you lived close by so we could get together and craft. We like to do many of the same types of projects. Your little book turned out so well. And, it is so much fun doing these type of things. You should host a swap.

  3. I love the way it turned out so much to look at great detail, darling. oxox, Diane

  4. Hi Jill,Yes Those are my all time favorite to make.I started doing them years ago,when I was young with dream homes and furniture in them cut from magazines .They went through different stages along with me.Now they are mixed media"art".Your's are very good and with your signiture art on them:)Happy Days-Denise

  5. That book is wonderful! I love all the details you put into it. I may have to try this myself-thanks for the inspiration!


  6. Hey Jill,
    Your journal turned out really cute! Love the use of fibers and vintage images.

  7. I just love your little book...how creative..inspiring, just down right adorable! Can you tell I like it? So sweet. I'm going back and peruse it more. thanks for sharing and giving ideas. So thoughtful.
    xoso Sandy O

  8. Wow Jill, you did an amazing job! I really love it. If you feel like altering matchboxes stop by for a visit and check out my swap.

  9. Jill, I love this, you did a wonderful job. I especially love the little girl on the Mother's day page, so cute! Nan

  10. Wow... your journal is fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing.


  11. How sweet and sentimental...nice job!!! I loved looking at everything!!! Will have to do one soon...I am a pocket-folder person, stashing ideas, pics, etc into them...a seperate folder for each topic....got about 25 of them, neatly placed in the bookcase.....love going through them, keeps me sane in this INSANE WINTER WE ARE HAVING.......hugs...cleo

  12. How do you do it? You never cease to amaze me. This is so fantastic. I have to try to do one. I have boxes of these cardboard books in the attic. some with sentimentality attached, but some without. I'm going to get one today and bring it down, and START. Thank you for this motivation.

    I LOVE my card, and have chosen to put it on my lamp by my computer so I can see it daily. You are such a great artist. Thank you again. Patsye

  13. Hi Jill,When I started blogging last July I really had no idea what I would blog about.The last thing I would ever thought of would be my arts and crafts.honestly,I'm not that good at it.I love it but don't show it to even my daughters-when I do those sweet brats giggle,or try to be kind.I don't know how I got the nerve to send some things to Jackie.Some of my older pages are on my blog under art scapboooking.Denise

  14. Very cool Jill! I love the way you personalized it for you!! So many times I think we make stuff with other people in mind. It's kinda nice doing something for yourself once in awhile!! Have a good weekend. XO Love ya, Aunt Frannie.

  15. I love your book. I have two collections of stuff to make two different books, a christmas one and a recipe book. Ive had all of it for a couple years!! someday Im going to put everything else aside and and make them!
    but I've been saying that for a long time....
    have a great weekend

  16. This is a fun book and you made it so personal. The vintage pieces mixed with family photos is adorable. : ) Thanks for sharing.