Project Spirit Journal: Today

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When yesterday and tomorrow weigh heavy on our minds, it becomes even more critical to remember the value of today.

Seize the day!

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What is your favorite thing about today?

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c.b.w. 2012

Wreck This Journal: Stay Positive

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Christmas may be over, but I’m one of those people that wishes the spirit of the season could last all year long.  I thrive on the kindness, the love, and most of all the positive atmosphere that always surrounds Christmas and Hanukkah.  With all that warm “goo” oozing out of my attitude, I couldn’t help but play with a page in my Wreck This Journal entitled “Page of good thoughts.”

I pulled out my trusty quote journal and picked out a few of my favorite phrases that truly embody the notion of positive thinking.  They always pull me out of the doldrums and inspire me to make the best of each day.

As usual, black and white wasn’t enough for me so I pulled some cheerful hues out of my crayon box and gave each quote a splash of color.  I keep this page marked for when gray clouds threaten to block the sun.  This is especially fitting seeing as New Year’s Eve is just around the corner.  Every year, I renew my goal of living by a simple philosophy that states:  Happiness is a choice.  This belief is rooted in my core and I intend to embrace joy as much as possible in the coming year.

Note:  Its funny that I didn’t notice I spelled Thomas Mann’s name wrong until I started tagging this post.  I’ll be fixing that!  Sorry about that, Mr. Mann.

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For previous Wreck This Journal posts, please visit my sidebar or tag cloud.

c.b. 2011

Project Art Journal: Page 1

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Project Art Journal is all about creating  a representation of my passion for traveling.  The world is a beautiful place with so much to discover, which meant the pages I created had to be just as eclectic. Page one is very simple at first glance, but there are a number of little surprises hiding in every corner.

Click for full-size image

Supplies:

  • Card stock
  • printed paper
  • postage stamps or general ephemera
  • rubber stamps
  • ink pad
  • gesso
  • acrylic paint
  • foam brush
  • decorative string
  • marker
  • double-stick tape

Just like the cover, page designs are completed in a series of layers.  Like any work of art, each layer builds on another until you get a finished piece.

Layer 1: Card stock foundation

I like to create a thin frame around each page to set off the artwork, but also to serve as a foundation.  Start by cutting a square out of black card stock that’s a hair smaller than the journal page.  This is the base that will be used to support subsequent layers.  Don’t attach it to the journal just yet!

Layer 2: Background

To create the green background,  cut a square out white card stock that is slightly smaller than the black.  Using a foam brush, cover the square with gesso using broad, sweeping strokes.  Go in all different directions to create a strong texture.  Wait a few minutes for the gesso to dry.

Dab a clean foam brush into the acrylic paint and slather it over the gesso with broad strokes.  The color should settle into the gesso texture in a cool way.  If it’s too thick, add a tiny bit of water to the paint.  When the square is covered, set it aside to dry.

Once the paint is dry, it’s time to stamp some text into the background.  My journal is dedicated to travel quotations, so I used a stamp with the same theme, but any text will do.  To make it interesting, try stamping the design in various directions.  Tip: Avoid pigment ink as it sometimes doesn’t dry completely when used on acrylic paint or gesso.

Layer 3: Quote Square

Cut a smaller square or rectangle out of card stock or printed paper.  I chose something that had minimal design so there would be room to write the quotation.  The quotation I used on this page is one I’ve always loved.  I’ve written about what it means to me in The Art of Wandering.  Tip: Map out the location of the words and lines in pencil before whipping out that marker!

To give the space a little more ooomph, I stamped a compass with the same ink I used in Layer 2. A vellum sticker would probably work just as well.

If the ink is dry on Layer 2, attach the quote square using double-stick tape.  Then attach the whole piece to Layer 1, (the black square).

Layer 4: Embellishments

At this point, it’s all about adding flare and filling in the bald spots. Stickers, stamped squares you create, or any other piece of ephemera will work for this process.   I used a combination of postage stamps and stamped paper.  The woman’s face is a stamp that I inked and cut out for dramatic effect.

So, pick out some fun pieces and start playing!  This is my favorite part of the process because its so much fun to experiment with different shapes and placements. Once you figure out where everything should go, a little double-stick tape is all you need!

Lastly, I added some sparkle with a fancy piece of string I found in my embellishment box.  If you use string, be careful not to pull it to tightly.  Instead of tying, tape the ends to the back.

When Layer 4 is complete, its time to adhere the whole piece to the journal.  Use long strips of double-stick tape along the edges on the back.  I even throw in a few diagonal strips in the middle for good measure.  Stick it down to the paper bag page and press all corners and edges with your fingers.

Now, sit back and admire your work!

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Next week there will be chalk, fire, and gold thread.  Until then, stay inspired!

c.b. 2011

The Art of Wandering

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Recently, someone asked me what I was planning to do during a visit London this summer.  I laughed and said, “Plan?  There is no plan!  I’m going to wander.”  The woman looked at me like she wanted to commit me to a mental institution.  It’s not the first time I’ve been on the receiving end of a “you’re nuts” look, (and it won’t be the last).  I wander a lot.  Just about everything I do involves at least a little detour off the well-trod path.  If that makes me weird, then so be it.

Wandering doesn’t mean there’s a lack of focus.  It’s a form of learning that inspires creativity in multiple realms.  This is no secret as countless individuals from Da Vinci to Edison have proven it over and over again.  They had the ability to see the world without limitation and we laude them for it to this day.  Yet, there remains a stigma over the art of wandering.   It’s considered eccentric.  Or crazy.

One writer in particular touted the virtues of wandering and I often look to him as a reminder that life is much too big for a narrow view.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was unquestionably a pretty serious and intelligent guy as he dabbled in various fields of study from politics, the law, science, art, and literature. He even played with the study of color.  Some would call him indecisive, but Goethe was simply wandering.  He had the will to be curious of more than one calling and he gave himself the freedom to explore.   In four small lines, he offers inspiration to do the same:

Keep not standing,
fixed and rooted
Briskly venture,
briskly roam.

Funny how no one ever wanted to put him in the nut house.

Sometimes it feels like the whole point of life is to get lost just so I can find my way back.  Wandering is essentially curiosity without boundaries – there’s no endpoint or timeframe.  It’s just the moment and me having an intimate conversation.  Whether it be down the streets of an unfamiliar city, between the pages of a random book by an unknown author, or among the words of a story I’m writing there is always something to discover.  That something would be bypassed if I only followed the perfectly drawn lines of a plan.  There is magic out there, but it purposely hides in the most unexpected places.  And it can only be found through the act of wandering.

Perhaps it is easier to travel with a roadmap, but where is the spirit of living when every step is carefully choreographed?  Failure to wander is the same as standing still.  The scenery never changes and new possibilities die before they can live.   Given the choice to wander or stagnate, I’m with Goethe.

c.b. 2011