Wreck This Journal: Free


Today is the last day of school.  My students are long gone, finals are graded, the gradebook is done, and my classroom is locked up for the summer.  When the door closes behind me it feels a bit like this:

Summer Break feels a lot like bright, wild scribbles!

Every year, just before I leave, I set aside a moment for reflection. I stand in the middle of my classroom and marvel at how fast the year has gone.  I close my eyes and hold the memories close. This is how I say goodbye each year.  My classroom is full of so many trials and triumphs.  It’s been a difficult year full of change (many of which have me questioning where public education is headed), but it’s also been a year of eyes lighting up and creative minds finding their voice.  While the atmosphere outside of my classroom leaves me demoralized in many regards, my students are the reason why I can still say I love my job.

For the next two months I’m free to “scribble” with reckless abandon. Well, more so than usual!  I’ll be writing, creating, and listening to my muse with zero distraction.  The feeling of total inspiration is a lot like making those vibrant scribbles in my Wreck This Journal.  There are no rules and the release is exhilarating!  I’ve repeated this exercise a couple of times because it is so cathartic.  I highly recommend it for anyone with a stressful job or those who enjoy making a mess of color!

Happy Summer!

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Try it!  Make a page of scribbles and post the picture on your blog.  Put the link in my comments section so we can all share in the joy of wild scribbles!

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c.b. 2012


Project Art Journal: Page 8


A great art journal page doesn’t have to be overly complicated.  Sometimes the best pages remind us that less is more when it comes to mixed-media collage.  A few pieces of printed paper, silver stitching, and a few embellishments come together to give a quote by George Moore a beautiful backdrop.

The Key to Travel


  • Printed card stock
  • black card stock
  • tag
  • string
  • key (charm or the real thing!)
  • 2 charms w/ attachment loops or holes
  • postage stamp
  • brown ink pad
  • silver wire
  • silver thread
  • sewing needle
  • double-stick tape
  • standard tape
  • glue dots
  • paper piercer
  • marker

Layer 1: Foundation

  • Measure and cut a square out of black card stock that is slightly smaller than the paper bag journal page.

Layer 2: Pattern Background

  • Measure and cut a square out of patterned card stock that is slightly smaller than Layer 1. Attach to Layer 1 with double-stick tape.
  • Measure and cut a rectangle from a second sheet of patterned card stock that fits from top to bottom and is about two inches wide.  Attach to Layer 2 using double-stick tape.

Layer 3: Quote Tag

  • The tag I used for this page came from the office supply aisle at Target!  Crumple it up repeatedly until it feels “soft,” like cloth.  Then, take a brown ink pad (translucent ink if you can find it) and lightly drag the tag over the ink to make the texture pop and to give it a nice weathered look.
  • Pencil in the quote and then go over it with a marker.
  • Attach to the left side of the page, with a couple pieces of double-stick tape in the middle of the tag.  Let the edges be “free” to add a little dimension.

Layer 4: Stitching

  • Draw a free hand spiral or use a stencil.  Use a paper piercer to poke holes along the the spiral that are spaced with a distance about the size of a standard stitch.  See Project Art Journal: Page 2 for a refresher on stitching instructions.

Layer 5: Embellishments

  • Loop some string through the hole of the tag and string a charm at the same time.  Secure the string, but make sure the charm lays flat.  Don’t trim the string just yet!
  • Attach metal key with glue dots in the upper right corner, horizontally.  Tie the tails of the tag string to the end of the key with a loose knot. Now you can trim the ends or leave them long!
  • Attach the postage stamp near the lower right corner with double-stick tape.  Fluff the edges to give it some personality.
  • Place the second charm so that it overlaps the postage stamp.  Use a paper piercer to poke holes through the attachment loops.  Thread some wire through each hole to secure the charm. Secure the wire ends by taping them down to the back with standard tape.

Attach the finished page to the paper bag journal page with plenty of double-stick tape.

Simple, yet beautiful!  Stay inspired!

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For previous Project Art Journal pages, please visit my sidebar or search for Project Art Journal.  All pages are also posted on my Pinterest Project Art Journal Board.  Click on the red Pinterest button on my sidebar to check it out.

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c.b. 2012

Wreck This Journal: Inner Child


I got so excited when I came across the page in Wreck This Journal, that says “Color this entire page.”  For a girl who never met a box of crayons she didn’t like, this page made me giddy right from the start.  While contemplating the blank page, I was instantly reminded of something my sister and I did when we were kids.  My grandmother showed us how to turn a boring piece of paper into a work of art by simply drawing an endless line of curves and curls until the whole page was filled with a random design.  Then, it was all about filling in the gaps with color, in any sequence or color palette.  Who needs a coloring book when you can make your own pictures?

With that in mind, I took a marker and reverted to my nine-year-old self for my journal page.  I made curves in random directions until I ran out of space and then I picked out the brightest colors from my crayon box.  One by one, I filled in all the spaces until the entire page glowed with color.

I went a little nuts with the crayons!

While I never really ignore my inner child for any extended period of time, this page was a nice reminder to hold onto that little girl inside of me.  Children always see the world with so much wonder and curiosity, as if every day is an adventure. I never want to lose that, no matter how old I get.  There is a such thing as having it both ways – I can be a responsible adult who goes to work every day and pays her bills, but I can also be a girl who plays with crayons and marvels at the world around her with an inherent sense of wonder.

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For previous Wreck This Journal entries, please visit my sidebar and tag cloud.  Stay inspired!

c.b. 2012

Wreck This Journal: Memories


Wreck This Journal started as an individual experience, but it didn’t take long for my friends and family to get involved as well.  The phrase, “the more the merrier,” has never been more true.  As I look through my journal, I turn pages that hold multiple epiphanies and pages that hold memories for which I’ll always be grateful.  Creativity is as much an artistic endeavor as it is a human experience.

At one point in the journal, there is a page that says, “Give away your favorite page.”  I have been the lucky recipient of two favorite pages, both of which are securely fastened to my journal.  One comes from my good friend Rita, with whom I have fond memories of writing together and completing Wreck This Journal.  Her page always makes me smile as I think of the friendship, inspiration, and moments we have shared.  As a bonus, trees have always been a special source of inspiration for me (even as a child).  Fate always pulls us in the direction we need to go and Rita, my friend, I will always be thankful I fate brought me to you.

The second page comes from my grandmother and has recently taken on much more significance. When I first started this journal two years ago, I bought one for her too, so we could have something to do together.  She’d had a stroke the previous year, so it was important to keep her active and exercise her mind.  Besides that, my grandma loves to play and go nuts with crayons and markers (its my favorite thing about her).  Every Friday, I brought my journal to her house and we worked on our pages – laughing and experimenting happily the whole time.  When it came time for her to give up a favorite page, she gave me a page that asked her to “Sample various substances found in your home.”  She got it mixed up with the page where she was supposed collect random objects, but we had a good giggle over that mishap.  As we always say mistakes are “what makes it homemade,” (long story, family joke).

Grandma’s random objects are strange and have no relationship, but at the same time I can see her in every item she chose to attach to this page. She got the sandpaper from my grandpa’s tool bench where he builds his model trains, the safety pin came from her sewing “tomato” pin cushion, the button came from her sewing table, the Snicker’s wrapper came from the candy pile we devoured while working on our journals, the matchbook came from the kitchen drawer, the gum wrapper from her purse, and the copper “tag” came from her craft box.  Any stranger would deem these objects as worthless, but to me they are priceless.  Over the last year, I’ve watched my grandma slip away as age and dementia stole little pieces of her until there was hardly anything left.  I still go see her, but like everyone else in my family, I hold on for the little glimmers of her humor and feistiness that still poke through every once in a while.  When I see her page, it’s a nice reminder that when she’s gone, my memories of her will be beautiful and full of love.

I know my Wreck This Journal posts are usually much more lighthearted, but when art and human condition collide, emotions tend to run deep.  Yes, its crazy to rip, tear, mutilate, and destroy, but at the core is one simple truth – All of this nonsense really does mean something.

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For previous Wreck This Journal posts, please visit my sidebar and Tag Cloud.  Stay inspired!

c.b. 2012

Wreck This Journal: Keep Trying


Some pages in Wreck This Journal come together very easily, while others are extremely challenging. Then, there are the pages that qualify as epic failures.  And I don’t mean that in a bad way.  These failures might be better classified as learning moments or works in progress because I can look back on them and say, “Hey, I tried.”  I don’t like to fail, but I’ve always believed that trying matters.

The perfectionist in me hates to see an unfinished page or a botched concept, but they do have value in that mistakes are the first step to learning.  Without epic failures there would be no reason to push forward and try something different.  After all, Wreck This Journal is all about discovering a new viewpoint and daring to approach life with reckless curiosity.  Or at the very least, its about learning to have a really good sense of humor about myself.  It’s not a new idea, but it’s definitely one worth embracing.  As the saying goes: Those who can laugh at themselves shall never cease to be amused.  With this spirit in mind, I’ve selected a few pages in my journal that are constant sources of amusement as they represent some of my stellar “What was I thinking?” moments.

Towards the back of Wreck This Journal there is a page that gives instructions to doodle on the front cover.  I’m not much of a random doodler, so this was a bit of a challenge to begin with and things only got worse the more I tried to make it happen.  I thought it might be fun to use a metallic silver gel pen, so I made a little border around the edge with dots and squiggles.  It looked pretty good until I found out the ink smudged if anything touched it!  No matter how long I let it dry, the ink refused to stick!  Even after two days I was able to wash it off with a sponge.  Back to square one!

For my second attempt, I whipped out the paint pens and made polka dots from top to bottom.  After they dried and didn’t smear, I thought it might be fun to add glitter glue over the top of some of the dots.  For more than an hour I squeezed red, blue, green, gold, and silver glitter onto various polka dots.  It look so cute and sparkly when it dried!  Too bad they all popped off as soon as I opened the journal.


There’s also the little problem that I can’t bring myself to bend the cover to cause damage.  The cover is still a work in progress and perhaps one day I’ll overcome the roadblocks that stand in the way of doodling success.

On another page, I was supposed to draw an endless line.  I easily accomplished this, but when I decided to decorate my line, things went horribly awry.  For some reason, I thought adding a spiral would make it more interesting, but it only made the special effects in 1960s time travel movies look more realistic.  I credit poor color choice and failure to think things through for the ruin of this page.

I failed utterly and completely on another page in that I didn’t follow directions and my design ideas totally backfired.  The directions asked me to connect the dots with my eyes closed and I did all the way until I peeked.  Then, I got the brilliant idea to fill the page with large circles and color them with two colors that do not compliment one another.  I learned two things: 1) I can’t draw circles without a little help. 2) Coloring large circles with yellow and green makes them look like Mountain Dew bubbles under a microscope.

With each failure, I was reminded of the choice that exists when something goes wrong.  I can beat myself up and pout OR I can pick myself up and learn from the mistake.  Whether its an academic, professional, creative, or personal mistake, I must keep trying.  This especially applies to writing, a realm where I’m bound to make a slew of mistakes.  Everything from spelling, grammar, descriptions, poor first/last lines, format, sentence structure, syntax, etc. includes a mistake waiting to happen.  The list is endless and every mistake will be glaringly obvious and pointed out to me.  Am I going to sit and pout?  No.  I am going to keep trying.

(I might laugh a little, too.)

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For previous Wreck This Journal entries, please see my sidebar and tag cloud.

c.b. 2012