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Welcome Back

There are plenty of online classes for art journalling and lots of You Tube videos about art journalling, but I couldn’t find any to help me choose a journal design. With this tutorial rather than point you at a journal design that I like, I wanted to give you the information that will help you make your own choice, based on the kind of journalling you do.

In this way you get a journal that will work for you, rather than be a chore to use and perhaps put you off journalling altogether.

What do you want to use on your page?

If you use dry media; like pencils and only limited ink, just to write your journal, then lighter cardstocks like Cartridge papers may well be suitable for your journal pages. On the other hand if you like to layer on lots of inks, paints, glues and glazes, then a heaver weight card would be best. Try out a variety of watercolour cardstocks as these will take all kinds of media.

How do I find out what card is suitable for my needs?

Theres no quick answer to this, it is a matter of experimentation. Art shops often sell individual sheets of cardstock and papers and this is an excellent way to try a good variety of surfaces, with the materials you wish to use on it. One tip though, if you are buying a selection, do make a note of what card is what on it, before your leave the store. That way if you find a favorite, you will know which one it was :)

What kind of journal to buy?

When you have decided on which surface you like, you can then choose the kind of journal you wish you use. Watercolour papers are often available as pre bound books, either sewn or ring bound. It is a matter of personal taste and what suits your style of journalling. I have experimented with bound books, spiral bound books and loose sheets. These are a good way to go if you want to start journalling right away and don’t have the tools or time to create a journal from scratch yourself.

Sewn bindings

If you like stamping on to your pages, the sewn bindings can be great as you can get right to the inside edges of the page. The disadvantage of this kind of book is that if you like lots of bulky layers or dimension to your pages, then the pages will quickly get too bulky for the spine of the book and it won’t close properly.

Sprial or ring bound books

Spiral bound books are great if you like dimension on your pages. There is a lot more scope for the pages to increase in bulk with this kind of binding. The disadvantage is that if you like stamping in your journal, then personally I found the wire binding in the way and restrictive in where on the page I could stamp, without bumping into the binding. If you aren’t needing to stamp to the inside edges of the pages, then these kinds of journals are great.

Loose pages

If you are new to journalling and want the option of ditching a page to start over if it goes wrong, then this is a great way to go. I know there are going to be purists that hate me for saying that but you know what, lifes too short. You do learn as much from a page that goes horribly wrong, than one that works, but you don’t always want it there looking at you ;)

I found using loose sheets, that I punch for binding later, a great work around for the issue of stamping to the edges of pages. I can chop and change papers during the book if I am using different media and stamp where ever I like. For me this is the way I’ll be journalling for a while, at least till my confidence improves. Its not for everyone but for newbies like me, its a great way to find your feet and have the freedom to change your cardstocks as you experiment, while finding your own style.

Making your own journal

The advantage of binding your own journal, is you can tailor it to the size, shape and binding style that suits you. It can be as simple or involved a bind as you like, depending on the tools you have to hand.

If you like your pages joined, more like that of a traditional book, I’d recommend going with a Long stitch binding style. You still have the option of pages right next to each other for double page spreads, but the bind is also good for allowing for extra bulk that layering would create.

 Spine detail showing the longstich binding

 

Inside the book
Coptic stitiching is another great binding style to use, as like longstictch, it allows the book to open completely flat. Coptic stitching won’t easily accommodate as many layers as longstitch, but if your journaling stlye isn’t heavy on bulky layers then it is ideal.
Spine detail of Coptic stitched book covers are alcohol ink onto gold mirror board

Another binding style that may be useful, is by using pre made wires. Either using binder rings or by pre punching your pages and binding them at the end. Both these style of books will give the option of single pages and allow for additional bulk as your journal grows. Binding at the end will allow you to create right up to the edges of the pages, without bumping into the binding wires ;)

BIA Calendar Tutorial BIA Calendar Tutorial

Later in the year, once the brighter weather returns, I hope to make a video tutorial of how to create your own  art journal. Until then check out different cardstocks till you find one you like so you are ready to get binding.

Bear in mind that I am still new to art journalling, but if you have questions, I’d be happy to try and help you out. Just leave me a comment :)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Wink of Stella

Wink of Stella Pens by Zig

Wink of Stella Pens by Zig

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Kuretake; Zig Memory System
  • Range; Wink of Stella

Reason For Buying

I was lucky enough to be sent some samples of these new pens, from Kuretake to try out. I have to admit, I was going to be a hard sell on glitter pens. I have a love hate thing with glitter, I love the bling but HATE the mess. Currently the only way I’ll get near glitter is with Ranger’s Stickles Glitter Glues.

Pros/Cons

Make your lettering pop with Wink of Stella

Make your lettering pop with Wink of Stella

Pros

  • Acid Free
  • Archival
  • Pigment Ink
  • Colour base to the ink, with glitter running through it.
  • Colours co-ordinate with other Zig pens in a variety of ranges; Calligraphy markers and Brushables.
  • Works great on; Smooth card like the Rymans one I use for stamping. Also perfect on water-colour card and on stampbord.
  • Works well with; other Zig markers, including Calligraphy and Brushables.
  • Great for adding highlights to detailed stamps and for vintage projects.
  • Super smooth to use, no begging it to work, or keep working like you get with gel pens.
  • The brown, gold and silver are perfect for vintage projects as they are more subtle than other metallics, really nice. The black is also a soft black so if you use it with a black calligraphy pen it looks like a shadow.
  • The clear pen is great when you want to add sparkle without a colour base. Also perfect for snow ;)
  • You can watercolour with them too!!!

Cons

I tried to find some, honest! But I couldn’t find any, these pens did what they are supposed to and more. I have no complaints.

Build Quality

Zig: Wink of Stella pen

Zig: Wink of Stella pen

Excellent! The lids are well-fitting but not to hard to remove. The nibs are 0.8mm perfect for writing and also for adding detailed highlighting to lettering or stamped projects. Ink flow is superb! No scratchy nib over the writing surface, no clogging. You need to store them flat, but I had a miracle revival on a pen! The silver one arrived without its lid on and didn’t work. However when I put its lid back on and left it lying flat on the table for a few hours, it came back to life and has continued to work perfectly! I think this was lucky and don’t recommend you do this but it is a testament to a well designed pen. 

Value for Money

Can’t actually rate this, as at the time of writing the pens have yet to be launched and I have no details of the rrp or the pack sizes they will be sold in.

Would I buy it Again?

YES!!!!! If I’d seen them, I probably wouldn’t have bought them, written them of as glittery and eww BUT I would have missed out! They are so much nicer than glue pens as you can get fine detail, when you first apply them you don’t notice the glitter. When you tilt your project into the light the glitter really pops. They don’t disturb the ink below them, unlike glitter glue. Below is an image where I used them over Distress ink. I love how subtle they are, and would buy more.

Close up of Vintage Floral ATC

Wink of Stella pens, add some sparkle

Summing up

LOVE these pens. I never thought I would like anything glittery, but I love them.

  • Versatile; work as highlights for fine detail images, enhancing lettering or on larger areas by water colouring with them.
  • Subtle; at first glance you don’t notice the glitter, till the light hits it then POW
  • All the bling without the mess; the results are beautiful (if hard to photograph). Stunning glittery finish without gunky residue that comes with glitter glue. The glitter doesn’t shed, for the amount of sparkle these pens pack, the glitter doesn’t rub off! Even when you watercolour with them! Very impressed.
  • Reliability; They work! Simple as that, they do what they say on the tin. Not everything does but these DO!
  • A joy to use and write with.

Links

At the time of writing, I am still awaiting details of colours that will be available & prices, so I’ll update this review with that information, when I recieve it. In the meantime, for stockists near you, check out the Kuretake website for more details.

  • Kuretake UK; Manufacturers of Zig Memory System products.

Come back on friday to see the video demo I made for these pens and some techniques for using them.

Many thanks to Kuretake for giving me the opportunity of trying these pens, they are superb and have become among my firm favorites.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

***Update***

Latest news from Kuretake;

  • There are 13 colours in the range.
  • Create & Craft have these pens for £19.99

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Digital Scrapbook Artist 2

Serif; Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 and Daisy Trail 1

Serif; Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 and Daisy Trail 1

Product Details

  • Serif; Digital Scrapbook Artist V2
  • Item number
  • RRP at time of writing:

Reason For Buying

I was lucky enough to receive this for Christmas last year. Although I like the idea of scrapbooking the cost of papers and embellishments and the fear of ‘getting it wrong’ has put me off. This software means I can play with designs and ideas, print them or save to disk the results.

How It Works

Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 is a program that you load onto your computer, it allows you to design and create scrapbook pages (or other paper projects) on your computer. You can print finished pages, save them to disk, or even upload them to share with others online.

To create projects, you choose a paper size and then open items from Digital Kits, to decorate your project. The digital kits contain, Background papers, embellishments, alphabets as well as layouts. To get started try using  the layouts, these are pre made scrapbook pages, you can just add your own photograph and your page is done.

The program comes with five digital kits, so you can play with the program as soon as it arrives. You can buy additional digital kits in packs of ten on CDs, or choose individual kits to download from Daisy Trail.

If you prefer a more hands on approach to your crafting, you can print out the background papers and elements and build your pages/projects in real life. Adding as much dimension as you like.

Not just scrapbooking! Don’t be put off by the title, you can choose your paper size, so you could make anything with this programme. How about cards, ATCs, recipe cards, baby’s first year books, art journal with these too. The possibilities of this software are just amazing!! It’s like the worlds best craft store!

Pros/Cons

Pros; Easy to use. Ok I admit when you first look at the screen the number of buttons puts you off but compared to Adobe Photoshop (with which I have a love/hate relationship). This is so much more user-friendly. It took me over a year to get my head around Photoshop, after one afternoon with this software, by the evening I had six finished pages!

Versatile and powerful. This has a lot of high-end features that the very expensive software has, at a much more affordable price.

There is an online community called Daisy Trail, which has lots of helpful people to inspire you with their pages and help you out if you get stuck. You can upload your pages to share them with the community and buy further digital kits.

Digital Kits are superb!  The best thing is you just drag and drop items onto your pages, if you want extra buttons you just drag them on! No more I can’t use this button coz it’s too nice and I know I can’t get anymore. You can have as many letters as you like, no more having to buy several sets of alphabets just to get a couple of extra letters. Once you have bought a digital kit you can combine any of the elements from it with any kit that you already have.

Build Quality

Fantastic, Serif have been making software for over 20 years. This program has elements from their other programs, they have put together a really user-friendly stable product.

Value for Money

Excellent!!!! The program itself comes with 5 digital kits, you can choose to buy collections of digital kits on CD for around £30 for ten digital kits, or cherry pick your favorite kits and buy them individually from Daisy Trail. The program is a wonderful investment for the endless supply of options for creative projects. The individual kits are really affordable if you can’t stretch to a whole CDs worth.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally! It has rapidly become one of my favorite crafting tools.

Summing up

Just try it!!! There is a free download of a trial of Digital Scrapbook Artist Compact available from Serif so you can see for yourself  just how cool this is. If you are not into scrapbooking this is also perfect for card making and any kind of paper crafting. If you just buy the kits for the papers, it’s still a good buy.

I was a sceptic too, but after a couple of afternoons with this software, I love it. If you don’t like downloading from the internet, you can buy many of the digital kits on CDs, from Serif.

Links

Serif

Digital Scrapbook Artist Software Buy the software from Serif and more product information. Check out the video, showing the features of the product.

Digital Scrapbook Artist Compact;  This is a cut down version of the full program to try for free.

Online support from Serif You can also download a manual from here too.

Daisy Trail Home of the online community of fans of the Digital Scrapbook Artist 2

Daisy Trail shop. Where to buy the Digital kits individually

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I would like to introduce our Featured Artist, for September 2010

The Arctic Stamper

I discovered her work thanks to Stamping Mad Forum, but for those of you who haven’t yet found Sari, here is a little more about her and her work.

Who you are and which country you are based in

Sari: My name is Sari and I come from Finland. I’m originally from Helsinki, so I’m a city girl at heart, but for the last 4 years I’ve been living in the middle of nowhere, way above the Arctic Circle.

What got you started in your creative journey?

I’ve always been interested in all things creative. I used to like making just about anything when I was at school. I’ve always liked photography and at one point I went as far as turning our bathroom into a darkroom, about which my mother was not so amused. I’ve been knitting as long as I can remember. Just about every female member of my family, going back generations, was a knitter, so I guess that’s something that’s truly in my blood. Some 20 years ago I visited a very creative German pen pal of mine and she introduced me to silk painting. I was hooked immediately and thought that I’ve found my calling. I few years later, when I was living in England, I ordered a silk painting catalogue from Germany, since I couldn’t find any supplies where I was. This was before the Internet, so when the catalogue arrived in the mail and as I was flicking though it, I saw a small but very inspiring selection of rubber stamps on one of the pages. I’ve not painted silk much after that but my stamp collection has grown from the initial couple to oooh…several thousands, I think. So, about 15 years later and I’m still totally hooked on stamping.

What inspires you: 

My biggest inspiration comes from other stampers and creative people in general. I get inspired by music and films too, nature, weather, seasons, sounds and smells, anything around me. Up here in the north the changing seasons and their colours never stop to inspire me. I love the yellows, oranges and burgundy of the autumn but can’t wait for the whites and light blues, with sparkling glitter, of the winter. And not forgetting the kryptonite greens of the northern lights, of course.

If money,time and obligations were no object, what you would most like to do?

If money, time and obligations were no object, I’d most likely be travelling round the world. All my belongings would fit in one bag and I would travel from one place to another, moving to a different location whenever I would feel like it. I would probably have an art journal with me, to keep the crafty thing going. Oh, and there would probably always be a knitting in my bag too.

What do you enjoy most about your creative work/life?

The thing I enjoy most about my creative life is having an outlet. An outlet for my madness, that is. It’s no good bottling things inside, especially if those things are very crafty thoughts. I recently read that left handers use a ‘visual simultaneous’ method where they process lots of threads at the same time, as opposed to right handers who use their brains in a more linear sequence. That is so true. I have so many threads being processed at all times, having all sorts of ideas in my head. Some of them take shape, change, reshape and eventually come out as something cool.

Another thing I enjoy about my creative life is all the other creative people I’ve met. Now with the Internet, blogs and forums I’ve made so many new friends who all inspire me in one way or another. It also inspires me a lot when others find my doings inspiring.

And the third thing I enjoy is the ability to recycle stuff that would otherwise be chucked to a landfill site. I like to take things apart and turn them into something else. In this very disposable world, it gives me great pleasure to give something a new lease of life. Others have realized this too and they have started to send me ‘rubbish’ parcels.

All in all, I think that the creativity is not something that I do, it’s something that I am. Clever, eh?

Links

To find out more about Sari and her work, please visit her blog and website, details below. 

The Arctic Stamper

Thanks to Sari for being our Featured Artist of the Month for September 2010

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

The Virtual Crafting Challenge theme for September 2010 is:

I & J

Great I hear you say, but now what? Well for those of you who would like a few ideas to get you started, here are some  colours, products and techniques to help you choose, where you could go with this month’s theme. Feel free to use your own ideas for the letter [?].

Colours

  • Indigo

Products

  • Inks
  • Irredescent Paint
  • Irresescent Paper/Card

Surfaces

OK I admit it I couldn’t think of surfaces beginning with the letters I&J, feel free to leave a comment if you can think of any ;)

  • Card
  • Paper
  • Acetate
  • Gloss Surfaces

Techniques

  • Jewellery Making
  • Any kind of ink technique, try something you have always wanted to.
  • Embellish your project with jewels or gems
  • Journalling, give Art Journalling a try or create your own journal. Decorate a pre made journal.

 

The most important thing about this challenge is that you have fun and explore. Don’t feel pressured to have a finished item at the end of the month. Explore different styles and techniques either in person, if you have the supplies, or through research, looking online.

You learn so much more when you take away the rules and just PLAY. Adapt this challenge to a creative style that interests you. Enjoy :)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back 

Now that I’m getting into Art Journaling, it is difficult to find rubber stamps that have the right phrases. I have individual wood mounted alphabets, but these are tricky to line up nicely. Whilst searching in the local Hobby Craft store, I found Making Memories Magnetic Stamp sets. 

Like other font systems you need to buy a hand tool, to mount the stamps onto, but it is a one-off added cost. The hand tool has three space options for stamps; single letter, one line and two line.Once you have a hand tool, to mount the stamps on, you just choose the style that suits your project. I chose the Rummage font. 

Making Memories Magnetic Stamps

Making Memories Magnetic Stamps

 

Rummage is a slightly distressed version of a classic typewriter style font. When I’ve had a play with this system, I’ll write a proper review. Hope it works well, as there is a good-looking date set and a few word sets that look good too. The stamps and the hand tool, all come in their own metal storage boxes, making them easy to stack and store. 

Links

Here is a link to the Magnetic Stamp system I’m talking about, on the Making Memories site. There is also a video demo of the date stamp set on the site too. 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon 

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

The Virtual Crafting Challenge theme for May 2010 is:

E

Great I hear you say, but now what? Well for those of you who would like a few ideas to get you started, here are some  colours, products and techniques to help you choose, where you could go with this month’s theme. Feel free to use your own ideas for the letter E.

Colours

  • Ecru
  • Eggplant

Techniques

  • Embossing
  • Enamelling
  • Etching
  • Engraving

Surfaces

  • Stampbord, I realise it doesn’t start with the letter E, but this is a great surface to etch and engrave into :)

 

The most important thing about this challenge is that you have fun and explore. Don’t feel pressured to have a finished item at the end of the month. Explore different styles and techniques either in person, if you have the supplies, or through research, looking online.

You learn so much more when you take away the rules and just PLAY. Adapt this challenge to a creative style that interests you. Enjoy :)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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