The making of a personal journal

February 5, 2014

It’s been a few strange days of hectic pace mixed with low energy, (first mom and now I’m coming down with some sort of bug, desperately hoping C doesn’t catch it), so I’ve upped the vitamin C to mega doses and C’s been making delicious smoothies with fruit, spinach, flax…everything good. I wanted to have my usual tea cup Tuesday post, was actually looking forward to it, but then, again, ran out of Tuesday time and sun light. (What ever happened to my New Year’s resolution to stop running out of time and start running into it instead?) Isn’t it a funny old world?

So, actually, this is as close to “tea” that C and I got yesterday…apart from the copious mugs and mugs worth throughout the day to soothe my throat and warm my heart.

Oh well, at least we have Morgan…who could enter the world’s cutest sunshine cat in the cute sunshine cat Olympics…and her half cat/half sea anemone face to make us smile.
C and M

The other day, when I was at Dalyce’s book store, she gave me a lovely 1956 book of London and I got the idea to make myself a personal encouragement book. Sort of a hopes and dreams and aspirations book. These books are so easy to make and so much fun that I thought I’d give you a little tutorial of how to, so you can make one too…if you like.

This book is about 7″x10″, so not too big, but not too small either, (small books tend to be very fiddly), and I loved the red canvas front plus the two golden dolphins. I guess the trick is to get a book which resonates with you. For example, I know what is under each one of my pages and would not be very happy if there was something depressing or something I was against. I guess what I’m saying is think about what it would feel like to have that subject under your page, because, subconsciously, you’ll always know it’s there. This book doesn’t have too many pages and the paper is pretty sturdy. This is also good for a first try.

This book is divided into two distinct sections, the front is all typed introduction and description, and the rest, the major part, is black and white photographs of London.


Now go thru the book gluing every three of four pages together with a glue stick. If you come across a page you don’t like, then tear it out. Don’t leave those pages in the book. (subconscious comfort) As long as you glue pages together around the torn pages it will be just fine. Here I tore out about five pages I didn’t like, including one depicting dead foxes. Not having that in my happy, positive journal! Plus, you’ll be collaging and gluing into the book making it thicker, so tearing out some of the pages is actually a good idea. The resulting pages will have a thick, card stock-like feel. Perfect as a backdrop for any amount of paint and glue.

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I started the first pages, (which only have writing), by reading thru and picking out the words I liked. Words which were positive to me, sent a message. Then I linked the words thru the spaces between. I got the inspiration form a most wonderful book called “A Humument” by Tom Phillips, which I bought last summer. I linked it to Amazon, but if you google images you’ll get a better idea.

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Then I got my stash of paper and my acrylic mat medium, and began gluing around my new found sentence.

This takes a long, long time, and some patience, but, when one is feeling poorly and a little artistic distraction is good, then it all works out.

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So now I’d like to show you the first three finished pages.

I left the beginning and end pages just as they are to make it feel like an authentic book full of surprises. Then, the first page, which had the publishing info, I substituted my info (didn’t feel good about publishing my addy in this photo, so photoshopped it out), but if the book is lost, it could be returned.

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Then, I left another page alone. It is a page with a couple lovely quotes about London.
And then the first complicated page I made has two sentences on it:

” It seems to me that a better position seizes artistic interest. To be less inhibited and to have a surer eye for significant detail.”

This to me, represents my desire to get my art out into the world. To contact places like Anrthopologie to see if I can interest them in my map series, to be freer with my art like the butterflies, my dream of selling in a gallery in New York (the sign of an established artist), to be in artistic circles…well, you get the point. But the main point is that each scrap of paper is deliberately chosen, each stamp, each image, each drawing is purposeful to make me happy. And that’s the whole point.

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I finished this second page yesterday evening in about two hours. This page is telling me that I must take the first step. The two sentences say:

“The door steadily opens. Situation one essential to other vast splendours to be found.”

I love the rich gold patina, made by brushing a gold powder onto the wet-ish mat medium. I like the escaping swallow; escaping out of her enclosure, the golden circle, even if it is golden, to be free, to spread her wings, and I love the happy daisy chain.

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Well, that’s as far as I got so far. I hope you try to do this too. It’s so satisfying to make a little jewel of a book like this. If you like, you could use all collage, you could write your personal thoughts in it, you could draw, stamp, glue, use your own personal photos, photos of loved ones…the possibilities are endless. If you do try this, or you’ve already made one, let me know. I’d love to see it.

Also let me know if I can help you with one, I’m happy to answer questions, show more photos of a page process, keep showing additional pages as I make them, make a little how to video…Gulp…on second thought, a video would require some effort, but I probably could if you’d like me to. Just ask. πŸ˜€

Sharing over at The Dedicated House

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  • Reply Sara v February 5, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    How incredibly fun and creative! You constantly amaze me. Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Reply Veronica February 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Aw, thank you Sara, will you try it? I think you should. πŸ˜€

  • Reply Becca February 5, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    How GORGEOUS is that?!?
    You are just so creative, always working on some new and fantastic project. I can’t wait to see more as you finish it.

    • Reply Veronica February 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you Becca, so I guess I’ll post more pages. πŸ˜€

  • Reply DogsMom February 5, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Wow- this is a technique I have not seen before. I totally agree with your removing pages you don’t want in your positive upbeat journal. emove all negative vibrations.
    I hope you don’t come down with a truly horrid cold, and you feel better very soon.

    • Reply Veronica February 6, 2014 at 6:38 am

      Hi Laura. Glad you see things my way. πŸ˜€ I think I’ve stopped this cold in its nasty little tracks with my mega vit C and a bit more rest, so all good. Have to come catch up with you. πŸ™‚

  • Reply February 5, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    H A P P Y ! ?

    • Reply Veronica February 6, 2014 at 6:37 am

      OH YES! πŸ˜€

  • Reply ebbandflo (@pomomama) February 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    What a beautiful idea. I’ve stashed it away for later. PS: feEll better soon.

    • Reply Veronica February 6, 2014 at 6:36 am

      Oh good Amanda. If you make one I want to see. Hey, how about a tea together somewhere half way between you and me. I think this cold isn’t developing into anything so maybe I’ve stopped it in its nasty little tracks. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Mascha February 5, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Oh, thats a great idea, thanks for Inspiration πŸ™‚
    Books I made more befor
    but it was different.
    I have always tried to make me read by copying the entire text by hand, to approach this in a very personal way, difficult art, lyrical and meditative texts enjoyed more than just through normally reading (Friederike MayrΓΆcker especially)
    Last Sunday I got myself busy with poetry and decided to make my own book of poems and beautiful pictures. But this kind, to pull something from an existing book for me, this idea I had still not.
    Do me first solve even by the thought of raping a finished book by – I must have too much respect for books at all…

    • Reply Veronica February 6, 2014 at 6:35 am

      Those book pages are great Mascha! My grandfather learned English by copying out texts too. I have his journals and sometimes they are hard to read because he tended to translate and copy into German, Russian, English and Czech, and my German is particularly rusty…lol. I know what you mean by feeling bad about destroying good books. Maybe I can help you with that. I look at it this way:” the books I take apart are books no one wants and are consigned to either the trash or the recycling bin and I’m saving them and giving them a new life and a new purpose, so they can carry on. Also, anything which costs $5 or less, is fair game for making art with. And, innovative and sophisticated art, and my unlimited imagination, sometimes needs a little extravagance. πŸ™‚ That book, which I linked to, A Humument, started life as an obscure Victorian novel, and now is being reproduced as a glorious work of art, so is effectively saved from obscurity and oblivion. πŸ™‚ Hope this helps ease your gentle heart.

  • Reply Helen Vaughan February 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    such a lovely idea and very inspirational sentences that you have made. I do hope you feel much better soon V and that C doesn’t catch it, as you have said, plenty of vitamins x x

    • Reply Veronica February 6, 2014 at 6:22 am

      Hi Helen, thank you so much. πŸ™‚ I’ve managed to stop the cold I think. AT least it’s not getting any worse. πŸ™‚ Got too much to do to be sick!

  • Reply Dawn February 6, 2014 at 2:53 am

    You have a very unique and gratifying style. I love seeing your work and some of your process. Thank you for sharing with us. A video! a video! Lol, I’ll dare πŸ˜‰

    • Reply Veronica February 6, 2014 at 6:21 am

      Lol, Dawn. Thank you so much. I’ll work out a how to video then. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Catherine Llewellyn February 6, 2014 at 4:34 am

    very very inspiring – magic spell making ///;- 0

    • Reply Veronica February 6, 2014 at 6:20 am

      Thank you sweetie. X πŸ˜€

  • Reply Cecilia February 6, 2014 at 4:39 am

    Love it! I never thought about circling the words on the page. I have just been painting or collaging over the whole page. Can’t wait to try this!

    • Reply Veronica February 6, 2014 at 6:20 am

      Oh good, I’m glad you will. I’m a big fan of found poetry. Thanks for leaving your addy so I can come visit you. πŸ™‚

  • Reply daryl February 6, 2014 at 5:38 am

    the artist Alice Balterman calls these re-made books .. she made one for me, its amazing … its all about photography

    • Reply Veronica February 6, 2014 at 6:19 am

      Wow, lucky girl! You couldn’t just possibly photograph it so I could see? πŸ™‚

  • Reply paulabuenosaires February 6, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Way cool and the “other vast splendours to be found” quote is Fabulous!

    • Reply Veronica February 6, 2014 at 6:39 am

      Aw, thank you Paula. It’s amazing what lovely quotes are hiding in a page full of words. πŸ˜€

  • Reply Pond side February 6, 2014 at 7:26 am

    How beautiful it is and how engrossing it must be to work on such a project. I’d love to do something like this but lack the creative/artistic piece.

  • Reply Christie February 6, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Your personal journal is just fantastic! I like what you said about giving a beautiful new life to books that would otherwise get thrown away. And finding poetry is so much fun. I haven’t done it exactly the way you do, but close. I’m going to give your technique a try. I’d love to see more as you continue to work in it. So glad you seem to have avoided the cold/flu. I thought I was avoiding catching my husband’s cold but it finally caught up with me this week. Hang tough and keep taking your vitamins and drinking Chloe’s smoothies.

  • Reply Tammie February 6, 2014 at 11:44 am

    i love your awareness of: out of time and into time!
    so fun to read about and see your book. it looks wonderful. making art always makes me feel good.
    sending you healing vibes.

  • Reply Renee February 6, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    I really like how you mentioned that everything you choose has a purpose and is connected and has meaning. That is very important to me as well! Art should be more than just pretty. With multimedia and journaling, it seems extra important. Especially with journaling, it is supposed to be from the soul!

    You are so clever to make inspirational connections together to make a meaningful thought /sentence. You are an amazing thinker!

    I am fighting a cough here too, so my thoughts are with you.

    I feel fortunate to have “met you”, fellow Canadian!

  • Reply gillian February 6, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    What an awesome book! You are so creative! You need to be in a gallery in New York πŸ™‚

  • Reply woolf February 7, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    an absolutely delicious post, veronica, featuring my beloved all-time-LOVE-city.
    what a clever idea. and thank you for letting us in on your system of making such a personal journal.
    i can imagine this is going to take you wherever you need be going, such freedom already in those first pages.
    really, i’m stunned.
    enjoy getting on in it, will you show us, from time to time?
    have a grand weekend (weatherwise hopefully better then ours here – rain. rain. and then rain).

  • Reply Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow February 8, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Hope that you feel better and this was interesting to view; I’d certainly vote to see more as you go along as this is just lovely! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Lavender Dreams February 13, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I absolutely LOVE your book. I’ve always wanted to try to make one of these…and I’ll let you know if I do! I’ll mark this page to study your directions. I write in a journal every day of my life and have for years but I’ve always wanted to try something different like this. Thanks for the inspiration my friend! Sweet hugs!

    • Reply Veronica February 14, 2014 at 7:15 am

      I hope you do try Diane. It’s really easy. If you have some questions then just ask me. I’m happy to share any ideas. Big hugs right back. πŸ˜€

  • Reply Patricia A. McGoldrick February 15, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    What a great idea for a journal! Thanks so much for sharing the process, Veronica! πŸ™‚

    • Reply Veronica February 15, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      You’re so very welcome. Will you try? I hope you do and then show me. πŸ™‚

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