Art Journal Idea: Things I Like

Despite having very little time for art journaling these days, I’ve still been keeping up with a little something for each day–even if my entries aren’t as detailed as the ones in my daily art journal from last year. Sometimes on less eventful days if I don’t have a whole lot to say about my day I will add a list of things I especially like around that time. Below is a list I made about a month ago, and while most of the things I jotted down still continue to bring me a lot of joy, I think I’m ready to make another list with some seasonal things, like drinking hot tea and enjoying the fall colors! things-i-likeWhat have you been especially liking lately?

xx Caitlyn


How I art journaled my way through 2015

Happy New Year! With the arrival of 2016, it’s time for me to start a fresh art journal! It’s amazing to look through my 2015 journal now–not only did I manage to fill in the entire journal for every day over the past year, but by doing so I was able to record a lot of really neat things and improve my art journaling skills in the process! IMG_4180After I finished adding in a few cards and things yesterday, my journal was even thicker than it is above!

As with my last journal, I’ve chosen to use a planner as my 2016 journal, but this time I chose one that has a little more space for each day so I can write a little more if I like. There are a few other things I like about the layout of my new planner a little better than my 2015 one, and a few ways my approach to journaling has changed. When I started my 2015 art journal using the planner method (as mentioned here), I would always write the weather, a color of the day, a word of the day, and an image of the day. As the year progressed, I found that for me, the weather and a chosen “color of the day” didn’t really reflect much that would be memorable or important about my day. Over time I started filling my daily entries with more specific things about my days instead.
In the above right page, I answered an art prompt asking about a childhood object I made. I remembered painting little wooden horses for a carousel.

Sometimes entries about my day would just end up being a short sentence or two, like in the pages pictured above. Then I would add other things like quotes that were relevant to me recently, ticket stubs, business cards and other collected things from the week, washi tape, images or drawings, and writing prompts. If I had more that I wanted to do with a writing prompt or journaling, I would do it on the lined pages at the end of my planner or attach more paper with washi tape. At the end of the year, I also chose a few writing prompts from Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead free downloadable workbook to fill up some of the extra lined pages in the back and reflect on my year.
This week was the last week of 2015, but I hadn’t finished New Year’s Eve day yet at the time I took the picture. In case you’re wondering, we celebrated by having a yakitori dinner, playing old-school Mario while Chad drank copious amounts of champagne, watching a movie (The Big Short), and going to a local temple just after midnight. Check instagram for a couple pictures ūüôā

Other days I would write more details about my day, and have less space for extra things like quotes and prompts. Basically, I just went with how I was feeling. I also would go back and forth between setting up pages in advance with colors, add-ins (like pictures or ephemera, etc.), and washi tape, etc., and writing everything over the week first and then adding all the art.
Each month, I added a calendar page from the amazing 2015 calendar Chad gifted me the previous Christmas with pictures of our kitties. I also added month tabs cut out from my Rilakkuma planner (that I used like a traditional planner over the year) to mark each month so I could flip through months at a glance.
On the back of each calendar page I would either paint/draw/create images relevant to the month (as seen here), or add pictures from the month. I also sometimes added extra brochures or memorabilia that I wasn’t able to squeeze into the daily pages.
IMG_4182My 2015 planner has monthly overview pages in the front of the book, followed by the weekly pages for daily entries. I filled the overview pages with extra memorabilia and pictures as well.
Above I taped in a birthday card my coworkers made me in November, along with some pictures of my birthday dinner and cake.

One thing I like about my new planner/journal is that the monthly overview pages are distributed between the start of each month instead of being altogether in the front of the book. It’s a small layout difference that makes a big difference to me ūüôā
If I had even more memorabilia that I couldn’t fit on the calendar pages, I once again took advantage of the lined pages in the back of my journal. As pictured above, I sometimes used brochures or parts of greeting cards given to me to make pockets for things like ticket stubs.

It is really fun to look back at all of my memories from 2015, and I am looking forward to being able to do the same for this year. I love that I could spend as little or as much time as I wanted to fill out my journal, and my plan is to continue with the approach I fell into over the course of 2015 this year. I also hope to continue learning and trying new ideas (like pairing my daily journaling with The 52 Lists Project!).

I hope that sharing my approach to art journaling has given you some ideas and inspiration, and would love to hear what kinds of things you do in your art journaling!

xx Caitlyn

P.S. Here is another post with some of my favorite pages from 2015. In the post I also mention some interesting things about pregnancy in Japan!

Pregnancy · Projects

Art journal pages & pregnancy in Japan

We have been having a nice, relaxing weekend here in Tokyo, and I’m really not ready for it to end! I’ve been spending a lot of my time this weekend cleaning, reading, writing letters, and catching up on my art journal for the last week. I can’t believe I’ve nearly filled out my journal for an entire year now! Almost every time I finish a week of my journal,¬† I look back through pages I made before. I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorites with you that I hadn’t posted because we hadn’t announced baby Dykehouse yet. AND, just to make things more exciting, I thought I would intersperse some interesting things I’ve learned while being pregnant in Japan. So…I hope you enjoy it!IMG_3433I like the page above because it includes the day I found out I was pregnant. I just had a feeling, and my feeling was right!

In Japan, before you can go to a hospital or see someone to become your regular OB doctor, you have to confirm your pregnancy and get a referral letter. So, we went to a clinic one day after work and I got an ultrasound. We confirmed the pregnancy to be about 5 weeks along, but baby was too small to see. I had to wait almost an entire month until my next appointment, but in the meantime I was off to my local ward office…IMG_3434I like the “favorite ice cream color palette” on this page, as well as my zentangle practicing.

Pregnancy is not seen as an illness in Japan, and therefore it is not covered by health insurance. On the bright side, the government does give you coupons to help pay for the costs of visits and delivery, which is why I needed to go to the ward office. When I was there, they also gave me some face masks (thanks?) and a cute little maternity key chain to carry around so people will (sometimes) give up their seat on the train for me, and just be careful around me in general. IMG_3435
This is half of a week in August, with the other half pictured below. Once a month I use washi tape to add a calendar page for the month from the cute kitty calendar Chad got me for Christmas last year. I can’t wait to see our sweet kitties again!

Speaking of things not covered by insurance, there is one big thing that I’d like to point out: epidurals are not covered by insurance, and many hospitals are very reluctant to offer them at all. I really like my hospital overall, but one thing was made clear to me from the beginning: they encourage natural birth, and only give epidurals if you’re in severe pain for a prolonged amount of time. I hadn’t really thought about how I’d like to go about giving birth yet, but it’s kind of a bummer that for some things you just don’t have a choice. Other non-optional things at my hospital: The husband can’t cut the umbilical cord, the husband must stand next to his wife during labor and birth, you cannot donate cord blood, and they sometimes kancho you.
IMG_3436Here’s the other half of that week in August, including the sad day our flight was delayed for 13 hours (but at least we were on vacation!).

Yes, you read that correctly. K-A-N-C-H-O. Which means you will get everything (*ehem* poo *ehem*) out before delivery. Some hospitals in Japan are different and allow different things, according to some of my friends who’ve had babies here. I do I wish I had more of a say about some things, but my hospital has been voted to be one of the best in the country, is an international hospital, and seems to be efficient. So, I’ll go ahead and just do my best through this crazy thing called pregnancy. IMG_3437
I really enjoyed attempting to draw food from our Thailand trip on this page.

Speaking of my pregnancy specifically, it has been going really well overall. During the first trimester I was tired, was often light-headed, and felt nauseous frequently, but overall I was just thankful and happy for every doctor visit that reassured me baby was healthy and everything was okay. And during the second trimester, a lot of crummy symptoms came along according to the week they’d be listed on any pregnancy website or book (so hello occasional leg cramps and heartburn, etc.), but we also got to feel baby kicking for the first time! These days she’s moving all the time, and at our last appointment we got to see her lovely profile.IMG_3438
This week Chad got to come with me to a doctor’s appointment, and we got our first inkling that baby is a girl. We spent a really nice afternoon together after the hospital visit.

I’ve still got about a week left before I hit my third trimester (already!), but I’ve generally been feeling like a happy momma-to-be.Time flies and any discomforts so far are quickly forgotten a midst my gratitude. That’s not to say I don’t have my moments where I’m like, “Holy cow I’m actually going to eventually have this baby and it’s going to be painful and I hope everything is healthy and that we can prepare the best we can but will the doctors speak English enough on the actual delivery day and what if there are some weird things that come up that are different in Japan that I forget to ask about and and and…” BUT! We’re talking how I feel overall. And that’s good. Comforted and encouraged by my awesome husband, and thankful for a healthy pregnancy so far.

There are a lot of other things I’ve been learning about pregnancy (both in Japan and in general), but I hope you found the brief few I’ve mentioned interesting! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, whether you’ve experienced or are currently experiencing pregnancy (in or out of Japan) below. I’m sure I’ll be posting more related to this topic in the future either way ūüėČ

Well, I’m off for now! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
xx Caitlyn

Seen/Heard/Tried · Spring Bucket List

My week (and a few days) in pictures

IMG_1694                                              Above: My last week in art journaling

After our tram ride journey, we had just one more day of break before returning to school. We decided to go for a yakiniku lunch at a place called Ikebukuro Yakiniku Stadium, and it was super delicious (and only 900 yen each!).IMG_1617                                                                  kimchi

This guy *swoons*

IMG_1619 IMG_1624 IMG_1627 IMG_1628 IMG_1647
I also got around to doing some hand lettering after being inspired by the cute bag from this post.IMG_1653After two days of school, it was already the weekend. Saturday was super cloudy, so we went for coffee at Starbucks and I started reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler. (This means I’m on book two out of three for my Spring Bucket List!) I’ve really been enjoying the book so far.IMG_1659On Sunday we had sunny weather, so we decided to head out to Setagaya to go to the famous Bear Pond Espresso. I first heard of the cafe when we watched A Film About Coffee back in the states, and had been dying to try it ever since. On the way there, we saw this giant ape above a Family Mart!IMG_1671
The cafe is a bit inconspicuous–we actually walked right by it at first. I tried to covertly take a picture of the outside, having read that there are strict rules on photography there.IMG_1672Despite the rules in place, the owners do allow some pictures if you ask first, so I happily took pictures of our lattes when we were inside.
IMG_1673I’m sure if you’re anything like me, you’re dying to know the verdict. And the verdict is… amazing. Super nice flavor with the espresso really standing on its own. Chad pointed out that BPE espresso is a bit more citrusy than the espresso at Streamers, which I’ve got to admit still has my favorite lattes so far. BPE’s latte was a close second.IMG_1674IMG_1675 IMG_1682
When we left, we saw this cool street art above. I love how so many shop doors are painted in Japan.
Above is my art journaling for this week so far. Last week I was running every weekday for at least 1.5 miles or more, and I’d been keeping to my goal of running at least a mile each weekday for about a month. This week, however, I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I only ran on Thursday. On the bright side, I felt creative this week and had a lot of fun in my classroom.

IMG_1687Here is the pretty piece of cake I chose from several our manager got for us. It was a really nice balance of chocolate and orange flavors.IMG_1693Lastly, we’ve been sashimi crazy as of late. I think we’ve been having it for dinner two or three times a week, and we still love it! I feel lucky that we can take advantage of easy access to quality sashimi in Japan.

I hope you enjoyed a peek at what I’ve been up to lately. We’ve got some more fun planned this weekend that I can’t wait to share with you soon. Hope you have a great, inspiring weekend, Little Snail darlings!


January Peek Cards

Happy February, everyone! Welcome to the month of love ‚̧ Today I thought I’d share my January Peek Cards with you. What are those, you might ask? Well, remember when I was telling you about the fun style of art journaling I started this year? Peek Cards are a weekly art journaling task in which you do a watercolor around the size of a playing card (I traced around a bank card for mine). I really enjoyed making my peek cards throughout January, especially because the entire time I focused on just having fun, not perfection.IMG_0101Upper Left: New Year’s Decorations in Japan
Upper Right: The Moon Bridge from Koishikawa Kourakuen Gardens
Lower Left: A sweet kitty cat made to look like kamon
Lower Right: A snowflake

Looking forward to the adventures February brings!
xx Caitlyn


Every day in January

I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions because, well, I make resolutions all the time. That being said, I sort of unintentionally started some daily tasks with the beginning of the New Year that have turned into resolutions, and I have really been enjoying myself!

IMG_19351. Daily Art Journaling– You may remember that on my last Autumn Bucket List, one of my goals was to get back into art journaling. When we moved back to Japan, I thought it might be really hard to get started again without most of my supplies from back home, but I started using the book No Excuses Art Journaling by Gina Rossi Armfield, and it’s been really easy to do a little every day!

IMG_1933The concept is really cool: you basically use a planner for an art journal and spend about 10 minutes (or more or less depending on what you want!) on an entry a day that includes the color of the day, the weather of the day, the image of the day, and the word of the day. Then you do a more detailed “peek card” each week, as well as a more involved monthly page. I love it so far because it’s been helping me record things in a fun way while practicing some basic illustration and/or watercolor work.

2. Yoga Practice– I have been doing yoga almost every day since we arrived in Japan. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s more challenging, but either way, it feels pretty nice to incorporate into my daily routine. I have been enjoying alternating between Adriene’s 30-Day Yoga Challenge, Erin Motz’s 30-Day Yoga Challenge (recommended by Ariel!), and Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown.

IMG_1925Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

3. Walking EVERYWHERE! – We have been walking for an average of one to two hours a day, with the very least amount of time being about twenty minutes. I love that you naturally walk more in Japan–even just to get from the station to work if you’re commuting by train. Today we went to Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens. It was really relaxing, and will be so beautiful come spring!IMG_1928IMG_1929This is called the Full Moon Bridge because the reflection in the water
looks like a moon. Something about that seems romantic to me

I have been having a great time adding these things to my daily life, especially because they’re all very reasonable habits to incorporate that all make me feel happy. Do you make resolutions each New Year? What are some things you do on a daily basis for yourself?


Take care friends! xx Caitlyn


Art Journal

Hi, everyone! Ariel here with a short post about art journaling. If you spend any time at all with me you know I have an art journal (or four). I find having a designated place for creativity to be therapeutic; it’s a great way for me to recharge my batteries after spending time out in the world. I thought I would share a page I made recently in case anyone was curious about art journaling but wasn’t sure what was involved/how to start/what constitutes art journaling. I made a page in my journal about doing the Color Run with my husband and friend. I first gathered my supplies which were gesso and watercolors. Gesso is a primer for a page. You use it to make the page thicker and easier for things to stick to it, whether that’s paint or adhesive or what have you. It’s a little expensive but it’s worth the price if you have a journal with thin pages. ¬†IMG_2830After painting¬†on the gesso and allowing it to dry, I¬†put blotches of watercolors¬†at the top of the¬†page¬†and used a spray bottle filled with water to make the paint run down the page.

the blotches of paint will stay wet for a while so you can let the paint running down dry and then spray more water at the top to give more interest to the page
the blotches of paint will stay wet for a while so you can let the paint running down dry and then spray more water at the top to give more interest to the page

I sprayed water at the top of the page, letting¬†the page dry between sprayings, until I was happy with the way everything looked. And to be totally honest, I didn’t like the top of the page with those big blotches of paint. That was okay, though, because the next thing I was going to do was put pictures from the Color Run on the page.


I placed the pictures on the page in such a way as to hide what I didn’t like about the paint, namely the top and bottom. You can still see the colors and the way the blended together and that’s really what I was going for. I used photo corners to attach the pictures to the page. The only thing left to do at this point was to add some journaling about the day.


Mostly I wrote that we had a great time and after the race we had an amazingly delicious breakfast at a local restaurant. And that’s it! There isn’t a whole lot going on with this page but I liked the way it turned out. It documented an experience that I will remember for a long time and allowed me to be creative.

Here’s a few links that I’ve found helpful in making an art journal:
A Beautiful Mess has an e-course that Caitlyn and I have used
Daisy Yellow has some good tips
Thistle Dew blog has monthly art journaling prompts

Also, PInterest has some really great art journaling images!

Have you ever kept an art journal?

Projects · Seen/Heard/Tried · Tried

Flower Pressings & Happy Spring

Today is officially the first day of spring, though there is still plenty of visible snow in my part of Michigan. Despite the cold, I’m feeling hopeful that nicer weather is around the corner, and I plug my ears and shout “LALALALALA” every time someone tries to tell me otherwise. (Don’t judge me. We all have different ways of dealing with this evil, never-ending winter, and this is one of mine.)

Apparently, today is also National Happiness day. Things that made me happy today? Discovering a new bakery, relaxing with my kitties, and working on some art journaling in my craft room (my craft room in itself makes me happy!). One new thing I’ve been trying out to add to some art journaling pages has been making pressed flowers.

IMG_0117Years ago my parents gave me a Microfleur Flower Press for Christmas, and I went searching for it last week to preserve some flowers that were special to me. Using the Microfleur is super easy: you just put flowers in between the cotton liners, wool pads and vented platens, put clips in place to hold everything together, and then microwave the flowers in short bursts until dry. IMG_0118

In the first picture, I laid out some flowers, and in this picture you can see that I clipped the Microfleur shut.IMG_0119

After the first burst of heat from the microwave, I checked to see how the flowers looked so far. One nice thing about the stage after the first bit of heat is that the flowers are usually still a little damp so you can do some rearranging before subsequent heating.


Above you can see how the flowers turned out.

IMG_0122I did three sets of flowers from the bouquet I received, and thought they all turned out rather pretty.


I used glue dots and Mod Podge to attach them to my art journaling pages a few days later, which worked pretty well (though, I’ll be honest, the flowers are so fragile that attaching them was a little stressful!). Have you ever tried drying flowers? What method did you use to preserve them, and if you attached them to something, what was your approach?

Hope you’re having a pleasant first day of spring, and that there are loads of things bringing you happiness today!


A Nice Distraction


Click the picture for a larger image

Spent a lot of time doing some art journaling today. Kind of in a bummer of a mood, but drawing, painting, gluing, coloring… all of those things served as a nice distraction.


The words in¬† the background are lyrics I pulled from a pretty song I heard the other day called “Broken” by Lauren Hoffman.

In kind of a funk today, but I know everything will be alright. See you here tomorrow.

Learning · Projects




For the first time since we’ve been home, I did some art journaling today. Took me over three hours to do one page, because my heart just wasn’t in it. I spent some time looking at old pages from the past year and a half, and so much has changed. Granted, a lot of it was expected: I knew we were going to move home from Japan, I knew we were planning on buying a house, I knew we’d each have new jobs, I knew there’d be a lot of adjusting. But a lot has changed that I didn’t expect.

I’ve been in a funk that I just can’t get out of, and I want the parts of me back that read, write, create, and care. How many days have gone by with me thinking I need to finally get around to writing so and so back, or that I need to work on a project or post on my blog, where I did completely the opposite? How much time have I wasted sleeping or dreaming as I look out at the gloomy weather? I feel blocked, and like it’s time to break the wall.

It’s time to break the wall.