Projects

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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!

Summer Bucket List

Writing Practice

This morning as a needed distraction, I finally got around to working on one of the writing prompts from 642 Things to Write About. On my summer bucket list, I had hoped to try out at least one writing prompt a week, and today’s attempt was a good reminder that I need to stay in practice! (Perhaps I should add that goal to my Autumn Bucket list this year!) It has been quite a while since I’ve done any creative writing, and I definitely need some brushing up. However, without further adieu, I’ve decided to share what I came up with today here with you.

The Prompt: A woman thinks she might be living next door to her grandson

Beautiful autumn window
source

My Attempt:

    There were six squares in each window pane, and each one could form the perfect picture frame for a scene outside. Eleanor thought about this, sipping her morning coffee and adjusting her viewpoint for each square as though she were looking through the lens of a camera. That little blue house across the road looks just right at this angle, she thought. The simple, cottage-style house fills the right two-thirds of the frame, and leaves the left third of the frame open for the green bushes on the bottom and the arching, yellowing leaves peaking in at the top. Yes, Eleanor nodded to herself, composing a picture in thirds often makes it more interesting.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Eleanor slurped her coffee and¬†considered the flavor filling her palate. This morning’s coffee was an autumn blend, matching the fall shadows blanketing the trees outside, the brisk air, and the calm feeling that came over Eleanor every year after summer had passed.¬†With the autumn coffee lingering on her tongue, Eleanor¬†took a bite of a homemade coffee cake scone, closing her eyes and trying to recognize individual flavors: cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice.
¬†¬†¬†¬† She had so much time to bake these days. It was something she always loved. She sometimes donated her baked goods¬†to church-related organizations,¬†brushing people off when they tried to approach her and ask her about her delicious recipes. Her nose would crinkle up and she’d hobble away, waving her hands as though she were shooing a fly. It had always been difficult for her to accept compliments, though she secretly loved the attention she got for the things she made. She remembered her grandchildren going wild over her jam tarts when they were little. Each tart would be¬†shaped differently, and Eleanor used several jams as fillings. Apricot, raspberry, blueberry, kiwi…the tarts filled the table like¬†a rainbow.
     Eleanor smiled as she remembered their tiny little fingers reaching for one tart after another. She lightly touched the smooth surface of the same table the tarts had been spread across years ago, tracing the knots of the wood in several places before reaching for her coffee cup and gazing back outside.
     Those are new neighbors, Eleanor observed, looking out a different window pane. A young man and woman carried cardboard boxes from a blue station wagon into the quaint red brick house. The woman wore a simple white cotton tee-shirt dress with navy blue leggings and flats, her long strawberry blond hair pulled into a loose pony tail. The man wore jeans, loafers and a three-quarter sleeve plaid button-up shirt. His dark brown hair was a little long and messy, his smile wide and happy.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Eleanor shifted her focus to the boxes. The last time she moved must have been thirty years ago or more. What had she brought with her, from place to place? Books, bowls, blankets. Cats, cups, and candles. Usual things, she supposed. Eleanor wondered what would fill the red brick house across the street–what would be neatly unpacked from all of the boxes as the couple made their house a home. She stood from her chair and held onto the wall for support as she made her way closer to the window that framed the young couple moving in.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Pushing a stray strand of silver hair from her face, Eleanor squinted outside, trying to make out the faces of the couple. She started, suddenly, eyebrows raised with a look of disbelief. Could that be… No, no. Eleanor had thought she’d seen her grandchildren all over town for years, realizing she was always wrong, always creating an embarrassing scene. It had been¬†so long¬†since she had¬†seen any of them. That’s how life worked, she supposed: over time, people spread out all¬†over the globe and got caught up in life, forgetting¬†about grandmothers. There just isn’t always time for grandmothers.
¬†¬†¬†¬† This¬†man across the street looked so much like Noah, her very first grandchild. As she watched him, Eleanor felt a sense¬†hope and comfort in his smile, something familiar in his expression and in¬†his eyes. How would Noah have ended up here, in a house directly adjacent to his old, lonely grandmother? And furthermore, why wouldn’t he have told her, or come to visit?¬†Surely if Noah were to be that close in proximity to his grandmother, it couldn’t inconvenience him much to¬†stop by for¬†coffee. She played the scene out in her mind, imagining¬†Noah giving her a great big hug,¬†saying it’s been so long and does she ever make those tarts anymore?
¬†¬†¬†¬† Eleanor shook her head and pulled herself along the table back to her coffee. She slid her cup and her plate over to the opposite side, sitting down in front of it with a new view out the windows. It couldn’t be Noah. Eleanor¬†turned her attention to her scone, pushing crumbs onto her fingertips and bringing them to her lips.¬†She squinted up at the blue, cloudless sky out the window. Six new squares to contemplate now,¬†Eleanor thought, and she took another sip of coffee and tried to push Noah from her mind.