I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Monday, 1 May 2017

Nature Journal






Hello all!  I hope those of you in the UK are enjoying the Bank Holiday, despite the rather gloomy weather.  I'm delighted to be here today with a very exciting post.

You'll have seen projects using Eileen Hull's amazing new Journal die popping up here and there, and I'm so thrilled to have been invited by Eileen to create my own version to celebrate the release.

These journals will also be appearing soon in a special e-book, collecting together the inspirational projects from around the world.  Details for that will follow soon but, for now, here's my Nature Journal for you.


















Regulars know I love my crackle and my wild meadow flowers and grasses, so that's what I went for with this journal.  It's for me, so why not have all my favourite things on it?!

The other thing which always appeals to me in a journal is gentle simplicity - to give room for the imagination to breathe.














On the inside, I've kept it simple too - a combination of watercolour paper (so that I can continue my new obsession), and some old music manuscript prepared for action with washes of gesso and white paint.














Eileen's die makes it so easy to make your journal be exactly what you want it to be, and as you will have seen around Craftyblogland, the possibilities are pretty much infinite.















I can't wait to play again and see what happens the next time around.  But for now, here are a few close-ups and some details on how I did what I did, and the products I used.













The base layer was DecoArt Chalky Finish Paint in Relic (dark grey) and Primitive (stone) - doesn't matter how it looks at this stage, it's all going to be covered!).











Over that I used the DecoArt Crackle Glaze formulated for their Chalk Paints with a coat of Everlasting (white) once it was dry.

I decided I wanted a really rustic crackle texture, so I added some of the DecoArt Media Crackle Paint with a palette knife in places as an extra layer.












To seal all that in, so that the crackle won't peel off, I gave it all a generous coat of the Ultra-Matte Varnish also by DecoArt.














From there, I added washes of Fresco Finish Chalk Paints and DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in lots of my favourite blues and greens.  (Blues down from the top, greens up from the bottom.)











I use them with lots of water, and also with a spritzer handy, and add layers and knock back until I'm happy with the look.

For many projects, I would do this with Distress Inks, but this journal is going to need to withstand some wear and tear, so the paint is a better alternative.









Then I let loose with the glorious meadow grasses by Lin Brown for PaperArtsy.  









I used the stems from ELB30 and 33, and layered them up in Olive and Leaf Archival inks, creating height at the edges.














You may be able to see that I've also done some light spatter with some of the leftover blue/greens from the craft mat.












I was slightly concerned about what might happen when I cracked those creases back into action, but the break was easy and clean, and I love the effect of the cracked edges.











After I'd inked around the corners and along the edges with Archival ink, I made sure they got an extra helping of Ultra-Matte Varnish to be sure they'll be nice and sturdy.

So far, it's been to the Czech Republic and back with me, and it still looks as good as new.  Next stop, New York.















For the inside covers, I used some design papers by 7 Dots Studio.  The line is called Nature Walk (which seemed appropriate for my Nature Journal).













And the signatures are formed of papers which I hope will inspire me to play...

Plenty of watercolour paper, torn along the edges for a nice distressed look...














... alternating with the white-washed music manuscript pages torn from an old, unwanted music book.











I love how the page edges look all together.  Simple things please me!















The signatures are held in place with fine twine, threaded through Eileen's cleverly constructed spine.














I made a feature of the binding on the spine, adding a couple of Idea-ology pieces to an extra piece of the twine and tying it around the strings at the back.















And the same fine twine acts as a fastening - tied in a simple bow.  It looks complicated to untie and retie, but really isn't!












I used my Hero Arts alphabet to stamp the word Journal onto one of the leftover watercolour strips torn from the sheets used to make the pages inside.


It's layered up over some tea-bag fragments.  I love how these fragile bits of paper add some definition, while still allowing you to see the crackle and the stamping underneath.












And the back, of course, continues the gentle walk through the meadow...















So that's my Nature Journal - just the first of many journals which will appear, I'm thinking.

It's been amazing to get a chance to experiment with Eileen's design - it's going to be in such regular use when I get my own die back home to play with (it's waiting for me in the States at the moment).  









I'll be back with details of the e-book release as soon as we have them, and at that point I may even give you a sneak peek of some of the experimental works in progress which are now in the pages inside!  For now, you can catch up with some of the extraordinarily inspiring creations from around Craftyblogland over at Eileen's blog.  


Thanks so much for stopping by today, and if I can get my computer keyboard to behave, I hope to spend some time in Craftyblogland soon.

Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
John Muir


I'd like to share this at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where the theme is The Great Outdoors
At Mixed Media World they are playing Anything Mixed Media Goes with a twist of watercolour
As always at Love To Create it's an Anything Creative/Mixed Media Goes
And at Mixed Media Monthly, as you can see, they would like us to Put A Stamp On It


51 comments:

Helen said...

what a gorgeous journal - I look forward to the artwork you create inside it soon!

Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful journal, that must be a great die. It's a gloomy Bank holiday here in Germany, too. Hugs, Valerie

chrissie said...

This journal looks fantastic Alison and you always do crackle so well. Nice day here but a very cold wind as well as the sun.

Love Chrissie xx

froebelsternchen Susi said...

An absoultely amazing journal Alison! Fantastic!

Fliss said...

This is really stunning Alison, so very you and love the crackle combined with those gorgeous stamped grasses. Music score is a wonderful addition too.
Fliss xx

Astrid Maclean said...

Fabulous and so totally you Alison!! Love their torn edges of the inside pages and those meadow grasses just look perfect.I actually have that stamp set and have used several other ones in the set, but that has as yet remained un-inked. You have just totally inspired me to give it a work out!

Love the way you did that spine too!!!

Corrie Herriman said...

Looks amazing !
Corrie x

Eileen Hull said...

Simply stunning Alison! I love the crackle and soft colors- looks so organic and cool! So glad you are with us on our Journal adventure!

Chrissy said...

WONderful journalling book Alison and I love the cover...just perfect with all those grasses and crackle...gorgeous work.

luv CHRISSYxx

Julie Ann Lee said...

What a fabulous idea - a journal die! I really love what you have created with it. I agree that when a journal is for oneself it's only right to include your favourite things on it. How beautifully Lin's grasses go with the natural colours and the wonderful crackle. This is a truly lovely project, Alison. xx

Amanda said...

Stunning, a fabulous signature piece
Love
Amanda x

Redanne said...

I am so happy to see you create something for you, in your own wonderful style Alison. Your journal is stunning, the crackle looks amazing and the greenery adds just the right amount of colour, along with the washes of course. I can hardly wait to see the inside now! Anne xx

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

Wow you've show cased this beautifully Alison.....now I'm very tempted, how wonderful to create exactly what you want too ;)
Hugs
Donna xx

Meggymay said...

WOW, that is a fantastic die set. Your journal is gorgeous and I think it is going to be well traveled after reading your post.
Yvonne xx

rachel said...

oh so very beautiful Alison - I adore the colours - the stamping is so pretty. Beautiful. Hugs rachel x

craftimamma said...

How perfect this journal is Alison! The rough texture of the crackle and the delicacy of those grasses stamps from Lin is simply beautiful. I look forward to seeing the inside because I just know it will be special.

Hugs
Lesley Xx

Michelle said...

Such beautiful texture! I love the deckled papers and natural feel of your journal. Exquisite!

Brenda Brown said...

This is a gorgeous journal Alison and perfect for your watercolouring explorations. The fabulous crackle base layers give a wonderful aged feel and the watery washes of colours make a wonderful soft background for the stamps you chose to use. This has gone together beautifully xxx

Living to work - working to live said...

Oh my! I do love a handmade book!

hazel said...

This is amazing Alison, I love how you've decorated the cover and the fab crackle.
xxx Hazel.

Monika Gulyas said...

Wow Alison, this is breathtakingly beautiful!!! I love it! xx

Marci said...

Beautiful! Very appropriate for your watercolor projects.

craftytrog said...

Beautiful!!! x

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Lovely journal Alison, love the nature theme and natural colouring. Adore the crackle too, adds wonderful texture. Tracy x

Hazel Agnew said...

Totally exquisite! I am drooling. Lin Brown will be so pleased that you have showcased her grasses. How deliciously cool and inviting the inside pages look too! Wonderful crackle, wonderful stamping, beautiful spine feature! Need to make myself another book! Xx 😬

Dr Sonia S V said...

Oooh your crackle is simply fabulous and Thank you for sharing how to make it durable
Cheers
Dr Sonia

Sandy said...

I am in love - head over heels - crazy out of my mind. I love this Alison - adore it. Can you tell! It has taken me a while to find out what I really like. You dear heart, have a very classic style. Fabulous Alison! You have given a great tutorial in doing something I would like. I also want to thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a kind comment.
You sure do travel a lot - you must have tons of energy!
Sandy xx

Lisa H said...

Beautiful!!! I'm a fan of the Journal Die too. ;-) Thank you for playing along with our challenge at Mixed Media Monthly. =)

Sue said...

Really beautiful Alison, such pretty colours and textures xx

Anita Houston said...

That die is so fabulous, and I can't wait for mine! LOVE the nature theme, and I am sure the pages will be wonderful inside!

Jackie P Neal said...

Great work with the journal die Alison!
As always in your "organically goodness" fashion you have created a stunning piece! Looking forward to wht you add on the inside as well!
Jackie xo

Angela Radford said...

Gorgeous journal Alison. I'm loving the colour scheme and all the great detail. Hope we get to see what happens inside. Happy crafting, Angela xXx

maj. said...

Beautiful artwork , Alison!!!

Anneke said...

Your journal looks amazing Alison!!! I love every bit of it!

Pamellia Johnson said...

Gorgeous Alison! I love the texture on the cover, so amazing! The foliage is wonderful and full of springtime green, perfect against the soft blue sky background you created. I love those tokens you added as charms, a wonderful addition. The paper you used for the inside is fantastic, like some old book would find in a rare bookstore!! Fantastic project! hugs :)

Meihsia Liu said...

Wow.. this is such a gorgeous journal, Alison. The texture and colors you created are fabulous! Love the beautiful sentiment, too. :)

Team Clark said...

Alison, that grass stamp set is high high on my list and now you have me drooling over it again. :) I adore this textured journal cover with the lovely charm and fab torn edge inserts. Truly splendid! I will just have to break down and buy this die. I love love love this! Hugs, Autumn

Dorthe said...

A beautiful walk through your meadow ,dear Alison.
The wonderful texture and crackle with the stamped grasses, looks so much summer, and takes me back, to where I grew up, with a lovely meadow just outside my door. Thank you .
xoxo

Lys Scrap said...

A gorgeous journal. How I love your "gentle simplicity", Alison.

Macarena said...

Oh wow! This is perfect! I love all of this journal, the colors, stamping, crackle texture and the inside pages. What a great work. I guess I will make myfelf a journal like this too. Thank you for sharing and playing with Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge.

Julia said...

Gorgeous journal! The colours are so "you" and the Lin Brown stamp is one of my favourites, it is a perfect nature journal.

Etsuko Noguchi said...

Fantastic the journal! Simple but fabulous details and colours. Have a wonderful NY journey. xx

Coco said...

I absolutely adore your version Alison, you kept it simple but the result is just so beautiful... Loving the glorious meadow grasses, and your delicate crackle. And the look of your pages inside roughly cut, and your binding! Simply gorgeous!!! xx

Kirsten said...

Such a beautiful journal.

pearshapedcrafting said...

Sorry to be so late catching up but so pleased I didn't miss this fabulous journal! The crackle as ever is wonderful and those gorgeous grasses look so good! This is one die I have my eye on! Hugs, Chrisx

Montana-Hens said...

I love this piece of work. thanks for all the details on how you worked the project. It is beautiful.

Diana
Playingwithoutlimits.wordpress.com

Sara Barker said...

Oh, this just melts my nature loving heart! The crackle looks amazing and your frenzy of wildflowers looks as if Mother Nature herself had planted them! Love your interior pages waiting for your future artistic endeavors! Lovely!

Julia Aston said...

What a beautiful rustic look with the nature stampings and wonderful crackle Alison - love the twine closure and torn edge pages inside! Julia xx

Jenny Marples said...

Breathtakingly beautiful as ever. I adore your take on the journal with it's nature inspired rustic look and all of those delicious textures. The stamped foliage makes for the perfect border too. LOVE this xx

Shilpa Nagaonkar said...

Beautiful layers ...love your take on this new Journal Die.

Lynne Forsythe said...

WOW....WOW and WOW!!! Your journal is FANTABULOUS! Thank you soooo much for playing along with The Mixed Media Monthly Challenge ~ Put a Stamp on it!!!