A little bit of everything…

Category Archives: Journal

Back in June of 2011, I had typed up a post about journaling for Pentel’s blog. It was posted on Pentel’s old blog and can be found HERE.

I think it is a relevant topic and since I’ve found myself in a journaling rut, I’m reposting it here with hopes of reigniting my journal spark. Enjoy and be well.

Keeping a journal can be a very rewarding experience. Many people get hung up on expectations and perceived boundaries. They feel a journal should be a specific type of thing, containing mandatory elements. With such limitations, a journal often sits abandoned on a shelf and collects dust rather than achieves its full potential by becoming an extension of its owner.


Don’t feel restricted by materials. If you feel like gathering random bits of junk mail, punching holes and adding a binder ring, go for it. For some, a five-year leather bound expensive journal and a fancy fountain pen is the answer. For others, a fifty-cent special composition notebook from the back-to-school sale is perfect. Digital journals are also a possibility. Don’t feel you have to live up to anyone else’s standards. Journaling is individual and should match your needs and personality. Since there are no rules for your journal, you can do whatever feels right. Change things up and play around. Heck if you want four journals going at one time, by all means give yourself permission. Dating pages might be helpful but it isn’t mandatory, nothing is. Toss every rule and regulation out the window. By ridding yourself of all preconceived restrictions, you will be able to get to the heart of what journaling is truly about – YOU.

journal excerpts 2

Colorful pens, crayons, markers, paints, etc. can be great tools to help you loosen up and let go of your inhibitions. The content of your journal can be as unique as your imagination. Glue in bits of ephemera from your days, document your life hour-by-hour, record dreams, keep lists, draw doodles, and scribble song lyrics. A journal can help you vent frustrations, work out problems, make difficult decisions, expand on new ideas, refocus your energy, keep track of events and act as a stand in for your best friend. It can contain any combination of writing, drawing, scribbling, or coloring. The important thing is to give yourself an outlet.

journal excerpts

“But I can’t draw.” Tie this excuse up, cover its loud mouth with tape and send it to sleep with the fishes. Don’t pressure yourself with hopes of a final masterpiece. The process is key. Draw basic shapes or stick people and enjoy yourself. Doodle a border of daisies around your page, color them and have some fun. Journals don’t pass judgment. If you don’t feel comfortable creating your own designs, print out coloring pages. Grab your crayons, markers, highlighters or colored pens and then glue the results in your journal. Some days you may just want to collect bits of inspiration by pasting pieces of magazines or catalogs in your journal. Remember, anything goes.

I am no stranger to struggling with keeping a journal. I found writing every day wasn’t a good fit. By allowing myself to explore possibilities outside the “Dear Diary” realm, I’m now more eager to journal. I’m open to experimentation and have tried a lot of different approaches. I’ve collected bits of my day and glued them on a page. I didn’t write one word but the mementos act as a reminder of that day. I’ve depicted an entire day with doodles. Some days my journal entry only includes words, filling multiple pages. Other days lack a single complete sentence. I find stream of consciousness writing helpful when “writer’s block” strikes and doodling patterns is helpful if I can’t think of anything to draw. Some pages inspire me to share them online or with friends but I’ve also created pages that will never see the light of day again.

I feel that the sky is the limit since I’ve left all the rules behind. Sure, some pages might fit better in a sketchbook or planner but they are all important parts of my journal. There is a great deal to gain; I hope this inspires you to adventure into the world of journaling.

Journal entry with olive green Stabilo point 88.

Today I grabbed my 20 pen set of Stabilo Point 88 fineliners. These pens are very nice for journaling. I’ve also found they are cooperative even on thin fussy paper (like in my Moleskine weekly planner). They come in a few different sets and even as single pens at some stores.

My set was purchased during a trip to Chicago in 2009. (Geez it was that long ago?) The case and ink colors can be seen in these photos if you are curious.

My Chicago purchases Chicago Trip - Stabilo Point 88

Stabilo produces reliable writing instruments and I’m thrilled to see them more widely available. The barrels of these fineliners are hexagonal which are comfortable for writing. (Personally I don’t think I could manage long writing sessions but a couple pages in my journal is doable without issue.) They have a metal-enclosed tip for durability. I haven’t noticed any change in the tips of my set which is very much appreciated. I adore the color orange so a nice bright orange set of 20 fineliners is just divine. The website says the Point 88 is available in 25 colors but I’ve only seen sets of 20. Now I’m curious about the five colors I don’t have at my disposal.

I hope you enjoyed this little look at one of the items in my #dailyarsenal today.

Stripes make everything better, even doodles #aedm2011 #aedm

I managed four hours at work today. It felt so good to get back home to bed. My ankle is so different when I’m not lying in bed with it elevated. Sitting at work with it up at hip level just isn’t the same. It’s rather picky.

Today’s AEDM adventure involved wondering what I should do for a couple hours. I thought about working on my knit scarf, crochet ripple blanket, starting something new like a crochet snowflake and just doodling. Doodling won. More tentacles with stripes and clouds fell out of my Pentel EnerGel pen. I’m not sure that’s all for today but I am tired so I figured I’d better post before I doze off.

Hope your week started off well. Be well.

#aedm #aedm2011 journal doodle

I returned to work today for just shy of three hours. That may not sound like much but it is both the longest I have been up and the first day back since the accident. I am very proud of myself. Despite exhaustion, discomfort, aches and the distinct pins-and-needles of my mending ankle, I have been smiling a lot. Today is another step toward normalcy, toward life becoming recognizable again.

I wish I had grabbed my pens and journal earlier but my pillow put a spell on me that was nearly unbreakable. I wanted to share my day with you all and I really want to keep my AEDM going strong – so here I am before calling it a night (again).

My ankle was fractured in three places and dislocated. Each of the three bones that make up the ankle were broken. I think about it more than I probably should. I also think about the accident. The actions of one man impacted my life & my family so deeply. I don’t explore this in my journaling yet, I probably should.

Tonight I doodled something just to let my mind take a breath. I used a Pelikan Fineliner 96, a gift from a pen friend, and my Ecosystem Author journal. Sometimes it’s best to let yourself turn the thoughts off and just marvel at being.

Take care and be well.


Have you ever seen something at a store and justified the purchase cost solely based on curiosity?  I give you Mallo-Licious. These were sitting on the shelf with other Easter candies. Jelly filled marshmallow treats – how could I resist? Well I probably could have but the fifty cent price tag made up my mind. I haven’t opened either flavor yet. I’m too mesmerized by the odd pastel color and fluffy round shapes. Each one has a peculiarly simulated leaf on top. I honestly would like to get into a fight using these as weapons. Wouldn’t that be fun? I really do wonder how they taste. Are they as soft as I think they should be? I’ll update if I get brave. Tomorrow is deadline day so I might be forced to try these in hopes of Alice in Wonderland “Eat Me” type results. I’ll report back if the outcome is bizarrely magnificent. Or if I end up loving them and buy out the clearance section.

New friend :)

I also found a cute little stuffed dinosaur toy for just seventy-five cents. Matt and I took turns testing out the durability and decided it should hold up to Iggy Pup’s loving abuse for awhile. He seems to like it.

I brought 5 tulips to work today

Last week I took some daffodils to work. I needed the bright color. Today I discovered the blooms had wilted and left my work area dull again. During lunch I cut some tulips. Three white (which are more of a very pale yellow) and two purple now adorn my desk. I don’t use fancy vases. Instead, I use plastic bottles from the recycle bin. I should really crochet a cozy to dress it up a bit.

Not much else to report. I’m in a bit of a rut these days. Trying to shake it – so far I’ve done a tiny bit of gardening. I’ll wrap things up with a few recent photos. Take care and be well.

Singled out

Leaf buds :) Finally

Fav daffodils are finally blooming.

More flowers.


At some point I thought I’d regain a spark, some fire inside of me that would conquer the winter blues and I’d blaze through projects with an inspired internal fire. Unfortunately I must have a really good internal sprinkler system because not much has sparked. The important thing is to take one moment at a time, to keep moving – even if it is only baby steps.

Hexagon scarf nearly complete.

I’m working steadily on crochet projects lately. I made 12 hexagons in brilliant and vibrant red, pink and purple. I’ve gotten to the last stage – weaving in ends. Its not my favorite part of crochet but I’m working through it.

first snow

We woke up yesterday to the first real snow of the season. Iggy enjoyed it more than we did. Shoveling is hard on my gimpy wrists. But we survived. Iggy had fun running and bouncing on the new white turf.


I keep reminding myself to keep at it. Journaling and doodling are necessities this time of year. Pen to paper, pen to paper.

The fire is so delightful...

We had our fireplace inspected on Wednesday. More than five years have passed since it was last used. Less than two hours later Matt had a blaze going. I forgot what it was like. So organically comforting. Iggy barked a lot at first. After the warmth started emanating he settled in to stamp his approval with a good nap.


Its actually sunny today. The gloom rolled out with the snow and welcomed in freezing temperatures. I should put on some layers and enjoy the day – one baby step at a time.

It’s already Sunday. How can I keep up at this pace? At some point I *WILL* find a remote control whose pause button works on time. As soon as I pause time, I will grab a nice soft blanket, a pillow and my critters and take the universe’s greatest nap *ever*!

I did nap today. I admit that because I haven’t napped for (what is for me) a long time. It felt good, Iggy snoring in my ear and we were all cuddly under a couple blankets.

#dailyarsenal 11.07.10

You didn’t think I’d neglect my art journal, did you? (I took the nap after my art binge.) I grabbed a bunch of supplies and sat on the floor. I did a couple tiny things to other pages but mostly concentrated on the new trigger “Moment.” Lots of colored and watercolor pencils and fineliner. I tried to use a lot of browns and blues.

NaNoJouMo "Moment"

Then when I got to a stopping point I grabbed my sketchbook and doodled some robots. Robots are great. They can be any combination of basic shapes. Notice the subtle use of grey and pink marker. Lol that made me happy.

Robot Doodles

Mister Iggy Pup has decided its time for a bathroom break. I’m currently wearing two hoodies over a tshirt and a blanket wrapped around my granny-jogging pants wearing lower half. Goodness I am not ready for this time of year. Dark by 5pm and cold cold cold. Okay, its not even that cold yet! Oy.

Be well.

It’s November 6th today – I know because I had to write a check. I can’t express how fast this year has gone for me. I feel like I should be spinning in circles or worse.

NaNoJouMo is going well! I spent last night digging around for paper and things to construct a 30 page journal from. I settled on a piece of tagboard for the cover and old book pages for the text block. I didn’t want to spend too much time figuring out how to sew it all together so I grabbed my masking tape and went to work. Three pieces on each spread is holding it together. So far so good.

I spent today taking care of the zoo and working on my first pages. I don’t think any of them are quite done yet but I wanted to share. The prompts can be found daily at D’Blogala but they are just there if you need them. Dawn’s reminder today helped me take the plunge. It’s not necessary to finish an entire page – Just make progress in your Art Journal. I’m proud of what I accomplished.

These are the pages that are “mostly done.” I can’t say I’m finished but I really like how they are right now.

"Inception" for NaNoJouMo

"Choice" for NaNoJouMo

"Fortune" for NaNoJouMo

"Equanimity" for NaNoJouMo

Here is a “work in progress” photo. The “Quarter” page needed to dry so I’ll certainly be working on that more. The page on the right shows the gel transfer drying compared to the more finished version above. For these pages I used stamps, gel medium transfers, print outs, metallic markers, metallic pens, Pitt artist pens, magazine scraps, book scraps, watercolors, watercolor pencils, manila paper and dried flowers.

Pages in progress for NaNoJouMo

My Daily Doodles are updated. Visit my Flickr set to view #88 through #94. Can you believe that I’ve doodled almost a hundred things? I’m impressed that I’ve stuck with it. Granted I have had a couple “catch-up” incidents.

I am looking forward to working on my NaNoJouMo art journal tomorrow. I had to stop because the sun disappeared. We set our clocks back tonight which means I will have some sunlight before I get to work but less chance of seeing the sun after work. I wish I could bottle the sun for taking photos and working on art. I really think I’m solar-powered. No sun means Sara has no energy. We’re starting the hardest time of the year for me – I sure hope I can do this… again.

Be well. (Don’t forget to check your smoke detector batteries!)

Occasionally my budget stomps on my happy and I have to figure out ways to spice up my life without spending a dime. This project grew out of my insatiable appetite for deco tape (also called Washi tape).

Deco tape is all the rage right now – fancy decorative tape to stick on packages, journal pages, notes and envelopes. Some people create entire projects using just paper and deco tape. Its inspiring and amazing. Click HERE to see what images Google gathers for “Deco Tape.”

If you’re like me, sometimes spending money is harder to come by than a yeti in a ballerina tutu. If you want some fun DIY Deco Tape to adorn your creative endeavors, grab some masking tape, wax paper and your permanent marker supply – It’s DIY Time!

DIY Deco Tape Supplies

First step is to tear a piece of wax paper approximately the size of a standard sheet of paper. Actually the size doesn’t matter much as long as its large enough to hold the piece of masking tape you tear.

The next step is to tear or cut off a piece of your masking tape. Any length will do as long as it suits your needs.

DIY Deco Tape - Decorate

Now grab your markers and get creative. Try stripes, shapes, patterns, amorphous blobs of color, words… trace things, use stencils. If you have permanent ink stamp pads, get stamping! I think its best to use permanent color. (Notice my disregard for staying inside the lines. My waxed paper is now decorated too lol).

DIY Deco Tape - Peel off the wax paper and have fun!

After you’re done decorating the tape, peel it off the waxed paper and go crazy with it.

DIY Deco Tape - Journal brightening

I cut bits off my tape and used it to tape some fortunes into my journal. Don’t feel trapped using it just one way – maybe grab some decorative edge scissors too!

DIY Deco Tape - Decorate a package

I’ve thought of using a small piece of wax paper cut to size of my day planner to keep some DIY Deco Tape close at hand. You never know when you might have to brighten up someone’s day – even your own. I loved using my first two pieces on a package I sent out. Doesn’t the envelope look much better?

DIY Deco Tape - Get Creative!

Currently I’m hoping to get different widths of masking tape. Wouldn’t a package look adorable with some brown kraft paper and tape? The holidays are coming up really fast and I bet I could have some fun.

I hope this inspires you. Please leave a comment if you give this a try. I’d love to see what you come up with! Be well.

My last post on January 7th was about the snow that fell on our small corner of the Earth. The following morning we awoke to more and all I could think was “Sara, you and your big mouth,” like I had challenged the snow gods to make up for the manageable amount that had fallen the day before. I’m not sure where I picked up that habit but I do it a lot. Any time something happens after I comment on the subject, I immediately place it on my list of whooopsies.

My Big Mouth 1/8/10

That was the last snow that has fallen in our area. But now because I’m typing this – I predict that we will get some very soon and my list of whooopsies will continue to grow.

Winter is a challenge for many of us. The shorter days and lack of sun can quickly lead to blue moods and a constant deficit of energy. In an attempt to keep my spirits up, I invested in more art supplies!

Daily Arsenal 1/16/10

Thirty new vibrant RoseArt markers to keep me happy and best of all they cost next to nothing! (My budget is on the side lines applauding loudly.) The markers alone are pretty and the rainbow colors can brighten the greyest of days but using them is what keeps me truly afloat. It doesn’t matter if I create a masterpiece or just outline a few letters, the point is I’m creating something. Here is a glimpse of the doodles that fell out of my markers while Matt, my parents and I were enjoying a game of Scrabble. (Somehow, I managed to win that game… I attribute it to the doodles).

Doodle Fun!

Some recent days have been harder than others. I can’t deny them because the struggles we face make us who we are.
[Edited to remove approximately 3 paragraphs.]
I’ve removed these words because it was more of journal selection than a blog entry. Not a bad thing by any means but I’ll summarize instead. Try to live your life in front of your own eyes.

Iggy Pup, our vivacious Boston Terrier, turned two on January 7th. Life is not always fun and it isn’t always easy but Iggy helps to remind me that it is all worth it. Small moments, like catching a few rays of sunshine during a lunch break or getting a kiss from your puppy can salvage a bad day. You can never take things too seriously, especially when you have Iggy passing gas in your immediate area. Also Iggy is great at reminding me that a nap now and again is perfectly acceptable.

Iggy Pup

Take care and be well. Find your happy thoughts today and keep them in your pocket.