December Daily Art Journal | Making Pages

I am continuing to work on my December Art Journal today, and talking a bit about making the pages. I am making a spiral bound notebook, so there is no folding of signatures here, but instead, it’s cutting different kinds of papers down to size. Randomly mine are 19,5×15,5 centimeters (7.6 x 6.1 inches).

December Journal Pages (Astrid Lindgren)

In this process I tend to never want to stop. I love making the foundation pages of a notebook so much! It’s partly a design process, where you combine colors and patterns (cardstock, scrapbook paper, wrapping paper and wallpapers) as a foundation for other elements.

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Starting a December Journal

Start: Chrismassy December Journal

We are well into the last month of the year, December. In addition to gingerbread baking and window decorating I think you should consider making yourself a December Journal. It really brightens the mood, and makes the days a bit more merry. I’ll show you a few ideas from my December Journal in this and a few upcoming posts.

Merry and Bright Christmas Papers

The first part is collecting Christmas themed papers, which is something I have done for a few years and as of late, I keep them in a separate place for days like this. There are lots of used wrapping paper, some saved postcards and also scrap book paper I cut into the size of my December Journal.

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Spotted Photo Theme: Winter Trees

My Christmas tree
One thing that I really like about Christmas is the tree. My favorite kind of fir tree is the snow covered tree, growing in the forest. So far there hasn’t been any snow at all where I live (last night it was raining for two hours!), but I’m still picking the fir tree as my spotted photo theme of December. It’s a winter tree, don’t you think? You can pick any Christmassy theme you like of course!

What themes do you spot in your photographs? Join the fun: Spotted Photo Theme - inspired by iHanna at www.ihanna.nu Wanna join me? New to my prompt “Spotted Photo Theme”? Then read my Introduction to the Spotted Photo Theme Idea, and feel free to post the link to your Spotted Photo Theme of the month below in the comments. Use my theme, or tweak it to fit what you have photographed. Link back to me by text or using the spotted theme-button, thank you for helping me spread the word. Last theme was street art, in the comments there are some awesome participants to check out!

Smilla under the Tree
Smilla in 2007. Such a cute cat, at least until she started to climb the tree and made it fall to the floor…

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Celebrating Lifelong Learning

Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.
Mahatma Gandhi

Celebrating Lifelong Learning Bird

Celebrating Lifelong Learning. A page in my spiral bound Art Journal from 2005!


I think life is a long learning opportunity, if we allow it to. To learn new things is super fun too. That’s why I love reading books, trying out new things and experiment with my art. To learn new things though we’ve got to keep an open mind. In Buddhism there is an expression that is called a beginners mind (shoshin). It does not mean that we should stay ignorant, but instead cultivate a mind of curiosity! And when we do know something, to be humble about it so that we can learn even more.

For example, I think I know lots about art journaling, at least art journaling “my style” and what I like to do in both mixed media art and inside my books…

Then when I came upon the Art Journal page above, one I did back in 2005, I noticed the title: Celebrating Lifelong Learning. I guess lifelong learning has been on my mind for many years. And it got me thinking about how I could take this page further. Maybe remake it into something better to my liking?

Because I still remember the feeling of being disappointed with this page and how it looked when I was finished. I imagined it would come out a cool mixed media like bird, but instead it looks like kindergarten art. So when I came upon the blog post about it, now many years later, I got the idea that I should re-do this bird. As an exercise, and to see if I could make something that I felt more at ease with. Had I learned anything new in all these years? So I set out to replicate it but with freedom…

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Inspiration | Advice, Truth, Writing Life

Inspiration Mosaic Oct-Nov 2014

Inspiration Mosaic October-November 2014, collected by iHanna. Click image to see individual sources,
or here to view mosaic image big.

November is ending, so it’s time. Hello Inspiration Mosaic, and some links to must-check-out stuff below. I think it’s interesting how you can tell by the colors in these inspiration mosaics what season it is. Summers are much brighter than fall, winter is whites and christmassy colours – and then spring is greener. Fall is always very brown, as you can see.

Today is the beginning of Christmas count down, four weeks to go. And I thought I’d share some of my recent reads too…

Links to Advice, Truth and a bit about the Writing Life

  1. Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young
    Great article by Mary Schmich: Inside every adult lurks a graduation speaker dying to get out, some world-weary pundit eager to pontificate on life to young people who’d rather be Rollerblading.
  2. The Truth About Knitting and Crochet… They are Good for You
    “Is knitting therapeutic? Heck yes. It’s a proven scientific fact, just like we know chocolate and red wine are good for us. Since turning my life over to yarn, I’ve talked to thousands of knitters who claim it’s cured everything from gout to their weight problems.
  3. What It Takes to Be a Writer, Courtesy of Elizabeth Berg
    For starters, develop these skills…Observation, Panhandling, Imagination, Thick Skin, and a little Joy. It helps if you’re a crybaby, which is to say it helps if you feel things very deeply and respond to them, whether with actual tears or not. Says Elizabeth Berg, the author of twenty novels.
  4. Interview with Elizabeth Gilbert
    Elizabeth Gilbert achieved great success with her memoir Eat Pray Love. Since the publication of that book, she has delivered two popular TED talks and written a second memoir entitled Committed and a novel called The Signature of All Things. Check out the highlights from our interview…
  5. 5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Life (Without Knowing It)
    Willpower: When you were little and people asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what did you tell them? Did you stick with the standard “doctor” or “veterinarian,” or did you shoot for the moon with “pop star” or “astronaut”? Whatever it was, I’d say for about 95 percent of you the answer is….

Also, it’s time to start planning for next year, and if you haven’t got your Calendar ready you might want to check out my DIY Calendar Pages with lots of ideas on how to customize your own planner for next year. The pages for 2015 is in my etsy shop now.

I wish you a happy first of Advent!

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Pink Polka Dot Altered Vintage Postcards

Yay for postcards that glitter

Each swap round I try to experiment a bit with my postcards. I mix it up, change things around, try new ideas and techniques. This time I started on unused, vintage postcards as the base, and added lots of acrylic paint on top of them. Some are covered, some still has a bit of the motive peaking through.

After a not so happy start smashing paint and bits of tissue paper on some of the vintage postcards, I finally made peace with them and finished them this week. The new pink Posca pen I bought came handy in helping me feel artsy, and finally actually liking my postcards! I went over almost all of them with the pen nib, and made them polka dotted. The combination of pink + dots makes me happy, and I hope that they make the recipients happy too!

Finished my Postcards

Then I looked through my pen pouch for a good black pen, to write some kind of message on each postcard. Even though I have lots to chose from, I couldn’t find the perfect pen… So in the end I decided to try my very abused steel nib calligraphy dip pen and some black ink. I have seen so much beautiful calligraphy lately in my instagram feed, but it was a long time since I practiced this art form. My Lamy Safari was empty, so I used the dip pen and did a few test swirls, and then just wrote out some messages about creativity and happiness. Not perfect, but perfectly imperfect and quirky fun. I hope.

DIY Postcard: Happy Mail coming your way

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Cheer me up & share your DIY Postcards

On my desk right now

November in Sweden this year has been horrible gray. Where I live there has been gray skies for weeks on end. It feels like the fog never lifts, and it gets dark around three o’clock. The first few weeks we had a record low of 2 hours of sunshine! Yeah, it’s been bad, and I feel it in my entire body. Not even the prospect of making something cheers me up and the blog posts I have written have been few and far apart… I just want to go to sleep. But this week I finally spread out the vintage postcards I had started… and finished them. Again, dear deadline, thanks for being there for me!

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Diamond Stitch & Neon Stars

Yay! I finished my second Diamond Stitched Art Journal of the year. I am really digging this binding (I used pink book binding thread of course). I like gluing the cover together, I like sewing in the signatures, and I love using this kind of art journal. Love it!

Diamond Stitched Neon Stars Art Journal made by iHanna

I really think that making my own personal Art Journals is awesome. They couldn’t be more custom made!

For the cover I choose a white oil cloth fabric, decorated with orange neon colored stars. Yup, I did. Saw it at the fabric store, had to have it – and have already used a small part of it for this cover. I think you’ll have to agree with me that it’s delicious, right? Neon, still digging it.

Brown Paper Bag pages inside, Art Journal  made by iHanna

And as previously demonstrated brown paper bags makes perfect journal pages, in combination with lots of white watercolor paper waiting for layers and layers of paint or course. Not sure if I will add anything to the printed paper bag pages, but maybe I will write around the edges…

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Collecting Christmas Papers

Collecting Christmas Papers

Right now my desk is filled with paper projects. It’s the end of the year feelings, where I go through boxes of stuff and decide on what I want to work on, finish, or leave behind. It’s a way of clearing the plate for new ideas coming January I guess. In the process, I’ve found wrapping paper and Christmas related imagery en masse in my stash. I have a special folder for Christmas imagery that I have collected or been given. Mosty I keep it there because I don’t want to look at it all year long. But right now, it feels just perfect to bring it out and spread it out…

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The Hamster on my Head

You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?
George Bernard Shaw

Art Journaling: Me and hamsti selfie in my art journal,  by iHanna of www.ihanna.nu
Let’s draw selfies! Much more fun and original than taking them with your cell phone!

Working on new journal with brown paper bags inside, but also in this one darling journal. There is a drawn selfie of me, with a hamster on my head. It’s from when I did baby sit a hamster a few weeks this fall:
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