Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

I mentioned having become hooked on You Tube videos of people making junk journals. It seems such a good idea to use up scraps of lace, bits of paper, glue, tape, and bits and bobs. One thing I have from my various craft hobbies over the years is bit and bobs. Time to have a go myself, and where better to show you my laughable efforts than here in Scrap Happy. After all I was using scraps and I did enjoy it very much indeed, so I am happy. And you will have a good laugh.

Do you sense a rider coming up, well several riders.

1 To have something look gorgeous is not as easy as it looks.

2 People who do You Tubes are very good at what they do. They sell the finished product for oodles of money.

3 My definition of junk is clearly not the same as others, considerable sums of money are spent on buying in the gorgeousness.

4 Some have clearly spent even more readies on craft materials and equipment than I have.

5 Some journals are real works of art, space for writing anything is not huge, or logical, but they do look fabulous.

So I decided to put all that behind me. I aspired to make a journal out of genuine junk , so that I can write stuff down. Now some junk journalists buy old books and pull them to bits. I don’t know that I will ever be able to pull a book to bits, it goes against my nature, maybe I will be able to do this one day. That way they start with a good cover and paper.

Some demonstrate that you can achieve lovely books with cereal packets. I had the inside piece of card from Mr E’s shirt. I cut it and painted it.

This is my learning junk journal so won’t have many signature pages ( Inside pages to the uninitiated) . I had tried printing out some photos of myself and my brother on the computer.  Now we only have a black and white printer so that rules out all sorts of things. They didn’t look good, so were now junk.

I decided to paint the reverse side.

Mistake one- do not rest page you are working on, on some wet paint underneath. You will get a mess.

Mistake two- don’t try to clean it off with a piece of tissue, you will make a bigger mess, but you can stick something over it. In this case a pressed flower.

That’s the reverse side I was painting on and when I had made the mess I decided that this would be part of a learning journal. I quite like the page on the right though.

I am a less is more kind of person ( laziness?) , but junk journalling is a more is best kind of craft.

Moving on I wondered if you could buy a something and make life a bit easier by only having pages to decorate. June is Go Wild month. Last year I kept notes but they were just in a notebook I have for jotting things down in, you know ,books to read, knitting patterns to try, places to go, to do lists. I thought wouldn’t it be nice to have something just for Go Wild.

Off to Hobbycraft where I bought a book, no idea what it’s for, maybe scrap booking.

Anyway I covered it.

I even managed to cut a place to get the ribbon through my paper. I am naturally pretty bad at this sort of thing, why did I think it was a good idea? The book cost about £4 but the rest of stuff is genuinely bits and bobs that have been languishing in a box, well for yonks plus ages.

Inside. Now I recall when doing my City and Guilds Course on Creative Embroidery , and having to keep sketchbooks, clippings books etc being told to get something, anything on page one or you would be stuck forever. I’ve not got there yet but.

I think these two bits may feature, again, stuff I have had for rather a long time, therefore junk, certainly I can see my children just chucking the contents of my box in a skip. ( I still have not got over my brother hurling out all my Mum’s calligraphy leftovers, although maybe I should be grateful). But to someone else’s eyes,  my stuff -its junk.

And then I had a close encounter with a blackbird, so I decided to just write something about that, and I had page two, and then I found a picture of bluebells so I had page three too.

And the whole thing seems less daunting. I think it’s a question of go for it and see what happens.

Finally I saw a You Tube, yes that again, on what to do with those pesky labels you cut out of clothes. I do tend to hang onto them too, they have nice designs and ribbons. You cover them with something pretty.

I have pretty  paper

I can do that. Mistake three- you can see the writing on the card through the lined file paper I thought would be good for the back. I shall have to redo them.

But washy tape and a bit of an old card from something works well, and you can tie them or just use a paper clip.

So that’s how far I have got.

My aim now is to keep practising , at some point I have to make the shirt card into an actual book.

To keep working on the Go Wild journal.

Eventually I would like to make something from all the pieces of paper my Dad and Mum saved that I can’t bear to part with. I even found a Latin exercise book of my Dad’s. He had torn out most of his work, but in the middle was a page of latin adverbs. I must use that.

I don’t want to spend a fortune on this, I would like to use up the various leftover (scrap) materials I have. Maybe one day I can destroy and reuse a book , but I am not there yet.

Have you tried making journals? If so what are your top tips?

Please have a look at the other Scrap Happy posts over at Kate’s



Comments on: "Scrap Happy adventures with junk." (42)

  1. I can make books but it’s filling them with something – anything – interesting that poses a problem for me. My sister and mum both have art degrees and I was fascinated by their sketchbooks. Perhaps they’ve left me intimidated and with a feeling that anything I produce will be so far inferior in comparison as not to bother in the first place!

    • I saw the last journals you made and they are wonderful. I bet you would make superduper truly fabulous and glamourous vintage junk journals, no art degree required. Do not be intimidated by degrees.

  2. […] post was inspired by a reply to a comment I made to this post on https://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com/2018/05/15/scrap-happy-adventures-with-junk/which was about creating a ‘junk […]

  3. You have some lovely projects in mind – looks fun!

  4. As long as you’re engaged and excited, carry on, Cathy!
    Go with the flow – let things evolve naturally.
    And share whenever the spirit moves you. xx

  5. I rather like the idea of using junk in journals – you could have inspired me to add some to a journal I intend to create by the February next year – there’s a time on it as it will be a memory of a special year for me. I saw mini bunting on a page the other day – made from discarded birthday cards and ribbons cut from clothes price tags. Please share how you get on in the future.

    • Oh I will share when there’s enough to make a post. If you are making a special journal then it would be fun to add bits of ephemera. I am getting the jargon too!

  6. I haven’t succumbed to YouTube videos but I’ve seen enough examples of junk journals or altered books online to believe you when you say it’s not as easy as it looks. 😉 Gotta try everything once though!

    • It’s good fun. I don’t think I want to invest in new materials but if I can put a use to all my leftover scraps then I am content.

  7. I think you have made a good start! It’s the hardest thing to figure out what,where and how…. and only experimentation, repetition and time can lead us on. I’ll share with you the one thing I learned that made it all work for me and which I still use when I make any piece of mixed media art. Layer. And I did it this way: printed paper, paint, stencil and more (different colour) paint, stamp randomly, anything anywhere, spread a light coat of gesso over -watered down if necessary and if you don’t have gesso use watered down white paint. Repeat until you have a piece that looks like fun then add your lace and buttons and ephemera and photos and whatever else you want on top. What you are aiming for is to be able to see a little bit of every layer somewhere in the finished page. The eye loves depth and interest and will move rapidly to assimilate it all without the viewer even being aware that is happening. The result is pleasing to the viewer. Hope that might be of some help as you advance. And, just to you know, my first piece was one layer of paint on some junk mail and some penned squiggles around a cut out photo 🙂

    • Ooh I begin to get the layered thing, thank you so much. I have stamps too, and maybe the inks haven’t dried out to much! I shall keep going.

  8. You are so brave! This kind of stuff looks so cool, but I just can’t get there, whether it be cards, photos, or journal. I am having a wonderful time watching you and Tracey though!

  9. I think this is such a lovely idea – and I also applaud you starting something new like this, even if you are filled with doubts. I would feel like that and even more – but I am also getting little twinges of thinking – oooh, I might quite like to do this! 🙂

    • Lots to see out there , just google away, and I reckon you might be up for having a go. After all it is such a personal thing, and we crafters have so much stuff, well I certainly do. Good luck.

  10. It looks like you’ve had lots of fun with this and it seems to have turned into a good place for keeping treasures from your Mum and Dad.
    Is there a difference between this and scrapbooking? I know I could go and Google it but I’ve only just got in, the dog is telling me she wants a wee and I will disappear down the rabbit hole if I start looking up things like that.
    I’m not a big Scrapbooking fan myself but the craft fairs and hobby shops are full of bits and pieces for it and there are always tons of people buying the stuff so I know it’s popular. I find your type of Scrap Book (if indeed that’s what it is) more ‘real’ as it’s probably truer to the original form. Or isn’t it? I’m rambling so I’ll go let the dog out before she wees on my shoe.

    • Hope you avoided dog wee on shoe scenario!.
      I think that scrapbooking is like a photo album with relevent momentos.
      Junk journals are supposed to be made of junk, but aren’t, they seem to be made of printable things, ephemera, made and bought, and are intended for writing in, but sometimes seem to be very full.
      Then there are vintage junk journals, full of coffee stained paper, bits of lace, beads, ribbons, old photos, stamps, tickets, they are real works of art.
      Art journals, tend to be altered books and are for art work, often females with heart shaped faces looking divine.
      I have no idea what I am doing… just putting my scraps to use in a happy way! Maybe they are Happy Journals. We shall see.

  11. Looks like you’re off to a good start, Cathy. Keep on scrapping!

  12. The hardest thing is to get started don’t you think? I keep getting sidetracked into making ephemera! That’s a jolly good start Cathy. You are well on your way now 🙂
    This has been the best therapy for me as I get totally absorbed in what I doing.
    Have fun 😆🌹🌻🌼❤

    • I have just spent a happy afternoon with paper and glue, and more experiments. Will try to keep a record and report back next month.
      I am seriously challenegd by having to measure and cut accurately. You have now idea how many goes I needed to make a template for a pocket. You Tube make it look so easy.
      I can see why people mass produce ephemera, as I am using up old supplies I can’t mass produce, I don’t have enough of any one thing, but it feels good to be finally using my hoard.
      Love to see another ephemera post on your blog, you are my muse.

  13. Looks lovely Cathy with nice memories in there as well as recent nature watching. 🙂 x

  14. I’ve never done anything like this and I think I would be paralyzed by all the possibilities! I like your idea of using odds and ends of things left by your parents–a good place to bring all that together and give it meaning. I’ll follow this adventure!

    • I came across some real treasures like a homemade Christmas card Mum made for Dad when I was little. It’s a shame to just have it in a box. But I want to do it justice too.

  15. What fun you’ve had! I’m almost tempted to have a go myself, if it wasn’t for the huge pile of fabric bits, scraps of tape, ribbon, buttons and other doodads asking to be made into something completely different. I shall eagerly look forward to seeing this masterpiece grow and develop!

    • I have all those scraps of fabric too! I am quite keen to use up the paints, rubber stamps, inks before they are unusable! They have been hanging around too long. I doubt there will be any masterpiece but there will be the satisfaction of using up the scraps of stuff I have.

  16. I too could not bear to tear up a book, (or use books to prop up a bed (story there!). Your journaling sounds interesting. I do have a knitting and crochet journal but it is patterns I have made and photographs, in a Paperchase book that was a present, so no junk!!

    • I am glad it’s not just me who couldn’t tear up a book. I suppose if one was already in bits then maybe, but some of the ones I have seen used are in near perfect condition. I bet your journals are works of arts, with the patterns and photos, maybe a post please?

  17. Thank you for this post. I nearly didn’t read it this morning because I should be working, but then caved in – you’ve given me the best laugh in weeks. You are very dry and very funny. More, please 🙂

    • You are very welcome and thank you. If I can’t laugh at myself I woud be making a very poor fist of life. And if I can make someone else laugh that is the icing on the cake! Stand by your beds for the next installment.

  18. Google ‘altered books’ Cathy. A very interesting way to creat something new by using up all your bits and pieces on an old book. You can experiment to your hearts content that way 😊

    • Thank you Cathy, I shall do just that, I shall enjoy playing. At least I will be suing my stuff instead of hoarding it.

  19. claire93 said:

    “experiment & be brave” are excellent thoughts! Or as Mum used to say “you won’t know until you try” lol.
    Sounds like you having lots of fun with this, Cathy – and that’s what counts.

    • A good mantra Claire. It’s so hard to reconcile beautiful you tubes that look so effortless and gorgeous with what I produce for twice as much blood, sweat and tears! I shall continue to poddle on.

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