Monday, April 21, 2014

Making patterned papers for MJ's 32nd Book (International Fake Journal Month)

Between me visisting my family, my family visiting me and the birthday happenings I hardly have had time to work on the fake journal. I do try to keep some momentum going however and the simplest way to do that it is to make pretty papers to serve as backgrounds and collage.

The easiest way for me to do that is to grab a small paper pad, a tiny box of watercolours and a waterbrush. In just a few minutes I can do a page with some lines on it. Or I can spread it out over several quicky sessions for the more elaborate ones. It's a lot of fun to do and it makes me feel like at least I'm doing something.

I'm doing these on my new found love: a calligraphy pad. The paper is absolutely fantastic! Smooth, light and yet capable of taking some wet media. I wouldn't do an elaborate wet in wet watercolour on it, but for just about anything else it works like charm. It doesn't buckle or anything.

The pad I use is A5 in size, so pretty small, but what I do after I finish a couple of sheets in the same colour scheme  is I make enlarged copies on a copy machine. That way the paper is big enough to serve as background paper in the journal.

It's really fun to make these simple matching papers and I'm thinking that MJ, being the handprinted fabric and paper designer that she is, would definitely get her kicks this way on busy days!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy week!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Giveaway winner!

One of the reasons I love doing giveaways is because it makes a lot of the invisible people crawl out of the woodworks to leave a comment. I like comments a lot, but I totally get why people don't do it as much as I would like to. I'm a lousy commenter myself. ;-) So by doing a giveaway all of a sudden you get to see some of your readers pop up as actual live people. I know you're out there, because I see the statistics, but sometimes it's nice to have actual proof, haha.

Anyway, without further ado, let's pick a giveaway winner!

There were a couple of you who didn't want the paper so I had to write the names down to make a list of those who did.

I totally understand by the way if you don't want to win the papers. I often don't respond to giveaways at all, because I have way too much stuff already. Nice of those who commented anyway to let me know and congratulate me for my birthday. It is much appreciated.

Now let's go to and pick a number, shall we?

Number 19 is pipers1mom. Here's what she had to say:

Congratulations! Please mail me privately at c.m.j.winkelman[at] with your snail mail addy and the goodies will come your way. If you do not respond within a week I will draw another winner, but I just know you won't let that happen!

Over here I'm getting ready for a long family week. My oldest sister will arrive in a few hours with her husband, children, daughter in law and granddaughter. And Monday my other sister will arrive with her boyfriend and our cousin and her husband. We will be celebrating my birthday and they will be celebrating an Easter vacation. I look forward to it, even though it means there won't be much time for artsy stuff.

By the way the chocolate workshop was fantastic. Here's what I made:

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and a Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More from MJ's 32nd Book (International Fake Journal Month)

A busy family weekend with lots of fun will soon be followed by a busy family week when they visit me on the island, so the fake journal does not get much time. But I am still enjoying it!

Here are some of the latest goings on in MJ's book.

PS Thanks for all the birthday wishes both here and on facebook and mail. Love you all!

PPS It's not too late to join the birthday giveaway (see previous post).

Friday, April 11, 2014

Birthday Giveaway - want some paper?

Hello my blogsy people!

Today is my birthday! As of today I'm 44 years old and another year closer to adulthood. Who knows one day I might actually reach that state and what a sad day that will be. ;-)

As has become tradition on my blog I'm doing a giveaway so you all can celebrate with me. Well one of you can, the rest can at least share in the anticipation that comes with receiving gifts.

This time I will be sharing from my enormous stash of pretty papers! I have so much paper I will never be able to use it all (but I do enjoy looking at it and sighing in delight from time to time), so giving some away seems as good a purpose for it as any.

Here's what you can win:

Eight big sheets of extra luxurious paper, size somewhere between A4 and A3, approx. 35x25 cm. (14 x 10 inches)

15 sheets of A4 paper. The top half has a smooth slick finish, the bottom half is more matted with some metallic details.

Eight sheets of this very happy colourful paper in A5 size.

15 sheets of this more subdued coloured paper in 15x15 cm (6x6 inches).

11 sheets of this lovely matching paper, also in 15x15 cm (6x6 inches).

I will probably throw in some extra's like little ephemera bits and stickers and such, but that will remain a surprise for the winner.

If you want to win this lovely paper package, all you have to do is leave a comment and a way to reach you online. Comment before April 18th, because on that day I will pick a winner randomly.
Please do check back, I will not chase you around the interwebs until you respond, ;-) If I cannot reach you within a week of choosing the winner I will pick another one. Those are the rules and that's that. ;-)

Hope you would like to win these goodies!

I will be going away to the main land for a birthday treat, because one sister and two nieces and I will be making chocolate bonbons from scratch in an actual bonbon making workshop! Sounds like delicious fun, doesn't it?

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend and may the most deserving commenter win!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

MJ's 32nd Book continued (International Fake Journal Month)

Here are some more pages from my fake journal. Some are pages you saw in the previous post that have been elaborated upon, some are completely new.

I really enjoy this way of working on an entire book instead of just on one seperate spread at a time as I usually do. MJ is opening up a whole new way of working for me! ;-)

As you can see MJ likes to draw girls, flowers and patterns, I wonder where she gets that from?

Funny little fact: in a comment to a previous post Claudia asked me if I had a picture in my mind of what MJ looks like. I already did a little at first, but it wasn't until I drew the woman in the 'Coulor Crush' page (yes, big spelling mistake, I know) and coloured her in with her flaming red hair that it really came to me: "This is her, this is MJ!". No doubt about it, that's what she looks like. So now  you all know who to picture, haha.

Hope you're all enjoying my fake journal as much as me!

Now keep your eyes open for my next post, 'cause there's nothing fake about that one. It will be my real birthday and as always there will be a real giveaway! See you on Friday!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

MJ's 32nd Book (International Fake Journal Month)

April is International Fake Journal Month and this year I'm participating for the first time. I'm working in an altered book and pretending to be MJ Wilkins. You can read all about her here.

This month I will show you the spreads in this journal as I'm working on it. Because I work rather randomly in the book not all shown spreads are finished, so you may see certain spreads again later this month.

I'm calling the book MJ's 32nd Book, because that is what it is. It's the 32nd book that my character MJ is filling, so she's an experienced visual journaler! ;-) Hope you enjoy this look into her process!

MJ does not always work directly in the journal. She does a lot of drawing and patterning in a carry on sketchpad. She then later pastes these drawings into the journal. Here are some of the drawings that still need to go into the book:

What I love about her is that she doesn't give a crap about whether something is worth showing or not. I mean really, see how hideous that tree painting is? I love that! ;-)

This is the work I did in the past week. I will try to post more during the process of filling this journal so you can see how some of the pages develop over time. The goal is not to fill the book or even to have finished spreads. The goal is to do the work. The end.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Faking it!

For years now the amazing Roz Stendahl (Yes, I have to call her the amazing Roz Stendahl, because there's no way this very prolific woman is an ordinary human being) has organized International Fake Journal Month  (IFJM) every April. And for years now I have wanted to join in and I never did.
IFJM logo by Roz Stendahl

But recently some things just came together to make this year different.
  • For one I have been thinking about my journaling habit a lot. Now I always think about my journal and I know that you have noticed that this year I've been trying a bit of more haphazard approach to my books and not worry so much about making it all look pretty. I wanted to explore further on that.
  • Another thing that happened is that with my vacation to Ameland I finished The Notebook. I will show you the last part of it in some future post, but the point is that it was time for a new journal again. I had actually been preparing an altered book to become my next journal, but it wasn't ready yet, so a few weeks ago I started an impromptu journal to cross the time until my altered book was ready for use. Anyway, this meant I had an altered book almost ready to go.
  • And the third thing that happened was that I ran across a wonderful visual journal on the interwebs and started wondering why why why I'm always writing so much and have so much need to explain myself (even if only to myself) in words. For so long I've wanted a 'real' visual journal without so many words, but I can't seem to get myself to really go for it. Of course there's nothing wrong with writing, but I did wonder what would happen if instead of writing all the time I would spend that time doing more visual stuff. How would that affect my journal?
And wouldn't you know it? I thought off all this stuff right along the time that IFJM was about to start. And guess what the theme of this year is? NO EXPLANATIONS! I kid you not! Apparently the journal gods were conspiring against me (or is it for me?). I had not choice. I had to join!

You can read all about IFJM on the IFJM-blog. Do read the introduction posts to get a good idea about what it is. The general idea is that you pretend to be another person and journal as that person would do. It's a way to get out of your comfort zone, try new approaches and techniques and basically have a lot of fun!

Although Roz suggests to keep the fake journal next to your real one I knew I wouldn't be able to do that, so I decided to focus my artistic practice this April solely on the fake journal. That way I could really get into it and wouldn't be distracted by other things. To do this I made sure that my fake persona is reasonably close to me, but has a couple of traits that I would like to develop more in myself. I took some notes in my impromptu journal about what I had in mind. Feel free to read them to see what my alter ego is all about. It saves me a lot of time typing it all down. ;-)

Basically my fake person is a maker of handprinted fabrics and papers who lives in London but through a home exchange site is staying in my house for a month to recharge and get some new inspiration. She's an experienced visual journaler who has no interest in writing about her life or writing in general or having  journal that is an account of her life. Her name is MJ Wilkins. MJ stands for Mary Joan, which is an adaptation of my second and third name (Maria Johanna).

The above notes are just my initial thoughts that came into my head when I started thinking about all this. I have no idea if all of it will show in the actual journal, but that's not the point anyway. The point is to fill a book the way MJ would do it, with complete disregard for things like chronology, explanations or even finishing a spread. To her it's all about the process and the handling of materials.

For my book for this project I chose the altered book I was going to use as my next journal. I finished it just in time before April.

It's an old library book I got at a thrift store. It's from the 1930's and it's a very nationalistic book about the Netherlands called "Ons Vaderland" (Our Fatherland), full of proud facts and reflections. I found it a bit creepy actually, haha.

I bought it because it had a ton of luscious black and white pictures, beautiful printed paper and was a nice size to make journal out of.

To prep it I took out all the picture pages (those can be used for collage)  and some of the text pages until about half of the book was left. Then I gesso'd the pages and filled them with gouache washes to give it some colour. I also added some tabs. Here's how it looks now:

And here are some examples of the spreads with the gouache on them. A couple have some ink on them too.

I really like how the book turned out. It's nice and messy, so there's no way this will ever be turned into a pretty perfect journal.
I intend to make a fabric cover for the journal, because that's something that MJ would do and because it's something I want to dabble in more myself. It's not done yet, but I have a general idea of what it's going to look like. Here are some notes on that from my Studio Book:
The cover will be machine sewn with blue and flowered fabric, but it will have patches of felt that have embroidery on them with crochet yarn. I have actually started the embroidery already. Here's the current state of affairs on the cover:

Aren't those colours just luscious? The pink felt on the left will be cut into circles which will be hand embroidered on the the orange and purple patches of felt. I'm having a lot of fun with it.

In fact I'm having a lot of fun with the entire journal! I have been working in it for a week now (I started early to warm up a little) and I must say it is doing exactly what I wanted it to do. It's opening me up a whole new way of working. MJ is becoming my hero, which is good, 'cause in the end she's just me, haha.

I will show you some of the spreads I've done so far in my next post. I have a lot to say about the way things are going, but I will refrain from it until the month is over and do a bit of a reflection on it in May. Just know that April will pretty much be all about this fake journal and very little else (except for my birthday next week which will have it's traditional birthday giveaway, yay!). I hope you will enjoy going through this experiment with me and maybe you would like to join in. It's not too late. Just visit the IFJM blog and see if it's something you would like to try.

Have a wonderful Sunday all!

PS: for those visiting through Roz' IFJM blog: all the posts concerning the fake journal will have the label 'fake journal' attached to it. You can just click the label in the label list on the sidebar.
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