In the month of April, thousands of people around the world celebrate Earth Day. Although there is some debate about when Earth Day occurs, it is agreed that this is a day for people to consider the physical world around them and their impact on it.
Almost everyone has heard the maxim "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". Here are a few ways to apply this to your journal keeping.
Let's start with the notebook itself. Have you considered using a notebook that has pages made of post-consumer recycled paper? I have one such spiral notebook that I have been using for about 10 years. Ballpoint, roller ball, and gel pens glide easily across recycled pages. However, the use of fountain pens is not recommended, as the paper tends to absorb too much ink which shows through to the other side.
Do you like to decorate your notebook covers? Decoupage is easy to do and there are plenty of potential materials on hand in the average household that would make great, one-of-a-kind cover art. Candy wrappers, candy foil, food labels, pages from books, and text & art from magazines are just some of the possibilities. Decorate a gardening journal with the fronts of various seed packets. Your film journal can be covered with pictures of your favorite movie stars or stills from your favorite movies cut out from magazines. Use old receipts or amusing copy from catalogs on the cover of a money diary. Are you in a hurry or simply not interested in accumulating dozens of pictures for an entire cover? Never fear; one well-placed image can have a big impact.
Other cover ideas:
Now that you've gotten your notebook fancied up, let's look at ways to decorate your journal entries. Art materials are everywhere. Unsolicited catalogs, weekly circulars, aluminum foil, candy foil, tissue paper, and just about any other kind of paper can be used for collages or mosaics. Make a collage to illustrate your dreams or to represent your daily life. If you are writing with the intention of passing your notebooks down to your children, paste in pictures of ordinary things to which you refer in your entries. Future generations may not know what cell phones or televisions look like.
If you enjoy rubber stamping, but are loath to pay extravagant prices for the tiniest designs, try making your own. Lots of sources tell you that you can make them from erasers or even potatoes, but I never have that many erasers around and I am not willing to mess up perfectly good food. However, if you order things through the mail or if you have recently bought a new appliance or computer, you probably have an abundance of good stamp material right at your fingertips - styrofoam blocks. I have had great luck with this. I use an X-acto knife to hack the styrofoam into pieces and to carve my designs. For the most part, I stick with simple shapes and carve them freehand, but you can use transfer or carbon paper to transfer a design onto the surface. Another thing that I do is to cut or tear the styrofoam in a cross section and use its spongelike surface for stamping or painting. You can make great clouds or spackled borders by using two or three different colors. This technique works well with inks, too; just use a paintbrush to apply the ink to the styrofoam.
If you have styrofoam trays from food products, you can use those to make stencils and templates. Light cardboard is good for this purpose, too. For help with the designs, turn to your kitchen. Cookie cutters make great tracing templates. When you are not using them to trace stencil designs, try using them to mark "clean spaces" on a notebook page. Draw or paint on the entire page except for those marked out spaces. Write your entry in the clean spaces.
Perhaps you are reading all of this and thinking "Why bother?". Well, for one thing, using recycled materials and reusing items that would otherwise be headed for the landfill helps to minimize your ecological footprint on the planet. It also saves you some money in materials as well as saves you some time in fewer trips to the store (and less time in the store trying to find what you want). Those things are important, but there is another reason that I'd like for you to consider. If you are visiting this web page, you are probably either a creative person or someone who wants to be. To you, I would like to emphasize the fact that finding new ways to use old stuff enhances creativity. Ingenuity and creativity go hand in hand. Woo them in one area of your life, and they will spill over into the others. The concept of interrelatedness is just as vital when considering our personal lives or the planet we call home.
Other Ideas and Some Prompts
Basic Decoupage Instructions: © 2000 - 2001 Dawn R. Vinson. All Rights Reserved.
© 2000 - 2001 Dawn R. Vinson. All Rights Reserved.