Journaling isn’t just for “girls”, teens or even tweens. If you can write, you can journal. There are also no rules to journaling, you make it what you want and need it to be; and it is good for our mental health. When you journal you clear your mind by putting into words and pictures what you are feeling.
There are a variety of ways to journal. You can simply write (often referred to as journaling) or write and add photos (referred to as memory keeping); or do both of these (journal + memory keeping) while still adding in decorative elements (referred to as creative journaling or memory journaling). No matter what you call it, or how you do it, the key is to journal because it’s a great outlet for self-expression while also improving our mental health.
As a teen, I never journaled and I do not recall it being taught when I went to school as something we could or should do to relieve stress, depression or anxiety. But I do know it has been taught for at least the last 20+ years or so and I do think it’s a great subject to introduce to kids.
One of my creative art journals is a B6 slim size (which I have dubbed my nature journal) and it’s the perfect size for carrying around to capture the beauty I see everyday. It is just another way for me to be able Create a Beautiful Life while expressing myself creatively and recording my memories.
Since it’s a travelers notebook, I keep four notebooks in it, one for each season. My goal with this memory journal is to record memories from nature such as when wildlife pass through our yard; flowers that bloom in the garden; our trips to the beach or sea shells I collect; or all the colored leaves I find in fall, the possibilities are endless. Today, I just wanted to share some of those journal page ideas in the hopes it inspires you. This post will be picture intensive.
One of my first journal pages created was the day we put my moms ashes to rest. It was a really tough day for me and so I decided to journal my thoughts and emotions because living with loss is no stranger to me. But, journaling really does help. When I was getting ready to take photos of this spread, I could’ve easily just closed the blinds and used a photography lamp, but for these pages I decided to take the pictures under the natural sunlight coming through the windows. In that moment, I just felt like it was a message from mom to live in the sunlight.
To create this page I first gave the pages a light wash of green watercolor; then I layered a botanical leaf stamp along the edge of both pages; used some grid washi at the bottom; the final touch was a butterfly wax seal to hold in place a leaf sample from my mothers funeral flowers. Since both of our birthdays are in February and purple amethyst is the birthstone color for that month, it just seemed fitting to use that color in the pages.
Butterflies are often associated with loved ones who have passed. It is believed when you see a butterfly it is your loved one communicating with you a message they are okay. I’d like to think I now have gained another guardian angel. Butterflies are also associated with transplant too, read about the symbolic meaning of the butterfly.
One day while working I happened to take notice of all the birds singing. We have bird houses on our porch so having birds around is natural, but for some reason on this day I happened to pause and enjoy their sweet chirps. That’s what inspired this journal page which also led to some reflective journaling. To get this look, I started with a wash of light blue watercolor then stenciled over that with distress ink.
In the upper left corner I had made a mistake and to hide it, I covered over it with a wood look scrapbook paper and stamped a bird cage with blossoms on top. On the bottom I layered two different stamps. The first was the bird sitting on a cherry blossom branch, next I carried over a bit of the branch, stamped a bird nest with eggs in it and then a set of leaves at the end of the branch.
As you can see from the picture above, I haven’t quite perfected my free form watercolor technique yet. My branches are a little off, but, journal pages don’t have to be perfect. They should just be a relaxing, creative time where you can journal your thoughts. I’ll make a confession about this page. I loved this page so much that I haven’t actually written on the pages yet. I wrote my thoughts on a separate piece of paper that is tucked into these pages. I didn’t want to ruin the watercolor apple tree blossoms background.
A new venture for me this year was vegetable container gardening with plants I bought at a fundraiser garage sale. It has been a fun adventure to bring these plants to harvest and I’m happy to say it was a successful one too. Our harvest was used for bacon lettuce tomato sandwiches, additions to salads, and this most tasty homemade yellow pear tomato salsa. It was so delicious!
On this page, I knew in my head what I wanted to do but as I said, I can’t draw. So, I had my daughter sketch a tomato plant for me. Then I used watercolor paints to color it in and added this fun little watercolor paint palette squares at the bottom.
On this spread I wanted to document and journal about the bunnies that come to our yard. I always enjoy seeing them (and our dog loves to sniff them out!). For me, the fun of journaling is more in creating the page, which makes sense because I’m a visual person. But by shear function of creating these pages I have also finally begun to do memory keeping which I’ve come to discover is very meaningful to me.
Although I’m not very good at recording what watercolors I used in my journal pages. I tend to get inspiration and just need to get it down on paper. But, I have listed all the art supplies that I’ve used in these memory journal pages at the bottom of this post. Don’t forget to check them out.
This has got to be my favorite watercolor journal page. One of my goals is become better at watercolor painting. So, one day while in Joann Fabrics I went in for one thing and walked out with three or four books on watercolor painting. In one book, Floral Watercolor by Christin Stapff, there was a step-by-step guide to watercolor a purple boot with flowers.
Since purple is one of my favorite colors and I love rainboots it was a no brainer to start with this design. I do really love how it turned out! Keeping reading for the supplies I’ve used, as well as, the benefits of and how to get started journaling.
Art Supplies Used
- Planner Perfect Journals
- Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz Brick and Mushrooms Stencil
- Sakura Koi Watercolors with Brush
- Prima Marketing Watercolor Confections -Woodlands
- Pengems -The Pen with The Gem on Top
- VillaBeautifful Pens
- Sakura Pigma Micron 01
- Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen
- Canon Ivy Mini Printer Mint Green with Zink Photo Paper
- Ranger Distress Ink by Tim Holtz Antique Linen
- Knaid Grid Washi Tape Set
- Craspire Wax Seal Stamp Butterfly
Now that I have shared some of my creative journaling pages, I want to take a moment and also let you know about all the mental health benefits of journaling and offer some tips for getting started. But, before I do that I just wanted to invite you to join the Facebook Group Creative Planning Expressions where planning and journaling merge for a wide variety of inspiration.
Benefits of Journaling
- boosts your mood
- reduces symptoms of depression
- reduces feelings of anxiety
- reduces stress
- improves your working memory
- it’s very helpful to those suffering with PTSD (or a history of trauma)
How To Get Started Journaling
- Make it easy. My #1 tip is don’t make it complicated. A simple notebook and pen or pencil will work. If you want to make it a little creative, then by all means do that. You can even prepare pages in advance when you use watercolor. Just give each page a light wash of watercolor and you will be ready to start writing anytime.
- Write everyday. While that’s not always easy for everyone, I do suggest trying to write everyday -even if it just a quote that inspired you.
- Remember. There are no rules. This is your journal. Set it up how you’d like and in the way that it inspires you to pick it up daily to journal.
If you are inspired to create or start a creative art journal don’t forget to share by tagging me on Instagram and using #btdinspired, I’d love to see your work (and I just might repost your photo)!
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