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Cognac cover
“Do you want to do something with this box?”

A few months ago in October, my husband received a bottle of Martell cognac in beautiful packaging. Interestingly enough it was he who put the box in my hands and asked if I wanted to do something with it. It hadn’t even crossed my mind, but yes, I did indeed want to.

martell cognac

I loved the blue hues and started thinking about the colors that would go along with it — black, gold, gray, and cream. I decided make a junk journal and fill it with an eclectic mix of images and papers. I wanted to make it for the people who gave us the cognac, my husband’s uncle and aunt.

I wanted the book to be interesting; something that inspired curiosity, spurred thought, or at the very least was entertaining in some way, so I used papers of multiple languages and various alphabets, black and white images, rubber stamps, and several stencils.

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After I was finished, I wrapped it up and mailed it off to Slovakia for Christmas. Hopefully I’ll hear back in a few days if it was a hit or a miss. You never know with junk journals. Some people “get it”; others don’t and just think it’s weird. I’ll see.

Here’s the flip through:

kids junk journals

This Christmas I’m gifting a few of my nieces and nephews little junk journals. Inspiration from several talented craft artists gave me the idea to make the covers from candy boxes.

I have so much interesting paper of all different types that it took me just a few minutes to gather enough for several small books.

Each book has only two signatures. There are approximately 8 papers, including an envelope, folded in half that make up the signature, so there isn’t too many pages; I didn’t want to make the book overwhelming.

I used papers from comic books, old book pages, maps, graph paper, ledger paper, music lessons, coloring books — pretty much anything that was colorful or had an interesting design on it.

comic book page

I used lots of clothing tags I had been setting aside.

batman jj page

And I used plenty of food labels. I had been saving stickers I peeled off of fruits and vegetables. Those went in here too.

food labels

My kids wanted one immediately so we went to work on separately making junk journals for them. We used chocolate packaging.

junk journals from chocolate packaging

The simplest and fastest way to get the signatures in is to use the long-arm stapler. I love that thing! It has saved me so much time. Yes, it’s a little ugly, but honestly, who cares?!

staple spine

Inside I let the kids pick whatever they wanted. My 7-year-old daughter was quite specific on what she wanted. She already has experience with making these books so knew what to do.

kids junk journal inside

My 4-year-old son did his own thing too.

Ts journal

Of course he went to town with the stickers. That was great too!

Ts journal with stickers

The kids seem to think that they are done. Now I need to get them used to the idea that there is lots of opportunity to keep on adding and embellishing. We’ll see if I can get them to add anything else.

 

mail art junk journal 2

I’ve been receiving so many postcards and beautiful envelopes filled with such lovely mail art that I decided I needed a “book” to contain it all. That the was the inspiration for putting together this junk journal.

In addition to that, I’ve been steadily going through my postage stamps and when I found blocks or groupings of stamps on paper I found ways to include them in my journal.

mail art junk journal 1

mail art junk journal 3

There is so much color in this book, and so much to look at. I never get bored thumbing through the pages.

The cover was made with a large manila envelope. It came in the mail with some kind of advertisement that I didn’t keep, but I thought the envelope might be good for something, so I kept it. At first I painted it with red, blue, lilac, and beige acrylic paint.

cover mail art jj

After that I collaged it with random bits of rubber stamped papers. I rubber stamped on top of that, and then added blocks of cancelled US postage stamps.

close up of the cover

I used a varnish as a top coat and added a little brown paint into the varnish just to mute and blend the colors a little. After everything was dry, I sprayed a little gold mist just to add another element of interest.

A friend of mine from the mail art group I hang out with sent me a bunch of old postal forms she received from someone who works at the post office and knew she was interested in those kinds of things. She sent very neat pieces to me and I dispersed as many as I could within the pages.

mail art junk journal 4

This political campaign mailing tag is cool, as well as the dispatch unit postmark slip on the facing page.

mail art junk journal 5

Here are a few more pages

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And here is the flip through in its entirety:

vintage junk journal cover

Sometimes I make journals and completely forget to blog about them! That’s such a shame for me, because I spent a good deal of time making these journals and there are some worthwhile things to share. Well, better late than never.

I made this back in the spring for a neighbor graduating from 8th grade. I wanted to make something simple and leave plenty of space for her to write in it, if she chose to.

I used a 6 inches x 9 inches manila folder as a cover. For the paper inside I used tea dyed paper and the digital kit from Ephemera’s Vintage Garden called “Sew Pretty”.

For the spine I creased a half inch for enough room to sew in the two signatures. I also sewed on a button with a long shank so that I could tie a ribbon around the book.

spine of half inch

In the inside I glued (actually double sided tape) a page from the kit on the inside of the covers.

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Here are some pictures of the inside. I used a 3-hole pamphlet stitch to sew in the signatures. I put a few eyelets in tags.

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And I did some sewing with my sewing machine on the sides of the pages.

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This is just a decorative element with a paper punch and sewing.

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I left plenty of space in the pages for writing or adding things.

junk journal with space for writing

Here’s the flip through:

envelope journal - cover

I’ve broken a personal record for the amount of time it took me to make a little journal: almost no time at all.

No sewing, no stitching, nothing complicated. It’s just envelopes, washi tape, and decorative embellishments.

envelope journal pages 1

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envelope journal pages 3

envelope journal pages 4

envelope journal pages 5

envelope journal pages 6
I’ve been admiring these little journals made from junk-mail envelopes for some time. Of course I’m not the first; not even the second. Shannon Green made a really elaborate one with lots of doodling and drawing. Hopefully I’ll fill this one up similarly!

Here’s my flip through:

cover us stamps jj

In addition to all the wonderful postage stamps I got from the SJ Stamp Club, I also got a few old stamp catalogs that I’ve been thinking about what to do with. As I started going through the US stamps in my collection, I had the idea that I could make some collage art using the stamps. When I was looking at the individual pages of the stamp catalog I realized I had several of the stamps on hand and that’s where the idea of the journal came from.

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The catalog is from 1947. It’s a bit fragile so when I took out the staples that held the pages together, I realized I’d have to reinforce the creases on the pages with washi tape.

washi tape crease

I made the cover of the journal using the original pamphlet covers that I glued on to cardboard and then covered with tissue paper. I used tea dye distress ink over the top and then covered it with a coat of varnish.

The journal pages are a mix of catalog pages and blank tea-dyed paper. I’ve started making collages on blank pages where there is a facing catalog page.

stamp collage 1

stamp collage 2

stamp collage 3

I also added some pockets for unused vintage envelopes.

pocket page

I’ve got a lot of stamps that I still plan to collage. It’s a nice task to look forward to.

additional stamps

And here’s the youtube video:

priority mail jj

Last year I made a journal using ordinary printer paper, a USPS priority mail envelope I received in the mail, and embellished my pages with random stamps and a bunch of forms from the post office.

I never shared my little journal for two reasons. First, I made the book for me to use on a daily basis to write my “to do” lists or notes to myself. I wasn’t planning on keeping it forever, just use it up and throw it out. Second, I didn’t think anyone would be interested in what I thought was a boring little book.

I decided to share it with the group of encouraging folks who do mail art, and now I see that I should have mentioned this project before. There is some interest in it.

So here are a few photos of what it looks like inside. After making many vintage-style junk journals the white paper in this one is really stark, even with the bits and pieces of added elements.

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Here’s the video for more information and a flip-through.

carpe diem jj 1

This month I was invited by an artist of digital collage papers to make a vintage junk journal using one of her kits. The name of the artist is Ephemera’s Vintage Garden and I used the kit “Victorian Romance”.

Victorian Romance

When I started to think about how I wanted to put this journal together, I not only thought about how I would assemble my tea-dyed journal pages, I also thought about what I would use the book for. I didn’t want just a blank journal with a lot of space for writing — I hate writing in journals. I wanted the book to house a collection of something.

In addition to the kit, I went online and found old vintage photos that were scanned and uploaded on to Flikr. I looked for pictures of women who looked happy, like they were having a grand adventure, or looked like they were simply enjoying life. I printed about 25 pictures in all.

I made the covers from some old book pages, reinforced with heavy cardstock and then inked up. I used a single rubber stamp in black as the embellishment. I sewed the signatures in with a cross stitch.

carpe diem jj - cover

Inside I did some rubber stamping on pages but mostly made pockets and places for my photos. The digital kit pages interspersed through tea-dyed pages worked pretty well.

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On the first page when you open the book, I folded a little card with a note inside explaining why I called the book “Carpe Diem”, because the book was a collection of photos of women who look as if they are seizing the day. The lace I bought at the Sunnyvale Lace Museum. It goes perfectly in this book.

carpe diem jj 3

Here is the youtube video for the flip through:

Mini junk journal of postage stamps

Last week I saw a blog post by Bonnie about making a mini book from packaging of a deck of playing cards. I thought it was the cutest thing ever. A few days ago I was opening a new roll of cello tape (my kids go though so much tape I now buy it in bulk) and I was left with the little box. Hmmm, I thought. Maybe I could make this into something… .

Mini book, covers and spine

I cut down the box so that the spine remained between two covers. Then I reinforced the cardboard to make it more sturdy. I cut down to size pages of a travel book that was translated into 3 different languages. I took some pages from each language until I had 3 signatures.

3 signatures postage jj

In all I have 72 pages to embellish (12 sheets per signature = 24 sides, in 3 signatures = 72 pages). I thought that was an awful lot to take on until I realized that some of the pages I stamped with a rubber stamping looked good just like that. I didn’t need to add anything else. Other than the rubber stamping, I’ve been embellishing with vintage postage stamps and bits of pattern papers. The pages are small so I put the cap on the number of decorative elements to 3. No more than 3 things on a page.

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It’s a super cute book. I haven’t finished all the pages but I don’t mind that some are blank. I’ll add to it when I feel like it. I have a nice envelope full of vintage stamps I can still take from, so I have plenty of material to work with.

junk mail junk journal

Lately I’ve gotten into this hobby called junk journaling. A junk journal is a book that is made of scraps or other papers that would otherwise be trash but when assembled together makes art. A junk journal could also be a book where you collect the ‘junk’ one accumulates through life.

Now I’ve been working on a book made entirely of scrap book pages pages, left over scrap papers, junk mail, and food packaging boxes. I can’t say it was easy. It took me months to accumulate enough of the right kinds of material.

Here are some pictures; these aren’t all of them.

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Because I wanted the book to present a kind of organized chaos, I took extra time to make sure the layout was as I wanted.

For sure it’s a strange collection of things. I’m not sure if I will make another of these. I have a shoe box of papers I collected and so I still have plenty of paper to work with.

For now I’ll just flip through this one once in a while.

Here’s my youtube video of the flip through: