Saturday, November 3, 2012

Paper swap junk journal

Have you heard of LaWendula's monthly paper swaps?
Go here, check it out, come back.

Cool, huh?

I participated in the October "junk journal" swap.
Partners mailed each other a wide variety of papers for the purpose of creating a junk journal.
I was delighted to learn that my partner was none other than the Paper Swap hostess, LaWendula, herself!

When my envelope arrived from Germany, it was like Christmas.
She had packaged all the bits and scraps of paper in a number of sweet handmade envelopes.

 I really should have taken a picture before I ripped everything open, because it was beautifully packaged.
Look at this! Most people would think I accidentally dumped the recycling bin on the dining room table, but you people know this is treasure!

I decided I would  use this old book as the base for my journal.
It's called "Hockshop" and it's the story of a New York City pawn shop and the family who ran it for generations.  I can't remember where I bought it, but it smells really bad.  But that cover and the end papers were too cool to pass up.  I'm learning to live with the smell.

My rules for this journal:  I can only use the papers sent to me in the swap.
I can add paint or ink or handwriting, and I can use elements of the book to enhance my pages, but I can't use any additional papers.

Here's what I've done so far:
(I like that the price in the upper right hand corner has been reduced not once, but twice.  and I'm pretty sure I payed less than a dollar for it.)

I cut out the woman in red, tucked her in a plastic envelope and glued her onto the image that was already on the page.  I used some of the baker's twine that came in my swap package to hang her from those weird balls.

In the next pages, the colors on the right side were a little too bright for my liking, so I grabbed some paint to tone it down and unify it a bit.

As I sifted through the papers looking for inspiration for my next pages, I was drawn to all the blue ones, so I went for a monochromatic  page on the right, and then painted the left, mimicking the moon in the ship picture.  This was the day after the hurricane, when the wind and rain had finally stopped and I was wishing for calm and peace for all those who suffered losses.

I decided to keep with the monochromatic theme for the next pages - mostly to just use up all the pink and get it out of the way.  I don't use much pink.  I left a little bit of the book text exposed - it reads "I don't like it."  There's a fabric tag on the left that says "Congratulations".  I'm congratulating myself for suffering through the pinkness and coming out the other side.

I currently have all the other bits of papers sorted into piles by color, but I will probably go back to mixing things up rather than staying with the monochromatic theme.  We'll all just have to wait and see.

If you want to see what LaWendula is doing with the paper I sent her, you can check out her pictures on flickr.


  1. Yes, this is a very challenging task to set yourself, but it does lead to surprising results. Like what you have done so far -and look forward to seeing how it develops. I even like the pink page!

  2. Great old book and love the recycling dump of paper from I suspect everywhere. Try sticking you book near a dehumidifier if you have one and run it for a day, might take some of the fragrance away. I also started adding lavender oil to my gesso - if you are using any, that helps too! Have fun, looks like you are well on your way to a great altered journal. xox

  3. Super job, Karen! My papers just went out to Israel yesterday...yes, late...I think I shall try the challenge of using only papers received too.I think the mail from Israel to here takes a long time so I have time to pick a substrate. But, today... I clean!

  4. How intriguing! Lovely to see what you've done!
    This was such a fun experiment! I love that woman in red, so strong...and the way you turned the tree upside down.

    (Sorry I should have send more large pages or book pages to make the journalpages but it did not come to my mind before to also make the journal pages from the sent papers....)

    Can't wait to see the whole thing, when it's done!
    Thanks for being such a great partner!

  5. Effin' amazing, K. Can you send me some of your energy???
    I'm not a pink gal either, but it does give a bit of brightness when done well. All the pages are fantastic.

  6. Such a cool idea! I love what you've done so far with all the ephemera you received.

  7. Sometimes cool stuff is worth putting up with a little stinky smell, lol! Very cool.

  8. Kismet that you should post this today. I wrote about the book you gifted me on my blog today and there's a piece I made from one of the pages. I am gradually working my way through, adding where it asks for it and leaving well alone where it doesn't.

  9. very clever! The pictures are great but I bet it is really something to see in person!

  10. I laughed at you suffering through the pinkness.
    I feel the same way about purple. When I first started art journaling, my friend suggested I do a purple page, and I despaired and despaired until I wrote on it in big letters, "Purple, I hate you". Then I felt better. :-)
    ps: I am finally back home, in a heated house! with power! and internet! and hot showers! Yay!

  11. The book already looks fantastic! What a glorious stash you received! Feel free to send any pink you don't want my way...

  12. Karen--this is the post I was trying to see in Istanbul on my iPhone -- much better now where I can see all this wonderfulness....I adore the junk mail journal and I must get in that swap or another like it -- how fun. I heard something about burying things in KITTY LITTER to remove bad smells. Really I did.

  13. Wow. She's got great ideas over there. I may have to join in. I mean, I'm so up to the minute with everything and completely organized! I'm sure I could probably maybe add something else. It looks so fun!!

  14. When I'm lonely at work I like to see pictures of your studio because it feels like home...even though when I walk in there's really only just enough room in there for me to turn around and walk out.

  15. I love this journal idea (to swap the junk bits and each person makes their own journal)