art journaling in my field notes gratitude journal

I have admired the talents of many lettering, doodling and art journaling people on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. But, I just never felt that I understood it. You know? I was at a total loss to even know where to begin. I do consider myself a crafty person, but not necessarily an artistic person.

And then I just decided to get out and play with the girls' watercolor set. I still don't understand it any better, but if I don't try, I never will.

Oh man, am I hooked! I love it. Really, really love it. I love that the pages get a little crinkly from the watercolor. They get less so when I slather the page with some Gesso, but I kinda like it better when it's crinkly and textured.

             Midori Standard Size Gratitude Journal  |  Field Notes Size Gratitude Journal  |  A6 Size Gratitude Journal 

I decided that I'm going to carry around this size Gratitude Journal with me in my purse {but it comes in other sizes}. I'll have it with me during the down time I have while waiting school pick-up lines seems like a great time reflect and document my thankful thoughts. It's quiet. There are few distractions. And it's a much better use of my time than scrolling around on my phone on social media.


I went ahead and decorated some pages with watercolors, stamps, washi tape, journaling cards and a combination of all of the above. For me, I find that starting with something other than a blank, white page encourages me to begin, to just do it.

I'm loving this new-to-me technique of using a stencil. I used a Copic marker with the brush tip end to highlight letters and numbers significant to our family. You can see how I did this by scrolling back to the last photo.


So let's begin with my new love of watercolors. Using the stencil from the Dollar Spot at Target, I alternated between blue and several greens and varying intensities of paint on the brush and then added a sticky note to the left side.

With the paint that was left on the stencil, I placed a mini shipping tag on top and got this.

I used a different stencil, this one by Heidi Swapp, and worked on getting an ombre effect. It wasn't large enough to cover the whole page and I didn't stagger it to cover the whole page, thinking that I might use that white space for journaling.

Before using the stencil for the watercolors, I used some medium molding paste to make this page. Since it was the same design, I thought it might be fun to layer the stencil that was still wet with the watercolors on top of the molding paste to get another layer of texture.


This is the reverse side of the page with the paint covered mini shipping tag.

A pennant shape made from a book page scrap and a red shipping tag both held in place with washi tape.


Combining watercolors, washi tape and stamping to create this page layout.

I stamped the mason jar on the right side and embellished the washi tape strip on the left with a journaling spot.

I use this stamp I designed in the Original Gratitude Journal and decided to give it try here, too.


Adding in journaling cards gives one the opportunity to have more pages, or to add another layer and sometimes both. On this layout, I stamped the background and layered a journaling card on top.

By adding washi tape to the top of this Project Life card, I will be able to lift the card and add some {hidden} journaling underneath.

Do you see how I added enamel dots to the bike tire spokes?  Clever me.

This journaling card was attached to the page on the reverse side by adding a strip to the back. So the front is the bike and the back is blank and adhered to the adjoining page with washi tape.


Attach stickers in random ways.

And even doodle, if that's how you roll.


The Original Gratitude Journal still appeals to me so much. Turning the pages to see what the next page design will be is so fun and full of promise. There might be room to doodle, stamp or just write. And that's part of the allure of a mixed media journal.

What's your preference, a mixed media journal or a notebook insert full of blank pages?

And, did you know that the #30lists challenge is always open for registration? { affiliate link }

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Find inspiration from some of my #30Lists postsincluding past classes.


  1. I love everything about this!! Great ideas, Monika!!

    1. I now want to do this to every blank journal I own, Susan! What fun.

  2. Great ideas and samples Monika!
    How have you been my Friend?

    1. Thanks Alexandra! We are doing well, staying busy and trying to get used to the cold temps again. I hate that Fall only lasts about 4 days before we head into Winter/

  3. Beautiful mini books!
    I am particularly pleased with the holiday cards I created! I didn't make many, but I love the way they turned out!


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