Circle Journal Joy

My dear friend’s inspiration has evolved into something grand. Alexandra invited many of her Artfest sisters to join in on a collaborative altered book project. Since then the idea has become a circle journal with a group of about 15 gals making and sending their journals around the group each with a distinct theme.

I was so fortunate to be the first to receive Alex’s book. Here’s the cover and pages she made using a Victor Hugo novel. I love Victor Hugo, but alas, I could not read it in French:

Her page is on the left which opens up to a sign in page for all the participants:

And the pages I added:

Page in progress (I love mud and weeds):


My own journal, below, which was sent to Amy has the theme, Symbols – Personal Imagery. I made the journal from a book cover and filled the inside with Bristol paper. The journal is bound with rings so that pages can be easily added and removed, and chunkier pages will not be an issue.


Sign in page:

This is an old dictionary page with the definition for symbols, symbolism, symbology, etc. Although I sent this journal on already, when it finally arrives back home, this page may get another going over. It just doesn’t feel done to me. I was in a hurry to mail:

And my personal recurring symbol is trees. The tree on this page is a sketch I did about 8 years ago at a park in Nashville. Ah, memories, the children were so young:

And on the flipside of that notebook paper is a journal entry about my feelings for trees, the cottonwood in particular. It can partially be read if held to a mirror.

Right now I have Jessica’s journal and look forward to adding a page before sending it on. Her theme is Signs and the journal is just incredible.

More pictures to follow as this journey plays out.

amanda ∞


Favorite Supplies

My favorite type of artistic expression is done in altered books or art journals. I move to a canvas on occasion, but have always loved the feel of books and journals and am always drawn back. I also feel very comfortable writing words on my art in a book. Words to me are an important and large part of my creative expression.

The tools I use most frequently for my books and journals include acrylic paints, oil pastels, gel medium, markers, gel pens, pencils, and water colors. My absolute favorite supplies at this point in time are:

  • Set of 48, New ColorsSennelier oil pastels. They are the creamiest, yummiest oil pastels I’ve found. I love their texture. And there are so many wonderful colors available, including my current favorites, iridescent.
  • Acrylic Glazing LiquidGolden Acrylic Glazing Liquid Satin. I’ve read of many artists using acrylic glaze paints, but have found that I love to mix my own colors. I can get the same transparency as the glaze paints by adding the glazing liquid to my acrylic paints. I can soften all those wonderful collage elements with any color glaze I mix. Very fun.
  • Sennelier Fixative. I spray this fixative on my finished pages to keep the oil pastels from rubbing on the opposite page when my books are closed. I learned the need for this the hard way.

One product I wish that I could find would be a pen or marker that writes easily over the top of oil pastels. I typically paint a glaze over most of my oil pastels just so I can add words, but sometimes I’d rather not. I’ve killed several pens writing on oil pastels. If you have a suggestion, PLEASE leave a comment.

One product that I can’t wait to try would be Golden OPEN Acrylics. Check out Regina’s review. They just sound wonderful to work with. This goes on my wish list.

I’ve learned so much from other artists blogs about things to try, what to expect, favorite products, techniques, and good books. So many of you artist bloggers out there have influenced my life. Thank you, thank you!

amanda ∞

Blackbird Full Circle

Page in my altered hymnal 11/02/07:

Beatles song learned by my son on guitar this past couple weeks:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird fly blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Charm inspired by my son’s singing and guitar playing made yesterday:

amanda ∞


This page in my altered hymnal has a theme of contentment prompted by the latest challenge at Salt.

The words around the edge read: Paul says “for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, to be content.” I desire to be this way all the time, but sometimes contentment eludes me. Then I find it again.

Also the imagery is related to Matthew 6:26: Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

This verse is a great reminder to me that God will take care of my needs, and my response should be contentment and gratefulness for this care, not worry or greed.

amanda ∞


The latest Salt challenge is the theme, Believe. The text is John 9 about a blind man whose sight was restored. His response, “Lord, I believe.”

This page is also a reflection of my own experience. When I was blind, my world was colorless, dark, lifeless. Now I feel the blood flowing, and although I can see, sometimes my perception is a bit off, a spiritual astigmatism perhaps. I am in a process, a transformation, but I truly believe.

amanda ∞


The latest Salt challenge is Lent. This was a difficult topic for me since I don’t participate in traditional Lenten practices. Although raised in a church that does recognize the season of Lent, I had to do an internet search to refresh my mind on the purpose and intent of Lent.

Lent is a time of reflection and repentance for many believers, a time to sacrifice personal daily pleasures or comforts. If Lent is sincerely practiced, it is a time to prepare the heart for honoring the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I believe my heart participates in Lent, but perhaps not in the context of a certain time period. As Easter approaches, my heart does reflect on my own sinfulness and the amazing thought that my God loved me while I was yet a sinner. He died for me while I partied on. He loved me while I remained bitter and hard hearted. It was this immense sacrificial love that melted my hard heart. So as Easter draws near, my awareness of His great sacrifice is made very tender and fresh.

I have many Christian friends who participate in Lenten practices, giving up something, not eating meat on Fridays, reading particular Lenten devotions or Scriptures. I honor these friends and their devotion to Our Lord. It is beautiful to see.

So this page in my altered hymnal is in honor of the Lenten season and the beautiful traditions of the Christian faith. And this page is also in thankfulness for the great liberty our Christian faith allows. I am free to follow or not follow traditions made by man and must turn to God to make the choice right for my life.

1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

This page also reflects a prayer that my attitude of repentance, of a willingness to sacrifice my own comforts, would be one that would remain not just for a season, but that I turn my heart to my God every day.

Let the fire rage. Let the flames roll. Consume me, Lord. Engulf my soul.

amanda ∞

Inspiration for Teacher

For our Keepers of the Faith group, I’ve been teaching an altered books class. The kids are having so much fun with the project. To begin, I got some board books from the thrift store and covered them all with gesso. The kids had a blank book to fill. Below are a few sample pages I made to teach them different techniques they could use.

Pencil, crayon, marker:

Crayon, scrapbook and other book paper, cotton, marker:

Stamp ink applied with damp paper towel, gaffer tape, playing cards, tags, photos, stamps, chalk pastels (works great to color the tape too):

I set aside three meetings to explore this project, but they have filled their books up in two meetings. The last meeting is next week and I am praying about what to do. I am leaning toward to teaching about blending colors with acrylic paints, and perhaps using this on a page they will collage. I’m lacking on the details though.

I’d thought I’d share some of my favorite blogs I’ve been perusing while searching for inspiration:

Follow Your Bliss 

Dispatch from LA

Art in the Garage

Thrifty Collage Artist

And if you have any ideas or links to share with me, please comment. I could use some help. 🙂

amanda ∞