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2018 Journal

In July of last year I came up with the brilliant idea of using a 12″ x 12″ composition book from 7 Gypsies as a base for a scrapbook-style journal to document the highpoint of life in my little family.

But since I could NEVER be happy with starting it midway through the year, part of the plan was to go back using my photographs, credit card receipts and calendar to re-create the whole year as best I could. This made the project much more complicated. A further challenge was that I’d lose a month of time while we were in Africa, so I’d be WAAAAAAAAAY behind. But that didn’t stop me from trying.

It takes one album for 2 months, needing to add an extra page to some of the albums.

I started by stamping each page with the month and date, then writing in the name of the day.

Next I’d decorate each page with washi tape, using basic designs for every day, and holiday or season-specific tapes for special days. If I was unable to find an appropriate tape, I’d use stickers to bring home the theme of the day.

Then it was time to caption the page. Usually I stamped it, but for some days I was able to find fancy paper-pieced titles to add interest.





My Canon Selphy photo printer (which had been sitting around waiting for me to figure out how I was going to use it!) played a leading role in this project. It made it so I could print photos in 3 sizes, depending on how may I needed to fit on a page – 4×6, 3×4 and 2×3.

My first completed page was for the 4th of July,

…and I’ve been working away at it ever since. I never did get completely caught up, but going back and doing as much as I possibly can is still in the plan.

So, then, with 2018 looming, I had a decision to make. Do I keep doing it, and if I do, do I use the same format, or come up with a different one?

I REALLY enjoy doing it, and the idea that I’d actually scrapbook the thousands of photos I have sitting around in boxes and drawers was looking increasingly unlikely. Yet I want to leave the family as much of a record of our lives as I can. So, yes. I’m going to do it, and since I love the format, I’m using the same bases again. Between Michael’s and Amazon I was able to secure another 6 books (in fact, I even have the first 2 for 2019!)

Needing a way to differentiate the years, I decided on altering the spine covering with duct tape for year 2.

But always in the back of my mind was the question of whether or not it is a good use of my time.

The Forrest kids thought so. I watch them 5 days a week most of the year, so they saw the album being worked on quite a bit. Whenever they’d have something they were doing (homework, watching a show or having screen time, or Lulu would be playing quietly by herself) I’d have it set up and work on it as I had a few minutes. Sometimes for hours – Lulu would get out a workbook and do her “school work” next to me at the counter.

They got to the point where they’d ask to get a picture taken of them doing something “for the journal.” Lulu likes to watch the selphy print the photos and retrieve them for me.

But since I normally only have the Stockwell kids for a short time after school and with no degree of regularity, they rarely saw what I was doing, and I don’t think it was registering.

Until this week.

Hannah saw me working on it and said, “hmmm, that looks cool. Can I look at them?” Next thing I knew she and Bea had them out on the floor, flipping through them, laughing at stories and goofy photos, pointing things out they’d forgotten, and, in Hannah’s case, correcting some of my journal entries (thank goodness on pages that were still just in pencil!) Bea, being a fellow washi tape lover, was impressed with the use of tape, vowing to use hers more in her art journal.

Hannah did point out that I seem to do more cool stuff with the Forrest kids than I do with them. In my defense I argued that I have them more often (which is true – especially Lulu since she’s only in school 3 days a week) and at times when we aren’t super rushed – the logistics can get pretty crazy when I’m trying to get all 4 where they need to be! But, I appreciated the feedback, and will attempt to up my Gaga game with them.

In fact, yesterday I had them and not the Forrest kids, so we had what Lulu calls a “guhl’s day,” and went to Michael’s to pick up some art supplies, Barnes and Noble for books, and to get mani/pedis – all of which will be documented in the journal!

Bottom line? Yeah, it’s a good use of my time!

As much as I hate to think about it, I’m not going to be here forever. It will be nice for them to have tangible pieces of our lives together for them to look back on. And having them think Gaga kinda rocks for doing the albums is pretty cool, too.

So far, 4 days in to the new year, I’m keeping up on the journal! Yay, me!


I’m not crazy about needing to go back and reconstruct more of 2017, but it’s a project I’ll take with me to Maui and try to get it completed.

And this year, even with interruptions for travel, it should be MUCH easier to stay current!



One Obsession Leads To Another


I’m obsessed with my giant journal. I just LOVE the format, and I’m doing a pretty good job of keeping up on it (by my horrendously low standards.)

I’m only missing a few days in July, and I’m making nearly daily progress getting caught up with the earlier part of the year where I’m having to go back and reconstruct what happened.

Vacation days and special occasions are pretty easy because there are photos to jog my memory,


but normal days aren’t as hard as I thought they would be because I have Facebook notes to fall back on, credit card statements to show where I’ve been, and notes on our regular calendar.



Did you happen to notice along the edges of the pages, the decorative stripes? This is washi tape, and it’s become a staple on this project. I use it on every single page. You could say I’ve developed a “style.”

That wasn’t my intention. I just did the first page using it, and I liked it so much I don’t want to do a page without it.

And thus was born another obsession. Well. It wasn’t BORN here. I already had noticed I seemed to be accumulating a lot of it. I purchased cute little boxes to store it in…first 3, then 8, then 10. I made myself stop there.

I was buying multiple little packages of tape at a time.

They are just so darn CUTE!

But it went from being something I bought every once in awhile, to what is becoming a full blown, “crack-addict” obsession. I can’t walk into a craft store without heading to the washi section, and now I’m buying multiple large tubes at a time instead a few little packages. What kind of an industry preys on people’s weaknesses like this???

I wish I could tell you this was the only time I did this, but it’s not. There are more.

And yeah, the 10 boxes? Truth be told, this last orgy of buying pretty much filled them and then some. I’m going to have to order more before I can’t find them. Queen and Co. (the people who came out with them) don’t have them on their website any more, so I have to go to Amazon and HOPE they’re still available. But how many more? 3? 5? Sweet Jesus, I can’t keep doing this. Seriously.

I have to have tape for every theme known to man, and if I can’t find anything, I become agitated. I’ve taken to doing google searches to locate obscure companies hoping to find what I’m looking for.

Every once in awhile, there is none to be found. Like volleyball tape. Can’t find it. So I had to improvise, using nondescript tape and adding stickers.

The lengths an addict will go to.

The good news is, I’m using it, not just collecting it, which is pretty much what I was doing before starting this project.

So, I’m off to buy more cases. But no more tape. Not tonight, any way.





Well, I’ve started (Journally Speaking!)

So, you remember my crazy idea about re-creating the 1st 5+ months of the year in a journal, then continuing on for the year?

Well, I actually started it.

The idea of going back to the 1st of the year was a little daunting, and some friends suggested I just start with June and not worry about the rest of the year, but my anal-ness won’t allow it. It was all or nothing.

I started by going over my calendar, my blog and my daily check-in with my on-line art group friends to make notes for each day. I used sticky notes to put on each day, and got caught up to the end of May in just a few hours. I’ll go over photos to add even more information.

It was a lot easier than I thought it it would be. It won’t be as complete as it will be going forward, but I’ll be able to do something for each day. An added photo here and there will help to fill the pages on the days where there is isn’t a lot of detail, and I can always do a little extra art or find sayings I want to remember if I need to fill in space.

I’ve put a little date on each page in the corner with pencil for the 1st six months, and now that the last three journals have arrived, I’ll do the same for July – December.

The plan is that I will start with a current date, and work on the earlier months as I have the time. Having the pages all set up will make it so I can work on whatever day I want, whenever I want. If I want to work on the trip to Ecuador, I’ll find those days in April. Feeling more in a Maui frame of mind? Flip to February/March. I can even work ahead on embellishing a page if there is a theme or season coming up I want to play with.

So today I decided to jump in – that’s usually my biggest issue, just actually starting that first page. And, I was glad I’d set up the dates on pages, because I decide to start with our Maui trip which was back in February.

I’m not declaring victory yet, but I’m starting, and for me, that’s a good thing!



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