Celebrating the Year as it Draws to a Close

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Before we head into the New Year, I like to use this time to reflect on the events and achievements of the past 12 months. The week between Christmas day and the New Year always seems like a no-mans-land time, where one event is finished and the next, yet to begin. So it becomes a time of reflection and planning. There are many creative ways we can celebrate and reflect and measure how we’ve grown.

Using our art journal to celebrate our creative successes and explorations

We can look back over our art journal pages or look over photos that we accumulate on our computers or devices (remember when we used to go and get them printed from the film?!)

My favourite way is to create a word cloud, like a mind map of all of the events, activities, highlights and even the low-lights we have enjoyed as a family over the last 12 months. We have done this with input from everyone, as well as looking through photos and referring back to my a-day-a-square diary. I love hearing about our year from my two boys as they always remember different things to the ones at the forefront of my mind.

I do these reflection mind maps in my general sketch book and use my favourite pens or markers – here I’ve used my Staedtler triplus fineliner markers. I record the school grades of the boys and their sporting achievements. The different jobs my husband or I have had. Movies or television shows or books I have read will often feature. Family vacations and day trips. Sometimes it gets added to over a few days – a memory will crop up in the middle of the night. I will also add a note at the bottom of where I was as I created the mind map

It’s lovely to have these pages to look back over – my first one was in 2009, using a simple blue pen and coloured pencils to add shapes.

Art Journal reflections

I hope I can encourage you to pause at this time of year and reflect and document the wonderful year you have had. Even if it hasn’t been the “perfect year” (whatever that means!) use the time to note what did work – then you can work on getting more of that in your life! I like to think that energy flows to where we give our attention, so let’s reflect and then focus on a creative 2014.

Happy creating,

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New Years’ Reflections

I love spending a few days either side of the New Year contemplating the year that was and the year ahead. The triumphs of the last year can easily be forgotten amongst the sad times so we need to spend time documenting the good and the bad, and use that to help set our course. An art journal is a perfect place to reflect and document these contemplations.

mixed media art journalling technique

To help with your New Years’ reflections, I have put together an ephemera sheet with prompts to help you get started. It can be downloaded over on the Mixed Media Ephemera page [Sheet #9].

Materials and Tools:

  • Pre-painted Art Journal layout
  • New Years’ Reflections Ephemera sheet
  • Lined paper or scrapbooking paper suitable for writing on
  • Ruler, craft knife and cutting mat
  • Glue stick
  • Inks to match your color scheme
  • Journalling pens

1. Gather up your materials and tools. Clear your workspace.

New Years reflections mixed media art journal tutorial

2. Using the ruler, tear up the ephemera sheet to quickly separate each prompt, giving each one a nice torn edge.

New Years reflections mixed media art journal

use a ruler to tear out the art journal promtps

New Years reflections mixed media art journal

3. Sort through the prompts and decide which ones you want to use; for me it was a combination of which ones appealed to me and how many would fit in the layout space.

4. Edge the prompts with ink by running the ink pad along the edge of the paper. This helps to frame each statement.

use direct to paper method

5. Using the lined paper, write out your reflections for each prompt and cut them out. I used angled lines for interest.

reflect on new year for your art journal

you can use any shapes for your art journal

6. When you have finished your writing, do a rough layout to check all of your pieces fits and you are happy with the arrangement. Here I wanted lots of space between the panels so the painted background would show through.

rough layout for your mixed media art journal

mixed media art journals

7. Using the glue stick, stick the pieces into your art journal. Add embellishments if you wish.

8. Don’t forget to sign and date your work.

mixed media art journal signed and dated

9. The finished layout

using prompts to reflect on your new years thoughts

We would LOVE you to share your New Years’ Reflections – just leave a comment below or even a link to your blog, showing off your artwork and reflections.

Happy creating!

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Have you got your copy of Cloth Paper Scissors yet?!?

Stop putting off your mixed-media wish list! Today is the day to check off essential to-do’s from your bucket list and Cloth Paper Scissors magazine is here to help!

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Decluttering for the New Year; Which Supplies?

The start of a New Year always seems like a good time to reflect in the year just past and set some goals for the year ahead. The art / crafting area of your life is no different; it is needed to balance your lift and needs as much attention as your health, job/career and family.

Which Supplies?
Now we have considered what crafts we want to focus on, it makes it easier to determine which supplies, material and tools we need to create these crafts. One of the (many) great things about mixed media art is that we can turn supplies for nearly every other craft into being useful for mixed media art. No longer doing cross stitch? Then we can use the cotton as fibres embellishments in our books and use the fabric for image transfers. Not going to sew anymore? We can still use the materials to add texture to our art journals or tear into strips as an embellishment or use to bind a book. And of course the sewing machine can be used to stitch paper and journals and book sections.

The sorting can begin now that we know where our focus will be. I realise this will be hard for some – feeling like we are abandoning projects that had captured our hearts at one stage. If you can’t bear to hand them onto someone who can complete them or repurpose the materials, pack these projects into a box and move them away from your crafting area (into your wardrobe or storage). When we repeat this exercise in 12 months time and you hadn’t even thought about those projects, then it will be time to pass them on or repurpose then.

Choose one area to start sorting; pick a box or drawers or pile. Pull everything out, sorting it into keep or give away / sell, depending on if it relates to the few crafts we have decided to continue. If it is junk or dried out and won’t work, throw it away. Now group the like things together and put them back. Just focus on one area or drawer. You may find other items that could be stored with these ones but that can be part of the second review.

sort one drawer at the time to declutter your crafting area

The aim here is to move quickly through each area of your crafting area and remove the junk and items no longer needed. This will begin to create space. If we pull everything out it can easily become overwhelming, so stick to small areas and put things back. Even if we just do one or two areas each day, we will slowly progress through the entire room, finding all sorts of things we had forgotten about. Continue to put things back that you want to keep and remove things you don’t.

If you find some fantastic things you had forgotten about and inspiration hits, make notes in your art journal so you will remember them when it’s crafting time again – for now it’s decluttering time!



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Decluttering for the New Year; Reviewing our achievements

The start of a New Year always seems like a good time to reflect in the year just past and set some goals for the year ahead. The art / crafting area of your life is no different; it is needed to balance your life and needs as much attention as your health, job/career and family.

Over the next few weeks we will look at  a few tips to review last year, set a plan for getting organised and decluttering your space and stash, and get ready for the creative year ahead!

mixed media art collage painting

Last year’s achievements
Before we plough into the New Year, let’s take a few moments to reflect on just how far we have come over the last 12 months.

Can you find a project, or photos of a project, that you started 12 months ago? Did you finish it? Do you still like it today? Can you see how your style has changed and developed when comparing this piece with one recently made?

I am always amused when I review my artwork – I can remember how I felt when I created it (sometimes happy with it, other times, not so happy). there are bits I like and bits I would do differently. Even my colour selection changes

Techniques & Materials
What techniques did you use to create this piece 12 months ago? What have you learn and tried? Which ones worked for you? which ones need more practice? Which techniques won’t be tried again?

I find I don’t often discard new techniques but they add into what I already do, adding to my range of skills I can draw on. There are so many techniques that can be used in mixed media art, drawn on from other crafts. Many of them fit together.

What new materials have you added to your collection last year? Which ones were used often? Which ones did you use only once to find they weren’t what you expected?

These questions will help us as we step through our decluttering process!

Time spent
Did you spent as time as you wanted to on your crafting last year? Is there even enough time to complete all of your projects and fulfil all inspirations?

In these time-challenged days, ti is hard to find time to be selfish and get stuck into creating. I’m a firm believer of scheduling in time to create and give myself permission to play and not get some jobs done. Often I find I can get the basic housework jobs done extra quick when I know crafting time is ahead. We all have the same amount of time; we must choose where we spend it. And recognising it can be a conscious choice as to how we spend our time is the first step to finding that time to create.

blue mixed media painting

Take a few moments
In your art journal, take a few moments to reflect on what you have achieved over the last 12 months; projects started (and completed), new materials and techniques and when the best times for crafting were for you.

We will return later to set some direction for the year ahead, but for now, just reflect and celebrate your achievements.



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