Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Time For A New Brain...

Hello there! Do you remember my art journal turned calendar?
I affectionately refer to my yearly calendars as "The Brain." Well, as with most brains, some function better than other...
Each year, I evaluate and tweak The Brain to hopefully meet my needs in the coming year.

So, lets take a look at what worked about last year's Brain:
- It was pretty. Let's face it, if it looks good, I am much more likely to use it.
- It was sturdy. The Dylusions art journal that I used really stood up to abuse.
- It had plenty of extra pages to allow for lists, doodles, and ramblings.
- It was simple. (Calendar pages for each month, followed by plenty of space for writing. Nothing else to clutter ye ole Brain.)

Now, what didn't work?
- It didn't fold. 
What? Let me explain... You know how a spiral notebook can fold back on itself? Well, this book didn't do that. This proved to be clumsy when I was out and about trying to write something down. I am pretty sure the receptionist at our dentist's office was not impressed by my calendar's width of 20+ inches that required me to move her beautiful display of Sonicare Brushes just so I could nake a note of our next appointment. HA!

- It required too much adhesive.
I really didn't think this would bother me, but any time I wanted to add a copy or flyer to my Brain, it had to be cut down and glued to a page. Bah...

- I missed the weeks.
I don't always fill in each and every day on a weekly calendar spread. Monthly tends to be my fall-back. Even still, I missed the option of having the weeks there, just in case.

So... now what?

Well.... it's time to make a new Brain, that's what!

I might have jumped for joy when I spotted this Mead "Hybrid" Notebook at Target. Please tell me I am not the only one who gets giddy with such things?
I seriously had to refrain from buying the entire stock! I mean, really - this could quite possibly be the perfect notebook. What if they stop making them? Ahhh - but, I had a rare moment of self control and only brought one home with me. Ok, wait. No. I bought an extra one... for my mom... promise :)

So, what has me so excited about this notebook?
- It's flexible. 
Oh yeah, baby! It is indeed a 3-ring binder by function. The rings come apart and pages can be added. But, at the same time, because it is made with fabric and plastic, it will wrap around itself and fold over, much like a spiral notebook. WHOOOO HOOOOO!

And since it does function like a 3-ring binder, that means I can add in cool things like pocket dividers and such. It even came with some!

It's the little things in life...

And speaking of fabric, I have mentioned in my monthly Roundup and Recaps that I have been wanting to play with fabric. So, here we go! We are going to decorate this baby with some lovely fabric picked up at my local quilting shop...
To get started with my design, I have an 8.5x11 sheet of plain white cardstock and am just playing around with the composition of my fabric scraps...
Coming together!
I like how this is looking, so I quickly tack each piece down with just a touch of tacky glue...
 ... and head to the sewing machine. I want this to have a messy, patchwork look...
 Stitches done. Now, for a bit of white paint to give this fabric a mixed media feel...
With the first application of white done, it's time to adhere my title with loads of Matte Medium. 
See? LOADS of Matte Medium. Why so much? Well, this Brain of mine is going to get used and abused for at least a year. I don't want any of those lovely letters falling or peeling off!
With that completely dry, now I can adhere my collage to the front of this fabulous little notebook!
Matte Medium to start...
 Filling in the gaps with white paint...
 Adding some more fabric pieces...
And then... I was brave! I took this baby to the sewing machine. I had a regular needle, went REALLY slow... and didn't break anything! YAY! I wanted to do some stitching at this point to insure that my collage would stay put and to add to the patchwork feel. Here you can see what the back of the cover looks like. 

Some fastidious folks might get a little twitchy seeing this all the time. Me? I actually love it. HA! But, I suppose it could be covered up very easily with another piece of paper or something.
 Now, for some finishing touches....

I added some more white paint here and there and am now just brushing on some glitter in certain areas. For more info about this technique, you can check out a video I did here.
 Patchwork and paint...
Fun embellishments...
Gorgeous fabric...
And there we have it!
 The Brain!!!
 I found some lovely printables on Etsy from Polka Dot Posy to use as my calendar pages. 
Since I operate on a "school year" type calendar system, I have already been filling this up and using it daily. I am happy to report...

So far, so good...

The Brain is off to a great start!

Thanks for joining me and I will see you soon...


  1. My jaw is on the floor! Amazing project!

  2. oh wow! loved going through the pictorial and part taking off the painty happiness :) thank you also for visiting my blog

  3. I think any paper artist loves office supplies! One of my secret shopping places is the clearance bin at Office Depot and Staples! lol Target...here I come!!! I adore the idea of the fabric sewing...and have a few scraps that I have hoarded away for something special....this is that since I have to have a planner too and prefer written to electronic! :) Thanks Ashli for a a wonderful tutorial and hope this comment finds you and your family well . Shine on girlie!

  4. Love how you altered the cover, it's beautiful and so fun. I know how hard it is to function without just the right calendar. I don't use any apps, still prefer to handwritten it in my calendar. I prefer month to month too, versus weekly. Michelle t

  5. That is really cool! I love all the fabric goodness you have going on and I personally love the exposed stitching on the inside cover too. Awesome new Brain!

  6. LOVE this!!! Gorgeous and practical, a girl after my own heart! Had quite the chuckle at the dentist office image :)

  7. seriously love this... and if you had used colored threads, that would have been even cuter on the inside page of the binder :)


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