For the littlest journal artist

kids junk journals

This Christmas I’m gifting a few of my nieces and nephews little junk journals. Inspiration from several talented craft artists gave me the idea to make the covers from candy boxes.

I have so much interesting paper of all different types that it took me just a few minutes to gather enough for several small books.

Each book has only two signatures. There are approximately 8 papers, including an envelope, folded in half that make up the signature, so there isn’t too many pages; I didn’t want to make the book overwhelming.

I used papers from┬ácomic books, old book pages, maps, graph paper, ledger paper, music lessons, coloring books — pretty much anything that was colorful or had an interesting design on it.

comic book page

I used lots of clothing tags I had been setting aside.

batman jj page

And I used plenty of food labels. I had been saving stickers I peeled off of fruits and vegetables. Those went in here too.

food labels

My kids wanted one immediately so we went to work on separately making junk journals for them. We used chocolate packaging.

junk journals from chocolate packaging

The simplest and fastest way to get the signatures in is to use the long-arm stapler. I love that thing! It has saved me so much time. Yes, it’s a little ugly, but honestly, who cares?!

staple spine

Inside I let the kids pick whatever they wanted. My 7-year-old daughter was quite specific on what she wanted. She already has experience with making these books so knew what to do.

kids junk journal inside

My 4-year-old son did his own thing too.

Ts journal

Of course he went to town with the stickers. That was great too!

Ts journal with stickers

The kids seem to think that they are done. Now I need to get them used to the idea that there is lots of opportunity to keep on adding and embellishing. We’ll see if I can get them to add anything else.


Summer projects with the kids

The kids and I are home, mostly, through the summer. The kids had a wonderful vacation down in San Diego with their grandparents for the majority of July, but now we have another 3 weeks before school starts.

We’ve been doing plenty of crafts to keep us busy. Here’s what our dining room table looks like at the moment:

dining table with crafts

Everybody has got something going. V who is heading into the 2nd grade has a blank notebook she painted entirely with watercolors and now is embellishing it.

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T is now 4.5 years old and heading to pre-kindergarten. He also has a notebook with blank pages that have been painted, glittered, covered with stickers or simply drawn in with markers.

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I like that they have books where they do art, and then put them away at the end of the day. This way we can store it away easily and I can hand them over to their care as they get older.

I have a few projects out as well. I’m working on a few “journals for no reason”, inspired by Shannon Green, and of course, one of my collage journals out. I had a few pieces picked up from San Diego. IMG_8258


Koby stole the markers a time or two but we always managed to get them back. He likes to do what we are doing, even if it’s done passively.


Kids craft project – Collage mini album

manila folder mini albumThere are thousands of uses for the manila folder. I love them! I have a stack of them in my book shelf waiting for me to put them to use. I have several mini albums made from manila folders and when V saw a scrap piece of manila folder left over from a project, she asked if she could have it and decorate it.

collage spread 1

collage spread 2

I helped a little by making a few suggestions here and there, but overall she made all the decisions. At 5, she’s got an eye for it.

Manila mini collage album

Kids craft – Little birds

painted birds

It’s been a little while but I got the paints out along with the brushes and put the kids to work. T is going to be 2 in January and I think he needs more experience with handling a brush. I found a nice idea by the Happy Hooligans of making owls using an empty toilet paper roll. We love all things to do with birds so this was a good project for us.

I cut some empty toilet paper rolls in half and gave the kids 2 pieces each to paint.



After that the kids put on eyes that were already prepared with double-sided tape. They glued on feathers and a beak. I helped T with the gluing, but he did the pressing.

beak on the bird

He really got into it. Best of all, he knew they were birds and made lots of tweet sounds.


A First art collage


V made her first collage from magazine pictures.

What does a four-year-old find interesting? Other little girls and boys her age, food, and balloons. There’s a picture of a family on a beach and when I asked her what she found interesting about it, she said the little girl’s bathing suit. And the woman with little girl in the stroller? She said she liked that they were both wearing funny hats.

I encouraged her to write some letters over the washi taped pieces and helped her assemble some of the illustrations, but she made it clear to me that it was entirely her own project.

Good girl.

Kids craft – Decorating a funny face

craft face


V has been after me to do something with glitter and glue. I found this simple illustration of a funny face in a Klutz activity book and though it would be pretty easy to do.

Klutz face


We pulled out our colorful sequins, googly eyes, and glitter glue. But before we did anything, V painted bits with watercolor first. After that it was gluing sequins, glitter glue for the eyes and lips, and decorative paper and ribbon for the hair.

gluing sequins


ribbon hair


It was a fun way to spend an hour or so.

putting it together

Kids craft – Board book

I took some pictures of the board book V made for her great grandma in Slovakia. She loved making this book and enjoyed it even more when she got to give it as a gift.

Front cover: Washi tape, heart stickers, and sequins. Ok, I helped with this page, but she did all the painting. And she tied the ribbon.

board book 1

First spread: picture of V with her Dedo (grandpa), some doodling, a princess valentine, and more painted cutouts. There’s a bit of crayon art there too.

board book 2

Second spread: We used a puncher to make colored leaves. I cut out some tree branches and she glued everything on the page. The flowers are cut out from a magazine.

board book 3

The third spread: stickers on paper with a bit of marker.

board book 4

And the back: More washi tape and painted cutouts.


Kids craft – Toilet-paper roll bracelets

We’re getting ready to leave Slovakia in a few days and I’m getting around to transferring pictures from my camera to the computer. Here’s a little project we did using a couple of toilet paper rolls cut up into rings.

I wanted to make one with a watch face.

TP roll bracelets1




V wanted a ribbon on hers too. I really liked the blue and silver combination.

bow bracelet


She put one on her daddy too.

snowflake bracelet


We weren’t able to slide the bracelet over her hand so had to cut an opening. They became loose pretty quickly so it would have been a good idea to create some kind of fastening if we wanted these to last longer than a day.

Welcome 2013

2012 was a good year for us, but pretty tough as well. All in all I’m glad to see the new year.

V painted a picture with her watercolors.

painting fireworks

She says it’s fireworks under a green sky. Nice!



Kids project – Christmas tree decorations

hanging tree

Here’s what I wanted to make with V:

  • a decoration in the shape of a tree
  • something that hangs with a ribbon
  • it needs to be painted with watercolor
  • then decorated with beads
  • a pretty large size

I made a tree template and then traced it 6 times on heavy card stock. I drew some garlands and ornaments with pencil so that V could get an idea of how to use her colors, and then I let her paint them. She needed help so I did a few.

a few decorations

The next day after everything was dry, I glued the trees to another layer of card stock to make them nice and thick, and then I cut the trees out. By then V was ready to use the heavy glue to adhere the pieces of cut-up garlands for decorations. At Tesco I found a beautiful string of silver snowflakes that I cut up to individual pieces. Same with the gold-beaded garland.

tree details

Once all the trees were decorated I attached silver ribbon and we were done. We signed and dated them and they were ready to go.

tree details 2

V was very proud while giving them out. She got lots of positive feedback which was great for keeping her motivated for future projects.