The 100 Day Project

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Do you ever need a creative Jump-start?

Michelangelo Buonarroti, the sculptor, painter, poet, and architect, wrote about the flow of creative energy he experienced as “furor divinus” — the divine fire. As creative people we must tend that fire, adding kindling, branches, logs, stoking it and making sure that fire has enough oxygen to keep burning.

My fire has been smoldering a bit of late as I have been buried in the business and technical sides of my endeavors. So when I read about The 100 Day Project — a worldwide focus on sparking creativity in any medium — I immediately decided to participate. For 2019, I jumped in with both feet, committing to my art journal every day for 100 days. My project became an intersection between words and images in mixed media. But I confined myself to the pages of an old book which I repurposed specifically for my 2019 project.

I find communal challenges like this great to getting my creative spark aflame. And working in a different medium — visual art rather than words — stretches me and forces me to think differently. I am fundamentally a writer, but creativity is not siloed. I have to do other things — the #OneRoomChallenge, art journaling, learning to watercolor, gardening… the more I am working outside of words, the more easily the words flow when it is time to sit down and write.

I didn’t post every spread on Instagram, but at least once per week I posted a few days at a time. Check out my Instagram feed for more — and be sure to follow me!

Let me know if you are doing #the100dayproject . I would love to follow along!

@MidModernMama

2019: the 100 Day Challenge Flip-Through


My #OldBookRevival

repurposing an old book as a journal

I’ve been following #oldbookrevival for months on Instagram and getting all kinds of great ideas. There are some incredible people out there doing amazing work in old books! Here’s the idea: buy a beautiful old book that isn’t valuable (no first editions of The Great Gatsby, please). Turn that book into an art journal using whatever media you like. You are giving an old book new life!

My old book had just been sitting around in my studio, waiting for the perfect rejuvenation. It’s an old Reader’s Digest Condensed Book containing abridged versions of four novels: The Runaways, The Winds of War, and, my favorite — The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax. According to this edition, Mrs. Pollifax is “America’s most lovable secret agent” and in this volume she “rides again.” Having never heard of Mrs. Pollifax, I just had to do a little reading. She is a dainty, elderly woman currently reading Gone with the Wind and off to Istanbul to fight the Communists. Think Queen Elizabeth II as James Bond minus the martinis or the sex.

To adapt my book, I first wanted to personalize the cover. This is always my favorite part. I have this thing for decoupage! Using clippings from magazines, stickers, some ephemera, wrapping paper, and a few other odds and ends — as well as a spine piece I printed myself, I decorated the cover and the inside spread. Now the book was durable and ready for any adventures we may have together.

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, “America’s most lovable secret agent.”

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax, “America’s most lovable secret agent.”

My #The100DayProject Journal cover with ephemera, stickers, and magazine clippings.

My #The100DayProject Journal cover with ephemera, stickers, and magazine clippings.

The full journal cover front and back.

The full journal cover front and back.

The inside of the front cover with contact information.

The inside of the front cover with contact information.

Altered Book Journaling Tips:

  • I ended up gluing pages together to make them sturdier in this book. Sometimes I used Super77. Other times I used glue stick. But I ended up gluing every other page together because the book’s paper was fragile and thin.

  • I also removed about a quarter of the books pages in all. Every ten spreads or so, I removed another few pages to help keep the book from becoming too thick and unmanageable.

  • To support the spine, I ended up doing a lot of collage — not a sacrifice. I just made sure to use paper that spanned the spine on each collage spread.

  • I also stopped watercoloring. I think in this particular book the high moisture content of watercolors contributed to the spine’s disintegration.

As it was, I still ended up with 115 days in this book instead of the 100 I’d intended. And the book’s spine simply fell apart by the end. I was holding the lovely, chunky book together with an elastic band and a prayer. But it worked out very well, regardless.

A collaged spread using images cut from magazines and word stickers from my label maker.

A collaged spread using images cut from magazines and word stickers from my label maker.

Acrylics. To keep painted pages from sticking together, I cut small pieces of waxed paper and slipped them between the pages.

Acrylics. To keep painted pages from sticking together, I cut small pieces of waxed paper and slipped them between the pages.

My Altered Book in its completed state. Very chunky and full.

My Altered Book in its completed state. Very chunky and full.

Looking for your own Reader’s Digest Condensed volume to begin an art journal?
Click the link to see what is available.

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Whether you are a beginner or you have been art journaling for a long time, #The100DayProject is a great way to recharge your creativity and get new ideas and techniques for your project. Learn how to create an altered book journal -- for the 100 Day Project or just for fun. Tips and tricks to keep your altered book looking its best as well as sample layouts and projects for a daily art journal.