Video: Quick Walk-Through Of The Irish Journal


The Pirate Journal

Please note, a video flip-through will be happening sooner rather than later with this journal…please stand by…

But for now…

Remember this picture?

Altered book in progress….

A post shared by Tabitha Low (@theknittingjourneyman) on


I had three pieces of brown packing paper that had come in some package that had arrived at the house.

I had saved them to create a little journal.

One night, I sat down, and using spit to wet the creases, I broke all three pieces of huge brown paper down into the proper size pages for a burgundy book cover I had found a week or two before at the thrift store.

Gulliver’s Travels…the book in question.

How and why this became the pirate book, I do not know.

I bound in three signatures of ten folios…and then thought there was plenty of room for two more signatures…and so I made it happen.

I glued the first page down to the inside front cover.

I glued the last page down to the inside cover.

I glued the last page of every signature to the first page of the signature behind it.

I added some black rose washi tape along the edges of the inside covers.  And down the centers of each signature.

I glued in some decorative burlap covered with lace on the first page of each signature, just to add interest.

I found this crocheted flower–it’s brown…and it had tie strings hanging off of it–I glued that to the spine of the book and that is the closure.

The pages are crinkly and rough…and I love it.

Even with all the girly touches, it is still a pirate journal.

A woman pirate, a woman pirate captain, it is her journal…and I love that.

I rubbed her inner spine and several of her pages down with a little eucalyptus essential oil, tossed her in a sealed plastic bag and am letting her sit before I use her.

Hopefully, she is ready by next week…because that is when I think I will need her/plan to use her.

We’ll see.




LifeBook 2018

If you are interested in joining LifeBook, hosting by Willowing/Tamara Laporte…check it out here.

I believe the last year I took LifeBook was 2015…that was the second year I had taken it.

I haven’t missed it.

In fact, the harder I try to take other art classes in this past year, the crankier I have gotten.  And I have tried to take several.

I tried a couple that I paid for…and then devolved into trying to work my way through free classes, and through challenges…

Nope.  I usually don’t even make it past the first day and the first assignment.  I get too ticky.

It’s not what I am looking for.  I am not seeking to learn to imitate anyone else’s style.  I am not seeking to learn new techniques.  I want to learn to deepen my own practice and to deepen my own connection to my art…but…that’s about it.

I know.  There are a ton of classes out there that claim to teach you the things I am saying I want…but it goes a lot deeper in me than the blurbs I have read for various classes.  Nothing has resonated with me.  Nothing has spoken to me.

Not to mention, I want to make sure I work through/into/with other art circles, other art groups…not the same people who seem to be a part of every single group that I have happened upon.  I want new voices, new visions, higher expectations…

I am not complaining–not about the teachers (for whom I am and always have been deeply grateful), not for their students, or their groups, or their followers or any of that.

What I am saying is–I have needed and I still need a different lens through which to view my own work and the way in which I work.

So, why, after I say all of this, after I am so unable to follow along with any class or challenge, why would I want to sign up for a year-long art course? With classes happening every week?

It actually has nothing to do with the art technique classes…and everything to do with the “…With a holistic approach to creativity, self-development and healing…” (taken directly from Tam’s website).

What really got me was reading through the class schedule…and seeing monthly Yoga sessions.

It may not sound like a lot to you…but for me, that means A LOT.

Plus, the whole year is not focused on drawing/painting this year–there are other crafts and art forms being offered…that too means a great deal to me.

And I told you all of this to show you …. these….

3 new altered journals waiting to be bound

A post shared by Tabitha Low (@theknittingjourneyman) on


Three James Bond books…

None of them look like this any more.

I was actually excited to keep the spines intact and visible from the moment I found these babies at the thrift store…I wanted to do a visible binding…rather than an inside/invisible binding…and it turned out this might have been a good thing…or maybe not.  Maybe if I had done an invisible binding, I would have reinforced the spines more to begin with…too late now.

I was binding the first book, and I pulled my thread tightly, but not too tightly because I didn’t want to rip the paper in the signatures…and the spine just split nearly all the way down…it was just so dried out and brittle…

So I had to take and reinforce that spine…and luckily I have a tape that corresponds with all three colors.  These Bond books were book club editions from 1971 (if I remember correctly…not sure if they all were, but the one was…but they are all from that era.)   They are all black bodied, but the edges of each book is a different color–which I didn’t realize when I bought them because they came with actual dust covers.  One edge is red, the next blue and the last yellow.

Ee gads, did I learn way too much with binding these books.

I am doing larger signatures than I normally do.  I usually stick to three or four pages a signature, to cut back on the page creep (uneven long outside edge)…but I have been watching a lot of videos and tutorials of late…and my favorite ones include binding books with larger signatures…plus, I am making these as writing journals, not as art journals…which means I am far more comfortable putting in larger signatures, and more signatures than I normally would.

For example, the Bond books have about an inch wide spine.  Each of my signatures has twelve folios.  If I were making these journals specifically for art journalling, I would have been mostly comfortable putting in two of those signatures…but each of these has three signatures.  Ink may add some texture, but not as much as arting in them.

As if binding these three were not enough (with the red one’s spine splitting like that) … I had other issues.

So, if you have seen a few of the other book videos I have done lately, you know I have been using scrap booking paper and then just spraying burnt umber paint mixed with alcohol (long story short–the spray bottle of alcohol was sitting there and so I used it) to put something on the white sides of all the pages.

Well, this time, I oriented the pages differently in these books than in the previous books…which gave me more connected white pages, rather than every other page white…so I didn’t want to just randomly spray every white page–I thought they needed a little more.

I also wanted to keep a continuity within each book.

So I took the yellow-edged book…and for the white blank pages, using a baby wipe, that I continually sprayed with a bit of water to help smoosh the colors around (a light yellow, a medium-dark yellow and a pale orange were what I used), I wiped paint over each and every white page…and then after a short drying time, went back and sprayed with my umber alcohol mixture.  After that, I went back in with the hair dryer and blew every page dry.  No problems.  No sticking.  No hassles.  Perfect.

I should have known to stop then.  Leave the rest until the next day.  Something.

Then, it was time to do the blue journal.  I did the same thing, using three shades of blue…pages gummed together, and stuck, and tore when I worked to prise them apart.  Yes, I used paper towels and deli paper between pages for a bit to let them dry as I moved forward with the painting–as I had in the yellow journal–no, it didn’t work as well in the blue. I had to add extra embellishments and additions to different pages, lace, washi tape… tears and sweat and swearing…eventually she turned out all right…but errggg…

The red one…I worked more slowly in this one.  I still used paper towels between pages…but instead of letting the paint dry a little bit before spraying with the umber…and then waiting a bit before hitting the pages with the blow dryer–I painted a double page spread, sprayed the umber on it, hit it with the blow dryer–didn’t make sure it was 100% dry, just dry enough not to stick to the page across from it…after I did all three signatures this way, I went back and blew everything with the hair dryer again…

I am waiting to go through the red one and see what pages need washi down the center because wetting the baby wipe periodically apparently tore pages at the binding holes more than it did with the other two (and unlike the blue journal where the pages damped apart and ripped right down the middle between stitches)…

I will be doing some quick flip-through videos of these girls…right now they are holed up in each their own plastic baggy, allowing the eucalyptus essential oil I rubbed into their inner spines and between some of their pages to work its way through everything…and all three bags are stacked up and on top of these three journals is a very heavy dictionary weighing them down to help them be plain old writing journals and not super puffed up and out whatever else they could be journals.

Now, none of these books currently have closures…but I am seriously thinking about it…if I hadn’t worked so hard to reinforce those spines and everything, I might suggest sewing a button to the center of the spine to use as a closure.  I can’t do that with these…but I do have another, smaller journal that is sitting here waiting to be bound…that button would have to go on before anything else happened…so it is good I am thinking of it now.

Until next time…