The quest to get up-to-date with my Project Life albums continues…I’m getting close and will share some favorite spreads soon. In the meantime, though, I thought I’d share some watercolor journal cards that I created to sprinkle through the spreads for 2015.
For both 2013 and 2014, I bought Project Life core kits (I used the Seafoam Edition in 2013 and the Midnight Edition for 2014). Each kit shares a color theme and general style, making the album look cohesive for that year. The kits contain an abundance of cards to journal on as well as “filler cards” that make the pages look creative and vibrant. Core kits are pretty great.
However. I’m always left over with a bunch of cards at the end of each year. I’ve been squirreling them away and sometimes pop them into mail or write little notes on them…but even so, I still have a good number just waiting to be put to use. So for 2015, I decided not to purchase a big core kit. Instead, I bought a couple mini kits that have bright, colorful looks. (For the curious, I snagged the Lucky Charm kit when it was on sale along with another small pack that had an “oil painting” feel. I’m thrilled with both of them.)
The smaller kits are just that, though: small. Seeing as Bobby and I regularly trek across the country, this is a good thing because I won’t be amassing excessive craft supplies to haul back up to Vermont this summer. Still, I don’t think these more paired down kits will stretch through the whole year of Project Life without some supplements. Enter…homemade journal cards.
You may have noticed that I’ve developed quite the obsession with watercolors. Thus, when I saw this post over on a Beautiful Mess about making your own scrapbooking pocket cards I was sold. I had actually initially run across this idea elsewhere a couple years ago and thought, “are you kidding me? Scrapbooking is time intensive enough without layering ANOTHER homemade element to it. Why would I make my own pocket cards when I can buy a good set?” What struck me about the post from A Beautiful Mess, though, is that these cards had an imperfect feel. They looked fast and fun. Imagine that – the cards on the blog titled “A Beautiful Mess” looked 1) beautiful and 2) slightly messy. I tell you, they are on brand.
I determined that I could knock out an additional set of cards in an afternoon using this newfound inspiration. And I was right! First, I quickly pulled together a board on Pinterest of different patterns that I could easily replicate.
I used a paper cutter to cut out some cards that would fit the two main pocket sizes in my albums – 3×4 and 4×6. I could have used heavily weighted watercolor paper, but that stuff is expensive. Instead, I opted for paper from one of my Canson notebooks – 60 pages for around $10, which is much more my style. If you wait for a sale at Michael’s or apply a coupon, you can get those notebooks for even less. The pages curl a little bit, but they tend to flatten back out after the moisture has dried.
Next, I pulled out my trusty watercolors. (P.S. If you’re in the market for some vibrant watercolors, I am in love with these Japanese ones that I found on Amazon. Such a good array of colors and a reasonable price for the incredible quality. They even have shimmery gold and silver! Definitely one of my most used craft purchases of 2015 so far.)
Then I just got going! Armed with the freedom that these cards would be perfectly imperfect, I was able to crank out a decent number of them.
Some of them had really simple designs and others were slightly more involved.
I let some of the cards dry on a brown paper bag while I worked on other designs.
This project turned out to be so much fun that even Graham couldn’t resist getting in on the action.
I wanted some cards that were more appropriate for journaling, so I decided to create some very light washes as well so writing will easily show up. (Remember how I said this thinner paper curled a little bit but magically flattens out as it dries? Here’s proof.)
I added a few banners across the top of some cards and journaling lines on the others. Again, nothing perfect – I wasn’t pulling out my ruler for those lines. Fast, fast, fast, that was my mantra!
You may have noticed that I used a different set of watercolors for these cards (you clever detective, you). It’s true! These paints are less intense and lighter unless I choose to really soak some water into them and do several layers. The lighter wash was perfect for the journal cards.
(This set of watercolors was SUPER affordable ($5 at Michael’s), has certain tones that aren’t in my other kit, and looks great in Instagram pictures! What more could I want in life?! Here is the same watercolor set on Amazon if you want your own to get started.)
I’m honestly so happy with how these turned out.
Now if you’ll excuse me, time for me to put these cards to use and start scrapbooking 2015!
(Note: The products I mentioned in this post are ones that I use and love. All of the links to products in this post are affiliate links – meaning that if you purchase through them, the cost to you is the same but I get a tiny commission. Thank you so much for supporting this creative work!)
I think your handmade journal cards are the sardine’s whiskers! There’s just so much YOU in them. I’ve never played with Project Life, but it looks like a lot of fun. And BTW, THANKS a bazillion for my encouraging note. When it arrived last week, I hated to open it, because then it would be over. But imagine my delight at discovering that I actually got TWO envelopes and TWO notes. Squeeee!
Martha, that just made my day! I’m thrilled that the 2nd envelope got to you successfully and that it brought some joy to your day. It was my pleasure! Such a treat to have you following along – you should check out Project Life if you’re ever inclined…I feel like the crafter in you would love it!
Your cards are perfectly imperfect! And they are very much a statement of you in this current moment, they’ll be a great addition to your Project Life!
Great to see pictures of your process work! I’m impressed they flatten as much as they do from that initial curled up state! Watercolors have always vexed me so with the damage they do to lighter-weight papers! I’m glad you’ve been able to find a proper ratio!
Thanks Celeste! Now that they’re in the book, I love them even more – I’ll have to do a post showing some of the watercolor spreads. Although I realized that I have to make WAY more. I thought these would last me through at least half the year…ha, no chance!