I am creating an online journal during the Coronavirus social distancing so I can look back and remember how my thoughts and actions might change during this time. This is Day Nine.

Sunday, March 22

During these weeks that we are spending so much time in our homes, it’s more important than ever that we are intentional each day to take care of ourselves spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. The lack of structure and isolation is starting to wear on our family, combined with the uncertainty of how long this might last and the growing anxiety as we hear about more people affected by the virus.

Even when life is normal for me, it’s important for my mental health to find ways to be creative. I also like to reflect on my life and write down what I’m learning and how I’m growing. Doing that is even more essential right now.

One way I practice creativity is by writing on my blog. I love combining words and images to reflect on my life. About a year ago, I also started an art journal. I didn’t know much about art journaling or how to get started, but I dove in, putting paint, marker and words on the pages of my journal. I found it to be a creative outlet that was therapeutic to my mind and spirit.

Today, I received the highlight of this time of social distancing when a box of art journaling supplies and ideas arrived on my doorstep! A few weeks ago, before I even knew we would all be confined to our homes, I purchased a subscription to a monthly art journaling kit as a gift to myself for my upcoming birthday. I wasn’t sure it it would still be delivered now that so many businesses are closed, but there it was! And even on a Sunday!

The kit is created by Let’s Make Art. I can’t say enough about my love for this company, which is located in Missouri, and provides tons of resources for my creative projects.

About a year ago, I wanted to learn to watercolor, and I found their weekly tutorials. While you can buy a watercolor subscription box, they also offer free outlines for each project, along with free tutorials on their YouTube channel. I began painting every week, and even invited friends to join me in my effort to learn to watercolor on Monday evenings last summer.

Later in the year, they added hand lettering tutorials, which have also been fun to follow. But I got the most excited, when they started releasing art journaling tutorials at the beginning of the year!

Each Thursday, they post a new art journaling video, and I usually spend part of Friday — my day off — watching the video and getting creative in my journal. Jesse Peterson, along with Sarah and Nicole (the watercolor and hand lettering instructors), have started to feel like friends who are there to encourage me during my creative time.

Like I’ve done with the watercolor and hand lettering. I’ve been using my own supplies for my art journal. However, I’ve often found I don’t have exactly what I need, and I end up running to Michael’s. I also haven’t had access to the cards they include in the kit, which give you writing prompts and technique descriptions that you can mix and match.

So I finally decided to take the plunge and try the monthly kit for $35. It could not have come at a better time! I almost cried when my daughter interrupted my closet cleaning session to tell me I had a package from FedEx!

Even the package itself is super cute and creative!

Here’s what I received in this months’s box:

* an art journal with super thick, high quality paper

* prompt cards and technique cards that I can mix and match

* paint in this month’s themed colors

* gold washi tape

* Yes paste to glue everything on the page

* gold gouache, which I will be learning about next month

* two sheets of specially curated paper to use in the themed projects

One thing I love about art journaling is that my pages don’t have to be perfect. I’m not going to frame my finished work for display in my home. It can be messy and raw. When I’m working on a page, I try to think of it as “practice” and remind myself I can rip it out if I really don’t like it!

Here are a few of the pages and projects I’ve done since I started following the Let’s Make Art art journaling tutorials in January.

This is a page called “What make me happy.”  I printed out a photo of myself with a cartoon effect I added in Photoshop. The background is acrylic paint. Over the top, I used a white Posca paint pen to list everything that makes me happy! (Just Thinking of all of the words even made me happy!)

I’ve made tons of these little kindness cards, which was one of the recent projects. I followed the tutorial for some of them, then started adding my own ideas. I love that these also incorporate the tips I’ve learned from the watercolor and hand lettering tutorials.

I added a few of the kindness cards to this page as a reminder to show kindness to myself!

On this page, I wrote the words from Matthew 6:24-28 and painted over the top with watercolor.

This page lists all of the things I’m grateful for during social distancing. I wrote with a silver Sharpie marker over shades of purple watercolor.

You can see that the journal I’ve been using doesn’t have high quality paper. I’m excited to use my new journal so the pages won’t buckle under the watercolor or bleed through to the other side.

 

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If we were still living life as normal, I would be inviting friends over to learn to art journal with me! I can’t do that at the moment, but I at least want to encourage you to find a creative way to express what’s going on in your head and heart! You might not even realize all of the thoughts and feelings that are building up until you find a creative way to release them.

Spend time focusing on positive things in life, like what makes you happy, what you’re grateful for or an encouraging Bible verse or quote. I promise it will add joy to your day!

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What have you been doing to add creativity to your day? Do you like to journal? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

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