Category Archives: Inspiration

Fauxdori Traveler’s Notebook System, Fiscally Responsible?

A classmate took note of my fauxdori a week or so ago in class. After some discussion, she brought up something that I’m really surprised I didn’t think of, or consider about these things, she asked me if I saved money with the fauxdori over new notebooks/journals/sketchbooks. I had never thought of it that way.

I considered my sketching and journaling method previous to using the fauxdori. I either made or bought a Moleskine pocket sized sketchbook. These have 60 pages and around here cost about $10. As for written journaling I usually did that within the moleskine or in a separate moleskine Volant ($4.50 each) or Cahier ($3.30). * The Volant has 56 pages and the cahier 64. My daily carry cost was between $12 to $15.

 My current sketchbooks are BanditApple Carnet (BAC) PeeWee. These have 64 pages each. These cost between $3- $3.50 each depending on where I purchase them. For writing I use a Field Notes book and these run about $3.30 each. So I’m spending about $7 on inserts. Clearly there is a savings in just one bundle of inserts. fauxdori

My current rate for filling a BAC is 1 a month. Considering that they have a few more pages than a Moleskine Sketchbook. I’m already saving. If I were purchasing one Moleskine or HB a month  I’d be spending $120 to $144 on sketchbooks alone in a year. I’m filling a Field Notes every 16 to 20 days, depending on to do lists, journaling, and assorted school type stuff. A Field Notes is only 48 pages compared to the volant’s 56 or the cahier’s 64. that being said I always had issues with the last pages of my cahiers falling out and the spine of the my volants tearing and needing repair. I’ve yet to damage a Field Notes to that degree. Part of that is I’m not carrying them around outside of a cover but also, they spend less time in my pocket due to the fewer pages. I’d call this aspect even.

The answer to my classmate’s question of a fauxdori being fiscally responsible is, yes, it is. I save about $80 by not buying a moleskine/handbook every month. I also save myself a lot of aggravation. The cover allows the books to really be treated quite roughly. I’m able to carry both books in my back pocket, sit on them and generally abuse them more than I would be able to otherwise. So I’m saved from gluing up spines, falling out pages, and other nuisances.

It’s probably humorous that I turn around and spend that saved scratch on other things, like sketching pencils and pens… Right?

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Make Art with Anything

I've ranted and raved about commercialism in art journaling before. (been under a rock or just discovering me now? Click here.) And I keep ranting about it. I've been gathering videos for technique today over the last few days. (It gives me a nice 20 minute or so break from reading heavy stuff.) It's becoming increasingly difficult to find videos with good solid art technique, if I stick to videos related to art journaling. I'm not usually too shy about looking at stuff that is art andnot art journaling related. But as I viewed video after video, it really hit me.

It's hard to find a video about art journaling that isn't a blatant ad for a product or process or linked to classes. All of it is trying to get us to part with our money. I'm wary of technique videos that read like a who's who of products. Tim Holtz this. Glimmer Mist that. Hellmuth's paints. Grunge Board. Glossy Accents. Spray inks. The videos don't teach us a technique but to be reliant on these products. They don't teach us how to make these product (though there are some old vids that do) they teach us to buy more.

Here's the deal, the secret, all you need to art journal is a pen and a journal. Call me a minimalist but my every day art journal carry (EDAJC) has been the following for the last 2 weeks: A Field Notes notebook, a BanditApple Carnet PeeWee, in a leather cover I made myself and a shitty ballpoint pen*. If I were to extend out my EDAJC I'd add a tin of watercolors in limited colors, a waterbrush, a camera**, a pencil and eraser.

I'm not making "great" art but I am making meaningful art. The art I'm making is helping me to remember the look of the sky as I waited when I picked up my partner. Or the jerking of the train as it rounded corners. Or calmed me after a busy class. This, to me, is what making and creating a journal is all about. It's not about the products I'm buying andusing. It's about the memories I'm creating. It's about my life.

It's real.


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Train Sketches

I’ve been drawing on the train and as I wait for the train. I pic something that I want to focus on, hats, noses, eyes, puffy jackets, or interesting shoes. (I actually picked the car I was going to ride on today based on the number of neat hats people were wearing vs those who weren’t wearing hats on the other cars. Seriously.


Generally I don’t get any attention for my activities. I'm discreet (usually) about who I’m drawing, I try to pick people who are engrossed in their phone, book, or newspaper. I try not to stare but to look for a few moments gather some info, then look at my page, then look again gather info, and draw. Eventually I stop looking and keep working on the drawing. My goal is to get as much info on the page in a minute or two.


Most people don’t notice me. I usually wear headphones and blend in with everyone else. Over the last 2 weeks I’ve gotten more attention for my sketching habit than usual. Last week a fellow grad student (from UMass Lowell) saw me sketching as we waited for our trains. He watched me over my shoulder and we had a pleasant conversation. Another person was a little pushy and rude, wanting me to draw him and then give him the drawing. While I could tear the page out of my notebook/journal it would mess up the binding and I was a little put off that he expected that I’d want/be excited to draw him and then give him the drawing for free. Hell, he could have offered to buy me a coffee.


Today a woman, about my age, saw me drawing and came up to me and asked if she could take a picture of my sketchbook. She explained that she takes a picture of one interesting thing a day that she sees on the T. I let her take the picture and we talked about her project. She does it just for her. the images collect on her computer. She doesn’t share them. But she says she always finds at least one interesting thing on the train every ride. Truly a neat project. (we could talk about the importance of keeping a journal of some sort even if you never share a page with another person, but I think that’s a WHOLE other blog post. {and yes I consider what she does a “photo” journal.})

So far I’ve only ever had positive interactions with people about my drawings. I await a day when someone tells me to stop, while I hope that never happens I know it could. FB_IMG_13934590070185483

All images are from my 3.5×5.5 in BanditApple Carnet notebook/sketchbook. It is housed in a flauxdori or Midori traveler's Style Notebook cover. I've written about it before (did a video too, but I'm too lazy/tired to link it up.) Anyway, no affiliation, but I thought it would be useful to give you the size of the page. Also the pens I used on these pages were a Parker Flow refill and a Pilot Metropolitan Fountain pen with pilot ink. I've got reviews in the works for both the inks and the pen. Lots of reviews coming  up.

Squaring the Circle

One of the things I've been pondering is the following question:

"Do mandala's have to be circular?"

I keep arriving at no as an answer.

Last night on the train I did my usual relaxing automatic drawing. I started the hatching, realizing I was making 7 marks over and over again. I went with it and slapped a 7 on the head of the skull. I suspect most of you won't like the video, but the Pixies are a favorite band of mine and I must've listened to this song a million times when I was in high school.



When I got home I couldn't focus on the hatching in the background. Too distracted, too amped up by class and the presentation we had and the papers I have due.

I couldn't let it go. IMAG1307
This morning when I got up I was able to focus on the hatching and feel relaxed while doing it. Mindful. feeling the pen on the paper, counting to 7 over and over again. Though the Zebra Sarasa is smooth and glides across the paper I could hear it.

scritch scritch scritch

scritch scritch

scritch scritch

The sound of pen on paper is something I enjoy. I don't need music to listen to when I can hear the pen on paper. IMAG1304
I was able to feel the bumps of the paper through the pen as it telegraphed them to my fingers. The rubbery grip of the pen keeping the pen from slipping out of my fingers.

Slowly and carefully I filled in the 5×7 rectangle on my page.

IMAG1303Oh, yeah, what does this have to do with mandalas? I think that a mandala can be square. WHAT WHAT WHAT. A little research shows me that many cultures used square and rectangular shaped for their mandalas. We (Western peoples) know more about the circular mandalas from Jungian psycology and Western practicioners of the art. The circle is mor often used.

But Not Today

I had a rough day yesterday. Intense, hard discussion, aggravating, the type of discussion that gets under your skin. Feeling attacked verbally.

While I waited for the train I read, and then once I got on the train, I got out my sketchbook and I immersed myself in the process of creating an automatic drawing.

I focused on the feelings of making the lines.
IMAG1278I focused on how my pens felt on the page. The stiffness of my fingers and wrist as I cramped up from not being mindful of the moment and how it reflected the stiffness of my mind and the cramped feeling of my headspace as I worked on the feelings of being attacked.

I'd like to tell you that this image allowed me to completely let go of everything. But it didn't, it made me AWARE of all of the thoughts and feelings. It allowed me to name my thoughts, give them weight, allow them to be explored. This image gave the stuff in my head form. It will allow me to continue to work on these thoughs. eventually I will be able to let go.
IMAG1277But not today.

Art Therapy Camp

I spent much of last week at art therapy camp. Actually it was orientation for grad school for art therapy. No matter what I call it, it was AWESOME. Seriously awesome.

First it was in a place that looks like this:

There were drum circles and singing and lots of clapping. I was surrounded by 150 (or so) women and a few men who were all interested in the same sorts of things I am.

There was a table loaded with art supplies and we could use them at anytime, day or night. Speaking of nights, holy crap I was up until at least 11pm EVERY NIGHT and then up again at 7am. That's how I got the sunrise pics and this one:

That's the moon and a little bit of lens flare. Cell phone camera and shooting directly into the light…

Anyway, I made a lot of art, stretched  my limits by writing some poetry and in general had an awesome time.

I also learned that if I ever go to "camp" again, to include Gas-X in my bag. The food wasn't bad it was just a huge change from my current largely vegetarian and home grown diet.

I have to write a paper about my experience, 6 pages, in APA style and I have to include references… Holy moly. Loads of work, but I have to tell you, I'm totally excited to be doing it. I feel like I've gotten to the place where I'm meant to be and that is an awesome feeling.

Evidence #2 and Starting Grad School

I had my first week of grad school last week. It kicked my ass, in a good way. It was an intense 9am to 6pm class Monday through Friday. We did a  lot of writing and reading and art making. It was the most completely intense class I've ever had. In short it was awesome. I got to meet and hang out with 23 amazing women. The best thing is I'll be spending the next 4 days with them as well. This time in New Hampshire.

I expected to have evidence on Etsy by the end of last week but I ended up having a lot of work  to do for school. I finally got it all scanned and up today. You can get your very own copy.

Peaking In

When I decided to publish a few pages of my journal as a zine I didn't really think much about doing it, other than I wanted to have it be in the vein of the old school zine. That feeling of being hurriedly photocopied while a copy shop employee looks on worried about the number of copies you're making. Or rushed while at work early hoping your coworkers won't come in and see the weird stuff you're copying and then having to explain to someone.  I wanted that feeling, the rush of feeling like you're doing something vaquely not quite right, but yet, feels so right.


A peak inside:IMAG1068

Other Stuff

Some of the stuff I've been doing this summerisn't art related. Instead I've been doing a lot of gardening and working on my bike. Since I didn't want that stuff on the blog here I started a secondary blog called, "Other Stuff" that houses all my writing and photos about my other stuff. You can read all about that other stuff here.

All of this inspires me to keep creating, even if it seems like a distraction from my regular posts, I find it energizes and rejuvinates me. Sometimes you HAVE to shift gears into other things. It keeps me sane.

Review: Xtras for Creative Learning

past Saturday I went to Xtras for Creative Reuse. It’s this place where
you pay a small membership fee ($5) and then you can buy a full grocery bag
full of stuff for $8. They have other membership levels taht allow you to buy full carts of stuff or several bags at a time. They get off cuts and useful waste from businesses and
other things. They had the leftovers from an entire office that closed
down, from footrests to paperclips. They also had leftover and miss
embroidered items from a shop that makes patches. Large sheets of paper,
fabrics and yarn. It’s basically a massive junk shop. If you think like
me, it’s a toy shop.

get there I had to travel into Lynn, MA and down a few side streets to a
spot just off the Lynnway. I should have shot a few pics of the
building. It was one of the huge old industrial buildings with high
ceilings and 100 years of history. It was attractive in that old factory
warehouse kind of way. The area is kinda rough and like much of Lynn
kind of run down. Once I climbed the 3 flights of stairs to their suite I
was surrounded by stuff. All kinds of great recycled cast off stuff.
Entire offices had been dumped into this place, all of it mine for the
taking provided I could stuff it into the shopping bag they provided. There was loads of old Reebok schwag, the kind of stuff company employees are given to make them feel good.

I found all kinds of great stuff for my art. If you have a place like Xtras near you you should check it out.

Next time I'm there I'll snag some pics.

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