Free tutorial: how to prepare a travel journal before you go

When I am traveling, there is never enough time to make entries in my travel journal.  I want to do at least a bullet journal of what I did that day, tape in some receipts, and stash any brochures in my journal.  I find I cannot remember specifics even with the photos of the events.  Where did we eat, how much did it cost for that museum, and how did we get there?  These are some of the questions I will want to remember and to share with my family and friends when I return home.  The way I have learned to take care of this is to prepare my travel journals before I leave home.  I thought I would share how I do that with you my dear blog readers.

I buy a large blank page notebook whenever I can find them on sale.  I found these at Walmart for only $2 each (a stunningly low price) and purchased 3 of them.travel journal 10Since the paper is kind of thin, I glue 2-3 pages together to make a strong base to paint and to eventually staple and glue the memorabilia from the trip.travel journal 11Then I make the cover using mixed media products, stencils and paints.travel journal 1Now I am ready to start painting or using watercolor pencils to prepare the blank pages to write my journaling, and to attach other items I want to save from the trip. I normally add stickers and colorful borders to the pages as I prepare them.  I sometimes draw light pencil lines since that keeps my writing easier to read later.travel journal 2

travel journal 4

travel journal 7I will add some envelopes and glue two pages together to make a large envelope to stash larger items.  Recent feedback from one of my travel journal customers, add more envelops to store items.travel journal 8Finally, I will put together a traveling art kit that includes; pens, water coloring pencils,  a ruler, tape, double sided tape, a paint brush, a stapler with staples, a big glue stick, liquid glue, and a small pair of scissors. [Use short, blunt scissors and omit anything liquid if you plan to put the kit into your carry-on.]journal supplies

Now I am ready to quickly journal by either writing out a narrative or using bullet points to summarize my day. Here is a bullet journal sample from a day that we spent in Paris last year.

  • went to the Louvre  (got there early and there was not much of a line)
  • saw the Mona Lisa, so many people around it, hard to get close
  • went to dinner at small outdoor cafe at the foot of the Eiffel Tower (romantic)
  • back to the apartment by the metro

I also will purchase postcards, cut up the photos  and add them to the pages.  I also leave some blank pages to add my photos when I get home and have them printed.

I hope this tutorial helps you prepare for your next travel adventure and makes it easier and quicker to write down some precious memories from these fleeting moments in your life.  If you use this idea and have any comments about your travel journals, please let me know.

 

London museums and culture

We have been here a week now and sweet Pablo is doing fine.  He does not like the cone he has to wear but he gets lots of cuddles and scratches and so he does well.poor pablo outside 5x7 netWe have taken the tube into London for a couple of days.  I love seeing the art and culture that are in London’s museums.  The British Museum, the Victoria and Albert, the National Portrait museum and the National Museum are all free and full of interesting paintings and artifacts.  Here are some of the photographs that I took in each of these museums. crucifix V and A 5x7 netstain glass Jesus 5x7

Queen Eliz I 5x7 net

Queen Elizabeth I

 

London Anne Boleyn 5x7 net

Queen Anne Boleyn National Portrait Gallery

Klimt Hermine Gallia 5x7 net

Klimt  Portrait of Hermine Gallia 

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Monet Water Lillies National Gallery

Of course it would not be London if there was not a picture of Big Ben.Big ben London 5x7 netAnd the London Eye.London eye 5x7 net

London is a fascinating place to visit.

Clandon Park and Watts Memorial Chapel in Surrey , England

We have mainly been staying at home and taking care of the guinea pigs and cooking because it has been raining almost every day.

olaf and Elsa net

Waiting for their home to be cleaned

 

But we have found some good weather during part of the day to do a little exploring.  We went to Clandon Park, a home owned by the National Trust.  It is an early 18th-century Palladian  mansion.  It caught fire in 2015 and the entire inside was destroyed.  The Trust has decided to restore this mansion to its former glory.  But right now you can only go in to see it with hard hats and a tour guide.  Dave hard hat net  They have photographs of what the inside looked like before the fire, and you can see what a precious historical house looks like now.

Clandon Park Marble hall before 5x7 net

Marble hall before the fire

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After the fire

Here are some other photographs of the damage that the house sustained.

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Some wall paper made it through and will be copied for the restored room

 

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A marble fireplace that is still there

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A bedroom window

This statue must have fallen into the ashes (notice her broken knee) and was put back up into her niche with wooden safety bars.Clandon Park Venus 5x7 net

You have to applaud the grit of the National Trust to tackle this extensive restoration.  It is also  important for people to see what happens to historical buildings when fire rips through them.

We also had time to go the the Watts Memorial chapel in Compton.  This is an extraordinary example of  Art Nouveau version of  Celtic Revival  style in the village cemetery.  It was designed by Mary Fraser-Tytler,

the wife of the artist George Fredric Watts.  Watts memorial chapel back 5x7 net

Watts chapel outside 5x7 net

Outside panel of terracotta reliefs

Amazingly, “A group of local amateurs and enthusiasts, many of whom later went on with Mary Fraser-Tytler to found the Compton’s Potter Guild, constructed the chapel from 1896 to 1898; virtually every village resident was involved. ” ( Wikipedia ).  I think it is an incredible example of the Victorian sensibilities around a craft movement to inspire social improvement by using creative craft arts.  Here are some of the angels that line the inside of the chapel.watts chapel orange angel 5x7 net

watts chapel fire angel 5x7 net

watts chapel blue angel 5x7 net

watts chapel urn 5x5 net

watts chapel wind angel 5x5 net

These are all made from clay that was found on the Watts estate and hand crafted by Mary and the villagers.   They painted and gilded the work in gold leaf.  It is a truly stunning example of what ordinary people can do when their creative artistry is unleashed.

Free tutorial; How to prepare a travel journal

One thing that I do now since going to Europe the last 2 years is to prepare my travel journal before I go.2017 travel journal2017 travel journal 1 I keep tickets, train stubs, receipts and other ephemera as we travel and there is not time to make special pages to keep this loose stuff.  2017 travel journal 4So I put in pretty envelops in my journal at home.   I also paint and add decorative paper to my journal pages as it is difficult to find the time and carry all the supplies to do that on the road.2017 travel journal 3  I make pages with fold outs to put secret or just private thoughts into.  2017 travel journal 6 I also stamp and color pages like this. 2017 travel journal 2 or this2017 travel journal 7  I take along a zip lock plastic bag with scissors, double sided tape, tape, color pencils ( water color ones), colored pens,  a small spray bottle, glue sticks and a small stapler.  Now I am ready to add papers and pages as I go along.  Hope this helps you prepare for your next big trip or even a little one.

Easy tricks to make a travel journal

When we are traveling I take lots of photos but they are on my computer and I do not have time to print them.  So one trick that I do is to cut out explanations and photographs of places that  we have visited from the free tourist brochures that you get at the tourist information center.  Travel tip:  You should always try to go to the tourist center in the beginning of the time you are in a new place.  They often have tips and ways to save money that would not occur to you.  They also have lots of free brochures about the major things to do in the town.

So here are two examples of how I used the brochures to make my travel journal of Girona, Spain.

The first picture shows a fold out explanation of some dates when places we saw in Girona were made.  The second photo is of the Arab baths which I think I will remember but probably not.  You can see that I pasted the explanation under the photo from the brochure.

I even got time to make some art for my journal.  It was fun to use my watercolored pencils. art journal houseWe will be going to Barcelona tomorrow to get on a cruise ship.  It is for a 19 day Mediterranean cruise.  So there will not be much coming from me on this blog because internet time on a cruise is really expensive.  I might get to post some photos with instagram when we are on shore.

Have to create art;making beach pebble people

I do not have any of my art tools here in Mexico but I cannot seem to resist creating art from what ever is at hand.  So the beach here has lots of smooth rocks and pebbles.###Travel tip for artists:  I purchased some school paint, glue, and a couple of canvases at the dollar store here in Mexico called Waldos.   I am creating pebble people collages.  The trick is to make these collages with only things found on the beach.  So my pebble people and animals take shape from the shape of the beach finds.  So here my little art set up on the balcony; art paint shells  There are shells and rocks that I have cleaned with bleach and oiled with oil oil.  With my school paint, I am ready to go. CREATE!  Here is a canvas I made to remember my sweet dog Daisy who lived on earth for 17 years and is now a dog angel.daisy angelHere is a bride and groom set of pebble and shell people with some drift wood and wooden weeds.pebble people wedding And here is a couple in love.  It was really hard to find a beach pebble the size of a heart.couple pebble people  I will see what images comes from the beach next week.

I have time to correct and show some of my photos from the trip; so today the Vatican Museum

We were overwhelmed by the amount and quality of art and sculpture we saw in the Vatican Museum.  I wanted to share some of my favorite photographs from that experience.  This is a Roman sarcophagus that shows the amazing skills of those who made this stone coffin; vatican coffin wm  A marble dog holding the side of a doorway on its back. vm dog face 5x7 small  A set of small marble angels playing on a plaque; vatican angels wm  Many of the ceilings were beautiful frescoes of religious or Roman gods and goddesses , here is Neptune the god of the oceans; vatican roman mosaic Neptune corr wm  And here is a ceiling that illustrates bible scenes; vatican ceiling wm  And my favorite pieces are these angel musicians that were saved from a fresco from the church of SS Apostali in Rome.vatican angel 3 angels 5x7 wmvatican angel drum 5x7 wmvatican angel lute 2 5x5 wmvatican angel lute wmvatican angel shell 5x7 wm  I am reminded of how important museums are that save art from being destroyed and keep it for future generations to enjoy.  I will do another blog entry with more of my photos from our trip to share with youl

Lucca, Italy; the Villa Guinigi story 1413 – 1430 (a national museum)

One thing that I admire about the Italian culture is their sense of history and preservation of their historical buildings.   They do not tear down old buildings but refurbish them to be used in a modern way.  This is exemplified by the apartment we are living in.  This is probably an 18th century building that has been divided into 4 apartments.  New walls and  IKEA- ized inside, and you have a building that is historical but practical to live in.lucca apartment small kitchen

The same is true of the Villa Guinigi National Museum. lucca villa Guinigi outside small This villa was built as the “pleasure palace”  (translate summer fun) for Paolo Guinigi’s family in 1413 just outside the medieval city walls of Lucca, and practically next door to our building.  It is a large, graceful villa with an extensive front and back garden which were behind fortified walls. Lucca Villa Guinigi model small ( This is a wooden model of what it looked like in 1420) Paolo was the city’s richest and most powerful man from 1400-1430.Lucca Villa Guinigi portrait small ( This is what he looked like, not the nicest looking man)  He had 4 wives ( the beautiful Ilaria that I wrote about earlier was his second wife) and many children.  When the citizens of Lucca decided that they wanted to return to being a republic in 1330  they arrested Paolo and threw him in prison where he died 3 years later.  They confiscated all of his property ( including this villa) and everything was sold.  Luckily, the city in 1924 decided to purchase it, repair it, and make it a museum with art and artifacts from Lucca’s history.  In 1948  it became a state property and the current exhibits were arranged for the public.

Almost no one knows about this excellent museum.  When I was there I was the only person looking at it.  They have a good collection of Roman art,Lucca Villa Guinigi 1 ad Roman artLucca Villa Guinigi 8th century art small medieval art Lucca Villa Guinigi 7th century soldier smallLucca Villa Guinigi medieval cross smalland baroque ( this is not my favorite so there are no photos of it).  In the back garden this is a well which all medieval fortified homes had to have in case they had to hole up behind the walls for a while. Lucca Villa Guinigi 15th century well small It gives the viewer a good over view of the history of this place.   I highly recommend it if you are in Lucca for more than a day.

St. Zita’s mummified body in San Frediano Cathedral in Lucca, Italy

Today I went to the San Frediano Cathedral here in Lucca to see St. Zita’s body in the church.  I have to admit I had a morbid curiosity about seeing an actual body in a glass coffin.  I had to borrow a photo from Wikipedia because my pictures were too dark.  So here she is.  1024px-Lucca_Zita_San_Frediano  I thinks she looks pretty good for a 700 year old body.  I like her story; she was a house maid for a rich family in Lucca and she was always doing her job really well.  The other servants did not like her too much because she worked hard, was cheerful and holy (a difficult combination for anyone to win a popularity contest),  She was so good the family made her head housekeeper, and she worked for them until she died when she was 60 years old in 1272.

After one hundred and fifty miracles were attributed to her, she was canonized in 1696.

Her body was exhumed in 1580, discovered to be incorrupt, but has since become mummified.”  (Wikipedia) She is the patron saint  of domestic servants.  It is also said that she is good at helping you find lost keys, that is something I could pray for.

The outside of the cathedral  has a stunning 13th century golden mosaic designed in a Byzantine/medieval style.  My photo does not do it justice.  It glitters in the light.Lucca San Frediano church mosaic small Here is a photo of the entire facadeLucca San Frediano church outside small.  Inside the church is a 12th century baptismal font that is quite beautiful. Lucca San Frediano church 12th cent  Here are some other photos from inside the church. -ucca San Frediano polyptych of the Virgin and the Child smallLucca San Frediano Elisa Trenta tomb smallLucca San Frediano virgin Mary small It might seem like looking at all of these churches (Lucca is supposed to have 100 churches!) it would get boring.  But each of these edifices has its own story to tell, and it is interesting to find out what it is.  I would never have researched the story of St. Zita without going to this church.  It was cool to see her still together and dressed so nicely.

Free tutorial making clear packing tape image transfers in your travel journal or smash book

So we are here in Europe for an extended period with very little luggage and just a few art supplies beside my smash book / travel journal that I brought from home.  We have been touring so there is not a lot of time to play with art journal techniques.  I have had to be inventive and use very basic techniques and supplies to make my travel journal interesting and quick.

Here is my clear packing tape image transfers using free antique images .  I found this old paperback book in Florence that a book seller had left in a box on the sidewalk for free.  There were some antique images in it and I thought the images  would work in the smash book.  I bought some $1 clear packing tape at the 1 euro store ( yes, they had several 1 euro stores in Florence but none here in Lucca)  and went to work in my apartment’s kitchen sink.image transfer tape small 1  I pressed down the tape to the images with a rolling pin that happened to be in the kitchen and put these babies into some warm water to soak in the sink. image transfer small 2  Turned them over and carefully rubbed the paper away from the back side of the tape and dried it off.  Then I used them in my travel journal in an appropriate place for the image.image transfer  3 small As you can see it gives another dimension to the travel smash book / journal and it took less than 30 minutes to make 4 of them.

I am experimenting with other papers and have discovered that you can do an image transfer with this lovely Florentine paper.  The paper on the side of this photograph.Smash book  tutorial travel postcards small I will do a quick tutorial about that in the upcoming days.  It is amazing how inventive you can get when you do not have all of your supplies and cannot even find them in the stores.  I really miss my distress inks.  Hope this helps.  If you have any questions or comments about your own travel journal ideas please leave a comment below.  Happy travels