Emily Falconbridge is a free spirited creative soul who has been working as a writer and designer in the scrapbook industry for years. Her love for photographs and creating began when she was very young and she loves to used mixed media in her scrapbooks and play around with new techniques. She is mama to 3 and you can catch up with her here.

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A Deck of You

Do you keep a journal? If you do – congratulations! I fell out of the habit of writing in a journal after my daughter was born – time for myself? Time to reflect? Not anymore! I did journal in my scrapbooks – but mainly about her babyhood, achievements, activities etc, I was too busy trying to preserve my daughters story than my own.

But I have my own hopes, fears, memories, stories, goals, interests, fiascos and happiness that are important too, as you all do – and I am here to tell you it is time to make time for yourself to create and record, even if only for a few minutes a week.

A few months back I talked about art journals being a place to freely create, write and reflect, as well as work through emotions or challenges. I find myself too busy to add pages to my art journal as regularly as I would like to lately, so this year I decided to give myself a simple challenge on a smaller scale – create a mini art journal on a deck of cards.

Yep, I’m talking about a regular little deck of playing cards – 52 cards, 52 weeks in the year! Sunday is my day to ‘do’ my card each week, and I have found myself really looking forward to taking 10 or 15 minutes out of my afternoon or evening to create and journal about something randomly ME.

Because I am so enamored with this idea, I set a challenge on my blog and have many women from all over the world joining in with me each week! Each Sunday I post a picture of my latest card along with a little ‘prompt’ or challenge that they can use as a jumpstart to the card if they like. Everyone posts links to their cards so that we can all connect and share in this journey – it’s been a great one so far! Anyone can start this mini ‘deck of you’ at anytime, and simply continue for 52 weeks. One woman recently had a baby so she is doing a little card for each week in her baby’s life. Another is doing hers on cardstock circles bound on a metal ring. Some use only pictures, some use only words. We all have our own unique was of creating and every single card turns out so differently – it’s wonderful!

I find my ‘Sunday card time’ can easily be less than 10 minutes due to the fact that I prepared many of the cards surfaces in one sitting. Grab your favorite movie a spare hour or so one evening and crank out some backgrounds to then be ready to whip out and journal/embellish on top of. You really don’t need a lot of ‘stuff’ to do this mini journal. I have seen many cards created purely with pens, markers and magazine cuttings.

Here is an example of some pre-prepared backgrounds. From left to right…

1. I lightly sanded the card, then painted with green acrylic paint. Once dry, I sanded randomly over the paint to reveal some of the pink card below.

2. I covered the card with glue-stick, laid it face down on patterned paper, trimmed and sanded. Stamped a journaling circle ready for some writings!

3. I covered the card in ripped pieces of masking tape then painted with acrylic paint, wiping some excess paint away with a baby wipe.

4. I covered in patterned paper the same as #2.

5. I painted a layer of ‘gesso’ onto the card. This acts as a primer so that I can now paint in acrylic paint without it looking transparent or streaky.

I made this simple little pouch for my cards to be kept in by stitching felt and fabric together and closing off with a button. A thin piece of acetate (plastic sheeting, you could use some recycled packaging) was sewn over my photo to keep it in place.

I love that in a year I am going to have this ‘full deck’, a pile of peeks into who I am, what I was doing at the time, how I was feeling, what I was remembering. It is like a little time capsule and I’m sure my family and I will have great fun looking through these tiny cards over the years!

To see each of the cards and challenges I have set so far, go here (http://embers.typepad.com/e/mini_art_journal_challenge/index.html) and be sure to click on the comments section to see cards created by other talented women!

I love the small and manageable canvas a playing card provides. I created this small journal booklet back in 2005 inspired by the wonderful ‘she statements’ in the book ‘SHE’, by Kobi Yamada (http://www.amazon.com/She-Kobi-Yamada/dp/193231914X) which reminds us as women of our great power and worth in this world!

I hope that this month you will spy a pack of playing cards and use this simple supply as the foundation to a little snippet into who you are – even if you don’t own any art supplies you can grab some scissors, paper, glue and pens (and maybe find something fun in your kids craft stash?!!) and make something for YOU…about YOU. Taking these few minutes will be refreshing and inspiring for the soul, and hopefully you will become so addicted you will want to create a little piece of yourself each week!

Emily

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