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Book of Shadows / Journal

I am a bit obsessed with notebooks.  I have LOADS of them.  If you ever need to get me a gift and are stuck for ideas, get me a notebook and I will be happy as Larry.  Whoever Larry is…does anyone know?

I recently bought a lovely big notebook that would be just perfect for updating my *Book of Shadows, which had never been particularly well looked after or designed – it was just a bodgy little spiral-bound notepad that I had always meant to decorate / tizzy up but twenty years on had failed to do anything with – and really needed to be upgraded and given a bit more respect.  So, this new notebook, with it’s large blank pages and hardcover, screamed out “Make me over!”  I shall share my process with you now, dear readers, leaving out any details about how messy I got, and where I was finding black and copper paint, days later.

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Sorry – terrible photos…it was late and the lighting wasn’t great..

The first step is simple.  You spread PVA glue all over the cover of your notebook, so that it is completely covered, and then lay tissue paper over the top of it, smoothing and rippling the paper as you go, to create a natural-looking surface.  Be careful not to rip it as the tissue paper becomes quite fragile when wet.  Do one cover at a time – ie do the front first, let that dry and then do the spine and back cover next.  Fold any excess paper over to the inside – you will be covering that up later.

 

PVA glue takes a while to dry properly so go and do something else while you’re waiting.  You can speed the process up by gently drying with a heat gun or hairdryer.

When all the sides are done, paint with your chosen background colour.  I have used black acrylic paint, but it would look equally good with just about any dark-ish colour.  Paint each side, including the spine, and allow to dry as before.

Using a sheet of paper, cut to size, cover the inside, back and front, making sure you cover up the excess tissue paper that was folded over.  If you want to add some ribbon or binding to tie the book up with, now is the time to add it, before the paper is stuck down.  Or, if you make a mistake like I did (and forget to add the ribbon), you can glue it on after the paper and use an extra square of paper to hide the ribbon.  Hey, I am all about improvising!  When it is all stuck down, paint over with your chosen colour.  I used black again here, but you could use a contrasting colour if you like.

When everything is completely dry, you can start on the fun bit.  Squeeze out some metallic acrylic paint (I used copper, but gold or silver etc would look great too) onto a palette or spare bit of cardboard.  Don’t add water.  Dip your finger lightly into the paint, dabbing off the excess (you only want a little bit of paint) and lightly wipe it over the covers of your book.  This is like dry-brushing with a paint brush.  You don’t want thick splodges of paint – just a light, barely-there contrast.  It will highlight the textures and creases in the tissue paper and create a leathery/old look.  Keep going until you are happy with the result – don’t forget to also do the spine.

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Ooh, old and leathery…that reminds me, I have to buy moisturiser, ha ha!

Let this layer dry completely on all sides.  Add an embellishment to the front cover if you wish, to add some interest.  I used a copper, um, face-plate thingy (I have no idea what it is or where it came from) and, before sticking it down, created a little collage to fit underneath (flecked with a bit of copper paint), which was then sealed and enhanced with a layer of dimensional magic to give the effect of glass.
When the panel is slid open, the image is revealed.  It looks all magical if you squint a bit and also don’t have very high standards or expectations ha ha.

 

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Magic!

An easy technique for updating a tired old notebook, that can also be used on metal, wood and other materials.  It’s messy and fun and you basically get to finger-paint.  And there are sadly few opportunities to do that these days.

 

Thank you for stopping by 🙂

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PS I just want to say, I am not a witch, and do not mean to offend anyone who is.
I have “dabbled” in the Craft, as I think many women do at some stage in their life, but I certainly don’t claim to know all that I should know about it and would advise anyone who is thinking of casting a few random spells or hexing the neighbours to get some proper advice and guidance.  Be careful of your intent and the energy you put out into the world, even if you are just “dabbling”.

My *Book of Shadows is my own personal book of “spells” (if you want to call them that), affirmations and wishes, important things I want to record and hold dear, and does not imply that I am in any way affiliated with any particular belief system, religion, or group.
Believe in magic, or don’t.
Each to his or her own.  Blessed Be.

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Life is one big journal entry…

Life is one big journal entry…

I have spent the last few days helping my Mum move into her new house.  So exhausting!  It’s not just the physical side of things – shifting boxes, driving back and forth between houses to pick up yet more boxes, unpacking, cleaning the old house ready for the new people to move in – it’s the emotional stress too that is tiring.  My Mum has lived in that house for 33 years.  I myself lived in it for about 29 years.  There are so many memories there – good memories and bad, happy ones and sad ones.  But leaving it was not the emotional wrench I expected.  We were too busy to get caught up in any soppy goodbyes or sentimental last-minute looks at the garden or neighbourhood.  And anyway, the house is just a house – without my Mum in it, it’s no longer a home to us.  She, and the cats have a brand new house – much smaller and with far less garden to look after – and it already feels like it is theirs.  We may well be unpacking boxes for the next three weeks or more though (now I know where my hoarding tendencies come from!)…

I found a couple of things I forgot I had.  This embroidery my Mum made for my room:

This bunny box I painted years ago (and one of the few things I was quite pleased with, considering I made up the design myself – I was into penny rugs at the time and although I never got round to sewing one, I decided to copy the idea and paint a stylised version of one on this little wooden trinket box):

I also found this lovely mosaic an old work colleague of mine made for me:

In packing and moving, we have had to clear out a lot of stuff, much of it mine (hey, it’s traditional to leave half of your belongings at a parent’s house, isn’t it?).  I was a good girl and threw out or donated loads of stuff.  Some of it was very hard to get rid of but I knew I had to do it.  Mum no longer has the room for it all and I should be a grown up and cull a few things.  I don’t need four hundred magazines.  I don’t need to keep every card I have ever been given (seriously) and I probably don’t need to hang on to my old diaries that go way back to when I was 8 years old.  Or, hang on, maybe I do…they are, after all, a record of my life (dull as it may have been) and reading them brings back memories, some happy and some quite tear-inducing but memories worth keeping nevertheless.

Some choice entries include:

“October 27, 1983 – Dear Diary, Everyone fights.  It’s stupid because they have boyfriends.  We’re not old enough for boyfriends…” (Aged 8, before hormones kicked in)

“January 29, 1986 – Dear Diary, I think I will move down the back with the geese.  Everyone fights. I wish I was a good witch so I could magic anything!” (Aged 12 and obviously still believing in the power of a little magic and it’s ability to put an end to conflict.)

“August 27, 1985 – I have a big crush on John B*.  I wish I was prettier, not so fat and not so boyish so he would like me.  I hope he doesn’t have aids etc (Aged 11.  Already developing awesome self-esteem and not quite grasping the whole AIDS thing and how one contracts it).

“August 13, 1984 – Today was ok.  At school, Matt C* did a bog.” (Aged 10.  A bog, I should point out is a charming way of saying someone passed wind.  Obviously a highly interesting occurrence to a ten-year-old!)

“October 16th, 1986 – Yesterday the circles wore bras, even Christy*! Hah hah! Mum said I don’t need one yet which is dead good!” (Aged 12.  “Circles” were the opposite of squares.  I, luckily, did not fit into either category so was accepted by both sides.  Poor Christy* was terminally flat-chested.  She got a boob job a couple of years ago and leads a full, happy life, unaware of my earlier poo-poohing of her unnecessary underwear choices..)

I’d like to say that my journal entries got better as I got older but, sadly, they did not.  I was still prattling on about boys well into my thirties and bemoaning the fact I was ugly/dumb/fat/etc.  These days I struggle to write anything at all, which is probably a good thing, but I really should try and jot down a few important facts and dates so I can remember them in my dotage.

I would die a thousand deaths if anyone read my diaries but I can’t bring myself to throw them away.  But if anyone does find them, hidden carefully under my bed or in my drawer or on top of a cupboard, I will deny all knowledge of them and refuse to admit they are mine.  Or at least say I was under the influence of some mind-altering drug when I wrote them.  And if John B* is still out there, I didn’t really like you, I was just pretending.  It’s what all the cool circles were doing at the time…

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent!