Friday, September 8, 2017

Tea Rose Khadi Journal

Shabby-chic faux-lace tea and roses Khadi journal cover
It's not easy to find the perfect art journal--you have to consider the size, shape, weight, and most important--the kind of paper. Lately I have been loving square journals. Maybe it's the influence of Instagram, with it's square format, or maybe it is just that I am a true Virgo and love all things neat and regular.

When I saw the Khadi art journal on Gwen Lafleur's website, it called my name. Not only is the shape, size and weight perfect, but the paper is high quality, handmade watercolor paper.

unadorned Khadi journal
The blank pages stared back at me. Putting the first mark on a new journal is a little scary--it makes a statement, sets your mood for future pages. I decided to go with one of my favorite techniques for the cover: printed teabags. I use teabags a lot in my art. They give plain white paper a quick and effective aged effect. When I use stamps on them (with white printmaking paint) the effect is of aged lace...I call it "faux lace."

Mini border wood blocks, teabags and printmaking paint
I gathered my supplies for the project: a collection of dried, empty, open teabags, my favorite white printmaking paint, and two of Gwen's woodblock mini border stamps. (Be sure that the teabags are brewed plain--add your sweetener, milk or lemon AFTER you have removed the teabags.) For this project, I used a combination of Earl Grey and plain Lipton tea. (Teas with rose hips gives the paper a nice pink color, and ones with turmeric are a beautiful yellow.)

Two mini border woodblock stamps, with white printmaking paint applied to one stamp.
First, I painted the stamp with white printmaking paint. Next, I draped the teabag over the stamp and gently pressed until the design showed through, then carefully peeled away the printed teabag. (For teabags, this method works better than flipping the block and stamping onto the paper.) Periodically I used a baby wipe to remove the paint from my fingers. Since the teabags are very thin, the paint seeps through a bit, so clean hands lessen the chance of smudges.

Above, the teabag has been gently pulled off the stamp, revealing the print on the right.
Below is the group of printed teabags that I used for this project. I tried my mini border stamps in all over patterns, stripes, alone, as a border around a teabag, in a fan shape, and in the center of some of the smaller teabags. (If you would like to read more about printing teabags to create "faux lace", there is a tutorial on my blog and the link is here.)

Once they dried, it was time to get started thinking about the arrangement. I fiddled with them until I found a design I liked, and took a quick photo with my iPhone. Next, I set about adhering the printed teabags to the Khadi journal cover.

First I spread a thin layer of Liquitex matte medium all over the cover with a credit card. (I keep a container or baby wipes handy to wipe the excess off my credit card as well as my fingers. I also like to use a non-stick surface under my project.)

I added each printed bag one at a time, smoothing it out with the credit card and occasionally with my fingers, and overlapping them a little, then adding some extra matte medium on top, which I smoothed out with a credit card. I used my heat gun to speed up the drying process.

The first teabag has been placed on the journal cover, with a dollop of matte medium waiting to be spread on top.
This is the journal cover about half way through the process of gluing on the teabags.
The last, and center, printed teabag has been placed, and a squirt of matte medium will be spread on top.
When the printed teabags were all in place, it was time to think about embellishment. I tried out a few ideas, and decided on using some roses from Gwen's downloadable pdf. I selected a few, and "auditioned" them for placement on the cover. The roses looked sweet and went well with the vintage effect.

I decided that the background was too stark white, and needed to be aged to go with the vintage look of the teabags. So, here's what I did: first, I gently tore the edges of the paper, because a torn edge is softer than a cut edge, and I was going for a soft, feminine, vintage look. Then I rubbed on some antique linen Distress Stain, intentionally making the white areas blotchy and uneven, and bringing the stain up into some of the flower petals. Last, I took a mini dabber and applied some sepia distress ink and archival ink to the edges and here and there on the white paper.

Then I decided where to arrange the flowers on the cover, and used a glue stick to adhere them. Since I had printed the roses with an ink jet printer, I was worried that the Liquitex matte medium would be too wet and the roses might run and bleed.

I was almost done, but I needed a closure of some kind. After some thought, I decided to use grommets and ribbon. With an awl, I poked a hole near the center right edge of the cover, then snipped it a little more to be just about the size of the grommet. I inserted the little pink grommet in the hole, pushed the smaller part onto the back, arranged my grommet tool over the pieces, and squeezed to secure it.

 For the back of the journal, I used plain teabags. I put a pink grommet midway down the left side of the back of the journal. After "auditioning" several kinds of ribbon and fiber, I settled on some pink and green dotted ribbon that had been in my "stash" for years. It was just the right shade of pink, and the green was a pretty good match with the rose leaves.

Here is the finished journal, open:

...and here is the finished journal closed and tied. When I look at the journal, it evokes a nostalgic feeling, and reminds me of my grandmother and the flowers growing around her old country farmhouse, and brings back happy childhood memories.


Jill McDowell said...

Wow Linda, I have a stack of about 50 dried tea bags in my stash but never could figure out how to use them. You've just set my mind on fire! The Kandi Journal itself is beautiful thing and you just made it more incredible. I'm definitely putting some of your techniques to work!

SandeeNC said...

I just loved how you aged the flowers to coordinate with the teabags, you definitely mastered the vintage look! So nice to find khadi lover I need to start saving my tea bags!

Gwen Lafleur said...

This is so beautiful! I love the idea of the faux lace - it looks great! The finished effect is lovely... soft and feminine with a great shabby chic vibe :D

Jackie PN said...

Absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous Linda! truly it remind s me of an old vintage memory journal! Such a lovely and clever idea to use those teabags, they go perfect with your aged roses and block stamping.
Well done my friend!
hugs,Jackie xx

Lynda Shoup said...

This is a beautiful project. You have used your materials in such an unexpected way. The results are lovely. Faux lace! What a fabulous idea! I have always loved this shabby chic look, but have really had a hard time achieving it. I may have to come back and read this until I can start achieving that look.

Thanks for including tips on choosing tea bags for their color. I have many varieties of tea and it will be fun to check out the different hues.

Loved the whole post.

Dee Spillane said...

I love the shabby chic look of this. I have many teabags saved and some pasted in my journal. I have to try this beautiful paper. Now I have some great ideas

Jean said...

This is so soft and pretty! I think I need to start saving tea bags!

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your techniques...your piece has an ethereal, romantic feel