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The 150 Year Old Ledger is Becoming an Art Journal

A 150 year old ledger becomes an art journal

Ever just see something in a store and you knew it was meant to be yours?  Like love at first sight?  That’s what happened with this huge ledger. Even though I had no rational idea of what I was going to do with it at the time, I had to bring it home!

Thank you Kristin for curating such an amazing treasure in your store, Ephemera Paducah and Terry for helping me carry the almost 150 year old tome!

But what was I going to do with it? Turn it into an art journal but what kind of art journal will it be? Would there be a theme or at least a plan?  The first page better be good after all this is a one of a kind journal…can you hear how the pressure to make “good” decisions was building up?

There was going to be zero play with all that pressure.  That pressure had to GO! How did I get rid of it? By giving myself permission to play.  And you can laugh at the O.O.P.S. that felt so huge to me…but was actually really minor and almost impossible to see.

Watch A 150 year old ledger becomes an art journal on YouTube.

Join the free workshop, Permission to Play to download and print your own permission slip.

Once the permission slip was printed out, it was cut into strips and glued to the page with gel medium.  I made sure to get a thin coat on top of the words too. This will seal them so the inkjet printer ink doesn’t smear or run in the next step.

OOPS! It turned out there was a typo on this one. The good news is that I’ve got it fixed now so when you go to download your permission slip, yours will be grammatically correct.

A 150 year old ledger becomes an art journal

Using Pitt Pens, each word was colored in a repeating pattern.  Why the repeating pattern since I am not usually a pattern person?  It was just faster than trying to decide each color each time.  Imagine my surprise when I broke the pattern and it felt huge to me.

O.O.P.S.!  Then I had to laugh at myself, after all, it was just an O.O.P.S., an Outstanding Opportunity Presenting Suddenly. What was the opportunity?To be reminded that the initial feeling of “I screwed this up” might not be accurate.

The “horror” of the broken pattern was nearly invisible the next day.  Turns out it wasn’t such a big “mistake” after all.  If you’re looking for it, it is the purple then red (instead of orange) near the top of the photo.

Using Pitt Pens to create colorful permission slip in a 150 year old ledger that became an art journal

To create a softer color for the background, the ink from the Pitt Pens was used to make pastels by mixing the color with white paint.   Color on any non absorbent surface, then with a brush, mix in the paint.  The most important thing about this is to be sure to keep the pen out of any wet paint because it will ruin the pen.

Using Pitt Pens to create colorful paint to create a background in a 150 year old ledger that became an art journal

I was torn using the paint to create the pastel background around the permission slip since I love the lines of the old ledger pages.  But I wanted a background…and I wanted all those lines.  This journal is going to be quite an adventure.  I can already feel the conflict of wanting color and wanting to see the journal page below it.

This is just the beginning of this art journal’s adventure. Get signed up for my newsletter so you’ll know each time I have a new video playing in here.  In the next video, I’ll be sharing the theme for this journal.

Using Pitt Pens to create colorful paint to create a background in a 150 year old ledger that became an art journal

Here are the supplies used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps keep the free tutorials coming!

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  • Michele December 31, 2017, 11:49 am

    Delightful!!! What a great way to start the New Year. Thanks for sharing your creativity. And Happy New to you and your family.

  • Corrine January 1, 2018, 1:43 pm

    Such a cool idea your permission slip and a perfect way to begin in that amazing journal score! xox

  • Julia January 5, 2018, 6:18 pm

    As a life long Genealogist my heart stopped when I saw this journal and hoped with all my heart it was blank inside. Its obviously from some County Courthouse and sometimes those got “removed” by mistake. If it was truly a Grantee Index with names in it, it would be a travesty to paint over it. Its hard enough to find your 4rd great grandmothers name. But then I thought Carolyn would never ruin a historic journal.
    Also Paducah is my hometown, love it, but have never been to Ephemera Paducah. All those Antique and Artsy stores were not there when I was growing up, it was just old stuff.
    Glad you got the journal, and pray it was blank.

  • Anne and Jane January 5, 2018, 8:47 pm

    Hi Carolyn,
    Mother-daughter team here. We’re embarking on a creative journey together for 2018, and your art journal is a perfect kickstart to the projects the two of us will be completing together this year. I think we’ll start tomorrow with art journals!
    We look forward to following – and being inspired by – your creative work this year.
    All the best,
    Anne and Jane

  • Carolyn January 5, 2018, 8:53 pm

    The permission slip is kind of brilliant.

  • Lindabug January 5, 2018, 10:07 pm

    What a find – have only had a few ledger sheets at a time. Ephemera is the closest fun shop [relatively] to my home town. Went with friends to the Quilt Museum 2 years ago & we loved Paducah. We had a great time there. I was even given a couple of hours to browse Ephemera while they visited some shops & galleries. Can’t afford a class right now, but I hope one day I will be able to go before I die!
    Really needed your Permission to Play Slip since putting that first piece/color/line down is my weakest point! Will love following this in video. Thanks Carolyn!