30 Days of Gratitude Journal Tutorial

Crafty Secrets October Linky Party: 30 Days of Gratitude Journal Tutorial

Note: This is my second post for today.  To see the Craft Hoarder’s Anonymous post, please scroll down or click HERE.  Thanks!

Hello, friends!  Welcome to the Crafty Secrets October Linky Party!  The theme for this month’s design team challenge is “Thanksgiving, Cooking and Recipes.”  My inspiration piece is a 30 Days of Gratitude Journal Tutorial.  I hope you will join us this month as one lucky participant will be chosen to win a $50 shopping spree at the Crafty Secrets online STORE and everyone who plays along receives a $6 credit!

For the past few years, I’ve noticed a wonderful trend on Facebook.  People are using the month of November (which is when Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US) as a time to exercise a daily expression of gratitude.  I personally love this idea, and plan to do it myself this year.  To help keep track of the daily blessings that so often go unnoticed and unappreciated, I created a little 30 Day of Gratitude Journal using the wooden file folders that Sandy carried in the store for so many years.  I paired these up with my Digital Thanksgiving Collection and a few Autumn Blessings Heartwarming Vintage Cuts that I had in my Crafty Secrets Stash.  (These are still available online for a mere .75 cents!!!)

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I’ll be sharing a photo step out of how I created the cover below.  Many of you may have these in your stash, but if you don’t you can get them in the fabulous Cooking and Family Blow Out Sale Pack that Sandy will be listing in the storefront soon.

30 Days of Gratitude Journal Cover Tutorial

To create the cover, I first opened the gold damask paper from the Thanksgiving Collection download.  I use Paintshop Pro because it came with my computer.  I sized the paper to 6″ square.  Next, I opened the png stamp file and selected the image you see on the cover.  Using the Edit tab, I copied it and then again, using the Edit tab, I pasted it as a new layer onto my yellow paper. I used the text tool to add the words onto the cover.   I printed it off on my computer and immediately hit it with clear embossing powder.  Then I heat set it.  You could use the free Paint.net program to follow these same steps. I then traced the image with my Versamark embossing pen and embossed it with clear powder a second time.  Finally, I brushed the edges with my Versamark Ink pad and heat embossed with Stampendous Aged Gold Embossing Powder.  I let a few granules sprinkle on the image because I love the effect you get when that happens.

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Next, I printed out all the papers I wanted to use in this project.  You can see them here.  I added Stamped images from the collection to some of the papers prior to printing, using the same method I described above.

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I stained the edges of my wooden file folder with Walnut Distress Stain.

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Stain all four sides, and don’t forget to stain the outside edges.

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I machine stitched my decorated cover to a piece of burlap that was cut slightly smaller than the size of the covers.  The edges were inked first. Then I used my Journaling Stamp set and Versamark Ink to stamp the tab and the edges of the cover.  You could use any script stamp to do this same thing.

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You can see that my set is well loved!

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I embossed the journal cover with gold embossing powder.

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Next, I backed my cover art with 1/2″ Scor-Tape, and then attached it to the wooden file folder cover. At this same time, I attached another piece of burlap to the outer side of the back cover.

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As a final step, I outlined the edges of the journal cover with Picket Fence Distress Stain.  It looked brighter than I wanted it to, so I did a second coat of Antique Bronze Distress Stain, and that was perfect.





I traced the file folder inserts onto my printed designer papers.  These will be the weekly dividers in my journal.  Then, I die cut, colored and embossed a ton of little leaves and flowers to use as embellishments for the journal.  I used two Sizzix dies for this: Tattered Florals and Autumn Gatherings.  The rest is just a matter of decorating the pages and adding the blank journal sheets, which I stamped with images from the Thankgiving stamps.  Now, let’s look at the finished album.

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Inside each divider, I have blank papers where daily blessings can be recorded.  I also added a little inspirational saying about the importance of expressing gratitude inside each divider. These pages were so much fun to decorate!

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This is one of the digital stamps in the Thanksgiving Collection.  I added it to the paper prior to printing.

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This paper was printed from Creating with Vintage Illustrations CD 2.  I had it left over from some Halloween projects I had made, but thought it worked perfectly in this little album. I’ve inked the edges of everything with Walnut Distress Ink..even the buttons!

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I have the original Thanksgiving stamps in my stash, so I used them to decorate the blank pages, but you could easily use the digital stamps to do the same thing.  I just felt like getting inky!

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This paper is one of the digital pages that comes in the Thankgiving Digital collection.  I absolutely love it.  I made the “wreath” with burlap strings.  They were inked with Distress Stains.  This might be my favorite page in the whole album.

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This came from the Vintage Cuts, but was too long to fit on my page, so I sliced it on the diagonal and framed the page with it instead.

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I did a little watercoloring with my Distress Pens and a water brush.  The artwork and sentiment are png files in the collection, and I added them to the page prior to printing.

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For the inside back cover, I made a pocket from a folded kraft bag and glued it down.  I added tags that I topped with ribbons that match the ones I tied onto the binding rings.  They are all from Really Reasonable Ribbon: Old Gold Twill, Brown Twill, Diamond Print Grograin, and Autumn Chevron Striped Grograin.  Here’s a look at the back cover and ribbon covered binding rings.

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Now it’s your turn! Visit each of the design team blogs listed below. Then create a NEW project of your choice featuring Crafty Secrets product and link it up to the BLOG no later than 11:59PT, Sunday, October 19th. You do not need to follow this month’s theme to play along. If you do not have any Crafty Secrets goodies, check the FREE DOWNLOADS located in the sidebar of the Crafty Secrets blog. Be sure to link to the Crafty Secrets Blog in your post, and let us know what Crafty Secrets product you are using in your project. One lucky player will be randomly selected to win a $50 shopping spree in our online store. Each player who participates will receive a $6 credit to the online store. We’ll be popping by to leave you some lovely comments on your blog post, too. Thanks for playing along, and good luck!

Crafty Secrets Design Team:

Guest Designer for the month of October is

Lee Ann Barrett of

Greyt Paper Crafts

Darlene Pavlick  ♥ Diane HoverElizabeth LincolnGloria Stengel     Melody ClementMichele KovackShantaie FowlerSheila Rumney

I hope you were inspired by today’s post, and that I shared something here that you will be able to use in your own creative journey.  If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.  If you have a need for fall themed crafting goodies, don’t forget the amazing Halloween and Fall Sale Packages Sandy has available in the store right now.  To see more sale packages, please visit the website.





12 thoughts on “30 Days of Gratitude Journal Tutorial

  1. soozyb2013

    really like this little album/journal. I do enjoy fall with all it’s lovely colours. Great job and a rock star job as usual! Thanks Kathy.

  2. Pamellia

    Oh boy, how wonderful is this!! I love the look of the gold embossing on the dark background, gorgeous effect and so perfect for the rich colours of the leaves! Love your button tabs, such a great little surprise when you open the book up! Another winning project! big hugs 🙂

  3. Gloria Stengel

    Do you think you could pack more techniques into that project?! LOL This is a masterpiece. I love all the images and stamping and oh boy, the burlap! This is a wonderful journal. I am super impressed!

  4. Sandy

    Ok my Kathy – your gratitude journal is stunning! I love every page and all of the neat embellishing tricks you used and the harmony of how you put it all together.

    Thanks for presenting our products so beautifully

  5. Pattie Jns

    OH!MY! Kathy this terrific, what an idea, and put together so well.Love everywhere, Just love the textures and the sentiments. I don’t make albums , only a few note books here an there, but this is very inspiring. thank you so much…have a good day.

  6. Elizabeth Lincoln

    Huge WOW! I am always blown away by your journals and minis and this one is no exception. Apart from the fabulous use of Crafty Secrets images there is so much imaginative artwork, like the dear little twine wreath. (Which is committed to memory and sure to make an appearance on one of my own creations!!!!)

  7. Diane Hover

    Stunning and creative journal….love all the distressed edges, textures, gorgeous Crafty Secrets products you have used and LOVE the idea behind this…I think I need one of these for myself if I can manage it in time…Love, love it..it has definitely inspired me!!!

  8. Darlene Pavlick

    Absolutely AWESOME Kathy! You use your Crafty Secrets products SO WELL! Love how you used that little set with the word Journal … duh! never thought of that! Like I’ve said many times before … THANKS so much for all your wonderful inspiration! YOU ROCK!

  9. candycolwell

    This is such a lovely journal, Kathy. I love the sentiment behind it … the positivity and the focus on what we have to be thankful for. There are SO MANY THINGS! Your leaves on the cover are so pretty. I also love the burlap and other textures you’ve used. Perfect for fall! Each of your interior pages are so sweet and masterfully done. The buttons on the tabs…love those! It gives everything such a homespun feeling. <3 Candy

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