Author: Samantha

Still journaling, sketching and growing.

Exercises for the Illuminated Journal

(This is a recovered post from 2013~It has been edited to take out broken links. I have tried to replace the pics as well!~S)

vase and lamp

I often ignore the fact that it’s a book… just pretend the middle crease isn’t there and draw on..

Now that you know some reasons for keeping a journal, and a little about my personal journal, you may be wondering what exactly to put into your journal.

It can be difficult to get started. This is why I have pulled out my old copy of Hannah Hinchman’s book A Life in Hand: Creating the Illuminated Journal. The book is all about helping you get into the habit of keeping up an illuminated journal.

Hannah Hinchman suggests FIVE ICE-BREAKING EXERCISES to help you. Whenever I can’t come up with a prompt on my own, these are the things I fall back on. I am going to discuss each exercise separately (and do the exercises) for you to see in the coming week or two, but you don’t have to wait for me! Here are Hinchman’s Ice-Breaking Exercises and a brief description of how to do them:

Illuminating My World

(This is a recovered post from 2013~It has been edited to take out broken links. I have tried to replace the pics as well!~S)

Great artists have sketchbooks and great writers have journals. But you don’t need to be or have a desire to be great to enjoy journaling. There are so many benefits to journaling: health benefits, personal growth, memory keeping, skills exercises for creatives, planning, organization…And I have used my journal for all of those things.

You can tell this is an old drawing because it has a device called a “calculator” in it…

But one of the most unique things about working in an illuminated journal is that it is what I think meditation is supposed to be…I don’t know any other way to describe it. I understand there are huge benefits to meditation along the same lines as those for journaling in general. And I have tried meditation many times. But when I sit there trying to blank out my mind and be “relaxed” and “in the moment”…I feel like a complete idiot. But when I am opening up my senses to what is around me, documenting the sights and sounds and focusing on the minute details of something directly in front of me, I TOTALLY GET IT! I am one hundred percent IN THAT MOMENT. My mind is ONLY on the right here and right now…what I’m seeing, hearing, smelling. If I choose to, I can write about what I think of those things, but that comes later….afterward. For a few moments, your brain SHUTS UP and you can BREATHE!

About my Illuminated Journal

(This is a recovered post from 2013~It has been edited to take out broken links. I have tried to replace the pics as well!~S)

To get my creative juices flowing again, I have revived my daily (or at least several times a week) exercise of the illuminated journal. This means that I sit down with the specific intent to write and draw something in my world. This has always been a good exercise for me, as I have had a diary and/or a sketchbook of my own for almost as long as I can remember. But I only put the two together back in 1991 when I bought the book A LIFE IN HAND: Creating the Illuminated Journal, by Hannah Hinchman.

Pups in Doodleland

I will be referring to the pups in many of my posts because they are such an important part of daily life. Now that the kids are grown, these are my exclusive lap sitters and evening snugglers. I thought an introduction would be appropriate.

This is DOSH. He is a poodle-bichon frise mix (a/k/a “poopon”, according to hubby).

He came to live with us in February, 2008 as a rolly-polly bundle of fuzzy love.


Dosh the Benevolent


  • kissing people
  • eating underwear
  • lap sitting
  • dressing up in girl clothes
  • cheese
  • playing chase
  • lots of pillows/cushions for lounging
  • rolling in the grass



  • Bringing back the ball when playing fetch
  • Being picked up and held for too long
  • Sitting too close to Rupert
  • leather couches (they’re cold)
  • peeing outside in the rain

Favorite pastimes: Singing and telling stories, prying the squeaker out of toys

Nicknames: Doshie, Doshie-moto, Moto, Fluffernutter, Doshimus Motamus, Fuzzykins


This is RUPERT. He is a poodle. He came to us in July, 2010 as a 6-month old ball of dark terror.

Rupert Titanic

Rupert the Terror


  • Ball
  • Mommy
  • Car trips
  • Sitting in purses
  • Barking
  • Boxes and Blankets
  • sweet tea


  • Putting his toy in people’s hands (only next to it)
  • People wearing hats
  • Being left at home without Mom
  • Doshie sitting with Mom
  • Doshie looking at Mom if Mom has food
  • deer

Favorite pastimes: playing fetch, hiding toys in blankets and boxes and finding them again, barking, patrolling the perimeter, showing you how awesome his toy is

Nicknames: Resident Evil, Rupertino, Roopy Poopy Doopy, Spooky, Rupe, Rupus Poopus

These two little monsters run free in Doodleland, bringing happiness and destruction. Without them, we’d sleep too late on the weekends and be overrun with squirrels and birds and UPS men. They protect us from chilly laps and napping alone. Our home wouldn’t be complete without them.

Doodleland News Update

Here is what is happening in Doodleland:

  • Darling Petunia Hannah is doing well at school and just got a promotion at work. She is on track there to get her dog grooming certificate and will soon be working full time at a store down south. She assures me that her school will not suffer and I certainly believe her. Very proud mom!
  • Alexander the Great is also doing well in school and loves being home instead of in the dorms. He made National Honor Society! Very proud mom!
  • Prince Charming Michael is still making the extra long commute to San Antonio everyday, but is doing great at work. He loves working on cutting edge tech and finding new uses for it. His efforts have brought his division many new prospects for contracts and expansion. Very proud wife!
  • Witchy Mom Me got promoted out of my job as manager of the Round Rock store’s frame shop and am now Operations Manager (Assistant Manager, but paid hourly) at my original store here in Georgetown. More hours and responsibility, but much shorter drive. Yay, me!

Busy life means less time to be creative but we’re each doing the best that we can.  I am trying to keep up my journal. Need to make doodle time, though! Hannah is trying to knit and crochet in her down time. Alex and Michael work in their gaming time as much as possible.

It’s rare for us all to be together for family game time these days. But that just makes the times where we’re all together (and awake) more special!

Gladys passed away just before Christmas, so the house feels a little empty around knee level. She is the dog that Alex and Hannah grew up with so it was very difficult. Dosh and Rupert are doing a good job of keeping us busy with other puppy things so that we are not too sad for too long, though.



I was writing in my gratitude journal daily until the last two days. Work has been a bear and I was just too exhausted, for one thing. For another, I just wasn’t getting the benefits I was used to getting from my regular illuminated journal, where the gratitude list was a side note. It was hard to make myself write gratitudes down when I was just so exhausted. It felt like a duty rather than a release or pleasure. What was wrong?

New Year, New Journal

Got a new journal for 2017 and I’m doing something a little different. This year, I got a dated journal with lined pages for each day. Lined. Pages.

I did this for two reasons:

The first is that now that I’m working full time, I have just fallen off the sketching bandwagon. What time and energy I have after work has to be spent on other things to keep the household going. So I don’t really need the drawing room.