© All images and text remain the copyright of Sandra Kay Strait.

Feel free to print, share or use my tangle patterns. Credit is not necessary, but you may not copy & claim the step outs as your own. You may not alter or use any other images in this blog without express permission from myself.

Search This Blog


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Tangle Pattern Nolashrim; Review-Carnet de Voyage Travel Album

One lucky winner will be receiving TWO Carnet de Voyage travel albums of his or her own! Giveaway closed 3/13/12.

A few weeks ago I received a package in the mail.  It was totally unexpected, and seeing that it was from Karen at Exaclair, I knew it would be something exciting.  And…oh…it was!

My breath was literally taken away when I discovered the two Carnet de Voyage Travel Albums inside. I headed for the computer to look up more information about them, but couldn’t find a thing.  A few emails later, and a phone call with Karen, and I found out that these were a brand new item, not yet for sale.  I mentioned that I was planning to giveaway one of the albums, and she insisted that I keep both, and she would send one to the winner.

So this giveaway is all from Exaclair!  I’m only hosting, and happy to be doing so.  Thank you, Karen!

I’ve been teasing you with posts, but now it’s time for the complete skinny-

The Carnet de Voyage Travel Album

The Specs:

·         Small-5.8x8,26  in(148 x 210 mm)
·         Large-8.3x11.7 in (21 x 29,7 cm)
·         30 sheets
·         Acid-free paper
·         Color-coordinated double wire coil
·         Clear Acetate cover with watermark & images
·         Paper weight-83 lb. (180 g)
·         Elastic Band (fastened with grommets)
·         Sturdy Cardboard backing
·         Made in France by Clairefontaine

Look and Feel:
The look is marvelous!  The cover has a mix of photos, pattern design and watermarks with a blend of natural, Asian and nautical elements.  All of these are pulled together with an acute color-coordination that is just awesome.  Even the wire coils are chosen with an eye to the color.

Thought was also put into the weight of the se albums.  The paper is heavy enough to be durable and to hold up to most mediums, without being too heavy to carry. 

The paper has some tooth, but isn’t rough.  It’s textured enough for watercolor but smooth enough for pen, and just perfect for color pencil.  The back is somewhat smoother, but still has some tooth.

I colored lightly with a Neocolor II wax pastel and a No. 2 pencil, so you can get a little idea of the texture of the paper (front).
Normally, I don’t care for coil bindings, but found that the spacing on these books was perfect for my hand—I could use them as a rest while working.  Of course, that will differ for people depending on hand size.  The coils are no larger than they need to be for easy turning.   They do make it difficult to color right up to the edges with pen and marker.  With brush, it doesn’t make too much difference.

The punched holes allow the pages to slide a bit more than I like.  I think the paper is sturdy enough to take the stress, but the holes may show wear eventually.


A confession—I’d decided not to use the first page.  The covers are so beautiful that I worried I would ruin the effect. Then, I painted a page in the smaller album, using Nicholson’s Peerless Watercolors.  I was going to put zentangle® patterns down, but then realized I had painted on the first page.  So much for making decisions, lol.  I just wasn’t thinking.  But something must have been going on somewhere in my brain.   While I was painting, more or less randomly, I saw an orange, and I planned to emphasize a still life when I add tangle patterns.  But then I closed the cover….oh my!  I’d painted a huge orange moon, and ripples in the water, and, amazing as that cover was, it became even more amazing.  I wasn’t thinking, but my artistic muse was watching out for me!

Neocolor II-water-soluble wax pastels:
I decided to try out Neocolor II pastels for the first page of the large album.  I wasn’t as happy with the effect, finding it difficult to smooth out the lines.  I think this is more my lack of experience with Neocolor II’s than with the paper.  I haven’t used this product much, and need to learn more.  The cover is still fantastic—I think my lines are used to advantage, but I prefer the more intense color that the Peerless gives.

A second try with the Neocolor II pastels wasn’t much better.  Now, in my own defense—the ocean waves wouldn’t hold still while I was trying to paint them, and my bird model flew off before I even finished the outline.  What’s an artist to do?  I, maybe, tried to get too fancy with a ‘through the window’ effect.   But I did learn that the paper in the Carnet de Voyage will curl with heavy washes. If you weight it down once dry, the curl disappears completely.

The jury is out on using this product with the album.  I’ve had trouble with the Neocolor pastels on other paper, so it could be me that’s the problem, lol. 

Fiber-Tipped Pen:
I used Micron Pigmas .01 & .05 and a Sharpie Fineliner pen (not marker) to draw these two Zentangle®-inspired art (ZIA) works.   If you use a light-hand you can get a broken effect by not pushing down the fibers of the papers.  This is nice for shading effects.  (Tangle Patterns used-Stubs, Cadent Cross, Swaddle, Hi-Cs, Inlay)

 I don’t usually go for a sharp, bold contrast but I wanted to show that you get a clear, crisp line with your pen, so I went for less delicate shading, and more of a wood-cut look to illustrate my new tangle pattern Nolashrim.

A note about the pattern.  The Nolashrim pattern is best done working row by row, in the same manner as if you were weaving.  If you try to draw all the boxes first you’ll have a hard time getting the curved lines to fit in between.  The name—basket rims are commonly done with ‘lashing’, but this pattern was inspired by a basket with a ‘No Lash Rim’.  I just ran those words together. 

Alcohol Markers
I used my Copics to do a Bleedthrumanade, and the color is absolutely brilliant.  People have literally drawn a breath of surprise when they opened the album to this page. 

The amount of bleed-through is about 50%.  I forgot to scan these pages before I started drawing, but I think you can still see the difference in color intensity between the front and back.

I did a ZIA pattern drawing on the front, but I decided to so something quite different with the back. 

Which brings us to…

Mixed Media:
Given the very nature of the album, I feel sure some people will consider using it for art journaling, with collage and various items glued to it.  I decided to do a page that had some weight, and lots of glue.

I had so much fun with this one!

I was inspired by this work from Lyneen Jesse (Note: the blog hop giveaway is now closed).  The Bleedthrumanade I’d created made me think of a cosmic stream, sort of the Gulf Stream of the Cosmos, with tons of intergalactic junk, and I just had this vision of a rather normal-looking dog asking a couple of Steampunk critters what Steampunk was all about.

I stamped some images on blue tissue paper and glued them down.  I crumpled up some of the tissue and used it to simulate waves.  A sharpie marker (not pen) was used for writing, and then I glued on some pieces I’d made with Creative Paperclay®, Delight™, and Amazing Mold Putty.  The last touch was to glue on some lace. 
Normally, you’d do something like this for a book cover, or a canvas, not an interior page, but I wanted to overdo it, and see how the paper fared.

No buckling or dimpling occurred from the glue and there was good adhesion.  The clay items are well and truly stuck.  If you prop the book open so the page stands on its own, there is no droop because of the weight.  I didn’t try gesso, but I’m sure it would do fine. 

I think the only problem that might occur, if you started collaging, or throwing lots of heavy media at the album, would be that the elastic band couldn’t stretch enough to keep the album closed.

Colored Pencil:
The Clairefontaine paper in this album has enough tooth that I knew color pencil would do well, and I was right.  The pencil picks out the texture of the paper nicely.  You'll recognize the drawing from above.  I just turned it a different direction.  I laid down several layers of color with no hint of wax buildup.  I could easily have continued on to achieve more solid colors, but decided to leave this with delicate hues in contrast to the alcohol marker.  You can achieve a wide range of effects on this paper.  

In Conclusion:
I love these albums!  They combine attractive good looks with sturdy capability.  They work well with a variety of mediums. I’ll be traveling myself in a couple of weeks, and you may be sure that I’ll have mine in my carry bag!

The Contest:

   The Prize: One winner will receive two Carnet de Voyage   Travel Albums-one of each size.
   Giveaway closed 3/13/12 .
    The RulesU.S. only.

Comment on this post.  Include an email address in the comment. 
If you are uncomfortable leaving that information in a comment, email it to me at lifeimitatesdoodles@gmail.com. If I don't get an email address, one way or the other, your comment won't be included in the entries.

Oh, and if the winner uses their prize as a sketchbook, Karen would love a photo of their work to be used in a blog post with credit and a link to them.


  1. Wow, beautiful zentangles Sandra...and I love the aspect of the clear acetate cover so the first page can complete the picture. This will definitely be used as a journal. Thanks for sharing and all of the testing. Jan


  2. As a "journal freak," loved reading about these albums. I also loved the copics and look forward to using the Inktense watercolor pencils in the albums. Thanks for posting!!!


  3. Oh, I love working in journals. The small one seems to be the right size to travel. Hope I win. barb.gill@att.net

  4. Wow, beautifully tangled. This art form is new to me. Hope I win as art supplies have taken a back seat (trunk) to lifes more important expenses. Either way your art is very inspiring, and your tangles rock.
    Good luck to everyone.

  5. Wow! These are really cool. You work in them, as always is really beautiful. Your new tangle, Nolashrim is going in my iPod for reference. I really love the look of it!

  6. Amazing work in the journal.... WOW!!! Your art just blows me away... such an inspiration. Thanks for the credit! If I had a journal this sturdy maybe I would art journal. What a super give away.

  7. Your art work makes the journals even more attractive! Thank you for hosting the giveaway!
    My e-mail address: eastwesteverywhere@gmail.com

  8. Beautiful work! I have been wanting to try art journaling (in my "free time" lol) Great give away :) Manda :)

  9. beautiful work - as always! pat_carson@live.com

  10. I love the new tangle...can't wait to give it a try!

  11. These journals are amazing and your tangles are too, as always. Since the contest ends on my birthday, I am hoping for some extra good luck!!!!!!

  12. What a great review of the journals! Very well done. Any idea when these will be available in stores since only one person will win?

  13. Lovely addition to the cover. And of course I now want one of these. How wonderful of Karen to sent them to you.

  14. Wow. This is an incredible review! I am absolutely blown away by your zentangles as well (you should see mine, they're laughable in comparison!). Thank you so much for the chance to win! azizah.asgarali (at) gmail (dot) com

  15. Thank you all for the lovely compliments! Laure, I'm not sure when these will be available in stores, but you can contact Karen@Exaclair.com for information about purchasing them.

  16. As always your work is Gorgeous - you are brilliant! These travel albums are so appealing because you can get such wonderful results with many types of media. I would use these for zentangle inspired art journals - specifically I've been meaning to pick up a sketchbook for just zentangled mandalas. ptrish40@yahoo.com

    thank you for all that you do to spread art/creativity into our lives!!!!

  17. I love all the pages that you've done, but I'm especially fond of the ZIA with colored pencils, it's gorgeous!! I would love a chance to win a set of these journals. I'll send you my email address, thanks!

  18. Beautiful examples. becky.mn@hotmail.com

  19. Beautiful work and gorgeous album!! Thanks for the chance! tericout at yahoo dot com

  20. Wow, what beautiful work. Simply gorgeous.

  21. I love to follow your blog. You have so many insites to good journals. Love your tangles also.
    cscollinsdvm at aol dot com

  22. I've been following all of your posts about these journals and fell in love with them right along with you! You've shown that they would be perfect for mixed media and the way they take color seems fantastic. If I win, I just hope what I do with them looks as wonderful as what you've done. Thank you so much for sharing.

  23. The album would be a great tool for me as I'm just getting into mixed media. I'd love to win. pjw1953@yahoo.com

  24. I am so fascinated with your work, and the journals would be so amazing to receive. Thanks so much for the opportunity! dragongourd@dslextreme.com

  25. Oh yes please!!! Pick me! Pick me! It looks like a gorgeous book to work in!! jenpedwards@embarqmail.com

  26. Lovely! Thank you for the chance.
    saraa at sbcglobal dot net

  27. Wonderful art! Would love to give these a try. :D Thanks for the great giveaway and review. :D

  28. Oh my heck !! You know my addiction to journals, paper and pens... this would be the icing on my cake (Collection) lol !! This is wonderful Sandra... just brilliant !! Hugs.. Rose Twofeather... Kristy

  29. Such wonderful artwork you do! So inspiring! Please enter me in the giveaway. Those journals look great! thelma_bradshaw@yahoo.com

  30. Beautiful! nhdiane at aol dot com

  31. Thanks for the contest! ranza6980@gmail.com

  32. Your art is always so inspiring. Thanks for the detailed review and the wonderful giveaway.
    craboin at chartermi.net

  33. I really love the covers! And the new tangle; thank you!


  34. Thank you for a wonderful review and an amazing opportunity to see more of your work. I am using many of your pictures as inspiration to help me fulfill a resolution. I resolved to finish a journal, not start one and let it languish in a box for years. I think these would be excellent motivation to finish the one I am in now (so I could start a new journal journey). A chance is all I ask. Thank you again.
    mommastormy at gmail

  35. Tangles, Inks Pugs, Oh My......love this stuff and a journal from France Oui! Oui! Oui!

  36. thanks so much for the giveaway! Love your tangles and artwork; so very inspiring. lallard2@hotmail.com

  37. Amazing! So much can be learned from more experienced artists who are willing to share their info. Thank you! You now have another new fan. sandram75@rconnects.com

  38. Marvelous work. It would almost be sad to have one of these albums wind up in the hands of a talentless hack like me. But I put my name in anyway. Are you also raffling off a steampunk dog? bdebasitis@mauby.com

  39. Gorgeous color, tangles and what a "happy accident" you had for the first page! Betseyrpt@aol.com

  40. I love following your blog & e-mails. Really neat cover and xcellent job with it.
    mazautner@gmail.com ---would love to win ---- molly z.

  41. I would love to try them... I just signed up for Alisa Burke's Watercolor Bliss class... A girl can't have too many sketchbooks or watercolor pads...thanks

  42. Oops!forgot my email... slynnpayne@aol.com

  43. "Carnet" comes from an old French word meaning "pocket notebook", so...
    I will take up my carnet and paint
    With the music of nature so faint
    "Carpe diem" rings in my ear
    As dancing colors magically appear.

  44. I would love to try one of these out. Thanks for the chance to win.
    one_who_crops at hotmail dot com

  45. Yes, those ARE really gorgeous! Nice giveaway! Thanks


  46. I love the review, so much good info, and am INSPIRED as always by your artistry. The new pattern is amazing and I have to try it out! I am new to journaling and have fallen in love with paper (who would have thought!) and would love the chance to do some art journaling and zentangle in one of these. Thanks for always offering something new and exciting to experience!
    Karen - kaborus@gmail.com

  47. I have been looking at your work and am loving it. You know I have one of those wallets you made sitting on my ink spinner in my studio. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you!
    ~ky scrapacat at yahoo dot com

  48. I'm going to try again, the first time I tried, I made a mistake on the 'word' and then it wouldn't let me re-do.

    Love your work and generosity


  49. I love your product reviews and this one is no different. You obviously had a lot of fun testing these books and the results are gorgeous. I can't wait to try out your new pattern, Nolashrim, and would love to have a chance to win one of these beuatiful journals? Diane at StoneAngelArts dot com

  50. Thanks for the chance at these wonderful journals. I could leave one in the travel trailer to highlight our trips.


  51. Those look great. My daughter the artist would love them for her work.

    Best, and keep on blogging.

    maverick.librarian AT gmail DOT com

  52. Beautiful images. Lots of inspiriation if i win lol.


  53. Thanks so much for sharing your find! I love how color pencil looks on this paper.

  54. Such beautiful work Sandra, as always. Please include me in the drawing, I'd love to win these great journal books.


  55. Thank you so much for the very thorough evaluation :) It was so nice to see all the details!


  56. Beautiful work. Thank you for sharing.