We're using a Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journal. I know that many of you are familiar with these, but for those who aren't, they have a paper cover that tears off easily, and heavy cardboard covers. The paper is 90 lb. It isn't my favorite journal, because the wire binding allows the paper to slide more than I like, but it is very sturdy and will stand up to just about anything, so it is a good choice for a swap like this.
I got off to a bad start. I created this cover...
...and then, worried that the Pigma Micron pen I used for tangling might wear off eventually, I decided to apply a very light coat of transparent gesso. Hah! I dropped the jar, and half the contents spilled onto the journal. Even with sopping most of it up and spreading it as thin as I could, the gesso dried matte and left a haze over everything. You could barely see the gold foil horses I cut from a Lunar New Year envelope or make out the words. Back to the drawing board.
I got fancier this time, gluing down Micro Marbles to fill in the butterfly wings and to re-create the word Energy.
I used the same Viva Decor gold modeling creme, but instead of tangling with a pen, I used a metallic blue acrylic paint, and touched up places with metallic leafing pens in gold and silver.
It ended up darker but with more color. I also had a difficult time getting a decent shot of this one where the first scanned easily. I like it, but there are elements from the first I wish I could have recovered. Oh well. I'm glad I scanned the first cover in before I ruined it. This way I got two covers for the price of one!