Friday, August 19, 2016

Downton Abbey Journal Swap

Recently (well, not so recently, to be honest) I participated in Karla Nathan's "Farewell to Downton" journal page swap.

Our task was to come up with six 8 1/2 x 11"  sheets of card stock, each folded into four pages, expressing the themes, fashion, characters, mood and style of "Downton Abbey." We could interpret literally (using photos of the cast, perhaps) or in style.

In addition, half of each four-page signature had to have some sort of useable space on it so the recipient could actually use it as a journal, rather than simply something to look at.

Karla had suggested people be abundant in the use of lace and trims and not hesitate to extend the width or height of the page by adding embellishment to any of the edges of the pages (except the binding side).

The photos you see here are ones that I received in my journal.

In some cases, the pockets were filled with tea or tags.


Others, including our host Karla, offered coloring pages.


Of course, with the series crossing over from the Edwardian era to the jazz age, there was plenty of style one could work with. And both upstairs and down were fair game.


But then, there were those, like the Dowager Countess, who stayed firmly rooted in the late Victorian age. So that was fun as well.

There were basically two guidelines for this swap -- make it pretty and make it useable! So, some pages were simply a very pretty paper, perhaps with a simple trim, that could be used as a background for your own art or to record a thought or memory.


(One of the nice things this time around was that everyone received back one of their own sets of pages, so their work could be included in their own book.)

I got back the spread above, which I called "Marigold" (left) and "Edith."

The image on the left of the one above is mine, too -- ledger paper with an embellishment. In the book it was placed next to a pretty botanical print.

Here are a few more of mine that were included with others' books.

A few of the spreads.

Above is one of the spreads with the detail. This reminded me of Matthew and Mary when he went to war.

A friend had visited Highclere Castle, where "Downton" was filmed, so I included several pages from a notepad she had sent me in a couple of mine. (And you could color in the Abbey!)

This page and song reminded me of Tom.

Working for a PBS station for so long brought a few "Downton" bits into my life. There were some teabags from a reception and I was able to cut apart a paper cup and convert it into a pocket.


I had a few pages I especially liked. The one above used sheet music and a graphic from another sheet of music given to me by a friend who found a good deal of this in his mother's house. It was perfect!


And I liked the fashion in these, which came from cutting up an old book I had called "Fashion in the Twenties and Thirties."

It was fun to cover an envelope in velvet and include a teabag.

My simplest pages were my favorites. (I'm not as much a fan of the too-lacey, but sometimes it works.

And I was thrilled when this one ended up back in my book. I found this painting (I think Gauguin, but I honestly can't remember now). And she was a dead ringer for the Dowager Duchess! I used a napkin background, a velvet ribbon and a couple of dimensional flowers and let her be.

All in all, a delightful swap, fun to work on and even more fun to receive! Thanks to Karla for pulling it all together! Here are links to some of the pages Karla received, This link has some of Karla's pages as she talks about "using the good stuff," and another on swap etiquette. She talks about building the books here.


La Table De Nana said...

Well done,what a fun swap!
It worked well..and so much creativity..I did not know you had worked for PBS..
I am glad your swap worked..
I was recently involved in a type of forwarded letter that was supposed to travel and get back to the child and his classroom in question..and I found it had gone out of favor tremendously.
Hard to find people that would participate..and if I did..then they had trouble so it really did not go swimmingly...

Lynne said...

What a creative well done swap . . .
It looks like you spent hours designing/creating . . .
I wonder if Downton is truly over . . .
And instead they'll surprise us with more seasons . .

My name is Erika. said...

Wow- this one gorgeous journal. So rich. I think its wonderful how so many people worked together but made such a cohesive piece. Happy weekend. Hugs-Erika

Bella Rum said...

How beautiful and elegant these are, and a theme that offered lots of opportunity for creativity. I bet they were fun to make.

shoreacres said...

There's always something in your posts that appeals. This time, it was the "framing" in that first photo, and the wonderful botanical print. There are some truly lovely pages here. They must have been wonderful fun to make, and your swaps always seem to work so well. Thanks, too, for taking the time to put the post together -- these photo heavy posts are their own sort of challenge!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Ohhhhh, this is near and dear to my heart! My husband and I have Downton Abbey binge during the two weeks of Christmas vacation!!!!!!!! The fashions, the home, the times, the characters....this event touched many viewers in ways that one wants to replicate the era in their own way. You all did a fantastic job of journaling what left impressions on you and I love it all. Well done, such beauty!

The French Hutch said...

Oh Jeanie, what a wonderful and creative project to be a part of, such fun. These pages are all so lovely and are sweet keepsakes of your Journal swaps. Another way to keep our forever love, Downton Abbey alive! Love this...........

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I'm probably one of six people in the world who never saw Downton Abby, nor did I care to. My grandmother was a child in the 1930s and told me about the way her parents very British house was run. To think it was in the US, too about made me ill. I somehow think of live in maids as servants in servitude.

Having said all that, your swap certainly brought out the very best in all the participants. I enjoyed seeing all the "good stuff" you and the swap host created, along with what you got back in your swap. They are fantastic, even if I didn't get the reference to the individual players in the series.

Marcia Pilar said...

Oh my goodness, what a perfect swap. How wonderful it would be to bring back DA. That page of Rose in her wedding gown...GORGEOUS. It was one of my favorite episodes.
Fun stopping by this Saturday morning, Jeanie.

Joanne Huffman said...

Absolutely delightful!

Mae Travels said...

You make me think about what I'm missing to have replaced all the paper journals I kept. Nowadays I do everything on a computer, mainly blogging but also photo organization and processing. I never made my own journals, but loved blank books with meaningful covers. Still, I can't quite imagine going back to handwriting, though -- I do so much editing and correcting even in brief notes and email (which also is sort of like a journal in some cases).

I'd love to think of a way to incorporate imaginative design of pages into an online journal. Any ideas?

best... mae at

Summer said...

This looks like fun! And the journals are really beautiful ♥

Friko said...

Goodness me, a whole art project all around Downton Abbey. That’s amazing. I know that the show was a huge success in the States but you have gone beyond anything that could have happened here.

You should let the producers or maybe Julian Fellowes know.

Maggie said...

I'm simply blown away by the gorgeousness of all these journal pages, what a splendid idea as the Dowager Countess might well say!
I'm currently watching (very sparingly) reruns of the last two series and probably will start again with series one after that!
Have a great week.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Oh how fun! Those pages are all so beautiful. I think one of my favorites is the velvet covered envelope! How fun to add some texture to the page.

I still have not seen Downton Abbey but maybe I will start watching it this winter!

Marilyn Miller said...

Wow, Jeanie! I am so impressed with all the pages. What a creative, fun project. I just love, love it.

Jann Olson said...

This is fabulous! So much eye candy on each and every page. What a fun time you will have adding your thoughts and own touches to it!

~*~Patty S said...

WOW so much creativity on such a fun topic.
You all must have had such a great time and now wonderful journals too!
So many yummy details.

Laura Beth said...

So crafty! I love these. Downton Abbey is great inspiration!

Red Rose Alley said...

Jeanie, can you believe I've never seen Downton Abbey before? Love all the fashion and accessories from this era. This journal is so creative. It was very well made, and the hidden tea bag adds a special touch. Such creative people our blog friends are. This is a really nice gift.


bj said...

omygoodness...aren't these just the most beautiful and magical fun this must have been for you. I haven't the patience to work on something like did a magnificent job...and...*shhhhh...don't tell or I might get hung from the nearest tree but I've never seen even one episode of this series.....

Tammie Lee said...

this looks like a lovely thing to do.
so many pretty details.

Lynda Shoup said...

Oh, this looks like so much fun! The pages are all so beautiful. What a fun way to commemorate the series and the time periods and elegance itself. I've never done a swap, but it looks like good fun.

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