Aug 15 2019

Art Journal Weekend!!!

June 4th-7th 2020
Art Journal Weekend
with artists Pam Garrison & Michelle Allen!

Registration Opens Nov. 1 at noon (PST).
We are offering early bird registration (10AM (PST))  for those who sign up on our newsletter.
Limited space, only 8 spots available.

This enchanting weekend will be hosted by Michelle and Pam in Michelle’s beautiful home, located in the Portland, Oregon metro area (Vancouver, WA).
This event is open to beginners and art journal aficiandos alike! Everyone is welcome –  treat yourself!

Join us for a long weekend full of inspiration, connection, laughing, art instruction, yummy food and being spoiled.
Fall in love with all Art Journaling has to offer!

This is an all-inclusive event! All materials for art journal making and creating in the journals themselves will be included! 🙂

In addition to creating your beautiful journal, we will also visit a few of our favorite places in Portland, OR, such as taking in the charm of art-journaling at a local winery, and getting a behind-the-scenes look of owning and operating an art-based business. You will also receive endless access to the art studio, to explore techniques and get creative!

Make new friends & spend time with like-minded creatives!

Professional artists, Michelle Allen and Pam Garrison, are passionate about creating, especially in their Art Journals, and they can’t wait to share their love of art journaling with you!


When: June 4th-7th 2020
Registration Opens Nov. 1 at noon (PST). We will do an early bird registration at 10AM for those who have signed up on our newsletter.
Only 8 spots will be available.

Where: This enchanting weekend will be hosted by Michelle and Pam in Michelle’s beautiful home, located in the Portland, Oregon metro area (Vancouver, WA).

Price: $1300 all inclusive, per person
*there are 3 queen-sized bedrooms (one with it’s own bathroom, and the other two share a jack & jill bathroom). There is also one king-size bedroom with it’s own bathroom. Sharing a bed will be required. so bring a friend, or make a new one! 
*airfare and travel not included

Sign up for Early Bird Registration HERE.


Mar 14 2017

Art Journal Pages

My very good ART-ing friend, Janne, recently visited from Norway and while she here she inspired me to make a new journal. And I’m so glad I did! It feels so good to slap some paint down without any inhibitions or expectations. To experiment and play. To write down random thoughts and words. To collage in little scraps of doodles I’ve been piling up not knowing what to do with them. Below are the pages I have done so far in my new book.

art-journal-pages-2017-b art-journal-pages-2017

Sep 20 2016

Is Journaling for You?

Five ways to ignite the passion to journal

Journaling does not need to conjure a yawn or a chore-like feeling. While it is true that some journaling lovers fill many journals in all shapes and sizes with deep thoughts, personal experiences, emotions, challenges, illustrations, ideas — and just about anything else that springs to mind – journaling can take a simpler position in your life too. Anything goes in a journal. And the freedom to express with no rules and personal abandon can spark a journaling habit that also invites a sense of joy, peace, and fun.

Journaling invites relaxation and the chance to relish being uninhibited. There is zero pressure to create a masterpiece. A journal can be long, short, sloppy, or neat, and just filled with everything that is you. You can share it with others or keep it private. You can write daily, monthly, or yearly. There is no right or wrong way to journal. The trick is to get started – to give it a try – and see where journaling takes you. You might just find yourself filling book after book!


The following five suggestions are easy ways start your journaling engine:

  • Choose a journal design that resonates with you. When you feel connected to the image and texture on your journal, it feels like a friend and an inviting space to just let go and relax. You can also consider the binding, and whether you want lined or unlined paper. Unlined paper works well for visual journaling to jot down pattern ideas, sketch, or play with color combinations. Lined paper could work well for creating lists – all sorts of lists – including goal lists, love lists, need lists, want lists, done lists, favorite lists, and why to make lists in the first place lists.
  • Journals are great reference tools. Just store ideas, notes, writings, inspirations, experiments, and doodles in your journal. The journal will become a useful reference for you should you need motivation or juicy new project ideas.
  • Use the journal as a creative portal. Dedicate your journal as a tool to frame things you might want to paste, adhere, or staple. These nifty items could include fun quotes, pictures, post cards, ticket stubs, business cards, and places you have seen and experienced. This type of journaling could even provide a bit of interactive paper therapy since it encourages textures and tangible items that will trigger memories, different emotional responses and feelings, possible solutions, or cool new ideas.
  • Journals give voice to your personal history. Document moments and life events that left strong impacts or impressions. This can also reveal interesting life patterns.
  • Journals provide a safe haven to just be. Your journal is a place to focus, express your innermost thoughts, and weigh pros and cons. A journal can go anywhere you do. And a journal will never judge – it only gives.


Mar 2 2015

300 Days of Creating – Progress Report

This 300 Days of Creating project has been unbelievably motivating for me! I’m realizing that every day I have a goal to be creative. Even if it doesn’t end up happening, it’s on my mind and something that is present. I’m also realizing how much I love looking back to see what I’ve already accomplished and the progress that’s been made. And THAT in and of itself is incredibly inspiring!

I’m going to attempt to do a monthly progress report here on the blog. Next month I might try to be a bit more detailed about certain pieces but for now, I’m just going to show the pics.


To date I’m at 24/300 days. And there are 304 days left in the year. That means I have a little wiggle room to meet my goal, but not much! When I calculate it out I think I can only miss approx. 2.5 days a month from here out. Oy!


As you can see, my counted days range from photo shoots to art journaling to painting to doodles. I’m not setting any boundaries . Just focusing on being actively creative! How is the project going for you??? Are you staying motivated?

And again, it’s not too late to start!!! There are still 304 days left in the year! 😉


Feb 2 2015

300 Days of Creating Progress Report

Well, I have to say, this has been a REALLY GOOD challenge for me.
I’m already more intentional to be creative knowing that I can’t get behind.
And, along with it, I’m FEELING more creative!
Below are a sampling of a few of the days so far…

7/300  Thinking a lot about the lack of snow up in our poor mountains, makes me sad.

8/300 If all I get done in a day is a sketch, then I count that.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 7.26.43 PM
9/300 Love this wonky guy. “Angst Expressed”

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 7.27.17 PM
11/300  I decided to make and  keep a journal of the 300 Days of Creating as well as my 2015 Goals.

If you want to see more, follow along with me on Instagram (allendesignsstudio).
Also, check out the hashtag #300daysofcreating to find others who have joined me in this challenge!
And, it’s not too late to join! There are still 331 days left in the year!!!

p.s. if you want a pdf copy of the 300 Days of Creating lettering from above, make sure to sign up for my mailing list as that will be included in the next newsletter 🙂

Jan 22 2015

new goal: 300 days of creativity

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but everyone seems to be doing these wonderful and inspiring 365 day art challenges.
Everyone that is, like these amazing artists- Pam Garrison, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, and Sonya Penn.
Through much thought, I’ve decided to “KIND OF” jump on the bandwagon!


I really try to set goals that I think I can achieve. With travel and life, I figured there would be NO STINKING WAY I could actually meet the 365 day challenge. Therefore, I’ve decided go for a 300 days of Creating challenge. Attainable and yet still challenging.

michelle allen doodles

The 300 days of Creating can be made up of time spent doodling, painting, crafting, sewing etc. Just as long as I’m creating something. Cause to be honest, I can go weeks without doing anything creative. Then I almost fear it as though I’m fearing a workout. Scared I’ve lost my touch and not knowing how and where to start again. I’m hoping that with this challenge I will be in better “creative shape” and that I will have a more productive and artistic year.

sketchbook cat
These pictures are all samples of what I’ve counted towards my 300 days so far.
Please feel free to follow along with me as I document on Instagram (allendesignsstudio)!
silk screened bird art
Better yet, JOIN ME!!!

Let’s have fun together!
Use the #300daysofcreating hashtag on Instagram or let me know in the comments below so I can follow you. 🙂


Nov 4 2013

November Desktop Calendar

finally getting to this months wallpaper calendar!
this month’s art is inspired by the 2 ginkgo trees i have out my window, which i absolutely love!
and by my recent trip to China.

on another note-
do you care if there’s a calendar on this?
or would you just as well prefer art without the calendar?

click here for your copy of this months calendar.
hope you enjoy it 🙂

(for personal use only)


Sep 24 2013

the “blog” shopper bag winners are…

thank you ALL for making this shopper bag giveaway so much fun!
reading through the comments and seeing which ones are people’s favorites, along with some stories, have totally made my day!



winners: please email me your mailing address along with your bag of choice 🙂

Aug 30 2013

kinda one of my favorite things!

art journaling is probably one of the things that makes my heart sing most.
inspired by a friend coming over and us making new book signatures, i’m back at it!
2013_art_journalmy journals are mainly made up of a compilation of travel smack, doodles and all kinds of other misc. paper gems.




artist_studio_michelle_allen_designsand the aftermath…


i really can’t believe we’re about to enter the month of September!!!
time to get a new desktop calendar done…
hope you all have exciting and adventurous plans for this holiday weekend!


Aug 1 2013

august free desktop calendar!!!

august is here already!!!
since doing these monthly free desktop calendars i’m realizing more than ever just how quickly the months FLY BY!
my desire is to be intentional this month.
writing a good list of things that i plan on doing, both in my business life & my personal life.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” -Benjamin Franklin

august_wallpaper_calendarclick here to download this months free calendar!

(for personal use only)

p.s. would love to know if you use it!!! 🙂

May 20 2013

blooming goodness

i just wanted to say a quick “hiya”!
i’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the studio painting this past week.
it feels real good.


and p.s. i really want to make one of these tables!
or a pillow like this!

Apr 13 2013

my art bag and it’s contents

i love creating art in different places; a friend’s house, an art retreat, etc.
the best way to be able do this i’ve found, is by having a designated art travel bag.

allen designs art bag monogram
the local craft stores never seemed to have all that i was looking for.
so i ended up going to home depot/lowe’s (can’t remember which one) to find a tool bag.
it was hideous and very manly.
as curly girl designs says, “i am fairly certain given a cape & a nice tiara, i could save the world”-
for me it should read, “given paint and a paint brush i could change the world!”.

artist michelle allen art bag
as you can see- over time a LOT OF paint has been added!

art bag whimsical travel art journal
i also took a box cutter and removed some of the inside separators that I didn’t need and were just going to get in the way.

art travel bag artist michelle allen
my friend Janne and i strongly believe that “arting” should be a word. right?!?!

traveling art bag tote painter artist
i love all the outside pockets on this bag.

art journal travel bag
over the past few years i’ve worked it’s contents down to my personal arting essentials.

what's in my art bag

arting bag colorful travel carry all artist
and there you have it.
that’s what’s in my bag.
obviously, you could make a bag like this for all sorts of hobbies- scrap-booking, sewing, crocheting, beading etc.
do you have one? if so, how does it differ? what’s in your bag?


Oct 31 2012

china & product development

my days here in china have been quickly passing by.
i had thought i’d have more time for blogging but i guess i was wrong.
or should i say, i’ve spent that time doing other things…
i’ll try to do some catch up here over the next few days.

a new allen designs piece in the works.
currently LOVING these colors.
i feel like i’ve spent a lot of time drinking tea.
which then in turn means many times to the beloved hard-to-pee-in-ceramic-hole-in-the-ground! oy!

remember this beautiful girl?
my, how she’s grown.

little resin foxes- will eventually be made in to pins.
they’d be cute as magnets…hmmm.
with all the stainless does anyone still buy magnets?

the hello sketch now a sculpt.

i have spent a little time in my art journal.
trying to get my painting groove back.
funny how it’s like running- you take time off and you lose fitness.
when you decide to start back up again it seems to require:

patience that you will probably have some bad runs
confidence that you will once again achieve fitness
perseverance/will power that will push you past the discomfort & frustration. 

 don’t you agree?
…or maybe it’s just me.

Jul 31 2012

i almost feel famous!

funny that i’ve pretty much fallen off the face of the blogging world and i get featured in artful blogging.

 i’ve loved this publication since it started and am crazy-excited & honored to appear in it’s delicious pages.

if you’ve never picked yourself up a copy… you must!
every issue is just jammed full of inspiration, from decorating to cooking to art.
pure loveliness.

May 30 2012

brushes & journal pages

since i’ve been home from china i’ve been trying desperately to live by more of a schedule.
the past year there’s been so much random stuff going on that i felt like i couldn’t make an agenda and expect to keep it.
i’ve fallen into the habit of ‘flying by the seat of my pants’ so to speak.

 part of this new timeline i’m trying to keep is scheduling time everyday to MAKE ART!
it’s funny how hard that is to do.
even when it’s “my job”.

i’ve re-prioritized and listed the things i want to accomplish in my days/weeks/months.
it feels good to be back on track.

now all i have to do is- stick to it!

May 25 2012

girl love & flower

home and getting back into a groove again.

random piece of art.
adding some paint & ink to a quick sketch.

and a sweet flower i found in china.

P.S. you may have noticed that i turned off my comments.
i was getting crazy amounts of spam and i couldn’t take it anymore.
i’m sure there’s a plug-in or something out there that can take care of it.
but for the time being, the comment option will need to remain off.
please feel free to email me anytime at: michelle (@)

have a lovely weekend my friend. xo-m

Apr 17 2012

colorful art journal pages

my last slew of journal pages…

we’ve been scrambling these past several days trying to get our old house cleaned out and up.
we have some people who seem very interested.
they will get the appraisal back on wed. and might put in an offer!
if you think about us, we’d love your prayers.


Mar 31 2012

journal pages & artfest

just wanted to stop in and say hi and i’m still at artfest!
i had all intentions of blogging every day while here, but…

journal pages ©michelle allen 2012

i’m having WAY too much fun and i’m WAY too tired.
i’ll be back to regular postings by monday for sure.
hope you have a wonderful weekend.