Monday, May 7, 2012

Making This Journal Mine

I wanted to share my new journal/notebook with you. For many years now, I've loved keeping a blank book nearby. A catch all, of sorts. A place where I can jot down notes, thoughts, things to do or get, a recipe, a book to look for. So much more portable and accessible than my homemaking binder workhorse; tucking these books easily into a bag when I'm on the go or by the bedside to reach for when a thought strikes.

I have an assortment of these old journals sitting on my shelf in my sewing room. To me, they are treasures. They are an intimate part of me, my life, and my history. Like dear friends, they can transform me back in time just by a quick glance through. Most of them have been inserted in this leather cover I picked up three or four years ago. I found it in the discount bin at Swiss Days (a local festival and craft fair) in the Rustico booth. So very happy I found it. 

After all this time, I realized that I needed to find a way to make these blank books work more efficiently for me. I was inspired by this blog post not too long ago. Yes, she was on to something! Something that could work for me.

I needed a way to make separated categories so I could organize my thoughts and go back to them for easy referral later. Just like how binder tabs would work. It didn't dawn on me that I could do this with a journal. I loved the idea of the washi tape like Molly used, but I couldn't find any locally. I knew I could order some, but I wanted this done now! Plus, I wanted something a little simpler and more affordable.

So while I was at Target one day, in the scrapbooking and journaling aisle, I found some very fun possibilities in these SMASH products I'd seen before. I loved this pen with it's perfectly smooth ink flow, which I look for in a writing implement. That, as well as the nifty glue stick built right there on the other end. So handy for gluing in little scraps or mementos I want to insert in my journal. It fit perfectly into the built in pen holder in my leather cover. Wow!

I saw these really nice SMASH fabric tabs that came in a set of assorted colors. 12 in all. Enough for my categories, even. And in one package, too. These heavy weight fabric ones, I know, will sure hold up better than Sticky Note book tabs would, and so much more aesthetically pleasing to me.

I approximated how many pages I needed for each category, marked them up, and stuck them right on the paper.

Here's the breakdown for this journal listed on the very first page so I can see and remember the order in which everything can be found. 

Ah. A place for everything!
(I hope!)

~To Do/Calendar
(I still use my other bigger homemaking binder calendar, the family calendar on the fridge, and my print out weekly planning page, but this is a place where I can jot down things impromptu style to help me remember when I don't have access to those other ones.)

(a place for listing things to buy or get)

(to jot down if I find something I want to try in a borrowed cookbook or blog)

(real journaling, musings, deep ponderings)

(a place when I want to capture a concept or idea from a book, a talk, or lecture)

(I love quotes. Poems are good here, too.)

(ideas that might be good to write about.)

(a place to record books I've already read or movies seen, as well as a place for ones to look into for the future)

(an ongoing list. No more scraps of paper or random lists floating around here and there.)

(plans, notes, and evaluations. Like what I did here.) 

(ideas to celebrate and acknowledge holidays and the rhythm of the natural world.)

So there you have it. I'm so happy I've found something that works for me. There might be some tweaking here and there, but for now, I'm loving this journal.

And you. Do you do something similar? Do you have any nifties to share in your journaling adventures and/or habits?

Tell me. I'd love you to share!


  1. Emily, we are so similar, yet you are light years ahead of me! I have never journaled, but do have some journals waiting to be broken in. I've been using a two day per week paper calendar and it doesn't seem to be the perfect fit as I still use my online calendar (with not enough time to sync both). Those fabric tabs are really pretty. I recently bought some plastic tabs that aren't nearly as nice for my main "homemaking" binder (that's been sitting longing for some attention!). I did just finally institute some quiet time each day for us, so I now have about an hour or so to do some personal things on my to do list. Getting more organized needs to happen before the fall! ;)

  2. This is beautiful! Your photography friend gives me warm fuzzies. And I love your handwriting. Gorgeous. All of it.

    I need something different (I think) than the current set up. I have so many journals, but I seem to need them all for different things.

    You've given me something to think about.

  3. Like Jennifer above I have a homemaking binder that has been neglected, and a few half started journals laying around. I have used those little post-it like flags but they always fall off. I really love the fabric tape idea! I was wondering if you could share what type of notebook do you use for your blank book? Love this whole post (and the homemaking binder post too!)

  4. Hi Helen! Thanks for being here.

    You know, my young adult kids really love Moleskines, but they seem a little pricy for me. I wanted one with more pages, as well, so I just found one at Target that would just slide into my leather cover. I think the brand is Markings- it has Notes written on the look alike leather cover. Hope that helps. The fabric tab dividers were right next to the journals.

    Happy journaling!

  5. Hi Emily,

    Thank you so much! I know just the one you mean. Thank you for the inspiration :)


  6. i have tried several techniques. the one i prefer is the bound notebook approx. 5 x 8. teNeus brand or similar ones. i choose wide spacing of lines, high quality paper, a ribbon, pocket in the back like in Moleskine. solid cover and binder. i record my notes chronologically = index... each entry is coded in categories and subcategories i.e. books = list, summaries, reactions, orders, quotes. i create the index on the computer - as the writing grows up, then Print it and tape at the back of my notebook. i keep a similar one only for my extreme knitting . Years, months later the index is my data searcher. I add occasionally c/r entries. i.e. salad in Recipes and Health. I copy very little text from the internet, instead i reference it. pencil notes in the margins. sometimes i cut and paste a picture , a newspaper title. i keep notes in my tablet or index cards - then transfer them to the notebook. i guess for me chronology and index are the main features.

  7. i forgot to mention that page numbers are inserted at the top right corner. sometimes i inserted a page using washi tape. or i c/r page a to page b. with an arrow at the top of the text. it can o in both directions. A very beautiful pictures is washi-taped on a piece of water colours paper - which is also tape close to the spine or the border of a page. This is a technique often used in art journaling.