Thursday, July 20, 2006


I found Creative Mom this week. Right up my alley. She asked about our personal journals.

What is your favorite journal?

My current one. Whichever it may be. Or my next one. Or the one with the story I need.

In 2005, I became more diligent about journaling.

I had a journal I had started on September 5, 2001. Though I had a few other books over the years, this is the real Volume 1. I found the book at Tuesday Morning store. Lovely autumn colors to go with my October birthday. At the time, I was running tests at work. Many were interactive, but some were not., I'd have five minutes of waiting before I needed to flip a switch or tally the results. I had time to start my new journal.

I tried to avoid resting my hand on the spiral binding by writing only on the right-hand pages. When I reached the back cover, I flipped the book upside down and wrote myself to the front again. It was nice to meet my old self on the return trip.

Eager to write, as a new book encourages, I wrote on Wednesday, Sept 5. Thursday, Sept 6. Monday, Sept 11. An ordinary day. I wrote about friends, I wrote about my son, just starting kindergarten. I wrote about a good pen.
Then I wrote on Sept 11. An extraordinary day. My cat was at the vet when the news broke. I wrote in snippets instead of full sentences. Absorbing the layers.

My commitment dwindled soon after. The book ends on July 25, 2005.

I moved into a journal that my husband bought for me from a trip to England and Scotland. Pages had art and quotes from Shakespeare, but I usually wrote around them, rather than about them. It has a corner pocket inside the front cover. That's handy.

During this time, I started studying the ideas about journaling. I re-skimmed The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I found Hannah Hinchman and Jim Arnosky and Gwen Diehn at the library. I found Danny Gregory on recommendation of Donavan Freberg (on his PG-13/R site). I found Lin at View from the Oak and Karen Winters on the Internet. I was ready to draw more often. I was itching to get done with the lined book and into a blank book. More space for drawing. Less pasting in my drawings done on side papers.

I have never met a Moleskine notebook in person. I like the Strathmore Sketch with recycled paper, 100 sheets, 5.5" x 8.5".

What does it look like?

I look forward to decorating each journal cover to reflect myself and my mood during that time.

For my first Sketchbook, I carefully unleashed the cover from the spiral and flipped it over. The screen-like texture is part of the cover. It is cardstock weight. The back cover is 1/8" cardboard. I started pulling items at hand. I'm fond of purple, so I started there. The gift wrap was from a gift for my mom. It fully says: "Party till the cows come home!" I flipped through my collection of page-a-day calendar pages and found the Mary Engelbreit home. I started stamping and collaging. I sewed the ribbon. I started to add glitter glue to just the upper bubble of the heart, but it smeared so I filled in the whole heart (paper-punched).

For my second decorated journal, I decide to just decorate and enhance the cover as it looked. I used glitter glue and pearly glue, Radiant Pearls, DecoColor markers, a rubber stamp of a dandelion seed using a silver ink pad. I added to it as I went, though the bulk was done at the beginning.

For my current journal, I started putting found stickers on the cover. Mostly, fruit stickers. I try no to have more than two of any kind. This is encouraging me to eat fruit more often and to try fruits I wouldn't usually look at, because I want the sticker. I'm still not fond of plums and I prefer canned peaches to fresh. Ganoush liked the kiwi if it was peeled. The non-fruit stickers are also found items. Usually the last sticker on a sheet, so lonely. The back cover has larger stickers (including one from Gonzo's new glow-in-the-dark Yoda shirt) and a copy of the concert schedule for my summer band.

The Pokemon Ruby sticker is from a used cartridge that Gonzo bought with His Own Money. He traded in an old game, but he still had to make up money to complete the transaction. I acquired the sticker when he chose to stick it to the outside of the car window. Not good.

I added the date tags to all of my journals when I started the current book. I bought a box of metal-rimmed circle tags at an office supply store. I designed each pair to compliment the cover. I made strings of different lengths, so the earlier date sits higher when the books are upright on the shelf, side by side. It adds fun and color and reference info. I don't knit or crochet but I like fun fibers. If it suits, I'll add other ephemera from strings, like my deflated balloon from my 39th birthday, when we went to Chuck E Cheese's. For the current book, I made tags with elements of nature that I like. I have the top of a blue feather on the start date and the bottom of the feather for the end. It also has a maple leaf and two lightning bugs / fireflies. Every tag is similar on both sides.

Where did you get it?

I buy them at Michael's Arts and Crafts store. I wait until they are on sale. I try to buy a few weeks ahead of completing the current book, but needed to go out the night before to get my current book.
I've looked at other books at Michael's but this one calls to me. I don't want perforations. I like recycling. This is a handy size: room to draw, easy to carry. I can print 2-up pages and they'll fit on a journal page.

What do you put in it?
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Personal observations and reflecting
  • To-do lists, releasing mental fluff and clutter
  • Minutes from meetings: church, Scouts, Scottish. I want all stuff in one system, organized chronologically.
  • Sketches. I really like Crayola Watercolor Pencils. If only they had one in brown...
  • Chronicle of the day's events.
  • I'll make a glued pocket out of two pages now and then, to hold a map or a calendar or such.
  • My kids will draw pictures in it for me when they are bored and can't go roaming. They don't realize how I will treasure their art in later years.
  • It's been with me to visit my in-laws and my brother and on my trip to see a taping of the Red Green Show. I'll note times of travel, exit numbers, mileage, good places to stop.
  • Sometimes I'll print one of my blog entries to put in my journal.
  • Sometimes I'll print someone else's blog entry.
  • I've tried Danny's suggestion to pre-color some pages, challenging me to work with or around what Me of the Past had put on that page.
  • When I get to the last three or four pages, I'll start writing a table of contents, wrapping up the book, reviewing what I've writing and drawn, making it easier to find what I think I may want to find at a later time.
Remember to click on each photo to see it larger.


Hanna said...

Hi Heidi, I just read this post (found you via CM podcast). I love the covers of your journals, and this post with all its great tips! Thank you! I'll come back and visit you soon!

Laura said...

I too found your sight via CM podcast. Your books are amazing. I am just now starting to journal. I am in the process of doing the book The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron daily morning pages is what I'm working on at the moment. Thanks for the idea of putting tags what a great idea. I'm going to check out the books you mentioned at the library. Thanks.