Tag Archives: journals

Notebook Perfection

NoteBook Stories, which is probably my favorite stationery-themed blog (and yes, I subscribe to quite a few), started a discussion about the perfect notebook. I’m chatty, so I decided to make it a separate post.

When it comes to diaries, which are my primary use for notebooks, I require it to be hardcover and spiral-bound. I will use hardcover/book-bound or softcover/spiral, but they are not my preferred style. The more pages and the more narrowly ruled the better. I write a lot, so it’s not worth it to me to use a diary with only a couple dozen lines per page – and my handwriting is too messy to write multiple lines of text per line on the page.

I am still looking for the perfect art notebook. Blank (that is, unruled) journals are uncommon at stationery stores, though I haven’t checked any art supply stores. Mostly I use sketchpads, but those are too large to use on travel. I was pleased to find that the blank notebooks from CafePress worked quite well as my travel journal for my trip to Japan earlier this year, and I will probably purchase more of those for future trips. The paper isn’t suitable for pencil, but a simple ballpoint writes like a dream.

Speaking of travel journals, I used this style of journal for my trip to Amsterdam, purchased from the BookCrossing supply store (but, alas, no longer available). The paper was lovely but the size was weird – it only barely fit in my purse and fresh pages didn’t always want to turn properly.

I have yet to try Moleskine except as a planner, but I’ve had trouble with the ink smearing when I write with a gel pen. It’s not a huge deal, but I think it would bother me in a regular journal.

What do you use? Do you have any preferences?

Cutting and Pasting

For whatever reason, I really enjoy cutting up pieces of paper and gluing them to other pieces of paper. This is the essence of gluebooking. It’s a little bit collage and a little bit art journaling and a lot instant gratification.

Before we go on, I will openly admit that I don’t really understand the difference between art journaling, gluebooking, and scrapbooking. While my husband likes to tease me about my scrapbooking habit, I maintain that as long as I’m not using photographs and word balloons, I’m not technically a scrapbooker. But that’s just semantics. In all of them, you are more or less creatively preserving memories.

I’ve never gotten the hang of keeping a sketch journal. I’m notoriously bad about keeping up with any kind of “daily life” photography, which is probably a related failing. Despite spending so much time drawing, I don’t really think in pictures: I think in words. I’ve kept a regular paper diary since November 1991, yet it is extremely rare that I draw or paste anything in those diaries. I don’t know why, exactly, since those are the things I am most likely to want to look at when I go back through them.

As with many things from my childhood, I first started clipping pictures out of magazines because my older sister did it and I wanted to be just like her. She would re-cover folders, notebooks, and binders with her finds. I pasted stuff into old school notebooks, usually with a big X of Scotch tape across it. I’m not sure when it occured to me just how much tape I was wasting by doing that.

These days I use gluesticks because they are relatively non-messy and don’t yellow with age the way many tapes do. They are perhaps not the most durable of adhesives, but they serve my purposes. (And you can buy them in bulk.) I also don’t go out of my way to find things to cut up anymore, the exception being if I need something for a specific project (like the sketchbook project I’m doing now). Plenty of paper matter ends up in my house, not just from unwanted magazine subscriptions and generous swappers who send ephemera, but also from my weird compulsion to pick up brochures, leaflets, and flyers whenever I come across them. I think it’s related to my overwhelming attraction to free stuff.

The Jem Book

Jem book interior

At the moment I have four books in progress. The first is called the pink camo book, which I will describe at length in a later post. The “Jem book”, a notebook with that iconic cartoon popstar on the cover, is my general, catch-all, “I really should do something with these clippings I’ve collected” gluebook. I received it as a gift because I love both journals and Jem, but with only ten lines per page it didn’t seem very useful as a diary. One of my 101/1001 things is to fill the Jem book. As of this writing I have 33 pages (front and back) left. We’ll see.

Jem book interior

Spiral = good

Two of my other in-progress books are travel journals from my recent trips to Japan and Amsterdam. I designated specific journals just for those trips and they follow the same format: handwritten entries done while I was there, the LiveJournal recap printed out and glued in, and the rest of the pages filled with clippings from brochures from the various places I went. I have absolutely no idea when I will finish these. At the moment I have pasted in the LJ entries for both, and in the Japan journal I’ve completed only two places: the Parasite Museum and Sanrio Puroland. But I think they’ll be fun to look through after they’re done.

Amsterdam journal interior

Japan journal - Sanrio Puroland pages

Do you gluebook? Does it sound crazy? Pointless? Or just like scrapbooking?

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