How to Start a Diary or Personal Journal

What to Write

Any time you are not sure what to write or just can’t seem to get started – read back your last post to the journal and comment on it. Did you meet any goals, achieve something or did the day you expected turn out completely different from what you had written?

Write with Pen and Paper

Take a break from the computer, sit in a different chair and use a different table when you write your journal. Buy yourself a paper notebook with blank pages for you to fill. Pick a pen with a nice flow and even a pretty colour of ink to write with. (Blue ink can be pretty – there are all kinds of shades of blue ink in pens once you try out a few of them).

There are endless books created to be journals. You can go to a book store and look at a display full of them. Pick something appealing to you. While you’re there pick out a bookmark too. Not that you really need one but it’s nice to have something to mark the page you last wrote and the new one where you will write again.

There is a nice feeling when you actually write with a pen on paper. Plus you will be practising your penmanship. keeping cursive writing alive and working through writer’s cramp rather than losing those muscles and that hand dexterity.

Writing Every Day, or Not

There are those who believe a journal or diary must be written in every day. That’s a lot to stick with. I know from my own experience how tough it is to stick with a schedule/ plan like that.

However, writing everyday does give you writing discipline. You can get into the habit of writing each day and then it does become easier. You will even find yourself composing your daily journal entry as you get up in the morning, on the drive into work or while you’re doing something routine like brushing your teeth. Then all you need to do is sit down long enough to write it all out.

Putting thoughts on paper is a great way to sort out all the stuff going on in your head. We think about so many things, get so many ideas and plans and then poof, they’re gone as we get busy with something else. Keeping a daily diary is a good way to keep track, solidify, and give more respect to your ideas, thoughts and plans.

As you sort out and give some real space to everything in your head you will find your mind become a little better at organizing everything going on in there. You can define your thoughts as you have to work out just what they are and how they could work in order to put them on paper.

Of course, there is no law saying you have to write in your journal or diary every day. So don’t take it so seriously you end up not writing at all because you feel you haven’t done enough with keeping the journal. It’s there, waiting for you, when ever you come back for it. A journal is just a notebook, a collection of pages, it doesn’t blame you or want you to feel obligated to it.

To Edit or Not to Edit

This is such a tricky thing. I did go back and edit some of my old diary posts. I regret it and yet, those edits are part of the history of my diaries now too. I still feel I should have just left them as I originally wrote them, however. I can never go back in time and be the person I was at the time I wrote them. It seems just a bit snarky to criticize or correct myself in any way.

Of course, some of what I wrote were not so much edits as comments based on how things turned out as time went by. The comments are pretty cool really. Now, even more time has gone by and I have yet another perspective on both the original post and the comments I made on it somewhere in between then and now.

One of the good things about keeping a journal/ diary on paper is that you can’t so easily delete your old posts. Online you can make a quick decision to edit or delete something and it will be lost and gone forever.

Extra Tips for Diary/ Journal Writing

Writing Help and Creative Writing Inspiration

ASCII art computerI seem to have too many ideas. I’m missing the focus and time I need to get them all from my brain and onto the page (or the virtual/ digital page). I make notes for myself with ideas as I get them. I try to use a notebook rather than bits of paper which end up misplaced, but the notebook isn’t always right there when I need it.

I don’t understand writers who have a lack of ideas. To me it seems there is an endless stream and the real problem is keeping tack of the ideas, organizing and finding storage for all the notes, magazine clippings, and so on. I have even begun to use my digital camera as a quick note taking tool. So my hard drive is just as cluttered. I’m considering a hand-held scanner, just dash out the note and then scan it in for later. This would give me a back up plan for the bits of paper notes.

How do I get ideas? Such a short and simple question when the answer is massive.

Here are some of the ways and places I get ideas:

  • Read the newspaper, a magazine.
  • Study a religion other than your own.
  • Watch/ listen to a talk show.
  • Volunteer to edit someone else, be constructive.
  • Watch a documentary.
  • Read the dictionary until you find a word you don’t know.
  • Look at books in the library, outdated ones too.
  • Talk to people at the coffee shop, grocery store, bus stop…
  • Attend some kind of local group, event or workshop.
  • Go to the bookstore and see what’s new in your niche/ genre.
  • Talk to yourself.
  • Draw something – it doesn’t matter whether you think you can draw or not.
  • Go shopping, look at new inventions in hairbrushes, mouse traps…
  • Take a walk outside.
  • Listen to music and then read the lyrics.
  • Take your laptop on a road trip.
  • Photograph your family. Get as many together as you can.
  • Try creating something in text art.
  • Read the newspaper classifieds.
  • Go to the local thrift store and buy yourself a new coffee mug.
  • Talk to a teenager. They really aren’t that scary.
  • Read about fashion or something else you don’t care about much.
  • Read an opinion that does not agree with your own.
  • Brainstorm about life. What is the meaning of life?
  • Send a postcard or a real, full letter to someone.
  • Try something new in papercrafts: paper flowers, paper cutting, paper folding…
  • Take a lawnchair or a blanket outside and watch the sky, the clouds.
  • Get a hot shower with a soap and shampoo you love to smell.
  • Take the bus all across the town or city you live in.
  • Buy a new pen and some blank paper.
  • Read one of the classic books you never read for school.
  • Do an online personality quiz, just for fun.
  • Read a few blogs by people you don’t know, leave a comment or three.
  • What’s the most boring thing you can think of? Do it.

In the end, it isn’t about where or how you find ideas. The real way to get ideas is to keep your mind open looking for them. Don’t become close minded, too literal, too judgmental or sure you’re so right about everything. It’s when you are open to new things that you are able to find them. You see things you might not have noticed or ignored because they weren’t flashing a neon sign telling you “this is your idea!”.

If you have writer’s block, distract yourself. Get away from that heavy focus and all the pressure. Once you release your mind, give it new roads to travel, the block will weaken and you can shake it off.

Take the seed of an idea and grow it. Look for more information, look at it from another perspective, combine it with other ideas to make something new and interesting. Be open to them and ideas will just come to you, trust me, ideas are everywhere!

One Hundred Things to Help Inspire Creativity


This was originally posted to HubPages. When it became mothballed due to their no-index policy I pulled it and brought here to rescue it from content scrapers and give it a second wind.

100 Creative Ideas

This will be my 100th post to HubPages. I actually joined years ago but didn’t start writing here until last year. Still, it took awhile to write 100 posts.

I almost went ahead and just posted one of the ideas I have been working on without thinking to make this post anything special. Then, I stopped. One hundred posts should be some kind of milestone.

So, after considering a few ideas, I decided to post 100 creative ideas to help, inspire and push others to be creative (more creative). Yes, they are slightly slanted to women. But, I’m thinking of ideas out of my own head and that’s who I am.

Enjoy the ideas. Let me know if you try a few and what kind of creative adventures and explorations you have.

  1. Write your own list of 100 things.
  2. Gather up all your pens and some paper. Have a pen testing party. Get rid of pens that don’t still work.
  3. Create a design with coffee cup rings (or tea) on a blank page.
  4. Take paper and pens – find somewhere public where you can spend an hour or longer just writing whatever comes to mind.
  5. Draw a dragon. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw, doodle until it starts to look good.
  6. Interview someone interesting, to you. Ask them what you really want to know.
  7. Write a suggestion and send it to the right people.
  8. Go barefoot (within reason) for at least an hour.
  9. People watch.
  10. Practice calligraphy. Bonus if you can use a fountain pen too.
  11. Pick up a pebble, a leaf, a shell, something small from nature.
  12. Start an account on Twitter and use it.
  13. Try ASCII art. Images created with keyboard text.
  14. Write a haiku poem.
  15. Draw a map of your local area, add all the land features, streets, etc.
  16. Play Scrabble with someone.
  17. Leave your car at home and take the bus for one day.
  18. Read out loud.
  19. Write your favourite word on an index card (recipe card) then decorate it in any way you dream up.
  20. Try a unique flavour of tea. The best I had was caramel.
  21. Make a chain of paperdolls.
  22. Write a postcard to someone, mail it.
  23. Take a unique self-portrait photograph of yourself.
  24. Read the newspaper and clip out one idea you can write about.
  25. Try baking something: pie, cake, cheesecake.
  26. Repurpose an old T-shirt in some useful way.
  27. Try – set up a topic you want to research there.
  28. Paint your body. If you seldom paint your nails, try that. Otherwise, face painting, a temporary tattoo…
  29. Photograph water, any kind of water: rain on a window, a puddle, water in the sink…
  30. Make thumbprints and turn them into characters.
  31. Try origami. Follow a pattern and see how it turns out.
  32. Write at least one journal (diary) entry about your day.
  33. Clean out your purse or wallet (or both). Reduce clutter in a small way.
  34. Put an ice cube in a glass of water. Start writing, keep writing until the ice has melted.
  35. Try a graphics software, Gimp is free, create a web banner for your blog, site or just your own name.
  36. Write about your ultimate vacation: where you would go, how you would get there and what you would do.
  37. Rename all the characters in whatever book you are reading now.
  38. Think of something completely unacceptable to write for a woman’s magazine. Write it anyway.
  39. Photograph an abandoned place or thing in your area.
  40. Take one photograph of anyone (not someone you know) in a public place, street photography.
  41. Watch a favourite movie you haven’t seen in a really long time.
  42. Read about night photography and give it a try.
  43. Sew on a button. If you are already a sewing diva create something with a lot of buttons.
  44. Create your own bookmark.
  45. Try freestyle embroidery. Embroider a square of fabric which you can sew on as a patch on jeans, a blanket, etc.
  46. Invite a friend over for an unbirthday party.
  47. Use crayons and draw a big picture – be a kid again.
  48. Become a cartoon artist for a day.
  49. Clip glossy photos from magazines and create a collage.
  50. Write a fictional news story. Use the newspaper writing style and all 5 Ws – who, what, where, when, why and… how.
  51. Try a crossword puzzle.
  52. Crochet a granny square.
  53. Get sticks and yarn to create a God’s Eye pattern from the 1970’s.
  54. Use paperclips or dandelions (in season) to make chains you can wear.
  55. Find out about mail art. Write a letter and use what you have learned about mail art.
  56. Start a scrapbook for something. Not for family photos, but a collection of newspaper clippings and such which you keep together in a traditional scrapbook.
  57. Write your name over and over using different fonts/ lettering each time.
  58. Make your own personal time capsule to be opened more than a year from now.
  59. Recycle newspaper by trying paper mache.
  60. Learn how to tie a sailor’s knot of some kind.
  61. In winter make a snow angel, in summer try a sand angel, or something else you can lie in and make an impression upon.
  62. Make Jello, pick a few colours, add the cubes to a large bowl and squish it all with your toes.
  63. Repurpose all those unmatched socks. Sock puppets are easy, what else can you do with them?
  64. Write out your favourite quote (or find one) and share it with someone else.
  65. Settle in somewhere nice outside and try bird watching.
  66. Turn something you like to cook or bake into an actual recipe, with measured ingredients and instructions for a beginner cook.
  67. See how far back you can go with your family tree, without peeking at anything you have already written/ printed out.
  68. Give yourself a ribbon for ‘World’s Greatest…’make it out of ribbon, paper, whatever you have on hand.
  69. Read one non-fiction book from the dust bunny collection on your bookshelves.
  70. Draw happy faces. Keep drawing them with different expressions until you run out of ideas.
  71. Go without your watch for a day. Ask other people the time or find a clock in stores, on the street, etc.
  72. Watch for little lost things in the street, sidewalk, etc. What can you find when you really look?
  73. String together different sized coloured beads and see what patterns you can make.
  74. Play with the sand, the snow, a pile of leaves, whatever is in season.
  75. Try some of the other mystery settings on your camera. You might like them.
  76. Design your own business card, even if you don’t have a business.
  77. Back up your computer files. See what you forgot you had. Save the important stuff to a DVD.
  78. Write the dedication for a book you haven’t written yet.
  79. How would you sell ice to people living in the Arctic?
  80. Get sidewalk chalk and remember the world of chalk drawings.
  81. How many different kind of shadow animals can you make?
  82. Play with an ink pad and rubber stamps.
  83. Make doll clothes. They can be for paper dolls if you don’t sew.
  84. Try to fold a better paper airplane.
  85. Bake and decorate cookies or cupcakes.
  86. Use a small mirror to write secret messages or draw backwards pictures.
  87. Draw a family of stick people, add pets, the family car and a house too.
  88. Draw or sketch or doodle something you can’t see.
  89. Get big sized paper and take crayons to the cemetery. Make cemetery stone etchings. (Don’t use stones which look fragile).
  90. Create a connect the dots game for kids.
  91. Make a meal based on one colour, try to keep every food/ dish one colour.
  92. Make a list of everything you smell.
  93. Trace your hand and then draw all the lines in your palm.
  94. Try storytelling. Or just write a complete nonsense story for fun.
  95. Collect random words and pull them together into a story.
  96. Write a story using less than 50 words, flash fiction.
  97. Paint something.
  98. Draw a flower.
  99. Cut out paper snowflakes.
  100. Plant something. Use a flower pot or container of some kind if you don’t have garden space outside.


ASCII Art is a Useful Skill for a Writer

ASCII art dragon

We are told to bring something extra, unique, something people will remember to each query we sent for our freelance writing ideas. Most writers are limited in what they can show in text. I’m not. I’ve made ASCII art for more than 10 years (on and off). Just today I thought about how I could create something and send it along with a query letter. Not as something in the envelope but in the actual letter, on the same paper my query is typed into. This even works for email queries, though not as nicely as something I can actually print out.

What do you think?

Easy ways to Stay Motivated…

Here are some easy ways to stay motivated….

  • Treat yourself to a new supply, book or tool
  • Recognize your progress
  • Pick ONE goal
  • Give yourself a reward

Getting things cleaned up is a much bigger help to motivation than anyone who is already tidy and organized would think.

I work in chaos and clutter. I have piles of paper related items all around me it seems. I’ve got them on the surface of my desk – where I could have my little scanner set up and just keep the gear for my camera and nothing else but a hot mug of fresh coffee, if I cleaned it all up. I’ve got books in stacks on the floor because I was going to get to them much sooner than this. Something else comes along and they are moved, shuffled around and soon become part of the landscape rather than something I’m working on currently.

I’ve even got clothes to put away, sort out and disinter from my closet. It’s time for the clothes I haven’t worn in ages to make an appearance out in the world, where someone else can use them.

Clean is a big deal. Not being clean is nothing but a monumental distraction and a drain on your energy.

Typographic Decay

Flickr: Typographic Decay

About Typographic Decay

“An investigation of what happens to typography, when it’s given a fixed ephemeral existence and allowed to interact with its environment.”

The photos being shown in this group are a collection of individual explorations, and naturally found occurrences in both digital and analogue mediums that attempt to explore this statement.

Typographic Decay is a term coined by Edrea Lita and Marek Okon in 2007 when they both were investigating how physical typography interacts over time within a physical or digital environment. This investigation later became a paper they presented in October of 2007 at Plus+ International Design Conference held in Birmingham, England.

I found two similar groups on Flickr:

Flickr: Ghost Letters

Flickr: Fragmented Urban Language

You can also find many sites and groups about Ghost Signs in general.

Creative Drawing

Originally posted to SuiteU, part of Suite101. SuiteU is being removed from the site. I wanted to save the ecourses so this resource would not disappear.
Drawing 101
By Joan Martine Murphy


Most people would love to be able to draw what they see. Many people find enormous pleasure in the art of self-expression. Sadly the idea of learning to draw skillfully is quite daunting for a high percentage of people of the Western World. This is sometimes due to negative experiences that have come from early child hood.

Drawing is a form of communication, which can allow us to express ourselves when words will not suffice. This simple art form affords us the opportunity to express our emotions in a safe and pleasurable manner. Many people for example find that the simple exercise of drawing negative emotions which are then ceremoniously torn to shreds or burnt away – is a useful, safe way to deal with them. The exercise allows the artist to move on to a more relaxed and harmonious and peaceful happiness state.

Maps, symbols, colours, expressions and many other elements of design convey meaning and help us to construct a world of illusion. They help us re-present our reality. This can be useful, informative, recreational and healing.

Read more


Bookbinding is already becoming an obsolete, lost art, even before eBooks and eReaders. This was originally a free ecourse on SuiteU. Preserved here for my own interest, before SuiteU is taken down.

By Kez van Oudheusden


Bookbinding can be inexpensive, easy to do and can produce some unique and individual works. There are many basic techniques that you can use to create books and we will be starting with the simplest of all, a single section notebook that you will use for class notes and ideas. These techniques are easy to master. These are the basic techniques that you can use to build on to more difficult techniques. You can research other book artists work and combine with your own techniques to create unique books. This course will show you the basic techniques and help you get started. Once you have finished this course you will have the information you need to tackle your first project with confidence.

Don’t be afraid to experiment
There are many different mediums available to be made into a book – thick or thin papers, textiles, even bark or metal

HINT: Safety with chemicals: never combine eating when mixing chemicals; remember some are toxic. Don’t blow the dried chemicals off your work as they will rise and be inhaled. It is better to gently shake your book when dry if you are using the rusting method in Lesson 2. There is no mystery about bookbinding. It is a learning process for anyone. Take what you learn and be creative. Do you have the creative urge to express yourself but are nervous about how to begin? Simple bookbinding is inexpensive and one can begin with a very small outlay. COME AND MAKE A BOOK FOR PLEASURE!

Lesson 1: Making A Simple Notebook

This lesson will teach how to make a single book section and cover to be used for class notes. You will also learn to make a 3-hole single section of between 5 – 8 pages and manipulate the paper by various methods to create a unique book for each student. You can use this book for class notes, recommended reading, tips and tricks you learn along the way.

Materials needed:

about 10 sheets of standard size writing paper,
larger sheet of heavy cartridge paper,
large-eye needle and good quality heavy duty cotton to sew with,
inks, paints, oddments ie. old magazines, ribbon, string, buttons or other old pieces you have been saving for just such an occasion.

The one tool I consider an essential for any bookbinding is a bone folder to make sure the folds you make with paper are smooth clean folds. They are obtainable from bookbinding supply stores or online.

Instructions for Sewing

Step-by-Step Instructions for sewing section:

Measure the fold line and mark 3 holes evenly
Thread large eyed needle with strong linen thread and with outside cover facing you insert thread into center hole (#1) through pages.
Pull thread through hole #2 (to find this point easily from the inside, first push the needle through the marked spot from the outside to make a hole right thru)
Push needle and thread thru hole #3
and bring out thru hole#4 (which is hole #1)
Pull thread firmly and tie over the center thread securely.
Cut about 5cm (2inches) from knot.

Instructions for manipulating the finished book:

Tear pages, burn, drop ink, wax, cut windows, sew pockets. Use some of these methods for adding personality to your blank notebook.
Tear along page edges – wet edges for a different torn effect
Dip, splash or paint part of any or all pages with any of the following: eyeshadow, lipstick, tea, coffee, wax, ink, shoe polish, mercurochrome, gentian violet, gesso, shellac or bitumen paint – try wetting some pages first for different effects
carefully burn along some torn edges or make burn holes in pages
Melt a candle and dip the edges of pages into the liquid wax
Cut or burn a window in a page to highlight a feature on the following page
Cut a slot across page to insert small notes, photos etc.
Make a miniature one section-book to insert into a page.

Now that you have used your own imagination – download this PDF file and you may be inspired to have another go!…

Have a look at some of my books online for more ideas.

Lesson 1: Making A Simple Notebook
Making a Concertina Spine

In this section you will learn 5-hole sewing of book sections and how to attach sections to a spine to form a book containing 50 -100 pages. You’ll also learn to make covers for this concertina binding and end up with a book ready for decoration. Read the instructions below before beginning as you will need to follow these sewing steps with the folded sections held in place on the spine.

Materials and Sewing

quantity of papers,
heavy cartridge paper,
heavy cotton or linen thread,
firm cardboard or book card (from bookbinding supplier),
general purpose glue,
cutting knife,
bone folder

Step by Step Instructions For Sewing Five Hole Section

Measure the fold line and mark 5 holes evenly
Thread large eyed needle with strong linen thread
and with outside cover facing you insert thread into center hole (#1) through pages.
Pull thread through hole #2 (to find this point easily from the inside, first push the needle through the marked spot from the outside to make a hole right thru)
Push needle and thread thru hole #3 and back thru 4 (#2 hole) .. brings you back to outside cover.
Take thread thru hole #5 and back thru hole #6
From outside again, needle thru #7 (hole #5) and finish up on outside thru #8 (hole #1)
Pull thread firmly and tie over the center thread securely. Cut about 5cm (2inches) from knot.

Lesson 1: Making A Simple Notebook
Attaching the sections to a concertina spine

To sew sections onto the spine (which needs to be a bit less height than your book spine wide) and about 40cm (34 inches) long,

fold the spine piece into a concertina length being careful to fold as evenly as possible
make as many folds as you have sections folded
mark the holes to sew on the back side of the spine and hold the sections in place as you sew each one into place
push the valleys out to sew
leave threads tie-off at back for added effect
experiment further with manipulating the paper; cut burn, tear, sew, splash, paint or rip

At this stage you might like to download some extra class notes. They will give you a clearer visual idea of what you are trying to achieve and hopefully add extra inspiration!…

Lesson 2: The Last Step – Making Covers

You will learn about materials as well as methods of making book covers suitable to use for books made in lessons 1 & 2. These will be folded covers, glued covers and wrapped covers. Click to enlarge We will start with simple book covers to use with books made in lessons 1 & 2. Then let your imagination move on to experiment further with manipulating paper – cut, burn, tear, splash, paint, rip and scorch!
Materials and Techniques

heavy cartridge papers,
strong cotton or linen thread,

You can probably think of other odds and ends for use in decorating your covers! Be imaginative!

Cut 2 pieces of heavy card about 1/2cm (1/4 inch) larger all around than book.
Using bookbinder’s glue or a good quality all-purpose glue, spread evenly onto end pieces of your cartridge paper spine.
With plastic between the end pages, fold book into shape and press firmly under a heavy weight (a board and bricks) until glue has dried.
Cover can be decorated with the items listed above or aged as discussed later in this lesson.

Instructions for making fold-around cover with tie fasten

Lay your sewn book section onto a large piece of heavy cartridge paper
Mark about 1/2cm (1/4 inch) above and below the book and tear or cut along this line
Wrap the cover around your book to overlap a bit on the front. Tear or cut this size.
Sew a button/bead or decoration that can be used to wind thread around to the under side of the wrap. making sure it is clear of the foldover.
On the foldover side secure a double thread in line with the button holder.
Wrap thread around button

How about experimenting further with manipulating the paper! Cut, burn, tear, sew, splash, paint or rip!

Have you started using the book you made for class notes and ideas? Here’s another way to change the appearanceof your book. Roughly tear off the edges of the pages and dip the book into shallow wax. A candle melted in a frypan is one way to do this. I love the feel of waxed paper and will often wax a whole page. Looks good with waxed notes!

Lesson 2: The Last Step – Making Covers
Decorating Covers for a Rustic Effect

Treating the books and/or paper

In this section you’ll learn some methods to give your book an individual look – ageing the book. I have included a recipe to age paper for various uses.

If you would like the whole book to look aged, dip the whole thing into the mixture following the recipe. Lay on newspaper to dry, checking often. When the pages are just damp, using your bone folder between the pages, gently separate them. This might have to be done a few times while they are drying, to prevent them sticking together. Follow the same process after rinsing under running water to remove chemicals. It requires a bit of time and effort but is well worth it. Put on your rubber gloves and get ready to have some fun!

The Rusting Recipe

Here’s the basic recipe which is called Rusting and gives the paper a very aged and interesting surface. You can use any paper – I used plain photocopy paper for most but also some nice textured papers and heavier ones.

You’ll need to experiment to get the effects you like best. It works differently on different paper.

It’s a 3 part process so you need 3 trays about 2″ high and bigger than the paper.
You also need a couple of 5 litre (about 1 gallon) plastic containers to store the made-up chemicals.
Always wear rubber gloves as it can be dangerous on your skin.

You’ll need:
Ferrous Sulphate (or may be sold as Iron Sulphate, available in a good garden supply shop)
250grams (8 ozs) in 3 cups of water dissolved in a plastic ice-cream container.
Pour into large container and add water to make up to 5 litres.
Fill one tray about halfway.
Caustic Soda (sold in most supermarkets) – 2 tablespoons gently sprinkled onto water in plastic container than made up to 5L same as above and pour into another tray.
Strong Tea – take 30 – 50 teabags and pour boiling water over in ice-cream container. No need to store this, just pour into labelled tray (make sure the trays are all labelled)
First – dip your paper into the ferrous sulphate, drip the excess off over the tray – a minute or so
then dip the same paper into the caustic soda. Drip that over the tray again
then dip into the tea tray and do the same.
Lay on newspaper to thoroughly dry – maybe overnight or longer.When dry – fill a sink with water and wash the paper (don’t rub it, just make sure it is really wet) – and again leave to dry thoroughly before using.
Read previous notes on keeping the pages of a book separated while drying.
As an added protection against any chemicals rubbing off you can spray the finished paper with a fixative or even lightly with hairspray before using it.
I sometimes add a varnish to book covers with Shellac (from hardware stores)- mix half and half with methylated spirits and lightly paint book or paper with a soft brush.

Lesson 2: The Last Step – Making Covers
A Few Last Words

I hope you find this as exciting a process as I do! You never know exactly what will take place as the chemicals dry and you’ll create some accidental wonders for sure!

We have now completed the final lesson of Creative Bookbinding and you have been challenged with a variety of techniques and papers during this course. We have covered different simnple binding methods and techniques and once you are confident you have mastered these you will be ready to go on to learn more. I am sure you will derive much pleasure from the books you make. Remember to look in this course resource section for different ideas on ways to fill your books.

a. observe.

b. experiment and explore.

c. apply.

Above all enjoy your books!


The Napkin Solution

The Napkin Solution

Lynn Lott

The I Ching card said, “Nothing is happening and you feel frustrated.”so I told myself that it was time for the napkin solution. I went to a restaurant (household napkins don’t work), put my napkin in front of me, and pretended I was planning a workshop on the subject of my book. Before the omelet arrived, I looked at my list of subjects and realized I had accidentally created the table of contents. Now everything I had written had a place to go.

I read this in ‘Seven Steps on the Writer’s Path’ by Lynn Lott and Nancy Pickard.

I’ve done this many times. I stopped using napkins and just bring along my own paper now. You can get a pad of paper at the Dollar Store and write endless notes, ideas and even draw your ideas. It fits into my purse and I have learned to keep a selection of pens (different shades of ink, different thicknesses of line, etc.)

Get the Clutter Off Your Desk – Free Yourself!

Tips to Avoid a Cluttered Desk

Start by sorting papers. Just put them in two piles, stuff you need and stuff you can put right into the recycling bin (directly – do not pass Go). Keep a bin, bag or some kind of container right there as you work your way through and get rid of expired coupons, receipts you don’t need, paperwork you’ve already finished, newspaper clippings (anything you kept and don’t remember why). Don’t let yourself get sidetracked into sorting the stuff you are keeping. Just pile it up for now. Focus on getting rid of everything you don’t need. You will feel you actually accomplished something when you have less clutter.

From your pile of papers sort out two piles again. This time sort out work related from personal. Anything like photos of your family versus contact information for a client and so on. Put the personal stuff into a bag or some kind of container which will keep it from being on the floor or piled up on your bed, kitchen table or other places where it will just get in the way and not be very portable. If you can, get family to help sort out these things. Some things, like photos, can be given to them or they can deliver them to the right person for you.

Use a filing system that works for you to sort out the work related clutter. Sort paperwork by date/ month. Have an In and Out box for things you need to do and those which are done and just need to be put away or throw them away if you won’t need them again.

Invest in a bulletin board or magnetic board which you can pin more urgent notes to – this way you can keep track of the important to-do things and they won’t be lost on your desktop. Anything left in the work related pile should be given a place where it can easily and predictably be found or you should not keep it. Avoid keeping odds and ends that you probably won’t use or don’t really need.

Find a container for all your pens, pencils, coloured markers, highlighters, etc. Look at the thrift store for some unique and thrifty storage ideas. Or, get a drawer organizer and keep them stored in a desk drawer, tidily. Do the same with other small accessories like staplers, paperclips, etc.Tidy up cables, wires and such from your computer and other electronics by your desk. Even if they are mostly out of sight they add to the feeling of clutter. There are good ideas for tidying up cables by using twist ties, bread tags or elastic bands.

Everything on your desk that did not really belong there should be put in the right place, the proper room. Make yourself start a new habit of putting all these things (like a hairbrush, lip balm, coffee cups, medicine, etc.) away rather than just putting them down wherever you happen to be using them at the time. Save yourself the extra clutter and you have room on your desk to work with the real things that belong there.


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