You CAN do it!

‘I can’t make a journal because it will never be as good as other peoples’ and ‘I can’t make a journal because I don’t have the materials or tools’

This is something I hear a lot! If this is you, I am here to tell you that you can do it and how you can do it, as I did at the beginning, with very little. Please stop using these reasons (excuses) and give it a try. I guarantee, it will be fun, frustrating and oh so rewarding when you do.

Lets talk about the first point. You really need to stop worrying about other people. You are not them and maybe your journal will not be as good at the beginning but it will be yours and you will have accomplished something! It is sad, using other people as a reason for not doing something. We could use that ‘reason’ for so many aspects of our lives. We don’t say ‘I don’t want children because they will not be as clever as…’ or ‘I don’t want to learn to drive because my car will not be as big as…’ Please do not use other people as a reason for not trying something you may very well love.

Just remember, we all made our first journal once. We have all made a journal that we don’t want to show people. Once you have made your first, you will never have to do it again!

So, you don’t have the designer paper and an embossing machine? You don’t need them! You might want them, but as we all know they are two very different things. When I first started I picked up a £1 small square paper pad from The Works but to be honest, I would not have purchased that if I knew then what I know now. Here are the essentials:

 Paper… any type of paper. Printer paper, a note pad, newspaper, and the best papers are old magazines or book pages. I much prefer book pages to designer papers if I am honest. You can pick books up from so many places for next to nothing and better still, check out books you have that you don’t mind upcycling into a piece of artwork. You can use book pages and magazines to make tags, ephemera, envelopes, Pockets and to decorate your cover.

 Scissors … you may need to fold and cut the paper rather than use a trimmer, but lets face it, mine is pants and does not cut a straight edge anyhoo.

A needle and thread … Thicker thread such as embroidery floss is better but hey, wool (yarn) would be great too if it is all you have. You would just need a needle that it will go through. If you have a big enough needle, you can also use this to poke your holes. If you don’t you can use a compass, a skewer or anything with a sharp point.

 Glue … this is not a must, but its helpful if you want to add embellishments, tuck spots, pockets etc. This can be a simple glue stick; it will work just fine.

There are a few things you may also have that you could also use:

  1. Old clothes for the trim, to cut into strips to glue to the edges of pages or even make a simple tassel with.
  2. Card; any card to make a cover or tags with. If you use cereal boxes, stick 2 pieces together so you get a plain card base. You can cover these in that fabric or paint if you have paints. There are a hundred ways to decorate a simple tag.
  3.  Buttons; old buttons, new buttons, any buttons. They don’t need to be old and you can also use safety pins. Again, they don’t need to be old or even look old, but using one to attach a piece of that fabric can be very pretty.

Some tips:

  • Keep it simple. You can make a cover out of a bag, an envelope or even a cereal box. You will find plenty of videos on You Tube. But remember, do not think it has to look as good as theirs.
  • Make your pages different sizes, it will add interest without any effort. You do need them to fit your cover though!
  • Mix it up, use ANY type of papers you can get your hands on and if you like, tea or coffee-dye it.
  • Make the journal first and then embellish it. Once you have those pages sewn into a cover, you will be so pleased with yourself; the rest will be a pleasure.
  • Again, do not compare what you have created to anyone else’s. You did it.
  • ENJOY it because you only make your first once and the second one will be easier.

Well, that all I can think of right now and I apologise for going on. I just want you to please DO IT.

Tracie x

26 thoughts on “You CAN do it!

  1. YAY!! Thank you for the inspirational message! I am getting ready to make my first “real” journal and I am using a discarded book as my practice. My “non-real” journals were configured out of blank white note books. I love your blog and watch your YouTube vids all the time. Thank you for sharing your talent with the rest of us!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Awesome! I just want people to try 😀 xx
      Good luck lovely xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this, particularly the reminder not to compare. I do that all the time and have to remind myself that what I do can be just as valid as anyone else’s creating!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Dannette Comardo July 10, 2018 — 8:41 pm

    This is a great post people can appreciate other people’s work but don’t compare it to your work. Comparison is really the source of all unhappiness whether it’s comparing jobs, houses, kids cars or journals!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Beverly Culbertson July 10, 2018 — 8:51 pm

    Great advice! Enjoy your e-mail and tutorials so much, thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for your advise. Watching other people made me realise that they make mistakes as well, we are all human and unless we try we will never learn.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Lorie Birkholtz July 10, 2018 — 11:57 pm

    Well said.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sharon Gruener July 11, 2018 — 5:39 am

    Thanks for the encouragement, we think and say all the things you mentioned. I sure do! I have been doing journals for a while and I love to create them, but of course they don’t measure up to what I see on you tube. Someday my goal is to do videos as well. I have a house full of journals and running out of room. haha

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you for your encouragement! I have one that I finally am ready to “sew” together! Nothing yet to go in, but there will be. Again, thanks for your blog and videos!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. carolenorman84 July 11, 2018 — 2:17 pm

    Thank you for this reminder Tracie! And also, (after my crafting day yesterday), treat every mistake as an opportunity to experiment and try something new! Xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, We all make them and learn from them! Sometimes something wonderful happens 😀 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great advise!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jeannie Santiago July 11, 2018 — 11:19 pm

    Ahhh! How timely this post is for me… I do struggle with this. Often afraid to show what I’m working on because it’s not perfect or I’m not good enough!
    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
    Love watching you and your YouTube videos!!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. So, so true. My first attempt-two signatures with too many pages and embellishments such as pockets and tags. I used an altered book. Book barely closes and I hold together with elastic. But by jumping in there I learned so much. My next journal too was a little too much bulk but turned out great. I will get better at it and I am working with homemade ephemeras. It can be done for little money with good results.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes thanks for sharing. I hope people will read your story xx

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Awesome, Awesome, Awesome advise. I watched so many videos when I first decided I wanted to do this, it wasn’t funny. I would pause that dog-gone video a hundred times if I had to but I was going to get it if it killed me. Tracie, You surely (among others) have been a HUGE inspiration for me to “keep it simple stupid”, and keep coming back, and keep pausing the videos). I have so much appreciation for You and Arty and all the hard work You gals have done to help us all. Thank You, Judyxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The most important thing is you did it! 😀 xxx I am so pleased that I helped you in your journey, but in the end…YOU did it 😀 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Wonderfully put Tracie.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Misty Blackburn July 13, 2018 — 4:11 pm

    Tracie This is perfect!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ummmm, well you know I’m guilty! LOL 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for your encouragement. While I have made books and blank journals for a long time I am new to ‘junk’ journals so love to see and hear what other people are doing and then do it my way.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Great advice Tracie I was one of those peeps that thought they had to have pretty paper, Well I have hardly touched it, I love painty papers slap some color on paper magazine anything really, I use a credit card,
    I learned I don’t or can’t make it exactly like someone else I don’t have the same stuff. thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you for sharing this…. My 1st journal was made out of cereal boxes and lots of paint … not my best work … but had fun making it!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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