The Documented Life Project: Journal Preparation




Altering a Moleskine journal for the first time is daunting, because it already beautiful in its simplicity. But, I learned that since they are so well-made, they can withstand a great deal of altering. As an option in The Documented Life Project, we had a very affordable and useful e-course by Lorraine Conte Bell called This course was instrumental to me learning some new techniques and creating a pretty cool journal to house my prompts.

As I was planning out my journal, I chose a muted sort of color scheme of black,white, gray, turquoise, and dark red. I found some cardstock and washi tape in these colors with some interesting patterns, to create my extended pages and monthly tabs.

My first step was to attach extensions to each of the weekly pages, using washi tape to hinge the pages. When you open the page, it extends the notes page to a double page, so you can write notes and have an art page, or use the full pages for art. 52 weeks means, of course, 52 extensions. I found a Bristol paper pad to use for extensions, but I knew I wouldn’t have enough paper to add extensions for every week. So, I used the card set that I purchased to add alternative extensions. On the first week of the month, I used zig-zag patterned cardstock for the extension. On the last week of the month, I used the white envelopes for the extension. My hope is to have some variety in the type of journal pages I produce, with these alternative extensions.

Adding the 52 extensions took forever, not only because I had to cut each extension precisely, but because I had to individually attach each extension with tape. While time-consuming, it was incredibly relaxing to hinge in each page, starting at the outer edges and moving towards the center. As I attached each page, I thought about the milestones (birthdays, anniversaries, special days) that will happen on this week. It was a really moving way for me to start this project, to think about my year ahead while engaging in repetitive and (dare I say) meditative tasks.

Next, I added monthly tabs across the top of the planner. I used cardstock with paisely patterns, as well as computer-printed months. I laminated the tabs with sheet laminate and attached it with washi tape. This was the easiest part, for me, and went exactly as planned, once I figured out my dimensions. I left enough room on the right-hand side, to make sure that I could still wrap the black elastic band around the book.

Finally, I decorated the cover. I had a vision for this cover, focused on my One Little Word for 2014 – Center. (I’ll write a future post about why I chose this word and how I hope it influences my year.) I envisioned circles against a white background. However, as I worked, I realized I wanted the cover to look textured and to incorporate my color scheme from my washi tapes and cardstock. So, I developed it as I worked. I prepped my journal for painting, then added newsprint for texture. I then painted the whole cover with a light gray acrylic. I added white borders along the edges of the journal, also in acrylic. Then, I created overlapping circles using acrylic paint in black, white, and red and a milk jug cap. As I was working, I decided to add blue paisley cardstock circles from my tab scraps. As a finishing touch, I added the words, “find your center” inside a few of the circles.

Prepping this journal was a huge project – probably 10-15ish hours of time, broken up over the week’s naps, early mornings, and late nights. But it was so enjoyable. I loved centering into art again, getting my hands a little dirty, and most of all, carrying this vision within me that I actually executed. This is going to be such a great project for the year.


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