I have become a little obsessed with book binding lately. The thinking being I can use the skills I learn to make boxes for my dolls using similar skills. As a Christmas present (or maybe birthday) a few years back, I received a beginner’s book binding kit. I only got round to using it last year, but it really spiked a love of book binding in me. This lead to lots of watching YouTube and following several hashtags on Instagram and Pinterest.

Last week, I got it in my mind to make my own journal/diary when I discovered you could buy small, spare ring binder parts. I wanted to use a ring binder format, like a Filofax, so I could also keep other things in it. But mainly so I could remove pages when I make a mess of them. I don’t make a mess of pages regularly. That is not because I am such a good artist though. Far from it. It is because I have a bit of a fear of the blank page. This is what stops me using my nicest notebooks. I really can’t see them as only notebooks or just sketch books and anything I draw/paint in them should be prefect. This fear is made worse by scrolling Instagram and Pinterest where we are treated to lush and gorgeous examples of beautiful bullet journal pages, hand made books, mixed media art and beautiful “sketch” paintings galore.

I am not a good painter because I don’t practice!

I am not a good painter because I don’t practice! Every time I see a blank page, I freeze and can’t think what to paint or sketch. I don’t want to make a mess of it. So by having a book with pages that can be removed I am hoping that the perfectionist in me will let me practice and then throw away those pages and be left with only the ones good enough to stay. And if I make a mess of my bullet journal spread I can just start again, throw out the offending bad bits and no one would ever know.

In truth I wont throw them away, I will just collect them together somewhere else as I am also terrible at throwing things away and I am a hoarder, but that isn’t the problem we are dealing with here today.

Tips Anyone?

I can’t be on my own with this blank page problem? Anyone out there got any tips on how you deal with it?

I see a stunning painting and I want to be able to make one just like it, but I won’t let myself LEARN. Logically I realise that these artists have been honing their craft for many, many years, but I feel that if I am not making something view worthy straight off, I am wasting time.

I have even signed up for a number of Domesitik online courses, which are really good and much better once I realised you can slow down the speed of the video. The majority are in Spanish so I need to read the subtitles and when you are trying to look at the text and see what is being demonstrated at the same time, it can be a bit hard going. But anyway, I have the courses, on watercolour and drawing and painting on different surfaces etc, but I just can’t seem to get to the end of any of them. Why do you suppose that is? Anyone else like that out there? (I have finished the book binding one though).

Like a Vintage Fairy-tale Book

handmade journal ring binder

A Fairy Tale in the making …

Ok, back to the project in hand. Make a A5 ring binder, using book binding techniques and make something that looks like my style. It also needed to be something I would be happy to take out in a public space. Another reason for the size so I could travel with it. I wanted an area for keeping pens and I wanted a pocket for keeping small pieces of watercolour paper (for quick sketches out and about. At least I wont have the excuse of not having the paper with me. And I will have to think of another excuse when it comes to getting out of a bit of urban sketching.

handmade bullet journal
handmade bullet journal

Also I wanted to use material to get a good tea dyed shabby look. Almost like an old fairy-tale book, and it needed to incorporate one of my dolls on the cover. I have no idea how this will last though with everyday wear and tear. The spare ring binder bit came in a pack of 5 though so I can make more.

I have learnt a few things with this journal. The first being it is quite hard to get material to stick down sometimes. Next time I think I will probably use paper for the covers and keep the material just for the spine area.

It is not the neatest thing in the world. But I am going to embrace that and use it. It will help me learn to make things less than perfect and still love them. After all if all the world was perfect it might be a very boring place.

Till next time

Ally x