Favorite Traveler’s Notebook Accessories

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watercolor | paperclips | photos | page markers | ephemera | charms

Last October, I purchased a new traveler’s notebook from Chic Sparrow. It’s a beauty, but I bought it in a pocket size (3.5″ by 5.5″) because I wanted something less heavy for my EDC (every day carry). I filled it up with notebooks – both purchased and handmade – but often felt myself wanting to go back to the larger more creative-feeling standard (4.5″ by 8.25″) size.

For Christmas, I asked for monthly planner notebooks made by Moleskine as well as some Field Notes journals to fill it up and get me inspired, and started doing research on how to make it the most functional for me. After falling through the black hole of set up videos on YouTube, I found that a lot of people have cute and functional accessories that help them get the very most out of their notebook regardless of what they use it for!

After ample research, here are my favorite accessories. Ones with * denote the ones that I currently use, all others are things I’ve tried previously or are on the to-buy list!

Notebooks:

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  • Field Notes* – these notebooks have quickly become my favorite I’ve used. The paper is good quality and I love that their website has lots of cover design options. I’ve seen some TN folks cover the front with scrapbooking paper, which always works as well. These have 48 pages and don’t allow much bleed through on regular pens.
  • Moleskine* – these notebooks are a quick go-to that are ALWAYS available to me at local stores such as Target and Barnes and Noble. They come in a three pack and the pocket size is the one that fits the pocket sized TN. When I used a regular size or the “narrow” I bought the large cahiers and trimmed the edges so they would fit. These are a great option but I find that there is often bleed through with my favorite inky pens.
  • Tomoe River Insert* – I bought my Tomoe River insert through Chic Sparrow when I purchased the notebook cover. The paper is absolutely delicious, especially with watercolors, but it bothers me that I can’t use ephemera without worrying that I’ll rip the page. These notebooks are also twice as expensive (if not more) than the ones listed above and I found myself being hesitant to write in it because of the price.
  • Yellow Paper House – I am a HUGE fan of the inserts that YPH produces. The variety is unparalleled and I’ve used many different ones from the coloring book to the mixed media insert. I can’t say enough good things! The downside and why I’m not using them right now, is simply the price since I use about one per month.
  • DIY Notebooks* – I used the video linked to create some of my own inserts. I went through all of etsy one day looking for an editorial calendar insert and ended up making my own. I thought it was going to be pretty tough, but you should be fine as long as you have access to word and a printer. I generally print on copy paper (because the inserts I created are only meant to last a month) and use a stronger card stock for the cover.

Notebook Accessories:

  • Dashboard* – I bought this recently to add to my field notes/pocket size and I’m a huge fan. Basically this is just a clear plastic cover that you can slide pictures/scrapbooking paper into. I like to put it around my most used notebooks to protect them and give homemade ones a little more stability.
  • Felt Paperclips – Although I don’t own any of these, I absolutely LOVE them and have seen them recommended a lot.
  • Adhesive Card Pocket* – I purchased this recently but haven’t decided what part of the notebook I’m going to attach it to. I’ve see it done onto the inside of the leather and on inserts. This is particularly great if your TN doubles as your wallet.
  • PVC Pouch – I purchased one of these for my narrow sized traveler’s notebook and it was a game changer. I didn’t have a pen loop, but because of the size, I was able to zip a thin pen right in the pouch. Many also come with card slots as an option.
  • Folders – You can either check out all of the options for pre-made ones or you can did what I did and use a tutorial to make your own.
  •  Charms* – there are a TON of planner charms on the internet, but I purchased one from Hobby Lobby. The clip at the top looked super awkward, so I removed it by separating the jump rings using a pair of needle-nose pliers. There are a ton of ways you can make your own, but I liked all of the charms, so why not stick with something simple and use a 40% off coupon while I was at it!

Page Supplies:

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  • Washi Tape* – Washi tape is my favorite thing for just about every project. Sometimes I use it for tip ins and sometimes I just use it for decoration. Linked is my current fave.
  • Watercolors* – As I mentioned above, I love using watercolors and tend to use them the most behind general writing to make the pages pretty.
  • Photos – This probably goes without saying.

Pens:

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  • Ball Point – I’m the most boring person ever for listing a ball point pen as my favorite. I particularly like this one because it has four ink colors in one pen and I really like to write in red at work. Someone the other day told me that they hadn’t seen a multi-ink pen since 1st grade. I felt so cool.
  •  Rolling Ball – I’ve been using this pen in the fine and extra fine point since college. I love the way it writes and always get compliments when people borrow these.
  • Fountain Pen – I purchased this about a year ago and am absolutely obsessed with it. This pen with the Tomoe river paper is the best combo. If you have one of these or are considering buying one, I would definitely look at the care instructions. I went way too long before cleaning mine which resulted in a super mess.

Have a favorite accessory or notebook that I don’t know about? Let me know, I’m always looking to add to my collection!

A Nourishing 2016

It’s hard to believe it’s the end of my one year journey with my word, nourish.

To keep track of my adventure this year, I’ve been using a traveler’s notebook Art Journal insert from Yellow Paper House that fit right inside my beloved Chic Sparrow Maverick in conjunction with Ali Edward’s One Little Word Course. I love the traveler’s notebook style (as opposed to the one Ali and many other people who take the course choose to do) because of how simple and compact it is. Because I don’t have a ton of space in the book to complete the prompts each month, I don’t have to feel like I need to have more words than I do, because I don’t and that’s stressful. It’s all stream of conscious writing, so it flows out and then I close the book for the month, putting into practice whatever the prompt was from Ali’s class. In addition, I’ve been really into watercolors this year and this journal has been a really great outlet for that.

Here’s how the journal turned out.

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January

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January was all about getting acquainted with nourish by writing down the definition, why I chose it, action items, and a quote. I love including the pocket with pictures to help remind me what I was doing and how I was feeling in that season. I always get super pumped about my word at the beginning of the year and as that feeling wears off, looking back and monitoring where I am in my goals is always a good tool to help me get back on track. As I completed this portion of the Ali’s class, I was also in the middle of the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, which encouraged me to pause and consider each of the following areas of my life: family and friends, personal development, spirituality, finances, career, marriage, fun, giving, physical environment, and health and fitness. In a one to ten fashion, I rated each one and made comments so that I could compare. This is how I chose the goals on the page above and came in really handy now that it’s the end of the year and I’m starting to think about a new word and new ways to move forward. This was by far one of the most rewarding goal setting experiences yet.

February

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In February, we chose a practice to do each day for the month that would, in turn, help us create a habit. Unfortunately, I didn’t watch the prompt video until the second week at which point I decided to choose the act of journaling in my bible as my goal for the month. Since I had been dating them, I was able to go back and mark down which days I had done it. I think if I would have known ahead of time, I would have choose something a little more personal/self-care related, but it ended up working out just fine in the long run. I was still able to knock out 20/29 days – not too shabby.

March

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In March, I created visual mood board for my word. This was another time that the smaller size was convenient. I’m generally not the type to have a lot of magazines or things I want to tear up laying around the house, so I was able to just grab one magazine to complete these pages  which is much more manageable than the 8 ½ by 11 size that I had done in the past. I totally love how the colors played out  in these two pages. Just as a sneak peak, my one little word for 2017 is on this page. It’s crazy to look back and see that march is when my next word started showing up.

April

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This month, I wrote about things that make me feel nourished so that I could work on making them a more regular part of my life. Here’s what I wrote: “I feel nourished when I’ve had enough sleep. I feel nourished when my quiet time has been relaxed and slow paced. I feel nourished when I eat foods that are good for my body. I feel nourished when I’m praying. I feel nourished when I’m singing to Jesus. I fell nourished when I move my body. Yoga is my favorite. I feel nourished when I spend time on myself. I feel nourished when I’m blending watercolors. I feel nourished after spending time with family and friends. I feel nourished when I’m being creative. I’m feeling nourished when I take naps. I feel nourished when I drink plenty of water. I feel nourished by the sun. I am nourished by good books and my favorite characters. I am nourished by God.”

May

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This month was all about taking some photos of things/places that described my word. This was our first month in the new house, which probably explains why all of the photos have to do with that – our bed, my office, and our roses.

June

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In June, we reflected on the process and the progress. At this point, I was already feeling like my word was so fulfilling and really enhancing my growth. The highlights of this page are the three things that I had been enjoying about my word:

  • The amount of grace this word encouraged me to give myself.
  • The encouragement I felt to treat my body better based on how I feel as opposed to how I look.
  • Treating myself with nourishment also inspires me to treat others with nourishment as well.

July

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In July, I had to remind myself to slow down. After a little getaway for the long fourth of July weekend, I felt like I was in a rush to get back into the swing of real life. I just wrote myself a reminder and included that sweet picture of my family.

August

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August was one of my favorite months and talked about seasons of life – where we are right now, what we are struggling with, and what we are celebrating. I waited until the end of the month to complete this one and I’m so glad that I did because a lot of what was going on revolved around my new position at work. I love that my family and real life is weaved in and out of these pages.

September

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This was a big one – a prompt about contemplating rest, pace and joy as well as documenting 30 things that bring me joy. I questioned a lot this month if I really know what rest looks like. A reoccurring theme this year is my pace and how I’m either going 100% or I’m sleeping, even when I’m sick or need a break. I think my Type-A personality requires me to feel like I need to be extra productive and to-do list oriented otherwise I feel like my time is being wasted. One of my goals for the end of this year/beginning of next year is to have a binge netflix session because it’s not something I generally do. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

October

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These are my favorite quotes that are related to the word Nourish. Because I always make a pinterest board for my word of the year, I had already accumulated quite a few quotes that I felt related perfectly to my word. My favorite one:

“When we nourish ourselves with good people, projects, surroundings, scenery, love, music, beauty, and self-care, we radiate light into the world and continually sharpen our vision, perception, and clarity all at once. This in turn spreads even more. Remember that one tiny drop can raise an ocean. Keep wanting. Desiring. Doing. Breathing in sweet things.

November

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November was fun because I got to try a new technique with my watercolors and tissue paper as well as include one of my wedding photos of just myself. I reflected on what I believe, what I love, what I know and what I’ve learned. Conclusion? I’m pretty dang hard on myself.

December

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Finally, a good ole wrap up and another picture of me. We separated out our reflection into facts and feelings and I realized that’s something that is REALLY hard to do.

Facts:

  • In 2016, I improved and grew as a human.
  • Nourish reminded me to consider how I felt about decisions, events, and feelings.
  • Nourishing myself is hard.
  • What I want nourishment to be and what it really is are different.
  • I am proud of myself and what I have accomplished.

Feelings:

  • The term self-care makes me want to vom – so cliché and can easily be overused as an excuse not to try hard.
  • I feel great about the goals I completed – there are quite a few.
  • You can be nourished and struggling at the same time.
  • The act of progress and growth are so much more fulfilling than being perfect.
  • Journals have presented themselves as the only outlet for me to clear my head and heart.
  • Slowing down and adding time to relax into my calendar is the only way it will get done and now I know that about myself.
  • All things are possible with Jesus. (Also, on a related note, I saw a quote the other day that said “All things are possible, but everything isn’t”. LOVE.)

I finished off the year by writing a note to my word and recapping my goals. I used to love crossing things off, but it feels so much more positive to highlight them instead. Even though I still have a lot of room for improvement in the nourish category, I’m so impressed with how much I’ve accomplished.

Each year, I add my word to a list of other epic words that I’ve carried with me for a year. Now nourish can join the ranks of joy (2013), rooted (2014), and adventure (2015).

I can’t wait to share with you what next year’s word will be!

Journaling on the Go

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It took me a while, but I finally think I found a perfect (and inexpensive) on-the-go travel case for my journaling supplies. I had been on the hunt for a while, trying out different pencil cases and bags but none of them seemed to be a good fit for what I was looking for – big enough for my supplies but small enough to carry everyday. Last year, when we went to Chicago, I took a deep pencil case, trying to fit all of my necessary supplies and it turned out to be quite a hassle, which resulted in me dumping out the contents any time I needed to use something. Fast forward to this year, I was looking around on pinterest when I found myself clicking through to this Travel Organizer. I am under the impression that it’s intended to be used to carry a passport and boarding documents for trips, but it seemed to be perfect for a couple packs of stickers and photos. I bought, filled it, and manage to carry it with me almost every day. This is about the same size as my Chic Sparrow  “Narrow” (which also happens to be the standard midori size), so carrying the two together works brilliantly. This also zips, keeping all the junk contained perfectly inside.

Here’s what I carry:

Left Side (from top to bottom):

  • Peerless Watercolors – I bought a pallette of Peerless watercolors on Etsy, but it looks like they have all been taken down due to copyright laws. Here is a tutorial on how you could make your own.
  • Word Stickers – that I downloaded from this free printable
  • Random Alpha Stickers – favorites are from Studio Calico and JoAnn’s
  • A small pair of sizzors and a piece of cardboard wrapped with washi tape (here’s a tutorial)
  • Tiny Teresa Collins Alpha Matchbook – here: http://www.allaboutscrapbooks.com.au/shop/scrapbooking-ranges-papers/teresa-collins/basically-essentials/teresa-collins-basically-essential-matchbook-alpha-white
  • Brass embossing stencil – Emma Lowercase – I use this for tracing letters
  • Page Flags from the Target Dollar Spot
  • Post its

Right Side (from top to bottom):

Pen Loop

On Top

  • The Tape Runner – this doesn’t fit in the pockets, but I can set it on top and zip it up without it going anywhere.

Since it’s already set up and ready to go, I don’t even have to think about what I need to add before I hit the road, coffee shop, or couch. This kit allows me to turn any space into a creative one and that’s important to me.

Growing in Soil

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A couple times a week, I get emails from Illustrated Faith with information about new items that have come to their shop, new blog posts and every once in a while, they send out freebies. This past week, the Growing in Soil Devotional was put in the shop for free (it’s typically $3) so I thought I would go ahead and print it on some sticker paper. There are two pages and each one is the exact same size as the pages of my traveler’s notebook, 8.25″ by 4.33″, so I cut them down just a little bit more to make sure I would not have any hanging off the page or getting stuck in the binding. I then cut apart the smaller pieces so I could place them around the pages.

I decided to stick everything to the notebook before even reading the devotional. It was one of those times where I was so caught up on making the page look pretty that I didn’t take to much care about the words. I thought I’d just write something, post it on Instagram and move on. When I finally read them, it hit me like a ton of bricks and didn’t leave. It was tugging at my heart where I needed it the most, where I know I’ve been lacking. This devotional was such a good reminder that I continually let myself fall out of the habit of reading my Bible and meeting God daily, something that’s so good for me, while God continually pursues my heart. I encourage you to check this one out and see what else Illustrated Faith has to offer!


This post is part of my challenge to post every day in July! To see them all, click here!

Gratitude Documented

Originally posted on WrittenWorship.com

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In November, Illustrated Faith introduced their traveler’s notebooks and a challenge to document the things that we are grateful for. I decided to follow along (at a bit slower pace) in my YPH Mixed Media Artist’s Notebook and make it into an art journal of sorts. While I really love using my journaling bible, there is nothing quite like this thick paper to smear my paint all over. I love that this challenge can be done anytime and you can customize it to add as many items as you’re thankful for. This could be another one of those never ending projects for me. The photo below shows Illustrated Faith’s prompts for each day of the month.

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I love that this project incorporates bible journaling and art journals. This is such a good starting place for people who may not want to go all in and buy a bible and more supplies. You could easily do this with any notebook or journal and the supplies you have – even if it’s just multi-colored pens! I’ve also seen people on instagram incorporating this into their daily planner or just using these prompts as a guide for pages in the journaling bible. The options are endless.

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Personally, I love being able to layer paint without having to worry about making holes and ruining other pages. But most of all, I loved thinking about these things that I’m thankful for and writing tidbits of how God has blessed me or answered my prayers and bible verses that these words reminded me of. I did hide a bit of writing under flaps and in a pocket just to keep things out of sight and a bit cleaner looking. It’s my little love letter to God.

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I’m not quite done yet, but as I continue working on this project, I realize how small my gratitude is compared to the big things that God has done in my life. I realize how much I take for granted. Pretty often, I think and pray about how thankful I am for my family, friends, and job but I rarely thank God for my salvation, freedom, and hope. Wow…what a wake up call.

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It almost reminds me of reading One Thousand Gifts and keeping track of one thousand things that I’m thankful for. While I did more abstract art, you could definitely use more photos or actually draw or paint out each things instead of writing about them.

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I’ve been keeping this journal in my Chic Sparrow Traveler’s Notebook and when I’m having a bad day or when I’m having a hard time seeing how God is working in my life, I take a take a look at these pages. These pages are proof of the amazing things that God has done and they remind me to continuously work for the kingdom goal.

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Did you follow along with the #GratitudeDocumented project? I’d love for you to share your photos or links to your blog below!

Traveler’s Notebook Inspiration | Morning Pages

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Morning pages are one of my favorite practices that I’ve carried over from 2015. I discovered this practice last year through Julie Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. I really enjoyed the book and it had a spiritual aspect that I definitely wasn’t expecting, but the intensity that it required with all of the prompts and weekly artist meetings with myself just wasn’t something I could prioritize at the time. That being said, morning pages are introduced in the beginning of the book and come highly highly encouraged by Julie if you plan on succeeding creatively.

While this “self-help” style book is meant to reduce creative block, Julie is very straightforward in letting the readers know that the purpose of the morning pages is to clear your mind. Though it may sound counter-intuitive to write when you’re “blocked”, she suggests that you write three pages on loose-leaf style paper, first-thing in the morning. When each page is complete, she suggests sliding them into a large envelope without looking back at them, at least for a few months.

When I first started, I followed Julie’s tips closely although I did use a composition notebook because I didn’t want to have loose sheets of paper running around my house. Similarly, I often write before I get out of bed so this made it easier because of the hard surface of the notebook cover. I didn’t use any specific pen and often allowed my handwriting to be atrocious. The first couple days, I would write until I couldn’t think of ANYTHING else and then I would fill up the rest of the pages with “I have nothing else to write about” over and over again. If you’re thinking, “what a waste of time”, then you’ve read my mind because that was exactly what I was thinking. As I navigated the first week of pages, writing all three quickly got easier and I began to allow myself to include bullet style journaling (more information on bullet journaling here and here) within those pages as well. I would then transfer those important to-do items and lists over to a different notebook before closing up the book for the day.

Here’s the deal. Sometimes these pages are super prolific and wonderful and sometimes they are bogus, but every time I feel relieved that they are done and ready to start the day. It’s like all of the swirling thoughts get dumped out and I have room for new (and often more productive) ones. I don’t even force myself to write all three pages anymore, because I often know what it feels like when I’m done and ready to move on with my day. I haven’t graduated to a nice notebook because, chances are, I’m going to throw this one away. Anything even remotely interesting has been transferred somewhere else.

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How to make morning pages work for you:

Find a time that works. It’s clear by the title that the intention for this practice is for it to be done first thing in the morning before you do anything else. While this is ideal, I don’t think it’s realistic for everyone. Lately, I can hardly roll over to check the time in bed without Chloe (our dog) hopping up to let me know that – regardless of what the clock says – it’s time to eat and go outside. In my opinion shooting for the same time every day is a win. In the past, I’ve found that having a journaling routine directly before bed helps to alleviate the buzz of thoughts before falling asleep. Regardless, I think that this is something that needs to be done when it’s most convenient for you, otherwise you won’t do it.

Make them handwritten. This is a must. I originally thought that writing would be tedious and annoying and sometimes it is, but for the most part it’s worth it to have no distractions.

Don’t stop. At first it may feel silly but if you can’t think of anything just write “I can’t think of anything to write” over and over until you think of something. I promise it will come. The subject doesn’t matter and neither does your grammar or spelling. Just write.

Have a system. Whether it’s a pen and loose-leaf paper that you keep in a folder or a journal that you keep next to your bed, try to keep it consistent. This doesn’t have to be anything special, but I think having all of the junk in one journal will help the creative process everywhere else. Pro tip: spoil yourself and use a fountain pen or nice paper! I’ve found I lose the nicer things a heck of a lot less.

Get comfy. This really gets to the heart of cultivating a good routine. If you’re in a hurry and uncomfortable, you won’t want to continue the process. It will undoubtedly be miserable and just make matters worse! Pro tip: have a specific spot where you go to write like a desk or comfy chair by a window and enjoy a cup of coffee as you write it out.

You’re worth it. Above anything else, what I’ve found from doing these morning pages is that just the practice of having this outlet and making time for myself is a form of self care that is so worth it. It helps me start my day on a good foot and only takes fifteen minutes.

Go ahead and give it a shot. What are you waiting for? It doesn’t have to be great, it just simply has to be.