Back in May I was searching around on YouTube for something - I don't even remember what it was now - when I came upon all this stuff about traveler's notebooks. Curious, I went down the rabbit hole and came out the other side determined to make one for myself, so determined, in fact, that I made one in an afternoon! (For those of you who are unaware, I am a relatively slow-moving person. I eat slowly, do the dishes slowly, write slowly, etc. Getting this done in an afternoon was a miracle.)
I used the fabric traveler's notebook tutorial on Brandy Michelle Narrates on YouTube, raiding my fat quarter stash for the outer and inner cover fabric, got the super thick interfacing and some fold-over elastic from our local fabric store, and picked up some elastic and eyelets at Meijer. Unfortunately, I did not have the crop-a-dile tool she mentions in the video and ended up ruining my regular-sized hole punch in the process. In the end, I wound up using an awl and some precision scissors to make the eyelet holes, resulting in a less-than-ideal hole for the eyelet to set into, but it worked in a pinch. (I do not want to have to do that again, though, so I am hoping to order a crop-a-dile soon so I can make notebooks for the kids.)
As you can see, I strayed a little from the tutorial when it came to the eyelets; they were so difficult to set in the too-small holes I made with the awl and scissors that I made as few as possible. My notebook was also a bit smaller than I had anticipated - math and measuring are not my thing, and I had already made a certain size insert so I was stuck - so I didn't want to add the eyelets side-by-side because it would have shortened the cover even more. Instead, I used some wooden beads I had in my bead tackle box to create the double elastic on the inside; I thought the beads would annoy me, with them sticking out farther from the binding of the notebook, but I actually really like them and think they add a little character to the notebook. As if it needed more character, right?
As I mentioned, I made the inserts myself; I had the Krafty card stock on hand and purchased the graph paper and sketch paper from Office Depot for far less than I would have spent on even one pre-made insert, so it was worth the effort.
From there I took the inserts, measured out some of the elastic cording, and hooked them together.
The first sketch paper insert and the graph paper insert went under the first elastic.
And the second sketch paper insert and a craft paper folder went under the second elastic.
Between the first and second inserts, I lifted up the elastic and slid in a card stock eight-pocket folder I made.
When I made the notebook, I also used a trick I saw on this video from Craft Made Simple on YouTube; she showed how to make the pen loops on the inside front and back cover, and I really liked the idea of having all my supplies neatly contained. It does make it a little difficult to write on sometimes, but overall it has worked out well.
I started a bullet journal-ish style daily planner, much like I had used in previous notebooks, and while it was really plain at the beginning ...
... I started adding different colored pens, in hopes to draw attention to really important to-dos ...
... and then I got some washi tape! Ah, washi tape! It is so lovely.
I also got some stamps and started using colored pencils.
I also made a stencil so I wouldn't have to make wonky-shaped boxes for my eye drop and water consumption tracking every day.
Then I found a tutorial on how to make the boxes prettier/cooler/funnier.
And I got a sticker maker! (The flowers in the upper right-hand corner are cut from a magazine and have been made into an actual sticker.)
I'll be honest, I love getting to embellish this every day. Even if I don't have a ton of time to craft during the day, I always know at the end of the day I get to be at least a little creative as I plan out the next day's activities and tasks.
For yesterday and today I tried my hand at some actual sketching, and I'm pretty excited with how it turned out. It isn't fiscally possible to have every kind of washi tape known to man in order to decorate each page with holiday-specific tape, but it is nice to be able to improvise with my trusty colored pencils.
I found the tutorial for the eight-pocket credit card folder on Ray Blake's YouTube channel and was able to modify it to fit the oddly-shaped notebook I made.
I really love this folder because it allows me to carry the necessities with me efficiently.
The graph paper insert, shown above with the bird on the cover, is filled with lists, ideas, and information. Being a bit of a luddite, I even have a page with driving directions on it.
I might have to do a separate post to really do justice to the color task chart below. We've started using it a bit more at our house, and it seems to have helped.
Not all the pages and attempts at organization have gone smoothly. My poor Summer 2016 meals and daily plan pages are sadly still empty. The thing is, it's always worth a try if it might make something better, right?
The last sketch paper insert has a brain decoupaged on the cover because it is intended to be a brain dump/mind sweep insert.
Needless to say, it has not gone quite as expected, but it has been a good place for random notes.
The last folder was made using a tutorial from TheSassyPineapple on YouTube, and it currently holds stickers, some extra loose paper for notes, and my DIY stencil.
So, the stickers ... I got a Xyron sticker maker on Amazon, and I have used print outs, magazine clippings, and printed personal pictures to make some fun stickers to embellish my insert pages.
I have also made some planner stickers to help get things organized on my daily pages. I store all the little DIY stickers in the mini manila envelopes and store those in the craft folder.
I have also wrapped some washi tape around a scrap piece of plastic packaging so I could easily take it with me, and I made a stencil using a tutorial by ohaijoy on YouTube.
I used all the fun/pertinent paper punches I had. I did want some squares and rectangles, though, so I used the large stencils I got during my brief stint as an interior design major and an x-acto knife to make some.
My birchbox full of stamps, my small supply of washi tape, and my 50 set of Crayola colored pencils round out my creative supplies.
Inside my notebook, I have a sky blue colored pencil for making water/eye drop marks, a pencil for writing on the graph paper (it is sadly not thick enough to handle pen without a bunch of shadowing on the back of the page), a Pilot G-2 ultra fine pen in black, and a Paper Mate pen in red for checking things off and helping important tasks stand out.
I am really enjoying the traveler's notebook system, and I feel like using it has helped me be a bit more productive. I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about it!
(If you want to learn even more, just type "traveler's notebook" into the search bar on YouTube and binge away! And if you have questions, please leave them in the comments, and I will try to respond as quickly as possible!)