Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Travel Journals Discovered and Fine Tuned

While my every day ideas, notes, and sketches are recorded into my pocket moleskine I like to create a special journal for vacation. A handmade one.

They started when I found instructions for making one in a magazine. I decided to try it with a few modifications. The instructions called for 7 signatures made from 5 sheets of paper cut and folded to 5"x7". I decided I wanted something a little smaller, so I made it 4"x5" and bound it using the coptic stitch.
I had a lot of fun filling the journal throughout our trip. I wrote in it, drew in it, glued in business cards, maps, images clipped from brochures, etc. By the end of the trip I had decided what I really liked the idea of a special travel journal and what I wanted to do differently in the next one.

So my next book was 4 1/2"x6", big enough for postcards. I also began writing in it before the trip. I put in our flight and hotel info as well as a few things we might want to go see in the different places we were going. Throughout our trip I collected tags, tickets, business cards, and stickers that I glued in. Pages with maps or information were folded using the map fold and glued in. I even glued 2 pages together along the edges to create a pocket for putting brochures in. I also did sketches when we were still long enough to do it and intended to glue photos on the extra pages afterwards, but never did.

The third journal I made was adjusted once again. I decided to try the recommended 5"x7" size. I also upgraded the paper to good quality, light weight drawing paper. It really ended up being a versatile size for arranging the things I collected and added as well as sketching. But... I just couldn't quite convince myself to be comfortable with that size. My biggest regret was not putting a closure on it like I had the first 2. I couldn't tuck things in it to glue in later without losing them.


I decided to explore some very different options on the fourth one. I bound single 5"x7" sheets together with metal, hinged rings. My intent was to be able to add, move, or subtract pages as I needed to. I also decided to try a horizontal format. While it worked, I came to the conclusion that I like the coptic stitch binding and vertical format better. In addition, I'm still not sold on the 5"x7" size. The one thing that I did and really liked was that I put a sleeve in the back cover for the CD of digital pictures we took.

So, here's my plan for travel journal number 5.
1. Use the good quality, lightweight drawing paper.
2. I'm going to make it 5"x6" so that it's still big enough for postcards and putting the photo CD in the back cover.
3. I'm going to try using a simple elastic closure. My previous ones have been pretty, but a little cumbersome.
4. It will be bound with coptic stitch.

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