Altered Notebooks

As a lifelong journaler (yes, that’s a real word in my mind) and diary keeper I have had a fascination with notebooks, paper, pens, diaries, composition books and just about every other type of bound paper that I could write in for as long as I can remember. There are journals and notebooks that have stuck with me throughout my life, either because they were so wonderfully made or textured, or because of what they represented at a particular time in my life.

There was a composition book purchased in Mexico on a Potter’s Clay trip in high school that became a shared prayer journal, and a blue, raw silk covered large journal I bought at Roku, a wonderful store on State Street in Santa Barbara when I was a teen. It felt so luxurious, both because of the silk and because of the size of the pages. I had a small Chinese journal that fit in any purse or bag that I carried with me and pulled out anywhere and everywhere to capture moments. When I was much younger I received a Norman Rockwell diary with a lock for my birthday which I thought was the coolest thing ever!

I have a leather covered journal that notes my thoughts on naming my girls. Before Cassie was born I was focused on names with hard C’s or K’s and S’s – they sounded so clean and crisp and evoked the fresh wind for me. Before Sammie was born I was all about the soft warmth of names with a “th”; The ubiquitous Heather, and Samantha, Beth, Faith. I had forgotten some of that process until I re-read those old entries.

So it’s not surprising that I have been playing with altering notebooks. I love Moleskine books and have used them for years at work and at home. A few months ago I altered a notebook for a journal and one for my family history notes using great thick scrapbook paper, pockets and washi tape. They are both nearly full and pretty battered now.

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Right now I am playing with different types of paper, a bit of Modpodge, paper elements, ribbon, pockets and envelopes.

The first attempt with Modpodge is less than wonderful, but it’s been a good learning experience. I promise no one will get this as a gift J I do like the effect of the paper doilies and the french mail washi tape. I don’t like the warping and buckling much though.

My favorite of this batch used a couple of different styles of paper and a couple of different patterns of washi tape.

Altered NotebookAltered Notebook Altered Notebook

I wanted to make something that my Mom could use for her sewing ideas, but I am a bit neutral on this effort so far.


The last in this set falls back on my stash of scrapbook paper. I always need pockets or I stick things between the pages and lose them.


Do you alter notebooks? What techniques, tools or materials have you found to be best?

5 thoughts on “Altered Notebooks

  1. dynasticqueen

    I don’t, but you’ve got me thinking that I should. I’m very particular about the notebooks I write in and the pens I write with… they have to look a certain way, a way that speaks to my soul (I don’t necessarily know what the book and my soul say to each other, just that they speak). You’ve done some beautiful things with the notebooks in your life. Thanks for sharing those things with us.

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