3A few months ago a friend of mine was really struggling with some recent big mistakes she made and the backlash from parents.  She was posting lots of depressingly intense yet vague Facebook updates.  You know the kind.  The ones that don’t actually say what happened and yet try to guilt trip you  – “I can’t believe how terrible today was! Everything was awful and no one came to help me!”  Jeff and I would try to offer support without chasing and encouraged her to use the skills we knew she had to get out of her own way.  I had made her a gratitude journal a few years ago and it seemed like a perfect time to make her some new ones.

If it wasn’t obvious, a gratitude journal is a notebook filled with inspiring quotes or images and then instead of writing a traditional diary post, you just write down like 3-10 things you were grateful for that day.  It’s a way to remind yourself of the good you experienced and as you continue to do it, you start to become more consciously aware of just how many big and small things that occur in your life that bring you happiness.  There are even apps you can download if you don’t want to carry around a notebook all the time.  When I had made them for the girls at the treatment center, for some of them it was practically impossible for them to find anything good about their day, let alone 5 things that I had given them the assignment to write down.  But after just a few weeks, they asked if it was okay if they wrote more than just 5.  That was a proud moment.

When I created this journal, I began by finding quotes on gratitude and thankfulness which quickly spread into quotes about things I’m grateful for like love, family, nature, and finding freedom from fear.  After compiling  about 60 quotes, I began the long, yet surprisingly relaxing task of creating the individual pages in Photoshop.  These are some of my favorites:

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6After printing them all out, I started the long task of cutting them all to size.  While I did that, Jeff helped me design the covers.  I love the texture he added so they look like vintage Indian wooden block prints.

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I decided that I wanted to make lots of journals to give away to multiple people, so I divided the quotes into booklets, each booklet containing a weeks worth of quotes, so totaling 8 booklets or 2 months worth of journals.  Just organizing them into booklets was  a major challenge because I printed enough for 10 sets.  10 didn’t seem like a lot initially, but I soon realized that meant I had about 630 individual pieces of paper to sort out.

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Once in booklets, Jeff found a great excuse to breakout the power tools again and drill some holes for me through the booklets so I could experiment with Japanese stab binding.  There are so many ways to bind paper with that technique, but I chose the design, hemp leaf, because it was more elaborate than the basic 4 holes, but still pretty simple.  I had it mastered after just 2 times of threading my twine through the booklets.

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I loved the look of the earthy colors of twine with the kraft paper.  These are perfect for gifts, projects for Young Women or Relief Society activities, and especially for yourself to nurture and expand your own peace and happiness.  Create your own or send me a message and I’ll give you the hook up.