Pursuit of Happiness- Being Grateful

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Gratitude comes in many forms. When we were kids, our parents, wanting us to be grateful for everything they sacrificed for us, focused on the “stuff”. But as we reflect on this we learned that gratitude is not “stuff”, gratitude is an emotion. When we remember the happy memories of when we received the new bike, book, car etc., then we experienced gratitude.

My mother always insisted that when I received a gift I must write a thank you note. I can remember thinking that a verbal ‘thank you’ was enough, but as I grew older and I received written ‘thank you’ notes, I realized that gratitude expressed verbally or written was a source of happiness for me.

So, how do we pursue gratitude? Here are some things to consider:

  1. Take a Gratitude Break. Some people do this when they first wake up or one of the last things before sleep. One way to articulate gratitude is at the dinner table with  your family.

  2. Be present in your moments. A friend of ours wrote us a brief note of thanks recently. We had invited him and his girlfriend to a Museum event that we enjoyed and he wrote: “Thank you for sharing your present moments with us.”

  3. Scale back. While social media is great, you can totally loose hours while “just checking email and facebook. I’ll be with you in a few minutes.”  Before you know it, time has slipped away and your dinner is cold and that TV show is over!

  4. Start a Gratitude Journal.  How to do it? Here are some tips:

  •  Write 3 or more things daily in your journal. Avoid repeating the same things. As you challenge yourself to discover new things to be grateful for, you’ll start watching and listening for new gratitude experiences.
  •  It’s easy to list the material things – your home, your car, your phone, but what is hard is why you are grateful for these things. How do you feel about your home? Write about your feelings of security and comfort.
  • In addition to material things, there’s your talents and those things in your life that help you create your world. Start with the basics – your ability to write, see, watch, listen and being a good friend.
  • Write about the people in your life and how they make you feel. It’s easy to write about friends, family but how about that difficult co-worker?
  • Write about situations and events- happy times and sad times.

As you write about your Gratitude Moments, you will quickly find that as you continue writing in your journal, your expectations and emotions will become positive and you will certainly be happier.


‘Til next time,



Letting go

Dear Fellow Journalers,

The following is a fictious story of a woman who was confronted with her old journals and what she did about them. It is entitled “Dear Diary, you’re history!”

” I clearly state that I am in my right mind (well, truth be told, I am not entirely sure about that fact) and have full knowledge of scissors and other violent tools. I have decided that I am going to toss out all my old journals. My claim is that, while murderous, it is the right thing to do. Once the words are written , they are impossible to deny. One journal named names and contains snippets of my story and others! There were secrets in one and a few lies in others. However, I absolutely loved the covers! I worked hard on them, collaging and mod podging until there was not a trace of the original boring cover underneath.

I have decided to re-read  all the agonizing words before I send the journals to their fate. I am sure that this is a gigantic waste of time, but I did write in them and there might be some morsels I can keep for that novel I keep saying I am going to write. Some might say that I am taking all this a bit too far, but upon my death, those journals will reveal things about my life. Future generations shouldn’t have to know that my secret ambition was to meet George Clooney!

I did read a blog post about this very thing and began to wonder, do others keep their journals, scan them onto hard drives or toss them?? I don’t think that you should re-write them, because your feelings, experiences and relationships change over time. The situations that caused you anxiety may have  been resolved and the outcome was different from what you envisioned. I date my entries and usually fill the entire page with my scribblings, so it is hard for me to re-write.

So, my question remains: what do you do with your old journals?? Write and let us know at uniquelyyourscraftjournal@outlook.com

‘Til next time,





Journal with paperclip

Dear Fellow Journalers,

I came across this post last year and had to share it with you. The new school year is almost upon us and this craft really fits the bill. I found it in crafts unleashed.



Supplies needed to make your own DIY journal teacher gift:

DIY-journal-for-teacher-Crafts-Unleashed-2I started my DIY journal by decorating the edges with the ruler washi tape.

DIY-journal-for-teacher-Crafts-Unleashed-3I placed a chalkboard label in the middle of the journal and wrote the teacher’s name using a chalk ink marker. I love chalk ink markers because once the ink is dried it doesn’t come off unless you use a little water.  It gives you that look of chalk without the mess or worry of smudging! Win-win!

DIY-journal-for-teacher-Crafts-Unleashed-4The paperclips were very easy to  make. I used the Snap! Life brads and removed the metal prongs off the back of the brad by twisting them.  I used a generous amount of hot glue and placed the paperclip to the back.  I think it makes for some very fun and unique paper clips or even a place marker!

DIY-journal-for-teacher-Crafts-Unleashed-5I placed the clips on different pages and wrapped the entire DIY journal with a big red ribbon.  You can add a pencil or a nice pen for a finishing touch.  I think it makes such a fun little DIY journal and can’t wait to give it to my son’s new teacher this year!




Old is New again

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Have you ever started a journal, got 3 pages in and then abandoned it to a shelf and forgotten it? Sometimes writing a journal is too ambitious or not interesting. Sometimes it is too time-consuming and sometimes you’re just not in the mood. What other choices do you have?

Back in January I wrote a post for my other blog, uniquelyyourscards.wordpress.com entitled Your long-lost and best possible self  see below:


Why not take this idea and transform it? Write yourself a letter, summing up your year so far and what you want to accomplish in the next several months. Put the letter in your underwear drawer and read it every now and again.

I read a suggestion that I had not thought of – say you have 3 or more journals that you found on that shelf. Tear out a few pages from each of them. Staple them together with a blank page in the front and back. Put them in a drawer where you will see them. When you feel like it, write some comments in different colored inks, such as what has changed in your life now.

Make a list of phrases you started using in the last 3 years. Where did you hear them first? Why did you start using them? This is different from a Dictionary Journal. A friend of mine used to have a rather large collection of Webster Dictionaries dating back about 10 years. He liked to review how word meanings changed from year to year. The collection over took his library so he resorted to journaling. Remember when the word ‘web’ meant a spider’s lair or a web of lies? Now of course ‘web’ has a world-wide conation! (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Please feel free to comment on what you have done with your un-finished journals.  Thanks in advance.


Copyright – 2015   by Uniquelyyourscraftjournal

All rights reserved.

Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given

To Sallie and uniquelyyourscraftjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

You may reach Sallie at uniquelyyourscraftjournal@outlook.com



Quinn’s Art Supplies

Dear Fellow Journalers,

The following is a blog post fromQuinn Creative which is worth the read.


New post on QuinnCreative

Art Supplies Worth Having

by QuinnCreative

Super-specialized art supplies are fun and can ease the tedious part of creative work. What makes special supplies most useful is combining them with the basics you love and use every day.

Here are my four new favorites for everyday journaling use.

Open notebook showing yellow first page (others are white) and pocket insert that does NOT come with the notebook.

Open notebook showing yellow first page (others are white) and pocket insert that does NOT come with the notebook.

Notebook: Mnemosyne 183. Unlined, 70 sheets (140 pages). Now that I’ve abandoned six journals for one–the Commonplace Journal, I needed something practical. So it has to:

  • fit in a purse (or carry-on)
  • fold over on itself
  • have paper that’s thick enough for sketching and writing
  • have paper that doesn’t have severe show-through
  • have pages that can be removed (and leave as a note for someone)

I’ve loved the Strathmore Mixed-Media journal, but the wire binding is just too bulky, and the paper seemed a waste for client notes, which go into the Commonplace Journal most.

Showing double-truck spread of Maruman Mnemosyne notebook. Right page has been deliberately blurred.

Showing double-truck spread of Maruman Mnemosyne notebook. Right page has been deliberately blurred.

Maruman is a Japanese company that makes notebooks for writers. Mnemosyne is the Greek goddess of memory. The notebooks are made with meticulous care. For example, the small-diameter wire binding is “short”–doesn’t go to the very top or bottom of the page. So you can easily hold the gutter side of the page when you tear out the perf’d page cleanly.

I got the notebook at JetPens, which has a huge variety of sizes, lined- graphed- and blank notebooks. Here’s what they say:

The way a paper interacts with a specific ink is as unique as a snowflake. Fountain pen users will prefer paper that produces the perfect inkblot levels, paper that absorbs too much ink would not be good. On the other hand, a ballpoint pen user might seek a paper that allows their pen to guide more smoothly across the page. Japanese paper manufacturers pay attention to these preferences by tweaking numerical values ever so slightly during the manufacturing process to create the perfect page for their customers.

Very little show-through on this book.

Very little show-through on this book.

It’s true–the pages are thin, and have an almost smooth, fabric feel to them. It has a black plastic front cover, and a chipboard back cover, which makes writing easy, even when folded over to save space.

Pack of 5 x 8 inch Post-It Pockets. A must-have for every journal-keeper.

Pack of 5 x 8 inch Post-It Pockets. A must-have for every journal-keeper.

Post-It Pockets. There are items I like to carry in my Commonplace Journal–the gift certificate to an art store, the business card I just got, a postcard (with stamp) to send to someone on the spur of the moment, the names and phone numbers of doctors and emergency contacts.

These plastic pockets work like Post-It Notes--they attach to the inside front cover of your notebook and peel off when you need to move it. A flap is held shut with velcro, so you have easy access to the contents.  These fit in a 5 x 8-inch notebook perfectly, and they do come in different sizes.

Pentel Hybrid Technica ballpoint, extra fine (size 04). I’m not a gel pen fan. I like Pentelpen1ballpoints. And this gel pen is perfect is you like extra fine pens. It’s crisp, black script is perfect for detail. It does what most gel pens don’t–it dries as soon as it’s on the page.

It’s a great sketching pen, too. Smooth, even, no blurring when you cross-hatch. Archival, acid free. Writes when you touch it to paper, so no “scribble start” with this pen.  If you draw and write in your journal, take sketchnotes, or doodle, (and like a superfine pen), this is perfect.

Drawing in a 9 x 12-inch wire-bound notebook is a nice way to create and keep your pieces the same size and together. It’s also hard, because you work consecutively, but not emotionally sequentially.

notebook1You also have to put the book aside to dry if you are doing something messy and wet. Patience is not always my strong suit.

Canson has solved your problem–they make a wireboound book with repositionable pages. (The link takes you to Dick Blick art supply.)

You carefully peel out a page, top to bottom, and let it dry or decide where you want to put it. Then you put it back in, carefully “clicking” the pages back into place.

Notebook2It works along the same lines as Rollabind or Circa, which uses removable disks to hold notebooks together.

This makes the book doubly useful. You can arrange the pages by date, media, technique, color, emotional content. You can rearrange them to your heart’s content, as long as you are careful.

Note: I paid for each of these products. I am not being compensated in any way by any company for the content of this blog.

Quinn McDonald loves basic art and writing tools.

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries


October 2019
« Sep    
Heartfelt Creations

Uniquely Yours Cards~ Celebrating all occasions with a handcrafted touch ~

A Part of Me to Share

a writer's blog

Life Vest Inside

Listening to my heart, one journal step at a time.


Where Creativity and Imagination Creates Wonderful Ideas for Your Home!

Awaken Everyday

The Copper Beech Institute Blog

Novelty Revisions

Putting ideas into words.

Real as the Streets

Faithfully Authentic

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Audrey Pettit Designs

Listening to my heart, one journal step at a time.

%d bloggers like this: