Peek inside my first handmade journal

For the last month, I have been shut in, perusing seed catalogs while the wind howled, the mercury dropped and the snow fell.  Now that the sun has peeked out from behind the grayness and freed a small patch of green, I am itching to get my garden started.  I keep looking at my basket of seeds left from last year and thinking that my new counters with the under-the-cabinet lighting are just perfect for starting seeds early.  The problem is, we live on the border of zones four and five, and our last expected frost date is late May or early June.  I’m a good three to four months away from when I should start seeds.

Did I mention my little mini-greenhouses are sitting on my counter at our new house?  Under the under-the-cabinet lighting? Clearly I need something stronger than simply knowing better to keep me from following through on starting seeds.

Enter the garden journal.

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This is my first handmade book, started during a project I did with the kids while we were learning about God’s still quiet voice.  I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it, exactly, but I love to write and I figured I’d fill it up eventually.  But then the closing date on our house got closer, and my excitement over just what I could do with a garden on five acres grew.  Suddenly, I just knew I had to have a garden journal to plan and track the progress of my garden and to make notes in for future reference.  What better way than through my own handmade journal?  Especially with such pretty, springy endpapers?

[Missing picture here…]

I even printed off monthly calendars and glued them inside so that I could record planting dates and other regular chores in the front and attached two bookmarks so I can mark both the monthly calendar in the front and where I am in my planning in the back.

[Missing picture here…]

Now that it is finished and the glue is dried, I can plant my whole entire garden on paper.  I have already started my second one without a clear plan for what to do with it.  My daughter has decided to make one of her own for her various writing projects and Bear is getting a wee bit jealous, begging for me to make him one, as well.  If this keeps up, my kitchen shouldn’t be turned into a greenhouse until at least February.

And if you would like to make your own journal, it is surprisingly simple and surprisingly affordable.  There are various methods all over the internet, but these are the instructions I used (or abused, as the case may be).

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16 Responses

  1. Very nice! The end papers are so pretty. Maybe I should make my next journal instead of drooling on my favorites at Etsy. I bet I can make one for less than $30. 😉

    I’m so glad you shared this.

  2. That is a beautiful journal and a fabulous idea. I use a plain jane 3 ring binder for my garden journal. I also grow herbs and lettuce inside during the winter to keep myself from going nuts!

  3. Thanks! And yes, Renae, you can do it for way less than $30. 🙂 Maybe more like five, and less if you have scrap fabric lying around that isn’t really big enough to do anything else with. The first ones I made for the kids were OK, but I used poor materials for my first practice runs. Getting the endpapers to go in nicely was also a bit of a challenge. I ruined three papers before I got it right, but once I did it worked well.

    Thank you, Jen! I may do that next year. We’ve been busy showing this house for six months, so haven’t done much of anything. I’m actually hoping to have a greenhouse in a couple of years and then I can plant to my heart’s content.

  4. Scraps? Of course, I have scraps. 🙂 I carted them all the way from Texas. I have lots of scrapbook paper and a storage box full of fabric. Just wish they’d fit in the house… 😛

  5. That’s so cool, Dana. You did a great job. My son’s been perusing the seed catalog, too. We need to start some planning. I have a good-sized garden area, but we only used a tiny bit of it last year, and I’d like to do much more this year. I think it’s about 32′ x 16′ or something.

  6. I thought you might, Renae. In which case you need only come up with some chipboard, which is 40 cents a piece here. One was enough for one book. 🙂

    Thanks, Dianne! I have sketched out plans for a 1700 sq. foot garden. Kinda big…we’ll have to see if we get a tractor though, first.

  7. Very nice job, Dana! I’ve made several books/journals over the years, but never thought to do one for gardening. I really like the design you came up with. Since I’m in the same planting zone you are, I still have time to put one together. We just got the new Seed Saver’s Exchange catalog and what a beauty. So many choices! And remember if you buy heirloom seeds, you can save the seeds from the plants for next year.

    Why don’t you try growing some herbs from seed now? That’s something you can plant indoors at any time and you’ll fulfill your itch to plant! Do you have cats? We did catmint last year and they went bananas over it.

  8. That’s a great idea! I had an indoor herb garden for awhile, once upon a time. I am thinking of trying to save some seeds this year and see how it goes. At first it just sounded like a lot of work to save a couple bucks, but the more I get into this, the more I want to try!

  9. 5 acres! I envy you! You will need more than 2 books to keep track of all the gardening you can do! Years ago when my family was young, we had huge gardens. The kids grew veggies and used the money they earned from selling them to go our closest amusement park for an end of summer adventure. You and the dirt are going to have a great time!

  10. Nice! If the glue is making your paper buckle change to Golden Acrylic Gel Medium soft gloss. It does not buckle. It is nontoxic. I get mine at Michael’s craft store using a 40 or 50% off coupon. This is considered a fine art supply item and so can be found at fine art supply stores or places online like DickBlick.

  11. Really nice ! We try and put out @ 1/2 acre garden, and my remembering from year to year is getting slimmer and slimmer ! This would be perfect ! I also appreciated what I learned from reading the posts from others ! Thanks !

  12. Herbal gardening is wonderful since the herbs can be grown in a variety of ways. Plant a container garden for you deck or patio for great colors, different textures and super aromas. Planning an herb garden in the ground will allow you to cultivate a traditional kitchen herb garden outside. Or if you have limited space, become an inside kitchen gardener and plant your herbs on a windowsill or in a window box.

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