journals + quotes - how did it all begin?

Things have been hopping here at the bindery. New leathers are arriving all the time, and I've been thinking of new quotes - ones I have loved for years - and adding them to my ever-growing list of quotes available for my leather bound journals. I enjoy this so much!

Some of you have asked how I began making my journals. As some of you know, I started off on Etsy selling handmade cold-process soap. While I loved the end product, I never really enjoyed the actual soap-making process very much (too much like baking, which I don't enjoy either). Jane AustenWhile I still make soap from time to time, for personal use, I no longer make it to sell. For me, the entire experience didn't allow me to express myself creatively enough. And to me, creativity is very important.

I was inherently creative as a kid. Not particularly special in any way, but always seeking to 'create' something. As the strong silent type preferring to be alone in my room, I was always preoccupied with making things on my own - usually little books with drawings, paintings, and story boards. While I have always loved drawing and painting, my ‘first love’ has always been books. It started at an early age. After reading Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl at the age of 10, I started keeping journals, which I've done every year of my life, ever since. I remember collecting and obsessing over journals as a young girl. And guess what? I’ve never quite grown out of that obsession! In order to 'feed' my habit, I taught myself bookbinding back in early 2007. After many months of my nose 'in the books' in my quest for the 'perfect' journal, I took the plunge and decided to delve into the world of book arts. In late 2007, with the support of my dear husband, I quit my day job at a local newspaper (due to health issues), and started my little online shop, which I run from home, La Paperie & Cozy.

e.e cummingsWhile there were many talented bookbinders online, I noticed that no one -at the time- was offering books with quotes on the first page. As a book lover (especially of the classics), I've always thought it would be special to add a quote from literary greats, artists, poets, and excerpts from favorite classic novels -- my way of paying homage to such a wonderful world of inspiration. And quoted journals were born. :) I can almost imagine literary greats of centuries past, writing in handmade journals like these... Jane Austen writing notes as she walked in the pretty wilderness behind her house, annotating her next great work, Pride and Prejudice. Or a young Charles Dickens reminding himself in his journal to incorporate the comic villainy of Mr. Jingle in his first novel, The Pickwick Papers. Inspired by these literary masterminds, the majority of my journals' first pages pay homage to these outstanding writers and some of their best quotes! I will sometimes incorporate prints of my own original drawings and photos in a journal, to go along with certain quotes.Charles Dickens

Every book I create is very special to me - so it is a personal experience. I spend a lot of time selecting beautiful leathers, creating original style combinations to make each journal "haute couture" -- a journal that you can't find anywhere else. I also enjoy choosing which quote to integrate into the journal’s collective “theme” because, ultimately, that literary figure will affect the overall design of the journal. To give an example, I will often pair a rugged distressed looking leather with a quote from Twain or Poe or Dickens, or a more refined camel or burgundy for Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte quote. I enjoy imagining what kind of journal they may have written in and, in turn, try to apply that to the books I make. I also love custom orders, which often times encourage me to come up with something entirely different…thus, thinking outside of the box.

See more at my shop:

Robert Frost - The Road Not Taken


  1. Thank you so much for sharing the background on how you got into journal binding. Your journals are so wonderful! I remember when I started reading your blog and how dedicated you were to writing in top-notch journals, and now you are creating them!

  2. Thanks so much Raquelle! <3
    I can't imagine doing anything else!

  3. I love your story, how inspiring. I need to do that to, let everyone know how I got into selling purses. Your journals are absolutely beautiful. While recuperating, I've been watching movies that take place in the 18th to the 20th century, all chick flicks, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Ann Bronte, etc....and loving every moment of it. I'm in my element, I swear I'm born in the wrong time period. oh well.
    *Hugs* for you my dear sis

  4. Thanks for visiting my blog, I am sure I have see your lovely books somewhere before, maybe on Etsy!

  5. Thanks so much, Arlene! I'd love to learn more about how you got started making your lovely bags. And, I know...I often feel like I was born in the wrong time period as well. There are so many things I love about the 1700-to early 1900's. But then again, I doubt I'd love living a time when earning one's keep as a woman was considered improper. Grr!!

    acornmoon - Yes, you've probably seen me on Etsy. :) I'm so glad I found your blog and shop (I've 'hearted' you). Your paintings and work are incredibly beautiful!

  6. I'm so glad that you switched to journal children are enjoying them immensely. The quotes were perfect and your work is impeccable! thanks for visiting me!

  7. Thank you so much, waterrose. <3
    I can't imagine doing anything else really is a labour of love