The Art of Journaling: Celebrating National Handwriting Day!

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It’s National Handwriting Day!

Today, when you put pen or pencil to paper, I challenge you to be more focused on how you write. Maybe take a little bit more time to construct each letter, each word, each sentence, etc.

What does your handwriting say about you? 

According to this video, my handwriting says that I am well adjusted and adaptable, can’t stand to be alone and that I crowd people. (Wha??) I am apparantly artistic and creative, logical and systematic, confident, comfortable in my own skin. yet private and introverted. It also says that I am detail oriented, organized and empathic.

Let’s see how that analysis holds up from one source to another. According to this article, Here’s What Your Handwriting Says About You at Business Insider, I am a people person and want to be understood and noticed. I am ruled by logic rather than emotion, am pragmatic and very solid. It says that I have strong emotions and feel things very intensely. That I may have had my hopes and dreams squelched, (?!?) and love to travel. I am logical, methodical and make decisions carefully. I don’t like clutter, (ha!) pay great attention to detail, and am aware of boundaries. Hmmm…

Be sure to leave a comment below telling us what your handwriting says about you!

What is National Handwriting Day all about? The National Writing Instrument Manufacturer’s Association (WIMA) has designated January 23rd to be National Handwriting Day, the purpose of which is to alert the public to the importance of handwriting.

“Handwriting can add intimacy to a letter and reveal details about the writer’s personality. Throughout history, handwritten documents have sparked love affairs, started wars, established peace, freed slaves, created movements and declared independence.”

How to Celebrate National Handwriting Day at WikiHow offers handwriting inspired prompts such as, learning cursive, teaching someone else to write, and practicing your personal signature.

Interested in the value of cursive writing? Check out the Campaign for Cursive, an organization that believes that and writing is a life-long skill that should be available, taught, and practiced as part of a basic education for all children, regardless of whether they receive their education through public, private or home-schooling.

The Art of Journaling: To Glue or Not to Glue

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What do you do with the things you’ve placed inside the pocket of your journal? Do they stay inside the pocket, or do you in some way adhere them to a blank page? I usually don’t glue things in the journals I use for daily writing, but I do use a lot of glue in what I call my “Inspiration Books” where interesting images are cut from magazines and advertisements and are then arranged by color, subject or what have you. Some people call such books, “Glue Books”

Do you have a favorite adhesive? My favorite has been the Yes! paste. A little goes a long way and things stay affixed and flat. I typically apply it with a small brush that has been dipped in a small amount of water,

Want some tips on choosing the right adhesive? Check out these links: 

Glue and the Xyron Machine and Other Sticky Stuff: Sticking Things into Your Journal at Roz Wound Up

All About Adhesive at Scrapbooking 101

Want to learn more about gluebooks? 

Find a book. Find some glue. Find some things to glue. Glue with reckless abandon!

From How Discovering Gluebooks Changed My Life at Go Make Something

Glue-Booking at The Art Journal Community

The Art of Journaling: New Journal for a New Year

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There’s nothing like a new journal for a new year. Was one of your holiday gifts a new journal? Need help getting started? Here’s a few ideas on how to use it: 

You can use it as a personal diary, which would include entries arranged by date, reporting on what has happened over the course of a day, week, etc. A personal diary might include personal experiences, and/or thoughts or feelings. It may also include comments on current events outside your direct experience

You can use it as a commonplace book- essentially a handwritten scrapbook filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, proverbs, prayers, etc. Commonplace books are useful as an aid in remembering useful concepts or facts, and each book becomes unique to its owners particular interests.

You could use your new journal as an urban sketchbook – one where you practice drawing on location in cities, towns and villages you live in or travel to. (Take a look at the Urban Sketchers Flickr Pool for inspiration.)

rhodiarama-webbies

The purple journal shown above is a Rhodiarama Webbie. These notebooks are available in two sizes: Large 5 ½ x 8 ¾ ” & Pocket 3 ½ x 5 ½ ” and in 15 colors: Black, Chocolate, Taupe, Beige, Anise, Turquoise, Sapphire, Iris, Purple, Lilac, Raspberry, Poppy, Tangerine, Orange & Yellow

The Art of Journaling: Recording Your Family History

Landscape Webbie

I have a small immediate family but my extended family is gigantic. While I started researching my family tree over 25+ years ago, it wasn’t until fairly recently that I really began to speculate about the people themselves, and how they may have gone about their daily lives. To learn local history, I’ve Googled the names of the towns they lived in and as a result, have often discovered interesting local and regional news specific to my ancestors timelines. I’ve also taken virtual tours of these areas using Google Earth.

I’ve learned about the foods from where my ancestors grew up in Eastern Europe, then searched YouTube to find videos of native Hungarians who could show me how to properly make drop noodles for my Paprikash.

Interested in journaling about your own family history? Here are a number of articles that can help you get started: 

Journaling Your Family History Journey at The Armchair Genealogist

It is important to not only record your family history but your own reactions, thoughts and impressions of your discoveries as you make your way through your research.

Keep a Family History Journal at Your Family Legacy

Don’t confuse a journal with a research log. Logs are for the discovered facts, such as your notes from viewing a census microfilm. A journal is for the thoughts, emotions, and memories from finding the facts. Recording the location of my great-great-great grandmother’s grave in a cemetery is a fact found in a library reference book. Finding her grave was a heady, emotional experience and worthy of a journal note.

Leaving Your Enduring Legacy at Easy Family History

One hundred or two hundred years from now, your descendants can know who you are. And they may find their lives forever changed for the better because of the legacy of uplifting, faith-promoting strength you left them.

Creating a Personal Journal at FamilySearch.org

Top 10 Memory Books – Journals with Questions for Preserving Family Memories at About Parenting

Need more inspiration? Here’s a Pinterest board on record-keeping, journaling & family history.

Noteworthy: Guest Blogger Bob Miano Emmy Winning Director on How to Build a Time Machine

How to Build a Time Machine 

I’m a director. At miano.tv we are visual storytellers creating corporate videos, customer testimonials, television commercials, historical documentaries and more. I’ve been fortunate enough to do what I love – directing – for my entire professional career. My work has been seen across the United States and around the world.

A crowd of 4000+ lines-up to attend the world premiere of The World’s Greatest Fair, co-directed by Bob Miano.

A crowd of 4000+ lines-up to attend the world premiere of The World’s Greatest Fair, co-directed by Bob Miano.

Preserving history through documentaries is perhaps what brings me the most joy as a director. Frankly, I was never really into history. “History” was a class in school where you had to read a “history book” and then you were quizzed on what you learned. It wasn’t until I directed my first documentary that I realized how fascinating and outright fun history can be! History is not simply what some scholar writes in a book or an agreed upon account of the past – to be memorized, quizzed on and forgotten. History is our story and it is as fascinating and diverse as each of us.

A sampling of the original source material used to create the 1904 documentary.

A sampling of the original source material used to create the 1904 documentary.

By now you are asking: “What does any of this have to do with Rhodia paper?” Well, nothing… And everything.

Early on in the process of researching our documentary The Worlds Greatest Fair – about the 1904 World’s Fair – I was shown the diary of a young woman who visited the fair and who wrote about it in great detail. Her name was Laura Merritt.

Laura Merritt’s diary from the 1904 World’s Fair

Laura Merritt’s diary from the 1904 World’s Fair

Laura was likely a teenager when she visited the St. Louis World’s Fair with her family in 1904. She was born on the family farm near Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Like so many people, visiting the World’s Fair was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the world. Laura wrote about that experience in her diary. Her accounts ultimately became part of the introduction and conclusion of our documentary. (Note: Unfortunately, since Rhodia didn’t exist in 1904, Laura didn’t use a Rhodia journal.)

A handwritten page from Laura Merritt’s 1904 World’s Fair diary

A handwritten page from Laura Merritt’s 1904 World’s Fair diary

Laura Merritt’s diary represents a physical connection to something that happened 110 years ago. The words written on each page were put there by a person who actually experienced that momentous event. Those same words typed on a computer and read in an email or a book would lose something very important and yet difficult to quantify. Laura’s words are not terribly substantive or poetic; her penmanship doesn’t exhibit a particularly artistic flair. There have certainly been more thorough accounts of the 1904 World’s Fair and thousands of photos exist that reveal more detail. But Laura’s handwritten diary is more than an account of an event. It is a time machine. Seeing those carefully handwritten words, feeling the paper as you turn the pages – the same pages that Laura turned over a century ago – transports the reader back in time.

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A Rhodia journal and one of the author’s favorite fountain pens – a Nakaya “Decapod” handmade in Japan.

I use fountain pens to write in my Rhodia A5 webnotebooks nearly every day. What I write is unlikely to ever be fodder for a documentary. In fact, I often write purely for the tactile experience; the words are sometimes unimportant. There is just something so enjoyable about writing on high quality paper… The pen seems to float across the page.

You may think that the act of physically writing is old fashioned and insignificant… If so, you’ve missed the point. You are depriving yourself of one of life’s simple pleasures and a uniquely human experience.

Close your laptop; turn off your computer. Grab a marvelous pen and some Rhodia paper and write! Tell your story – large or small – and you will create something far greater than text on a screen. You will create a time machine.

Director Bob Miano with one of his eight regional Emmy Awards

Director Bob Miano with one of his eight regional Emmy Awards

The Art of Journaling: Recording Holiday Traditions

Holiday Rhodia

Have you ever considered keeping a journal dedicated to holiday memories and traditions?

Here are a few journaling prompts to get you started:

Holiday foods: What are the traditional foods that you eat at the holidays? What new foods did you introduce this year? What came out perfect, and what needed improvement?

Mom and Gram each made a dense “filling” around the holidays and that was never like anyone else’s filling or stuffing that I knew. It wasn’t until years later that I figured out what they were making was actually a savory bread pudding

Holiday decorations: What decorations do you put out during the holidays? Are they family heirlooms, or are they new? Are they influenced by any cultural or religious traditions?

Growing up, we put silver icicle tinsel on our imitation tree with blinky lights and taped golden garland around the door frames along with Christmas cards from friends and family. Gram had a mini pre-decorated Charlie Brown style tree. It would take her 5 seconds to set up; she’d plug it in, drape a mini tree skirt under it and it was good  to go.

Favorite Gifts: What was your most favorite holiday gift ever? What gifts missed their mark?

One of my all-time favorite gifts was actually a birthday present from a friend. It was a small fabric bundle tied with a piece of yarn. Once opened, I discovered a tiny feather, a small seashell, a few beads from her favorite bracelet that had broken, a tiny piece of driftwood and some small rocks. (Mostly items I knew she’d collected along her many walks in nature) She’d placed the bundle inside a cardboard box that she’d collaged with meaningful images. 

 Who do you spend time with during the holidays? Do you always go home for the holidays? Spend it with friends?

When I was first with my husband, we’d go on a whirlwind tour to visit at least 5-8 different relatives. I especially liked spending Christmas Eve at my Mom’s. 

What cultural holiday traditions do you observe, or do you remember from when you were younger? 

What I remember most is all food related. Mom’s kiffles, Polish kielbasa, macaroni and potato salad. The filling I mentioned earlier. Ham with pineapple glaze. 

Need a few more prompts to jump-start your holiday journal? Take a look at the links below. 

30 Holiday Themed Journal Prompts at Art Journalist

December Writing Ideas: 30 Holiday Journal Prompts at Journal Buddies

Pen and Paper: Holiday Journaling Ideas at Carol Rubenstein

Noteworthy: Guest Blogger Bonnie Jean Woogler

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This week’s Noteworthy Guest Blogger is sketchbook artist Bonnie Jean Woogler. 

Over time I have wondered how to describe myself and my work. Recently I have come to think of myself as a sketchbook artist. The filling of a sketchbook is not a means to an end, but it is the creative work.

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The form, the shape, and the weight of the notebook/sketchbook is the vessel for the artwork. Each page flows into the next, making my internal world external. This is a creative process and finished work that has come from a lifetime of day jobs and limited time for creative work. I can carry a sketchbook with me everywhere and allow the creative thought to flow in and around all the day job demands. The sketchbook/notebook is the work; it is the lifeline to always being with the drawings and the internal creative world.

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The discovery of the Rhodia notebooks has been a luxury. I have spent many years making my own books or simply using the next one I find.

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The Rhodia Journal book, hard cover with the dot paper, (Webnotebook) is my favourite. The dots are a wonderful background for my drawings and collages.

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One of the qualities that make the Rhodia books a real luxury is that the binding holds up to my abuse.

Bonnie Jean Woogler

The quality I love the most is that the paper is totally compatible with and receptive to the assortment of pens and pencils I use in my work.

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Contest Alert! Win 1 of 2 USA Artisan Made Leather Covers from Oberon Design

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Contest Alert! Enter now for your chance to win one of these two U.S.A. Artisan Made Leather Pocket Notebook Covers by Oberon Design You will win our choice of either the Tree of Life or the Bold Celtic covers. Each will include a pocket sized Rhodia Webnotebook in our choice of color/ruling.

This contest is now closed for entries. Thanks to all that entered! 

Love your pocket Webbie? Oberon Design’s tooled, bench crafted covers will mold itself to your notebook over time and develop a gorgeous, polished patina.  See more cover designs here. Many thanks to the good folks at Oberon Design for offering us these stunning items to be raffled off on Rhodia Drive.

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This contest is open to US residents only and will be remain open until midnight EST on Monday December 8th. The winners will be chosen at random and announced on the blog on Tuesday December 9th. One entry per household please. If you are viewing this post via e-mail or on a mobile device, you may need to visit Rhodia Drive directly to see the entry form.

*Note: These covers and notebooks will be shipped by Exaclair but if you want to order your own from Oberon, they close their shop on December 22nd and will re-open on January 6th 2015. Since products are made as they are ordered, folks on the east coast should order by Dec 15th to insure arrival of goods that are mailed or shipped UPS ground. During most of the year, Oberon Design makes and ships these covers within 2-3 days but at this time of year it can extend to 8-9 days if they are really slammed – so, to be on the safe side, don’t wait till the last minute to order. 

Please feel free to share this post on your own blog, or on any of your preferred social media outlets.

 

Tuesday Talk Back: Big, Little, or Somewhere in Between?

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If you regularly use a bound notebook or journal, what size do you prefer, and why?

Shown above is a purple pocket sized (A6 3 ½ x 5 ½ ”) Rhodiarama Webbie, a large (A5 8 ¼” x 5 ½”) Landscape Webbie and an extra large (A4 8 1/4 x 11 3/4″) Quo Vadis Habana.

My go-to size for a long time has been A5. 5×8″ books allow for me, a decent amount of real estate to write as large as I like and/or to sketch without feeling cramped. I also think this size isn’t too large to stick into a purse or backpack. I find 3×5″ books a bit too small for my needs, – though I do like and have occasionally used the 4×6″ Habanas, which are even better for portability.

The 8×11″ Habana shown above? I’ve had it for quite a while but haven’t yet committed to a use for it. Fear of The Blank Page? Perhaps…

The Art of Journaling: Keith Haring

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Keith Haring was an American artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s by expressing concepts of birth, death, sexuality, and war. Haring’s work was often heavily political and his imagery has become a widely recognized visual language of the 20th century.

The Keith Haring Foundation has scanned the artist’s journals from 1971 to 1989 with the intention of making them all available online. The journals feature writings, drawings and the occasional collaged element. Some of the journals had been previously seen in the Brooklyn Museum’s 2012 exhibition, Keith Haring: 1978-1982.

The foundation has created a tumblr account for the scans, which can be viewed here.

Keith Haring Journal

This journal entry from 1986  provides insight into Keith’s feelings about computers and technology:

“I was very interested in the tactile experience of drawing that is very different than drawing with a computer…This displacement of image and action [on the computer] creates a new problem to be solved by the “drawer”.

Keith-Haring-Journals1 The book Keith Haring Journals a brilliant account of Haring’s life and observations, told through the voice of the artist himself. You can also learn more about Keith from the “In His Own Words” section of The Keith Haring Foundation website

 

 

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“Heart” Habana from the Quo Vadis Artist Series. 

  • 85g, ivory paper with satin smooth finish
  • 96 sheets
  • Elastic closure, black ribbon
  • Elegant round corners
  • Inner pocket for notes and cards
  • Available in large and pocket sizes (A5 and A6)

 

NEW: The Art of Journaling – PLUS Anniversary Contest Winners!

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The Art of Journaling is a new weekly segment on Rhodia Drive where you can expect to read about the who, what, where, when & why of journaling. How is journaling defined? We see it as an individual’s record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept for (primarily) private use.

We will be offering various how-to’s and also be talking about the overall benefits of keeping a journal. Whether written by hand or filled with art, the possibilities are endless and we hope you will join us in the weeks to come.

I myself am a huge fan of  the stream-of-consciousness style of journaling. It’s the same kind of writing that Julia Cameron encourages doing as part of her “Morning Pages” routine in her bestseller, The Artist’s Way(PS – The Artist’s Way isn’t just for artists. It’s for anyone interested in personal development.)

*There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages* they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

And now on to our next order of business – Announcing the winners of our Rhodia Anniversary Giveaway!

Elizabeth H.
Lisavi
Sherry Cohen
Max J
Janet A
Daniel Setareh
Chris D.
Eddie from Raleigh
S Burch
Dan from Mount Morris
Alexander Gruber
Vicki Nishioka
David Molitor
Ray Ambrosini
Kurt H

The prizes will be mailed out tomorrow (Friday) and you should all expect to receive them in the week ahead. Thanks to all who took the time to enter!

Write This Down: One Line Per Day

Rhodia Webbie Gfeller

There is no question that we are all busy people with a multitude of things constantly vying for our attention. I know that sometimes we just don’t get the chance to put pen to paper as often as we would like, and so I’d been thinking about simple ways to keep the ink from drying up in our pens so to speak. When I recently came across a three year journal in a bookstore that prompted a single line to be written per day, my thought was, One line per day… that seems like something most people could accomplish if they really put their mind to it. It could also be a way for those who would like to begin writing, but don’t know how to start. 

So here’s my creative prompt to you: Use a pen/pencil to always write as least one line per day in your favorite notepad or journal. The line can consist of anything – how you feel, something you’d like to accomplish or have just accomplished, a favorite quote, headline news – anything really. Just so long as you do it every day.

And what if we liked this exercise so much, that we were to put aside a separate notebook just for this prompt? One line per day: 365. A year in the life of (fill in the blank)

What do you think of this idea? Is it something you’d be willing to try? Already do? Have shared with other people?

Tuesday Talk Back: You don’t like the notebook you started… Now what?

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Question: What do you do with the journal or notebook that you started, but ended up not liking?

Before I started writing for Rhodia Drive, I used to do a lot of product reviews on my personal blog in search of the perfect pen, ink and journal. At that time, the perfect notebook for me was one that was first and foremost friendly to fountain pen inks. Other preferred features included being able to both open and lie flat, pages with rounded corners, and a rigid cover so that I could write with the book propped on my knee. I ended up testing many, many journals.

(Some people use the words journal and notebook interchangeably. I tend to use “journal” when describing a notebook whose pages are not removable.)

If I really didn’t like the book, I’d either give it away or recycle it. If I liked it, I’d obviously use it – but there were one or two that while I didn’t love them, I thought had a few redeeming qualities. These ended up hanging around on the shelf a lot longer than I’d intended.

Case in point – I just finished a book that I’d started in July of 2010. I didn’t love the book when I first bought it, mostly because it wasn’t fountain pen friendly and the pages had noticeable grain. Four years ago I decided to turn it into a mixed media art journal and had started drawing on the first few pages but once again, I quickly abandoned it.

I came upon the book once again this past April, when I decided that I either had to use it or get rid of it. Knowing that I’d created art in it, I didn’t really want to let it go and so I tried again. Five months later, it was filled with a combination of writing and sketches, all done in pencil and it felt good to have finally finished something that I’d started so long ago- even if it was just a simple journal.

So if I may ask, what do YOU do once you’ve started working in a journal or notebook, then decide you don’t like it?

(Once in a blue moon, if I’ve been in a journal for too long sometimes I get antsy and want to move on even if it is a journal that I do really like. In which case I’ll either finish the last pages with collage, sketches, poems, affirmations, intentions, prayers and/or overall positive words of encouragement.)

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Journal

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today (and everyday) is a good day to be grateful.

What are you grateful for?

Creative Prompt: What I did on My Summer Vacation

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For this week’s creative prompt, grab a pen and some paper to make a list of all the things you did this summer. It doesn’t matter whether or not they were connected to any specific vacation destination or event, just write down anything that you’d like to remember about the summer of 2014. Think people, places, foods, music, games, sports, nature…

Feel free to write an essay if you like, but individual words and simple phrases will work just as well.

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Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.