My Lack of Inspirational Note Taking

Back when I announced I had a new notebook (am I a nerd or what) I had wonderful intentions to take more notes.

Especially when my mom told me what that one piece of lined paper was for (thanks mom!).

My Lack of Inspirational Note Taking

It’s for putting under the unlined pages so you can write straight.

Genius, right.

Anyway, like I said I had great intentions to immediately take more notes. I make sure to carry said notebook with me wherever I go, in case there’s something I want to write down. And sometimes I do write things in it, but to be honest in six months of carrying the book around I’ve only used about 10 pages.

The reality of my failure to note-take hit me hard this week as I was stuck writing blogs for my real job and just couldn’t get going.

So I went to the notebook for inspiration.

Do you know how frustrating it is to have no notes

But I powered through. (Because there’s apparently no such thing as writer’s block.) Instead of notes I just used my mind and I suppose that turned out alright. We’ll see when the blogs publish.

Even tonight as I sat at the computer I thought “didn’t I have an awesome blog idea to write about?” I looked around for a few minutes but found the only notes I’ve written this week were a grocery list and a packing list.


I bet my fabulous idea went to someone else. Some blogger who takes notes and then follows up on them.

Sorry guys. I’ll do better.

My New Notebook (Gilt-Edged Edition)

Like I mentioned last week, my birthday was recently and I was paid some attention for which I was/am grateful.

Now I would like to talk about one of my gifts—a notebook. And not just any notebook, a “gilt-edged” notebook.

I know that means the edges are a gold colour, but I don’t know why it’s so special. The dictionary just says it means the paper is high quality.

OK, so I got a nice notebook for my birthday.

I don’t particularly care for the cover though…I mean flowers are nice and stuff but…

Maybe I’ll use Mandy’s tutorial again and just cover the notebook with scrapbooking expertise, which I picked up thanks to the 30 Day Challenge (thank you 30 Day Challenge).

But the reason I’m talking about this gift today is because I didn’t even know I was longing for a notebook. Didn’t even realize it. The last time I had a notebook I used it for wedding planning. We had all our notes in there, our hopes and dreams and plans and guest list and to-do lists and on and on. It was great. We made all sorts of computerized lists and appointments and notes and such but the old notebook came in more handy and useful than all the modern technology combined.

And I haven’t had a notebook since.

That’s, like, a while!

When I was more of a journaller I would carry a notebook with me everywhere. I actually looked forward to times of waiting so I could jot down blog or article ideas, book ideas, musings, goals, or whatever else. I loved travelling by bus or train so I would have extra time to sit and think. For some reason there’s always something to do at home but in those moments of travelling…well they’re special. I’ve worked out a lot of stuff sitting on the bus. And I have a box of notebooks to prove it.

Now that I drive myself around most of the time I don’t jot notes down so much, which is probably why I haven’t noticed my lack of notebook. But I have some travel time with work coming up in the next bit so this is excellent timing to get back into it.

I have the distinct impression using my new notebook will quick start my creativity in a way typing items into my smartphone never can.

Weird right? It has got to be something psychological in my brain…respect for the act of writing and knowing how to use a pen or something.

What do you call a writer who only knows how to type?

Oh, and I’m OK with the blank page thing (lack of lines). I feel it allows me to be a bit more “out of the box.” Yet still constrained to the page.

Limits people.

Custom Notebooks for under $5!

Mandy added a great how-to to make cute custom notebooks. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to do it too. So I did.

DIY Notebooks for under $5

Love my notebooks?

However. I’m not that “scrpbooky” so the project kind of freaked me out. I took a look around the dollar stores (about six of them) and realized I had no clue what’s OK and what’s not OK to affix to notebooks. And how do you even affix things properly?

In high school and even throughout university I would collage my binders with magazine and real life photos. After I glued them down I would cover the binders in packing tape. It took ages and looked a bit silly I guess, but it was pretty awesome/unique/awesome at the time. I wanted to do a slightly more professional job this time around.

So I went to the source: my sister-in-law. Not my new sister-in-law. The old one. Just kidding Natasha! You’re not old!

My not-old sister-in-law is a scrapbooking maverick—truly talented. So after I finally found composition books (they were irritatingly difficult to locate) I headed over to what we shall now refer to as the Den of Scrapbooking.

In reality it’s the basement at her house but it’s all unfinished and holds oddball things like a Foosball table, a treadmill, a fully decorated Christmas tree, and (of course) piles of scrapbook supplies spread out over two folding tables and beyond.

I should have taken a picture.

Anyway, after looking through paper for what felt like hours, I finally got my sister Jaclyn to choose the combinations I would use. I knew I wanted layers but I didn’t know which ones. She’s in design school so she is trained to make courageous choices all the time. I’m a writer so I second-guess every detail.

Front and back of DIY notebooks

Front and back

Then we went into the Den of Scrapbooking and stayed there for a while. Not for the length of the Superbowl, but pretty darn close to half of it. Of course this could be because foosball games broke out, children came down to make their own Valentine’s Day cards, and I take forever with the double sided tape.

I used all my sister-in-law’s supplies, since she’s um…well stocked, but she kept a running total for me so I could let everyone know the cost of the notebook re-covering project.

  • Notebook: $1.50
  • Pieces of scrapbook paper: $0.10 each
  • Double-sided tape: $3.00 a roll

Of course you don’t use an entire roll of tape, so the cost is quite small. And to get the paper for so cheap, you have to buy it at Costco or someplace similar in large quantities. So don’t be mislead: there are some start-up costs involved.

And if you want to cut the word “love” out, you’ll need a cutter thingy, which is quite amazing but will run you a few bucks or several.

But don’t be sad! There is good news if you only want to do the odd small project: many scrapbook stores will let you use their equipment if you purchase your paper there. So, you could actually show up at the shop and create your entire project there for a relatively small cost—even if it takes all day!

I should also mention I did an extremely simple project here. I’m not even going to pretend I know what I’m doing. It was trouble enough cutting straight lines (with a cutter) and then getting them on to the notebook. And my sister-in-law cut out the “love” and the hearts for me. But man was it fun.

Actually, now that I think about it…she cut MOST of the paper for me!