Week 6 of Designing a Creative Travel Journal

Travel Journal alpha

What happened to Week 5? I didn’t do my homework. 😦 The load was light, anyway, because of Thanksgiving in the U.S.

Instead, I started working on my alpha prototype in Week 5, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it all in just the one week of Week 6. I have a new job (tell you about it when I take some photos!), but haven’t managed to slough off the old one, yet…I’m giving my old boss till the Christmas holidays to find a replacement for me. So I worked 6 days last week, will work 6 days every week for the next 3 or so. Not so terrible, I’ll survive, but I haven’t had time to do any groceries or blogging or even laundry…it’s just a big grey block of work and, when I get home at night, The Prototype is waiting. So then I make a coffee and sew pockets until 1 or 2 in the morning, because I am not going to drop out in the last quarter, I’ve done way too much to just let it all go.

Anyway, the idea is still to make both a journal “jacket” and a specially bound travel journal, and for these two to work together. I have run out of time to make the bound book for this week, so I will present that as part of the Beta model, next week. Here are just pictures, and some notes, about the journal jacket part, which was a lot harder to put together than I thought it would be, though I have to say that I am thrilled to have learned SO MUCH about stitching all sorts of pockets, zips, even an expandable three-part pocket that fans out to a 90-degree angle. Go, me! (Hey, I can pat myself on the back…I have been living on rice with soy sauce and an occasional tomato, from the plant on the back deck, for 5 days…)

The photos with annotations were the ones I submitted to the course, but I’m throwing in a few more for this post, to give you all a better idea of what’s been included, changed, etcetera…

By the way, the photo at the very start of this post is shows pages of our old marbling experiments journal. For a few years in the Philippines Kris and I marbled our own papers and fabrics for the journals we made; we weren’t using any of the proper stuff—there was no carrageenan, or special marbling paints, or ox gall. We used rain water, cheap local acrylic house paints, and manioc starch for the size. Still, we managed to get our patterns to a pretty good standard, amazingly. The green marbled fabric on the cover of the journal, in some of the photos below, is one of ours.


I envision a travel journal (book), together with a sturdy “jacket” that I can put the journal into. The jacket has multiple pockets to hold not only the maps and paraphernalia of traveling, but also the art materials he/she might use to create a more personalised and artistic journal. Unlike the journal—which I imagine will become an inactive but cherished receptacle for the traveler’s memories and impressions when it is filled—the jacket is re-usable.

I work 6 days a week, so I didn’t have time to hand bind the travel journal (book) itself…sorry! But I’ve done so much work on this thing, already, that perhaps I should be viewing this “Travel Journal Jacket” as a separate design from the actual “Travel Journal”! Maybe I’ll just finish off the book part for the beta prototype next week.

NOTE: The rubber stamps are a heart, a star, and an unhappy face, representing “Like this” (or “Love this”), “Important” and “Dislike this”. The stamps are meant to be used to flag entries where the traveller wants to rate an experience. I found this solution preferable to Moleskine’s use of symbol stickers which, of course, always get used unevenly, and run out too soon.

NOTE: There are three of these large pockets with zippers that run along the edge of the journal jacket…see first illustration for placement of all three.

Just a final photo showing where everything is, from left to right: a  green journal has been strapped in, some maps and papers are in the expanding pockets, pens and brushes fit snugly into elastic loops, and there is a stamp pad and a glue tape gizmo in the tool pockets at the right. Also, yes, those are my feet, spread very far apart! 🙂

Travel Journal alpha
Travel Journal alpha


All in green my love went riding…

icelandic horse

…All in green went my love riding
on a great horse of gold
into the silver dawn.

Four lean hounds crouched low and smiling
my heart fell dead before.

—from All in green went my love riding by e.e.cummings


Finally settled on a design for the journal I am making my friend Miri.

It’s based on the Icelandic horse (Miri has one of these chunky Nordic horses, herself, and loves to ride) and her favorite color. In keeping with the Nordic theme, the horse is a simple, solid silhouette of greens, overstitched in a counted-thread geometric pattern, worked on a rough linen-like fabric…I just love this stuff! Crazily, this is synthetic upholstery fabric, left over from a curtain job I did nearly a year ago. I took a closer look at it and saw that it’s an even-weave fabric (about 18-ct., which I love to work with, as it makes for fine stitching); sure wish I had more of it! It’s lined with a dense cotton on the back, making it thick and very stable to stitch. I love serendipitous craft discoveries like this.

green horse

First, I cut a paper stencil of the horse and attached it to the fabric with re-positionable spray adhesive. Then I brushed undiluted acrylic paints on with a stencil brush. I outlined the shape in dark brown embroidery floss, using backstitch.

Now I’ve filled in the horse shape using two strands of DMC floss and an allover blackwork pattern, with little cross-stitched squares in iridescent thread. I tried to farm some of the work out to cheap labor, but that didn’t work out—he kept trying to eat the thread spool.

I hope to finish the book covering today. I’ll be adding a mane and tail in fine running stitch lines. Haven’t decided what to do on the spine or back of the book, yet, but I’ll be keeping it spare and simple…clean lines, trying to emulate Scandinavian fabric designs, and using a palette of only neutral colors from hereon.

Miri’s last journal, which I also made, is nearly full, she tells me—she needs her new tagebuch, stat! Hope she likes this new one; it’s very different from “Postcards from The Archipelago”.

So back to work, despite the disgruntled worker’s labor strike and disruptive tactics.


New work by Jazmin Berakha

by Jazmin Berakha

Hold on to your socks, baby…

Jazmin Berakha has just posted photographs of her latest embroidered work. Some breathtaking patterns and colors in these ones.

via JAZMIN BERAKHA‘s tumblr