Last year I saw an advert for a leather Midori-style traveler’s notebook workshop and I was so excited I booked it there and then, three months in advance! Stationery is my vice, particularly journals, so the workshop was right up my street.

For over two years now I’ve been keeping a journal every day, and I loved the idea of making my own. Prior to the workshop we were asked to choose the colour of leather we wanted for the cover. This was the first of many colour and design dilemmas! I pored over the photograph showing the 20-or-so colours and finally came to the decision that I wanted mine to be quite natural looking, so I opted for ‘olive tan’. It was interesting to see the colour combinations that other people on the workshop chose – each as beautiful as the next.

Midori traveler's notebook

My Dad came to the workshop with me, and I can honestly say I had the best of days! I can’t recommend our teacher, Mandy, from Learn Bookbinding, enough. She was excellent; very patient, friendly and knowledgeable.

Besides the cover, we also made three traveler’s-journal size notebooks to fill it with. We learnt how to cut and fold the paper, hand stitch the spines and add pockets to hold odd bits of paper.

I chose to make two notebooks of plain white sketching paper, and one of cream paper so that I could use one of them as a journal and the other two for watercolour painting.

Midori travelers notebook with watercolour illustrations of some pebbles, a lock and a buddha ornament

It took me a good three weeks after making the journal to pluck up the courage to actually start using it! I follow lots of amazing artists on Instagram who combine painting with journaling to create beautiful spreads, so I wanted to give it a go. I’ve started taking photos while I’m out and about that I can use for inspiration back home.

Midori traveler's notebook spread with watercolour paintings of a daffodil, wine glass, ink pen, mushrooms, succulent plant and rocks

So far, I’ve been really enjoying it. Something which has often stopped me beginning a painting is the feeling that I don’t have enough time to complete something, but in this little book it’s easy to finish a sketch in half an hour or so if that’s all I’ve got. I’m still a bit scared to ‘spoil’ it, but I need to just swallow that fear and just accept the fact that sometimes it’s not going to turn out as I’d hoped.

To see more of my journal, please follow me over on Instagram.

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