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Best of Etsy: 2014 diaries

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Diaries for the New Year

From SheKnows Canada
For many, the start of a new year means it's time to pick out a new diary or journal. If you're looking for the perfect place to keep track of your thoughts and musings in 2014, we've rounded up some unique handmade offerings from the talented artisans at Etsy.
etsy
Best of Etsy
diaries for
the new year

For many, the start of a new year means it's time to pick out a new diary or journal. If you're looking for the perfect place to keep track of your thoughts and musings in 2014, we've rounded up some unique handmade offerings from the talented artisans at Etsy.

Floral fabric diary

Floral fabric diary | Sheknows.ca

Thiel Hite of Sketchadilly created this lovely handmade diary, covered in grey and yellow flowers. The book is filled with 100 pages of recycled sketchbook paper and can be used for anything from journal entries, to sketches, to daily observations.

SheKnows Canada: Where do you get your inspiration to create diaries and journals?

Thiel Hite: No two people think exactly alike, so what you might find in their journals will be completely unique to them. If the insides are unique, I think the outsides should be too! I want to give people the opportunity to have something that is completely their own, literally from cover to cover. When it comes to what I make my journals out of, I like to play around with materials. I honestly get a lot of inspiration by sitting at my work table and just experimenting. I love learning new ways to use different materials, and I apply that to my Etsy shop all the time.

SK: Why do you think journals have seemed to transcend the use of technology?

TH: Our ability to touch. Most people I talk to still prefer to read actual books because they love to hold the book, to feel the paper between their fingers, and this includes myself as well. You cannot touch a computer file or the words on your screen, and you cannot flip through the pages of a word document. Journals are one of the most personal things we have. Whether it's a diary, a notebook, a sketchbook, a field journal — no matter what we use it for, we put our very essence into it with our own two hands. Handwriting is also something that is very special. Fonts are fonts no matter who types them, but handwriting is unique to every single person on Earth. When we put pens to paper, the result is the most unique thing in the world. Technology is wonderful, but a keyboard will never replace the feeling of putting ink on paper

Vintage history book

Vintage history book | Sheknows.ca

Taking something old and giving it new life is something Liliya Swick of Charta Anthology does with her handmade journals. We fell instantly in love with this wire-bound diary, created from a vintage French history book.

SheKnows Canada: Where to you get your inspiration to create diaries and journals?

Liliya Swick: My inspiration comes from so many things. I guess it's really an expression of my combined love of reading, creating things with my hands and preserving or repurposing beautiful things. I think it really flows from my passion for reading. When you read a well-written book, you are completely transported into that place and time, whether it's 15th century England or some mythical world. And so I thought, "How awesome would it be if I could make something that is part of that process… create a treasure that could inspire someone to compose another world on paper that would transport me to another place?" I wanted to create that experience for people somehow. You know, sometimes you make something, and it just sits on a shelf. With a journal, it's a labour of love, from the first step of the cover, to filling the very last page of thoughts you've recorded. It's just so rewarding to give life to a beautiful, well-loved, old book for my vintage book journals and children's stories. I get the same feeling when I upcycle some vintage leather into a soft journal that awaits someone's deep secrets. I also feel like a part of history and am privileged to carry on some of the very old book-binding methods, helping to ensure that the art is not lost.

SK: Why do you think journals have seemed to transcend the use of technology?

LS: I think journalling with a pen or pencil is very different than today's technology — texting, tweeting, etc. You have a complete experience, from the texture of the paper, to the scratching of the pencil, to the emotions that the cover invokes, to the fact that most of [us] don't erase things there. There's no backspace or delete, just a blank page waiting to hear your innermost thoughts, the sharing of your soul. When you're happy, your letters are larger, and you're doodling; when you’re sad, your tears stain the pages. Journals are a place to look back into the emotions that you've lived in a very different way than scanning previous FB posts. I don't think we'll ever outgrow the need to write our thoughts down on paper.

Lace diary

Lace diary | Sheknows.ca

Sometimes you want to record your thoughts on the go, and for that you need a pocket-size diary. Suzy Heinz of Brown Paper Nest has created a pretty purse-size lace dairy perfect for jotting down observations on the go.

SheKnows Canada: Where do you get your inspiration to create journals and diaries?

Suzy Heinz: I get the inspiration to create my diaries and journals from the people who end up writing in them. I love it when a customer tells me what the journals are being used for — a graduation present, gifts for a bridal party, a dream journal, etc. — because it makes me smile to know I've become part of something special in their lives. When I create a journal that is beautiful, inviting and warm, I create a place where they can record their most personal thoughts and feelings. That's why I love what I do.

SK: Why do you think journals have seemed to transcend the use of technology?

SH: I think journals and diaries have transcended advances in technology and social media because they are personal, intimate and truly private. People feel safe recording something personal in a diary in a way they might not posting it to Twitter or even an anonymous blog. Journals give us a place to write down our deepest feelings, forget about them and come back to them years later so we will never forget that idea, that lesson, that feeling. The chaotic and fast-paced world of technology offers a lot of stimulation but not the kind of careful thoughtfulness that a journal offers.

So gold 2014 notebook

So gold 2013 notebook | Sheknows.ca

Add a touch of glam to your journal entries by recording them in this simple but chic 2014 gold-embossed black pocket Moleskine by Hope Von Stengel of Blackbird & Peacock. We love the sleek design and transportability of this eye-catching diary.

SheKnows Canada: Where do you get your inspiration to create diaries and journals?

Hope Von Stengel: There are so many inspirations that have prompted me to create our diaries and journals. I'm a writer and artist, so I have notebooks strewn throughout the house — notebooks for ideas, grocery lists, storylines, poetry, drawings, recipes — you name it. My husband buys me a special diary — something completely unique that I've never seen — for the holiday season every year. Many years ago, I owned an online used-book business, so I enjoy upcycling unloved vintage books into journals and giving them a second life. I also hand-stamp Moleskines, like the one pictured, with my husband's designs. He's an artist, so it is a great way for us to collaborate.

SK: Why do you think journals have seemed to transcend the use of technology?

HVS: Technology has definitely changed the way that we use journals. Some people don't use them for lists or notes anymore. However, I've found that those who enjoyed writing in a diary before are the types to still have one of their own. Diaries and journals are very unique, personal things that reveal something about their owners. A lot of my customers choose a journal or diary that has images and themes that bring back a memory or reflect an interest. I specifically enjoy the smaller journals to write in, for portability and ease when I'm out and about. Something handmade and precious that fits right in my purse.

There's also a tactile and visual sensation that comes from writing and drawing in a journal. I love picking up a pencil to sketch out my ideas and watching the way that the drawing pencil works with the paper to create something special.

Leather planner

Leather planner | Sheknows.ca

If you're looking for a 2014 journal with a stylish twist, then look no further than this book with a brown leather cover and wraparound strap by Rhonda Miller of My Handbound Books. The elegant handmade planner makes it easy to keep track of to-dos, lists and observations for the year.

SheKnows Canada: Where do you get your inspiration to create diaries and journals?

Rhonda Miller: I was never able to find a planner that I liked. So I designed my own. I like the calendars in the basic weekly planners that are widely available, but I needed more blank pages and pockets and a bookmark, and I wanted it to look awesome! As a result, my line of weekly planners was born, with all those convenient features.

SK: Why do you think journals have seemed to transcend the use of technology?

RM: People like to hold books, and they like the way books work. Traditional journals and diaries have features that transcend digital formats: Pages can be easily and quickly flipped back and forth, notes can be scribbled anywhere, and they are non-breakable when dropped on concrete floors!

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