I used to journal a lot. I would spend most days writing about what was happening in my life, how I was feeling, often trying to work out any issues that were challenging me at that moment. I used written journals from my teens to my late twenties.

As a child I was very creative and loved spending hours drawing, writing short stories, and making crafts. Sadly, this part of me was abandoned when I went to university. It seemed there was no time for creativity in between all the studying (I now realize how huge a mistake this was). After going through a dark period about a dozen years ago, I set about re-discovering my artistic and creative side (I was inspired by my new artist boyfriend). During this process, I learned about art journalling and would spend hours upon hours painting, writing, and gluing ephemera into my journals.

As much as I enjoy journalling, I just don’t have the time to devote to it on a consistent basis anymore. I often felt like I was forgetting so many great moments in my life because I wasn’t capturing them as they happened. It saddened me, yet I couldn’t find the time or energy to journal about many of these experiences.

Then two years ago, I found a solution that works perfectly for me. Hurray!

I had come across designer Amanda Hawkin’s lovely DIY planner templates and promptly fell in love. I desperately wanted to find a way to use them on a regular basis just because they were so cool. I decided to print the monthly calendar template onto booklet-size envelopes – one for each month. These would be my journal “pages”. Then I made covers for the journal and kept everything with binder rings. I tried out my new journal throughout 2010 and it worked wonderfully for me, so I did it again in 2011! Here is what my journal looked like this past year:

The front cover (I love love love the paper I used, BTW). It is bound with binder rings and a fabric elastic band to keep the pages from wiggling too much.

One of the envelopes with the monthly template printed onto the front. I keep track of important events, dates with friends, appointments, and other things I want to remember.

On the back of the envelope I keep track of the books I read and movies I saw that month. Inside the envelope I place all the mementos I’ve collected throughout the month: photos, ticket stubs, pamphlets, cards, letters, etc. Some months the envelopes are quite thick, others not so much…

As I said, this system has worked so incredibly well for me these past two years that I wanted to continue with it again this year. Yesterday I made my 2012 journal using beautiful paper printed I bought in Rome last summer, featuring classic Italian movie posters. Now I can relive La dolce vita every day!

As you can see, this type of journal is quite easy to put together and even easier to maintain throughout the year, no matter how busy you are. And the best part is the pockets to store all the mementos that would otherwise clutter your life, or eventually become lost or thrown out. I also use these booklet envelopes in my travel journals whenever I go on a major trip – you can see my Greece journal here.