September 2015

*This will be the last Daybook post shared from the series at Wisteria & Sunshine. It is a combination of two and gets to the heart of where I would like to see the world of women and paper travel-ever closer to an earthy and wholesome place with it all. And how satisfying and joyous it is to see where all this daybook “considering” has led…

Hoping to have The Wild Simplicity Daybook in my shop later today!

Sorry if its a bit jumbled or if the links aren’t always working-I can’t take the time to make it all just so at the moment!*

“Even a broken heart doesn’t warrant a waste of good paper.”
-Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle


With all the research and web-wanderings I’ve undertaken lately (not to mention my own experience and those you’ve shared), it is crystal clear that women are deeply fond of their daybooks/planners/journals. I would say that some have a passion or even obsession with them, which is fine in a way. I have the same tendencies myself. : ) But when you think of the resources involved with most of them…irresponsibly-sourced paper, plastic-y, vinyl covers or factory-farmed leather, stickers and extras that mean leavings for the trash bin…it’s not a pretty picture.

It’s so good to hear that many of you have sought out thoughtful paper to use with your handmade creations. And I’d like to make that easier with today’s post with good paper resources. I wanted to write “full of good..” but sad to say, the options are still so limited.


Let’s start with watercolor paper, as there was a question about recycled versions and many of us would like some pages for sketching and painting in our daybooks. I have a several pads of this w.c. paper, which I got on sale many years ago. It’s nearly impossible to find any details on it these days, but I remember it being recycled and with bamboo content. I think it’s lovely, but I am new to w.c. paper, so…Doing more research today I found this (100% recycled cotton made in India-and look! Circles!) and here is a readily-available option made from hemp. There are many w.c. papers out there advertised as “tree-free” and indeed they are, but they are made from cotton. Unless cotton is organic or recycled, the effects of its cultivation are quite damaging to the earth and waterways. I try to avoid it.

For unlined planner pages, I can continue to recommend Mohawk Loop Text Weight paper in Milkweed or Birch. Thick paper is just the most satisfying to use. You can find it where I linked, sometimes at Amazon (which I am using less and less), but I would recommend, if you are feeling adventurous, that you seek out your local bulk paper supplier. Mine is in Richmond, in a warehouse district and I used to be a regular visitor in my stationery-making days (and will be again!). The prices are better than online, you are shopping locally and encouraging them to supply more eco-minded papers. Unfortunately, my store doesn’t carry the Genesis line, but they do carry some of the others I like, including  Neenah Classic Laid Natural White (100% pcw recycled)…all only in writing weight, I am sorry to say. I will be trying to track down a local source for Loop next.


All of the above mentioned papers are available in cardstock, which is so useful for pocket pages, cutting and pasting or scrapbook pages, covers and even some pages if you don’t mind spending a bit more for them.

It can all feel a bit complicated, I know. Which probably explains why so few manufacturers, small and large, try to make sure their creations are as gentle on the earth as possible. It is one of the reasons I feel I am being drawn more strongly each day to get back into making. If you are in the midst or looking forward to making a daybook soon, as ever, I would suggest looking around at what you have. Many of the partially-filled journals that I am sorting through now will have their blank pages made into new notebooks and you can do the same for your daybook. Like the notebooks you’ve seen in my photos, your covers can be made from scavenged cardboard and fabric remnants, old book covers, thick handmade paper…


Perhaps you can make a box or basket a gathering place for possible ingredients that you may discover will be just the thing when I share many more ideas and photos next week?

As for pens and pencils, I keep it pretty simple. My favorite pen is a fountain pen I’ve had for a long, long time filled with walnut ink. I’ll be sourcing this to sell in my shop eventually, but mine is some powder that I mix with water and keep in an old ink bottle. My fountain pen is the refillable kind, which is what I recommend if you can find one (no little plastic tubes and ink bottles are so nice to have around). The brown felt tip I’ve had for several years is finally starting to dry up, so I will replace that when I find myself in a likely place to have one. Pencils are my ever-present companions, but I never seem to have to buy them. And a benefit of helping my parents-in-law clear out their old home is that I probably never will need to buy them, as I found so many in my delving there.


I do always like to carry a little, metal pencil sharpener with me and a separate eraser (the ones of the pencils get used up so quickly and are often smeary). My perfect writing case would include room for all of these tools, but until that day, I have both on my desk and in a kitchen drawer and a pocket of my purse. I feel prepared for anything with these and my current notebook/daybook. How much more content I shall feel when my daybook is just right!

Do share your own paper and pen thoughts and ideas below…

-Wisteria & Sunshine, May 2015


“Back home at Buckshaw, I hunched over my notebook in the laboratory. I had found by experience that putting things down on paper helped to clear the mind in precisely the same way, as Mrs. Mullet had taught me, that an eggshell clarifies the consomme or the coffee, which, of course, is a simple matter of chemistry. The albumin contained in the eggshell has the property of collecting and binding the rubbish that  floats in the dark liquid, which can then be removed and discarded in a single reeking clot: a perfect description of the writing process.”

-Flavia de Luce

Speaking from Among the Bones

by Alan Bradley


A handful of days left in May, and paper and daybooks continue to dot the days here and there…nearly as much as the plants and flowers and clouds do. This morning there was the first in series of pieces on Morning Edition called “Don’t Write Off Paper Just Yet“, and tomorrow’s segment turns to notebooks. I suspect their conversation about them will be very different than ours has been. : )

I’ve been experimenting with elastic holding in sections of different sorts of paper and greatly prefer that look and feel to binder rings, but when I make them for sale, the largest they can be is legal-size folded in half. With some more research, I am starting to understand more about the Midori style and will be trying out various elastics, fabric/cardboard covers, paper possibilities.


And in my research, I came across this post which was interesting and might help if you are still thinking about what you would like to include in your daybook. I like what he said about making your notebook your own, personal and individual, and how that nurtures attachment to it. Another site’s name made me smile…”my life all in one place”.

In my latest sorting through old notebooks and pages, I came across the kind that mean the most to me…those capturing the circle of the year, special communications pasted in to keep, bits of poetry and my own brief thoughts. I was finding these and imagining a Midori-style daybook with a section of cardstock pages and thick paper ones, when I came across this…


I used to sell these little portfolios which included the address book you see and a stack of letter paper and envelopes in the middle and the left pocket held some forever stamps. As soon as I came upon it, tho’, my imaginings immediately “saw” a slightly heftier, fabric-covered version to hold daybook, loose watercolor paper, shopping lists…everything one could wish.

So now I am trying to make one and I will share some glimpses next week. I am using a pillowcase (less sewing!) and some heavy recycled cardstock. If it turns out well, I will hold a small give-away for it here (and share my method, of course).


So much to ponder and discover…

As I look at the photos in this post, I am struck by the textures of the earthy papers, the sealing wax and seam binding, the edges and stitching. And I remember how good it felt to both create and use these pages and notebooks. In these days of fingers on plastic keys and eyes on glass pages, making something that brings our fingers and eyes in touch with wholesome materials and worlds of possibility in the combination of paper and ink seems a very good idea to be getting on with.


If there are any last (not that it need ever end) sharings or questions or wonderings about our Daybooks, why don’t you put them in the comment box below? I will keep fashioning my own and share the details when they are settled. And June is my month to begin planning the details of the few planner offerings that will be available in August (with a W&S discount for those of you who aren’t making your own daybook and might like to buy a Small Meadow one).

papery-Wisteria & Sunshine, May 2015

Considering Daybooks “it’s all in the details”

*The third installment, written for Wisteria & Sunshine in May. It is interesting to look back and see how the ideas for my Daybook were beginning to emerge. And now, I am a few days away from putting my Wild Simplicity Daybook on the shelves of my Etsy shop!

In the original post, I created several poll questions, which don’t work here. But do please share what you are longing for in a planner/notebook. I am always interested to hear such details, and will be designing new booklets on a regular basis and will be able to incorporate new ideas quite easily…one of the beauties of both creating and using the Daybook that has evolved from its beginnings first written about here…*


“And after all, Marianne, after all that is bewitching in the idea of a single and constant attachment, and all that can be said of one’s happiness depending entirely on any particular person, it is not meant — it is not fit — it is not possible that it should be so.”

-Elinor Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen

Since encountering a young woman’s unexpected wisdom about notebooks, I’ve been “bewitched” by the idea of the One Daybook for Lesley. If you take a journey through my thoughts on the subject of daybooks just here at Wisteria & Sunshine, you will see all the twists and turns I’ve taken. I’m pretty clear now, tho’, on my desire to keep all of the household and daily tasks in my Circle of Days and most everything else in the yet-to-be-created Daybook.

It would really just be the furthering of what I am trying to do in my home and online and every corner of my life…pare down, consolidate, integrate…


Here’s are the approaches I am narrowing in towards, amongst all of the many choices out there in the world. Mine have certain requirements, some universal, some just for me. The first priority for me is that the ingredients be earth-friendly, which greatly narrows down the field. the second is that the whole thing be versatile and adaptable (to my ever-changing whims…ahem…needs and creativity). The third is the trickiest, because I want to be able to produce it in quantity. If it was just something I was making for myself, it would be so much simpler!

-Something I am playing with is the idea of a selection of booklets, or just groupings of paper, that can be easily and only temporarily bound within a fabric/cardboard cover. I’ve experimented with string and ribbon, but they have their drawbacks. I know that elastic of some sort would work and believe that these are put together that way, but I’ve yet to figure it out. I was glad to find that page, to see how someone else is manifesting the idea of an assortment of types of pages put together in one notebook, and will keep working on my own. The cover could have a pocket or two.


My antique portfolio inspired my current favorite approach, which includes a pocket to hold a selection of loose pages (I really do prefer the freedom of individual pages and can imagine that pocket holding some watercolor sheets, cardstock, lined pages and blank ones) and a section for a pad of paper or a clip to hold the equivalent in loose pages.

-A more usual planner style, bound with rings, like you’ve seen many versions of here over the years (including this video-password “daybook”). It is certainly versatile and more straightforward and easy to create…but I continue to feel unfriendly towards binder rings lately. : )


Now it is your turn to tell me about what you are seeking in a Daybook. Let us disagree with Elinor’s pronouncement and believe there is one Single Constant and Particular approach (if not notebook!). After all, Elinor did end up with her SC & P, didn’t she? Please share what your ideal planner/daybook would look like and/or what you are using and happy with at the moment. If you’ve stayed with the same approach over the years, we would love to know the details.


For those who aren’t in the mood to put words together into a reply, I will fashion some poll questions that might give us an understanding of these ponderings…


Family of James and Marguerite McBey; (c) Family of James and Marguerite McBey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation



With paper heart fluttering, I will be looking for your responses as we consider how to bloom with our ways of organizing and cherishing certain details of our lives…

-Wisteria & Sunshine

May 2015