Our Peek Inside… series takes a look inside people’s journals to celebrate their imagination and inspire others. Please send us an email if you have a project that you would like to be featured.


We recently received a comment on Facebook from Laura, who asked for our advice on updating (and upgrading!) partially used journals. This got us thinking… Who hasn’t begun writing in a new book, sure of the direction it would take, only to abandon that project after a few entries? We could instantly relate to the pain Laura felt at having these under-appreciated journals lying around and just knew there was still great creative potential left to tap. In talking with Laura, we learned she was a lover of language and writing but not the most confident visual artist, meaning the task of “prettying up” these pages seemed all the more daunting.

So, for today’s very unique Peek Inside we are taking a look at what an abandoned journal project looks like. And let’s face it – we have all been there. Whether you were starting a novel that you lost interest in, made a mess of what was meant to be a multimedia scrapbook or simply can’t settle on your own visual aesthetic, it can feel intimidating to try and salvage an old journal when you feel that you’ve backed yourself into a corner. Laura has let us into the pages of a few of her journals and together we will be brainstorming some ideas of how to “upgrade” them. Stay tuned for our follow-up post when we show the “Before and After” and share our ideas on how you, too, can take your books to the next level!


About her quandary, Laura writes:

I am very much a writer. As a matter of fact, I am an editor by profession and my life revolves around reading, writing, and editing. As such, my passions are books, blogging and the English language and culture. My other special interests are cars, cooking, dance, yoga and classical arts with special attention to film music and ballet. I’ve been reading and writing for as long as I can remember, and I used to do jazz ballet for fourteen years (until I got a permanent injury). Now that I can’t dance any more, I’ve discovered that I very much love watching ballet, and from this a new interest has sparked in classical music.

Even though I am a writer and not a sketcher, I do have a weakness for gorgeous images and graphics. I take an amateurish interest in photography when travelling.


I have a variety of Paperblanks journals. Two of them I want to repurpose for sure; there’s a third one I’m not sure about just yet. All of them are lined.

#1 is an Ultra Embellished Manuscript, the Mark Twain one [ed: Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead]. I wrote on the first three pages, lining out my idea for a blog. The blog has become reality, but the journal has never been used again. I thought I wanted to continue writing down all my ideas, but instead I just draft them on my blog so I can work on them whenever I want. Therefore, I’d like to repurpose this journal. I want to do something special with it, something that is close to my heart. Books are very dear to me, so I was thinking to do something with that, but I’m not sure yet what. It seems fitting though for this Mark Twain edition.

(Fun fact: I actually won this journal in an online Paperblanks contest!)


#2 is a Midi William Morris Windrush. I wrote on about 20 pages and they are really ugly – mostly notes that I crossed out again. I don’t know what was up with me! I have no specific purpose in mind just yet.

W-Windrush-(1) W-Windrush-(2)
W-Windrush-2 W-Windrush-3

The third one is my recipe book. The format is Ultra and I simply don’t like the way I’ve done it. I would love to have more elaborate recipe headings like in 6 Great Ways to Use Your Next Journal. So this one would not be repurposed, but I would like to know how to make it look pretty.

W-Recipe-Book-(1) W-Recipe-Book-(3)
W-Recipe-Book-(5) W-Recipe-Book-(6)

How would you update these journals to keep using them? Stay tuned for our tips, but be sure to share yours in the comments below!

UPDATE: Check out our full second post with Laura to see the “after” here.

About Paperblanks®: At Paperblanks®, we believe that art should have a place in all aspects of life. That’s why we follow the artist’s way in everything we do – creating, crafting and releasing designs we believe have the power to touch people. For more about Paperblanks®, go to our website at paperblanks.com.


  1. I would use first notebook for ideas… just like blogging was first put on a paper and then it became reality – I would jot down all my thoughts/ideas for some future projects. Knowing myself, if it bothers me too much how ugly pages are looking, I would remove them and start something new. 🙂 Many people write graditute journal. 🙂
    For the third one – put photos of the recipes. 🙂

    • Hi Ankica,

      Thank you for sharing your ideas! We would definitely agree that adding photos on the recipe pages would make a huge impact. We just might need to incorporate some of your ideas in our follow-up post 🙂

      All the best,
      The Paperblanks® Team


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