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Real Life Journals: Designing & Using Handmade Books (Live & Learn)

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The second in AARP's Live & Learn series celebrates making and keeping journals. A custom-made journal can enrich a person's life, and this new entry in the Live & Learn series helps readers design journals that enhance the experiences they're chronicling. The unique format features an envelope attached to the inside front cover that contains a small book called Choose Your The second in AARP's Live & Learn series celebrates making and keeping journals. A custom-made journal can enrich a person's life, and this new entry in the Live & Learn series helps readers design journals that enhance the experiences they're chronicling. The unique format features an envelope attached to the inside front cover that contains a small book called Choose Your Own Bookbinding Adventure so readers can select the perfect journal for their purpose. Imagine a reader wants a travel journal that is portable and has both lined pages and blank ones to paint on. The booklet directs him or her to the instructions in the main book that explain how to make that specific design. There are instructions and beautiful illustrations for 16 kinds of books and 10 cover styles. A removable foldout found on the inside back cover explains essential bookmaking basics. People who had personalized journals made for them by the author share their process and their pages, and beautiful photos and profiles of journal keepers inspire readers to make their own and start writing and drawing.


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The second in AARP's Live & Learn series celebrates making and keeping journals. A custom-made journal can enrich a person's life, and this new entry in the Live & Learn series helps readers design journals that enhance the experiences they're chronicling. The unique format features an envelope attached to the inside front cover that contains a small book called Choose Your The second in AARP's Live & Learn series celebrates making and keeping journals. A custom-made journal can enrich a person's life, and this new entry in the Live & Learn series helps readers design journals that enhance the experiences they're chronicling. The unique format features an envelope attached to the inside front cover that contains a small book called Choose Your Own Bookbinding Adventure so readers can select the perfect journal for their purpose. Imagine a reader wants a travel journal that is portable and has both lined pages and blank ones to paint on. The booklet directs him or her to the instructions in the main book that explain how to make that specific design. There are instructions and beautiful illustrations for 16 kinds of books and 10 cover styles. A removable foldout found on the inside back cover explains essential bookmaking basics. People who had personalized journals made for them by the author share their process and their pages, and beautiful photos and profiles of journal keepers inspire readers to make their own and start writing and drawing.

30 review for Real Life Journals: Designing & Using Handmade Books (Live & Learn)

  1. 5 out of 5

    liberal sprinkles

    This isn't simply a book on bookmaking and bookbinding. What makes Live & Learn: Real Life Journals: Designing & Using Handmade Books (AARP) unique is how author Gwen Diehn guides the reader in designing a customized journal for his/her specific need: for example, size (perhaps a smaller one for travelling?), form and binding (does it need to stay flat? would you like more space to add pages or tuck in pockets?), paper choice (heavy paper for painting and collaging), the type of cover (sturdy, w This isn't simply a book on bookmaking and bookbinding. What makes Live & Learn: Real Life Journals: Designing & Using Handmade Books (AARP) unique is how author Gwen Diehn guides the reader in designing a customized journal for his/her specific need: for example, size (perhaps a smaller one for travelling?), form and binding (does it need to stay flat? would you like more space to add pages or tuck in pockets?), paper choice (heavy paper for painting and collaging), the type of cover (sturdy, wraparound or maybe you want some windows for photos or artwork?), and special features that you may want to add to your journal. This is done through a series of questions ("Choose Your Own Bookbinding Adventure") to help you build the book you'll use and stories about a group of people for whom Diehn made customized journals - she goes through the "Choose Your Own Bookbinding Adventure" with them, creates personal journal for them and then checks back after three months to see how well the journals are working for them. There are other books that teach a wider variety of bookmaking techniques but I really like the personalized approach Real Life Journals takes. Diehn also discusses and presents examples of the practise of journaling - the why of writing, what to journal and the different types of journals. There is a chapter on noted journals and journal keepers from the past that provide a sort of history of journaling, the purposes and forms of journals. The clear instructions and the Bookbinding Essentials pamphlet make the tutorials easy to follow. This book would go a long way toward helping anyone create the right journals for specific needs, be it for travel memories, self-exploration, recipes or lists. I only wish the book had included more photographs of the journals showcased so we get a clearer idea of how the were made, as well as their content. Still, an excellent buy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Connie T.

    If you've ever wanted to make your own journals, from selecting the paper to binding the finished book, this is the book for you! Chock full of ideas and inspiration! If you've ever wanted to make your own journals, from selecting the paper to binding the finished book, this is the book for you! Chock full of ideas and inspiration!

  3. 4 out of 5

    April

    I read this for ideas rather than instructions so it wasn't super helpful, but an interesting read. I added an extra star for the "Choose Your Own Adventure" booklet for helping you decide what kind of journal would be a good fit. It was such a cute and fun beginning to the book! I read this for ideas rather than instructions so it wasn't super helpful, but an interesting read. I added an extra star for the "Choose Your Own Adventure" booklet for helping you decide what kind of journal would be a good fit. It was such a cute and fun beginning to the book!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ana Gutierrez

    An interesting and inspiring book if your thinking about making your own journals from scratch. The instructions are easy and the small booklet "Choose your own bookbinding adventure" helps keep the plethora of formats from being overwhelming. An interesting and inspiring book if your thinking about making your own journals from scratch. The instructions are easy and the small booklet "Choose your own bookbinding adventure" helps keep the plethora of formats from being overwhelming.

  5. 4 out of 5

    K McBride

    I just need to dive in and try making a book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marie Z Johansen

    Gwen Diehn is one of my favorite journal artists. She is the author if the "Decorated Page", among others, which is one of my all time favorite books about journaling. Real Life Journals is mostly about the business of making and designing journals for your artwork. I have to confess that I am not that tempted to make my journals - but this is probably one of the most creative, well written and illustrated, book son the subject that you will find. That being said, aside from the construction of t Gwen Diehn is one of my favorite journal artists. She is the author if the "Decorated Page", among others, which is one of my all time favorite books about journaling. Real Life Journals is mostly about the business of making and designing journals for your artwork. I have to confess that I am not that tempted to make my journals - but this is probably one of the most creative, well written and illustrated, book son the subject that you will find. That being said, aside from the construction of the journals the book includes a lot of creative, useful tid-bits about the art of journaling itself. The inside front flap includes a mini-book-in-a-pocket-titled "Choose Your Own Bookbinding Adventure. The enclosed booklet is a very handy that leads you through the basics by asking questions and then a "if yes turn to page____, if no, turn to page___" formula that I like a lot. The back flap provides an excellent foldout chart entitled "Book Binding Essentials" - and it explains, just as it says, the basics to get you going on your journal". This is an extremely well presented, well thought out volume. I am always particularly pleased with the format and high quality of Lark Books. When they publish a book - they make everything pretty special. The table of contents pretty well spells it out: Design Inventory Personal Journals The Basics Bookbinding Instruction (16 different methods) Cover Instructions Journals Past and Present What the Tale Of Contents does not tell you about, however, is the wealth of ideas for journaling that the book includes. Watercolor, pencil, writing paired with sketches - so many great ideas on how to fill the pages of the journal that you make. I love this book - as I do all of Gwen Diehn's work. If you want to start your own journaling adventure this is the book to get. It's chock full of information and ideas that are beautifully presented. Just paging through the book can make you happy - and motivated. For me journaling is a way to to gauge where I am by being able to see, and read about, where I've been. Journaling gives a perspective on my life that I find invaluable. I bet it would be for you to!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I'll admit that I mostly skimmed this since I don't tend to read instructional books all the way through but look at the pictures for inspiration. What I found interesting about this book (as I had read Gwen Diehn's other books about art journals) was the format, which included a little separate booklet with questions designed to help you decide which format binding would work best for your needs (like a choose-your-own-book-binding-adventure). I'll admit that I mostly skimmed this since I don't tend to read instructional books all the way through but look at the pictures for inspiration. What I found interesting about this book (as I had read Gwen Diehn's other books about art journals) was the format, which included a little separate booklet with questions designed to help you decide which format binding would work best for your needs (like a choose-your-own-book-binding-adventure).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I've loved Gwen Diehn's earlier books, but I'm disappointed with this one. It's essentially a 'How-To' on bookbinding. My mistake, I guess. I was hoping to see more of her journals. I don't need more books on bookbinding - have plenty. Still, it's very nicely laid out and illustrated. And the instructions for making the books are easier to follow than in some other books of this kind. I've loved Gwen Diehn's earlier books, but I'm disappointed with this one. It's essentially a 'How-To' on bookbinding. My mistake, I guess. I was hoping to see more of her journals. I don't need more books on bookbinding - have plenty. Still, it's very nicely laid out and illustrated. And the instructions for making the books are easier to follow than in some other books of this kind.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    By far the best book I've found on bookbinding for journals. This book not only gives you the instructions of book binding but helps the reader decide on the right kind of book for their specific journaling needs. Exactly what I was looking for. By far the best book I've found on bookbinding for journals. This book not only gives you the instructions of book binding but helps the reader decide on the right kind of book for their specific journaling needs. Exactly what I was looking for.

  10. 4 out of 5

    M. Jane Colette

    Beautiful book, beautiful pictures, beautiful stories... beautiful reminder that I am a writer and a painter and not a creator of another sort... But if you are a journaller / maker of any sort--worth perusing for inspiration.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Hapeta

    Really good intro to book binding and journalling

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carole

    This is fun! Gwen Diehn has never failed to inspire me - I can scarcely wait to set up a place where I can work on a journal of my own!

  13. 4 out of 5

    S. Renee

    a little eye candy for the visual artist...

  14. 5 out of 5

    carissa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Same book as, Journal Your Way: Designing & Using Handmade Books, buy the Journal your way.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Can't imagine a better book on making journals that are to be used. Examples galore, clear instructions and a lovely gallery. Can't imagine a better book on making journals that are to be used. Examples galore, clear instructions and a lovely gallery.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cha

  17. 5 out of 5

    Betty

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carol Mullikin

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karen N. Grundy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rowan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  22. 5 out of 5

    Angel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heather Gross

  24. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marya

  27. 5 out of 5

    Janis O'Driscoll

  28. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  30. 4 out of 5

    C-W

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