Our Peek Inside… series takes a look inside people’s personal journals to celebrate their creativity and inspire others.

This month we talked to Caroline about the evolution of her journalling over the past eight years:

I started journaling when I was 16. It was summer, a summer I spent working and watching TV…so I was often bored. I don’t remember where I got my first Paperblanks journal; a local bookstore, no doubt. That first one was filled with the bored ramblings of a 16-year-old wondering about love, life, and where the future would take her.

I had attempted to keep journals in the past; in composition notebooks or on the computer…but I never seemed to stick with it until I started using Paperblanks. It motivated me to have something beautiful in which to write…something more special than a plain, black and white comp notebook. I also gave myself permission to skip a day…or a week, or even a month, on occasion. Previously, I would get discouraged that I didn’t write every single day, and thus I would lose interest altogether. Having my beautiful Paperblanks journal there, waiting for me when the inspiration struck, helped me to get over that self-expectation of a daily entry.

My approach to writing in my journal is manifold. Often motivated by emotion, whether it be anger, sadness or joy, there are also moments of quiet contemplation, certain quotes I want to remember, or a particularly beautiful moon that warrants a few lines of well-intentioned but clumsy poetry.


Handstitched Tao, Plum Blossoms. My favorite bit from this one I think is the list of “50 Qualities to Look for in a Husband,” which was written during my junior year of high school, I believe. When I was oh-so-knowledgeable about such things.


Embellished Manuscripts Shakespeare, Sir Thomas More.
My poetry certainly doesn’t live up to Shakespeare’s, but I’m pleased with my “Cowku.” Also the first appearance of the Virgo and treble/bass clef motif, which I then thought I’d have as a tattoo by now.


Embellished Manuscripts Rembrandt, Virgin and Child. My first journal without lines. I found it quite freeing, though I didn’t doodle as much as I’d planned. An old picture of me…age 11 or so. When bucket hats were all the rage, apparently.


Embellished Manuscripts Frida, A Double Portrait. Definitely my most interesting in terms of flotsam collected from various places. I really began picking up random bits from day-to-day during this time. Also…another poem.


Handstitched Morris, Design for Bird. I found a dead cicada, and the wings were so beautiful I just had to…salvage them.


Embellished Manuscripts Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre. I went to London and Edinburgh for a week. The flower may or may not be from the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh; I admit nothing.


Old Leather Black Moroccan. Apparently all I did was go to Mexico during this journal, but that was actually only for a week. I have a thing for swiping foreign flora, it seems. I also graduated from college with this journal.


Embellished Manuscripts Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. My fattest journal; I stuffed Fitz full of random things…much of it from working at a summer camp. My saddest journal, to date, as my grandfather and great-aunt both died during the span of these covers. But I was also a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my best friends, which was the best and happiest two weeks of my life, thus far. The sketch of me was done by a friend; the raccoon by my father.


Embellished Manuscripts Mozart, The Hunt. My current journal. The quote at the bottom has really affected me. Being only partially employed, two years after graduation, constantly wondering where my life will go next, I find those words helpful to guide me in future endeavors.

My journal is my constant companion; an almost literal extension of myself, in the sense that its pages contain words and thoughts which I don’t share with others. Over the past eight years, my journals have been with me through boarding school, college; to California, Maryland, England, Mexico, Arizona, Florida…they are well-traveled, each holding its own set of memories and each with its own personality.

They contain accomplishments and failures, births and deaths, sadness and elation…and a fair share of angst. Very few people, if any, are privy to the contents of their pages. There are things within them which I desire never to be known while I’m alive…but there are also things which I likely would share, and perhaps will, someday.

I have nearly filled my 10th journal since beginning in 2006; I look forward to starting the 11th (Chopin!), and subsequently the 12th, 13th, 14th…however many it takes to record this thing called my entire life.


  1. A little late for a reply maybe… But I find the images really inspiring and journaling from certain emotions… I know that too. It makes vulnerable and I think that’s the most human and beautiful thing to see…


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