Keepsake Wellness Journals – The Promise


Since my diagnosis of bipolar I in 2008 I have invested a lot of time and energy into trying to understand my cycles of depression, anxiety, and mania. I have worked hard to reach the level of wellness that I currently enjoy. At times, my level of well-being feels tenuous at best. However, most of the time I am confident that I finally have gained the tools and the skills that I need in order to lead a high quality, balanced and meaningful life.

I began studying psychology in earnest in 2006 and I attained a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2008. Even when I was studying library science, my focus was on psychology as I wrote research papers about topics such as bibliotherapy (book therapy). In my free time I also frequently look for more information about bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety and I have experimented with various natural remedies to try in addition to traditional medication.


I have found that a sense of well-being is best attained through the combination of various activities. I believe that having a psychiatrist and a therapist on your team is critical if you have a long-term mental health issue. However, one must not limit their support environment to sporadic appointments with traditional professionals. It is important to build up a support system that also includes family and friends, in order to do that one must be able to communicate without fear of judgment.

I am hoping to fulfill one my life’s most important goals through the products that I sell in my Etsy shop – Old School Jenny. That goal is for me to pass on the knowledge that I have gained about my illness and how to change my patterns of negative thinking and to improve my life so much that I doubt I could have ever been this well if I had not at some point been so utterly depressed.

2017 jj promise affirmation book page.jpg

I have learned that positive affirmations are capable of changing one’s life completely. Especially when it comes to changing long held patterns of negative thinking that have lead to paralyzing levels of anxiety and depression. I greatly admire Loise Hay. She is the author of You Can Heal Your Life and many other self-help books that guide people to change their life by changing the way that they think.

This is why I put positive affirmations in all of my custom keepsake wellness journals. I started with the junk planner that I made for Kristen’s daughter who suffers from anxiety and OCD. The second custom junk journal that I made also went to a teen that suffers from depression and anxiety. I feel blessed and I believe that I am truly achieving my life’s purpose when my journals with positive affirmations become hopefully a source of positive thoughts for young women.


The Promise Journal that I listed on Etsy this week is the first keepsake wellness journal that I have made without having it pre-ordered. I am hoping that it finds its way to the right person. I kept the journal somewhat simple yet beautiful. I made the cover from a vintage book titled the Promise. I was inspired to make the journal a transition from winter to spring to represent the promise of growth and light at the end of a time of cold and dark. I made the analogy of this transition as being similar to the transition from the depths of depression to the joy and light that waits for those who suffer. I want everyone to know that as bad as one feels when they are depressed, they are never alone and that I promise there is a better life ahead of you if you can try to think positive, and keep writing in your journal.

2017-jj-promise-front-cover-insideThe Promise Journal is 74 two-sided pages (so 148 writing or drawing areas) and measures 4.5” x 7”. It is bound by 3 rings and has a key bookmark. It includes several types of paper including drawing paper, lined paper, engineering paper, original book pages, catalog order sheets, and beautifully designed scrapbook paper. The colored pages at the beginning of the book are all dark, black, and grey mostly. Then towards the middle of the journal there are some yellow pages meant to represent sunlight, and colorful pages at the end that are reminiscent of spring flowers.


Abundantly Grateful 2017

2017 feels like a significant year for me. I am making a concerted effort to make meaningful goals this year. This year I have also added some themes. One of my themes is:

Abundant Living

I hung an illustration that has a quote saying “Ginny refused to worry” next to my desk today as a reminder to myself that there is no need to worry. The Universe is abundant and there will always be more good things coming my way even if I use my pretty craft paper today I may find even prettier paper tomorrow. The picture is also a keepsake; an illustration saved from a vintage book that I made into a journal for my friend’s daughter Julia. The book was titled Ginny and the Missing Heirloom, a mystery published in 1950. The cover and illustrations from the book made a beautiful junk journal. My husband helped me bind it by drilling holes into the pages and helping me to incorporate a rosary that was intertwined in the binding while the cross acted as a bookmark:


I really enjoyed making this custom journal, it made my day yesterday when my friend shared a picture with me of her daughter opening the journal for the first time:


Another theme is:

Living in the Flow

One of my goals this year is to achieve a great deal of personal growth. One of the ways I plan on doing this is by reading several nonfiction books on topics that are important to me. Topics like creativity, happiness, and success. I recently finished reading a book about living creatively called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book inspired me to release more of my work into the eye of the public. The book made me want to take risks. That is why I recently listed what I like to call my manifestation journals. These are junk journals made from file folders that include collages and sometimes ink or paint. In both of the ones I have listed there are several messages written within, either on pages or in pockets that let the recipient of the journal know that the Universe or some other higher power loves them, cares for them, and wants only the best for them.



You may find these journals and more at my Etsy shop

I think my most important theme this year is:

Consciously Evolving

I chose this theme to give myself some room to change over time. I plan on revisiting each goal and each theme throughout the year, reflecting and deciding whether I want to move forward with it or if I want to move on to something else. I believe that goals are living things and as such they need to grow. Also sometimes I have found that a certain goal that I had was no longer serving me and that it was time to let it go. I like to try to be flexible.

Today I worked on making vision pages in my personal junk journal. These are similar to vision boards. In case you are wondering what my vision is for Old School Jenny:



Finally, I just had to include an affirmation for 2017 in with all of this. It is about being awake in the dream and it is one of my favorites of all time:



Celebrating the Solstice

I have made it my goal to spread light with my words and my deeds during this holiday season that concludes what was a difficult year for many.

People have many ways of coping with difficult times. For me, I turn to my journal. I have added many holiday pages to my 2016 junk journal:



I have been giving some thought to how I want to record the holiday this year. I have been taking photos of my decorations. Many of my keepsakes are still at my old house, so I have had to decorate in a new way and keep things very simple.


I have been reflecting on 2016 and trying to decide which memories I want to carry forward into the new year. I know I developed some healthy rituals such as practicing journaling daily that I want to continue in the new year. I am also very pleased that I decided to take something I love doing, journaling and working with paper, and make it into a business on Etsy: Old School Jenny

My shop is currently in vacation mode while I dedicate the following weeks to caring for myself and for my family. Meanwhile I have some projects going on to prepare for the reopening in January. I would like for the new focus of my shop to be custom junk journals. I experienced immense joy creating a junk planner for one customer:


After that I made myself a personal junk planner, one that I plan on writing down only positive memories as well as dreams and intentions in:


I would love to make similar journals for other people. I really do love making them.

I hope you are having a good holiday season and that you find a positive way to celebrate the holiday in a way that is meaningful for you.

Story Time

Some things that I am learning about on my journey…

We all have stories. Some may see my story and think “how tragic” or “she must be strong”.  However, I am tired of that story, so I am busy building a new story about a successful woman who takes what she loves and uses her gifts to help others. My new story is something that I have been working on, off and on for a very long time. Meanwhile I am grateful to have my bipolar story published by on their wonderful, wonderful blog:

The story of Old School Jenny

(no worries this is a happy story and it has a happy ending)

It is so nice to feel so supported by a community of people who, like me, struggle with chronic illness. The people I have encountered on their forums have been so kind to me while I have been…stuck.

Lately, I have felt that it is necessary for me to spend some time working on me. Part of that means making art for myself. I have a feeling I will return to making things for my shop soon, so never fear. My muse is always just around the bend. If you have a shop of  your own I would be curious to know if this ever happens to you?

I also want to share a new part of my journey with you. It is an art community inspired and moderated by Jenniebellie. I am so in awe of how Jennie shares her talents so freely and has created such a hub of learning and support for people who love to work on journals such as myself. It’s a fabulous community and if you like creating and sharing with others I highly recommend it. It’s found at

That is all for now. If you took the time to visit PLM’s blog I greatly appreciate it. Here is my new spot for just being at peace:


Craft Room Dreaming OSJ Style

After much delay and some hard luck I am happy to announce that we have found our new place in Adrian, Michigan (near the border of Ohio). Our new place has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and all of the amenities we were hoping for such as a large kitchen and a garden tub with a walk in shower. As a bonus there is a place to eat just off the kitchen and a small deck in the back. Chris is possibly more excited than I am about building a crafting room that I can use to create new items for Old School Jenny.

Browsing on Etsy this morning I stumbled across my dream desk! It’s absolutely stunning. This woman did an outstanding job refurbishing this old desk with a hutch and a chair. Check it out:


I think this desk is so beautiful. I am just going to leave it here for now.

If I manage to make my dreams come true and purchase this desk than I think everything else for my craft room will fall into place and be designed around this piece. I want a lot of vintage items and things that have been upcycled and include lots of reclaimed wood and vintage artwork and graphics. Once I get my new room all set up I look forward to not only getting back to creating new things for you but also sharing with you my process and inspiration for each new project.

Do  you have a dream craft room? What would you include in it?




Old School Origins


You never know when a moment will become a lasting memory. This month we are moving again. It’s our fourth time moving as a couple but the first time we have moved in ten years. We are moving from a very small town in central Michigan to another small town (but not quite as small) in Southern Michigan on the border of Ohio. The catalyst for this change is my husband Chris, who graduated this year with a degree in electrical engineering, landing his first engineering job at Adrian Steel Company.

The last ten years have been good to us. We moved from California to Michigan after we both had ended our contracts with the US Navy. We quickly learned that houses were out of our price range in Southern California and much more affordable in Michigan. We have lived very comfortably in an old craftsman house along with our two basset hounds, Willy and Flash, and our neurotic Jack Russel named Fez. Although we have been very happy here, I am excited about a new start.

As for the memory…shortly after moving into this old house I was rearranging my papers and as I walked into the living room from the hallway my clumsy self tripped and fell and the papers scattered across the floors. Chris observed this all with a smile and said “there she is, Jenny is being old school again.” This turned out to be one of his favorite memories of me and he continues to call me “old school Jenny” whenever he finds me working with my crafts. He says its me being old school because as long as he has known me I have loved everything to do with paper. Things like making paper crafts, writing in my journal, creating art journals, and just browsing the office supply section of stores.

For the better part of a year I have been trying to figure out the best way to share my arts and crafts with others. I gave a lot of consideration to creating a portfolio to take with me to the local artists outlet but once I opened my shop on Etsy I found that this was the absolute best way for me to take the next step for sharing my passion. For those of you considering opening a shop on Etsy, I can’t recommend it enough. It is a very affordable, relatively easy way to market your goods and Etsy’s popularity helps you to reach more people than one might otherwise.

Old School Jenny is my work of love. In my Etsy shop you will find all kinds of both paper crafted gift tags and digital tags,  premade scrapbook layouts, digital scrapbook pages, home made greeting cards, and printable journal kits. I aim to use this blog as a place to give you the background story of the items that I have for sale and to help you get to know me better. Please comment if you have any questions or if you would like to give me some feedback. All input is enjoyed and appreciated.

Other places you may find me:

Old School Jenny on Facebook

Old School Jenny on Pinterest

Old School Jenny on Instagram

Old School Jenny on Twitter