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.

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.

Halloween Junk Journal

I have been working on a very special project for awhile. It is called my spooky cat Halloween journal. I started by making a digital kit for it in photoshop and then this week I started to put a print copy of it together. It was relatively easy and a lot of fun to do so. Here is a list of the supplies I used:

  • my photoshop pages printed on white 12 sheets of cardstock
  • cardboard from a cereal box
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • 3 jump rings
  •  a hole punch
  • a ruler
  • washi tape
  • twine
  • stamps
  • ink
  • ribbon

I started by printing out the photoshop designs onto white cardstock. The images are vintage and feature black cats. They have a resolution of 300 dpi so they print very nicely.

I cut the pages out and then I glued the cover pages onto the cardboard. I took the other pages and glued one page to another. The journal pages are double-sided and they print onto 10 pages of cardstock because there are two journal pages on each sheet.

After that I used a hole punch to punch 3 holes into each page. This part is kind of tricky, you want to make sure that you line the holes up evenly on each page so I recommend that you use a ruler. I then bound the pages together using 3 one-inch jump rings.

I inked the edges of each page to make it look more vintage mostly with orange ink but some with black. I also added some decorative stamps to the covers.

I took the tags that I cut out after I printed them  from the digital kit and I used washi tape to adhere them to the pages. The digital kit comes with three pockets you can use for the tags. There are six tags so you can print the pockets out twice if you would like.

At the end I adorned the jump rings with some ribbon I had leftover from an earlier scrapbooking project and voila I was finished.Questions or feedback are much appreciated in the comment section here. If you would like to see more pictures of the journal you can find them on Etsy or like my page on Facebook. halloween-journal-cat-tag