concert journal on shelf

Above is the spine and beautiful tassel of my rock n roll concert junk journal that I recently made. I am still enjoying filling it with tickets and concert memorabilia from all the shows that Chris and I have been to since 2002. Since my last post a lot has changed. For one, the pace at which I am moving is much more steady and focused. I think starting in late May or maybe it was June I began making journals out of manila folders for my friends. They were gratitude journals. Then I decided to make a fabric hard cover journal to document our Paris vacation last August in. I used a cardboard box that once shipped a book for that. I didn’t start using deconstructed books for junk journals until I made my basset hound journals which will have to be my next post. I just wanted to make a quick post tonight to let you know that things have changed. I am actively creating now. I am proud of this concert journal that I made. It is so colorful and bright.


Moving Forward If Ever So Slowly

I don’t know how to word this post so I am just going to bleed my thoughts. As of my last post I was on the verge of a breakdown. It wasn’t pretty. I was in and out of the hospital 3 times. But that’s enough about that.

A slump followed as usual. Now I am on the up, and that has my family worried. To be honest I am worried too. Still at this point there isn’t much I can do. I must continue to live out my life.

On the bright side I have started to be creative again. I am making vision boards, journals, and gardening. I am focused on my diet, obsessed with losing weight that I gained with the recent medication that they put me on.

All in all, it is all just one step at a time. I follow my doctors orders. I listen to my therapist. And yet there is something of me in all of this.


Cyber Monday Special

I have an announcement to make! Old School Jenny is having a grand reopening! You can find me on Etsy just search for “Old School Jenny”. I don’t have anything listed currently but I am going to try to make one listing in time for Monday.

I plan on giving away some of my trinkets. All you have to do is pay shipping and handling. I promise it will be very reasonable. Keep an eye out!


Jenny 350

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.

The Best Etsy Shops for the Journal Lover

It may blizzard this weekend making Christmas shopping quite difficult. Thankfully I still have time to do some shopping online. I love supporting Etsy businesses!

I refuse to stress over the holidays this year. I think we all do our best to show our friends and family that they are loved. We all make mistakes. I know I tend to forget to put people on my Christmas card list, I try to make up for it by sending out new years cards.

I want to share with you some of my favorite Etsy shops since it is a time of much shopping! Of course I would prefer for you to shop from me, but you know I am able to share even though its not easy for me lol. Here are a few of my favorites:

Kit N Caboodle Paper

Vanessa makes nice junk journals using vintage book covers at a steal of a price

Paper Clay Junkie

This is Jenniebellie’s shop. If you don’t know who she is you are really missing out. She is a popular journal artist. She teaches a lot of workshops and she is all around a great inspiration to me and to many others. I am confident that her products are top notch.

AOR Journals

This is the shop to go to if you have a Midori planner/journal. The inserts here are high quality at a good price with fast shipping. Highly recommend.

Last but not least! My shop!

Old School Jenny

I have added some cute Christmas items including cards, ornaments, and tags. I just love working with paper! Please come take a look and see what you might find.

I will leave you with a picture of one of the ornaments I made, that is hanging on my turquoise and silver feathered Christmas tree 🙂 In the picture there is also a card that I made and a cardinal gift tag.



Kewpie Christmas Gift Tags

Thank you for supporting small online businesses on this upcoming Cyber Monday. Come visit my shop Old School Jenny on Etsy! This Monday I will be offering 20% off all items plus 50% off of Halloween items.

In my shop I offer all kinds of junk journal and scrapbook supplies including but not limited to Halloween journals both digital and print, a steampunk butterfly journal kit, digital scrapbook paper, digital alphabets, and a wide variety of gift tags.

I recently made adorable Kewpie Christmas gift tags. Kewpie is a sweet porcelain baby doll that was created in the early 1900’s by Rose O’Neill. On the postcards and other ephemera featuring Kewpie you will often find positive messages of love and caring. Kewpie is often shown with small angelic wings. I have personally hand-stamped, hand-colored, and sprinkled glitter on each of these tags. These tags are made with love. On Cyber Monday you can get a set of 3 of these tags for the low price tag of $2.66 plus free shipping on the first set and 10 cents shipping for each additional set. These tags add a thoughtful touch to any gift or can be used as embellishments for journals and scrapbooks.



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:


Ready to Craft


I didn’t get the antique hutch, instead I got this perfect antique library table. I think it works much better because there is more room to spread out my work. I have spent the last week making our new house more of a home and I think that I have been successful. There is just one more thing to be done and that is to hang my most favorite piece of art. It is a painted window that I bought at Holland, Michigan’s Tulip Festival back in 2007:


I am completely eager to start making new items for Old School Jenny

First I have a few assignments lol. I promised a couple of friends that I would design and print their business cards. One of them requested that I design their logo as well. I also have a request for a custom order of Christmas cards that I need to work on. I am happy to fulfill these orders but I am really looking forward to the freedom of making whatever I want again lol.