Journey Through My Jewelry Journals

Jewelry and Coffee with Rena
Video Episode 3

by Rena Klingenberg.

How do you capture and organize your creative ideas? Here you can peek into three of the journals I use for keeping track of my ideas and staying organized.

The Jewelry Rena’s Wearing
in This Video:

Dragonfly jewelry set

Jewelry Set: Polymer clay “Dragon Fly Flight” pendant and earrings by TTE Designs.

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  1. Well done Rena!
    Right now I am using Hello Kitty Notebooks and any Glitter type of Notebook that they sell for school children….lol!
    However I really like your idea and I am going to go to Etsy to find some spiral notebooks…. I think your type will look better on my shelf at my studio!
    It’s so much fun picking out a new one.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Tamara says:

    Hi Rena! Thank you so much for sharing your journals – seeing someone’s journals feels like being let into their private world. And your journals are beautiful!

    I have always loved journals as well. I have two on the go. One is my personal journal that I write in to process my life, or to record things I don’t want to forget. Because my jewellery, and the resulting business, is an intimate part of me, I journal about that in there. For instance, the process I have gone through in the last several months in learning my “brand” and my new company name are recorded there. Last Mother’s Day (a year ago) I got to pick out a gift for myself from my son in a little gift shop, and I chose a beautiful spiral journal with a hummingbird on it (I have been likened to a hummingbird so they are extra special to me). That is the book I have been using as my personal journal.

    I also have another journal, strictly for my jewellery, again thanks to my son. He gave me a gift certificate to Chapters for my last birthday, and I headed straight to the jewellery books. I got a large spiral book entitled “my beading journal”. In it there are beautiful pictures, tutorials and tips, but also space to record things – I have quotes and little notes written in there, and there are pouches for pieces of paper. I also have a list of the posts I have written for this web site, and what projects they were (I don’t have my own website, blog, or even an online store at this point). There’s also a place to list favourite suppliers, etc.

    As far as ideas for projects, for me the idea usually happens when I find an inspiring element, bead or colour. So I gather up what I know I want to put together as far as I can see it in the moment, and it sits in a little pile in my “jewellery and art room” (which used to be my son’s bedroom until he grew up and moved out and I painted it orange!) I have little piles all over a few surfaces (although I refuse to let the bed get taken over with them). When it’s time to do the project I gather up my little pile, maybe scan other little piles for elements or colours I want to steal, and then I create. With the way I design, that seems to be the way it has to be, and I’ve come to a place of peace with that. I guess those little piles are my 3D journalings! I never actually write any notes down for projects.

  3. Tammie E says:

    Rena~ I look forward to reading all the information in each installment of Jewelry Business Success News. I read every article and have enjoyed your “Coffee’ segments too. Imagine my delight today when I realized you were wearing ‘Dragon Fly Flight’!!
    (I had to watch it twice because the 1st time I was just looking at the pendant.)
    I like the journaling idea quite a bit, I have a bit of ADD so I think starting to write all my ideas in one place would be a great way to stay organized.
    Thank you, I hope you don’t mind me sharing a link to your video ~ Tammie

  4. Thank you, all!

    Arbie, I bet you’ll find some really cool ones on Etsy. I got a rustic handmade leather journal there about a year ago for my Mom.

    I agree – picking out a new journal and then writing in it for the first time is something to be savored!

    Tamara, your journals sound lovely! I think having something really appealing to write in is part of the magic of journaling. Your son gives wonderful gifts!

    Also I’m fascinated with your idea of 3D journaling by gathering things physically together. That’s a really interesting perspective. I guess it doesn’t really matter how you capture your ideas and creative inspirations – paper isn’t necessary when you’re capturing live in the wild! πŸ™‚

    Tammie – It was a pleasure to co-star with your jewelry in this video! I wear my “Dragon Fly Flight” pendant and earrings often – the minute I first saw them online they resonated as very deeply “me”!

    And I think that for capturing ideas in the presence of a bit of ADD, a journal is an especially good idea because at least you always know where you wrote / sketched your ideas and can go back to that source.

    Thank you so much for your kind words about my newsletter – that means the world to me!

    Tammie – I forgot to say of course you’re welcome to share a link to the video – thank you! πŸ™‚

  5. Pauline says:

    Love your journals.
    I just have the one ‘ideas’ book. It is spiral bound. Although I hadn’t given that much thought to the advantages of spiral bound journals. But you’re right – it doesn’t close on its own! LOL.
    Inside I have scribble drawings of ideas and I also stick in images from magazines that have some kind of inspiration to them. My journal sits on the bookshelf next to other jewelery magazines and books I’ve bought.
    Right now it sits on my desk with a marker in it. There is a ring drawing I did of one I seen online. I’m planning on trying out a variation of it!

  6. Hi Rena & all,
    I just love the videos, and thanks for allowing us into your life. I love journals too, but struggled with not having them handy when I went to work or was away from home. I tried carrying one in my purse, but that was too much weight to pack around.

    So eventually I started putting my ideas on my smart phone using Evernote. I can access it from any computer or my Smart phone, and it is working perfect for me. It is free, but I use it so much, I decided to upgrade to the paid version.

    I also store on Evernote my customers and info about them, photos of all my jewelry with descriptions and prices, and of course tons of design ideas. If I see a great idea in a store, I can write a quick note, or even take a photo with my phone and add it to Evernote.

    So not as pretty as your journals, but keeps me organized and happy.

  7. Hello,
    Great idea with the journals. I do something similar. I keep a photo album that you can add sheets to. I take a picture of something that inspires me and I sketch something that I want to work on. I put the picture in with my notes and sketches and whenever I have finished the project I take a picture and put it in with my notes. This way when time has passed and I have sold the piece I have a reference when I want to make a new one.

    I also lay the book out with my jewelry because if I have sold a piece people can order from the album. People love seeing the notes I have written and they like to see what has inspired my pieces. And when the book album runs out of pages I can just put more in. I have also decorated some of the pages with scrapbook paper and ribbons and sometimes beads especially if they were materials from a piece I made from that page.

    And Everything inspires me. For instance I went to the park with my children last spring where there was a little river. It was so breezy and cool and the sun was shining into the river and ther reflection of the sky was bouncing off the water. For the rest of the day all I could think about was “How can i make something that looks like that?” So I made a bracelet out of turquoise colored cats eye beads and a mixture of seed beads. It turned out beautiful and looked exactly how I wanted it to. And that bracelet sells so often because people love the story behind it and they can go home and tell all their friends and family how their bracelet represents a river at the park…lol

  8. Mairby says:

    Rena thank you for sharing your ideas on journal keeping. Thank you for all the newsletter. I really really enjoy them and look forward to getting them. I have used a lot of the ideas already and they have been working for me! Thanks again.

  9. I love that you have such a pretty assortment of journals. I have a mess of cheap, spiral bound notebooks which are jammed packed with everything. My jewelry ideas and how to create them are jumbled with handwritten urls of sites to visit and photos of jewelry inspirations. By now, I have so many of these notebooks, I don’t even know where they are. The only neat place I keep jewelry ideas is a folder on my computer’s desktop named “jewelry ideas” where I place photos, pdf files, articles pertaining to jewelry, etc. You’ve inspired me to be more organized and be more creative about how I store my ideas. Thank you.

  10. These are great! I keep a regular spiral notebook with the names of suppliers, drawings of ideas and websites and login information where I found something of interest. Yours are so pretty! Thanks for being so generous with your time.

  11. Pauline, I really like your idea of pasting in magazine photos that have some sort of inspiration – kind of like creating a dream board.

    Thank you, Ann! πŸ™‚ I’ve heard a lot of interesting things about Evernote but haven’t used it. It sounds perfect for idea journaling on the go.

    I agree, I really don’t carry my journals around with me either – and I don’t really have a good on-the-go system. If I have an inspiration when I’m out and about, it usually gets scribbled on something like a napkin, road map, or store receipt (I do always have a pen with me!). That isn’t very handy though, and all these odds and ends of loose paper can easily get lost before I get them home.

    Miranda, very cool ideas! First, the photo album as an idea capture; and then letting customers see the “artist sketches” of your design process!

    I’m sure they LOVE that and feel more appreciative of your creation process as well as more like “insiders” thanks to that behind-the-scenes unveiling.

    I also really like your decorating the pages with physical elements too!

    Mairby, you are very welcome! I’m so glad you’re finding value in it, and we’re glad to have you here! πŸ™‚

    Zoraida, you might want to experiment with Evernote as Ann described above here – it sounds like that could be a good tool for you, especially if you’re already capturing ideas and inspirations on your computer.

    And I totally understand how notebooks can get confusing and hard to find something you know you wrote down in them awhile back! For me having each journal be about just one thing (jewelry design ideas; calendar/planning; etc.) helps narrow down my search tremendously. Still, I do have to look through the designated journal to find the info I want.

    (On the upside, though, that browse through the journal often connects me with other neat stuff I’ve written down in it but had forgotten about!)

    Thank you, Barbara! And that’s a good idea to have a notebook with suppliers!

  12. Great job! Love these coffee sessions!

    I recently went to Michaels and got a “Smash” book. It is a journal (about $10) and comes with a pen on one side and a glue stick on the other. You can easily jot your ideas and glue in scraps of paper, fabric and all sorts of things. It has many accessories they sell separately like little pockets or tags to glue in and fill out. Really cute stuff!

    I also use a 3 ring binder to organize my ideas, drawings and magazine projects. Those really expensive beading magazines can pile up quick. So I rip out the projects I want to do, and file them in clear page protectors that fit into the 3 ring binder from Staples. It’s fun to see projects I picked to do years ago and finally get around to making them.

  13. WillieMae says:

    Hi Rena,
    I enjoy having coffee with you. You have just helped me get more organized after reading about your journal. And Lord knows organization is something I really need to work on. I grab up whatever book I have at hand and jot down my ideas and that works for a while until I loose the book or just pickup another one and write in that. Your way of keeping organized have given me some ideas.
    Thank you. I look forward to our next cup of coffee.

  14. Eileen says:

    Rena, I have over 4 decade’s worth of old spiral binders about 2″ thick with pocketed inserts (some are homemade). I am in the process of digitalizing a lot of this stuff using the scanner and thinking of upgrading to Evernote to speed up the archiving process. This helps me to discard outdated information and ideas that have not evolved and are unlikely to ever develop.

  15. Hi Rena…you’re much more patient than I. I truely love blank jounals too and didn’t know you could have them spiral bound so thanks for the tip, I found that my local office depot will do it.

    I seem to gravitate to jotting everything down on sticky notes or small note paper then folding it and throwing it into a decorative jar that I love. At the end of the month or whenever I take them out and properly organize my thoughts. So appreciate your little videos.

    Fair Winds and Calm Seas,
    Deborah Leon

  16. Hi Rena,

    It was lovely listening to you on your coffee break. You inspire me all the time and I am a journal collector too. Some are too good to write on and stays blank;(

    I usually use normal copy book journal or whatever I find on sale but what is working with me is – I write the date on top. Like June 2012 when I start. Here there is everything that I find, starting from good recipe links, weight watcher inspirations to jewelry ideas and sketches. But I disciplined myself to write the date on top each day. That way everything is kind of documented.

    I have seen me going to my archives of past year diaries to get information.
    When there is no room I write the finishing date too on the top front cover. Usually one journal takes me through a couple of months or so and these books needs to be saved for future references

    But I like your idea of organizing them and may be I’ll try that.

    Thanks Rena. Dita.

  17. MaElena Rodriguez says:

    First of all, I must say just how very much I enjoy your “coffee” video series! As for my design notes (until I saw your great video today and got inspired) I usually grab any piece of paper before my idea “disappears”, and stick it up somewhere where I can’t miss it w/either scotch tape or a clothespin! When I am feeling more organized, I scan it through my printer and put it in a folder marked “design ideas”. Hope this is helpful, but I like your idea better. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  18. Rena, You are a jewel! I have a couple of sketch books, with the idea I would carry one with me and when an idea popped into my head, I would do a rough (very rough) sketch, and come back to it later. They are not spiral bound, and I definitely see how that would be a benefit. I hate the way these won’t stay open when I’m trying to put an idea into wire and beads. They are not even truly easy to do the sketch itself in.

  19. Hi Rena,
    I absolutely love your articles and newsletter. It is always a good day when I see one in my ‘in’ box. I love going thru my journals from years past. I really enjoy seeing and remembering all the pieces of jewelry I have (and haven’t) made. I have a knit shop as well and keep a knitting journal there too! I particularly love looking at the mid ’80’s when My daughter was little to see the things I made for her. I guess all this means that journals are a link to our wonderful memories of the past.

  20. Kathleen Langone says:

    Rena… First of all … I have not kept written journals to date but after watching your video I really should! I do however have my husband take high resolution pictures of every piece I have made (we’re up to 130 now)- and my favorite pieces he takes multiple pics at different angles and resolutions. But I do have ideas floating in my head that I should sketch out and put into a notebook. And yes … I don’t like journal that “don’t stay open” … so I will get one that has a ring binding like yours.

    Rena – those of us reading your blogs and watching your videos are always very grateful for the information shared with us that ultimately helps get our inspirations into reality. And also thanks to those who reply in Rena’s blogs — always good content!

  21. Thank you for everything you share with us. I too have sooo many note books, Sometimes I look thru them and don’t even know what it means. I think I need to look though them all, rip out parts I want and paste them in a new spiral big book.

  22. I agree, Patti, it helps to have some way of organizing all the ideas from the various journals. Also, after finding that some of my older sketches / notes are too mysterious for me to figure out now, I try to jot more detailed notes around the ideas I put in my journals now!

  23. Journals! Love journals! I have several of them. I have tried to write down ideas and often found that my thinking was too fluid for hand-writing. So I use One-Note by Microsoft. I love using it! It’s tied to my laptop, phone and tablet. So no matter where I’m at, my records are updated and easily accessible. I can take pictures, webs shots, type in ideas that inspire me to create. I can even use it to track an idea from concept to the actual making of the piece. I think you can even use a stylus to write something down but I have yet to try that.

    Keep the great videos coming!


  24. Cat >^,-,^ says:

    I’ve been using steno pads for years . . . they have all the good things you mentioned and are easy to find, easily accessible and easy to store.

    But i do like your idea of having a separate one for different things. I need one that I can grab and jot down those fleeting creative ideas.

    Thanks ideas!

  25. You’re very welcome, Cat! And thanks for sharing your steno pad system. I like stenos too. πŸ™‚

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