Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Filed Under...

File this under - things I wish I'd thought of!  This would look great above our kitchen table.  By BenclifDesigns

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Look, New Journals

Some people like to rearrange their furniture, I like to change up my website and blog instead!  I've always liked the clean look of a white background, but recently I've been itching to try something different. Hope you like it!

Over the weekend I added several new journals to my Etsy shop.

A lot of these are One of a Kind since I'm not getting this leather any longer.  I hope you'll go take a look to see all the new journals.  I've got more ready to add this week too!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

What They're Really Saying

Someone who cares for you has just given you a gift. It might be for your Graduation, Father's Day, or even your Birthday.  Regardless of the occasion, your loved one has given you one of my leather journals for your gift. 

The card attached to the package might read:

Happy Birthday John,
Love, Grandma


Congratulations on your Graduation!
Best Wishes
Uncle Jerry and Aunt Judy

Or maybe even

Dear Susan,
We hope you have a wonderful time on your trip to Europe.
Here’s something to help you remember your journey.
Love, Mom and Dad
These thoughts and wishes may seem pretty straightforward. But when someone gives a journal to someone they care about, (you) quite often there’s more to it. They are saying something much more than the few words that will fit on the gift card.

Here’s what I think they’re really saying…

“I thought hard about the kind of gift I wanted to give you for this memorable day.  I wanted it to be special, and one you’ll treasure. There are so many choices out there, but then I remembered a gift I received once that’s been so important to me. It’s become such a part of me; I almost forgot that the first one I received was a gift.  I took my time choosing this one for you. I wanted something that was out of the ordinary and would have some meaning to you. I think I’ve found a good one, and hope you’ll like it too.”
They might be saying:

“I wanted to give you something that will last and keep on giving through the years.  This gift will be there for you in times of great joy and heartbreaking sadness.  Whenever you use it, you will feel a release, an accomplishment, or perhaps even receive an answer you’ve been looking for. 

This gift will outlast at least 10 cell phones, and any other gadgets you might receive. There is a lot of beauty in this simple gift.  You won’t have to use a training manual to figure out how to use it, and you don't have to worry about a charger, thank heavens! Eventually, as you use this, it will become uniquely yours and get better with age. We should all be so lucky!” 
From their true heart, this is what they’re really saying when they present you with your gift:

“You are extraordinary, not just to me, but to the world.  The things you have to say are important; MUCH MORE important than 140 characters, or a status update.  Write down your thoughts, dreams, and prayers.  Keep track of your day to day activities, even if you think they’re boring.  Put on paper the funny things you hear or the quotes you want to remember later.  Write about the cute things your kids say, because trust me, one day you’ll want to look back on those sweet memories.

This world needs people like you to record your history.  You may or may not become famous. You may soar to great achievements, or you might continue living a quiet life among your friends and family. Write with abandon, like no one will ever see your private thoughts. Or write with purpose, as if future generations will look to your thoughts for guidance and to know more about you. 

The true beauty of this gift is there isn’t just one way to use it. It will become whatever you want it to.  Maybe, one day, it will be so much a part of you that you’ll forget it was a gift.  I hope so.”

A journal is a very special gift to give for a memorable occasion or for no reason at all. And I’m always, always, always humbled and honored to make them for you.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Leather Experiment

I made myself a new journal over the weekend. (I know, I know, like I really need another one)  But, I have a specific purpose in mind for this journal.
I've been seeing a lot of Natural Veg tan leather lately being used for all sorts of things.  I've used it before, lots of times myself.  One of the greatest features of this leather is the way it will change colors.  Over time, with exposure to light, and the oils of our hands, it's going to change to a beautiful shade of golden brown. The color will continue to darken as long as you use it.  

So I made this little pocket journal cover.  I'll take a new photo each week to show it's color morphing process.  I'll keep you updated on the progress!

And just for fun, I made a regular size one for the shop.  You can join me in the experiment and send me pictures.  I'll post your updates as well!

You can find this journal in my shop: Natural Leather Journal Cover at

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 The Year of Wide Open

Happy 2012!  I know I'm a couple weeks behind but the time has come to step fully into this new year and embrace all it's going to offer.  I've spent the last few weeks thinking, planning, strategizing, and thinking some more. I'm calling 2012 the "Year of Wide Open" because that's the feeling I want to keep with me for the next twelve months and beyond.

As you can see, I have quite an agenda.  I could have narrowed it down a little, but each of these possibilities holds so much promise for my business and family I couldn't bring myself to leave any of them out.
In 2012 I want to continue growing this business, but with more focus on what I believe in the most... Journals and Writing.  I've said many times before I believe in the power of writing things down.  Even with all the electronics we have at out fingertips, we still reach for pen and paper a lot.  You're going to see many more journals this year starting with these

I did a little digging through my files and one thing was abundantly clear.  Every 4 out of 5 messages I received asked if the pages of my journals could be replaced when they were filled up.  I started designing some leather journal covers for Moleskine and Field Notes journals during the holiday season.  They received a fantastic response!  So sketchbook and ruler in hand I created the Refillable Leather Journal covers you see above.  The designs will look familiar since these have historically been some of my most popular hand bound leather journals, but now they're refillable.   I have just as much fun making the journal inserts as I do the covers!  
And then I went one step further and designed this

A refillable journal and leather cover just for Left Handed folks like me!  I made one of these for myself to try it out and I LOVE it!  It doesn't have all that bulk on the left side, and is so easy to use.  If you know a "lefty" I'll bet they've been looking for something like this for a long time.  More colors and leathers are coming soon in all these designs.  I'll also have some hand bound journal coming in the next few weeks.  This is going to be a great year!
One quick note
I'm taking a break from making the iPad cases and Kindle cases.  I have a few left that I'll be listing in the next couple days and that will be all I'll have for the indefinite future.  I'll go into it a little more in a future post, and may resume making them at some future date.  But for now the focus of my work will be on journals and some new leather gift/home items

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meet The Family

Holiday Collection 2011
You're going to find it a little difficult to pick a favorite out of this bunch.  There's so much delicious, leather goodness packed into this collection, it's hard to know where to begin!

I'll start with my favorite of the day.

Ok seriously, this is one amazing leather journal cover.  I made one of these for myself this summer to test it, and it hasn't left my side since.  The leather cover is sized to fit a Moleskine Cahier journal, or a Field Notes Journal, but most 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" journals will work.  I'm in the process of making my own refills for this cover, and they'll be available in my shop in the next few days.

How many times in a day do you reach for paper to make a reminder note, or to jot down an idea? (I'm talking to YOU - Post It Notes people)  

This journal is just the right size to carry everywhere with you and keep close at hand on your desk.  I'm telling you, once you try this, you won't believe how you ever lived without it, AND you get the added benefit of a clean, organized desk.  What could be better?

I'm glad you asked!
The Leather Journal Box Set

I found myself using about one of these journals per month.  It quickly became clear I needed a place to archive these pieces of my history. I looked around for some pre made alternatives, and finally decided to make something myself.  The Leather Box
This piece has become my new favorite to make.  The leather is the same as the journal cover; a substantial, full grain bridle leather.  It's a dream to work with, and always-always turns out beautiful products. I think of this box as a sculpture. (you'll be seeing a lot more things made from this leather in the New Year) Even though the box can be used for many purposes, I like it best as a home for all my filled journals.  It sits on my desk along with the journal since I refer back to those filled ones quite frequently.  It's a conversation starter for certain.

The Leather Journal Box Set comes with the Leather Journal Cover, The Leather Box, and 12 Moleskine Cahier Journals.  This set will last a lifetime and get better with age.  You can find them here:

Up Next:
What is this and why you might need one.....