Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

I will be putting up photos of the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat musical in a few days, but I couldn't let this day go by without saying something about Veteran's Day.

As this day rolls around each year I always think of my Great Uncle Joe Brookhart who served in WWII. At my Great Grandparents house there were multi colored stones embedded in the concrete beside the garage with his name and the year he went to war. I was little so the explanations as to why those stones were there went right over my head. I never heard him speak of his experiences during the war until later in his life. I still marvel at the courage that he had at such a young age...... He was the one to give me my nickname, JJ. I miss him.

I also think of my wonderful husband Benny. He has served for 24 years in the Indiana National Guard and retired 2 years ago.
He spent time in an Artillery Unit, Recruiting, and a Finance Unit. This career has meant so much to him, and is such an integral part of who he is that it's hard to imagine the kind of man he would have been had he not signed up as soon as he was 18. When we first married, I didn't really know much about military life, or the impact it would have on us throughout our marriage. I know now. Words really can't do justice to what I think of this accomplishment of his..... Simply put, I'm proud of him.

I also think of several friends we have that are now deployed in Afghanistan and around the world on missions unlike any we have seen in history. We miss them, and hope they are safe.

My heart and prayers go out to the soldiers at Fort Hood, and their families, and to all the men and women that are serving our country all over the world. Tonight when I lay down my head to sleep, I will remember them, and remember that we are free because of what they do everyday.

It doesn't seem like nearly enough, but from my heart.... Thank You!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Non Journal Entry

I've got Donny Osmond on the brain this week...... Ok, I know I'll be dating myself here, but let me explain.

When I was young, Donny was my first love. No doubt about it.
I listened and sang along to all these songs for hours on end. Admit it, you did too! Who could resist singing "Puppy Love" or "The Twelfth of Never"? I'll bet my mom got sick of hearing these songs over and over........ I'm sure my brother "no singing at the table" did.

Ooooh, this was my favorite album! When Donny sang "This Is The Moment" from Blue Hawaii, I would ask "who's Elvis??"

Ok, enough of that reminiscing! Now Donny is on Dancing With The Stars, and I have enjoyed watching it so much!
I used up all my votes for him this week! I like it that he is only a few years older than me, and he can still be dreamy as we get older.

But the real reason I have Donny on the brain this week is this:

My son's school, Brownsburg East Middle School will be putting on their production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" this weekend. Now, the kids and I have been watching the movie version of this musical for about 8 years now, ever since Abby was still in a playpen. Sometimes when there's nothing on TV I would say, " Put the Joseph movie in" and we would watch it again.
So needless to say, all of us have this musical memorized from start to finish, all the words, expressions, the drama, the WHOLE thing! When we found out that the kids would be doing this musical this year we were more than excited. Patrick signed up for the chorus, I volunteered to help with costumes, and now the time is here. We are all excited to see the final production this weekend. The kids have all worked so hard, and a lot of parents have helped out to make this thing really happen. If I remember to take my camera to practice today, I'll show you a few shots of our version.

Stay tuned!

By the way, if this all sounds a little loopy, and not at all like my serious manner, it's because I've been up too many nights making costumes, attending rehearsals, and still trying to make a lot of journals! Not enough sleep!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh, man!

On this fine fall day, all I have to say is...

I need more of this

And much Much more of this....

Just sayin' .......

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Ooooh, this one is Sharp!

I just listed this one in my Etsy Shop, and it is really a sharp one!

You can read more about it here! I've got some more like this coming in different color combinations too. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How Can It Be Fall Already???

Wow, the summer went by quickly didn't it! It's supposed to get nice and cool here this week, so fall will definitely be in the air! These next few months are my favorite time of the year! This year we will have a lot of new things to look forward to, as well as the traditions we keep up with every year! The boys are participating in a school musical for the first time, and my daughter and I are helping out with the costumes. We'll have Thanksgiving in Ohio again, and then there's the exciting Holidays! I'm sure it will all go by all too fast, just like the summer!

Since we're getting ready for the Holidays, I've been busy adding some new things to my shop! I've got some smaller size pocket leather journals
I had some paper cut a couple months ago, and made a mistake with the size. I didn't think I'd be able to use it, but it turns out it's just perfect for these pocket journals.

For all of you that like a refillable journal, I've got these new ones

I get asked a lot if I make refillable journals, and really wanted to come up with something special for this type of journal. I worked for quite awhile to get these just right, and am really happy with the way they are constructed. The paper in the journals is loose paper, not a premade journal. The pages are punched, and tied with a leather cord into a riveted piece of leather on the inside of the journal. The inner leather piece has been glued, and stitched to the outer cover. This really makes the journal look like it is hand bound, plus gives added strength!

Another great thing about these refillable journals is that the papers are standard sizes, so they will be easy to refill. The largest size (yet to be listed) is 8 1/2" x 11", the medium size is half that at 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", and the smallest size is a quarter sheet at 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". I will be offering refills for these, but they will be easy to do it yourself too!

The newest journal added to my shop today is this really cool Belt Buckle Journal! New territory for me, but I'm excited about how it turned out!

Even though the belt buckle is functional, if this were my journal, I would use the easy to open snap closure on the back! I will be making a few more of this type using different buckles!

That's about all the news for now! I'll be updating you as the season progresses. I hope you have a Happy Autumn, and enjoy all it's pleasures!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Basic Leather Journal Anniversary

One year ago today I listed in my Etsy shop a Basic Burgundy Leather Journal. It sold the same day. . . . talk about Exciting! For most of the summer last year I had been trying to come up with something that was my own version of a Moleskine Journal. If you've never heard of them, the Moleskine journals are wildly popular, and have a huge following. I just wanted to create something of my own that was "simple, beautiful, and basic. This is the very first one I listed

This basic journal has gone through several upgrades-changes during the year, and here's the final version I've settled on
This has become my most popular style of journal, and I think it's just about my favorite one to make! It is my Go-To journal for many different occasions. I've used one myself, given them for gifts, made them in more colors than I can count, and sometimes have made them in different sizes and leathers.

So fast forward to January of this year. I made so many of these during the holidays last year, I thought I would challenge myself to make something new, and tried my hand at making hardcover journals. They turned out really well, but I really wanted to make some out of leather. I had quite a challenge finding leather that was thin enough, and gave me the look I was looking for. I found that I missed the exposed stitches on the binding. So I began figuring out how to make a leather hardcover journal, with the same binding I use on my basic journals. During this summer, I really put my nose to the grindstone and came up with what I thought would really work well. I tried several leathers and treatments, made several practice journals, and have finally come up with this
Meet the new Basic Hardcover leather journal! It isn't meant to replace the one year old Basic journal, it's just a "more" alternative. I've been using a prototype of this book for about a month now, and Oh My Goodness this is a NICE journal! I wish you could all just hold it in your hands and feel how special it is! You can find this in my Etsy shop, and I have more coming. This color is a Mahogany stain, and I have Brown, and Black stained ones coming this weekend! This one has unlined paper, but it will also be available with LINED paper! Did I mention that almost all my journals are available with LINED PAPER now! It is my hope that this journal will fulfill that same wish to be "simple, beautiful, and basic" just like its predecessor! I think it does, what do you think?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Rampin' It Up!

It's that time of year. August brings the beginning of the end of summer, school stuff, and ramping up journal production for the upcoming holiday season! The kids and I are finishing up old projects, cleaning the house, setting up study areas for each of them (in hopes that they will use them), and I've been very busy preparing journals.
There are about this many more on the other side of the table too. It's exciting isn't it! After the first of the year I got tired of being isolated in my studio all the time so I moved most of my work out to the kitchen table, then that got to be too much also. Now I have a large table set up in our living room off to one side so I can be a part of everything that goes on. It's really worked well for us (except if I have to watch one more episode of Hannah Montana, or iCarley, I think I might lose it!)

I have some really exciting things in the planning stages for fall and the holidays! A hardcover, leather exposed binding journal, refillable pocket calendars, and refillable planners are just a few things in the works here! I'm trying to stay on top of the game here because I also have more exciting news!
I have recently re-joined the CCA Gallery! This is an exciting development, and I couldn't be happier to be back there. This time instead of joining the gallery with my paintings, I'll be offering journals. I've been looking to grow into the "real world" with my journals instead of only online sales and this will make a great fit! The CCA Gallery is moving to the Brick Street Mall on Main Street in Zionsville which will be a great thing for the gallery and for Zionsville! We're having a grand opening on Friday Aug 7 during the First Friday Gallery Walk. If you're in the area, stop by and see this new space, it is going to be fantastic!

So with getting ready for school, fall, the holidays, and filling up my space for the CCA Gallery I've been working night and day to get enough done. I have great hopes for the next few months and I'll try to take you along for the ride! I'll post some photos of the new gallery later this week!

Back to work!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


It was just about one year ago that I started working with leather for my journals. Ever since I began, I've been trying to figure out how to achieve a "stained antique" look. I've tried a lot of treatments, dyes, colors, and some of them came really close. But I just couldn't get exactly what I wanted. Until yesterday! I've finally found an antique patina that is suitable for leather and really achieves EXACTLY the look and feel I've been searching for.

Finally! Talk about an exciting day at Julie Boyles Books! I hurried up and made some and they are available in my Etsy Shop. The color choices are brown, and black, and they are beautiful!

As if that wasn't enough excitement, I've also started carrying LINED paper for all my journals. I'm only listing a few right now, but the lined paper is available for all the styles of journals I make.
This may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, it has taken quite a while to work out all the details. Lined paper is an often requested feature for journals. Well, it isn't readily available to buy pre lined paper that can be used for handbinding journals. Up until now, I've been taking special orders for them, and printing my own paper. I've recently been in touch with my wonderful printers, D&E Printing of Brownsburg and in the future they will be printing lined paper for me! There will be an extra charge for the lined paper, because it has to be printed, but for those of you (like me) that like some lines on your paper, I have it now!

Coming up later this week, I've got a very special blog post about some recent happenings around here. I've just got to get the photos straightened out and will write about it soon!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Whole Bunch of New Journals!

I've been working hard to create some new, fresh journals for my Etsy Shop! Along with these, I have some great gift type things planned for the holidays! Stay tuned for more updates.
Index Card Ring Binders! 3"x5" Just the right size, and I use mine everyday!

Full Notebook size Ring Binders! These are impressive! Free Monogramming is available on all ring binders, index size, and full size.

And finally, a selection of Special Edition journals. There will only be 10 made of each style. These are truly nice journals! Check out my Etsy Shop for lots more!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day

233 Years ago today, our nations founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.
Following is an excerpt from the beginning of this important document...
Some of the phrases that jump off the page for me are:
  • Endowed by their Creator
  • All men are created equal
  • Unalienable Rights
  • Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness
  • Consent of the Governed
On this day, I am very grateful to the men that forged this document, and the countless men, boys, and citizens of the 13 colonies that fought and died for my freedom to be able to celebrate today.

How are you enjoying your freedom today? Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear what you're doing! We're working in the yard ;0) Whatever you're doing, going to a parade, picnic, watching the fireworks tonight, I hope you will enjoy it to the fullest, and remember the courageous convictions and bravery, of all those that have stood for freedom!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Legendary Plants

Earlier this spring I decided that I wanted to grow Castor Bean Plants. (Well, really it was my mom's idea, and I just joined in.) If you're not familiar with these plants, they are very large plants. I mean GIANT! They can grow anywhere from 6-8 ft in one growing season, and they start with a seed about 1/2" long. My daughter would call this a family tradition. All the women in my family have grown these monsters, and it was about time for me to take my place in the lineage of the Castor Bean Planters.

So shortly after Mother's Day my friend K gave me some of his seed pods and we split them up with Mom. The kids and I got them planted sometime around the middle of May. As of this morning here's our progress...

At this point I'm getting a little nervous. Keep in mind these are supposed to grow as tall as the house, and as of now they don't even reach my boy's knees. I was just at Mom's house earlier this week and hers are a little taller than this.

But here's the kicker. My great grandmother (Granny) grew these plants and they were the stuff Legends were made of. (Actually Mom's were too, but I don't have any photos of hers) Granny would plant these Castor Bean Plants in the same spot every year. Just take a look, and you'll see I'm not kidding...
That's me and my little brother c. 1970.

Oh man, I've got some work to do! I'm off to give my little Castor Bean babies some food...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Important Lives

It has been a really sad week hasn't it? The loss of three "cultural icons" this week seems to be the main topic of discussion in the last few days. Although it may be necessary to mention the passing of these celebrities here, I tend to think the news media is doing their usual job of keeping these headlines alive. They don't need my comments added to keep the stories going. And while Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson may have been important people to our culture, and will be missed, I think it is important for our family to keep things in perspective.

There were countless other people in our country that fought and lost brave battles this week. There were also many others that left us too soon, and we are still in shock of the suddenness of their passing. We may, or may not know their names, or have relationships with their families, but their lives were important as well.

Our community of Brownsburg Indiana lost a few important lives this week. Their families will be greatly impacted, and our little town will be as well. The two young Warnock girls watched as their estranged father crept into their house and ended their mother's life in front of them. The Ophoff family lost a teenage daughter to an auto accident, and another young man lost his life in a fast burning fire. These three lives were important. . . equally important as the three celebrities that passed this week, maybe just not as well known. In the eyes of The Lord, all lives are cherished and important.

So after looking at the 9000th photo of Michael Jackson and "Thriller" tonight I just wanted to say to the Warnock girls, the Ophoff family, and the family of the teenage boy in the fire, on this night you are being remembered by our family. We are thinking of you, missing you, and praying for you. Your loved ones lives were important.