Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving


We have so much to be thankful for this year. All week I've been trying to create a beautifully written post about how blessed I feel, but ended up with a list instead.

So this Thanksgiving I'm thankful for these things big and small:

~Benny's summer of unemployment. I seems like a weird thing to be thankful for, I know. But the time we were able to spend with him was so wonderful.
~We're also thankful we made it through that time financially and that Benny has a great job now. One that he likes, and is suited for him.
~For my 4-H advisors from many years ago, Kay DeWeese, Vivian Brelsford, and Joyce Bricker. As I've been designing all the new products this year I'm reminded of them and all they taught me. How else would I have known to wrap the thread around the button to make a shank? I hadn't realized until recently how much these women really shaped the path I would take.
~For my family of course. We're all healthy, happy and have great friends. What else could we want.
~For my customers and friends I've met through J.J. Boyles Leather. This has been an exciting year and I have great things planned for 2011 as well. Because of you I've stretched myself into new directions I never thought I would take. It's thrilling and nerve wracking at the same time, like a roller coaster. Thank you for being there with me, and your continued support and encouragement!

Have a wonderful day today and tell the people you love you're thankful for them!
xo Julie

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Now I'm in the spirit!

I have lots of news to tell and some great new journals to show you. But not today.  This video brought tears to my eyes with memories and made my heart sing.  Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Great Holiday Gift Wrapping Dilemma

It's that time of year again.  These are the days when I become obsessed over my holiday packaging.  This is the big question I've never been able to answer.(Much like the chicken and egg question)  When you order a gift, either from me or another handmade maker, do you open the package if it's wrapped to see your item, or do you leave it wrapped until it's time to give the gift?

All through the year I send out my packages wrapped in brown Kraft paper and white string. I've always liked this look especially for the journals; it feels nostalgic and just seems right. But the Holidays are a different story. I like to be a little more festive since I know so many of these journals and accessories will be for gift giving.  This will be my 3rd Holiday season in business and I've never been able to put a rest to this mystery.

The first year I sent out all my journals in drawstring muslin bags. These were extra nice.... but costly!  I would have liked to continue these, but in the end thought it just wouldn't be sustainable in the long run.  Last year I just used the brown paper and red string, or some nicely colored yarn.  I know, I know, you're thinking, "How imaginative, Julie."  Well, I knew I was going to be the featured seller on Etsy for a few days in December so that was my focus last year, so I didn't obsess as much about packaging.  As long as the journals were made to the best of my ability and they were wrapped in something, I was happy.

Now this year is different.  I started obsessing earlier and found this lovely Baker's Twine in red, cream and white.  I think it looks so nice with the brown paper and is just the right thing for the upcoming holidays.  As of this week I'm officially ending my yearly Holiday Gift Wrapping dilemma. The choice is really yours whether to leave the wrapping intact until you give the gift, or to gleefully unwrap the package as soon as it arrives on your doorstep. I know what I would do....... Never has a package arrived at my door without me tearing it open to see what's inside. (even if it's not mine... I know, I know...)  It's not a matter of trust for me; I'm very confident of the quality of the products I order. I just can never resist the temptation! Here's what you'll see when you open up that USPS Flat Rate Box from J. J. Boyles this season

I hope you'll like it!  It's earth friendly, cost effective, and good lookin'.  Really when it comes down to it, it's what's inside that wrapping that matters the most. Right?

Coming this week: Special Edition 2011 One Year Leather Diaries, and oh my are they special.  I can't wait to show you!   Stay tuned......

Thursday, November 04, 2010

New in the Shops!

I was going to say "New Stuff in the Shops but my family scolds me when I call my lovely handcrafted leather journals and iPad cases "Stuff". :)

I have many, many new items in my shops just in time for Holiday Shopping. I've been so excited all summer getting these designed, made, photographed and listed. So grab a cup of your favorite beverage and take a look at what we've been working on for the last few months.  Here are a few of my favorites...

Leather iPad Cases and Sleeves

This one is really special!  A leather iPad case with our signature baseball stitch up the side, and a really unique closure. The case is made from a single piece of leather, coated in black on the inside, and hand rubbed with antique patina on the outside.  It comes in Antique Tan, Antique Saddle Tan, Antique Brown, and Antique Black.  Now traditionally, black isn't a big seller in my shops, but this black has undertones of dark brown that show through and it is so beautiful, I had to include it for this special iPad Case.

These are the Antique leather iPad Envelope Cases. They're designed like the Office Memo cases, only these are in landscape format.  Available in 3 colors.  Even though I'm very fond of the Office Memo style, this is a great alternative, and I might be making one of these for myself!

The leather iPad sleeve is simple, classic, and has an interesting curved feature at the opening.  It's designed to be easier by having the curves where your thumbs and fingers naturally go to pull out your iPad. It's available in 6 colors and made with premium, full grain veg tan leather.  Incidentally, this iPad sleeve in Antique Saddle Tan will be making a television appearance after Thanksgiving on a MAJOR TV Network!!!!  Stay tuned for more details on this.

Leather Kindle Cases
 These Leather Kindle Cases and Sleeves also fit the Nook and the Kobo.  I've used both the Kindle Sleeve with the Strap and the basic Kindle Sleeve, and can't decide which I like best!  Have I mentioned how much I love my Kindle?  No? Well, I do love it!  It's so easy to read, and one of the most interesting things happened when I got mine and began using it. All my kids loved it too!  Everyday they ask me, "Can I read the Kindle, Mom?"  Anything that gets my group to WANT to read more is a good thing in my book. (pun intended)   Hmmm, might be a good gift idea in there somewhere. 
Anyway, these Kindle Cases come in 6 colors and are just the right thing for your device. Almost all the Kindle cases you find on the market are the portfolio type that open like a book. In my way of thinking, the Kindle is great all by itself. It's light and easy to carry around or hold. Why would you want to put it into a case that adds bulk and makes the device more difficult to use? I designed these cases for you in mind, just pull your Kindle out of the sleeve and READ!

As if all these new things aren't enough, I've got more!  I'll be adding some new iPad cases soon and one very special style journal that will be a Special Edition and will only be around until Jan 31, 2011.  Stay tuned....

You can find all these new J.J.Boyles Leather items in my Etsy Shop or my Website


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Poppytalk Handmade Market Holiday Market One

Please enjoy this beautiful lookbook created by Poppytalk Handmade for the first of their Holiday Markets.

I've had a table at the Poppytalk Handmade Market for several months, and must say Jan and Earl at Poppytalk are some of the kindest, hardest working professionals I've worked with. I'm very honored to be a part of this market. You can find my table here: Julie Boyles Table 57
Be sure to look at all the tables, you'll find some very special items for the gift giving season.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Songs That Get Stuck In Your Head" Friday

It's Friday!  Remember Fun?  I'm starting a new feature today.  "Songs That Get Stuck In Your Head" Friday. It's easy to play. I'll start by posting a video or song that will have you singing it all day long.  You post your own favorite videos/songs in the comments  and we'll all get a whole day of great songs stuck in our heads.

Here's mine.  Snoopy vs The Red Baron.  I dare you not to sing along!

Ok, now post yours in the comments...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Meet Tara

This is Tara.  In my mind, she's the greatest thing to come along since sliced bread.  That's no exaggeration either!

Tara and I have been friends for quite a few years now.  She's watched my kids grow from little kids to teenagers, and now I have the joy of watching her little ones grow.  It's often the highlight of my day when I get to go visit them.

Tara is an independent contractor and since this summer has been helping me out with my shops.  She does the prep work of cutting and punching most of the leather items in my shop as well as folding and punching paper. She also handles some of the communications and customer service aspects of running the shop.  This has been an important development for my business.  Admittedly it was a little nerve wracking to take this step, it's hard to let go of that "do everything yourself" mindset. But like most things, once I took the leap I wondered why I didn't jump sooner.  Tara is very good at what she does and I consider myself very blessed that she was available for this contract! 

From the heart Tara, Thanks!  You're the best!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Remembering Baseball

When I wrote about Baseball last week, the floodgates opened and a lot of memories came rushing back. They were some of those sweet moments of childhood that remain dormant until just a word or phrase brings them all back. When I mentioned my brother playing baseball every chance he could get, I thought of the games he played, being at the baseball fields, and the way the summer sunsets looked and felt watching a night game. What I didn't remember until later was the love of Baseball was shared by my whole family. Most especially Granny, my great grandmother.

We grew up in Piqua, Ohio, (just about an hour or so north of Cincinnati) in the 1970's. Naturally, we were Cincinnati Reds fans. Granny would pronounce it "Cincinnatuh" Reds. Anytime we would go to her house, if there was a game on, she would be listening to it on her radio while she worked on her latest needlepoint project. Conversations would revolve around who was winning, how the Reds were doing that season, and all other things Baseball. (Truth be told, I only half listened. Granny had some cool stuff at her house to investigate!) But win or lose, Granny was always a loyal fan. Even into her 90's you could still find her listening to the radio on game nights.

 Those were the days of  the "Big Red Machine"  They were unstoppable and we watched and listened as they hit their way into the history books.  I remember many, many nights falling asleep listening to Joe Nuxhall and Marty Brennaman calling the game.

So with wave after wave of nostalgia coming over me last week I got busy and did what I do best.  I took the cell phone cases and gadget pouches I introduced last week one stop further.
 These cases and pouches are my own way of Remembering Baseball. Natural leather that will age beautifully just like a baseball, and red stitching using our signature Baseball Stitch.  I like this theme so much, you might even see a couple more things from me next year on Opening Day!
 I've so enjoyed making these and awakening old memories as I cut and stitched. Maybe they'll bring back some good memories for you too.  Enjoy!

Coming next week: Kindle Cases!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I had a light bulb moment yesterday.  I'm talking a great big "spotlight bulb moment"! I'm off to buy a couple new supplies and will be back later to show you what the mystery is all about.  In the meantime for your viewing pleasure watch this video and listen "Centerfield" by John Fogerty.  I dare you not to smile while watching...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Leather iPhone Cases

Summers were spent at the baseball diamond when I was young.  My brother played on any and all the baseball teams he could.  As a dutiful, loyal sister I went along to cheer him on. The fact that there were a LOT of cute boys at the same place certainly made it more appealing. 

In early June of this year I saw a beautiful, simple painting of a baseball. Waves of nostalgia hit me and I began to wonder if I could incorporate this feeling into some of my work.  The baseball itself is the key, or more specifically, it's the stitch.

After much practice and trial and error, I learned to make this intricate baseball stitch. Visions of a new line of leather cases featuring this stitch began to take shape.  Several different prototypes were made before settling on the final designs.  The first case to be introduced is the iPhone case! 
First an admission.  Up until a couple of months ago I didn't carry my cell phone in any kind of case.  There is a pocket just right for a phone in my purse so I didn't think I needed a case.  But once I completed the first prototype for this cell phone case, I started using it.  When I started hearing comments like, "Wow, where did you get that?" and "That is so cool!" I knew this was the right design.  These cases are built to fit the iPhone 4 and 3 and most other types of cell phones.  They will also hold your iPod Touch. 
These leather cases use premium veg tan leather substantial enough to have a lot of body, but not too thick that it won't bend and shape. They are hand rubbed with the favorite Antique Patinas in Tan, Saddle Tan, Brown and Mahogany.  The Antique rubs give the cases a used, worn look as well as bring out all the grains in the leather.

The cases are cut from one single piece of leather, making them very sturdy.  The protective flap slides into the strap closure keeping your phone safely inside.  This closure will be tight at first, but will loosen up just the right amount with use. Just like a new pair of quality leather boots or shoes.  Monogramming is centered on the bottom portion of the flap and at no extra charge!
The last detail to be added to this case is the little thumb notch on the inside.  When my phone would ring I was having a little trouble pulling it out of the case in time to get the call.  This notch solved the problem.
The real star of the case is the baseball stitch. Strong, sturdy braided cord is woven in and out of the hand punched holes to create the well known stitch up the sides of the case. 
 You can see these leather iPhone cases in my Etsy Shop, or on my Website.  I hope you'll take a look! 
As the week progress more leather cases with this look will be released.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Workshop

As you stand in the entryway of our home, you can tell right away this is no ordinary house in the suburbs of Indianapolis.  The enticing smell of leather, waxes and oils lingers in the air as you walk into the open living space.  The walls are lined with stacks of paper and rolls of leather, along with assorted machines and tools.  In the center of it all is the workbench.  Everything needed to craft our leather journals and accessories is within arms reach.

The sounds have become familiar to all of us. The kids hardly bat an eye when the sewing machine is clacking at a furious pace, or the hammering sounds of punching holes is non stop. The volume of the television and conversations ebbs and flows with the noise from the workspace. I never hesitate to pound or stitch into the early hours of the morning. No one wakes up, not even the dogs.  They've all grown accustomed to the sounds of "home".

This is the center; the hub of our family business and our home. In the last few months we've been considering moving the workshop to a different location. To take more of our living space back, work normal hours and be able to entertain again without putting everything away.  The decision, made by a family vote, was to stay put for now.  Each member of our family plays a vital role in the running of this shop.  Even teenage friends that stop by will lend a hand if asked.  This place works for us. Here in the suburbs of Indianapolis we have the very definition of a comfortable working home.

In the next week we'll be releasing a whole new line of leather accessories. We've worked hard all summer to get them ready to show you.  Today the final preparations are being made. We hope you'll join us this week each day for a close up look at each item. We think you'll be glad you visited.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fast Days

Did you see that?  That's the sight of these days flying by so quickly I can't keep up.  It seems like I just wake up and before you know it, it's time to start all over again! 

Is it only me, or is this phenomenon occurring to you too?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The waiting is killing me!  I'm so excited to get these new things in my shop.  I've worked hard all summer making prototypes, refining them, and finally getting the stock ready.  My new collections are having their photos taken tomorrow so it won't be long now.  Keep checking back to this spot for your first look!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What's In Your Journal Today?

What's in Your Journal today?  Hop on over to my Facebook Page and share a tidbit of what you're writing about today. I'll start....

We're officially into the second week of school.  I've got kids in 3 schools which is a new frontier for me and is proving to be quite a challenge....

So what's the topic in your journal today?  Come on over and share JulieBoylesJournals

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Poppytalk Handmade Market

I joined the Poppytalk Handmade Market this month for their special Back to School Market!  This is a little look into some of the cool new things for Back To School!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I've been quiet...

I've been pretty quiet lately. There's a good reason for that. This summer for the first time since beginning my business, I've been seriously planning for the second half of the year. Since introducing my iPad covers last month my business has turned in a great direction!

I'm still making journals, in fact I have several new, really cool journals to release soon. But the big change will be the new line of accessories I'll be launching in the next month.  Be on the lookout for refillable journals, card wallets, cell phone cases, portfolios, and laptop cases.  I've done a little shopping and have some absolutely fantastic new leather for all these things.  There will be more of the antique colors that you love, along with classic shades of leather. All of them will be ready for your Back to School shopping as well as the upcoming holiday season. 

I'm so excited to show you what I've been working on.  Check back often here and in my shops to see the latest Julie Boyles leather journals and accessories.  See you soon!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

This is a video presentation of the reading of the Declaration of Independence read by several celebrities. It's a little long and sometimes dry, but on this very important day for our country I thought it appropriate to share it. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Big Day

Very quietly today, and without a lot of fanfare (unless you count all the high five's and woo hoo's here at Julie Boyles HQ) we had our 1,000th sale on Etsy.  I say "we" because it is only possible with the incredible support and patience from Benny and the kids. Thanks Family!

I have met (virtually of course) some of the kindest, most interesting people since beginning this Etsy journey 2 years ago.  If any of you are reading, I would like to thank you again for choosing one of my journals to write in or give as a gift.  When I hear from you, or you write to tell me your loved one really liked the gift, I am humbled and grateful.  Thanks!

We have some exciting new products coming out in the next couple of months.  I hope you'll stop by and take a look!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010 Remember....

About a month ago our family had the opportunity to go to French Lick Springs Resort for a large Indiana National Guard convention. Each of us had different programs we were to attend. I went to the Family Support Group workshops.  These are my memories and thoughts of that weekend.

During the whirlwind of events that weekend I met a lot of extraordinary women.  Many were younger than me, and some were older.   The one thing we all had in common was we all had a family member that was serving or had served in the Indiana National Guard.  More than I could count had husbands that had been deployed somewhere in the world; mainly in Iraq or Afghanistan. 

I met a young mom whose husband was able to be home for the birth of his son, then had to go back to Iraq 2 days later.  She carried on and her husband returned safely almost 1 year later.  

I met another young mother who endured taking her children to the emergency room on several occasions all by herself. (If I remember correctly she had young boys... you know how that goes!) We've had our share of emergency room visits and I cannot fathom doing it alone, not even being able to tell Benny about it until days later.  This mom withstood all this with grace and a spirit that astounded me.

I had the pleasure of meeting a grandmother that had raised her grandson.  He had been deployed to Iraq and thankfully come home safely as well.  This young man had a lot of hardships in his life, and his grandmother was glowing when she told me how he had turned himself around by being in the military.

And then there is the young lady I can't get out of my mind.  I happened to see her as I was leaving the conference.  She was outside alone.  I almost walked by, but decided to just go out and get a moment of fresh air before going back to the chaos of my family.   This young lady had tears welling up in her eyes, hands shaking and she said to me, "I didn't sign up for all of this."  She knew her husband was in the National Guard when she met and married him but really had no idea what it was about or the toll it would eventually take on her.  I smiled as I listened. I have been in her shoes. 16 years ago when we were married I thought the National Guard was something Benny went to one weekend a month and for two weeks in the summer. (He would also take half the house with him to annual training so it seemed more like summer camp than military training) At that time I had no idea the impact this service would have on our marriage and our family.   Her husband is in Iraq right now, and is scheduled to return in June.  As we were talking some other women came outside with us with offers of help and advice. This is what we were there for... Family Support.

There was one other moment of the weekend that will stay with me forever.  During a formal dinner and ball, before we were served our meals our attention was drawn to a table that was set up in the front of the room.  This table was set  with all the serving pieces, a vase with a red rose, and an empty chair. The speaker reminded us that the table and empty chair were there for us to remember those men and women who weren't with us that evening. They are serving and sacrificing for us. There was a beautiful poem that described each element of the empty table and chair.  It was a moment I'll never forget.

At each event we attended the Pledge of Allegiance was said, the National Anthem was sung 
(a capella... every time).  Our family  went home with a renewed sense of tremendous pride in our country and our National Guard soldiers. 

On this Memorial Day, it's my hope you will remember our fallen soldiers from all wars and conflicts. Remember the men and women bravely serving today.  You see, the sacrifice they make is not just of themselves. They leave behind spouses, children, parents, family and friends. We call them  "Homefront Heroes"  If you meet any of these family members ask them how they are doing? How can I help you?  Tell them you'll pray for them and their loved soldiers.  And thank them for their service. 
Benny has been retired from the National Guard for a couple of years now but still plays an active role in several organizations tied to the Indiana National Guard.  We are working on a plan to tie Julie Boyles Books into a program that will benefit our deploying soldiers and their families. It may take us a little while, but it's important to us... we'll find a way.

Here are some links for more information about the Indiana National Guard Family Programs, and a couple others that will touch you and give you more insight about our servicemen and women.

Indiana National Guard Family Programs

The Pioneer Woman Images with the theme "Coming Home"  (get your tissues out!)

Thanks for sticking with me on this long post.  Remember....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day Please remember the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

If You Get Seasick, Hold On To Something!

I can't tell you how many times Abby and I practiced singing this "in echo" in the car, and we never could get it right. These kids did a great job. Notice how they stop swaying when it starts to get hard.... So Cute!

This is so cool!

Friday, April 09, 2010

More thoughts on "Writing It Down"

Megan thought this night would never arrive.  For two months they'd been working 16 hour days to get this store open.  Managers and sales people had cleaned construction dust, lugged around fixtures, steamed and hung merchandise, and polished every surface.  They would all meet in the loading dock first thing in the mornings, coffee in hand, have a cheering session, get their assignments, then start the days work, and keep going until late in the evening.  This was a huge undertaking and a very important one for the southern department store chain opening its' first flagship store in the northThe management team had come together and became fast friends.  They came from Birmingham, Atlanta, South Carolina and a small group from Indianapolis.  The cohesive nature of this team could directly be attributed to the well known, likeable store manager.
 Megan's own group of seamstresses and tailors had come from all over the world, a couple of them didn't speak English.  She swallowed the lump in her throat as she thought of the day Diana came in for an interview with an interpreter, and had cried because she wanted the job so badly.  Megan still couldn't believe how they had worked so well together to get the alterations department ready to open.  If you wanted a little entertainment you could walk into the alteration room, see and hear people from 7 different countries, each using a different language, talking and laughing like they were old friends.  It was amazing... and wonderful.
 Opening night was finally upon them.  This was to be a VIP night, and many dignitaries from around Indianapolis would be there to see for themselves what all the buzz was about. Two hours before there was a last flurry of setting things just right before they had been told, "Go home, shower, and get back here quickly.  Make sure you look good, and have your very best smile on."   As Megan put on the cream and pastel silk shantung suit she had just finished making, she couldn't hold back the excitement.  This was a life changing experience.  She finally felt like a grown up, and a professional.  The values this company stood for and taught had empowered her to finally be true to herself.  The ugly days of her previous management job were gone and this was a complete fresh start in every way. 
 Back at the store Megan took her place with the other managers up and down the escalator in the middle of the store.  There were beautifully dressed people everywhere!  They lined the railing that circled the open second floor, and stood at the foot of the escalator all around them.  The ribbon cutting ceremony began, there were speeches, and loud cheers came from all directions.  Megan closed her eyes and thought, "I can't believe I'm here and part of this.  I hope I never forget this feeling." ........
 This again is my story.  It was almost 17 years ago when we opened the first Parisian department store in Indianapolis.  It really was life changing for me, not only was the job one of the best I've ever had, but I met my husband during all this chaos. I remember that opening night like it was yesterday.  Dreamy, glittery, opulent, and joyful are all words I would use to describe what I saw and felt , and wanted to hold on to from that evening.  I wish I had kept a better journal during those days, as it is I have to settle on my datebook to remind me of the events of November 1993.   So let this be a lesson to you!  Write things down on paper, describe your feelings, write words that will remind you of sights, sounds, and even smells.  You will never regret the time spent doing this.  I'm going to go print off what I wrote above and stick it in my journal, then I'll never forget!

The "Write It Down" Special Event continues in my Etsy Shop.  A big thank you goes to all of you that have been reading here the last few days and have taken the time to take a look at my shop.  I would love to hear from you.  Leave a comment with a special memory or feeling you would like to leave in a journal!

Until next time,

Monday, April 05, 2010

The "Write It Down" Special Event Has Begun!

Ready, Set, Go!  The "Write It Down" Special Event has begun in my Etsy Shop!  Go take a look!
Julie Boyles Books on Etsy

I'll have another post this evening, but in the meantime, Go Shopping!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

"Write It Down" Special Event Starts Monday April 5!

"I tried my best, Mom; sometimes it's just too hard.  I can't sit still, and it takes me longer to get my work done."  Blake's voice wavered as the tears in his eyes threatened to fall.
The school had called again.  Marci tried to compose herself, fighting tears of her own.  The teacher told her Blake hadn't turned his homework in again, and had failed another test.
"Blake, I know it's hard, but you at least have to show you're trying.  Not doing your homework and turning it in makes it look like you don't care.  If you needed help, you should have told me."
This was the same conversation they had been having for many days, weeks, even years.  After all the meetings at the school, study interventions, and summer school Blake had been given a basic screening test for a learning disability.  The testing took a long time to complete; there just aren't enough resources in the school system. Finally the results came back, and there had been another meeting.
"From the screening tests we did, we think Blake has ADD.  We'll make some accommodations for him and see if things will get better." The counselor looked weary, there was only so much he could do.  "In the meantime, you could try setting a timer while Blake is doing his homework, or sometimes it works really well to have a reward system in place."
Marci barely made it out of the school before the sobs broke loose.  How could they have known she had tried timers and rewards years ago when the problems first started?  She remembered when she set a timer in front of Blake, and instead of working hard to finish the work before the bell went off, he took the timer apart.  Nothing she had tried had worked so far.
Now he stood in front of her wondering if he would be punished, and how long he would have to endure the same lecture. She turned away for a moment so he wouldn't see her struggle.  She only wanted to hug him and tell him it would be alright, but she had to keep pushing him, or he might give up.  Marci knew in her heart that this boy was special, intelligent, and had a kinder heart than a lot of adults.  She needed to tell him she believed in him with her whole heart, at the same time not letting him off the hook.
"Mom!   Are you mad?" he couldn't take anymore, and the floodgates opened for both of them.  Marci put her arms around her son and held him for just a moment.
"Come on; lets get started with this homework," she said as they made their way to the table....

Does this sound familiar?  This story could have happened in any home across the country.  It just so happens to be my story,  taken from several of my own journal entries over the last year or so.  I normally wouldn't get this personal, or share this much, but I have an important point to make.   I had to get these thoughts and feelings out somehow, or I really might have fallen apart.  When things got frustrating or I was so sad I could hardly bear it, I wrote in my journal.  Once I started I couldn't write the words fast enough.  (I don't use third person in my journal, I just used it here to make the story easier to tell.)  I wrote for pages and pages, and for many days.  After I got it all written down, I felt better; lighter somehow.

That's what the "Write It Down" event is all about.  Let it out, write it down on paper.  It's not the same to just talk about it.  When you make a journal entry that's just for you, and you can write anything you want without fear of someone talking back or giving unsolicited advice, it is so freeing.  The release is almost always immediate.  If you already keep a journal, you know what I mean. If you haven't started one yet, this is your chance!

This year the Write It Down journal is bigger and better!  It is my standard 5" x 7" size, unlined writing paper, in an "on the go" wraparound style.  The leathers I've chosen are amazing!  Gorgeous Brown and Classic Black Utility leather will call to you to use them again and again.  I really lucked out when I found these hides of leather.  The Brown leather is a medium shade with some darker and lighter areas. It is soft to the touch, but will wear like iron.  The Black leather has a uniform color and a slight shine to it.  Both are sueded on the under sideThe wrap around closure will keep everything nice and snug if you want to keep cards or little momentos inside.

In 2009 I made 14 special journals for the first Write It Down event.  They were gone in a little more than 2 weeks.  This year I've made 30!  I have 18 brown journals, and 12 black.  When they're gone, I won't be able to make more.  It was a one time deal on this leather!  I waited until April this year to hold the event, because I wanted you to be able to take advantage of this opportunity for Mother's Day gifts, or any special occasions coming up this spring.

These journals will be priced at $24. plus shipping!  The normal price for them would be $48, so you can see what a significant savings they are!

BUT WAIT!  THAT'S NOT ALL! When you purchase one of these special Write It Down journals, I'm going to send you a "Spare Journal To Share"  Hey, life can be tough for a lot of people right now. I'll be you know someone that could really use a journal to help them make it through.  This spare journal is a refillable one, and is 4" x 6" big!  It is made up of 25 pages of light weight chipboard pages.  2 silver book rings hold it all together.  Once all the pages are used up, simply refill it with some 4" x 6" index cards, and it will be ready to go again.  I use one of these too at my desk, and don't know how I would get along without it.  The spare is yours to use as you wish.  Keep it for yourself, or give it to someone you know that can use a little pick me up!  I hope you'll enjoy them both.

Journaling isn't just for those times when you're down.  There are lots of times when your joy is overflowing and you need to get that out too.  In the coming days I'll be sharing a little of those moments with you also.  In the meantime leave me a comment!  Tell me what you use your journal for, or why you like writing in a journal.  I've shared some of my story... now it's your turn!

Until next time,

Thursday, April 01, 2010

This is me

So this is me, Julie, the face behind Julie Boyles Books.  (literally!)  Ok, I edited out some of the dark circles, and bags under my eyes, but on a good day, this is what I look like.  I know in the past couple of years I've shared a little about myself, but now I'm going to share a little bit more just in case you were wondering.  

Don't let the gray hair fool you!  I'm not as old as you maybe think I look, but again, on a good day I can be pretty wise.  I'm a wife, mom, daughter, sister, and aunt.  My days are spent divided between making journals, spending time on the computer taking care of my shops, doing Mom duties, and then usually back to making journals.  I have 2 sons ages 15 and 13, and my daughter is 10. Just take a good look at those ages...Need I say more?  My husband is retired National Guard and now is a civilian contractor for the National Guard.  I've talked about him before here.
 Lets see, other notable tidbits,
  • Even though I make my home in Indiana now, I'm still a Buckeye at heart
  • I love playing in a handbell choir, and would really like to play the large chimes
  • My favorite reading is fiction.  Any time I hear about a non fiction book I would like to read, I secretly hope my bff Lisa will read it for me and just tell me what it's about
  • My oldest son is so much like me when I was his age, it scares me!
  • I'm left handed
  • Someday when we retire, I hope Benny and I can find a little house in Zionsville Village that's just big enough for the two of us with maybe one extra bedroom for the future grandkids. 
Phew, that's enough for now! In truth, I'm not all that complicated.  God, Family, Friends, and work just about sums it all up! 

The thing I would rather talk about is journals!  Here's the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT, are you ready......

The Annual "Write It Down Event"
starts Monday April 5!This year is going to be even bigger than last year.  I'm so excited about the special journals I have planned.  They are beautiful, and the Spare Journal to Share is even better too.  I'll share more details tomorrow. 

I hope you can sleep tonight since you're so full of anticipation.   

Until tomorrow.......... 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Evolution of a New Journal

It all began with a mistake. Back in early January I had ordered a new piece of VERY thick black latigo leather for something special. Well, it turned out that I didn't really need it after all, so ever since then, I've been racking my brain about what to do with it. At first I thought I could use it for my regular journals even though it was thicker. I was determined to make it work so I gave it a try. It soon became evident that this stuff just would NOT bend to my will. So back in the leather closet it went until I could come up with something else.

Fast forward to earlier this week....I was doing something random like playing Bubble Breaker on my phone, and all of a sudden the idea hit me! I started right in on a prototype and it turned out great. I was so excited about this new style I made the first journal and showed it off to everyone that would look (the kids, my husband, even the dogs... they were impressed!)

Then I decided I liked it soooo much, I made two more in different colors. Well all this was going swimmingly except for one thing. I wanted this new style to be a regular feature in my shops but it was a little more time consuming than some of my other journals. Visions of doing all this hand stitching in November and December were giving me nightmares so I sought to make some adjustments.

Since the two pieces of leather have been glued with a very strong glue then stitched, I tested the glue to see whether it was going to be strong enough without the stitching. These pieces aren't going anywhere! This glue is very sturdy, and durable. My one concern was for the corners. With a lot of use, there might be some extra stress placed on the inner and outer corners of the quarter binding piece. With another look into my supplies, I came up with some antique brass rivets...PERFECT!

So there you have it. The process took a couple of days, but I think it is well worth it. These journals will be a standard part of my journal selection and I couldn't be happier. This black leather is so nice, it's almost like a hardbound book, but has all the beauty of handbinding. What do you think??

These journals will be available in my Etsy Shop, and through my Website! I hope you'll go check them out!