What a Beautiful Morning

Morning Journaling

It is cloudy out this morning, which makes it a good time to sit down and journal. Although any time is a good time to journal. Day, night, rain or shine, journal and feel the stress leave your body.

Why journal? It clears the heart and soul of things that get in the way. Sorrow, fear, hate. Write them down and close the journal and walk away. Better yet, tear out that page and burn it. You will be surprised how much satisfaction and cleansing this will bring.

THEN, journal about the things you are thankful for in your life, be it either the past or the present. Your family, friends, the animals in your life, there is no limit of people or things that bring you great joy. There is so much to be thankful for each and every day.

I am thankful for the clouds and rain as they are rare where I live. The beautiful sunrise I got to see this morning because my cat Thor Kitty insisted I get up. Now, because I got up, I get the witness and enjoy the rare quiet of my house, as I sit here journaling with coffee in hand and my cat curled up at my side.

Visit Thor Kitty on Face Book #DragonAlley https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dragon-Alley-Journals/156515134449134




Grow, Live Life

Things do not change; we change. ~Henry David Thoreau~

Unless we are willing to grow, change, challenge ourselves we will never become the person we were meant to be.  The best way to chronical our every changing lives is to journal.  You don’t need to journal evey day, try three times a week.  You will be amazed what you find out about yourself.

Spontaneous Natural Growth

1.Ignore negative input from family and others


3.Study, Search, Investigate


5.Discover Yourself

Developing and writing about our personal insights and thoughts can help us recognize our goals and passions in life.

Establishing and understanding our personal independent nature, uniqueness and our place in the design of life – past, present, and future – is an ongoing quest.

Learn from the past, live for today, and plan for the future.

“You should live every day like it’s your last day because one day you’re gonna be right.”   Ray Charles


Homemade Gifts for Holiday Giving – A Year of Living Cheap!

This year I will be making my Holiday Gifts!  This is a great way to save money and to make a one-of-a-kind gift for the special people in your life.

Several easy homemade gift ideas are:

Simple leather journal

Soy container candles, scented or unscented

Beaded bracelet

Leather draw string bag, pouch

All of these are simple DIY projects and only take a couple of hours, tops.  You can do an internet search and watch a video or get the step by step instructions.  IF the instructions go on and on, do another search with the word “easy” in it.  None of these projects are “Rocket Science” and any beginner can accomplish every one of these.

I melt the wax for my soy candles in the microwave in a “microwaveable safe glass bowl”.  It is easy, fun and I love the fact I have candles made by me in my home!  When making the leather draw string bag, there is no sewing if it is round (like a dinner plate)!  Punch holes evenly spaced, run a string or leather lacing and it is done.  You can choose to decorate with beads or if you are using suede leather you can paint on it.  It is really simple and fast.

So choose your project, don’t go overboard when getting the supplies.  Simple is always better and won’t hit you in your pocket book like a bomb went off. Your friends and family will love the gifts you made just for them and you will not have to touch those credit cards this year!

If this is not your cup of tea, then support local crafters and go to a craft show to get your unique handmade gits!



For great Custom Books, Leather Journal, Planners @ http://stores.ebay.com/Dragon-Alley-Journals


Create What You Love

When I first started out making journals it was out of necessity.  I had just been layed off from my job and the journal I had bought from the Renaissance Festival years before was worn out and tattered looking.  So I started looking online at journals and found the prices (for someone who was without a job) excessive.  So I grabbed my old journal took a good look and decided “I can do this”!  This is how Dragon Alley began.

I went to my local leather store and found a nice piece of black leather.  Then I went to my local office supply and got acid free, recycled paper for my journal, nothing fancy.  I used unlined paper as I also use my journal for an Art Diary.

Then I agonized for several hours were to cut the leather for my journal.  Did I want a natural edge or did I want to cut a fancy edge.  As I am a very down to earth person, jeans and t-shirt girl, I picked the natural edge of the leather.

My next step was to take 50 sheets of 8.5 by 11 paper and cut it in half to make one hundred 5.5 by 8.5 sheets which equals 200 pages.  I three hole punched each sheet, and did the same on my leather (use a leather punch on the leather).

The last step was to cut two long strips of leather to make my binding and a tie to keep my journal closed.

This all sounds like a fairly simple process but I am a perfectionist and this little project actually took several days.

I now make journals for a living and I love the creativity, the touch and the smell of the leather.  If I could I think I would keep every journal I make.

I love what I do and would not change anything about how I got here.  Create what you love!

If you want to see my journals and other leather items I make, go to my site on eBay at:


Leather Journal







DIY Make Your Own Black Ink

For those die hard re-enactor fans, here are two ways to make black ink for your feather quills!

Making Black Ink

  • 1/2 tsp lamp black (which you can buy or can make by holding

a plate over a candle and collecting the soot or from collecting

other char)

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp gum arabic
  • 1/2 cup honey

Mix together the egg yolk, gum arabic, and honey. Stir in the lamp black. This will produce a thick paste which you can store in a sealed container. To use the ink, mix this paste with a small amount of water to achieve the desired consistency.

Making Charcoal Ink

  • Barbecue grill or metal fire pit
  • Kitchen scale
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Distilled water
  • White vinegar
  • Glass jar
  • Glass bowl
  • Wire brush or metal whisk

1 Burn a handful of charcoal briquettes in a barbecue grill or metal fire pit until they turn to ash. Wait until the ash has cooled completely. Use a kitchen scale to measure 1 oz. of charcoal ash. Place 1 oz. of charcoal ash in the glass bowl.

2 Measure out 1 oz. of distilled water and add it to the bowl containing the charcoal ash.

3 Stir the charcoal mixture with a wire brush or metal whisk. As the water and ash combine, the mixture will become very dark. Continue to mix it until the clumps of ash disappear. Be careful to not splash the ink because it will stain your clothing or counter top.

4 Add one drop of white vinegar to the mixture and carefully stir it in. The vinegar adds stability to the ink and makes it more permanent once it has dried on paper.

5 Pour the ink into a glass jar that has a tight-fitting lid. The ink will last longer if it isn’t exposed to too much light. Keep your glass jar in a dark place, or you can wrap paper around the jar and tape it to hold it on tight.

Come and join me on FaceBook @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dragon-Alley-Journals/156515134449134?ref=hl



Your Creative Journal

Creative Journaling/Writing has no boundaries unless you make them.  Write, draw, stamp, color!!  You don’t have to stay within the lines.  Write a story; create a song, a poem.  Over the years you will build a wealth of notes that could lead anywhere you want to go, the next great novel, or screen play.

You never know!!

“All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” – Steve Martin


1.    Romantic

2.    Lyrical

3.    Silly

4.    Thoughtful

There are quite a few faces to poetry, from metered rhyming verses to free style to a more formal structure.  All are great for journaling; whether they are serious, fun/silly, and lyrical or thought-provoking they are all a great form of expressing yourself in your journals.

Free Verse Poems

1.    Emotions

2.    Worries

3.    Humor

4.    Sensitivities

Free verse poems don’t rhyme or have any set meter but they flow from you mind, your heart, and your soul with rhythm.

Essays and Prose

1.    Fiction-Write a story

2.    Real life-Write about a day/week in your life

3.    Fable-Write a fairy tale

4.    Observations

Create a fairy tale with yourself as a hero.  Use fact, fantasy and anything else that comes to mind. Bring out the writer that is hiding within you.  Create a drama and spill your guts.


1.    Tell a story

2.    Parody-Tong-in-cheek

Songs usually tell a story.  Pour your heart out; let your emotions tell a story in song. Write a funny parody about life.  Write a song about your child, your favorite pet or a lover.

Journal, Write, Create

See my Leather Journals at http://stores.ebay.com/Dragon-Alley-Journals



We all have choices we need to make in our lives, good choices and bad.  Usually we don’t know the results of what we choose to do until days, months later.   Then we live with the consequences.

But that is not to say a bad choice or one that didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to needs to impact us negatively.    As long as we learn from our mistakes, it then was not a mistake, but a life learning experience.

Don’t be afraid to put your foot forward for fear you will stub your toe.  What a huge mistake that would be, as then you will never know where you would be or what you could have accomplished.

There are times I have “commitment phobia”.  I fear making a decision because I am afraid of failure.  I am working to overcome that fear and to learn to make commitments to myself and to others. If it doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, I learn from the experience.  When you learn you grow not only in knowledge but in life experiences.

So make those choices and go forward and learn from the experience.

“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.”
Stephen R. Covey