Giveaway: A Journaling Kit [CLOSED]


Thank you for all the birthday wishes! I had a most relaxing time, completely ignoring my to-do list and doing everything that makes me feel good and whole: walking, spending time with my favorite people, writing and doodling in one of my regular coffee shop haunts, getting lost in a bookstore and choosing just the right birthday books for me (turns out I’m in the mood for sewing books and acquired this one and this one and this one). I’ve checked out that Twinkle Sews book so many times from the library that I figured I might as well own it and not sew from it instead of what I was doing: repeatedly accruing library late fees and not sewing from it.

I’ve gotten nothing “productive” done. And I don’t feel guilty at all — this is progress for a former workaholic.


Yesterday, I came across this post by Sew Liberated and I was nodding my head so vigorously as I read, I felt dizzy towards the end. Meg writes about the stuff I think about all the time: what’s important, how to approach the creative process, what to do if the activities we love turn into obligatory, stress-mongering jobs. She’s a whole lot wiser and more grounded and definitely way more eloquent than I am and it was a treat to stumble upon her blog. These types of musings filled with thoughtful and sometimes heart-aching yet ultimately affirming words and images were what had attracted me to the medium of blogging in the first place. It felt like reading someone’s journal, albeit more polished and less weird than my own scrawls.


I’m easing back into so-called work mode, but I’m trying to be conscious of finding enjoyment in what I do. At the Kinokuniya event last weekend (so fun! the kimono-wearing pair that participated in the Sashiko coaster demo/workshop bowled me over with delight), a lovely attendee asked me if I ever felt pressured to create things for the sake of keeping up with the blog. The short answer would be yes. Yes, I’ve sewn or painted or photographed things just so I can stick to my schedule. I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with that, especially since I need deadlines to get my mojo in gear. I view myself as being both the producer/art director and peon grunt worker for this blog. I give myself assignments and execute to the best of my abilities.

The problem, I believe, starts to rear its unwelcome head when the enjoyment and authenticity parts start to slip away (I hesitated to resort to the word “authenticity” because it’s starting to feel threadbare and overused). At some point, I found that I wasn’t actually finding any pleasure in sewing weekly outfits for K once my skills started to improve — outfits that she steadfastly refused to wear as our tastes diverged. Then I noticed that I was racking my brains for fresh content and feeling burnt out just so I could post every week day, which is when I went down to three times a week. Perhaps I’ll post even less frequently in the future, it’s hard to tell.

It’s a tricky balance. I’m a big believer in consistent habits and persistence and longevity, but I also know that rigidity can stifle the best, most creatively flourishing parts of us.


Maybe that’s why I love writing in my journal so much, which strikes the balance for me. It’s such a long-standing habit of mine, it never feels laborious (and the writing portion of the blog and to a certain extent the Furoku content I create feel like extensions of my journal). I’m not militant about how much or how little I should write per day, and I have no rules about topics. All that matters to me is that I write every day until I feel satisfied or until my window of available time has closed. Most of all, it’s meant just for me and it keeps me honest. Even though I try not to be affected by it, with blogs and books and other external-facing projects that I work on, I’m aware that other people are reading it. That adds a layer of complexity. Sometimes that layer is helpful, other times, not so much. I’ve published a lot of posts on this blog over the past four years and one of the things I struggle with is the sensation of repetitiveness. I loved this little mini episode that Gretchen Rubin did about Picasso — I often feel like I’m painting my own fakes too. As I browsed through my archives the other day, the one that is most truly representative of me is probably this one.

Anyway. With journaling in mind, a journaling kit giveaway seemed appropriate. This is a beautifully bound notebook with pink (!) grid paper. It’s the one featured in the book for the book cover project and I’m throwing in the cover as part of the giveaway too. It’s made out of this nubby, high quality grey linen and lined with a Japanese cotton. I’m also including the most amazing Palomino Blackwing pencil (it’s a limited edition style) with its distinctive eraser shape and a stripey pencil from the Anna Bond Rifle collection. Doesn’t this make a cute set?

Full disclosure: I did write in the journal as part of the photoshoot, but I’ve removed those pages so this is essentially a brand-new notebook.


Anyone game? I’ll take any comment, but I’d also love to hear about a good habit that you have. Do you exercise or do yoga regularly? Are you a water-drinking fiend? Do you have a penchant for sending thank you cards right away (not me!). I’ll leave the giveaway open until next Friday, June 24th, and will announce the winner the following Monday. International entries=no problemo!

28 thoughts on “Giveaway: A Journaling Kit [CLOSED]

  1. You bought some lovely birthday presents!!! I have to walk everyday because I have a dog, but I consider that good exercise. Also, I am trying to eat better because of health issues! I NEVER make my bed unless we are having company. It would really be fun to write things in a journal–never had one.

  2. Aw this is so sweet. I suck at exercise. I always wash my face at bedtime? Man I need some better habits.

  3. Your photos are so beautiful. My good habit is going to bed early. I have found i need more sleep than average people and am a million times more pleasant if i get my rest. So i prioritize it. Of course sometimes things come up or kids wake at night, but that’s how life goes.

  4. Happy belated birthday to you! Mmm, good habits – I spend time with the hubby every day where we talk to each other about things that have happened, will happen and everything else in between, without interuptions of phone, internet or television (success rate 99%), craft at least once a week (success rate 90%), walk every evening (success rate 75%) and drink 1.5 litres of water a day (success rate 70%). Everything else with a success rate of less than 50% aren’t good habits… Yet! But I’m working on cutting down on sugar, eating more veggie and reading more books.

  5. Glad to hear you had a wonderful day on your birthday. Buying books is a nice birthday treat too!

    At first I was racking my brains out thinking of good habits. I like reading what others have said. There are lots of things I want to adopt as good habits. For now – I floss my teeth every night (and brush of course).

    It’s very timely you are asking about good habits as my health has taken a hit in the last couple of months which has made me sit up and evaluate and now I am working on improving my health: getting more exercise, changing my diet probably due to food sensitivities, etc…

    Thanks for the giveaway. It’s always fun to read the comments too.

  6. I love reading your heartfelt musings Sanae! Something I’m consistent at… Ugg… that’s so not my personality, but loving God and loving my family are probably the only things. Oh, and coffee in the morning (drinking mine now!) And checking up on my favorite sewing bloggers to get the day started. 🙂

  7. Happy belated birthday, Sanae! I must have completely missed the point last time, because I _did_ read your post, but oh well, I’m terribly scatterbrained lately. Sorry!
    I started to run regularly a few months ago, and I try to do it every two days, sometimes three. I can’t run very far yet, but I’m making some progress, and I feel like it keeps me grounded when other parts of my life are a mess. Feels good to just put one foot in front of the other and not think about anything much. It’s surprisingly meditative.
    Off to get today’s run done now! (:

  8. What a beautiful set! My good habit is, umm…. brushing my teeth! Just not that good at doing everything when it’s meant to be done, but I do end up doing it!

  9. I just came across your book this evening, and it is in my “shopping cart” as I type this. I know I have to read it. I too am coming back into life after a health challenge. Tomorrow marks 6 months post chemo for me! My beloved hobbies of sewing and photography took a backseat, and I now finally feel as if I am coming out of the fog. I can’t wait to read your book, and take on some of the projects. So my good habits that I am working on now center around physical health (water, exercise, etc.) and I am now ready to create good habits for my mental/spiritual health, one of which is the return to creativity! Your journal set would be a lovely place to record my thoughts after the last 10 months that I have conquered! Thank you for the generous giveaway, and Happy Belated Birthday 🙂

  10. Hi Sanae!
    The photos are gorgeous for this post, I love the way I can post feel the texture of the linen and the list fabrics! My best habit/ritual is actually rather boring but extremely helpful for me! I use a very varied version of the bullet journalling phenomenon to help keepy brain clear. I have organised to do lists by topic and I add things as I need. BUT, also have pages where I jot down creative ideas, things I am thankful for in my life, as well as lists of garments I want and or need to make, and for each month I do a full month calendar planner. It sounds OCD but it really just stopse from being as ridiculously forgetful as I normally am, and it means I feel like my brain doesn’t get clogged up with trying to remember to do this and that… it has made the biggest difference to how “quiet” my brain can be now in my downtime! Happy birthday, I hope you had a splendid day- it sure sounds like it was to me!

  11. My good habit is to exercise regularly, and to knit when I feel stressed. For me knitting is like meditation!

  12. Happy late birthday! I started to leave you a comment on your last post and then life happened. Sheets are a great investment when you consider the amount of time you spend using them. ? Thanks for letting me know that Sew Liberated has new posts! That makes me happy.

  13. Happy Birthday, Sanae! I’ve been reading your blog for at least a year now, and I for one love your “voice.” It is indeed distinctive – it’s kind, contemplative, humble and witty. And I’m so impressed that in the time I’ve been reading, you’ve published two (TWO!!) books! I’m so happy for you.

    As for good habits. Well, I make time to appreciate others regularly (see above) as I find it enriches my life in a wonderful way. I make time to do nothing, as this replenishes me. I make time for friends and silliness, as much as I can. I have set up my sewing space, as this way I use it more regularly. I have learned to say no to things I don’t feel called to do, expect for those things that must be done (anything to do with needed paperwork I cannot pawn off on my husband; anything to do with my kids/close family and what they need). I’ve started to pay more attention to my body and its wisdom, and this is starting to pay off. That last sounds like a big statement, but it relates to attending to my emotions and my physical response to them; and to my basic needs for food, water, rest and movement. I do the usual self care and hygiene bits (teeth, but I’m not always on top of flossing) and I accept that all this can feel a bit much, some days, so I try to remember tomorrow is a new opportunity to be kind to me and to others.

  14. Hi Sanae!
    I used to write a a diary regularly when I was a teenager, but with the regular writing and updating that comes with social media, I no longer journal for myself. I think it’s a lovely thing to do though, great that you make the time to write for yourself.

    Good habits? I was recently given a lecture from my dentist about sugar, which I hardly eat anyway as I don’t have a huge sweet tooth. The main culprit is fruit, which he told me to eat once in the morning, not throughout the day. So I’ve been starting the day with a lovely fruit smoothie, getting all my vitamins in the morning and giving my poor teeth a break for the rest of the day.


  15. Happy Belated Birthday Sanae! My good habit is spending time in God’s word over coffee every morning, or at least 5 days a week.. I consider coffee a good habit. I try to exercise just as often, and mostly do, unless Graves is robbing me of energy then I allow self-forgiveness and rest. Looking forward to making some projects from your book and I SO love Twinkle Sews and Twinkle Knits!

  16. Happy belated birthday! I always get up early enough to allow for some quiet time in the morning. There’s a cup of coffee or two involved, whether I’m pulling a few weeds, reading emails/blogs, or playing with my watercolors. It’s my no pressure “me” time.

  17. Happy birthday! Thanks for a fun giveaway….My best habit is meditating daily for 15 minutes. I use the Headspace app to help me stay on track, and it really helps me stay calm, at least when I am able to stick with it.

  18. Good habits? I don’t know. All I can think of now are bad habits! Like procrastination. Maybe I should start some better habits. Tell you what, send me the notebook and oencil and I will write in it every day. I must have some good habits that I already practice.

  19. I love journaling! I’ve done it pretty consistently since I was six, and I bring my mixed up collection of journals on all my moves (I pack light too, I haven’t held on to much). For the past seven years though, I’ve gotten loyal to a few brands: a leather book jacket with two pen pockets that I reuse, an almost perfectly sized MUJI notebook to fit into it, and a pen that I swiped from the FedEx counter. I’m happy to buy my pens, but I love the ones at FedEx, they’re the best. A beautiful journal kit is a thing to behold, this one looks amazing.

  20. Every now and then, been sending “a parcel to a stranger” – someone I only know via Instagram, usually something I’ve seen that has made me think of them, even though I don’t know them. I also sent Christmas cards to some last year. It’s always nice to receive unexpected parcels…

  21. Happy birthday! Good habits… I started walking to work every day and have managed to mostly keep up with it since February.

  22. All I have to give is bad habits, sorry… Chocolate (too much), sleeping (going to bed too late), internet browsing (too long doing it, while I should be cleaning/sewing/going to bed). But I’m looking forward to reading all the good habits here!

  23. Happy belated birthday! I finished reading your book today which I found at my library. Sewing has been my therapy since I discovered it 45 years ago when I was 11. Your book was very informative. Thank you for sharing your story. The projects are lovely.

    One of my daily habits is to get up before everyone else, make a cup of tea, sit down with my Bible and read a bit, think about what I just read and then spend some time praying for the day and my family.

  24. Happy Birthday!!… I am attempting to make journaling a good habit, I haven’t got the everyday consistency down pat yet, but with each post, I am getting better & more regular.

  25. I wish I could remember to write thank you notes. That’s how I was raised, my mother tried so hard but the procrastinating adult I grew up to be just can’t deal with sending them on time. I used to make really elaborate cards for them too when I was a teen, like, I would draw flowers out of nature guidebooks and camping magazines to decorate them. And then of course my grandparents would proudly display them. I should really get back into that.

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