Friday, November 18, 2011


I've been collecting inspiring quotations since my school days, often scribbling them down on scraps of paper and later writing them out neatly into my quote journal. There's something very empowering about the words of others especially when they mirror one's own thoughts. So often I just can't put into words what I am feeling and when I find a quotation that expresses these thoughts clearly, it's very satisfying.
Emerson began writing a journal at about 15 and in it he wrote his thoughts, experiences and quotes from the books that impressed him.

"Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”
__ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have found beautiful handmade journals and artist books on the web, all of which would make wonderful quote "bibles".

Miniature Journal by Teo Studio

If you feel like sharing your favourite quotes I would love to read them.

One of my many favourite quotes is by Nigerian writer, Ben Okri ......

"We plan our lives according to a dream that came to us in our childhood, and we find that life alters our plans. And yet, at the end, from a rare height, we also see that our dream was our fate. It's just that providence had other ideas as to how we would get there. Destiny plans a different route, or turns the dream around, as if it were a riddle, and fulfills the dream in ways we couldn't have expected."

Journal by Bridgette Guerzon Mills. See more at amonobooks here.


  1. OH MY Robyn.....all those journals are AWESOME! I want one of each...LOL!
    THANKS for sharing.

  2. These are so incredible...I would not want to put a thing in them for fear it would ruin them. Gorgeous! Your blog is very lovely.

  3. Like you, I started early (13) collecting quotes. I now have 6 huge books filled with them. My writing style settling down over the years. Sometimes you just have to have someones words near enough to grasp, don't you?

    I often wonder as I write in a quote what will happen to the books when I die, binned or burnt I suspect!

  4. These books are works of Art in which we carry on creating when we use them isn't it?
    I have two quote Bibles, a real one that can be glimpsed on my blog and the virtual one at Tumblr. Needless to say, I keep referring back to them all the time.

  5. One of my favourites

    "we do not cease to play because we grow old, we grow old because we cease to play"

    George Bernard Shaw

  6. "Out beyond ideas of Wrongdoing and Rightdoing, there is a field.
    I'll meet you there.
    When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about ideas, language, and even the phrase 'each other' doesn't make any sense."
    Journal entry - lazy fat flakes of snow waft down, while kitties sleep by the fire. Cozy inside, I read Robyn's blog. Life is good.

  7. oh
    I do love this post!

    hand held
    hand made
    hand handled journals

    by hand
    old typewriters

    I have a funny thing
    writing backwards
    typing on pastry papers
    and word stacks

    prairie song,
    moth to flame
    pale wing

    xox - eb.

  8. Dale, aren't they all wonderful!?! I have rough journals that i can just jot in quickly and then a hefty special journal that I'm taking my time to write my favourite quotes in.

    Thanks Lisa G,... yes, it is difficult to begin writing in beautiful journals but i think we have to get over the fear of ruining them because our thoughts, ideas and quotes can only add to their beauty.

    HHnB, so often a quote I've written in my journal will uplift me when I'm feeling down or uninspired. Thinking of your 6 huge books .... I would love to get my hands on them. You really ought to leave them to someone who you know will appreciate them. Yet I have no idea who would appreciate mine.

    Priya, of course ! I had forgotten that my Tumblr blog is also my art/quote bible. It is great to refer back to it for inspiration too!

    India, aah yes ... the George Bernard Shaw quotation is a good reminder.

    Leslie, I love that one too..... and lazy fat flakes of snow wafting down while sitting by the fire .... sigh .... sounds really good.

  9. EB, your words are worthy of quoting..... and I have admired your pastry paper inclusions, not to mention your word stacks.

  10. What a beautiful post - I tend to get as far as jotting down on scraps of paper - ending in a jumble - but to make into my bible - beautiful - I'm away to make my special book!

  11. Be still my heart. These are a few of my favorite things. Journals and quotes. What inspiration any one of these would be to get onto paper whatever is in ones heart.

  12. Exquisite journals and quote. I hanker after each and every one! I, too, have always collected words that speak to me. My favourite quote is by Rilke and it is:

    I want to unfold. I do not want to stay folded, for where I am folded, there I am a lie.


  13. R-love Teo's journals. Thanks for bringing them to our attention. B

  14. If I could just make books well I'd be in heaven. thank you for showing us all those temptations!

  15. I have a thing for journals so talk about eye candy. Love the first one but I'm a sucker for leather journals and trees too.

  16. Beautiful! and very timely as my students are just beginning their final project - artists books. So I'll send them along to look! I just found Margo Klass and love her work. I've also been thinking about beginning a quote journal, we'll see if it happens, but I love the idea, thanks for reminding me!

  17. Thanks for sharing these beautiful journals.

    I enjoyed reading your favorite quote by Ben Okri, how true.

  18. Oh, Robyn, thank you so much for including my journals in this wonderful post. What an honor, and extra special considering that I am included with the woman who introduced me to the book arts when I was a young girl- Margo Klass!
    "As you know, I am a collector of quotes too. Here is a recent one I found that resonates with me:
    Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the surface of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise."

    - Annie Dillard

  19. Robyn, I collect journals and quotes! My journals are all too beautiful and I can't bring myself to write in them! These journals here are all very tempting :-).
    I have too many favorite quotes, but here is one:
    "Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in."
    ~Leonard Cohen
    You can read more on my Tumblr blog :-).
    Kisses to Digby and hugs to you.xoxo

  20. Wonderful! Simply wonderful. As we go into Winter in the Northern Hemisphere, this post reminded me of the "romance/ reflective quality" of the season. Cheers!

    and...we also see that our dream was our fate. It's just that providence had other ideas as to how we would get true. so true!

  21. very thought provoking post Robyn. I responded to your question about quote in this manner. though not necessarily my favorite quote, it is one that acquires more meaning as time evolves in my life and my mother's. we a dealing with her progressive dementia, so each moment is valued and meaningful. each day that we count as a "good day," is special and held on is the quote,

    William Blake - Auguries of Innocence

    To see a world in a grain of sand,
    And a heaven in a wild flower,
    Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
    And eternity in an hour.

    There are hours that seem like eternities and minutes are gentle to hold.

    Thank you for your post.

  22. AWESOME journals, and Quotes.... a great post. Thanks for introducing me to all those clever people.

  23. I have been collecting quotes forever, too, but mine are scattered about in various journals, sketchbooks, and on the computer. You have inspired me to gather them into one journal- I can't wait to get started. If I had one like any of those pictured here, I wouldn't be able to write in such a work of art, though...

    Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall. -- Ray Bradbury

  24. Ah . . . the great tradition of keeping a commonplace book. How lovely to be reminded.

    Here's one of my favorite quotes:
    "It takes wit, interest, and energy to be happy. The pursuit of happiness is a great activity. One must be open and alive, it is the greatest feat man has to accomplish, and spirits must flow. There must be courage. There are no easy ruts to get into which lead to happiness. A man must become interesting to himself and must become actually expressive before he can be happy."
    --Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

    (Although, truth be told, I think the entire text of that book is one long rhapsody of quotation.)

  25. Hi Robyn, I too love journals, have written a daily diary for years but not often in such wonderful books as these. Quotes, if you go to my backvalley seasons blog you will find a photo with one I took yesterday, love it.

  26. le livre est la clef des songes...

  27. of course,

    the Ben Okri quote is my favourite..

  28. Mmmm... fond of Okri too!
    Nice to be reminded of his wordsRobyn. And lovely to be at last visiting again and seeing what you are offering up for us to dwell on and take sustenance from.
    Couldn't help but add to buy little stash of standby journals whilst away... none quite so exquisite as your choices... but treasures still!
    Blessings to you,
    S x

  29. Fabulous journals, Robyn! Thank you for bringing them to us. I appreciate it. Your art has truly thrived over the years since I first "met" you online.

  30. be still my heart!

    eb sent me here and i am reeling in your beauty!

  31. Beautiful post Robyn, The subtle earthy colors are so captivating to me. And i love the old leathery browns and visiting their maker's blogs and shops. Lately I do more art in my journals than write... I guess the words are there in the images... roxanne

  32. Robyn-these journals are just too delicious!!! Every single one of them!! You know...I also have been collecting quotes in my journals over the years and...they are food for the soul. I can't share one here at the top of my head...but there are so many!! And i just love the quote you posted here by Ben's going staright in my journal:) xxx

  33. ooops!! That's STRAIGHT into my journal!!!! :)

  34. Found your blog this day.
    I like your ideas and your post.

  35. I've just read 3 lovely posts _ I may have been working too hard recently! Beautiful books, wonderful holes & a poignant happiness post. This quote is a well known one, but one I try most days - "grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can & the wisdom to know the difference" Simple.

  36. Thanks Jennifer, you could always glue the scraps into the book. I find old crumpled quotes rather inspiring.

    Lisa at G, birds of a feather flock together .... there are so many of us who love quotes.

    Heavens2Betsy, I love Rilke and this quote is new to me. Thanks Penny.

    Barry, When you have time read Teo's blog. She recycles leather from all sorts of sources for her journals. I know you would appreciate that!

    Oh Lyle, I know I would love your handmade books!

    Kathryn, yes worn leather book covers are a favourite of mine too...... and trees.

    Valerianna, quote books are works in progress so just start with one quote while you are sitting next to the fire one winter's evening.

    Art at Chesterbrook, I'm so glad you enjoyed the Okri quote.

    Bridgette, how exciting that you and your mentor have found each other again through this post!
    What a beautiful quote!

    Annie, ....that's how the light gets in.... beautiful!Hugs to you xoxo

    Mary, in my neck of the woods the heat keeps me inside, catching up with all my reading so it's also a reflective time for me.

    Henrietta, the Blake quote is an old favourite. I understand what you are going through.... making each day count, as my mother had Alzheimers the last year of her life. It's not easy.

    Jo, they are clever aren't they?! And each journal is a work of art.

    Sharmon, a have a journal for quick jottings and when I have the time I transfer my favourites into the special tome. You will certainly unfold your wings once you begin :-)

    Melanie, a new quote for me. Thank you. No easy ruts to get into ... so true.

    Penny, I popped over to read the quote. Inscribed in stone..... wonderful!

    Elfi, indeed!

    Grrl, it's great to re-read them from time to time.

    Sophie, it's great to see you in the blog circle again!I'm a notebook fanatic and collect them wherever I go.

  37. Hi Quinn, quite a lot has happened
    since we first met. Remember how nervous I was about putting my work out there? You started the ball rolling!And of course I remember your beautiful journals!

    Thank you Rebecca!

    Roxanne, the more I read the comments... I remember all the beautiful handmade journals I could have included in this post .... and kicking myself.

    Soraya, I actually can't choose a favourite either. There are too many.

    SIGrid, thank you.

    Emma, aah yes a quote I need to read daily. Hope you are slowing down with the work and finding more time to create.

  38. I love Emerson, and one of his quotes particularly, I begin each of my journals with it because it reminds me to be thoughtful...

    "What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    And I love the books you've showcased, they are beautiful!

  39. thanks for sharing all these wonderful journals.. I used to write in a journal years ago.. have gotten out of the habit.. but I still like to collect journals.. for the beautiful covers of course!

  40. Know thyself.
    Love Each Other.

    but of all quotes, our own song, whisper. Its divine right to own our own Voice, to know its power, to listen there, first, and honor it.

    Big Thanda

  41. What beautiful journals! I finger them, but when I do buy them, I never write in them - I don't want to ruin the promise of such beautiful blank pages it seems!

  42. I've collected quotations--and passages--for years. As I'm reading, and something catches me, I'll stop and write out the words for later. Sometimes I don't know why something is important, but it turns out that my brain is like a big storage shed and, when I go through my quotations, there is the wisdom I need every time. My quotes go in plain old Moleskines. How much better to honor these words with the sorts of treatments you have chosen to feature. What a delightful blog!

  43. how could i have missed this post?? wonderful, robyn, i am going back now to follow links. thank you.

  44. Robyn,

    Just had a wonderful few days reading all your past posts! What great inspiration and some great artists new to me!


  45. Tremendous post. I would love to hold each and every one of these journals in my hand and flip through every single page. True beauties.

  46. So glad to have found you, Robyn!
    Quote: I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything. -Steven Wright

  47. Thank you so much, have just found you...this collection is supreme, & your quotations, inspiring. I have just started to create a collection of 'happiness' quotations but have now been compelled to explore more ideals.
    Here's one that I have tagged along with since high school...I now have grandchildren...
    "To understand,
    is to 'stand under',
    which is to 'look up to',
    which is to 'respect',
    which is a good way to 'understand'."
    from a nun in Argentina c. 1960's
    Enjoy your pursuits & life in general, as it soon drifts by...