This month’s Bullet Journal is one of my favourite ever set-ups, based on one of my favourite ever books: Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin. Join me in a coffee whilst I show it off?
Today I am drinking another coffee from Clifton Coffee roasters This is an Ethiopian coffee, the Gelana Abaya, with tasting notes of blueberry, papaya and strawberry. I’m not sure I can make out these distinct flavours, but it’s definitely a fruity coffee.
The inspiration for this month’s spread theme goes back to Christmas last year, when Martha gifted me a roll of owl washi tape to use in my BuJo because of our shared love of this book and the ever creepy Sweet James. I instantly knew I wanted to do something Other Words for Smoke themed. As always, the ideas I had in my head never quite made it onto the page, but I am happy with it. For anyone that hasn’t seen the book (first of all how dare you, read it immediately), this is what it looks like (and yes, the cover is relevant and not just me gratuitously posting one of my favourite book photos):
First up is my double page Title Spread. Usually one page of this would be a quote and the other an image, but I had too many things to go on one page. Also, I have sprinkled little quotes from the book throughout this month’s journal (surprise!) Here we get our first glimpse of the washi tape as a page divider, so I can flick straight to this month’s section. The first page is the three tarot cards that frame the story (drawn based on my own deck – The Wild Unknown), you can see the actual cards in the background of this picture. My versions aren’t perfect, but I’m happy with them. The second page shows creepy Sweet James. I’ve gone for a sort-of wallpaper effect here, with the colours matching (ish) the book cover. I didn’t have the exact shade of blue and it turns out metallic orange-bronze isn’t one of the watercolours you can get. In his claws, Sweet James is holding an hour glass, with the house from the book on the bottom, and the smoke from the fire at the top. It took me a few attempts to get this right, and it’s nothing like I envisaged it, but I do like it.
Next is my Month at a Glance Page. This page is my steadfast companion in bullet journalling, helping me to keep my life in order: March is going to be an insane busy month for me with no less than 4 overnights with work, two weekends away and a lot of appointments. I didn’t take a picture of this before filling it in, but hey ho. Again, this page features my owl tape. I’ve added splashes of pink in to match those stunning sprayed edges. At the top we have Sweet James poking a beady eye out from behind the calendar and some bones, rather like the ones I picture Bevan feeding him. Bevan is a really strong character in the book, flirty and self-assured, so I added a dark lipstick kiss to the bottom of the page and wrote her name in (I totally picture this being the kind of thing Bevan would do). I also added one of my favourite quotes from the book: “‘Is she nice, Bevan?’… ‘No, she’s not, but that won’t stop how you feel.'”
Following that are my To Do List and my Brain Dump pages. My To-Do List is laid out a bit like a Celtic Cross tarot spread but with some extra cards across the bottom because I need more space for my list, and the quote “you three again” which is a reference to the three recurring cards Bevan draws. The Brain Dump features a strip of my imagined wallpaper with a bony hand stretching out. Okay, there are no bones in the walls per se, but there’s some creepy stuff going on in there, so permit me this artistic license. I also added the quote “you will know it when it comes, you will be sure of it when it’s gone” which seemed to fit well here, even if it does look like chicken scrawl across the page. I’m choosing to believe it was intentional and made to look like the sort of diary Mae might have kept.
In a slight change up to my usual order, my Reading Page comes next, and this is quite a change from the earlier pages. I wanted to put a splash of bright, summery colour in here. I wanted something different to split up the spreads, a bit like the vignettes do in Sarah’s book, and reading is always the brightest part of any month, so here it is. I went orange, I wish it was the metallic bronze-orange of the cover, but it’s just orange, okay? Again with splashes of pink and strips of owl tape. One side features this month’s TBR chosen by Rachael, which is longer than my usual ones so took up a whole side. On the other half, I have a box for books I added with a creepy Sweet James hovering in the background, and a quote that chills me whenever I think of it : “it eats the bone and his voice says more”. Sweet James’s approach to bones bears some resemblance to my own response to books. I have a shelf for any books I manage to read outside the official TBR, and then three stacked books on a table for when I choose my top three of the month. I’ve then got a little doodle that I imagine to be Mae, with a hot drink in the house (making the hovering Sweet James just that little bit creepier).
Back to the blue and pink theme, next is my Habit Tracker. I’ve pared this down a lot this month. There are things I just don’t need to track. These are what I decided were the ones I needed this month. I suspect this will be a list that frequently changes as my priorities and self-care does. Following that is a new spread, a Tarot Tracker. It would be wrong to theme a spread on this book and not include a tarot page. Also, this is something I have been meaning to incorporate into my life and my journalling a bit more. Both of these pages are quite plain in terms of colour and decoration, and I don’t love them, but the trackers are already quite busy pages, so there’s not a lost of extra space. I’ve squeezed in a quote on the tarot page that reads “She became fluent in the cards, a private and soothing language”, because, frankly, this is life goals.
After that is my Happy Things spread. As always, it’s a double page spread and the centre is completely blank ready for me to write down all the little things that make me happy this month. I’ve edged the sides in the blue colour, added washi tape, pink splashes and a quote: “There is so much to love in you, I could have drunk it for the rest of time”, which is both beautiful and (in the context of the book) a little terrifying. In the bottom right corner is Bobby the cat, edged in what was meant to be a vintage mirror with some roses. This isn’t all relevant to the book (except Bobby) but I saw something on Pinterest when searching for cats to draw, and this is my butchered version.
Finally, we have my One Line a Day page. Another double page spread with a similar set up to the Happy Things pages. This quote is split over two pages and says: “Some days the hearth in her burns a little too bright but she knows that heat could give her energy and protection if she let it.” The doodle in this page is the house with a sort of forest behind it, smoke curling out of the chimney and what looks like roots coming out of the bottom into the ground. Look, it’s a creepy house with some issues, okay? This is the best I could do.
And that’s my journal done for another month. Do you bullet journal? Have you ever themed your spreads on a favourite book?