Beauty in “Junk” Journals

Junk Journaling is all the rage in crafting circles, but it hardly seems an appropriate title for something that results in a beautiful work of usable art. The term “junk” in this case refers to turning discarded or random items into a usable art form. Junk journals are today’s diary. The small diaries with a lock and tiny key are a thing of the past. Today’s Junk Journal is a beautiful book that is lovingly filled with memories. It may be a written passage or poem on a beautiful page, or a concert ticket that is billeted into a fancy pocket.

No two journals are the same, which is part of the appeal to journal users. Mary Jo Clancy creates junk journals and describes them as being ideal for someone who needs journaling inspiration. “Junk journals are perfect for the people who can’t journal on a blank page and need inspiration,” she explains.

Mary Jo works in St. Michaels in an accounting position and in her free time she is as creative as they come. Her journal pages incorporate discarded items such as fabric sewn onto paper, or lace, tape, buttons, greeting cards, yarn, cardboard, ribbon and even recycled Attraction magazine pages. Mary Jo merges her many talents on to the journal pages, including weaving, jewelry making, and sewing. She has always enjoyed repurposing items and the junk journal is another creative way to accomplish that goal.

Each page has a surprise and Mary Jo puts a little of herself into every journal. Mary Jo sells her junk journals online on Etsy, a global marketplace for unique and creative goods, in her store called Journal Me Happy. “I can part with a journal because I know that it will give joy to someone else.”

She started creating junk journals about a year ago. Suffering from chronic pain, Mary Jo is able to get through her day, knowing that she will have a sliver of time making journals. “It’s my joyful thing,” she says. Creating the journals gives her pleasure and her pain dissipates as she delves into the creative process. Writing in her journals is therapeutic in many ways, too, she explains.

Mary Jo is a multi-talented person and is a master herbalist as well as an author. Contact Mary Jo at or visit her Etsy shops at JournalMeHappy, DeepCreekHerbs or AbundantlyVintage.

Many of Mary Jo’s “Junk Journals” have a theme, including a Christmas trilogy entitled “Peace,” “Joy,” and “Hope.” Each journal is very different from each other and little pockets of treasures can be found throughout.
The pages of recycled Attraction magazines find their way into Mary Jo’s Junk Journals. Sometimes they are folded to create a page or pocket and other pages may be used for the pretty photographs.


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Allison Rogers


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