Crop CJ

Circle Journals, an introduction

A circle journal, or CJ for short, is a sort of travelling scrapbook. Normally, a group of people each starts their own book then passes it on around the “circle” until each person gets back a completed book.

You start with a plain book, either bought or made yourself.  If the covers are plain, you decorate them in whatever way you want, including the inside cover, if necessary.  Sometimes people attach ribbons or other embellishments to the book rings (if book rings are used to hold the book together).

The number of pages depends on the number of participants.  You also need to decide if you want each participant to create a single layout (one page) or a double layout (two pages).

The first page of  the CJ is an introduction.  You can use this to explain the theme of your CJ and to add any instructions or special requests (eg please don’t use glitter).  You can make your instructions as detailed or as relaxed as you want, depending on how you want your CJ to turn out.

The final page of the CJ is a sign-in page.  You may want to simply leave space for each person to write their name, the date and the title of their layout, or you may want to make it more structured.  Often people leave some blank tags in a pocket at the back and ask each participant to decorate a tag to match their LO, but this is optional.

Finally, you complete a layout in your own book.

Now you are ready to post (or hand over) your book to the next person.  You should also receive a book from the person before you in the circle.  You now read their instructions and complete a layout in their book before passing it on … and so on until you receive back your original book.   

Possible themes for a CJ

These are just ideas, there are many more themes you can choose – use your imagination …

Scrapping techniques

Use this stamp (send a rubber/acrylic stamp round with the book – everyone has to use that stamp somewhere in their LO)

My own photos – choose some photos you would like people to scrap for you and send them round with the CJ (you may need to include some explanation of what the photos are about)

My favourite poem/song/book/ holiday destination … there are many possibilities here

Recipes (maybe around a particular theme, such as cakes, or ingredient, such as chocolate)

A year – maybe the year of your birth, or the year you got married

Summer (or autumn, winter, spring or even Easter or Christmas)

A day in my life

Quotes, memories, “words to live by” – many possibilities around this sort of theme

“This is me” – various possibilities involving asking people a little about themselves – a good one to choose for groups of people who know each other a little already (eg people in a crop or other craft group)

“The view from my window”, or “my favourite view” – various possibilities here


“What I would do with £1,000,000”

There are endless possibilities and no real rules.  However, you do need to remember that the Cj is going to be completed by a group of very different people so don’t make it too restrictive.  Eg remember that not everybody has a pet, or children/grandchildren, so a theme like “my pet” or “my children” may be difficult for some to complete.
Our crop CJ, 2012

If there is enough interest, I am happy to organise a CJ within our crop.  Here is how I suggest it happens –

Start date – January 2012.  We have our CJ ready to hand on to the next person on or just after the first crop in January 2012.

“Posting dates” – handover dates will coincide with monthly crop dates.   Thus there will be little in the way of postage costs.  However, if you or the person you hand on to do not attend one crop, you must be prepared to post to them.  If postage is used, please use recorded delivery so that delivery can be tracked.

This gives you approx one month each time to complete you LO in each CJ.  If you want to do this at the CJ, that is fine.  You can hand over at the end of the CJ or post it on asap afterwards.

Finish date – will depend on how many of us take part. 

Your commitment

If you decide to take part, you are agreeing to the following –

  • To produce your own book and the first LO in it, ready to hand over at the end of the first crop of 2012.
  • To pay for postage of each CJ if you are not able to hand it over at the crop.  Or to hand deliver it if that is cheaper/easier.
  • To keep the organiser (Jackie) informed as to which CJ is currently in your possession.  To tell her when you have posted/handed over and when you have received the next one.
  • To complete a LO in a CJ each month until the circle is complete.
  • To treat each CJ with respect; to keep it away from pets, smoke etc and post/handle with care.
  • To remember that each CJ book is ultimately the property of its original creator.  If for any reason you leave the CJ group, any CJ books in your possession must be returned to the organiser or original creator.

Of course, we all know that real life gets in the way of the best laid plans.  So if problems occur, don’t worry.  Let me know what is going on.  If you need to post/hand-over late, or have some other problem, just let me know; we can cope with delays as long as people know what is happening

So what do I do now?

If you are interested in taking part, please contact me before the December crop.  At the December crop, I will tell everyone who they are posting to.  Then in January we will have our first handover.

If you want to take part, I need to know the following –

Your name
Your address
Your telephone number (will only be used in case of problems and won’t be passed on to anyone else)
Your email address (if you have one)
The theme for your CJ – you do not have to tell me this straight away, you can take your time to decide and tell me later.