Martin’s Cove Journal – Finished

Here are my finished journals for our family reunion in Martin’s Cove. On my prototype I used some scraps of mat board. But to keep the project on a tight budget mat board wasn’t practical for the real thing. I thought about chipboard but when I stopped at Hobby Lobby to see what they had I didn’t find any sheets of chipboard. What I did find was a package of 80# cardstock on clearance in neutral colors. It has some texture with coordinating core designed for sanding to make it look more rustic.

I cut the 12″x12″ sheet to 6″x8.5″ – two for each journal. Then using my wire binder punched holes in the journals and the covers. I didn’t want to use the usual wire to bind it together because I was looking for a more rustic, old-fashioned look. So I dug into my yard scraps and using a darning needle put the yarn through the punched holes is a criss-cross pattern and then tied a bow. I also tore the edge of the right edge of the front cover. I will have coordinating colored pencils at the reunion so that family members can personalize the cover of their journal if they would like.

I’m happy with how this project turned out. I kept it from getting too complicated (one of my challenges) and I kept it from getting too expensive to execute (another challenge). I hope that my family enjoys their journals and that the journals help them to connect with Mary Taylor in a new and more meaningful way.


How To: Martin’s Cove Journal

After getting an idea of what I wanted to do with the Martin’s Cove Journal, I was ready to get started. One of the things that I have found that it works best when using InDesign on a project like this is to start with a master page. Since this is a simple book I only did one master page (2 page spread) but on more complex projects there will be more master pages. Since I knew that I wanted a side bar on the left for a time line I first put a guide at 2 inches. Next I put a second guide at 2.25 inches to help me with spacing for the second text box on this page. On the right hand page of the master I made a series of lines as journaling guides. These line are just .25 points think and to make them even more subtle the stroke is a tint of 30% black.

left-hand page - Martin's Cove Journal

From here I applied the master page to most of the pages of the journal. Next I decided to pick the fonts for the project. I wanted a font that would help to create the mood of old pioneer and 1856 so I did a google search and found Fontscape’s typeface directory. They have fonts by period, so I looked at Victorian (1850 to 1890) but they didn’t seem right. Then I looked at Wild West (1850-1900). I decided on Birch which I liked plus I had on my computer too. I used Birch to do the time line but felt that the text of excerpt from Mary Taylor’s history would be better in something more like handwriting. We don’t have any journals from Mary Taylor but I wanted these entries to give that more intimate impression. After searching though my script fonts I settled on Rage Italic.

right-hand page - Martin's Cove Journal

When I got text placed into the time line and the excerpt I thought that the left page needed something to separate these two text boxes. So I went back to the master pages and added a line and adjusted the guides to accommodate the change. At this point I also added lines across the top of both pages and one across the bottom of the right hand page. While I was on the master pages I put in page numbers. At this point the journal is really started to take shape but it seems too sterile.

black swirl


I wanted it to have more of an old-fashioned feel so I went to the internet to find some clip art to enhance the pages. First I found a swirl at then a splotch at I created another layer on the master page for these images. It took awhile playing around with placement and transparency to get the look I wanted. For the cover I placed the only photo I have of Mary Taylor and adjusted the swirls and the splotches to make the cover work.

The Handcart Song - Martin's Cove Journal

Another thing I wanted was a spot to put some information about what was happening in the rest of the world. So I adjusted the right hand page and added a text box on the bottom of the right page with room for a couple of events with dates. After I let the project sit for a day or two I decided to add the lyrics to “The Handcart Song” on the back. This was a favorite song of my great-great grandmother. Besides singing it as she traveled to Utah in 1856, she sang it her whole life.

pedigree chart - Martin's Cove Journal

The last thing I wanted in the journal was a pedigree chart. I made one using the pen tool to make straight lines. There is probably an easier way but I made a vertical line and a horizontal line and made copies of them to build the chart. After I got everything arranged I zoomed in to make sure the intersections of the lines was precise. Then I made text boxes for all the names. Note that I put these on another layer so that I wouldn’t accidentally mess up the pedigree chart while playing with the names. I also used Rage Italic to put relationship labels on the pedigree chart. I used the 30% black tint to make sure these didn’t compete with the names.

I showed my mom a proof copy yesterday and she is very excited. She said it would be worth going to Martin’s Cove just to get the journal. She is 89 years old so going to Martin’s Cove isn’t easy. My parents have decided to stay in a hotel. They don’t feel up to camping.

I haven’t figured out how to put the template here to download so if you would like an InDesign template for this project send an email to Did you find this post helpful? I’ve never tried to explain how I put together a book before and I’m not sure if what I wrote is the kind of information that is meaningful, so I’d love some feedback.

Martin’s Cove Journal – Finishing up

I’m really excited about how this came together. I was hoping it wouldn’t take too much time and I really tried to keep it simple. But at the same time I wanted it to have some personality, to help draw people into the experience at Martin’s Cove. When I did this cover with the only photo I’ve ever seen of Mary Taylor, I noticed how much she reminds me of my Grandmother. I don’t know why I haven’t seen the resemblance before.

credit page & find your why page - Martin's Cove Journal

This first spread is a place to give credit where I got my information and to give space for family members to journal about why they came to Martin’s Cove and what they hope to learn from the experience. My hope here is to help each person take the this opportunity to do their own generation project.

Our Family Tree - Martin's Cove Journal

This next spread is for the second step of a generations project – populate your tree. I filled in the basics of the information that is common for everyone who is coming to the reunion. They will each have to fill in the left side of the tree depending on who they are. This was a little tricky to figure out how to lay it out. I hope that it is clear on how each family member connects back to Mary Taylor.

content pages - Martin's Cove Journal

The rest of the pages up to the last page look like the page above. On the left had side there is a simple timeline of events along with excerpt from “Some Must Push and Some Must Pull; Mary Taylor, handcart Pioneer And Her Descendants”  by a distant cousin Kenneth L. Rasmussen. The right hand page of each spread is for journaling. At the bottom of the journaling pages is a date from history. The purpose of these pages are to help each person to “mix it with history” and “walk in their shoes” as suggested by The Generations Project.

The Handcart Song - Martin's Cove Journal

The last page of the book is the words to a favorite song of my great-great-grandmother, “The Handcart Song”. She sang this song not just while she was crossing the plans but all her life. I want to learn all the verses and help my family to learn it too.

I’ll do another post later in the week on the “how to” of putting this journal together and if I figure out how, I’ll have an InDesign template that you can download and adapt to your needs.

Martin’s Cove Journal – getting started

One of the things I’m working to improve in my projects is my workflow. So I’m experimenting on new ways to approach the process. To start with I am going to try to follow Nancy Barnes’ method of

  1. imagine
  2. plan
  3. create
  4. edit
  5. design
  6. publish

and see how that works for me. In the past I have jumped to the design stage too fast and it ends up taking more time than necessary. Part of the journey of this blog is for me to learn and improve as I share what I find with others. So I took some time this week to imagine what I want the end product.

  • compact
  • rustic
  • durable
  • timeline of events
  • excerpts from journals & stories
  • space to journal, draw, add photos
  • historical info
  • pedigree chart

I’ve decided to make it simple to self publish with my printer and a copier, I’ll make it 8.5″ x 5.5″ (half sheet of letter size paper). Don’t know how I’m going to bind it yet. If I can’t figure anything else out I’ll use wire binding because I can do that myself. I think I’ll have a bit of rustic/grunge on the pages that will help add an old feel to the journal.

I started working on the timeline of events and journal excerpts from sources on the internet and a book recently published by a distant cousin, Kenneth L. Rasmussen “Some Must Push and Some Must Pull: Mary Taylor, handcart pioneer And Her Descendants.” I found a great timeline for the Willie company but I found out that much of the documentation for the Martin handcart company was lost. There is some conflicting information that I’m going to have to decide how to resolve. Plus I need to decide how much is enough. I don’t want a big long comprehensive journal, just enough to give my family some background and a sense of what happened to Mary.

The general plan of the layout of the journal is to have the timeline in a side bar down the left side, with excerpts from journals on the rest of the left hand page. Then I’ll keep the right hand page on each spread open for thoughts, sketches etc.

What kind of approach do you use when you start a new project and as you progress through? I’d love to hear and learn from your experiences.