I've been watching more videos on youtube, looking for stuff to post here and also for inspiration. I've also been looking at photos of art on flickr. One of the things that I've noticed is the overwhelming amount of unique journals people are using. Of course there is the ubiquitous moleskine, one of my former faves. but there are also large quantities of other books being used. There is the reclaimed or re-purposed hardback book in which the artist gessoes the pages and works on a printed page. There are spiral bound books, which I've never been a fan of for art journaling but was for sketching- they lay flat, come in a variety of papers and are easily found. The are also great if you focus on writing in your journal. There are the coptic and long stitch handmade books, I've also noticed and interesting phenomenon in which people are working on a plain flat page and then punching 3 ring binder holes and binding the pages in big giant 3 ring binders or into scrapbook covers. Whichever style of book you choose there are lots of options out there.
Take for instance, you can get a unique decorated moleskine on artfire for not too much more than you would pay for one at B&N or Borders. These are pre-decorated by an artist in many styles.
To find a reclaimed hardback book one needs only go to the local library and look for a book in the sales pile, ask your librarian for help. Also the Salvation Army and Goodwill have book section which you can go through. My local Saver's store has a section of some cool and wacky books, many of which would make great altered books. Also don't look past some of those "employer schwag books" these are the books that employers give out at interviews and job fairs to try and get people interested in coming to work for them. Some larger companies have some really nice schwag books, perfect for manipulation and editing.
Coptic books are a favorite of mine, They are great for sketching outside becuase the binding easily folds over on itself, they are often hardback, which makes for great sketching support, the binding looks really cool, the thread binding is sturdy. The bast part of all, you can stuff the pages full of extra glued in bits and goodies and the won't stress the spine too badly. A search in artfire brings up pages of great and well made one of a kind unique coptic bound journals.
The long stitch books are one of my favorites. they come in a variety of leather cover, recycled covers and interesting stitches. They fold over on themselves, can be hardcover or a limp cover, the stitches are visible on the spines and can be very decorative. Best of all they are tough. I've been making and using almost exclusively long stitch bound books for the last 10 years or so and they survive abuse like you wouldn't believe. You can toss them in the bottom of a bag, stomp on them, spill coffee on them, drop them in a lake and they come out looking pretty good and the binding survives.
While I'm not a fan of 3 ring binders you might be interested in trying the binder method out. There are some very fun and unique 3 ring binder covers on artfire. I found them by searching for 3ring binder. Very cool. I also found some neat rubber stamps that way.
Whatever you chose try something handmade and unique to get you through this holiday season. By careful Artfire shopping you might find that you make it through spending less than if you bought mass produces crap made overseas.