I haven't built a journal specifically with me in mind for a while. The last few years I've scoped out what was left in stock after the holidays, and picked my favorite. This year, however, I listed out what my needs were from previous experience (I tend to write in more of a commonplace book style, than straight up journal - excerpting quotes from books I'm reading and sketching out ideas for projects, in addition to making notes on the weather and seasonal local ecology), and what I hoped to foster. I wanted a larger journal, made with a higher quality paper to stand up to some more abrasive media (like colored pencils, ink, and light watercolor washes). I wanted it to lay flat, and also to hold some kind of writing implement, and a smaller booklet for to-do lists. I've started to use the Bullet Journal method of organization - its indexing feature is kind of a librarian's dream.
Voila! Bound in a secret Belgian style, with a closure that also doubles as a pen holder. Ingres paper for the fill, and reclaimed government document schematics for the endsheets. I had scrap leather hanging around from Hide & Sole to make pockets for my index book and to-do book. And a recent gift of a leather sewing awl from my friend Matt made the pocket sewing SO much easier! Oh yeah, my favorite bit about this is the hilarious light up feature of the pen. Just in case you need a flashlight while your journaling!
I love it already, and it reminded me of how important it is to have that personal connection with your journal, to find how you use it, what size you like best, etc.