Abby Lee is a journal creator, well known on social media for the Instagram account she shares with her adorable dog, Pumba, a 10-year-old long-haired dachshund. For more than a year, Abby has shared her journey in the world of journals and stationery with her followers. Abby describes Instagram as her creative outlet, which she uses to share new spreads and designs every other day, while sharing fun stories and images featuring Pumba.
We chatted with Abby about her creative journey, her favorite stationery, and so much more (including Pumba!):
You started posting about your bullet journal journey on Instagram in January 2020. How did you become interested in journals, and what encouraged you to share your journey on Instagram?
I have loved journaling for a long time. To be honest, even when I was little, I've always been a diary/sketch book kind of girl. I don't think girls these days do this anymore (it's a little embarassing because it shows how old I am, haha), but when I was young my dad used to buy me these black and white marbled/lined composition notebooks and I would decorate the front and back with a collage of magazine cutouts! And that's where it all started for me! There were days when him and I would spend time sitting down just sketching side by side, I loved it because it was quality time with him.
Eventually, when I stumbled upon the idea of a "Bullet Journal", I was so excited because I have always been looking for a way to combine diary entries with art--- it felt as if bullet journaling was meant for me. But while I love this hobby, like anyone else I found it hard to stay consistent with the habit. So @WillBujoFor.treats started in January of 2020 to help keep myself accountable with the hobby. I never thought it would grow into what it has now, but I am thankful because it worked! Now I can't go anwhere without my bullet journal <3 .
Your Instagram account is dedicated to your journal, but it makes many references to your adorable dog, Pumba. Can you tell us about Pumba, and how you decided to name your account @willbujofor.treats?
Pumba is my life line. My family got him when I went through one of the darkest times in my life. He brought my family together when we were at our most fractionated. So when I started this account, It was just after new years and I was being as basic as can be and decided to make one of my new years resolutions to consistently bullet journal for an entire year! And there he was actually sitting right next to me in that exact moment, laying ontop of my bullet journal, ruining the journals' cloth cover with a carrot he was eating HAHA--- and I thought to myself, this is it!! And thats how my instagram name was born!
If you were to ever meet my dog, the first thing you would notice about him is that he will do anything for treats HAHA. My original instagram profile picture was me holding a carrot in front of his face, trying to bribe him into taking a photo with my bullet journal--- I can share it with you if you would like! But now that I look back on that exact moment, it feels so fitting. My bullet journal has become my life line. It holds so many tiny memories and details of my days that I swear if I didn't write it down, I would never have remembered. And I am beyond grateful for Pumba and that I've started on this journey.
Since you started sharing on Instagram, you've created many different themes and designs in your journal. Where do you find inspiration?
Oh boy, inspiration is hard to come by these days. But I love this bullet journal community and I am often inspired by a lot of other creators on this platform! Other times something on Pinterest will spark my interest or something I encountered in my everyday life! Honestly anything can be turned into a theme, but the hardest part is getting over the fear of … what if Instagram doesn't like my theme— which I myself struggle with from time to time- but I hope to use my platform to encourage others to forget about that fear! Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to keep an open mind!
Your drawings and spreads are beautiful. Have you always been artistically inclined? Where do you start when creating a spread?
You are too kind! I think I've always been someone artistically inclined. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely days where I draw something and I'm like wow, it looks like I drew it upside down with my eyes closed, but I was introduced to art at a young age through my dad! He has always been someone who encouraged me to sketch and would often sketch with me! But the most important thing to remember with bullet journaling is that you don't have to be artistically inclined to start! Just find a spread you like and run with it!
And honestly, there's no correct spot to start a spread! I feel like other bullet journalers have this notion that we always start with the cover page and that's not always true! Most of the time I start out with the bare outline of a spread because I saw a layout I really liked elsewhere, and will work in artsy details around the structure. Bullet journalers should know it's ok to start anywhere!
Sections of your journal are separated by a number of tabs, and your spreads occasionally feature moving pieces and designs. Can you tell us about how you strike a balance between using your journal as a creative outlet and as a productivity tool, or would you say that one of these functions outweighs the other?
Oooh what a good question. This is such a tough one for me because I am constantly fighting myself on doing something artsy, creative, time consuming (because its fun!) -- vs something that is simple and allows me to be productive and dedicate time to life in general. But the way I've found balance is really remembering that the sole purpose of my bullet journal is to be whatever I need it to be in that moment in time.
If I need more of an emotional outlet, I will find myself doing something more creative because the art calms me, helps me sort out my thoughts or even acts as an escape. If I am busier and I need more functionality/productivity out of my spreads, I will choose to utilize my go to rolling weekly with task and event bars in the middle since it is quick and easy to create. Its just all about what I need in that present moment, and what I want my bullet journal to do for me.
We love asking creators about their favorite stationery items. Is there any particular must-have item that you would recommend to someone who just started a new journal?
You are killin it with the hard questions! I think one of my must have pieces of stationery that I find myself gravitating back to over and over again is ---vellum paper. For those unfamiliar with vellum paper, it is a sheer/semi transparent piece of paper! Think of a frosted window, but on paper! I find it is so versatile and easily elevates a spread without taking much effort -- and its cheap :) .
In the past I have used it to create more complex spreads such as a sliding door (inspired by @pacificnotation), or even used it to create a moving window scene with a more detailed watercolor piece beneath it. If you're looking to use it more simply, I was inspired by @Hannahmariaplans to print a quote directly on the paper to paste into my bullet journal! There are so many ways to use such a simple piece of stationery and I think any beginner bullet journaler will find it easy to use!
Lastly, are there any creators who you recommend following? We'd love to hear who your favorite journal creators are!
There are so many creators I could recommend! But the ones that have inspired me the most lately are Viv with @mondaymorningdesigns, Hannah with @hannahmariaplans , and my newest vibe obsession Beverley with @beverleyjournals. Stop by their instagram accounts because you will be in love!
Thank you to Abby for sharing these wonderful answers. Be sure to visit Abby and Pumba's Instagram.