As promised, a quick little post about a quick-and-easy journal/notebook project–
Back in August, a local store had composition books on sale for $.50. Two for a buck! Normally they’re several dollars each, so I scooped up a bunch of them. I wanted to make pretty notebooks. Why? I don’t know. I’m not much of a notebook person, but I just had a hankering. Maybe it’s that I want to be a notebook person?
I began looking for ways to make covers for notebooks. There are all kinds of posts out there that involve sewing and such. I’m sure I lost a couple of good hours looking and pondering and imagining. But then it was September, which is always a very busy month for us, and the notebooks got put away in a cupboard in the garage, and…you know.
This December, one of the reasons I put aside the napkin project was so that I could make some notebooks for a friend. I’m not sure if she is a notebook person, but I’m pretty sure her daughters are. They are whip-smart, creative, all-around amazing girls, and their mom is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I know. I don’t give many gifts in December, but I really wanted to give all of them just a little token of my affection.
So, I went back through the posts I’d bookmarked. I knew I could easily fall down a rabbit-hole of time trying to do something wonderful–and I just didn’t have time for some kinds of wonderful. I went with a tutorial that was easy, this one from CraftyPod:
(The tutorial is simple and clear, and I am not a fan of re-creating perfectly good wheels. Please click over there if you want to make your own.) All you need for this project is:
- Composition books
- Enough fabric to cover the cover of the book
- Fusible webbing
- An iron
- About a half-hour of time
I’d never used fusible webbing–which is a fancy name for plastic-y stuff that makes fabric stick to things. It’s awesome–and I want to use it everywhere now.
You simply iron the webbing onto your fabric, then iron the fabric onto the item you want to stick it to. Once I did one book and figured the process out, it was really fast and easy to do the other books.
At first I thought I would use fabric scraps I already owned, but they didn’t coordinate very nicely and I wanted the books to look nice together. This gave me an excuse to go to the fabric store, which (of course) is always a bonus. I shopped the fat quarter section, where you get a fifth one free if you buy four. They already had coordinating fabrics grouped together, so it was pretty simple to choose some that complemented each other.
One warning, though: The original post warned against using light fabrics, as the dark cover will show through. I did not take that warning to heart, and I wish I did.
I gave them as-is anyway, because I was out of time and I knew my friend wouldn’t care one bit about that. (The kind of thing about her that makes her my friend.) So, if you are going to do this, I urge you to heed the warning of two bloggers and use a dark fabric.
Also, one tip not in the original post: I found my covers starting to curl from the heat of the iron. I found that putting a heavy book on top of the notebook for a few minutes helped keep them flat.
And what might you use this notebook for? Well, we are entering the season of new intentions and habits and all that. If journaling is something you do, perhaps you need a pretty new journal to do it in? But about all that, I’d like to share two things:
I get a weekly email from the smart, funny, and feisty feminist Kelly Diels, and this week she wrote about “New Year’s resolutions and the unbearable pressure to be someone else.” She cautions us not to fall into the trap of thinking that making some external change (becoming thinner, richer, whateverer) will magically make us into someone we’re not. So, if a journal is part of your quest to make some kind of change in the coming weeks/months, I hope it will not become a place of self-punishment or a symbol of perceived failings (should the change fail to materialize as you hope). And if part of your intentions involve creative work, I really do hope you’ll read her words about women and creative work and issues of time. Really–especially if you beat yourself up about not being able to find/make the time to do the intellectual creative work you want to do.
Having said that, though, I do like the whole idea of fresh starts and setting intentions and being purposeful about nurturing our own growth. Jen Allen pointed me to Susannah Conway’s free set of materials to work through the process of choosing a word to set your intentions for the coming year. I’ve sort of done this in the past (chose a word), but I’ve never really done it. It’s a five-day process, which is about as many days as I have left on my winter break. So, I signed up this morning and I’m going to use one of my 50-cent notebooks to do the work in. Right after I put a pretty cover on it. 🙂