Journals, Have You Got Them Covered?

Cherie M. Thompson © 2006

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Gather up those scraps of paper with tips and hints, dig out the fabric swatches attached to a store receipt stowed in your sewing basket or strewn in a bottom drawer. Címon dig out all your snippets with crazy quilt designs and jottings, your family photos, personal thoughts, addresses of suppliers, shopping spree receipts, dates of swaps as well as all the bits and bobs youíve hoarded in all elements of your life. Here is the answer to sorting all that stuff into one, easy to find place. A journal.

Whether you choose to call it your visual journal, art journal, mixed fibre or mixed media journal, brag book, memory journal, whimsical thoughts Ė you are only limited by your imagination. Let your artistic self run free and think about covering these books (we all need more than one) to suit your mood, for the contents or to your heart's desire. Give lovingly and beautifully covered journals to special people as gifts.

No matter the occasion or the reason, make yourself a selection of interchangeable covers and even match up covers to compliment your favourite bag, purse or hussif.

  My favourite book to use is a 120 page size A4 spiral bound, with 100% acid free paper and a sturdy cover available from most news agents and stationary stores. This style suits my visual, art, media and memory projects. My second choice is a smaller, similarly designed, A5 size book that I carry to most places where things I see that I want to use creatively are jotted onto the pages. No more rummaging later in your bag for that sample of fabric you spied when shopping; I ask the sales person to staple it right into my book at the counter. 

Covering is simple. Remember how you covered your school books or books for your family? Covering journals uses exactly the same method.

Simply follow these easy steps:
* Open the book out flat on the reverse side of a piece of Pellon or your favourite backing fabric (muslin is fine).
* Draw around the edges leaving a 2 inch / 5 cm margin along the top and bottom edges.
* Leave a 3inch / 7.5cm margin on the side edges to slip the cover of the book into.
* Cut the lining, trim triangles off the corners to make tidy flaps for folding inwards.
* Why not keep this as a template and cut another for your first cover?

Hereís a cover Iím currently embellishing. The crazy block is constructed from deconstructed menís ties and when trimmed will cover another visual journal.

* When embellishing is completed, turn the cover and work from the wrong side.
* Fold down the vertical (longer edges) first.
* Pin them into place to match the length of the book.
* Hand stitch the hem to the lining.
* Turn down and stitch a small hem to the outer edge of the shorter (horizontal) lining.
* Place the book on the fabric, fold in the excess fabric on the sides into the centre.
* Pin this fabric and either machine sew or hand stitch at both ends.
* Turn right sides out.
* Slip your book in each side and ~ Voila ~ a beautiful cover is finished!

This simple method has produced a number of covers for myself, family and friends.

The first cover was produced using burgundy Dupioni, a motif hand dyed with Ozecraft dyes, beaded with Maria George Delica beads and burgundy velvet hydrangea flowers, each attached with three strands of three bead, centers. A sixteen inch length of gold rat tail cord with flowers and crystal beads was attached to use as a page marker. 

The following journal covers I created in a faux crazy design using Ozecraft Dyes: beaded, embroidered and embellished with love and found objects and given as gifts to wonderful friends.

The next photo was a gift ~ a diary cover created from a CQ block. 
This cover was created in a couple of hours as a 21st birthday gift using vintage beaded edgings, gold charms and Ozecraft dyed flowers; yes, she loves pink. 

Covering journals of any size for any reason is worthwhile and fun. Choosing the fabric, the design and technique is all up to you. A hand dyed vintage doily was used as the centre piece on both the cream and purple cover; monogramming initials with embroidery or beading gave the covers a truly personal touch and makes them a joy to give. Journaling; whether inside or on the cover of your journal is an extension of the creative you: there are no limits, allow your individuality to flow. I hope youíre inspired to get them covered.

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