Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Write to your heart’s content journal

Ok folks, this is my first crack at a actual, real tutorial. 

I made something similar to this a few years back from a pattern I purchased but it never quite fit right and I didn’t really like how they put it together.  I thought they made it way more complicated than it needed to be.
So the week between Christmas and New Years when I was off work I decided to take a crack at doing my own.  My sides family Christmas wasn’t until January 9th but I still needed gifts for my great nieces, plus my sisters.  My sisters and I try to make something each year for each other so I thought these might fit the bill all the way around for my sisters and nieces.


Here goes…

Supplies needed:
at least 2 fat quarters
trim, ribbon or yarn of your choice
matching or coordinating thread
a composition notebook

First press your two fat quarters to get the folds out so you can get an accurate measurement.  I used two coordinating prints.  Out of each print I cut a 11” wide x 21” long(almost width of fabric) piece of fabric.  Then from one of the prints, I cut another piece 6” wide x 21” long.
I used the bolder print for the outside of the journal and the solid for the inside and the band on the outside of the journal.  It’s strictly your preference.

Take the 6 x 21 piece, fold in half lengthwise so edges meet and stitch 1/4” along the long side of the fabric.
I used my 1/4” sewing foot.  I don’t know what I did before I bought this.  My seams weren’t as accurate, that’s for sure.IMG_8874
When finished, you will now have a piece that is sewn along the long edge and open on both ends.

Turn the tube of fabric right side out.
Lay the tube out with the seam in the center back and press.
IMG_8878You’ve now completed your accent strip for the outside of your journal.

I positioned mine in the center of the journal but you could vary that according to what you like.
I measured 4-1/4” up from the bottom of the outside cover and positioned the strip there.
Then I cheated and used some old stitch witchery fusible tape I had to secure the strip in place so I didn’t have to take the risk of pinning it and having it shift as I sewed it.
I then topstitched both of the long sides at approximately 1/8” from the edge of the strip. IMG_8881  
At this point your can easily sew another type of trim on top of this coordinating strip if you want, like I did on these for the great nieces.  Some I sewed jumbo rickrack and others another type of ribbon.
Back to the one we are putting together right now though…place wrong sides of your journal fabrics together.  Pin in place.

Next, using a pen or whatever marking tool you prefer, (I used a pen because it was handy and no one would see it in the end anyway) mark your outside cover at the center bottom.

Start stitching approx. 1-1/2” away from your mark and make a 1/4” seam on all four sides of your cover, stopping approximately 1-1/2” from the same mark, leaving a 3” opening.  You will use this opening to turn your cover right side out.


Before turning your cover, clip your corners diagonally being careful to not cut into your stitching, like I came close to doing here.IMG_8889

Turn your cover right side out, using the eraser end of a pencil or an orange stick to push out the corners.
Once you have it completely turned, turn under the open edges and press the entire cover.IMG_8891

Turn each end of your cover under 2-3/8” and press and pin in place.

Topstitch along the top and bottom edge of your journal a scant 1/4” from the edge being sure to catch the pressed opening where you turned your journal right side out.

When you are finished stitching, your cover will now look like this.

Fold in half and press again. This will help define your center back for the next step.IMG_8898
Cut a piece of ribbon approximately 50” long.  Find the center point.  Lay that in the center of the coordinating strip on the outside of your journal and stitch in place along the center back fold that you just made with your iron.IMG_8902
You’re almost there!  Insert the composition book into the cover.

Tie the ribbon in a nice bow on the front and wallah!  In less than an hour’s time, you’ve made a nice gift for someone else or yourself!

Once you get a system down, you can easily make one of these in a little over 30 minutes.

I really like the way the batiks turned out.   IMG_8937IMG_8938

You can use these for a journal, recipes, school, the possibilities are endless.  My daughter in law is even using hers to track her fitness goals.  I’d like to keep a couple of these on hand for a quick little gift when needed.

If there is something you didn’t understand or I wasn’t clear on, please let me know.  If you make one, I would love to see your finished product.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Then and now

In my last post I told about going for a motorcycle ride in January.  Unheard of for us here in the Midwest!  We had a very uncommon mild start to 2012.  Just ten days ago we had a beautiful moonlit night.

Moon rising-Jan 12

Well, that was then and this is now.IMG_8969This was the scene from Friday afternoon.  Motorcycle rides and mild weather are officially over for a while.  Temps in the teens and more snow. ugh!

snowy deck

rabbit trail…..I played around with the above picture in Picnik which has become my favorite photo editing website.  However, the other day I received an email telling me that they are shutting down in a couple of months.  Anyone know of any other online editing websites similar to picnik? rabbit trail over(for now).

So what does one do on a snowy afternoon when they are just thankful to have arrived home safely from work?

make a mess of her kitchen, of course!  A neat cook I am not.  Yes, this is how I roll…


I was trying out a new recipe for a dessert auction coming up in March(see pictures from last years auction here and here).  The theme this year is chocolate.  I tried to convert the espresso cupcakes I made for our son, Joe’s wedding back in June into a cake.  The results?  ehhh [shrug]. I tried a different cake recipe and it either needs tweaking or I should go back to the original cupcake recipe.  The cake will be going to work with me tomorrow.  My guys there will eat anything as long as it isn’t crawling away.  In fact, they rather like my experiments.  SmileEspresso cake

I was thinking about baking this in individual coffee mugs instead of a big cake.  Get it?  Espresso cake baked in a coffee mug?  I thought it could be kind of cute.  Have you ever baked anything in a coffee mug before?  Did it work?  Did the mug break?  Did you adapt the baking temperature or time?  Any tips?

Do you have any fabulous chocolate dessert recipes you’d be willing to pass along on to me?  I’ll be sitting by my email waiting for them. Smile

Have a great week! I hope to get the journal tutorial posted in the next day or two.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Beginning a bit behind

Yes, I’m beginning the year a bit behind.  I have all sorts of things to post but it seems not much time to get it done.

I did have the nucleoplasty procedure on my back that had been previously postponed on Friday, which means my “seat time” is very limited.  I am only allowed to sit for 45 minutes at a time, then have to be up and moving for the next 10-15 minutes so when I am able to sit at the computer, I’m cramming everything I can into those 45 minutes.  Unfortunately, it takes me 5 minutes to remember where I left off before I got up to move.  But I’m happy that the procedure took place and without too much post-op pain.  Now, we wait a few weeks to see what the results will be. 

Before I had the procedure though, kind of as a last hurrah and because we’ve never done it before, we took a January 5th motorcycle ride!  Unheard of for us!  There’s usually much snowin’ and blowin’ goin’ on in December let alone January so the last few weeks have been a wonderful gift as we had an oddly mild start to our winter. The temperature was in the high 50’s on January 5th so we bundled up and off we went.  We were only able to be out for two hours before we got too cold but it was glorious!

Here’s a few pictures from our excursion…


The sky was beautiful!IMG_8924

This creek was so pretty with the bits of snow along the banks.


Round bales wrapped for winter feeding and cattle in the corn field.


And since this ride, winter has begun for us. We were so blessed to have gotten a “free month” with December that I didn’t really mind it when it started snowing now.

Eventually when I get a little more spare “seat time” I have a fun tutorial to share with you.